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Comment UC Berkeley: usernames vs. faceless bureaucracy (Score 1) 383

When I was an undergrad at Berkeley in the late 90s & early 00s, I believe the students and professors together added up to around 40,000... Everybody chose their own username (profs almost always used their first initial & surname), but the subdomain changed: everyone from around my time got user@uclink4.berkeley.edu, there were a *few* professors on uclink3, and I believe I saw only one uclink2. The last time I looked at the student paper a year or two ago, all of the addresses appeared to be at uclink.berkeley, however.

In any event, that worked well for us (at least on the user's end)... Also, given undergrads were in a massive faceless bureaucracy for the first time and often felt like we were walking student ID numbers, I think most of us really appreciated being able to choose a username that conveyed something about ourselves. Students have to transition into the adult world of boring "first initial lastname" official addresses soon enough, after all...no need to rush if it doesn't bring huge tech benefits.

Comment Playing with people's minds is fun (Score 1) 146

I'm assuming one room with at least 2 WeMos for simplicity's sake... As preparation, I'd have to place wireless cameras at the windows and make sure I can see every angle from my Base Of Evil Operations.

I'd let the lights behave normally for about the first 10 minutes they're turned on with somebody in the room, then make one "flicker" (like an electrical issue might cause) and shut off. Wait for the person to approach the light, turn that WeMo back on, wait for them to head back to wherever they were at, flicker off again when they pass a certain point.

After a couple of times doing that, I'd then start affecting that light plus a second one when they pass close enough to it, and so on with all of the lights in the room. When they get frustrated/upset, turn all the lights back on right after they leave the room, keep them on when they return and sit down... ...well, that is, keep them on just long enough for them to relax, then repeat with some variation, always making sure it always appears to happen in response to something they do or somewhere they go, so it doesn't look random enough to tip them off.

Another version of this for somebody that has a partner currently doing something in another room would be to either just flicker the lamp for short bursts (maybe "WeMo Rocks" in Morse code) *or* do the earlier lamp flicker-die/on/off trick. When the person leaves to tell their partner, wait for the two of them to come, then have it act completely normal, like the original victim was imagining things or something. Wait for the partner to leave, then perhaps make one light at a time flicker and die, or do it to all of them except one -- whatever gets the best reaction.

Damn, if I had enough free time I'd go look through the BOFH website for ideas...

Comment Re:MS says: (Score 1) 232

Not to be rude, but apostrophes slant the opposite of your accent mark: I’m rather than I`m. Also, with some fonts, that accent mark is nearly invisible or high enough to look like it's superscript.

If you prefer the way a formal apostrophe looks, there's a really good website of Win/Mac/Linux character keyboard shortcuts that might be very helpful; it's the only reason I know how to produce them on the fly in Linux. If you're like me and feel that's too much work most of the time, then please just use the old-fashioned typewriter style as I am here; it's still considered correct, or at least more correct than abusing accent marks. ;)

Comment Re:Did this already, was asked to stop. (Score 1) 505

Unless you only have 1 neighbor, it doesn't seem neighborly to kill access for everyone because of one lazy parent. It would've been much better to say "OK, let me know the MAC addresses of those devices so I can block them." If the guy doesn't know how to find the MACs, try to look apologetically helpless and say, "sorry, that's the best I can do -- but there are some great tutorials on the web if you just search for them." Chances are the lazy bugger would go home and realize that taking the kids' devices away or spanking them requires far less mental effort.

Comment Re:but my LAN security! (Score 1) 505

What's sad is that those reactions used to be in favor of challenging the tech status-quo in favor of improving things for society or others in general... I think we lost it when the average Slashdotter morphed from people driven to work hands-on with all aspects of technology they could over to people that like talking about the often-high-priced tech they've bought.

Comment Re:but my LAN security! (Score 1) 505

For a tech news website, there are an astonishing lack of tech solutions in the comments here.

Exactly. I only get routers that can run DD-WRT/Tomato so I'll have multiple SSIDs, QoS, etc. and I'm not even a 'real' geek (can't program, majored in English, etc.), so after hanging out on /. since the 90s, it's disturbing to see how few people *here* know this stuff. It's one thing for a community to lose awareness of the old things that are no longer really relevant, but the way things are these days, it's more important than ever to know the basics of how to gain full control of our devices and know what they're up to.

BTW I run both an insecure open guest SSID called "Up With Sharing!" and a private (still-visible) encrypted SSID for my family's devices, which have priority over guests; we have only 1 DSL line, which on a really good day might hit 300KBps (or kbps: whichever FTP, BitTorrent, etc. uses). I websurf & periodically download things, but my mother websurfs & constantly watches videos, but ever since I set a SSID that makes it clear it's deliberately open, guests started being very polite about it -- no major slowdowns traceable to guests rather than just our crappy connection.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 1130

Or faith that a country full of citizens that are out-of-shape, overweight, have little-to-no ability to accurately shoot or handle a firearm, and little more in terms of obtaining their own food (if going to the store becomes dangerous), fixing broken items or any form of non-gas-powered transit have a chance in hell of overwhelming the most overgrown military on the planet.

Yes, people in war-torn rural countries that are used to pushing beyond pain and have been dealing with poverty their entire lives do well against our military. That's a far cry from the average urban/suburban desk jockey...and don't forget, when our military has tackled urban/suburban areas, it has usually turned out overwhelmingly in their favor.

Anyone that seriously believes we'd beat the US Military ought to get into playing tactical games of paintball or laser-tag whenever possible... See how long it takes to sustain a hit somewhere that would be totally disabling or deadly if the ammo was live bullets, how well your team does at the tactics that would supposedly make a big difference, how often you manage to shoot someone else before they manage to take you out, and so forth.

Comment Re:Zero! (Score 1) 217

Ting starts at $3/100 txt, min or mb (non-bundled), and T-Mobile's $30 for unlimited texts and either 5gb+100min or 30mb+1500min. Both are no-contract prepaid monthly plans with optional BYOD.

I decided to go with Ting about a week ago after researching companies for ages. They allow sharing at $6/device, sell new/refurbs below cost, and have separate tiers for voice/data/texts with automatic adjustment (no overages). Here's the first 3 levels for each:
Minutes: $3/100, $9/500, $18/1k
Texts: $3/100, $5/1k, $8/2k
Data: $3/100mb, $13/500mb, $24/1000mb
Free: Smartphone Use, Hotspot, Tethering, Picture & Video messaging, plus the usual call-related stuff

If you know an existing Ting user for a referral url then both of you get a $25 starting credit, or do a few web searches for "ting.com $25 credit" to get it. (I'm not giving my referral URL out as I'm not trying to profit, just excited at finally having an Android phone & web access.)

Comment Re:Zero! (Score 1) 217

I find the phone frustratingly inconvenient, especially for swapping simple information, which often takes 5-10 minutes. If I'm going to talk at length to socialize, I do it while hanging out enjoying one another in-person. Also with the phone, I always worry that I'll be interrupting something if I call, and about all of the little nonverbal social niceties: how to end the call without causing offense or implying I'd rather be doing something else (even if I would), noticing when the other person would rather be doing something else, and so forth. No thanks, I'll stick with text-based conversation whenever possible.

FWIW I'm in my mid-30s, and send 0-10 texts per day, though that will doubtless increase once I've dumped 20/txt Boost Mobile in favor of Ting's $3/100. (Just need to make sure the phone they sent has no issues and register it.)

Comment Re:Nearest Gym (Score 1) 372

The "willpower" issue is easily cured with an exercise buddy, routine, and appealing entertainment material. I've been working out 2-3 nights/week at 24/Hour Fitness with my nearly-63-year-old father as "exercise buddies" for almost a year (plus went from 2000-05) -- we fire up our music, and for 30-40 min. I read books on a recumbent bike while he watches TV from a treadmill or gliding (?) machine, followed by ~20 min. on weight-training machines. On frustrating afternoons, I've started to actually look forward to relaxing with the book while working off my frustration and feeling like I've accomplished something that day.

Comment Re:Problem solved quickly.... (Score 2) 505

My DSL's only ~100-200kbps most of the time, but I share without impairing my family's ability to use the 'net (including my mother's habit of constantly streaming videos). Just install DD-WRT on the router & set up WPA2 for your household, then make a wireless VLAN (so you can have it open without turning off security for your household), turn on QOS and assign "Premium" priority to all of your household's devices.

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