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Comment 2016 Slashdot (Score 5, Insightful) 311

There was a point in time (and it's well over a decade past) where Slashdot was the definitive go-to site for smart discussions, both on technical topics as well as society in the larger sense. I use the word "discussions" very deliberately, because then (as now) the articles were really just a jumping-off point for a conversation. Nobody ever actually read the articles; why bother? You had a lot of very intelligent people gathered together to share their experiences and impart their knowledge. That was what made Slashdot what is was.

These days, I very rarely visit this site, and this particular conversation is a prime example of why this is. The grandparent post, which at the current time has a score of 4, suggests that the media establishment is made up of (among others) "angry lesbians and transsexuals." Now, I have no doubt that you personally find this type of discourse to be "in-depth, intelligent, and rational." But there are lots of decent people, people who were here very early on and still remember how great this place used to be, who have simply grown tired of this kind of thing.

Most of the intelligent conversation here has been replaced by spoutings so deranged that they make The Protocols of the Elders of Zion read like the owner's manual to a 1987 Buick Skylark. And I'm not just talking about trolls here (although they've been around since the early days as well.) Today, this kind of semiliterate gibbering is just as likely to have a score of 5 as it is to be at -1. Now, I know what you're thinking; I'm either a unwitting tool of the "SJW establishment" or (gasp! dare one think it?) an SJW myself, and I'm just having troubles coming to terms with the fact that the old rules have been usurped and it's now finally permissible to get out The Truth about minorities, women, gays, etc.

The truth of the matter is that I'm just a regular guy who occasionally thinks about how nice it would be to have the old Slashdot back, before it became dominated by angry, pear-shaped, basement-dwelling virgins. Now, to be fair, there were doubtless plenty of basement-dwelling virgins on 1998 Slashdot as well. It's just that the 2016 variant has made the site essentially intolerable and a hollow shell of its former self.

Comment Florida voters support normalizing relations (Score 1) 435

The conventional wisdom that it's political suicide in Florida to support normalization of relations with Cuba just isn't true any longer. 56% of Americans in general support it. That number increases to 62% if you focus only on responses from the Hispanic/Latino community, and it increases to 63% if you just ask people from Florida.

Here's the poll.

The "angry Scarface extra" demographic in Florida is dying (both metaphorically and literally.) The times, they are a-changing.

Comment Denser traffic? (Score 1) 133

While some of the proposed changes (e.g., better draw distance, more detail, etc.) aim to make the game better on modern hardware, it seems like adding things like "denser traffic" would have the effect of changing the gameplay itself. While denser traffic would certainly make the game's Southern California setting a little bit more realistic, I'm not sure that it would make the game more enjoyable. In particular, it seems like a change of this nature could make some of the game's high-speed chase missions and side events into a big pain in the ass.

The fact that you can do something doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

Comment He doesn't get it. (Score 4, Interesting) 572

The issue is not "intermittent Internet connectivity." Most of the people who are spun up on this are concerned about the principle of always-on DRM in general. Even if people had an iron-clad agreement with their ISP that they would provide them with five-nines uptime on my WAN connection, it doesn't change the basic principle that lots of people are miffed that their Internet connection is being used on a 24-hour basis to demonstrate that they are, in fact, not thieves.

Of course, this doesn't even address the fact that the most reliable Internet connection in the world is completely useless if the server(s) that you're attempting to connect to are down due to incompetence, unanticipated demand, DDoS attacks, etc.

Comment Aliens (Score 2) 317

The murder of his wife was the straw that broke the camel's back, but for me, I started turning away from Reiser based on the sliminess of the Burke character he played in "Aliens". Of course, that "Mad About You" shit didn't help much, either.

Comment Apple II graphics / text "Venetian" interleaving (Score 1) 612

Anybody who programmed the Apple II back in the 1980s is familiar with the interleaving "venetian blind" effect due to the relationship between locations in both the text/low-resolution and high-resolution video RAM and their actual locations on-screen. I seem to remember reading that this was a conscious design choice by you early on and that it resulted in somewhat simpler hardware. Can you shed some light on how the Apple II's graphics structure came to be?

I spent so much time writing code to generate lookup tables to map locations in video RAM to their on-screen counterparts that at one point I had the hexadecimal 6502 machine language sequence memorized. This, sadly, is now gone (replaced by quotes from Seinfeld reruns and meaningless football statistics.)

Comment Re:Note to TSA (Score 5, Insightful) 335

The problem with the Israeli model is that it isn't terribly feasible at a large scale. It works because Israel is a tiny country with only one major international airport (Ben Gurion) that needs to be secured. This type of massive security infrastructure (extremely tight physical perimeter around the airport, security personnel with extensive psychology training, countless constantly-monitored security cameras, legions of plainclothes guards, etc.) is not a realistic scenario when you have hundreds of major international and regional airports like the US does.

Comment Bad security questions (Score 1) 408

Not only are some of the "standard" security questions bad because they're easy to research, some of them are bad because there are multiple correct ways to answer them, and it can be difficult to remember how you chose to answer.

My least favorite security question is "What street did you grow up on?" Depending on the answer to this question, there could be four completely valid ways to answer it. For example, I grew up on 5th Street. So depending on whether or not I feel like the word "street" ought to be included in the response, there are four correct ways to answer this question:

"Fifth Street"
"5th Street"

Now, I'll choose one today, when I provide my initial answer. But when I'm asked this question six months down the road, am I going to choose the same one? Maybe not.

The key is not just choosing good security questions that are hard to research and/or guess. They also should have unambiguous answers.

Comment Personally, I don't want them bigger (Score 1) 660

I have an IPhone 4S, and it's about the right size for me. Most days, I wear jeans to work, and anything bigger than the IPhone would be uncomfortable to carry around in my front pocket (not to mention cumbersome to take out when I need to answer it). I can see the benefits to having a larger screen with a higher resolution, but the bottom line is you have to drag it around with you.

There's always the option of using a belt clip, which would make it easier to carry around a phone with a larger form factor, but I just don't like that from an aesthetic perspective. To me, it's a compromise between screen size/resolution and convenience, and I'm perfectly happy with the 3.5" screen.

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It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.