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Comment Let it all out (Score 1) 112

Back in the day you had sewer gas destructor lamps. Seems those would work with leaked gas too. Plus, add some sensors and you can figure out where the gas is likely leaking, so you can do something about it.

Even so, lax maintenance is nothing new. I recall reading about a certain bollard in Amsterdam that had sported a nice little flame for ages. Until someone realised it must be from a gas leak. Then it got fixed in a panic.

Internet Explorer

Submission + - IE 11 to impersonate Firefox in its user agent string (

Billly Gates writes: With the new leaked videos and screenshots of Windows Blue released IE 11 is also included. IE 10 just came out weeks ago for Windows 7 users and Microsoft is more determined than ever to prevent IE from becoming irrelevant as Firefox and Chrome scream past it by also including a faster release schedule. A few beta testers reported that IE 11 changed its user agent string from MSIE to IE with "like gecko" command included. Microsoft maybe doing this to stop web developer stop feeding broken IE 6 — 8 code and refusing to serve HTML 5/CSS 3 whenever it detects MSIE in its user agent string. Unfortunately this will break many business apps that are tied an ancient and specific version of IE. Will this cause more hours of work for web developers? Or does IE10+ really act like Chrome or Firefox and this will finally end the hell of custom CSS tricks?

Comment Re:Topsoil-based fuels are wrongheaded in every wa (Score 1) 238

I'm all for reducing^Wgetting rid of protectionist subsidies. Problem is, of course, that but a few, even just one large enough party has to start and everyone follows suit for fear of being left bereft of local producers because they weren't subsidised enough.

Also, not happy with using things we could be eating to generate energy. Corn is just silly, inasmuch that ethanol-for-energy from it being economic illustrates your point. Purpose-picked and -bred crops are better, but still not ideal.

Much rather I'd try, oh, taking PV or some other collection mechanism to a desert, and somehow use it to provide shade and moisture retention for crops that couldn't otherwise grow there, as well as for its energy collection properties.

Tangentially related is the practice of getting fertiliser from faraway, using it locally, then not transporting the waste that normally would be eventually turned into new fertiliser back. That is a problem that ultimately results in exhausted land and then into more destruction of rainforest for more farmland to exhaust. Not the only factor, but still.

If we'd take out all subsidies, including indirect ones (say on fuel), we might find that prices change but not necessarily up the cost of living. The subsidies are paid for by taxpayers, so the net effect over the total population is going to be a small drop due to less overhead (ideally), even if individual food prices will be higher. What it'd do for the individual? Maybe it'll end up promoting a change in lifestyle, reducing obesity, who knows?

Comment Re:A real server OS. (Score 4, Insightful) 201

Servers are still designed like PCs.

Servers didn't use to be beefed-up desktops, no "still" about it. That they are now has to do with cheap desktop ubiquity and wanting to use desktop emulator software to underpin "servers". In short, middle management stupidity.

But that sort of thing fits well with TFA, where they say "look ma, no OS!" when they do have software acting like that, only not calling it that. Put the achievement in perspective and it isn't nearly as ground breaking as implied. So the announcement is a bit pompous. Well, nothing new there either.

It's all a bit bass ackwards, but then so is the whole peecee paradigm. The whole virtualisation thing has been with us for ages, in many guises. This is but yet another. Likewise, single-language app boxen. Lisp machine, anyone? Only this time with erlang.

On another note, rethinking how we organise monitors, supervisors, hypervisors, hardware drivers, and all that, and how they interact with userland, isn't a bad idea. This here idea is a valid approach, but by no means the only one.

Comment Re:antibioticas for viral = bad (Score 1) 240

Add a bittering agent to make the thing taste bad. It's not that otherwise it won't work, just that if it tastes foul enough (but not too foul) it'll work better.

In a sense there really should be a nicely packaged version with the usual warning sheet and everything. Possibly even a "low dosage" variant you can get at the druggist without prescription.

I'd start a venture producing them (already have a nice product name) if not for the heaps of regulatory red tape and the trouble with the required testing. Before I know it I'd get sued by animal welfare groups for needless animal cruelty or something.

Comment Re:"supposedly foolproof security tech" (Score 5, Interesting) 139

You'd have to be a right fool to be unable to fool these things. As in the link, as here, the application has very little to do with security. It's a people problem, and you can't fix those solely with technology.

Worse, treating it as a technical problem and attacking it with security kit gives a strong signal to your own {doctors,pupils,*} that they're all criminals and need to be treated as such. This in turn creates a powerful incentive to game the system.

What we have here is an incompetent administration trying to fix their mess through shitting on their underlings some more, using technology. Underlings know and dislike this.

And so gaming the system is what they'll do. This quite apart from biometrics being inappropriate everywhere but in criminal forensics. Be careful what you ask for and all that.

Comment Re:How much money and time are we wasting on this (Score 2) 308

That's fairly natural. The point of most discussion in the USoA has nothing to do with what it says on the tin. The real issue is simply which side you're on, for on any one issue, there's only room for two sides in that big country yonder. Want more choice? Just add issues.

And why that? Why, to villify the other side, of course! What other point could there be?

So big ticket issues become trench warfare, where movement back and forth is guaranteed to be minute and always at gigantic cost. This is the modern interpretation of an "inefficient government"; its very purpose is to be ponderous, and since so many people funnel so much effort to butt heads with the other side on increasingly trivial things, expensive to boot. Also because of the pork barrelling, of course, for why should other people get all the money?

In other words, if you want any one issue to be efficiently resolved, you have to game the system somehow, for it is the system that requires costing a lot while resolving nothing.

You can easily see that this is not inherent in politics, just in American[tm] politics, by looking over the borders. For example, there's countries that decide to not ever even give life sentences, nevermind death penalty. Norway is a good example.

On the other hand, there's countries like those with the Sharia, where you'll get your head lopped off no sweat. Or like China used to do: Shoot the accused and charge the family for the bullet spent. Now they just drive death vans around, with Yu Di, MD in attendance.

If you really wanted efficient, you could have it. So one could conclude that doing your level best to not have efficient means that having efficient is simply not important here.

Comment Re:Constitution = OS? (Score 3, Interesting) 260

Actually, no. The hackers were the founding fathers, hacking together something intended to last for a bit, only then the lusers came along and allowed the people's interests to be hijacked by monied sleaze. The malware more or less is running the system. There certainly are no competent administrators around to clean up the mess.

You can only stretch analogies so far, but "government" as "operating system", executing laws and directives and things, and regulating access to resources for corporations and individuals, isn't that bad an analogy, really.

Comment Re:I used to block ads (Score 2) 978

Given that at least that much is crap, and a large chunk consists of stuff set up for no other purpose than to lure in ad revenue, shrinkage here may not be a bad thing.

At the very least it might get advertisers and those depending on them for revenue finally thinking about how to reach people. Traditionally it's by snatching your attention in the most annoying way possible because any exposure is good advertising, right?

And then you get autoplaying videos, or animated gifs, blinking tags, flashing flash, or whatever else they'll think up next. In short, "dancing rodents", in advertising flavour.

I block things when they annoy me and when I do I block everything on the page. That's using an ad-blocker, though without the prefab lists, I just grow my own. So if advertisers want their advertisements to stay visible, well, they better make sure the advertisements do not annoy me.

Annoying includes posing as real content only turning out to be vapid and snickering, having succeeded at wasting my time (adwords, say). Or as simple as burning too many cycles with js, ajax, whatever, especially when the real content could've been served up js-free. "Pingers" that track my eyeballing the site and phoning home every second get booted with prejudice.

Advertisers need to re-think, since "fighting" the audience for their attention has become a lot less useful because the audience can fight back, and rightfully so. For am I the product, or a "consumer" with no other rights than to "consume"? I don't think so.

The key to good business is to add value, and merely screaming loudest you're the best, really, is not adding value. Marketing needs to grow up.

Comment Fact finding by dragnet. (Score 1) 119

I wonder what they think they gain with that sort of stance. Gather up all IP addresses (which are NOT personal identification) and sue everyone remotely associatable? Including, say, google for indexing those sites? What?

If wordpress somehow cannot refuse (or just doesn't have any balls; this is a possibility) the least they can do is heap all the IP addresses together without specification. It seems that mounting a legal attack on such a broad range of hosts is sure to flounder.

And you'd think even copyright trolls ought to be smarter than that. But since they're entirely made up of sueball, perhaps not.

So it raises the question, and this is a useful thought experiment: What're they hoping to gain? Given such a heap of unspecified IP addresses, what would you be able to figure out from that? What if they are subspecified, what'd you be able to figure out then?

Comment Re:There is a difference (Score 1) 294

That, and of course machines can only deal with well-defined convenient little category boxes to stuff you in. If you somehow don't fit, it's now your problem, as the machine certainly won't help you.

The end result is invariably that it's not only your problem, it'll also be made your fault and you'll get blamed for not fitting in the system designer's convenient boxes.

We're already used to it because ever larger bureaucracies do the same, only using "process" and (often still paper) forms. But that doesn't justify the tendency at all, especially not since technology could also enable us to do better.

So I think this is abuse of technology (or process) against humans and ought to be a crime.

As long as some human is reachable and can and will actually fix any and all problems, you're welcome to automate the fsck out of whatever you like. Just don't be surprised that some things, or situations, or, well, people, need to be taken care of by humans.

So that must always be possible, even easy and convenient. Why? Because that sets the bar nicely high for the quality of automating: That has to be even easier and more convenient for the common case, otherwise common-case people won't use it. See there, a challenge.

Comment Re:Hollywood Computers (Score 3, Insightful) 305

You ever wondered why everything had to become GUI-shaped, why people genuinely thought that if only everyone would use GUIs then productivity would soar?

The answer is simple: marketing. It looks shiny. It's got dancing rodents. This sells.

Hollywood is made of shiny visuals. And, of course, designers love good looking form to the point that function can get skimped on. redmond has been doing their level best to serve up their version of MovieOS, down to the security problems.

This is also why touchscreens got resurrected. Much sexier to have the display span the entire phone than only half and the rest be buttons. And can possibly be more intuitive than having something present with custom buttons for you to poke at, hm?

That there are serious downsides to both GUIs (eg. very hard to script and automate compared to CLIs) and touchscreens ("gorilla arm", for one, lack of tactile feedback for another) pales into insignificance next to the sheer power of a shiny all-singing all-dancing presentation carefully serving up some smooth-looking lies.

Case in point: The new "windows 8" interface and it getting pushed through no matter what, on phones AND desktops. They're giving a powerful message here, and the delivery simply trumps whatever you may want.

This isn't (anti-)fanboiism, by the by: I could also trot out examples from, say, apple, but they're not nearly as clumsy and blunt about it. You don't get much choice either, but the delivery is so much better ("reality distortion field") that it causes symptoms of religious cults in its adherents, making it that much harder to illustrate with without causing instant flamewar.

And part of it is indeed that emotions are involved, often enough deliberately so.

Comment Re:"Shortage" (Score 1) 617

Meaning that the perceived value of the local is lower than what he's getting paid. Instead of harping on how that's failed PR on behalf of the workers I'll just say this: Hey, free market economics in action.

What, you thought MBAs see others as humans? The course told'em they can be treated like black boxes for management purposes. Now you know why "corporate responsibility" sounds like distilled empty buzzword.

The free market answer then is to gather up the fired oldsters and sell their experience back to the companies at inflated consultancy prices. Should be plenty work that with the abundance of the fuckups of inexperience, no?

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