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Rumor: Lenovo In Talks To Buy BlackBerry

BarbaraHudson Re:Lenovo phones (28 comments)

RIM were beaten by their own cowardice. Just hours before they were due to win, they caved in and signed a deal with the patent troll.

Then they began giving governments backdoor access. Saudi Arabia (not exactly known for their human rights) was the first. That is when RIM should have said "no." That, and the switch to QNX a few months prior, started the slide down the slippery slope.

With a wounded brand AND an odd-ball os, what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, pretty much everything.

5 minutes ago

On posting anonymously

BarbaraHudson Re:Like everything else, it depends ... (5 comments)

Oh, it's "Barbara".

Ouch! Why the quotes? It's the name on my bank statement, my lease, my signature on my Quebec medicare card, the only name my neighbors have ever known me as, the name on court documents, proceedings before the human rights commission, government correspondence, etc. :-)

As an experiment, use an account with a masculine name and see if your results don't crater.

No thanks - my personal troll will come along and claim I'm karma farming :-) You're welcome to try it, though. Bonus points for using your "drag queen" name. And now you can even create a facebook account for it :-)

In addition to posting good material, you may be tapping a diversity nerve.

Or it may be that there are fewer users, and fewer who are posting stories, so the odds of getting accepted are better. Or you could be right - I may have tapped into a diversity nerve. In which case, "vive la difference" ...

38 minutes ago

Rumor: Lenovo In Talks To Buy BlackBerry

BarbaraHudson Re:selling their handset division (28 comments)

Blackberry is rumoured to consider selling their handset division

So, Blackberry, after changing their name to Blackberry would no longer be making or selling... Blackberrys.

That's right, and it makes sense. They tried to get Lenovo to buy them in 2013, and that didn't pan out, because of IP issues. Now, if they sold just the handset division and the brand name, they could resurrect the Research in Motion brand, and emphasize their services division, which they've been beefing up via acquisitions. In other words, they want to do with their phones what IBM did with their laptops. Get rid of a low-margin hardware business with high inventory requirements and concentrate on high-margin services.

about an hour ago

NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

BarbaraHudson Re:TFA is exactly sexism (244 comments)

Having lived it first-hand from both sides of the gender divide, I'm not exactly in a position to argue the point, because I find that my decision-making process takes into consideration the feelings of those involved a lot more now. It might be because I'm more able to detect the cues, or that everyone - of both sexes - is more open to communicating their emotional state to me (which is definitely true), or that I'm now "permitted" to include that data in any analysis. Or, as my personal troll (APK, the HOSTS file guy) keeps reminding everyone here, it's just the estrogen destroying my brain :-)

But seeing as I have a personal bias, I have to disqualify myself as to which is the better approach. I'm much more comfortable making decisions now, because I feel I'm getting a broader base of information on which to base any decision, and it's so much better now because anything can be discussed - even feelings - without having to worry about "what someone might think."

I will say this, though. When it comes to making heavily emotional decisions, men generally tend to do worse. Suicide - 3x to 10x worse. Murder. Stalkers. Violent assaults. Men lead women in all these categories. So many men try so hard to deny their emotions (possibly because they don't want to be seen as weak or wrong) that when it leaks out, it's like a gusher. Everyone ends up losing.

But which is better? That depends on the people and the situation, same as it always has.

1 hour ago

On posting anonymously

BarbaraHudson Re:Like everything else, it depends ... (5 comments)

You're basing that on an assumption of maturity that may no longer hold true.

Probably not, but they were never true anyway. But that's okay - I've made my share of really stupid mistakes too.

A big part of the problem nowadays is hidden agendas. Trying to decipher who's over-reacting on purpose as opposed to who's over-reacting because that's the way they are is a problem in these scenarios. And unfortunately, I believe that the evidence tends towards drama queens being at least partially an act. When you have internet-savvy people saying they're moving because they received death threats on twitter, it just doesn't hold up.

And I know I'm going to catch heck for saying so - especially me. But it doesn't change the facts. These are not credible threats, and pretty much everyone who takes a moment to think will realize that the nature of the recipients of the threats - that these were people in the tech world and should at least have some idea of how the internet works - and not some soccer mom whose entire experience is facebook and twitter and .... nothing else.

The question now is, is it even worth trying to sort it out any more? In the case of gamergate, probably not.

People behind keyboards, with a certain amount of anonymity or pseudo-anonymity, will behave more like jerks. That's a given, it's not news. Squiggy is asking what can be done, and how (and his observation is certainly true) people who post unpopular opinions are going to get attacked if they don't post anonymously.

Of course, the opposite also holds true - people who post popular opinions will also be attacked. That's how the internet works in 2014 - dysfunctionally. It's more a source of entertainment than "the information superhighway." Me, I just can't be bothered to check the "post anonymously" box. Plus, if I do have a brain fart, the proper thing to do would be to apologize, not hide behind anonymity in the original post. But that's just me, and that's probably because, as Dark Helmet said, "good is dumb."

BTW - I must be on some sort of run - the last seven stories I've submitted have all made the front page. The most recent ones were about soda pop and telomeres, and now blackberry and lenovo. In fact, I've only had one rejection.

1 hour ago

Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

BarbaraHudson Re:Overly broad? (385 comments)

Anecdotal evidence isn't proof. You should know this.

I do. That's why I wrote "Ask any endocrinologist. Type two diabetics come in all shapes and sizes. "

2 hours ago

NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

BarbaraHudson Re:TFA is exactly sexism (244 comments)

We also know that women tend to use more emotion in judgement than men. In fact women use emotion all the time quite, and quite differently from men.

Please check this out. Emotions are used by both sexes in making decisions.

one of the world’s top neuroscientists, Antonio Damasio, profiled his patient, Elliott, one of his most well-known cases. Formerly a successful businessman, model father and husband, Elliott suffered from ventromedial frontal lobe damage as a result of a tumor and subsequent surgery for removal.

Following his operation, Elliot dispassionately reported to Damasio that his life was falling apart. While still in the 97th percentile for IQ, Elliot lacked all motivation. His marriage collapsed as did each new business he started. Damasio found Elliott an “uninvolved spectator” in his own life, “He was always controlled. Nowhere was there a sense of his own suffering, even though he was the protagonist. I never saw a tinge of emotion in my many hours of conversation with him: no sadness, no impatience, no frustration.”

It was clear to Damasio that as a result of his surgery, Elliot was incapable of making decisions, “Elliott emerged as a man with a normal intellect who was unable to decide properly, especially when the decision involved personal or social matters.” Even small decisions were fraught with endless deliberation: making an appointment took 30 minutes, choosing where to eat lunch took all afternoon, even deciding which color pen to use to fill out office forms was a chore. Turns out Elliott’s lack of emotion paralyzed his decision-making.

2 hours ago

NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

BarbaraHudson Re:Women prefer male bosses (244 comments)

the correct answer to space travel is obvious, its dwarfs

They're ewoks, you ignorant clod!

3 hours ago

NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

BarbaraHudson Re:Women prefer male bosses (244 comments)

statistically speaking (well, at least according to several large surveys), most women actually do prefer male authority in the work-place.

The stats you linked to pointed to a strong age bias. While the difference in preference was only a couple of percent for young respondents, it leaned further and further towards men in each of the older groups. It's the same thing as in science - for a new paradigm to be accepted, you often have to wait for the old guard to die off.

3 hours ago

NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

BarbaraHudson Re:Compelling, but a mix still better... (244 comments)

If half of your "crew" is eating half a portion while the other is spending so many calories they are losing weight despite eating more - they are not doing the same work. You don't lose weight exercising "brain power" alone.

Women of the same weight as men have a 5-10% lower basal metabolic rate (and that bmr typically accounts for 60-70% of your total energy expended - source).

Now throw in smaller women and larger men, and the difference can easily be 50%. That is sufficient to explain why the women got along on smaller portions.

Coming from a male a suggestion to send an all female crew cause they "eat less" and have smaller muscles would smack of "as long as men are around to open doors for them, women can do almost everything a man can" veiled misogyny.

There's a big difference between "a suggestion to send an all female crew cause they eat less and have smaller muscles" and "as long as men are around to open doors for them, women can do almost everything a man can".

3 hours ago

Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

BarbaraHudson Re: The language in the old west (387 comments)

Again, you resort to personal insults. And wrt comparing me to the temperance movement - where have I said that nobody should ever swear? Oh, that's right - I never did. But they should be aware of the consequences, because (1) you never know who may be listening, and (2) it's not a substitute for real communications, especially when almost every sentence contains one or more obscenities. It's noise, a distraction, effectively lowering the signal to noise ratio.

4 hours ago

Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

BarbaraHudson Re:The language in the old west (387 comments)

Look through the entire thread. My original post on how swearing isn't necessary is at +5. You tried to attack it by claiming that words are just words, and managed only a +3. Given the default for logged-in posters is a +2, 3x as many people found my point to be valid as compared to yours.

I guess not too many people impressed with you insulting people just because you disagree with them. So keep on with your silly maunderings. The votes are in, and you lost :-)

5 hours ago

NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

BarbaraHudson Re:Compelling, but a mix still better... (244 comments)

However I'd argue in a truly remote environment where no external help is to be had, that the raw strength a few very fit males could provide could be useful in an emergency.

Power tools. Everything from screwdrivers to come-alongs to chain blocks to robotic arms.

And of course the added benefit of not having crews making babies at the worst possible time. On a one-way mission (say to Mars) there's no reason the all-female crew couldn't just bring along frozen sperm and produce the first generation of Martians.

5 hours ago

Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork

BarbaraHudson That's all we need ... (283 comments)

The solution to yet another init system is to support even more init systems?

If systemd needs to die, then say so. Give the reasons why, then fork it if necessary. We've got enough problems supporting different not-invented-here stuff in too many distros already.

6 hours ago

An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

BarbaraHudson Re:You're missing the obvious problem (267 comments)

"instead of having them wait either a very short time if they arrive when ice is available or a long time when ice is sold out."

If they're sold out, the waiting time in line falls to zero.

7 hours ago

An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

BarbaraHudson Re:I for one (267 comments)

PETA has no problem with consuming meat, as long as it's made from people and not animals.

Say welcome to our cannibalistic PETA overlords.

7 hours ago

An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

BarbaraHudson Re:You're doing it wrong. (267 comments)

65,000 people don't belong in any dessert. That's clearly unsanitary.

[_] Shhhh ... it's made from soylent green :-)
[_] Well, we had to find a new use for all those zombie parts coming on-stream thanks to ebola.
[_] "You got people in my dessert!" "You got dessert in my people!"
[_] It's Burning Man. They'll eat anything.
[_] You know our slogan - "it's real people food?" Well, what did you expect?
[_] You're right - there's not enough people in the dessert. Everyone knows 640k should be enough.
[_] At Burning Man, people desert YOU (probably because of the smell after the first few days ...)

7 hours ago

An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

BarbaraHudson Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (267 comments)

"I want a mumble mumble mumble and a mumble mumble mumble - no make that mumble mumble mumble ..."
"Mumble mumble mumble?"
Morale of the story - get your lazy ass out of the car if you want your "fat food" fast.

The real reasons for two lines into one:
1. Once they have your order, they have you. Don't matter how long the queue takes - you're already psychologically invested, stuck in the line. Welcome to the Hotel California fast food queue;
2. Those awful speaker systems - combined with language barriers in much of Canada - mean that sometimes just getting the order will jam up the line. I think they must buy their speakers from the same company that sells P.A. systems to the Metro.

7 hours ago

Facebook 'Safety Check' Lets Friends Know You're OK After a Major Disaster

BarbaraHudson Re:yeah, going with not creepy. (126 comments)

Sure the latency is bad - but look at it this way - you get to snack on the transport layer while waiting for the next pigeon-packet :-)

11 hours ago



Blackberry reported to be in talks with Lenovo

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  6 hours ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "The CBC, the Financial Post, and The Toronto Sun are all reporting a possible sale of Blackberry to Lenovo. From the Sun:

BlackBerry shares rose more than 3% on Monday after a news website said Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group might offer to buy the Canadian technology company.

Rumours of a Lenovo bid for BlackBerry have swirled many times over the last two years. Senior Lenovo executives at different times have indicated an interest in BlackBerry as a means to strengthen their own handset business.

The speculation reached a crescendo in the fall of 2013, when BlackBerry was exploring strategic alternatives.

Sources familiar with the situation however, told Reuters last year that the Canadian government had strongly hinted to BlackBerry that any sale to Lenovo would not win the necessary regulatory approvals due to security concerns.

Analysts also have said any sale to Lenovo would face regulatory obstacles, but they have suggested that a sale of just BlackBerry's handset business and not its core network infrastructure might just pass muster with regulators.


Soda pop damages your cells' telomeres

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  yesterday

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Those free soft drinks at your last start-up may come with a huge hidden price tag. The Toronto Sun reports that researchers at the University of California — San Francisco found study participants who drank pop daily had shorter telomeres — the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells — in white blood cells. Short telomeres have been associated with chronic aging diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

The researchers calculated daily consumption of a 20-ounce pop is associated with 4.6 years of additional biological aging. The effect on telomere length is comparable to that of smoking, they said.

"This finding held regardless of age, race, income and education level," researcher Elissa Epel said in a press release."

Birth control pills threaten fish stocks

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a week ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Experimental research has shown that small amounts of estrogen in waste water can lead to rapid large-scale changes in fish populations.

The lead researcher of a new study is calling for improvements to some of Canada's waste water treatment facilities after finding that introducing the birth control pill in waterways created a chain reaction in a lake ecosystem that nearly wiped out a freshwater fish.

"Right away, the male fish started to respond to the estrogen exposure by producing egg yolk proteins and shortly after that they started to develop eggs," she said in an interview from Saint John, N.B. "They were being feminized."

Kidd said shortly after introducing the estrogen, the number of fathead minnow crashed, reducing numbers to just one per cent of the population.

"It was really unexpected that they would react so quickly and so dramatically," she said. "The crash in the population was very evident and very dramatic and very rapid and related directly to the estrogen addition."

Kidd said that created a domino effect, causing the population of lake trout, the fathead minnow's main predator, to decline. She said the number of insects, the fathead minnow's main source of food, also started to increase.

The good news is that after removing the estrogen, the fathead minnow population recovered back to what it was before the research began.


Texas Ebola patient dies.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Thomas Duncan, the ebola patient being treated in Texas, has died.

Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with the deadly virus on U.S. soil, was given the experimental medication brincidofovir. A hospital in Nebraska said it is using the same drug to treat an American journalist who was airlifted from Liberia and arrived Monday.

If he had survived, he could have faced criminal charges in both the US and Liberia,

“We are looking at whether he intentionally and knowingly exposed the public to the virus,” said Debbie Denmon, a spokesperson for the Dallas County prosecutor’s office.

“It’s the issue of holding someone accountable, that you can’t just get on an airplane and lie on a travel document and get to the United States and lie on a hospital document,” she said.

Neighbors in Liberia said that Duncan had been in direct contact with a woman, who later died of Ebola. Duncan reportedly helped carry the 19-year-old woman, who was convulsing, to a nearby hospital. They said it was not clear whether Duncan knew the woman had Ebola before he left Liberia.

According to officials, Duncan reported on an airport screening questionnaire that he had had no contact with an Ebola patient. Before he left Liberia, officials checked his temperature at the airport. He had no fever. Authorities in Liberia said last week that they plan to prosecute Duncan for lying on the questionnaire.

The question has been mooted in his case, but with people willing to try to do anything to get to a country where they have a better chance of getting treatment, we're going to see a lot more of this."


NASA asks Boeing, SpaceX to stop work on next-gen space taxi

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Due to a challenge by Sierra Nevada, NASA has asked the winners for the next earth-to-orbit launch vehicles to halt work, at least temporarily.

After rewarding Boeing and SpaceX with the contracts to build the spacecrafts NASA is now asking the companies to stop their work on the project.

The move comes after aerospace company Sierra Nevada filed a protest of the decision after losing out on the bid.

Sierra Nevada was competing against Boeing and SpaceX for a share of the $6.8 billion CCP contracts. The contracts will cover all phases of development as well as testing and operational flights. Each contract will cover a minimum of two flights and a maximum of four, with each agency required to have one test flight with a NASA representative on board.

On Sept. 16, NASA announced who the winners were of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts. Sierra Nevada then filed a protest with the GAO on Sept. 26, and issued a statement saying the protest was asking for: “a further detailed review and evaluation of the submitted proposals and capabilities.”

According to NASA’s Public Affairs Office, this legal protest stops all work currently being done under these contracts. However, officials have not commented on whether-or-not the companies can continue working if they are using private funds.

Sierra Nevada's orbiter resembles a mini space shuttle. That alone (remember the problems with the tiles) should have been enough to disqualify them."


Gaining weight? Blame it on the fat person in the room.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Several sites are reporting on a University of Illinois study that shows that people eat more in the presence of a fat person.

The test involved a sample of 82 college coeds who were observed helping themselves to a simple pasta and salad meal. Each of the coeds were themselves of normal weight. The students first required to watch what they believed was a fat woman serving herself some of the food. The fat woman was actually an actress wearing a fat suit.

After observing the "corpulent" woman serve herself, the students were allowed to come forward and serve themselves pasta and salad. On average, the coeds each served themselves more pasta than the "fat" woman had selected while taking less salad than she did. When the same study was performed with the actress appearing sans the fat suit, researchers observed that students ended up eating more salad than pasta. The conclusion was simple: people may consume more unhealthy food and eat less healthy food when in the presence of an overweight person.

As anyone on a diet will tell you, a waste is a terrible thing to mind. And weight control is a lot more complex than the article makes it seem, though some will welcome the opportunity to blame someone else. BTW, since when is pasta unhealthy? We're omnivores, not rabbits."


First birth from human womb transplant

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "The headline sounds like something from the tabloids — "Woman becomes first to give birth from transplanted womb — using one donated from her own mother". But it's from The National Post quoting The Lancet:

The breakthrough was reported by The Lancet medical journal on its website last night. It is thought the birth occurred within the last month after doctors transplanted wombs into several women who had a rare genetic condition that meant they were born without their own womb.

In January, one of the patients underwent in-vitro fertilization treatment that resulted in an embryo being transferred to her new womb. The donated womb came from the woman’s own mother, so the baby is also the first born to a woman using the same womb from which she emerged herself.

In wake of the Lancet article, the Swedish team refused to confirm a baby had been born saying: "As soon as there is a scientific peer-reviewed paper, we will comment on this. I will provide you with information as soon as we have some."

Eight of Dr. Brannstrom’s patients received their wombs from close relatives, reducing the risk of their bodies rejecting them.

There's nothing at The Lancet online yet."
Link to Original Source


Blackberry abandonning phone market.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Now that Crackberries are more likely to be referred to as dingleberries, the CBC is reporting that Blackberry has made preparations to abandon the phone market. Blackberry has created Blackberry Technology Solutions

The unit ... includes QNX, the company that BlackBerry acquired and used to develop the operating system that became the platform for its new smartphones, and Certicom, a former independent Toronto-area company with advanced security software.

BTS will also include BlackBerry's Project Ion, which is an application platform focused on machine-to-machine Internet technology, Paratek antenna tuning technology and about 44,000 patents.

When you have less market share than Windows Phone, it's time to throw in the towel ... or as they say in the new "lets not admit we screwed up" venacular, "pivot to take advantage of new opportunities." Yet another tech company brought down by CEOs who rested to long on their laurels."


Remote "kill switch" coming for Android

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "All you iOS users can start howling about how Android is now copying yet another feature — the ability to brick a stolen phone remotely. Remember, though, this is something the feds are looking to make mandatory for all phones, so while it's about time, it's not an attempt to match the iPhone feature-for-feature."
Link to Original Source



America's two-tiered justice as seen from north of the border

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  3 days ago From the CBC - Americans are taught that everyone is equal before the law. Is that still the case?

The answer is a resounding No.

Americans all stand equal before the law, children are taught in this country, regardless of wealth or race or social status. Because this is a classless society.

Of course, children here are also told that a nocturnal fairy will exchange old teeth for cash.

The bitter truth, more obvious by the year, is that law enforcement in the U.S. is actually the enforcement of the class system itself.

If you are poor, you understand that. If you are wealthy, you probably understand it, too, but in another way altogether.

For a member of the American underclass, a minor brush with authorities can turn into the kind of Kafkaesque despair that most Americans associate with places like Egypt or Russia or Iran.

Violent class warfare backed by the state in what is supposed to be a classless society. And it's probably going to get worse as the middle class, after 40 years of not reaping the benefits of their increased productivity, become more disenfranchised and less invested in the future.


One of the good things about using a computer again ...

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  3 days ago I get to notice the deterioration in my good eye sooner than I would otherwise. So I know what to mention at my next visit in December, since the distortion is similar to how the distortion started in my "bad" eye. Hopefully killing off some more blood vessels with a laser will be all that's needed, since there's no bleeding (though there is a new blind spot that is noticeable on occasion).

If it continues to degenerate noticeably, I'll bump up my appointment.


How We Celebrate Turkey Day in Kanuckistan

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a week ago

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving several weeks before the US. This is because historically our growing season is shorter, though this may change due to a combination of improved plant breeds and global warming.

While most people do the Sunday dinner thing, we end up doing it Monday. Why? Because of the annual "It's Thanksgiving weekend so I'm gonna renovate something in the house" that my brother-in-law does. So I spent Saturday and Sunday helping with a wall and laying new flooring in the basement. And am I sore! But that's okay, this evening's Thanksgiving supper will make up for it.

One of my nephews is bringing his new girlfriend, and since everyone who will be in attendance insists on continuing to misgender me and call my by my old name even after all these years, it'll be amusing. I'll just explain the situation, how they can't seem to accept it but that they're family, so what the heck, and watch what happens.

And I'm sure that they'll be delighted* to find out I'm publishing my bio later this year, where I'll write frankly about growing up hiding what I was, the first murder and the resulting ptsd, the sexual assault which made it worse, what it was like transitioning and all the other fun stuff.

And I'll probably hear "why can't you just be gay" AGAIN! Family - gotta love 'em.

(to the tune "This Old Man")
I'm stuck with them,
they're stuck with me,
we're a dysfunctional fa-mi-ly ...
but that's okay 'cuz life is never dull,
so I'm gonna go and eat until I'm full.

Normal is SO over-rated nowadays.

(.*for values of "delighted" equivalent to "If you do that I'm going to change my name so nobody knows we're related")


Revisiting old works ...

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

I was looking back at my old "Gender Education" series. Can't believe it will be NINE YEARS in December. Wow.

It was good for its' time, but it's dated, and isn't the approach I would take today. The world has changed, I have changed, yadda yadda yadda. So, I'm going to revisit the topic, inserting it into my workflow before my other stuff. Should make a good free ebook.


Saw this in the firehose

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

Just in case this doesn't make it to the front page, I'm throwing my two cents in here.

Should Twitter Suspend LGBT Engineer Accused Of Raping Her Wife?

Getting rape prosecuted has long provided its own set of deeply frustrating difficulties, from belligerent questioning of accusers to blatant refusal to investigate claims.

It is also not particularly surprisingâ"but still extremely upsettingâ"that the alleged rapist in this case has insinuated the accuser made her claim for monetary gains. Nor is it surprising that the employer of the accused has neither fired the alleged perpetrator nor denounced the trial.

What is surprising is that the alleged rapist is a well-regarded feminist and LGBT advocate, Dana McCallum, a transgender woman who was named by Business Insider as the fifth-most important LGBT person in the tech world. She is a senior engineer for Twitter, which stated "We don't comment on employeesâ(TM) personal mattersâ when McCallum was charged with five felonies earlier this years: three counts of spousal rape, one count of false imprisonment and one count of domestic violence.

McCallum ultimately pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two misdemeanors: one count of domestic violence with corporal injury to the spouse and one count of false imprisonment. The District Attorney's office insisted on a guilty plea when she attempted to enter no contest. From a legal standpoint, the case is resolved, but the aftershocks in the way we think about rape and assault will reverberate for a long time.

Or at least they should. Unfortunately, the relative silence around McCallumâ(TM)s trial, let alone the issue of woman-on-woman rape and sexual assault, is deafening and disturbing.

Dana McCallum, having pled guilty, should be demoted, not just suspended. This is someone who has demonstrated a serious lack of the people skills necessary to be a senior anything - as someone who needs a period of reflection, and then supervision. As Reuters reports, this is a senior engineer who now needs to take a year's worth of domestic violence classes.

Oct 7 (Reuters) - A senior Twitter engineer hailed as one of the most important gay or transgender people in the tech industry was sentenced on Tuesday to three years probation after pleading guilty to false imprisonment and domestic violence charges, San Francisco prosecutors said.

Dana Contreras, known professionally as Dana McCallum, was also ordered to attend 52 weeks of domestic violence classes and stay away from her wife, the victim in the case, as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Under that agreement prosecutors agreed to drop more serious rape charges against Contreras, 33, who was arrested in January after the attack, said Max Szabo, a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

In addition to her job as an engineer for Twitter, Contreras, who is transgendered, has advocated for gay, women's and transgender rights.

In December of 2013, the tech website Business Insider ranked Contreras No. 5 on its list of the 31 most important LGBT people in tech, calling her "one of the geniuses behind Twitter."

[sarcasm] Way to go, genius. [/sarcasm]

The rule is simple - if you're prominent, you will be held to a higher standard, if only because your screw-ups will cause more damage. And that's fair. After all, you're reaping the benefits of prominence, so you should also expect the responsibilities that go with it. We don't see that happen often enough (just look at Toronto mayor Rob Ford), but we're starting to see it in, of all places, the world of sports, where domestic violence (players) and bigotry (owners) have consequences far beyond the courtroom.


It's official

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

I am now officially registered with the government as a publisher, with my own ISBN publishers pefix. That's pretty fast (1-day) service. Gotta love Kanuckistan :-)


How many career changes will you make in a lifetime?

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago Overview

The idea of "one career for a lifetime" is getting more and more outdated. It's not just that change is now the only constant when it comes to jobs, but also because people are living longer.

When 80% of the population worked on farms, and people died at an average age of 47, the idea of a "lifelong career" was taken for granted. Then again, so was "lifelong marriage", and "following in your folks footsteps."

That last option is impossible for many, because the jobs their parents had just don't exist any more - and this means that the "work culture" they were exposed to second-hand at home also is no longer a useful reference.

Think of how many jobs the post-WW2 technological revolution has created and now is killing off. TV repairmen? Not too many left. VCR and DVD repairs? Forget it. When's the last time your car needed an "electronic tune-up?" Or, thanks to long-life, self-lubricating materials, to have a "chassis lube?" Points changed? Physical newspapers and books? Even Saturday morning cartoons can't compete with "teh innert00bs."

My situation - at a crossroads

After a couple of years away from the keyboard because of damage to my retinas, I was really relieved to find that I could program again. But something has changed. Me. I found myself asking "Do I really want to get back into *that* rat-race again? The crappy hours, impossible demands, sleazy management, and over-the-top hype, the much ado about nothing that seems to accompany everything in the software industry today?"

After I transitioned, I got to see how women are not treated equally first-hand. We'd be sitting in meetings and end up just rolling our eyes as the men went off on yet another pissing contest, totally ignoring our input, even though in many cases I was the programmer who had to fix the problems their virtual circle jerks caused. And people wonder why women drop out of tech after an average of 10 years in the field???

I loved creating software, so it became my career. Do what you enjoy doing, right? But more and more, I cringe at the thought of the poison that accompanies today's "development culture" - the bogus deadlines, the "ship it then (never) fix it" mentality, the juvenile "pissing contests". I have my development environment all set up, and I find myself doing anything but ...

I've been toying with an idea ...

Every few years, someone comes along and tells me I should write a book. Sure, I can write, and I've got lots I've always wanted to write, but "life gets in the way." I was thinking of going back into programming to pay the bills, and do the writing on the side, but that's not the entrepreneurial spirit that got me into starting my first business, or into programming. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I can either devote all my energies to one or another - or do a crappy job at both by trying to do both. It's true, just as you can only serve one master, you can only follow your own muse.

And I really should follow my muse.

So, I did my research, did some more thinking, and at this time, for me, changing careers is the right thing to do. I've registered with the government as a publisher, and will be receiving my first batch of ISBNs in the next little while. As you can see from a previous post, I'm not going to engage in the more and more lame "I have an idea for a book/game/software - everybody give me money and I'll create it" crowdsourcing model. It's time to let the internet work for me for a bit, and not vice versa.


Publishing idea for slashdotters

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

Part of the problem with sites like Google Books is that there's no "it's free, unless you want to pay for it" option.

And putting two copies of the same book, one free and one with a price, will look like you're spamming the store.

However, after a bit of investigation, IF the publications have different ISBN numbers, and you add some extra content (I'm thinking cover art, photos, diagrams, etc., that don't result in the free edition being the book version of "crippleware"), it should meet Google's guidelines, because each ISBN number is treated as a separate entity, as opposed to books that don't have an ISBN.



Ben Bernanke tries to refinance for 3rd time in 5 years, turned down.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

So Ben Bernanke tried to refinance his home for a 3rd time in 5 years, and got turned down. Guess what, Ben? You shouldn't be treating your home as an ATM.

Bernanke reportedly bought his home in 2004, slightly before he was named as America's top central banker and the man with more control over lending rates than anyone else on Earth.

He refinanced the home in 2009, then again in 2011. And based on his comments this week, it appears he was rejected by a bank when he tried to do so again recently.

"Just between the two of us," Bloomberg quoted him as telling the audience. âoeI recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so."

When the comment drew laughs, he added "Iâ(TM)m not making that up."

"I think itâ(TM)s entirely possible" that lenders "may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions," he said.

I guess the 1%ers still think that absolutely none of the rules don't apply to them, and that banks should continue to make risky loans to them, just because of who they are.


Coupon sites dealfind, teambuy bankrupt, bought by Ncrowd

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about three weeks ago Less than 2 weeks ago, the company that owns discount coupon sites and filed for bankruptcy. People who had bought discount coupons aren't getting refunds from either teambuy or the individual merchants (who are also refusing to honor the coupons).

Deal-lovers who bought everything from tooth whitening treatments to digital cameras on and are angry about getting burned along with some merchants after the cut-rate online coupon sitesâ(TM) insolvency filing in Canada.

One of Canadaâ(TM)s largest coupon websites has filed for bankruptcy protection, leaving customers stranded. Couch Commerce Inc., the parent company of and, went into financial restructuring in Canada under the Companiesâ(TM) Creditors Arrangement Act on Aug. 29.

This month, it sent form-letter emails to customers, saying they could not get refunds related to any purchases made on or before that date. Nor could they use any credits issued on or before that date.

The new acquirer, ncrowd, currently has an empty FAQ page, so former dealfind and teambuy customers need to rely on blogs and the press for information.


Is Windows 10 really that "business friendly?"

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about three weeks ago

Sure, the conventional start menu is back, but the live tiles off to the side are going to present two problems for business, who will probably want to lock that feature down tight or remove it entirely. I can't picture employers wanting their employees to customize the menu so that they can see their facebook, twitter, or other social media feeds. And I don't think employers want every supplier of data to a live tile to know every time the user clicks the start menu.

Sure, you could set a time between refreshes (but that sort of defeats the whole concept of a "live" tile), but the suppliers of the data feeds are still going to have some idea of when the person starts work, etc.

Back when businesses first integrated Windows into their workspaces, there was a tremendous waste of time by employees playing solitaire and arranging the desktop the way they liked it, always fiddling around with the wallpaper and icons. And then the web came along, in many ways making things worse. And smartphones. Live tiles are going to be yet another distraction. Every time a user goes to start another application, they're going to be presented with several opportunities to look at something else instead. Distractions lead to mistakes and lower productivity, and businesses will be paying for this. So too will employees who find themselves out of a job because they get caught up in the "new shiny" to the point where their work suffers.

At least with Windows 8.1, you can disable showing the start menu by default and never see a live tile. Unless Microsoft provides a way to completely lock down or disable tiles in the start menu, I don't think Windows 10 is going to be classifiable as "business friendly".


Example of a legitimate use for Tor

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about three weeks ago Found this in the Firehose. Hope it makes it to the front page, because in some jobs, and some parts of the world, being "stealth" when you're trans is the only safe option How Tor protects and serves transgender service members.

Last year, for example, a Navy cryptologist named Landon Wilson was put up for promotion while serving in Afghanistan. The recognition of ultimately backfired: As the paperwork was prepared, colleagues found out that Landon was born a girl and was thus was a transgender man. He was fired despite his prowess and the resources the military had poured into training him.


Other soldiers claimed they were forced to bury dead bodies and take on other punitive duties after their gender identity had been outed.

Multiple women [serving in Afghanistan] have told me that they were suddenly put at the head of their supply convoys every week until the end of their tour, with the idea that if there were an [explosive device], theyâ(TM)d be in the position that would be struck by it,â

Pretty good argument that not all users of Tor are doing it to hide acts of wrongdoing.


Yes, SimCity 2k is beatable.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about three weeks ago

While looking around for a minecraft clone so I could see what the hype was about, I came across something called Dwarf Fortress. The New Yorker describes it as SimCity's evil twin.

And some games werenâ(TM)t allowed in at all. These gamesâ"most notably the immensely popular SimCity, as well as its lunatic homemade successor Dwarf Fortressâ"were deemed âoetoo complex or too time consuming,â and are represented only by noninteractive video displays. This is about as satisfying as looking at pictures of food, but it is also in a perverse sort of way a real tribute: these games are still too big, too stubbornly new and strange and mysterious, to fit into a museum just yet. They canâ(TM)t be sampled; you must surrender to them.

Designed by Will Wright, who had made only a single previous game, and first released in 1989, SimCity casts the player as a slightly supernatural city planner, laying out roads and power plants and building zones in a simple, brightly colored interface with a distinct resemblance to MS Paint. You choose tax rates and ordinances from a series of menus, and try to balance traffic and property values and pollution and dozens of other factors on the way to creating a successful cityâ"with the definition of âoesuccessfulâ rather up in the air. It has no âoeend,â no plot, no set goal: you play until you are bored, or until your city seems to you to be perfect or maimed beyond repair. Along with its increasingly pretty and complex sequels (the 1994 SimCity 2000 is the one chosen for âoeApplied Design,â

This canard still persists today. I know it can be beaten - I did it, and it's simpler than I thought.

First - the background. Back when my retinas were getting lasered on a regular basis, I would fire up SK2k in an emulator under KNOPPIX. This gave me a chance to focus on large graphics on a large screen, instead of stuff like fonts. It worked too - my eyes would recover after a few days of intermittent gameplay.

So, since SC2K had always held a certain fascination for me, I determined to beat it. Without bothering with complications like variable tax rates for different industries, etc.

It turns out that the real limiting factor is good old H20. Starting with a flat world and enough water available in rows in the center, you never have to add any more water. Why in rows? Because your pumps benefit from having water on 6 of the 8 adjacent tiles, giving them the best space/capacity trade-off. Why in the center? Because you'll put your industries along the edge, so half (or more near a corner) of your pollution goes to your neighbors, instead of spoiling your water supply.

You do NOT need a seaport. Ever. Or a marina. And you can ignore most of those "Commerce needs new connections" messages.

The optimal grid is 9x9, surrounded by roads on all sides. Continue this pattern, even through the water area (a grid of 9x9 blocks of 9x9), surrounded by a ring of 9x9 blocks for commercial / sports development later in the game. Leave enough of a gap for a set of highways to go from one edge of the screen to the other (forming a huge # sign), by working from the edge to create more 9x9 blocks.

DON'T draw all the roads right away - just lay them out as you need them, otherwise you'll go broke.

If you build police departments, fire departments, schools, etc. as required, you will eventually "break the simulator" Turns out (it's in the docs) that there are only 150 "mini simulators" in the game. You'll know when you're broken this because the next launch arcology will fill up immediately. Do this a few times, and you can start eliminating public utitilies, schools, etc., to increase revenue even more.

Once you have built and populated enough launch arcologies, you'll get the "The exodus has begun" dialog. Game over.

It took me 24 hours, going from 1900 to 26-something. I took a load of screen-shots, to document progress, and saved the game almost every "year", just in case that last run hadn't worked, but it DID!


We've gone past "good enough" computing ...

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a month ago

Time was when most of us were complaining about needing more ram, more cpu, more storage. Today? Computers are cheap, fast, multi-core, more energy-efficient than ever, with more storage than many of us will ever use ... and by the time we fill up those huge hard disks, we'll just buy a newer, faster computer with several times the storage and even more ram for less.

And if that's not enough, there's online storage. It's not just Linus Torvalds who can say "Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it." Everyone does it - even when they really shouldn't.

"Fast, good, cheap - pick two?" Not any more. For most users and use cases, we really can have it all, literally right in the palm of our hand if that's what we want. Sure, a lot of the old skills that were needed when hardware sucked are now obsolete, but I for one don't miss those days. Not when I can concentrate on doing what I want instead.


I'm dismayed at how many of the old gang are gone ...

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a month ago

I took another poster's advice and went through my two dormant accounts and friended a bunch of my old friends. But looking at the date many of them made their last post or last journal entry, it looks like many of them are gone, probably for good.

On another note, I simply don't have time to read, never mind respond to, AC posts any more. I know how disappointed that will make a certain individual (and everyone else will be going YAY!!!! FINALLY!!!! :-)

So what's next? All I can say is that I guarantee it will probably be more interesting than anything I've journaled about so far. I just haven't quite decided where to start, because it's a bit more complicated than anything else I've written about to date.


Victims of technological change - why haters gotta hate.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a month ago

Curiosity works for a lot of us. We're willing to turn aside from the tools that work for us for a bit, even build up some technical debt in our area of expertise, to explore some new technology that might in the long run prove beneficial, or at least interesting (and if you're a curious person, poking around stuff that's interesting is FUN).

And yet, we probably all have areas where we're a bit of an iconoclast. And technology is littered with people who just refused to accept change, and became irrelevant. We don't code everything in assembler, or c, or c++. Even I use java (gasp) on occasion. But what happens when the computing environment becomes so user-centric (a GOOD THING) that people are free to choose what works for them without having to seek the advice of self-anointed gurus whose advice is no longer relevant?

We should ask ourselves why "haters gotta hate"

Sometimes those "gurus" fail to move on, becoming more shrill with every passing year. It's a personal thing for them - they cling to what used to work because that's all they have. They become trollish, haters, because if they're forced to realize that their life's work is now worthless, what will they have left? What WILL they do? They know in the back of their mind that they're too far behind to catch up, so this fear drives them to become even more rigid in their views.

Which brings us to Alexander P Kowolski, the HOSTS file troll.

Here's a guy who posts up to 100 anonymous responses a day, going through my posting history to crap-flood every discussion. I think this response sums up the problem pretty well, at least from my perspective:

Well, since you FINALLY asked how you are absurd:

1st definition of absurd from google: Ab-surd: (of a person or a person's behavior or actions) foolish; unreasonable.

Going through every post I make in every thread, posting multiple responses (up to 100 posts a day) attacking me based on my gender (including in a thread about sexual harassment) - I think that most people would qualify your behaviour as both foolish and unreasonable.

Getting all bent out of shape when someone exposes your bullying tactics and then tells other people how to do the same to you - both your original bullying and your response when you get it thrown right back at you are foolish, unreasonable, and just plain childish.

Saying I'm stalking you when it's obvious you're the one doing the stalking - foolish, unreasonable, and more than a bit delusional. Oh, and your paranoia is showing.

Thinking that attacking me because I'm transsexual is going to get you anywhere on a tech site, when tech attracts a higher-than-average number of people in the LGBT community, as well as sympathizers, is foolish. Continuing it day after day when it doesn't work is not just unreasonable, it's stupid and/or insane.

Clinging to arguments for your HOSTS file that are completely orthogonal to today's reality, and that obviously the vast majority don't care about and don't need because they have found better ways to solve their own problems, is foolish on it's face and unreasonable to those looking on, who use their computers just fine without your "solution."

Going on about how "taking estrogen is rotting your brain", that "you're crazy to have cut your balls off" (btw - I'm not a surgeon, and I don't pretend to be one on the innnertubes), when I'm following expert medical advice that has a proven track record of success, well, that's both foolish and ridiculous.

The problem isn't your hosts file - it's your behaviour, which certainly is absurd, and probably disturbed as well.

That leads to another question - why? What is it about me in particular that sets you off worse than anyone else? Is it me, or do you have a problem with women in general (I seem to recall some attacks you made on other women who have challenged you that would indicate that this may be the case)? Do you think that men are superior to women, and that anyone who willingly "trades in" to become a woman is stupid because you have a low opinion of women?

And that, of course, brings us back on-topic - the "science has a sexual assault problem". You don't seem to be capable of the introspection necessary to realize how absurd your behaviour is. How many other women have you felt it's your right to attack, and still continue years later, about their sex, gender, or sexual identity, just because you disagreed with their opinion on a technical issue of absolutely no import to anyone but you?

He has time and again failed to realize that people who use alternatives that work for them, such as adblock, don't give a damn about his stupid hosts file and the supposed benefits. It's THEIR computer, and they're free to use what works for them - and it's NOT going to be his HOSTS file. And crap-flooding discussions with challenges to enter some useless "pissing contest" of the benefits of one over the other is irrelevant to pretty much everyone except him. So why do it? Perhaps because he is so psychologically invested in his world view that any alternative is just too scary.

So why "feed the troll" by posting a journal entry about him?

That's a valid question, for sure. But if you see him as a victim of technological change instead of just a troll, it might help put some of the other "wars" on slashdot into perspective. We get comfortable with our niche, change happens, and we have to, once again, learn a whole new slew of technologies. The prospect can be daunting, sometimes it's just a feeling of "oh heck, here we go again, change for the sake of change yadda yadda yadda ...", and it's easier to say "I'm just going to stick with what works" ... until one day we wake up and realize we're in danger of becoming totally irrelevant.

It can happen to any of us. Did it happen to APK? Or was he always like this? I don't know, and I don't really care. Either way, the lessons to be learned are the same. Haters gotta hate, because if you take that away from them, they have nothing to fall back on. They are more to be pitied, same as many of the opponents of same-sex marriage, now that they can't bolster their own sense of self-worth by hating gays and lesbians, are feeling a bit lost.


I'm back.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a month ago

I can see well enough to use a computer again, which came as a welcome surprise. Huge thanks to the retinal surgeons who patched my left eye back into some semblance of working order, and to the work over the last several years by the team of ophthalmologists and tech assistants who helped preserve much of the sight in my right eye.

It's been an interesting experience so far, and one that I have learned a lot from. I've been told that the betting money would be on my retinas being relatively stable for the next two-three years, though the vitrectomy was such an insult to the lens that I can expect to need it to be replaced in the next year or so.

The more things change, the more they stay the same ... especially here on /., where APK wasted no time claiming that various anonymous posters were me. Comments like this one must be driving him even nuttier - will he be accusing that poster of being me?

Only on slashdot :-)

Unfortunately, I never expected to use a computer again, so I don't have the passwords to my old accounts (neither my original one, nor the one I created with a gender-appropriate nic after I was outed as a transsexual). I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Just like I'm sorry that I wasn't able to keep people up to date before falling off the face of the net.

There are still plenty of challenges ahead, both near-term and long-term. And plenty of unanswered questions that I will do my best to clear up. I was going to do it elsewhere and just post links, but really, this is home (despite the beta crap).

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