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Comment Re:The Island of Doctor Moreau (Score 1) 242

Not to go on all-fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to eat Fish or Flesh; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?

Comment No more than 5 years after they're provably safer (Score 1) 381

...they'll be mandated for all new cars.

The Insurance industry is a YUUUUGE lobby. If it will cut down on deaths, injuries and property damage, they'll lobby for making it a mandate.
Right now, the Google car is slightly safer than a human being, at city speeds, in good weather.
If it gets to the point where it's definitely safer than a human being (not foolproof, but safer), any weather or road conditions, the laws will change so fast your head will spin.

Comment VB = Meh. VBA = Hey, now! (Score 1) 648

The one place VB still has some life is in the MS Office (and related apps) macro language, Visual Basic for Applications.
It's mainly VB6 with some quirks... but you can get a lot of stuff done.
I have clients that would prefer that I send them a Word template add-in instead of a 'compiled' add-in, since anything with a DLL requires an installer, whereas the template can be just dropped into the Startup folder to be usable.

Sadly, rather than updating it to the more object-oriented VB.Net, Microsoft has left it foundering in the barely-OO VB6 era with some object stuff bolted on that never quite does what you need, and yes, there are certainly things that need a full .Net interface to be written that you can't do... but I've made a fair chunk of my career on VBA, and use it for automating Office stuff on a regular basis.

Comment Re:Ain't nobody got time for that (Score 1) 206

Unfortunately, I have more multitasking time when ears are occupied (teleconferences where I'll only need to interject once an hour) than eyes.
It's partly that I prefer music for driving, flying and exercising... but the number of articles on sites such as BoingBoing, Lifehacker, xda-developer etc. that are only in audio or video format that I sigh and say, "Well, I guess I'll never know."

Comment Ain't nobody got time for that (Score 4, Insightful) 206

Seriously? 90% of Facebook is currently graphics certainly not worth 1000 words: they literally are about eight to thirty words, total, with some public domain clipart or unlicensed pop-culture icons. I don't do "meme pictures." If I have a message, I type it.

I've never understood the point of podcasts other than for music or other performance: If I want news, I can read it in 1/10th the time.
And video? What, am I deaf and need to see your body language and lips move? Sure, for educational, entertainment clips, and of course cute animals... but otherwise? Nope.

And get off my lawn.

Comment Same thing they wanted in 1954 (Score 1) 209

No actually, there's only a few things I want:
* Control of lights with common "scenes" such as turning on the outside lights from more than just the one switch, and turning on lights "ahead" of me when I come in the door
* Monitoring key safety items, such as leaving my garage door open, water in the basement
* One app to rule them all, one app to find them, one app to bring them all and in the darkness bind themL I've got a Nest, a Squeezebox, a Twine, but each app is independent from everything else

Comment Any relation to Systeme D -- the restaurant term? (Score 1, Interesting) 928

I wonder if systemd was named with any irony to match the "System D" mentioned in Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London" and referenced by Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential?"

System D refers to the whatever-means-necessary, MacGyver-ing, theiving, gerry-rigging, etc. that chefs and other restaurant workers may do to ensure that the service works without management or patrons noticing a problem. The term comes from "dbroillard" (Down and Out p78):

"Dbroillard is what every plongeur [dish washer] wants to be called. A dbroillard is a man who, even when he is told to do the impossible, will se dbroiller--get it done somehow."

Comment Re:symbols, caps, numbers (Score 4, Interesting) 549

> symbols, caps and numbers are still very useful when the site limits password length.
I disagree: Insist that there must be a cap, and it will be the initial letter in >90% of the cases.
Insist that it have numbers, and they'll either be trailing (often the year, especially if you require two digits)
Insist that it be symbols, and you'll probably find a period or comma at the end (the only symbols commonly available on the first smartphone keyboard screen).

So, now I've changed the two digits to one out of ten, and instead of a random character out of the 70 or so common ASCII characters, I'm probably starting with just one of the uppercase letters.

At one point when I was a system administrator and we only required 6-digit passwords changed every 90 days, I could log in to 3/4 of the computers with "spring", "summer", "autumn" or "winter". When we beefed up to 8 digits with numbers, it would be "spring95", "autumn96" etc.

You've got to make it more random: Pick a phrase, a song lyric, a movie quote. Change a word or two. Make some letters just the initials, a word all in caps, a number substitution: "You light up my life" -> "uL1GHT^ml". That's unlikely to be in a cracker dictionary (until today, of course).

Comment Unlimited = No Sharing (Score 4, Interesting) 209

The two big catches with the unlimited plan are
(a) you can't buy a discounted phone (which someone above has already mentioned)
but the big one is
(b) you can't hotspot or share the account with other devices

(a) is less of a problem these days: There really aren't discounted phones, just installment payment plans. And I got my latest phone from a relative who's an exec at Verizon (no, I can't get you one too)
(b) is nearly a dealbreaker. I don't like touchscreen typing, so any message more than two lines long I want to use my laptop or tablet keyboard for... but I can't if I'm not in a free wifi zone. Is it worth losing unlimited to be able to occasionally tether? Maybe. At one point there were apps that would let you tether without rooting the phone, outside of the provider's knowledge, then they stopped working, maybe they work again.

Anyone have experience with non-root tether apps on Android?

Comment #1 Is it loud enough? (Score 1) 253

#1 Does the volume go high enough? (actually, I often want several steps between 4 and 5)
#2 Does it fit in my pocket? (a big complaint of my wife -- most modern phones are too big for anything but a purse)
#3 Can I enjoy watching a movie on a screen that size (I want a 70" smartphone)
#4 Can I watch movies for the whole flight without plugging it in?
#5 How fast does my app appear (which has very little to do with specs, more to do with software)
#6 Can the GPS synch before I miss my exit?

That's enough specs for anyone

Comment I don't wear a watch, but... (Score 3, Insightful) 471

If it could monitor blood sugar without stabbing you for blood, it'd be a great tool for diabetics (not a category I need it for)
If it can somehow monitor whether I've fallen asleep and beep/vibrate (and stab you for blood?), it'd be great while driving, or other dull work

Black hatting: Read every RFID/NFC object I pass my wrist near.

Comment Physical and Touch Keyboard awful, try Voice? (Score 1) 544

...but I've gotten better results from Swype and the continuous-swipe Google keyboard, than I ever could from the physical keyboard.

I had a 1st-gen Moto Droid with the slideout keyboard, and found that I rarely slid out the keyboard, because (a) it was nearly as inaccurate to use as the on-screen keyboard, (b) it only worked in landscape mode, and (c) I was faster with Swype. The downside of Swype, of course, is that if the word recognition fails to find your word, you're going to have to peck it in all over again. I've been slowly entering all my ethnic cooking terms, but I probably find a couple new words to enter every week.

On the other hand, for anything more than a sentence or two, I will pull out my laptop and type with a real keyboard. I just bought a bluetooth keyboard for my 8" tablet -- I'm looking forward to seeing how useful that turns out to be.

On the gripping hand, voice recognition in Google Now is very, very good at local place names (I'm not sure if it's also indexing off my contacts). Unless you're off the grid, as it requires network access to recognize voice at all.

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I had the rare misfortune of being one of the first people to try and implement a PL/1 compiler. -- T. Cheatham