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Comment Automatic updates are good, just need fine tuning (Score 1) 498

From a personal point of view, I think automatic updates are all well and good. If it keeps the teeming masses of non-tech people up to date on their software patches, I think that reduces the risks for us all, kind of like vaccinations.

What we do need, however, is better control over it.

For instance, I note that I can set "active hours" on windows update that it won't do updates from such to such time. This is good, in theory, but it isn't flexible enough, because it has a hard limit of a 12h span. As someone who works and plays on the same machine, I don't want updates happening while I'm awake. If they happen overnight, great. But from 0500 to 2200 I don't want updates applied. A 7h update window overnight when I've specified it can update should be more than long enough.

One thing that I think would help a lot is if people could set a date AND time for updates to be applied that is a bit less often than once a week. Say, every other week or even once a month. Like the old "patch Tuesday", except with everyone picking their own day. It would be even better if people could set the time on that day. Then they would know exactly when it is going to be updated, and likely restarted. Bonus points if other software, such as browsers, office suites, etc, could recognize this setting and they all do their updates together. The key here is control.

As a side note, I have heard that some versions of windows have a "Delayed update pattern" where only security updates get pushed out immediately, and all non-security updates are delayed by a month. So stuff adding new features and miscellaneous updates are delayed, presumably to give them a chance to be tested and bug-fix. I'm guessing this is probably an enterprise feature, but it should be on Pro too.

I'm all for everyone being forced to get security updates, but the users need a lot more control over when those updates happen, and ways to ensure that it absolutely does not happen when we need them to work.

Comment A problem without a good solution. (Score 5, Insightful) 290

There isn't really a good solution to this.

If everyone has the same price, then people in poor countries are likely to pirate.

If prices are adjusted so that it is expensive in rich countries and cheap in poor countries, then everyone is going to buy copies in the poor country, one way or another (either via resellers, establishing subsidiaries there, etc)

And if one region locks the software, then that makes people unhappy because they bought the product and want to be able to use it world wide. And it is hard to geolock computers, anyway.

I think just one price and have it constant everywhere is the best option. At least then you don't end up with situations like having everything super expensive in Australia just because.

If they dropped the prices in one poor country, everyone else will complain about "if you can afford to sell if for X in country Y, you must be ripping us off selling it for Z here."

Probably the best strategy is just to have one constant price, let the people in the poor countries pirate, and establish some kind of "pirate redemption" system targeting those areas to get people to spend some small amount to "upgrade" to a legit version. Then set that amount to the reduced amount one would have charged in the poor country in the first place.

Comment Re:Thank you LG! (Score 1) 376

My suspicion is that they'll all have secondary configurations so that, baring an active network that you set up, they network to each other and establish a mesh-style network until they managed to reach an internet-connected device somewhere.

Making sure I build my house as a faraday cage (assuming I can ever afford to do so with today's prices) just went up my list of priorities a few notches.

Comment Finally! (Score 3, Insightful) 81

I've been wondering why browsers don't do this for years now. I mean really, it was what, several years ago when it was demonstrated how thoroughly they could fingerprint a browser based off a number of characteristics, including the font list. Why on earth would my OS's entire font list be something that my browser would broadcast to any site that asked for it?!

Browsers should work the other direction: Only give information that is needed, and in the case of fonts, just give me the site. If I have a particular font, great, if not, it gets rendered in whatever I have. I'm not concerned.

Comment Possibilities... (Score 1) 117

If this was an encrypted, local-only archive and search? Sure, I could see some uses for it. I'd make very sure that it was saved to a specific encrypted drive and ensure that *nothing* was allowed to access that drive except for said program, impose a lot of limits on that, too. And when my screen locks or I logoff, the drive gets locked tight and absolutely nothing gets access until I explicitly unlock it again.

But as an online service? Really? Sure, I'll sign up for it... But only when they start paying me for it. If they're going to be merchandising my data (which they will, I'm sure), they'd better be paying me for it. I don't know what info like this is worth to corporations or the government, but it is worth at least $1000 per month to me. And that will be payable in advance, not after wards.

In the mean time, yeah, that's malware. Plain and simple.

Comment Re:Flash? turn it off? (Score 1) 113

I certainly hope it is removable. I haven't had Flash on my computer for the better part of a decade. (and the only reason I have it now is because it comes baked into Windows 10. Which I *really* dislike.)

What I'd really like to know is why they are wasting time on either of these projects? Both flash and pdf support is easy to get through a whole variety of mechanisms. Wasting time on supporting a platform that a) many of us would like to see go quickly, quietly, and firmly into the night, and b) isn't terribly useful, either.

Comment Dust, critters, and humidity (Score 4, Informative) 253

OK, granted I know nothing about where you live, but there's those things to consider.

First, info: What kind of crawl space is it? To me, crawlspace brings to mind everything from the enclosed space under a prefab home to interior unused space (or only used for wiring) in large structures.

1) Do you know what the year-round temperatures are in the crawlspace? Depending on type, they can have a lot of variation.

2) Ventilation. If you're sticking a heater down there (which is what this is going to be) it's going to warm up a bit.

3) Insects: Some sort of metal cage to keep out insects would be highly recommended. Something along the lines of a server cage, but with mosquito sized mesh.

4) Small mammals: This is probably best handled by a medium grade wire. Chicken coop wire sort of stuff.

5) Humidity: sorry, can't think of anything, other than be careful.

6) Dust: How are you going to dust it? Or prevent it from getting dusty?

- First off, for keeping it safe, probably be best to have some kind of dual-mesh cage to keep it safe. Outer layer made out of chicken mesh (something like a guinea pig cage would work well too) with a mosquito mesh netting inside it. Should keep the bugs and small animals out, but you'll need to do something to protect the cables.

- As far as heat goes, I'd recommend two things: Firstly, use a fan-less cooling system. Less dust build up, fewer moving parts to break, and less maintenance. Secondly, I'd recommend using a heat sink rated for a lot more heat than you planned. More surface area to dissipate heat. Then you won't have to worry so much about the dust.

Comment Kind of neat, but.... (Score 2) 52

I find this rather interesting, personally. Although I imagine that the turn lag time must get huge very, very quickly.

In manner of explanation, apparently it is actually a 43 player single player game, where the human player used a mod to a) reveal the whole map, b) delete their capital city, and c) give themselves a nuclear submarine that they parked under the icecap. That way the human stays alive, but out of the game, and everyone else can play as if they weren't there. I'm not sure how much residual impact simply having an active human player in the game might have.

On the other hand, must be a slow day for news. But then again, Sundays usually are.

Comment Some ideas to be helpful (Score 2) 327

True. And a few other things.

People keep mentioning. "Why don't you have the kid run next door to the neighbor and get them to get help?" Last time I checked, if they're smart (and independent) enough to go next door for help, they're more than capable of hitting a panic button. Secondly, hitting a panic button, dad checking the cameras, and dad reacting, is all probably going to happen a lot faster than kid running next door, kid ringing door bell, talking to neighbor, neighbor coming over, neighbor deciding what to do.

On the same token, the panic button ->dad ->calls neighbour chain would likely get the nearest adult to the scene a lot faster than having the kid heading outside. Safer, too. Much better to have the kid inside with an epileptic than outside running around in a panic. What if the nearest "friendly" house is their friend's house across the street? In a panic the kid's not going to be looking both ways.

From the sounds of things, his wife is perfectly capable of taking care of things 95% of the time. If she was having daily seizures, he probably wouldn't be leaving the house. You don't need live-in care for something that may well only happen once a week or less. Instead of viewing this as an attempt at delegating all caretaking responsibility to the kid, think of it as establishing multiple fail-safes.

We know he's got bunch of cameras that he watches on a regular basis (but not continuous). Given that he's technically inclined, and that, from what I gather, many people with epileptic seizures can recognize onset symptoms, (not all sufferers, definitely not all the time, but at least sometimes) there's probably decent chances that they've rigged up something that the mother could use herself. Maybe just a speed dial, but possibly other things. If not, then the various ideas of using exercise bands and accelerometers might make a very good layer of redundancy there, too.

Personally, the idea of having a sensor-rigged cupboard with a big stuffed animal in it, and telling the kid to take mom the stuffed animal when she's in trouble sounds like a great idea too. Great padding to have between an epileptic and any potentially hard surfaces, although unlikely a kid would be placing it optimally.

Frankly, giving one's kid a panic button that sends a message to Dad seems like a really good thing to have, no matter what the situation at home is. Honestly, it isn't exactly that rare of an occurrence for the sole responsible adult at home to have some kind of accident where it would be *very* useful for the kid to have some way of summoning a responsible 3rd party, whether it be a neighbour or relative or whatever.

Lastly, just because he hasn't laid out every last precaution and detail of his family's life is no reason to assume that they're being negligent, that she's having daily severe seizures, or that they're pinning all their hopes of safety on the kid. We don't need to know all that. He simply asked for advice on a single, specific solution to a specific element of his situation. Let's help him out on that, shall we?

Some quick links that a google search turned up:

First one is an instructables video, the last two are commercial options, one for phone software, the second for an actual device.

Comment Re:even when it is powered off. (Score 1) 179

I kind of suspect that is the point: Low level functionality that allows them to actually turn on the computer, not just wake it up from standby or hibernation. It also grants access for BIOS updating, erasing and reinstalling hard drives, and other access like that.

I suspect that the only "Off" that would actually block its activity would be the more absolute "the power bar is turned off" type security. Which is probably a good idea anyway, these days.

Comment Re:life in the U.S. (Score 4, Insightful) 255

We're all glad that you've got decent service.

That being said, the point of changing the definition is so that the cable companies can't point to your plan and call it the "Extra super good internet plan."

The point is essentially a technicality: Raise the definition so that most typical plans don't count as broadband. Which makes it harder for the telcos to justify charging broadband prices for sub-broadband service. Which, hopefully, will either reduce prices for the low end of things so that more people can access it, or encourage the companies to upgrade their infrastructure to support the new speeds.

Look at it this way: This change should either make your 'net cheaper, or increase your speeds. Either way, you win. The only reason that the telcos oppose this is because they're going to actually have to spend some of their profit on upgrading infrastructure. The horror!

Comment It is about time! (Score 1) 93

Comment Re:As expected (Score 1) 173

FYI: As of yesterday, Civ V now runs on SteamOS. Supposedly all the DLC is supposed to too, but they're still working on that. And it is one of the play-anywhere type games, so if you own a copy, you can play on windows, mac, or Linux, no need to buy a new copy for the other OS. I'll be getting my dual boot running today to try it out.

Civ: Beyond Earth has been officially "Win, Mac, and SteamOS" for a while now. I'm guessing it and Civ V use the same base underlying engine, or at least close enough to make using code form one in the other easy enough, so they're using Civ V in SteamOS to test their code for the Beyond Earth release. (I know the preview footage from E3 yesterday that some aspects of Beyond Earth look like a reskinned Civ5, particularly the map, combat, city, and diplomacy screens. So I'm expecting it to feel like an expansion that adds a whole bunch of stuff combined with a TC (Total Conversion) that replaces all the existing content)

Comment Re:Brain-Computer Interfaces (Score 1) 552

If I had mod points, I'd vote this up, especially since it is actually relevant to answering the person's question.

Sorry I don't have any sources, but I know I've read a fair bit about experimental brain interfaces as Multiio describes, but from North American sources, so hopefully some usefull stuff turns up. As far as that goes, the wikipedia article on Brain-computer interfaces has some hopeful links.

Of particular note is all the succesfull experiments where they've had monkeys controlling robotic arms to feed themselves, using brain-wave monitoring devices to provide joystick type input into a computer, and stuff like that. From what I can tell, that's just the "proven and done" stuff. More complex things like outputting text directly to a computer makes sense to me, but I haven't seen any mention of that sort of thing.

To all those who, instead of answering the question have been providing "pull the plug" or "why don't you research ways to kill them" answers: don't assume anything less than perfect mobility is essential for an enjoyable life. I, for one, would want to keep on living so long as I can keep learning and experiencing things. Even if it amounts to never doing anything physical again and spending my time learning on the web, I still consider that to be a life worth living. We can't, and shouldn't, make these decisions for others, especially for those we don't know. After all, while there may be a few that really want to die and get a lot of media attention, there are just as many, probably more, who share my view: never pull the plug on me until my brain has completely, utterly, and without the slightest trace of a doubt ceased activity. And even then wait a week or two just to make sure it wasn't just faint for a bit before doing it.

Whenever locked in cases like this come up, I can't help but think of Anne McCaffrey's brain-ships series. Basic premise being that locked in people were hooked into spaceships. If they can control prosthetics, they can control anything else, the theory goes. If they can never live outside a machine, well, give them the best possible opportunity to be as productive as possible in a machine, ideally by doing things that un-injured people can't do. I'm sure it is possible, but it is a field that needs a lot more work.

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