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Comment Why should I care about "ethicists"? (Score 0) 159

Are they people with proper scientific training in the field who can do appropriate risk assessment? Then, please, do so and provide a list of risks, potential consequences as well as measures to minimize and mitigate potential ill effects.

Or are they basically people from some sort of so-called "social studies" and self-proclaimed "philosophers" who do nothing more than "discussing" things just based on their gut feelings and hearsay?

Branding oneself as "ethicist" sounds an awful lot like the latter -- and I couldn't care less about those peoples' opinion.

Comment Re:I feel that lone sysadmin's pain (Score 3, Insightful) 356

The command-line wizards like to mock the GUI crowd, but I've never seen anyone make this kind of blunder with a GUI admin tool. :-P

Then you have never worked on a repository with users of TortoiseSVN and the likes.

"Hey, my commit didn't get through because of some funky error I didn't care about. But if I flip this 'force' switch, then everything always goes smoothly."

Comment EEG-based crap (Score 1) 73

Given the approach, the listed "successes" are no wonder.

This EEG-based stuff typically works on the so-called P300 response, i.e., the fact that 300ms after(!) thinking something you can measure a response in the brain waves, if you just look closely enough.

Unfortunately, that's not only horrible laggish, but also not really precise. For more complex tasks like easy games like train simulators you already end up having positive interpretation in the range of 48% to 52% (so closely centered around guessing ...), with most test subjects not exceeding around 60-65%.

With some few test persons you might be able to get something in the 70-90% range, but from what I've seen over time I have a feeling that they rather get trained (or somewhat train themselves) to produce responses the EEG pickup system can read better rather than the computer getting better at reading their brainwaves.

Using P300-based spellers achieves a best-case net bit rate of around 2 bits/second. So already typing a single character will take in the range of 3 seconds.

I don't see how this will ever be sped up unless we go for deep brain-probing, which probably no human test subject wants to volunteer for (it's used for mice experiments, though, in certain virtual reality experiments studying learning and orientation).

Comment Horrible. (Score 1) 1191

If that will become the new /. look, it will just be another site looking like any other half-assed wordpress site optimized for smartphone browsing. Seriously, why is everyone thinking that all sites should look alike? It's boring!

And, of course, you do know that there are still people using real PCs on screens bigger than 9"? Especially among the /. readers.

So make it at least two CSS style sheets, one for the mickey mouse screens and one for the real ones -- and let the users select.

Comment Re:Weird bug introduced with FF17? (Score 1) 186

Why do I still get updates? Seems kind of weird to me to update unsupported versions ...

In any case: It's not even related to Ubuntu versioning (discussing the Ubuntu version was a moot point anyway, but some people like to rather jump on these rather than dealing with the problem).

As I found out meanwhile, it's a problem of the Trinity desktop environment regarding mapping GTK widgets to QT widgets, potentially affecting every user of that desktop environment, no matter what recent or not-so-recent Linux distribution they are using ... Removing the kgtk-kde3 package solves the issue.

Comment Re:Weird bug introduced with FF17? (Score 1) 186

Anything helpful to say?

It still is supported, btw, Desktop until 04/2013, Server even until 05/2015. So much for that. (You do know what LTS stands for, right?)

Besides, behavior like this

  • FF will not crash, when strace'd.
  • FF will also not crash, when started via "ssh localhost".

does not sound like some "get your .mozilla directory fixed" kind of problem (which doesn't help btw.), but some race or whatever mess going on.

Comment Weird bug introduced with FF17? (Score 1) 186

After upgrading to FF17, the browser started crashing whenever the file dialog pops up for up- or downloads. It doesn't matter whether the file is double-clicked or selected via "Ok" -- the browser instantly crashes afterwards, sending home a crash report.

That very behavior also takes place with FF18. When running the with strace, the crash does not happen. FF16, in term, does not show this bug.

Any idea how to hunt this down or even fix it? (I'm running Ubuntu 10.04LTS w/ Trinity/KDE3.5)

Comment Re:DO NOT WANT.... (Score 1) 156

In Finland (and possibly the other Nordic countries whose welfare states served as a model for Finland's) you don't get a sick day unless you visit your neighbourhood's clinic in the morning and get a doctor to sign off on the sick day. On the plus side, you get paid for the day.

I don't know about you, but if *I* am sick, I'm in no way able to visit the nearest doctor's office (and definitely no clinic), especially not in the morning, because I'm fever-struck or similarly immobilized. Just feeling "meh" does not equal being ill.

Luckily, I'm living in Germany where employers usually demand the sign-off only from the third consecutive day on -- unless people show an obvious tendency for being sick at Fridays, Mondays, bridging days, or denied vacation days; but who abuses a system of mutual trust is asking for such measures.

And yes, we have (almost) unlimited paid-for sick days in Germany, of which the first consecutive 42 typically come out of your employer's pockets. Yet, the overall abuse rate is comparatively low.

Comment Re:"Historical" (Score 1) 156

Get off me lawn, you youngsters!

When I was young we carefully wove ALUs using 74xx and 40xx, and we saved our programs to paper tape!

Sheesh, I remember, when "high-resolution graphics" meant 256*192 pixels. Not necessarily colorized ones, so forgive me shedding tears when I look at old Amiga ads remembering the stunning first sights of the 4096-color Hold-and-Modify mode...

Comment Re:Have you reported this as a bug? (Score 1) 187

Unfortunately, very few developers actually test their stuff with ~ on NFS. Firefox is another program which fails hideously with ~ on NFS -- the bookmark toolbar would fail to load, misc. random errors upon loading pages, etc. (I think it was because of Sqlite, but I'm not sure.).

Ah, the joys of Firefox on networked file systems.

I happen to have my work home on AFS, which has an "official" path /afs/[much longer path here]/home/angstroem -- and the localized official path /home/angstroem

Now guess, which path Firefox uses in its config files, just to fail on that at later restart. After forcing all paths in its config files to /home/mylogin anything is fine and even restart works.

Comment Re:Oh no! (Score 0, Troll) 578

With all due respect, you are a dumbass.

Here's one guy who still uses his brain for thinking, and he just doesn't see what this fingerprinting (which you may have forgotten was used as a special treatment for criminals in former times) is all about.

If they want to check his presence, logging him in and out, there are other methods to do that. They don't need his fingerprints. It worked perfectly well with badges and/or company ID cards.

And, yes, his fingerprints are all over the doorprint. Together with a gazillion of other fingerprints. And withoug registration that makes him one of the anonymous crowd.

Before all this "we need your fingerprints for this and that" nonsense, of course, as his fingerprints weren't not registered.

Now they are.

It's easy to ridicule people as paranoid. Instead, however, you should be thinking "why the heck are they requiring my fingerprints".

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In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle