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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

AccUser I've been learning new things for 30 years (306 comments)

I started to learn programming at the age of 11, and two years later had a 'summer job' writing software for a contracting firm in central London. That was in 1984. I'm now 43 years old, and am still learning new things. I stopped contracting a couple of years ago for a simpler life, and my software development is more about scratching my itch rather than a clients, and it is certainly more interesting that way. If you're not motivate to learn something new just for the sake of it (I'm a big fan of Duolingo and Khan Academy) then you're going to have to find that itch for yourself.

about 8 months ago
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To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets

AccUser I always wear a helmet (1651 comments)

I cycle at least 60 miles per week from and to my children's schools (I drive them to school in the morning, but cycle home). I always wear a helmet, and when my children cycle with me, I require that they wear helmets too.

I have been cycling for 22 years. In that time, I have only had one serious fall from my bike, about 14 years ago. I wasn't wearing a helmet that day, and I landed on the back of my head, ended up in hospital and was concussed for days. I would not like to go through that again!

more than 2 years ago
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Motorola To Buy PDA-Inventor Psion For $200 Million

AccUser Re:I have the kiss of death for awesome technology (144 comments)

I found my old Psion Workabout in our loft a couple of months ago, and it was still working. I gave it to my 10 year old son along with the instruction manual, and he went off and poked around with it for a couple of days, but soon lost interest. My 6 year old daughter is currently using it as an electronic journal, having worked out herself how to use it.

more than 2 years ago
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US Government Seeks Extradition of UK Student For File-Sharing

AccUser Re:Just heard this reported on BBC Radio 4 (409 comments)

Probably is not good enough in this instance, I am sure. It would be a different matter had he be tried and found guilty. It is interesting reading this in light of all the SOPA activity at the moment. We should all be concerned about what Corporate America wants to do with our freedoms.

more than 2 years ago
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US Government Seeks Extradition of UK Student For File-Sharing

AccUser Do something about this (409 comments)

To all my fellow UK /.ers, you can write to the Home Secretary about this matter, explaining politely why this is wrong:

Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Home Secretary
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone number: 020 7035 4848

more than 2 years ago
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US Government Seeks Extradition of UK Student For File-Sharing

AccUser Re:How is this legal? (409 comments)

It may well be that the US believe that he has committed a crime, and that they wish this to be tested in court, but this seems to be a significant stretch.

more than 2 years ago
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US Government Seeks Extradition of UK Student For File-Sharing

AccUser Just heard this reported on BBC Radio 4 (409 comments)

The item stated that in order for extradition to be considered, O'Dwyer had to have been accused of committing a crime that was illegal in both the UK and the USA. As far as I am aware, no crime was committed in the UK, which is why the criminal investigation was originally dropped.

more than 2 years ago
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Julian Assange To Be Extradited To Sweden

AccUser Re:Why does he fear Sweden will send him to US? (530 comments)

IANAL, but I think that the extradition from UK to Sweden does not automatically give Sweden the right to permit an extradition to US.

more than 3 years ago
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Will the Apple TV Become a Gaming Platform?

AccUser Re:At some point, this would make sense (194 comments)

Have you tried Papa Sangre? This game is best played in a dark room with your eyes closed. Whilst the core of the game is audio only, it does provide visual feedback by way of high-contrast indicators. Even with your eyes closed, you can tell that you have done the right thing.

Anyway, I am not suggesting that this is the way forward, but it is entirely possible. And what if you had a dedicated game controller app installed? This could provide a HUD-like information as well as control, and also provide audio and visual feedback. It makes sense to me...

more than 3 years ago
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Will the Apple TV Become a Gaming Platform?

AccUser Re:Didn't we already see this? (194 comments)

So what is the input device for AppleTV with games, because I am sure that it isn't available yet. My iPad controls AppleTV using the Apple Remote app, and that works well. Why can't the same be done for other apps? Imagine this: I launch a game from Apple Remote, and my iPad is now the controller, the AppleTV is the display. As far as the app is concerned, it is receiving the same input as it would expect when running on and iPad. This is the beauty of a well defined API. And Apple certainly has one.

more than 3 years ago
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Will the Apple TV Become a Gaming Platform?

AccUser Re:At some point, this would make sense (194 comments)

Actually, it works really well. Pairing is already supported for the AppleTV with the Apple Remote app, and it works like a dream.

more than 3 years ago
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Will the Apple TV Become a Gaming Platform?

AccUser Re:Not a gamer company (194 comments)

Apple didn't think games would fly on the iPhone. They were wrong.

They are not a gamer company, but they have built a really solid platform, with very low entry requirements for development. Yes, there is an annual subscription fee for the developer program, and this is a requirement for submitting applications, but this cost is relatively small. Everything else you need is free (not counting 3rd-party toolsets and libraries).

Whilst PC gamers can tweak their hardware, what about PS3 and XBox360 gamers? How much tweaking can they seriously do?

And how many games are available for iOS compared to the Wii? I have and iPad and a Wii. I enjoy both, they are different experiences, but I only have about 20 games for the Wii. I have played many more times this on the iPad.

more than 3 years ago
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Will the Apple TV Become a Gaming Platform?

AccUser Re:If this is EVER true... (194 comments)

We're all consumers at some level, and whilst people consume, others will always create.

One of the things that has really surprised me about gaming on the iPad is the sheer variety of ideas. Whilst the platform hasn't pushed boundaries in terms of graphics, it has done so in other areas, and this has largely been driven by independent developers that are not afraid to try out new ideas. Have you played Papa Sangre yet?

more than 3 years ago
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Will the Apple TV Become a Gaming Platform?

AccUser Re:is it going to come with a gamepad? (194 comments)

I would suspect that the vast majority of AppleTV users already have a portable iOS device (iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad). These could be used as controllers, given that gaming controls have already been proven on these devices.

more than 3 years ago
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Will the Apple TV Become a Gaming Platform?

AccUser Re:Didn't we already see this? (194 comments)

Yes, but given that AppleTV is an iOS device, there are already a plethora of games and lifestyle apps that can probably run today with little or no modification.

more than 3 years ago
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Will the Apple TV Become a Gaming Platform?

AccUser At some point, this would make sense (194 comments)

Given the success of gaming on the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad, it makes sense that Apple could provide installable application support on the AppleTV, now that it too has joined the iOS platform family.

It is worth pointing out, though, that with the addition of AirPlay, there is no reason why developers can't use the AppleTV as a remote display for a game, whilst the device (iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad) acts as a controller. Similarly, why not use these devices to control applications running on AppleTV? The Apple Remote app already does this, and I have a pinball game running on my Mac that is controlled by the iPhone - it is a reasonably good controller.

more than 3 years ago
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De Raadt Doubts Alleged Backdoors Made It Into OpenBSD

AccUser Re:Sorry, but how..? (136 comments)

The backdoor in question might simply be a guaranteed or determinable byte-sequence in a stream, which could aid in the decoding of said stream. It need not be a simple --with-backdoor option passed on the command line... ;)

more than 3 years ago
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The Encryption Pioneer Who Was Written Out of History

AccUser Re:They have a headstart (238 comments)

I don't think that the British forgot about the guys in the North - they were too busy fighting the French because of the guys in the North.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Can I share ADSL connections?

AccUser AccUser writes  |  more than 5 years ago

AccUser writes "I live in a rural area, with only two other houses near to me. We all have ADSL, and can achieve speeds of up to around 1.4Mbps, although it is usually lower than this. We are too far from the local exchange to get as much bandwidth as the residents in the next village (0.5km away), who report connection speeds of up to around 8Mbps (and I assume that they are not just saying this to wind us up). What I was wondering was this: can the three of us share our ADSL connections? What I would like to do is to be able to guarantee a minimum level of service for each of us, but if there is spare bandwidth on the other ADSL connections, then it becomes available. Is this possible? Is there hardware that supports this type of configuration? I know that there might be contractual issues with our ISPs, but putting that aside for the moment, can this be done?"
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Can anyone recommend an UMPC?

AccUser AccUser writes  |  more than 6 years ago

AccUser writes "Whilst camping recently, I had a support request from a client. Luckily, I was able to return home within the hour and remotely access my client's site, but it seemed to me that there would have been a better way to achieve what I needed to do. I have an iPhone, and whilst that may soon support tethering, the touch-screen is not really suitable for anything other than the simplest of shell-based access. I think what I really need is an UMPC with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth and, of course, running GNU/Linux. Can anyone provide any practical recommendations or other solutions?"
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Software engineering, or should we compromise?

AccUser AccUser writes  |  more than 7 years ago

AccUser writes "I was recently engaged by a major logistics company to review a proprietary software system that had been developed over the past 5 years. The system had been developed in isolation to the industry, and contained a serious number of design flaws — basically, it was not fit for the company's future business plans. Having proposed a suitable solution to their problems, which has been accepted by the company, I am now faced with a contracted project manager who has no experience of software architecture or software engineering methodology, and who wants to compromise on the proposed solution in an effort to deliver a solution quicker and stay in his comfort zone. What would you do? Compromise, or stick to software engineering principals?"
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AccUser AccUser writes  |  more than 8 years ago

AccUser writes "Like many Slashdotters, I have a Wi-Fi network at home. Recently, I had to relocate my office from our spare room to our bedroom, and due to the thickness of the walls in our house (slate built, circa 1880) it was necessary to move my wireless router into the bedroom too. All three computers are switched off at night as they are in the bedroom, but the servers in the loft continue to run and access the Wi-Fi network sporadically. My wife has complained of sleepless nights since the relocation, but she is not aware that the wireless router has moved too. The other night though, I left a laptop downloading a couple of ISO images (9GBs over 512Kb/s ADSL, so will take 36 hours or so) and we both had interrupted sleep, headaches, and malaise. I have looked for information regarding health issues related to Wi-Fi signals and equipment, and most authorities suggest that the risks are negligible at most, although very little evidence is given in support. Does Wi-Fi present any health risks? Should I just invest in some tin-foil nightcaps?"

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