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Comment Set up a dummy account (Score 1) 347

If push came to shove I'd set up dummy Facebook and Twitter accounts and let CBP see them. No good way to tell which of the several hundred Laura Hallidays on Facebook is me. Post some pictures of cats, a few likes, done.

I already engage in some self-censorship. There are a few CDs (mainly Russian and Israeli acts) I leave at home when I cross the border.


Comment Facebook is for old people (Score 1) 534

I accept that advertising is what supports platforms like Facebook (indeed, just about everything on the internet), but please remember the user in all of this. My computer is mine. My browser is mine. Monopolizing it while you play an irrelevant auto-play video is just not cool.

Facebook is relatively tame in this respect. I've seen worse.


Comment Re:What's the big problem? (Score 1) 675

I remember a few years ago seeing that my Amex was about to expire, and wondering when my new card was going to arrive.

Then I got a phone call from American Express. Had my new card arrived? No. Did I live alone? Yes. Did I know any men with Russian accents? Uh, no...

Yup: somebody had stolen my card and had gone on a shopping spree with it, triggering security alerts. My bill that month was about 50 pages, interesting charges (all local, curiously), then pages of Credit for Fraudulent Charge. I asked what my liability in the matter was and they said zero: unlike most other credit cards, American Express cards may only be used by the cardholder ("non-transferrable"), and if the merchants hadn't verified the identity of somebody who was really unlikely to be named "Laura", that was their problem, not mine.


Comment Null Island, Pacific style (Score 1) 91

A long time ago I was working with GPS applications and their internal representation of longitude meant our Null Island was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 0 north, 180 west.

We figured out the conventions of the mapping application we were using (no Google Maps yet, and the documentation was vague) by trial and error. Our first attempts to plot GPS fixes from a drive along a local freeway showed a blank area with no freeway, nor much of anything else. We found that we were drawing a map centred on 49 degrees north (correct) but 123 degrees east, out in the middle of nowhere near the border between China, Mongolia and Russia. Nearest town Harbin, China...


Comment What else is new? (Score 3, Insightful) 170

Step 1: Apple introduced the iPad and everybody was desperate to get one because it was the trendy item to have.

Step 2: people started figuring out what they could do with a handy portable computer.

Step 3: everybody who had a use for a tablet had one and the sales dropped off to replacement level.

Any remotely interesting new product is going to grow at unsustainable levels until the market is saturated. Then the growth stops.


Comment My TV is a TV (Score 1) 507

I bought my TV to be a TV. I measured the space it needed to fit in, then looked at candidates at the store and picked the one that looked best. It has an ATSC tuner and various inputs with various things (Apple TV, Roku, DVD player) plugged in to them.

My Apple TV and Roku do all the smart TV stuff I've ever wanted to do. I've never seen a standalone smart TV that was worth the money.


Comment Isn't 640k enough for anybody? (Score 3, Interesting) 117

While you most likely do not need such a large microSD card in your life...

At one time I bought an iPad with 16 GB of storage, since the storage was infinite compared with my ability to come up with material to store on it. Then I discovered new applications like ForeFlight for flight planning. I now use a 128 GB iPad mini in the cockpit.

When I bought my current Mac (admittedly, a few years ago) I figured that 4 GB of RAM and 250 GB of disc space was ample. I bought a GoPro camera earlier this year. Two hundred fifty gigs is now nothing.


Comment Lawyers vs Engineers (Score 2) 438

Like so many of these things, the lawyers can pass all the laws they want. But this has already been settled by the engineers. The onus is on the lawyers to figure stuff out, because this isn't going away any time soon.

I have a legit account for the Canadian Netflix-lite and may pull the plug soon since there is little of interest on it. U.S. Netflix doesn't interest me, but I use a U.K. VPN to access BBC and ITV streaming content. I'd pay a reasonable amount to access it legitimately.


Comment Gingerbread (Score 1) 242

I bought a Samsung Galaxy something-or-other from the phone store several years ago when my old phone's battery crapped out. I've since put a new battery in the phone, and plan to replace the whole phone in the not-too-distant future.

I use my phone as a phone (!) and for some texting. For mobile applications like flight planning I use an iPad with ForeFlight. It works fine.


Comment An idea whose time had come (Score 1) 273

The Victor Hugo quote about nothing being more powerful than an idea whose time has come is, to me, the story of Linux.

In the '90s we had the beginnings of the internet, so people could collaborate in ways they had never done before. We had commodity PC hardware that could do interesting OS things. More.

My first Linux system was a 486/66 with Slackware 96 back in 1997. It worked fine. I use Slackware to this day on my own computers. The standard at work is CentOS. So be it.


Comment Sounds familiar! (Score 1) 474

Many of these issues apply to the SkyTrain system here in Vancouver. High-tech (for its time), wildly non-standard, minimal adoption by anybody else (Scarborough RT, Detroit Muggermover, partially London DLR), far more expensive than an off-the-shelf system like they use in Calgary or Portland, showing its age after only 30 years...the list goes on.

They had issues when they added a new line in 2002, and the control system suddenly had to handle more than 256 cars at a time.


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