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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

Alain Williams Legal challenges (38 comments)

Expect all sorts of (spurious) legal challenges from the motor industry ... they won't want their business badly dented.

23 minutes ago

Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Alain Williams Re:Popularity effects & user perception (558 comments)

As a smaller organisation a better strategy for you would be to install free s/ware on machines where it can do the job as well, eg: firefox instead of IE; thunderbird for outlook (depending on what you do for calendaring); LibreOffice instead of MS Office; ... Most (say 80%) user's requirements are simple and free stuff will work well for them. When a user's PC dies, you look to see what they are using - if it is all free s/ware you replace their box with one running a free OS; if not then you give them one running MS Windows or OS x

2 hours ago

Research Unveils Improved Method To Let Computers Know You Are Human

Alain Williams Re:Not so good if you are blind (88 comments)

More to the point the web site needs to comply with disability legislation. In the UK blind/partially-sighted people must, by law, be able to use the web site. This is one of the advantages of CSS - you can keep the site clean so that it works well with a screen reader. In theory a web site (owner) can be prosecuted for disciminating against people who have sight problems, in practice this does not happen very often.

So: all the bot would need to do is to claim to be blind and so avoid the game playing CAPTCHA.


Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Alain Williams Popularity effects & user perception (558 comments)

Reading TFA I suspect that the sorts of problems are:

  • * Interoperability with third parties. Eg document exchange. In a world where most others use MS software then there will be issues, moving to ODF will help, but not eliminate all issues -- incompatabilities between the way that MS and Open/Libre Office interpret the spec will remain. People will still use other formats where Open equivalents may not exist - eg CAD
  • * Munich have gone out on their own, few are following their lead. They thus have to pay the first implementor's penalty. Those who follow will find things easier and cheaper.
  • * Hardware devices (eg mobile phones). Although many of these might have Linux as the base, the vendor will make sure that it works with MS products and not worry about Linux equivalents
  • * Users are using something that is new and will blame problems on it. This time they have a name ''Linux'' - this becomes perceived as the root of all evil.
  • * Similar problems would have happened with a roll out of a new MS system and these problems would just be accepted as teething problems of a new system. But because Munich is doing something different by having software running on Linux systems this will be seen as the cause of it and thus blamed, with a belief that return to MS will fix all the problems. It will fix some but cause others, but until then Linux systems will get all the blame.

The best way to fix Munich's problems is for others to grab the LiMux distribution and use it. This will:

* Reduce compatability problems. A tipping point will eventually be reached, look how MS IE was king and then it went to less than 80% and suddenly slid as web sites had to take web standards seriously.

* Hardware vendors will have to test against more than just MS Windows and its ecosystems

* Others will contribute software and patches, the cost to Munich will drop.

* Munich IT department will not be seen as maverick since others are also doing it. Eventually they will, hopefully, be lauded as pioneers and visionaries.

2 days ago

More Quantum Strangeness: Particles Separated From Their Properties

Alain Williams Bankers will study this hard ... (144 comments)

in the hope that this might provide them with yet another way of separating the public from their properties (especially money).

about three weeks ago

When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You

Alain Williams If they have done nothing wrong ... (120 comments)

then what have they got to hide ?

At least: that is what we are being told. So if that is good enough for us, why is it not good enough for them ?

about three weeks ago

SpaceX Releases Video of Falcon Rocket's Splashdown

Alain Williams Why the annoying sound track ? (49 comments)

Not everyone has such a short attention span that they need jangley noise to keep them from moving to another web site.

about a month ago

Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

Alain Williams Re:Trusting a binary from Cisco (194 comments)

Who modded this troll, it should be modded insightful? Are the NSA operatives getting in quick these days ?

about a month ago

Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

Alain Williams Do not 'phone - write (401 comments)

Send a letter to their registered head office stating that you do not want their service from xxx date. Then cancel the payment with your bank. Job done.

Your new provider can do whatever work is needed to take the line over. Send them a copy of the letter that you send to your old provider.

about a month ago

Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

Alain Williams World's largest mall: Occupying 8 million sq ft (265 comments)

A big shopping center - sounds like hell on earth! I just can't understand the obsession with shopping, once you have your clothes & stuff just leave and do something interesting.

about a month ago

Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Alain Williams No one is excluded by other people (608 comments)

Things are wrong if a group of people are excluded from something by others for no particular reason or a frivolous one such as: sex, religion, skin colour, ... However: we are not equal in achievement, I will never be a swimming great -- the young lads at the pool power past me, but I could prob write a better C program or shell script than they could. However if they were willing to put many years work they might manage that as well.

Life is not fair, different people have different abilities & achievements. What is important is that society provides equality of opportunity; it is up to the individual to exercise that opportunity based on the time that they are willing to put in and their innate abilities.

about a month and a half ago
top Do We Really Need Another JavaScript Framework?

Alain Williams Re:HTML5 & JS should just crawl away and die (104 comments)

It means that there is yet another web site that I arrive at at see an empty page or maybe a few items scattered apparently at random. I surf with javascript switched off by default. Most sites should work without javascript, OK some fancy features might be missing but I should generally see the page. Those that do not: I might look to see what javascript to enable, but all too often they are trying to pull in javascript from 1/2 dozen sites - so I guess a couple and then give up and go elsewhere.

Javascript should be used to make a page look nicer, not to make it work at all. Insisting on javascript is like insisting on flash.

I accept that a few special pages really do need special effects that need javascript, but not many of them.

about a month and a half ago

Use of Encryption Foiled the Cops a Record 9 Times In 2013

Alain Williams I was going to ask ... (115 comments)

what sort of encryption(s) were the cops unable to break - assuming that they were able to tell by looking at the files; failing that what were the ones that they succeeded in breaking? That might be useful as it would guide me in choosing which algorithms to use for encrypting my stuff.

Then is occurred to me that if the cops revealed it I must assume misinformation. They surely would not make their life difficult by telling me how to defeat them -- or would they answer the question honestly ? So: I could ever trust their answer -- is there any point in even asking them the question ?

about a month and a half ago

The lightbulb I've most recently acquired ...

Alain Williams Re:Longevity (196 comments)

Agreed, I worded it badly. How about: ''How long had the last energy saving bulb that you replaced been working ?'' Even then it is sloppy since some bulbs will be used a lot (eg in the kitchen) whereas others very little (in the garage or spare bedroom). But it is not intended to be a scientific survey.

about a month and a half ago

The lightbulb I've most recently acquired ...

Alain Williams Re:Submit a poll idea :) (196 comments)

Following on from the current poll: How long did your last energy saving bulb last ? 0-1 months; 2-4; 5-8; 9-14; 15-23; 2 years; 2-3 years; 4+ years

The reason for the question is that they are supposed to last many years of typical usage - I do not get that out of most of them, some only last 6 months. I want to know if others find the same ?

about a month and a half ago

Want To Resell Your Ebooks? You'd Better Act Fast

Alain Williams Re: The site does not commit piracy ... (72 comments)

That is the whole point -- with an e-book you can sell it and still have/keep a copy to use, something that you cannot do with a paper book. This is what the publishers want to stop.

about 2 months ago

Want To Resell Your Ebooks? You'd Better Act Fast

Alain Williams Re: The site does not commit piracy ... (72 comments)

Who reads a book twice?

You might not want to read a novel more than once, but many books are not story books. Eg: an academic text book; a reference book - these you might read and want to keep so that you can look up points of detail later.

Having said that:: I have read 'Lord of the Rings' 3 times.

about 2 months ago

Want To Resell Your Ebooks? You'd Better Act Fast

Alain Williams The site does not commit piracy ... (72 comments)

it is just a market place. ''the site operates on an honor basis.'' it expects that once you have sold your e-book that you delete it from your machines. If you do not then it is you who commits piracy. It is an issue of trust: the book publisher/author knows that it is all too easy for someone to sell a book once they have read it but still keep the copy. But just because it is easy does not mean that everyone will keep a copy. I do have to admit that many will sell and keep.

I do not know what the answer it, shutting down a market place or wrapping the book in DRM are not the answers.

about 2 months ago

Massachusetts SWAT Teams Claim They're Private Corporations, Immune To Oversight

Alain Williams Simple question: (534 comments)

What have the SWAT teams got to hide ?

about 2 months ago

Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools

Alain Williams Re:HALLELUJAH! :D :D :D (649 comments)

Why was this modded down as 'troll' ? It is deliciously funny!

about 2 months ago



Slashdot Poll suggestion on energy saving light bulbs

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "How long had the last energy saving light bulb that you replaced been working ? * 0-1 months; * 2-4 months; * 5-8 months; * 9-14 months; * 15-23 months; * 2 years; * 2-3 years; * 4+ years; * never had one fail; * I eat carrots you insensitive clod!."
Link to Original Source

Jewish school removes evolution questions from exams

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about 5 months ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "Religious sponsored ignorance is not just in the USA, a school in Hackney, England is trying to hide the idea of evolution from its pupils. Maybe they fear that their creation story will be seen for what it is if pupils get to learn ideas supported evidence. The girls are also disadvantaged since they can't answer the redacted questions, thus making it harder to get good marks."

Detained David Miranda loses legal battle

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about 6 months ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "The BBC reports that the nine-hour detention at Heathrow Airport of an ex-Guardian journalist's partner has been ruled lawful. David Miranda lives with reporter Glenn Greenwald who has written articles about state surveillance based on leaked documents by Edward Snowden. At the High Court, Mr Miranda claimed his detention under anti-terrorism laws was unlawful and breached human rights. But judges said it was a "proportionate measure in the circumstances" and in the interests of national security."

Study doubts quantum computer speed

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about 7 months ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "The BBC reports that a new academic study has raised doubts about the performance of a commercial quantum computer in certain circumstances. In some tests devised by a team of researchers, the commercial quantum computer has performed no faster than a standard desktop machine."

Work begins on hardware to aid Edsac replica recreation

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Alain Williams writes "Plans to rebuild the pioneering Edsac computer are a step closer to completion as parts that will form its metal chassis start to be manufactured.

Edsac — Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator — ran its first program in 1949 and was created to help scientists at Cambridge University."

Link to Original Source

Apple drops 'thermonuclear' patent bombshell

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Alain Williams writes "Apple has launched a new patent assault on its competitors, first granted to the American Mathematical Society in October 1912, subsequently renewed, then acquired by Apple at an unknown date. The first entry among the patent's Claims describes "A quadrilateral having all four interior angles of 90, opposite sides that are parallel, and congruent diagonals that bisect each other.""
Link to Original Source

Actress sues Amazon over her age on its IMDb site

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Alain Williams writes "An actress has sued for more than $1m (£639,000) after her age was posted on its Internet Movie Database. She says revealing her age on the site will lose her acting opportunities. So is her career dependent on lies ?"
Link to Original Source

Kodaks' patent spat threatens photo web sites

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Alain Williams writes "The fallout from a patent dispute between Kodak and web photo site Shutterfly could embroil many online image sites, says patent experts.

Kodak claimed it owns patents regarding the display of online images that is being infringed by Shutterfly."

Link to Original Source

UAE 'moves to suspend some Blackberry services'

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about 4 years ago

Alain Williams writes "The move comes amid UAE concerns that data from the devices is immediately exported offshore and managed by a foreign organisation.
The UAE's telecoms regulator, TRA, said last week the devices could therefore pose a threat to national security.
It follows an alleged attempt last year by the state-run telecoms company to install spyware on Blackberry handsets."

Link to Original Source

Slashdot poll suggestion

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "''Job control: largest job number''

When you hit Ctrl-z in an app and type ''jobs'' you will get a list of job numbers in square brackes, eg ''[2]'', what is the largest number that you have seen ?
(I currently have 20 on one of my ssh sessions).

* 2
* 5
* 10
* 20
* 20+
* I don't control my jobs"


Alain Williams has no journal entries.

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