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Comment More Information (Score 4, Insightful) 404

I mentioned this elsewhere, so I'll mention it here:
From what I've been able to gather, this is about S.J. Res. 34, a resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the FCC in December 2016 about protecting privacy of broadband and telecommunications customers. I've only browsed through the FCC rule, so I don't know the complete details on it just yet, but I would hesitate to jump to conclusions here.

First, I'd like to know better what the rule itself says, because depending on how it's written, there may be acceptable grounds for rejecting it.

Secondly, do know that this rule only came into effect on January 3 of this year. So up until 3 months ago, these supposed protections didn't apply to anyone. So if this resolution does completely pass, that means we roll back to how things were at the end of last year.

I'm going to hold off on losing my mind until I get the chance to read up a bit more on the FCC rule and the details behind it. Sometimes knowing the context of something makes it a lot more understandable.

Comment Re:Slackware (Score 1) 145

Most of the Slackware users I know, including myself, use it day-to-day for pretty much every use case. There are exceptions, of course, like when it comes to cases that require excessive customization (embedded or small form-factor systems), since it's a bit harder to pick and choose packages for that kind of install. But in those cases, it would be more sensible to use a distro specifically built for the purpose. (Though there are spins of Slackware devoted to specific cases, such as a version for the Raspberry Pi.)

The default package manager works just fine for all first-party packages, and system updates are usually flawless. Third party packages are a bit tougher, but has pretty much everything available, and there are third party package managers to augment the default, even those with dependency management. There always seems to be a lot of rumor about how hard it is to manage packages in Slackware, but while there is a learning curve, it's not much more difficult than any other distro.

Comment Slackware (Score 4, Interesting) 145

Slackware performs better on Linuxquestions polls in general because it's essentially the home forum for Slackware users. Ubuntu, Arch, Debian, and all the other major distros that are highly ranked on Distrowatch have their own forums, and they are usually very populous. The users have less reason to visit Linuxquestions. So in general, Slackware users will be over-represented.

I don't recall poll results from previous years, but unless there's a large skew, I would think that vote manipulation would be jumping to conclusions.

Comment Sol Contingency (Score 5, Interesting) 149

I'm not particularly a fan of what they're doing with this new Descent game. Tech trees? Mining? Monetization? I know they're trying to bring it to the "Modern Age," but if they're going to change so much, I'm not so sure it will be a Descent game to me.

Sol Contingency, meanwhile, looks great and seems to be a lot closer to a proper Descent game, being made by fans who really know what they're doing. Sadly, although Interplay showed initial interest in them early last year, it seems they weren't enough of a "AAA" developer. So Interplay sent them a Cease and Desist. Fortunately, Sol Contingency is still being worked on, albeit with changes in the assets so that it doesn't infringe on the Descent IP. I'm a lot more eager to see what comes out of that game.

Comment My own experience (Score 1) 544

I was one of those that preferred slideout-keyboard phones for the longest time. However, earlier this year, when I was considering moving to a phone without one, I tried an experiment. For 2 months, I went without using the hardware keyboard, using the touchscreen exclusively. Surprisingly enough, it turned out that the software keyboard was faster and more efficient, most notably due to the swipe capabiities. For the most part, I found I could live with it, minus some inconveniences. First, it does use up screenspace when you're typing, but I find that when I'm typing I don't really need much screenspace anyway. Secondly, entering in non-standard text, such as console commands when I'm using ssh, is slower and less reliable. But those cases turn out to be few and far between. (The ssh sessions tend to be short, and if they need to be longer, I'm more likely to pull out my netbook for the task anyway. Yeah, I still use a netbook. 5 years old, and still a beast. But that's for another thread.) And finally, the tactile feel of pressing the keys, along with the individual key precision is really nice to have.

But despite that I've been using a touchscreen-only phone for about half a year, and I don't really mind at all. Neither the slideout nor the touchscreen is ideal, but of the two, the touchscreen (on modern phones) probably has enough benefits to give it the edge.

Some other things to consider: Slideouts are more prone to breakage and malfunctioning. They add to not only the monetary cost, but also the time cost of the phone. They make the phone bulkier and less marketable. They make accessory design more complicated.

And here's a really important one to consider: Language. With a software keyboard, there is virtually no effort required to make a phone accessible to any audience, in any country. A keyboard requires a lot of extra manufacturing considerations and iterations to deliver the same accessibility.

On the downside, it's harder to get a software keyboard to work out for the vision-impaired, but for the most part, hardware keyboards are hardly ideal in that area too.

Comment Playing PC Games (Score 0) 215

If I'm going to play a PC game, one of my absolute requirements is that it is PC-exclusive, or that at least it was PC-exclusive for the initial release. If this isn't the case, then no matter how enticing the game is, no matter how much I'm drooling in anticipation, I won't give it a second glance.
Somehow, I've managed to get by. Not once have I regretted missing out on a game that hasn't been PC-exclusive. And as an added bonus, since I only have so much time to play games in my life, and there are so many of them, this requirement brings it down to a manageable number. (No, I don't pirate them out of "protest." If your game doesn't meet my requirements, I'm not going to PLAY it.)

Other requirements for me to bother playing a game:
- No DRM (Dota 2 is the sole exception, since it's free to play, and meets the following requirement)
- Native Linux Version available (that runs well)

So thanks, Watch Dogs, for reaffirming my principles.

Comment Making Assumptions (Score 1) 1482

A lot of people seem to be making the assumption that because Eich, or any other person, supported measures such as Proposition 8, they are hateful, or bigoted, or support the restriction of the rights of the LGBT community. While I'm sure there are those supporters that do, this view often doesn't apply to a majority of these people. In this case, the rights that concern many members of the LGBT community with regards to gay marriage have to do with a gay couple getting the benefits that a straight couple would, as well as the freedom to not be persecuted for their union. For the most part, there is no problem with this among the opposition.

While the benefits associated with marriage were originally put in place to ease the challenges of raising a family, financial or otherwise, there's no reason why a gay couple couldn't raise a family of their own through adoption/surrogacy/etc. As such, these benefits should certainly apply to them. Likewise, a straight couple may get married, but have no children, meaning the benefits are probably of less need, but are still given. So for the most part, people opposing gay marriage aren't necessarily doing so to restrict the benefits a gay couple would receive. And with regards to the freedom from persecution for a gay couple, there is even less reason to oppose it.

More often than not, the focus of the opposition often boils down to the spiritual concept of marriage. This has less to do with the rights and freedom of gay couples, and more to do with the preservation of marriage as a spiritual concept. You can bet that if it were only a question of the government administering the rights and benefits of a civil union to a gay couple, there would be a lot less of a furor from those that oppose gay marriage.

As such, it's fairly presumptuous to assume that those who are against gay marriage are against the rights of gay couples. Sure, there are those who walk around with signs saying "God Hates Fags," but they certainly don't represent the majority. As such, vilifying those who supported such measures as Prop 8 comes across as hypocritical, especially from a community that has had to endure similar persecutions for such a long time. (It's reminiscent of how after WWII, Germans across Europe were thrown in concentration camps as revenge for the actions of the Nazis during the Holocaust.)

So this whole reaction to Brendan Eich is pretty disappointing to me, since it was his own, personal money that he contributed, and especially since he has stated he won't let his personal viewpoints affect Mozilla. As another Slashdotter pointed out above, if you boycotted all the companies lead by those whose personal opinions you disagreed with, you might as well become a hermit.

Also, bite me, OKCupid. I'll use whatever internet browser I want to use. You know what I won't use? Your website.

Comment Pi Still Correct (Score 1) 218

As much as I've enjoyed Vi Hart's videos in the past, the whole tau movement always struck me as a bit of a hipster attempt to convert a system that works fine as it is.
Yes, tau makes some of the more basic equations simpler, but it also makes some of the more complex equations messier when compared to pi.

Comment Re:V2V Developer (Score 2) 390

Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention. None of this takes control of your car in any way. It would just be used to provide information to built in indicators in the cars. Perhaps a HUD that would show the locations of other cars with relation to yours, especially in your blind spot. Or to flash a collision warning if you're pulling out of a blind intersection while another car is coming. Or to warn you when a vehicle 5 cars ahead of you on the freeway has slammed on its brakes.

I'm sure that self-driving cars would be able to use the information as well, but again, the core system simply provides an interface that would be used for awareness systems, as developed by the car manufacturers.

Comment V2V Developer (Score 5, Informative) 390

So I'm actually working on this technology, and every time I see an article about this, there's inevitably some concern about safety, security, government spying, etc.

First off, the reason this technology would be required in all vehicles is that it essentially consists of in-car wifi routers that send their GPS location to other cars. In order for the technology to work properly, all cars would need it, so they can all see each other. Obviously it's a big transition, but it has to be done eventually. New cars would come with the devices built in, and older cars would have after-market devices that can be purchased and installed. However, once in place, vehicle awareness will greatly reduce accidents and increase roadside efficiency. (Think of it this way; The traffic signals are almost always green when you approach an intersection.)

But wouldn't all that be pretty expensive? Not really. The core technology is pretty basic stuff. It's just gps and wifi, really. The fancy stuff, like in-car radar, video cameras, and so forth that you find in some of the luxury cars today isn't really necessary, though from what I gather, it could be plugged in to augment the system. For the most part, consumers won't notice a price change, and in the worst case, they'd have to spend a couple hundred to retrofit their old cars.

All fine and dandy, but what about hackers and people that would abuse the tech? Well, the system is being designed from the ground up to be heavily encrypted and secure. One of the government requirements for the companies developing this is that it meet certain security standards, and since this stuff is used to keep people from dying, you can bet testing will involve trying to exploit every aspect of it. The only issue I can see is malicious signal jamming, though since it requires a unique frequency, people doing this would be caught pretty easily.

Finally, we get to the issue of government spying. Since every vehicle is transmitting its location, doesn't this mean that the government could track everybody, or gather other information about them? This is actually very unlikely. The development of V2V tech has been fairly hands-off on the government's part. Their primary contribution has been to lay down certain standards and requirements for the tech, and then let the commercial companies implement it. One of their requirements has been that none of the data can be used to identify any vehicle in any way, which has certainly been a challenge to implement from the development side.
And to add my own anecdotal evidence, I've looked through all of the code used, from the firmware to the utilities, and I've seen nothing that could be used as a backdoor to get the information. Likewise, I've worked extensively with the hardware and done all kinds of signal analysis, and as far as I can see, there's nothing illicit on the hardware end either.

And don't forget, the V2V tech isn't only being implemented in the US, but Japan, Europe, and China as well. (To the best of my knowledge.) A lot of the hardware and software is shared between the companies working on it and they all have to fit a certain standard.

In any case, I'm sure few people will be placated by my explanation, but I myself would not be averse to having this system installed in my own car.

Comment Less and Less (Score 2) 951

I mostly play indie games nowadays, and the ones I like tend to release Linux clients. Other games I really like (read Warsow) are already for Linux. On the RTS front, I really only play Supreme Commander, and with the success of the Planetary Annihilation Kickstarter, it won't be long until my RTS itch is taken care of. On the RPG front, there are rumors that The Witcher 2 is being considered for a Linux release, and if that's true, we can expect CDP's future games to be on Linux too. I do really like the Evochron series, but as much as I bug Starwraith about it, they just don't have the resources to port it over, so I guess that would be a major reason.

So right now is essentially a transition period to using Linux on my main, gaming desktop for good. All my other computers already run Linux.

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