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Comment Windows IoT Core is meant for embedded systems (Score 1) 308

I gather from the Hackaday review of Windows IoT Core on the RPi that is is very much for embedded systems. To quote from the review

This is not a device for makers, this is a device for point of sale terminals and ATMs. Windows XP – the operating system that is still deployed on a frighting number of ATMs – is going away soon, and this is Microsoft’s attempt to save their share of that market.

Comment MXL AC404 and a Blue Snowball are what we use (Score 1) 95

We do daily stand-ups between 2 locations. At one end which is a large office, we have a MXL AC404 USB conference microphone on a table that people stand or sit around. People around the table sound great, and it is omnidirectional, so it doesn't matter where people are. If someone goes off to scribble on the whiteboard and is 8 or 10 feet away from the mic, you can hear him or her, but it doesn't sound as good because it gets a little soft. If you keep an eye out on Amazon, or use camelcamelcamel, you can find this open box for less than $40.

At the other end, we use a Blue Snowball because the standup takes place in a large open room and we want the cardioid pickup pattern so we don't pick up extraneous noise. As with the other microphone, sound quality is a lot better when you are near the mic. I had someone who spoke softly, and I always had to get her to stand in front of the microphone, but a fellow with a booming voice was ok from 8 feet away.

Submission + - Project Tracking for Kids

dalosla writes: Atlassian has introduced Jira Jr. for kids. Now you can start your kids on requirements writing and task tracking at a young age, to make them more competitive in the workplace. The video is a hoot.

Comment Re:Why civil? (Score 5, Informative) 606

I met the Bakers around 2002 at a neighborhood party and heard this story. At that time, Goldman's excuse was "L&H lied to us." However, given that a couple Wall Street Journal reporters exposed the fraud mostly by making some phone calls, it was clear that Goldman had done little work. I wish the Bakers the best of luck.

Comment Thoughtful paper on why privacy is important (Score 3, Informative) 312

A paper on privacy and why "monitoring is no problem because only criminals have something to hide" is a poor justification. If you compare the benefits of monitoring for the good of society against the usually slight or non-existant damage to an individual from being monitored, society always wins out. However, privacy is not just monitoring. What affect does it have on society when everyone is aware that there are large databases of information about your life and people will use to make decisions about you, but you can't know what is in it, you have no means of making sure it is correct, and you don't know who is using it and for what purposes? There is much more to it than this, and the paper is worth reading for a deeper view on privacy issues.

Comment git-annex assistant on Kickstarter (Score 1) 239

I don't want to start a kickstarter debate, but the author of git-annex has a project on kickstarter to add functionality. Quoting a little bit of the initial proposal:

The first step will be to make git-annex watch for changes to your files, check them into git, and automatically sync them to your other repositories. I have a prototype of this using Linux's inotify. It will be extended to also support Mac OS X.

Then I will build a web app that can be used to control and configure things. Watch files as they upload and download, set priorities, etc. No command line needed. I plan to use Haskell's amazing Yesod web framework.

Finally, I will add configuration assistants to help you get the most out of the system. Easily set up syncing to remote computers, store encrypted copies of your data in Amazon S3 or other cloud services, automate moving old files to archival drives. There are many possibilities like these, and I will prioritize the ones my backers need.

I'll spend around one month on each of these steps. Then I'll spend another month or two on an Android port, and additional time I'm funded for to add more features. I'll be blogging about my progress all along the way, and each new feature will immediately be available in git-annex's own git repository.

If he gets another $3500 in funding in the next 6 days, he even promises to spend a least 1 month trying to create a Windows port.

Submission + - Fire retardants: ineffective, possibly dangerous, pushed by Big Tobacco (chicagotribune.com)

dalosla writes: The Chicago Tribune has a 4 part series on flame retardants in furniture. Their widespread use started when tobacco companies pushed the use of flame retardants to divert pressure from developing a safer cigarette, one less prone to starting fires. They secretly funded organizations that would support their goals, and one of their consultants helped create the National Association of State Fire Marshals. He influenced the organization's agenda while hiding his connections to the tobacco industry. These days, chemical companies that sell flame retardants have taken over the roll of advocating continued use flame retardants. However, flame retardants in furniture foam don't stop fires the real world, where upholstery readily ignites, and they might contribute to serious health problems. This appears to be yet another case of corporations secretly and not so secretly bending public policy to support themselves, even if it is to the detriment of the general public.

Part 1 came out Monday, and part 2 came out today, so stay tuned for the rest. It seems like every week the Tribune has a new front-page story on some political or corporate outrage. Too bad they have so much material to choose from. It makes me appreciate once again the roll of an independent press. Support your local investigative reporter!

Submission + - Astroturfing for Speed Cameras (chicagotribune.com)

dalosla writes: Chicago's mayor is pushing to change red light cameras near schools and parks into speed cameras. Just about everybody sees it as a cash grab by the city. Today's Chicago Tribune has an article about how the expanded speed camera program would benefit Redflex, the company that Greg Goldner, one of the mayor's long time political supporters lobbies for. This is of merely local interest, but of wider interest in the article would be information about Goldner's astroturfing for Redflex around the country. Redflex is the sole financial supporter for the Traffic Safety Coalition, a "grassroots" organization to promote more traffic camera usage and fight any attempts to restrict such cameras. Goldner has already successfully facilitated the killing of one anti-camera ballot measure in Texas.

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