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Comment Re:As a KDE user. (Score 4, Interesting) 141

Yeah, I never really got why they bothered with KDE. The great thing about Mint is Cinnamon (and Mate to a lesser degree). It's meant to be a clean, stable, customized OS... but that also means it's using older packages from Ubuntu. KDE tends to be more cutting edge (sometimes bleeding edge), and I don't know that the KDE version was as well polished or customized as the Cinnamon one.

I tried to stay with Mint, but at one point, I needed a kernel it didn't offer for a feature I wanted... and then I couldn't get a newer version of VLC because the repositories had a much older one. Same for several other programs. Eventually, my system became unstable from all the modifications, so I just wiped it and went with Ubuntu with the Cinnamon DE.

Mint already has too many flavors imho -- and ones based off of ubuntu and directly off of debian as well. It's a small team, and I'd love it if they'd just focus on the Cinnamon DE and make an official Cinnamon flavor of Ubuntu (with Wayland support, too!). But, I understand they have different goals. I just think they bit off more than they can chew with all these flavors.... especially with KDE.

Comment Re:This has little to do with Apple (Score 1) 350

I still don't get why they combined data, A/V, and power into one interface. Was this really an issue that needed solving? Were there devices out there that just couldn't handle an extra port or use Bluetooth or some other wireless tech for their needs?

Here's what I don't get. Like in your example with the phone and battery pack -- How do devices decide which way the power should flow? If I connect several battery-powered devices together through a USB-C hub and all can both power and be charged by the same port, how do they negotiate which device drains to power the others, if any?

A/V is largely traditionally unidirectional. I understand that we've gone from analog to digital for a variety of reasons (not the least of which is to close the analog copying loophole), but it does make life more difficult when a single port can be both A/V in and A/V out and one has to install proper drivers and fiddle with sound I/O system settings to get things working properly. I still love my headphone jack on my laptop that works for analog audio output to headphones, earbuds, TV, stereo, and even music equipment. Sure, I could get a USB-C to headphone jack dongle, but really... it's a 17.3" laptop, and a headphone jack isn't constraining the form factor or battery life. If all my other devices switched to USB-C and had no analog jack, it'd be a real pain if/when I had to install drivers for all of them -- especially when Windows 10 "Changing for the Hell of it" Edition hits and changes the driver model... and my 10+ year old devices are no longer supported.

Comment Re:Get a VPN they said ... (Score 2) 212

VPNs aren't meant to keep people anonymous. They just obscure the origin IP address enough to where an average site may not know for certain who is visiting and law enforcement would have to request account connection details -- time and origin of connection, user name, actual name, length of time of connection, bandwidth usage, etc. Sure, VPNs don't usually record what sites you visit, but the sites themselves keep detailed logs that include the IP address of the VPN used... which in this situation correlates well with the VPN's logs. It's strong evidence, but not proof.

People often don't realize that advertisers love creating profiles of people -- and tracking cookies are great for creating, tracking, and linking profiles so that no matter where one logs in from -- even a VPN -- you can be identified... if only by the user/agent string and hardware you're using to access the web.

This moron logged into the victim's e-mail address and the abuser's email address within moments of each other from the SAME IP address on the VPN. If that VPN shows he logged into their service and was assigned that IP address just before accessing them and logged out shortly after accessing both, that's pretty damning.

PureVPN didn't lie about what it records... but, it didn't have to record much other than the connection info and bandwidth use to correlate strongly with what the investigators already knew from inspecting a laptop and contacting the 2 e-mail services.

Comment Misleading (Score 5, Informative) 212

Most of the damning info came from a laptop, and all the VPNs did was confirm an IP address for his residence was used to connect to one of their IP addresses during the same time frame "someone" logged into both the victim's e-mail account and the abuser's e-mail account -- both from the same VPN address.

PureVPN lists what data it records and states it cooperates with investigations. The only thing I can find that they gave to investigators that wasn't explicitly stated in the TOS was that they gave the origin IP address for the connection. but... the TOS already says they store the name of the person on the account and connection times and bandwidth anyway, so that's pretty damning to begin with if requested by law enforcement.

Basically, Law Enforcement said:

"Hey we have a laptop with evidence that you have a VPN and have accessed both the victim's and the abuser's e-mail addresses. We just checked with the e-mail services and discovered a login to both from a VPN IP address within a short time period."

And the VPN provider upon court order said:

"That user was logged into our service from their residential IP address during that time and was connected to that same VPN IP address (along with many other users). Here's the amount of time they were on our system and the amount of bandwidth they used."

The VPN didn't rat out what site they went to -- but the sites they went to DID keep IP logs.

In short, the VPN service provided exactly what it said it would record and it just happened to correlate nicely with what the detectives found. It's not proof, but it's strong evidence.

Frankly, I'm a little surprised the victim's e-mail service allowed a connection to a VPN IP to begin with. I'm also surprised this moron thought that just because a VPN doesn't record every site you visit that the sites themselves wouldn't be recording every login and IP address along with cookies that might identify his specific hardware and/or tie into a social media profile or the like.

Comment Re:Cast in place? (Score 5, Informative) 253

The granite is absolutely quarried. No one denies this. The limestone is debatable, but it matches what's found in a quarry in its consistency. The theory you mention is interesting, but it was mostly dismissed a decade ago.

The biggest problem with the theory is... it's limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock made from fossilized sea creatures, and it's loaded full of fossils. Pulverizing limestone to make a mixture to re-form into stone would destroy most of those fossils. The pyramids blocks are full of such fossils -- most tiny and in clusters, but some are quite large. That's why no one takes this limestone concrete theory seriously. It'd be impossible to have so many completely intact fossils -- some larger than an average sized hand -- embedded in the "concrete."

While it's possible they had the technology to do it and maybe even used it in some areas, the evidence strongly suggests that at least most of the blocks were cut and hauled... just like the heavy granite stones.

Comment Re: D'oh! (Score 1) 417

But... I use Linux for browsing the web, webmail, and Netflix. If Steam/Vulcan/Nvidia/Wayland get their act together, I'll be playing games on it, too. Well... I already use it for games in emulators, but I mean current, PC-oriented games.

I also use Linux for playing all sorts of multimedia, and it's just as easy to use LibreOffice on it as it is on Windows.

Really, the major drawback of using Linux is the state of the graphics drivers and their implementation vs Windows. Even Macs are at a disadvantage compared to Windows with graphics drivers.

Outside of professional software suites and games, there's not much that Linux can't provide. Most users just need a multimedia player, a web browser, and an office suite. The fact that Linux can run VLC, Google Chrome, and LibreOffice makes it almost seamless for most users to switch. If/When Steam and various graphics card engineers can get games ported and working as well as on Windows, that'll be a monumental achievement and will give a real reason for most families to switch. If/When Adobe, Microsoft, and Autodesk port their major software to Linux, a lot of professionals will have reason to switch, too.

Comment Let me know when it reaches Beta (Score 1) 97

As cool as this is, the pace is glacial. It may get on par with Windows 2000 or XP when we've moved on to 128 bit chips with a TB of RAM and 12K monitors. I don't expect miracles, but it'd be nice to reach a usable status while the old win32 API is still useful.

I think the project bit off more than it could chew with its limited resources.

Comment Re:Neither is Slashdot's (Score 1) 162

That's an interesting point. Just because source code is published doesn't mean it will be incorporated into other projects.

I imagine a lot of companies could do the same and their competitors wouldn't bother to use their code -- either because they have their own code base that is tried and true or because they don't have the resources to analyze and/or run the code properly given their hardware and network architecture.

I personally wouldn't know what to do with a sizable chunk of quality code for a commercial web site. I can deal with small sites and run simple Apache server with some scripts and HTML5... maybe even get a decent SQL back-end, but once you get to multiple servers, load balancing, thousands of users, etc... it's beyond my skill-set. I imagine such things would be most useful to organizations that already have their own solutions... and why would they be tempted to switch? Why would they trust millions of lines of code from a competitor that's been open-sourced so every hacker on the planet can view it and poke holes in it? It would have to be an order of magnitude better than the current code to be worth the manpower to check the code for bugs / design flaws and re-purpose it for their use.

Comment Re:WTF!?! (Score 1) 157

Depends on the battery configuration, but usually they have multiple batteries set in a parallel configuration. If a battery cell on the first rail completely dies, you can still get the proper voltage from the second rail, but you now have half the battery life. Some people will change out the battery at that point, others will wait until a battery on the 2nd rail fails and battery power goes to zero or insanely short like 3 mins of charge. There might be 6 good batteries and 2 bad batteries in the pack at that point.

Sometimes multiple cells partially fail, so they'll have to test each battery in the pack to know which ones are good... but, generally just because the pack is useless doesn't mean all the batteries inside the pack are useless. The odds are that most of them are still good as the day they were made, but the pack wasn't designed to re-wire itself to provide the power from the good batteries while disabling/removing the bad ones as they fail.

Comment Re:Net neutrality anyone? (Score 3, Interesting) 188

You are correct, but the current Net Neutrality rules for the USA do allow for this sort of thing to prevent network congestion.

Net neutrality =/= net neutrality rules, so this creates some confusion.

Cell phone networks have always been given more leeway with net neutrality rules to begin with, and targeting streaming video (a huge bandwidth hog) over the cell network is an obvious choice for preventing network congestion. As long as they treat all streaming video equally regardless of the source, It's not that big of an issue. Sure, I'd like better descriptions of the rate limits in the naming of the packages they're offering, but it's a reasonable measure. I'm betting it's easy to circumvent with an encrypted VPN as well -- at least until they start throttling all VPN connections if that becomes a popular solution.

Remember one of the reasons they're allowed these exceptions is that they are also an e-911 service, and those 911 calls must be routed quickly and get priority over all other traffic. Sure, a simple phone call doesn't take up much bandwidth, but there can be hundreds at any time in an area & if the network is congested with 4K video, that'd be a problem.

Comment Re:time and distance scaling (Score 4, Insightful) 435

Or, maybe those mega-structures aren't really feasible -- and if they are, they aren't practical or economical. Maybe most life evolves around brown dwarf stars that won't burn out 'til near the end of the universe, and so the life on planets around those stars sees no reason to ever leave the nest. They have everything they need and decide to keep to themselves.

Maybe there's life everywhere, but their communications are point-to-point lasers or some other method we just can't detect.

Spreading life from one star system to another at sub-light speeds would mean generational ships, cryostasis, robots, and/or artificial wombs for incubating frozen zygotes. Maybe it's just not worth it for other civilizations to even bother -- at least until their sun is about to go nova... and even then, it's a huge, possibly enormously expensive risk, and politically... who gets to get on that life boat exactly? Maybe their philosophy, politics, or religion would prevent them from abandoning their dying world.

The fact is -- we really don't know what we're looking for and haven't been listening for long enough to have any idea of what we may have missed. Surely civilizations rise and fall without us ever knowing. We've only been broadcasting ourselves for the past couple centuries out of the 4-5 billion years life has been on our planet. There's always the possibility that we are the first civilization in our corner of our galaxy (someone had to be first!). But there's billions of galaxies... and we can barely detect things in a small radius from our location in our own galaxy.

We really don't have any data to work with. It'd be nice if we'd start sending probes to nearby star systems so that in a few thousand years, we'd know if any of them harbored life of some sort.

Comment Re:They're liberal when it suits them (Score 2) 287

Interesting. I'd like to know what caveats there are to that rule for Hawaii.

As for California, I'm surprised this went so long even for a billionaire. In real estate law (for every state I know of), there are rules about easements. If anyone ever allowed the public to cross their private land for any reason, that easement can be enforced for all future owners of the property. Seems pretty straightforward that this guy purchased property with an easement to the beach and so must maintain it.

Comment Re:Alternative physics (Score 1) 144

I'm not sure how to parse your statement. You seem to be using a very strange definition of determinism.

In physics, determinism would mean that if one could know the position, speed, charge, spin, and every other defining property of every particle in the universe, one could theoretically calculate the entire history and future of the universe. The universe isn't non-deterministic simply because that calculation would be too immense to process and the data impossible to collect, but because of the inherent uncertainty and superposition of many of those properties as well as the uncertainty in the outcome of particle interactions. If two particles interact, we can work out the probability of their interaction producing a wide range of particles, but we can't know which will come to pass.

Particle physics is based upon probabilities -- which is the exact opposite of determinism. Even though it's not random, it's not deterministic simply because there are rules to help determine probable outcomes. Einstein didn't like quantum mechanics because it wasn't deterministic -- thus his famous "God does not play dice with the universe." quote.

It's as if you're saying a dice roll isn't random simply because there are rules -- it must land on one of 6 sides. There are distributions other than random ones in particle physics -- normal distributions which aren't random, but instead show that some things are more likely to happen than others... but, that's again due to rules -- like mass/energy conservation rules & interference patterns. Particles often "break" rules -- like with quantum tunneling. So, even rules aren't so much rules as guidelines... as long as everything balances at the end. A particle can borrow energy to tunnel through a barrier so long as it gives the energy back when it's done.

It may be that you already understand this, but believe there is some deeper understanding in string theory (or the debunked pilot wave theory) or some other philosophy where you think we just don't understand and know enough to see the underpinnings of everything... but... physicists are pretty darned certain that random things happen all the time, the universe is inherently non-deterministic, and things happen based upon probabilities, not certainties... and there's really nothing deeper to explain the weirdness of it all.

Comment Re:Or maybe, just maybe... (Score 4, Interesting) 135

That's the thing with (supposedly) fundamental particles -- you can't explain them in terms of something else... because then they wouldn't be fundamental. If you're talking about why they have certain properties -- like why there are 3 generations of matter (separated only by mass) and why they have the masses that we measure (as opposed to some other mass), maybe one day when we find a way to merge gravity with the standard model and/or figure out why the Higgs mechanism gives different masses to different particles, we'll find out.

But, if you mean you want to have explanations for things like "charge," "spin," "color charge," and why only certain ones exist -- we may never know. If they're fundamental properties, there may not be any real explanation other than "they just are." That's the universe we appear to live in.

String theory and some other interesting quantum theories are trying to explain deeper meanings and use expected symmetries to figure out missing particles and new physics... and they helped to tease out the Higgs Boson and its field to explain why all fundamental particles don't move at the speed of light. There may be more than one Higgs field & that may explain more if we find it. If there are hidden, curled up dimensions, we may be able to explain all the properties of particles in terms of vibrating strings or membranes in higher dimensions, but until string theorists can decide on what the shape of those curled up dimensions might be for our universe, they can't help much with predictions, much less explanations. Trouble is, there are a heck of a lot of possibilities for those curled up dimensions, and there aren't a lot of ways to discern which ones match our known universe yet. Sure, they can whittle them down to a subset that matches known properties of the universe, but that leaves a massive subset to eliminate false positives from.

I'd say string theory is your best bet for explaining why things are as they are one day... but it may be that some things just are, and that's as fundamental as they get -- at least as far as we can tell from experimental data from within the universe. Anything deeper is speculation or philosophy -- unless it can fit the math perfectly and explain things other models can't. For instance, we've never directly observed quarks, but we've been able to indirectly observe them and figure out their properties from subatomic collisions. At one time, people debated if they really existed or if they just helped the math work... but physicists generally agree they exist today. Maybe we'll find something more fundamental in time that will explain more. My bet is on strings, but... who knows?

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