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Comment Re:This reveals the major problem with the FOIA... (Score 1) 47

How about a new law explicitly insisting that ALL government data, except for personal data covered by privacy laws, must be made public within (e.g.) 24 hours. Exceptions only on a similar basis to the way warrants are done now: apply before a judge and get an x-month publication ban (x not to exceed say 72 months, except for real state secrets, where it could be longer).

Comment Re:Declared underweight? (Score 5, Informative) 361

The usual tariff is based on a concept called "weight-measure", which works like this:

- For cargo less dense than water, a given tariff is per cubic meter.
- For cargo denser than water, the tariff is per metric ton (one cubic meter of water weighs one metric ton).

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense, because anything heavier than denser than water has to be accompanied by enough air (i.e. empty space inside or outside the container) to make the average density of the shipment equal one, and anything lighter than water takes up just as much space in the ship as heavier cargo would. The result is that if you have e.g. a 2000 TEU ship, and each TEU is 35 cubic meters, a full ship will always generate 70,000 tariff units, whether it be laden with cotton candy or iron pellets.

Of course, shipping companies play both ends against the middle and can, with optimization, get better than 100% billing (e.g. by using fluffy stuff like household goods to provide the airspace needed to compensate for containers full of car engines).

In a previous incarnation I was a Systems Designer at a major container shipping company.

Submission + - State Photo-ID databases Mined By Police

Rick Zeman writes: Showing once again that once a privacy door is opened every law enforcement agency will run through it, The Washington Post details how state drivers license photo databases are being mined by various LEOs in their states--and out. From the article: "[L]aw enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities.

Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face."

Comment More complicated than you might think (Score 1) 2

Reading some of the comments at Gizmodo ( http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2013/06/bbc-home-page-clock-to-be-pulled-after-one-complaint/ ) I begin to see the BBC's point. Apart from (possibly) being part of the template code and therefore requiring extensive site-wide testing, it might well probably break their (reportedly extensive) page caching.

Some there speculate that the old technique uses a client-side function call that is happily cached, while the new version either has to include client-side code that maintains and corrects for the local error offset (= extensive testing requirements due to multiple client platforms), or needs to include a server-generated time specifically customized for that client (= impossible to cache).

Submission + - BBC Clock Inaccurate - 100 Programmer Days To Fix? (i-programmer.info) 2

mikejuk writes: The BBC home page has just lost its clock because the BBC Trust upheld a complaint that it was inaccurate. All it did was to show the current time on the machine it was being viewed on and not an accurate time as determined by the BBC.
However, the BBC have responded to the accusations of inaccuracy by simply removing the clock as it has been stated that it would take 100 programmer hours to fix. It further says:
"Given the technical complexities of implementing an alternative central clock, and the fact that most users already have a clock on their computer screen, the BBC has taken the decision to remove the clock from the Homepage in an upcoming update."
  "impossible to offer a single zonally-accurate clock".
They cannot be serious!
In fact it should be possible with a single line of JavaScript and perhaps a single line of say PHP back on the server. The clock wouldn't be millisecond accurate but in most cases it would be correct to the second.
So a 100 hours or "too simple to fix"?

Comment Re:Hyper-V or vSphere. (Score 3, Informative) 191

I second this. I've migrated several business services (e.g. svn, flyspray, etc.) from physical boxes running various OSes (W2K8, Ubuntu) to CentOS virtual hosts on HyperV. Apart from one issue*, which is a stupidity using Minimal CentOS unrelated to Hyper-V, I have yet to see a single problem running CentOS on Hyper-V.

* CentOS Minimal requires manual network setup, which is fine, but there is no plug-and-play support. So whenever the VM is moved to a new Hyper-V server, the CentOS networking breaks (the solution is to manually assign a MAC address for the virtual NIC, rather than using the default "automatic" setting).

Comment Re:The law does seem to be out of date, yes... (Score 1) 433

Well, I used to do that. But then I bought a house with a huge park across the street, and that solved many of the issues. The dog's been hit twice by cars -- why it's still alive, I don't know -- and the parties in the park sometimes get out of hand...


Comment Re:The law does seem to be out of date, yes... (Score 1) 433

Yes, not to mention decreasing pollution, and diminishing the ubiquitous delusion that it is a good idea for all the space around our houses to be paved in asphalt and filled with large metal boxes, some parked, some moving, but all getting in the way of what I want outside my front door. I, for one, would prefer a park.

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