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Comment Re:Harm (Score 1) 93

Kind of funny, our company is on the cutting edge actually, but in fluorescents, not LEDs, which are terrible for producing what we would consider high output of UVB or UVA. There is a huge difference between 320nm and 399nm, yet both are "UVA". 320nm has a lot more energy, and as you up in frequency (down in nm), it forms a Bell curve and gets exponentially more damaging. It also goes down in penetration, which is why you can get a quick flash burn from UVC (100nm-280nm) that doesn't penetrate more than a few layers of skin, but it is very damaging to those layers. And of course, the real kicker is how much you are getting.

And the reason it has that warning on it is simple: anything with any measurable amount of UVA must have that warning by law. The FDA regulates this (CFR 1040.20 for sunlamps, for example). I'm used to seeing them regularly for inspections. For some reason, general lighting fluorescents are excepted from this warning, even though they do produce a measurable amount of UVA.

Comment Re:Politics aside, is this a copyright violation? (Score 1) 460

each email is a creative work by the author

Yes, good point! Without the government sticking their guns in everyone's faces and enforcing the email-writer's monopoly on commercially profiting from their blood, sweat, and tears, what incentive would party members have to communicate with each other?

If we don't properly enforce this monopoly, party members will give up and stop emailing each other! Then where will be be?

Comment Re:There in good company. (Score 1) 70

mail account .. with a paltry 1TB of storage.

Which just goes to show, FUSE makes it viable for people to use any protocol, even IMAP, as a filesystem.

/home/dude# cd /mnt/imap/ /mnt/imap/ mpv attachment1/Robocop\ \(1987\).mkv

Comment Re:Two separate topics? (Score 1) 86

It's got to be some stupid script "helping" the editors.

Imagine you were serving content-contextual ads. You could show an Amazon ad here. So some idiot figured "if it's close enough for the advertising department, then it's close enough for the editorial department." The problem is that they never tested it, and nobody at Slashdot actually reads Slashdot so they're unaware how ridiculous it looks.

Let this be a lesson, folks: if you don't eat your own dog food, then you have to test your dog food in the lab. But FFS don't just throw it out into the world with nobody looking at it, or everyone's going to be staring at you.

Back to on-topic: I don't understand how there's even a question here. The entire point of Amazon's Echo is that it's a bug in your home, that you're wilfully giving up privacy to have someone else's computer constantly listening to you. If it weren't listening, it couldn't work.

This is like someone saying "I didn't have a flight but I forged a boarding pass, and then bribed the TSA worker with a hundred dollar bill, saying 'rectal exam, please.' His fingers were so cold! Anyway, the next day, I couldn't get anyone to tell me whether or not my privacy has been compromised. Why are they so suspiciously silent?"

This is opt-in surveillance. The only problem I have with opt-in surveillance is that The Truth (people are idiots) makes me feel uncomfortable. But knowledge is a good thing, whether I'm comfortable with it or not.

Comment Re:Harm (Score 3, Informative) 93

385nm is invisible to almost all humans, being on the long-ish wavelength of UV, and I wouldn't really say it was very damaging. Everyone likes to jump on the bandwagon like they actually know something about UV when in fact they don't. I've worked with it over 25 years, still do. Out of the millions of products sold, I've never had an injury reported. People do get hurt with UV, but that is exceedingly rare and usually because they didn't follow directions or did something really stupid.

Inside fiber, it is pretty harmless. Most plastics block it (excepting OP4 acrylic), the vast majority of paints absorb it and won't reflect it. It has a smaller wavelength, thus more waves per centimeter, ie: more data. I'm not saying their plan is good or bad, but blanket calling UV dangerous and not workable is ignorant.

Comment Users shouldn't like middlemen (Score 1) 456

The reason for the content disappearing and missing seasons or episodes are licensing issues. Hollyweed is too greedy and thinks that their content is worth far more than it really is worth.

Why does anyone want to get this content from a middleman? What's wrong with Netflix selling you only the "Netflix original" shows, NBC selling you theirs, HBO selling you theirs, etc? There's no reason anyone should want to get Hollywood's show from Netflix or Amazon. It's just going to be marked up. You have The Internet now!! You can communicate with anyone. Deal direct.

Turns out there's answer to the above question: because most people are still using these stupid proprietary applications, instead of standard interfaces, to watch TV. So if you personally had a dozen TV vendors, then you'd have to switch between a dozen apps, and that's going to totally suck no matter what. Even if someone's app is ok (and that's usually about as good as they get, huh?) you still can't have Netflix shows on the same alphabetical menu as Amazon and HBO shows.

(Unless you pirate, because once the content is liberated, it has a standard interface, which means you can pipe to any interface you want.)

So fuck 'em. Standard interfaces or else No Sale. (And seriously: is a standard interface such a burdensome thing to ask?! Can you think of any endeavor where it's not considered both the ideal and the common-sense way things should be?) If a vendor can get onboard with doing things right, they can get paid.

But if they say "use my software" (sometimes disguised as "use my box" or "use one of these supported devices" but we're computer people so we know this hardware is just for running their shitty software) then they are trying to create one of two futures:

  1. Where people have to switch between multiple un-integrated UIs to access basically that same type of data. That's guaranteed to be a UI fail.
  2. Where people have a single database UI presented by a middleman who has to license-for-resale everything. That's guaranteed to be expensive and also guaranteed to have severe selection problems (since they won't really be able to get anywhere close to "everything" no matter how hard they try).

Both are absurd dystopias that you can't possibly want. Netflix is currently just changing their blend between these two hells, and I guess people were used to the devil-they-knew. But what you don't hear anyone talking about, is Netflix actually trying to solve the problem, because nobody's making them do it. So stop paying them until they'll sell you the .mkvs. (Or standard streams, if you're convinced that local storage is just too .. expensive? Ok, whatever, an argument for another time.)

Comment Re:Only as safe as the sandbox (Score 1) 167

you should be old enough to have seen a number of "magic" new languages, tools and coding techniques only to have them all fall flat on their faces.

Of course I've seen plenty of failures and stupid ideas! I don't see that (or your cherry-picked list) as important, though. In any human endeavor if you're around long enough, you'll see that happening. I'm sure in 4999 BC some numbnuts or con-artist had a really stupid idea about how to make farming work better. I don't care about him. Lots of people try things, and there are plenty of crackpots and real-but-nevertheless-mistaken geniuses. It doesn't mean things aren't getting better, though. I've also seen successes.

How about "higher level" languages with memory-safety and/or garbage collection? There was a time when these things were new kids on the block, too, and even looked down upon. I can get some things finished far sooner in Python than in C, because I'm not having to think about some details far below the abstraction of my problem. Had I dismissed Python out-of-hand because it didn't have pointers, I'd be worse off today.

How about tools like git? (You wouldn't believe the amount of my time as a human I sometimes spent in the 1980s merging someone's changes into a "main" version.)

You don't think these things are letting people get more stuff done, in less time? We don't call them magic, we call them technological progress.

One of the things that many programmers know would help them, even if they disagree on all the details, would be to communicate with the compiler just a little better, so that certain theoretically-automate-able things can get actually automated (e.g. generate warnings to catch certain types of bugs sooner, "automagically" parallelize some types of loops, etc). It's just a matter of time and creativity, until someone really gets this done well (e.g. so procedural programmers don't have to think like functional ones).

I don't think we have reached the full practical potential for programming languages. I'm not saying Rust is the next thing, but there will be a next thing. If we're all joking about Rust and Go and Swift in 20 years (like how we joke about Ruby now), fine! But it's reasonably likely that something will have happened in that period, making a 2036 programmer more productive than a 2016 one. It'll happen because programmers have real, and increasingly well-understood, meta-problem that repeat themselves over and over again. People are aware of it and trying all kinds of things to address them.

Comment Re:Google drops the ball...again (Score 1) 48

I think it just points out that the idea of a central repository doesn't make sense with proprietary software. I basically trust the Debian repo (or OpenBSD ports, etc) because there's at least a chance that someone checked the software out to see if it's intended to work for the users instead of someone else.

With the bullshit repos from Google, Apple, etc you know they aren't auditing the software, due to one really simply fact: they can't audit it. Binaries are submitted, not source. So whatever "vetting" happens, you damn well know it's not intended to be the in users' interest. At best, all users have going for them is that sometimes a barn door will get closed after the horses get out.

If you're going to run proprietary software, there's no point in using a store. You might as well just get it from the makers themselves.

Comment Re:Only as safe as the sandbox (Score 1) 167

And, because they are "safer", languages with safe memory usually come with less competent coders, which often nicely eliminates any advantage gained.

Ah, the nobody can make things better argument, because if you improve things, someone will (should!) use up the extra slack they're given. You're basically arguing that software needs to have a certain amount of bugs, because if it has too few, the programmer market is being inefficient by not cranking out shittier code faster/cheaper.

I don't buy it. I think it's possible for things to be better, that net gains are possible.

I cite the entirety of humanity's technological progress as my evidence. Someone said, "You can't improve on gathering! If your 'farming' idea takes off, people will just fuck up the food supply some other way, in order to stay incompetent." That person was wrong.

My prediction is that Rust will do nothing security-wise as soon as attackers actually start to attack it.

Okee dokee. I'm betting on the other side. I guess we'll revisit this in a few years, then.

Comment Re:Get better skills (Score 0) 482

I never knew about H1Bs until I joined Slashdot approximately when you did. H1Bs weren't on my radar. And here is what I learned:

The objection to H1Bs wasn't "they're coming to take our jobs" but rather, that the imported workers were abused. Their residency is a function of having a job (a pretty damn un-American way to treat anyone, IMHO) so their employers have an unusual amount of power over them, compared to the more equitable power relationship that naturalized citizens have with their employers. And it could be addressed by fixing our immigration policy: make citizenship be a lot cheaper/faster/easier, thereby obsoleting the visas.

I was glad to get more informed about what was happening to some of my fellow computer dorks.

But somewhere along the last 15 years, the "they're coming to take our jobs" crybabies started taking over the discussion.

I think the demographics of "computer people" have changed since the good old days. More casuals, fewer passionate lifers. Damn IT-immigrants! Why don't they go back to the industries they came from?! They're diluting our traditionally libertarian-leaning values!

(Whoa.. this can happen in any scope, can't it?)

Comment Please, just stop using that one word. (Score 1) 387

There's nothing wrong with entertaining all these crazy (or really neat-o) ideas. There's nothing wrong with developing them. There's nothing wrong with suspecting one of them might be right.

But please, for fuck's sake, stop calling them fucking Theories!

That word already meant something. Your completely untested hypothesis, no matter how cool it is, is not a Theory. If you're going to call the string and multiverse ideas "theories" then (I am dead serious) you might as well let Creationism into the fold too. Creationism is no worse, because you've taken away everything that makes science be science.

Now, is that a price you want to pay? Hell no. So watch your mouth and stop using the the "T" word so lightly. (You can still sound cool and use a fancy word to the press, if you want. Watch: "String Hypothesis." See? That wasn't so hard.)

Comment Re:Alleviate bandwidth concerns (Score 1) 94

Netflix has proven that the main reason people pirate isn't about money, it is about convenience. We want media our way. I haven't pirated anything in forever since getting Netflix. Pirating is easy, but then I have it on one machine, and I don't want to copy everything to every non-networked machine. Netflix is simply easier to use for most people, the variety is quite good, and the price is reasonable. This downloading might be an extra $$ feature, but if it costs 2 bucks more a month (same cost to them, really), people will use it, particularly those on the road who tire of mediocre internet access in the average hotel.

Comment If only they _had_ used DRM (but they didn't) (Score 1) 63

Watermarking isn't anything like DRM. It doesn't limit access to the work; assuming it's an otherwise standard format, you can still play/read it with anything that you want.

The fun thing would have been if they had use DRM. I suppose Swartz's estate (who?) is the copyright holder. DMCA defines circumvention as being a function of whether or not the copyright holder (not some other party) authorizes you to access the content. Presumably, Swartz' estate would authorize buyers to read the book. Therefore, you'd be legally allowed to crack whatever DRM were present, make/market/sell tools for doing that, etc. All legal because none of it would be primarily intended to circumvent.

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