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Comment Re: This is why I'm keeping my truck for forever (Score 1) 658

So you are saying that the hippies are in favor of having a 6000 lb SUV paying the same rate as they do for their Prius?

6,000 pounds is pretty heavy even for an SUV. Unless you are going to count tanks like the H1, which hardly anybody drives. Most SUVs that are actually on the road today are in the 4,000-5,000 pound range. The Prius is hardly even a lightweight by comparison. Although about 1/4 of the overall cubic dimensions of an average SUV, they way about 2/3 of what an average SUV weighs.

Ford Expedition curb weight: 5,801 lb (2,631 kg) (standard) 6,071 lb (2,754 kg) (EL)
Cadillac Escalade: Curb weight 5,800 lbs
Chevy Suburban: Curb weight 5820 lbs

All are fairly common large SUV's, so it hardly seems like an exaggeration to refer to "6000 pound SUV's"

Oh, and for comparison, the Toyota Prius weighs 3042 lbs.

Comment Re:Sorry, But He's a Douche (Score -1, Flamebait) 479

He may well be a douch,

Oh, he is.

but he's not the only one out there,

No, but the fact there are other douche-bags on the planet is no excuse for being one.

and he is doing something that will push us in the right direction.

According to you. Me, I fail to see the merit in the concept of having everyone drive around in what is, essentially, a big-ass pile of heavily polluting blood minerals that won't get you to your destination without taking a minimum hour break every couple hundred miles.

Not to mention, even if electric cars are "the right direction," Elon Musk doesn't give half a fuck about that - he's a capitalist, therefore he's in it for the money. If altruistic progress was his goal he'd be selling Teslas at a loss just to get them in the hands of the people who would benefit the most.

Also, it takes considerable effort to get hydrogen gas from dihydrogen monoxide. Perhaps he knows this already?

Uh, that was a dig, not a comparison or question of science. I figured it was obvious.

Comment Very good. (Score 4, Interesting) 283

Aside from the fact that the actors in Star Trek Continues have acting flaws that are not identical to those of the original cast (i.e. they are just as talented/untalented as the originals, but don't have the exact same instinctive mannerisms), this is an incredible recreation.

It looks far better than the passable recreation "Star Trek Of Gods and Men" (with Koenig, Nichols and Russ in it).

But I have much better hopes for the upcoming Star Trek Renegades (Koenig, et. al. second, better funded attempt)

Comment Re:Hydrogen is indeed quite dangerous... (Score 1) 479

Did you forget the Hindenberg? Hydrogen can explode, as well as burn. Back to elementary chemistry for you Bubba.

The cause of the Hindenberg incident has never actually been determined. Maybe do a little research yourself before launching the ad hominems, eh?

Thanks for playing.

What? The fact no one is sure what sparked the fire doesn't invalidate his point that hydrogen can explode/burn.

True; also true is that many people would cite a major disaster like the Hindenburg* in a discussion about hydrogen fuel cells purely as a scare tactic. And, you know - you shouldn't criticize someone else's lack of knowledge when yours is found wanting as well.

* All for you, ericloewe!

Comment Re:Stallman ain't gonna be happy (Score 2) 304

I hear this myth perpetuated a lot and it's not really true. Stallman has said on several occasions he believes developers can and should be compensated for their work and he believes this is perfectly feasible within a free software ecosystem. The problem is that many traditional methods of monetization don't hold up in a free software world and it would require people to rethink how they plan to monetize.

The trouble is that most of these ideas are crap for application development like service and support, though they're okay for platform/distro/device development like Android / Tivo / RHEL / Ubuntu and so on. Particularly those where you have a huge number of users who each contribute very little, like say a million people paying $1 on the app store. That's a pretty good income for a small development house of say ten people, less Apple's cut it's $70k/head before expenses and taxes. I wager that if you made it open source and asked for donations you'd raise less than $1000, that's more like $100 each in beer money instead. Sure you can raise more money in the Humble Bundle for charity, but that's not money to pay your bills and you can also question how much people's total charity budget goes up as a result.

Basically it's this: Before the work is done, it's a wild guess what you'll actually get and everybody is in a game of chicken about who will fund it. After all, it's going to be open sourced so if it gets funded but you didn't fund it you get to have your cake and eat it too. Nobody wants to carry the burden and even when trying to share the burden through Kickstarter it's still easy to be a cynic and freeload if you see the goals are met anyway. After the work is done, well the work is already done. Nobody loses out by not giving you anything, so they don't. It's very different from closed source where you put down $2000 in work thinking you can sell it back to 100 people for $20 each, you take the risk and people buy a known quantity with reviews or go without.

Maybe a "delayed" open source licence would do the trick, like any time you compile a binary you get a one-year BSD license but after that year is up you must provide the complete corresponding source code for that binary with a GPL-compatible license. That way you get a good exclusivity period for people who want the new features right now and you don't have to wait life+70/95 years for it to go out of copyright - and you still wouldn't have the source, just the binary. The hook needs a little more bait than that everyone can copy everything you do, instantly.

Comment Re:Taking Linux seriously (Score 4, Insightful) 304


Valve plays an incredibly long game compared to most tech companies (hell, most companies, period). They started Steam because they could see where constantly-increasing bandwidth was leading. They missed on some of the particulars, but by getting the main point correct early on, they were able to gather the momentum to overcome minor obstacles before anyone else could seize initiative. So not only did they avoid being tied down to another company's proprietary platform, but they managed to become the de facto digital distribution system while still being a relatively minor player.

SteamOS is a defensive move. They're concerned that Microsoft may lose its Windows dominance, or might try to move it to an Apple-like locked store (they sort of have, with RT). So they ported Steam and their own games to both OS X and Linux.

That was enough to spur an initial kick of OS X games following after them. It's not nearly universal now, but it's respectable, and growing.

Linux didn't get the same kick, mainly because they don't have as much market share. So Valve is giving it more support, and perhaps more importantly, lending it a more prestigious (among gamers) brand name.

Will it be a success? Perhaps. At the very least, it's enough a threat to Microsoft that they're not going to try to take over the digital distribution market, because if they do, Valve will just drop Steam on Windows and enough publishers will follow them to wherever they lead that Microsoft will ultimately have lost. So in one sense, it's a deterrent. But it could become a legitimate gaming platform in its own right, particularly if they get enough console-like games for Steam Machines to go up against the PS4/Xb1 in the coming generation.

Comment Good. (Please, hear me out.) (Score 1) 488

I used to be a staunch defender of the right of a person to "hack" under the broadest possible set of definitions for the term "hacker".

"Hacker": 1. A DIY person. 2. An unlicensed repairperson. 3. A person with the needed skills for a situation. 4. An umbrella term conglomerate with the skills of computer programming or scripting, phreaking, cracking, and a host of other skills involving physics, radio usage, metallurgy, anything under the sun, when those skills are applied in a unique fashion.

and then there's the popular definition:

"Hacker" (2) 1. A computer criminal: identity thief, password cracker, malware author.

And the debate is SO old. When I came on the scene in 1992, the debate was SO old.

DIY / engineering people wanted to reserve the term "hacker" with a presumed innocence, so they could call themselves and their friends "hackers".

And, basically, get away with it. Which I add, because the popular term is nothing like the term preferred by the DIY / engineering crowd who enjoy the use of the term.

In popular culture, "hacker" is a purely criminal term. And that includes law enforcement culture and the rest of the legal system.

Fighting the negative might seem like a jolly ride, but consider what you're ultimately doing to yourself by applying that label.

Now, in my life, personally, I stopped using the term for myself after, I dunno, high school? Thereabouts? Because, what's the point of applying the term, or of putting up the fight? Where in the spirit of DIY / engineering, does it say "oh, you should incriminate yourself in front of others, probably for the benefit of nothing more than looking cool and some desperately hoped-for but unlikely street cred."

Then, when I got to college, I found that telling people I'm pursuing a degree in computer engineering led to this statement (or a derivation thereof): "oh, you're a hacker!"

And no, they didn't mean "you're part of the ultra-hip, super-cool DIY / engineering squad of citizens who can do some McGyver shit and who stands up for causes like the misappropriations of terms by mainstream culture! Far out!"

They meant, "oh, wow, I bet you'd like if it I called you a 'hacker' right now, you fucking geek. God, if I was half as smart as you, I think I'd already be in prison. Here's hoping that you'll take the bait and open your stupid cocksucker like a real jabroni."

Or, sometimes, if they're really fucking stupid, they meant, "wow, that Hacking movie I watched last night is STILL kicking in with all this caffeine I can't stop ingesting. I hate my course of study and it bores the shit out of me, so I'll glorify this person's field of study and excite myself vicariously through that exchange, using my imagery from the movie I watched that also excited the hell out of my excitable, stimulant-addled ass. I'll be killing two birds with one frantic stone, I think! Maybe the person really IS a hacker! At the very least, I'll be able to suspend disbelief in Hollywood for a few more hours, perhaps even days!"

In either case, because you're not talking to a fellow member of the small segment of the population who fit in the DIY / Engineer / verbally jousting defender of the proper use and innocence of the term "hacker" / geek crowd, you're getting one of those two social situations, above. Take your pick.

Now, that's just in the context of running into social peers in the amazing world of "higher learning". Let's see what happens when an officer of the law, or a lawyer, or a judge, or a prosecutor, or a victim of computer crime asks if you're a hacker. What they really mean is:

"Are you one of these space-age freaks who's abusing their high priesthood secret knowledge of how the magical computer works, in order to redirect our credit, steal our identities, crack our passwords, read our email, threaten and or blackmail us, watch our laptop webcams, blow up our smart toasters, and to otherwise exploit our weaknesses?"

And the thing is, THAT is the majority of the population. And the other thing is, the peer group scenario outlined previously is also the majority of your peer group, unless you ONLY socialize with DIY / engineering geeks, in which case you're a lost cause, just ... just go hide in the shame of your cheetos belly and KY-besmirched keyboard already. And don't worry about what happens to you. Somebody else will worry about that, for you.

Do you catch my drift? If you're the only one keeping up the fight, and if the fight is meant to be a social fight, then forget it. You're not making any progress. NOBODY has made any progress with this "the innocence of the hackers" battle, ever. It has been downhill, a losing battle the entire fucking time. So give it up.

So, my conclusion on the matter of the arrested hacker is, GOOD. You don't do anything positive for yourself by knowingly associating yourself with the undeniably negative image of hacking that is cast on the term by the mainstream -- meaning, everybody else in the population of your country, except for you and a few denizens of the local IHOP.

As a 2600 fan, that's hard for me to admit, but only a tiny, tiny little bit hard, in a place in my heart that should be drowned like an unwanted puppy, to spare the rest of the litter (the litter of puppies being my heart).

So much so, that last year when I was in an Anthropology course, and we were doing the first week classroom meet and greet, and we had to say what we are going to college for, I got to enjoy two moments of social ostrocisation: being the only person in the classroom who said "computer engineering" (or anything with the word "computer" or with the word "engineering" for that matter), and then the teacher saying out loud, in front of the class: "OH... SO... YOU'RE A HACKER?"

To which I responded with rather frightened silence, which opportunity the teacher took to imply that my silence was admission of guilt.

So you see, it's already TOO MAINSTREAM. You can't WIN that sort of battle against that sort of cultural force.

I wrote to the teacher and explain to her, explicitly, that my silence was due to being shocked and appalled, and that she must never refer to me as a hacker in public again or that we would have to speak with the dean of her department.

I didn't get any more crude "hacker" jokes. But the point is, the battle is already lost. You can't argue without any credibility and credibility is already lost as soon as you admit, socially, that you "do computer stuff". There have been no exciting movies about programming computers, building your own directional antenna, or encrypting codes by hand for sending over HAM radio. There never will be. Society will never see you in the exciting light that you see yourself in.

So grow up! Be a REAL hacker. Stop using society's term for you and use something more specific to your favorite fields of study or areas of expertise. If you want to use several, go ahead, bore the shit out of the other person by listing all the cockamamie things you do that sound like Latin to them. But there's just no real reason to call yourself a "hacker".

I don't know how many other different ways I can say it, so I'm done.

Comment Re:The worst job on earth (Score 3, Insightful) 238

Arguably, US morale is the lowest it has been since the US Civil War:

Anything is arguable. The post Vietnam War period was worse. You also had in addition your list, widespread drug use and widespread lack of discipline.

Morale is extremely low. If this wasn't the case, there wouldn't be any Snowdens or Assanges.

Neither had anything to do with the US military.

Comment Sorry, But He's a Douche (Score -1, Flamebait) 479

I know this goes 100% against the Slashdot groupthink, but really - this Elon Musk character bores me to no end. If he's not pissing and moaning about the (actually pretty good overall) review his car received on a comedy show, or making excuses for why some of the models he's sold aren't living up to expectations, or acting like a martyr because a certain state won't bend their car selling rules just for little-ol-Elon, he's criticizing everyone and everything that presents a challenge to his own bottom line.

Basically, the dude is Donald Trump, minus the guard-weasel that sleeps on his head.

'Hydrogen is quite a dangerous gas. you know, it's suitable for the upper stage of rockets, but not for cars,' [Musk] said."

Man, just wait until he finds out how many people are unwittingly using the deadly substance dihydrogen monoxide! He might just have a conniption.

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