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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

Bazman Prediction fail (275 comments)

The prediction fail with that watch is the idea that you need any form of input. These days, phones, tablets, and smartwatches are purely consumption devices, designed to pump content into your brain, force you to watch ads, and take money from your pocket. At least, that's what the big corporations want. How many futurists saw that coming?

about a week ago

Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

Bazman Is this a "Free Speech" issue? (325 comments)

Is Free Speech so important to the USA that you can't relinquish it to a 12"x4" piece of metal on your cars?

US plates have always amused me. In the UK car number plates are highly regulated. They have to use a particular typeface, be a specific size, have a yellow background for the rear plate, white on the front, made from certain reflective materials etc. You can't even adjust the letter spacing to make words. If your car is "M35 EXY" you can't change it to "M3 5EXY". There is a market for custom codes but most of these are historic plates that have been transferred from old vehicles and are
more likely to be interesting than codes in the current scheme (I saw a Rolls Royce with plate "BR 2" - my initials - recently).

You've get several hundred square feet to plaster the rest of your car body with messages, so why so precious about your plates?

about two weeks ago

Tesla Model S Has Hidden Ethernet Port, User Runs Firefox On the 17" Screen

Bazman First thought... (208 comments)

Hmm April 1st has a long tail this year...

Next year I'm not going to believe anything until the middle of May.

about two weeks ago

Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

Bazman Re:Another piece of failing equipment (518 comments)

$23 for a side view mirror? Bargain! Some of these things are integrated into the door panels, with controls into the interior and embedded turn signal lights, and cost hundreds to replace. Plus installation.

Meanwhile I smash my side mirrors with impunity, since Land Rover door mirrors are £8 each and fix on with a wrench and a screwdriver.

about three weeks ago

Prominent GitHub Engineer Julie Ann Horvath Quits Citing Harrassment

Bazman Re:That's capitalism. (710 comments)

Wow the union situation in the USA is so screwed up compared to us lefty commies in the UK. Can you seriously stop your workers getting together and discussing their wages and conditions? Appointing a spokesperson to come and ask you for an extra two minutes toilet break every day? Would you just fire the lot of them and re-hire?

But crudely put, employment law is there to try and bring the dicks up to the level of the good guys, rather than bring the good guys down to the level of the dicks. So if you're not a dick, you shouldn't have to worry about it.

about a month ago

Prominent GitHub Engineer Julie Ann Horvath Quits Citing Harrassment

Bazman Re:That's capitalism. (710 comments)

You sound like you think you own your employees and consider them your private property. Didn't you guys have a war to stop that a couple of hundred years ago?

about a month ago

Prominent GitHub Engineer Julie Ann Horvath Quits Citing Harrassment

Bazman Re:That's capitalism. (710 comments)

Which is why in civilised countries we have unions and employment law. If I have a grievance like she did with my employer, I go to my union, I don't resign. They understand employment law, contract law, case law, and I have a right to a union rep at meetings with management. Why resign? Does she have a legal case for suing the company? Because I know that's how you leftpondians prefer to do it.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Easiest To Use Multi-User Map Editing?

Bazman Re:Well to start.... (52 comments)

I think you just described the OpenGeo suite from Boundless except with less Java because enterprisey.

Another idea would be something based on Django with the GeoDjango functionality, a simple model for location with picture and whatever other attributes you want in your model, and job almost done. Buy some hosting and run it, or plug an Rpi into your home network and punch a line through your router.

about a month ago

Google Flu Trends Gets It Wrong Three Years Running

Bazman Wrong measure (64 comments)

The headline is that the prediction was overestimating three times in the past three years. So what?

Google's Flu Trend plots don't have uncertainties on them, so they'll never be exactly right. So they either have to be overestimates or underestimates. In any three years, you are going to get at least *two* under or over estimates. So post-hoc, saying "ZOMG! There's three overestimates in three years!! #EPICFAIL LOL!" isn't very meaningful.

Until Big Data People understand statistical uncertainty and are happy to put prediction confidence intervals on their data, this will keep happening. However, prediction confidence intervals are an admission of uncertainty, and uncertainty is weakness, right? And we won't have any of that in our corporate Big Data strategy document. Mr Statistician, you're fired, we're hiring some more Big Data Scientists.

about a month ago

The $100,000 Device That Could Have Solved Missing Plane Mystery

Bazman Re:snark (461 comments)

You don't know they're dead. They could be halfway up a mountain deciding who to eat first.

about a month ago

Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

Bazman Re:Half right (286 comments)

Friend of mine was one of the 16,000 complaints. I think the gist of his argument was that if you read the weather wrong in London, you'll get wet walking between the bus stop and your house because you didn't take an umbrella. If you read the weather wrong in the Highlands of Scotland, you die.

about a month and a half ago

YouTube Ordered To Remove "Illegal" Copyright Blocking Notices

Bazman I do not own the copyright blah blah (427 comments)

So are those "No copyright in this it is a fair use" messages I see on youtube not legally enforceable? I mean, I'm only listening to this whole album for criticism... Sheesh! Whoodathunkit.

about 2 months ago

Whatever Happened To the IPv4 Address Crisis?

Bazman Re:IPv6 has this tiny problem (574 comments)

Great idea Joe! Now, hey, what's the IP address of the DNS server?

about 2 months ago

Non-Coders As the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements

Bazman Bunch of Nathan Barleys (158 comments)

Someone looked up all the people who were on the committee of this Year of Code thing. Only three of 23 had a geeky coding background. The others were a bunch of entrepreneurs and startup-biz types.

Tom Morris blog

How many of them even know what 'github' is? Just a bunch of Nathan Barley types who got lucky. Although it doesn't mean the organisation would be any better if Nathan's programmer sidekick Pingu was on the committee.

See also

Adrian Short blog.

and see also all the episodes of Nathan Barley on YouTube if you've not seen it before.


about 2 months ago

Revolutionary Scuba Mask Creates Breathable Oxygen Underwater On Its Own

Bazman Red flags... (375 comments)

Red flags that this is not and probably won't ever be a working thing:

1. "Designer Jeabyun Yeon has created something great". No, Designers don't create things. Engineers create things. This Designer creates with Photoshop and 3DStudio, and his creations are not 'things'.

2. Its on a design blog site. Not a scuba site. Not an engineering site. A design site. I reckon I could troll up a fake thing (collapsible refrigerator, hover table, solar powered sun-tan lamp) and get it posted there if I wanted.

3. Because sharks

about 3 months ago

Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie

Bazman A *retired* police officer? (1431 comments)

In every movie I've seen police officers always get killed two days before retirement.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Protect Your Passwords From Amnesia?

Bazman My Solution (381 comments)

I keep my pa55w0rd hidden in plain sight.

about 3 months ago

How One Man Fought His ISP's Bad Behavior and Won

Bazman Re:What's the problem here? (181 comments)

Nobody has answered the questions I posed. Does the user see an even slightly different page? Do they get different prices on stuff on the site? Who are these affiliates?

I could understand if amazon.com was being redirected to a rival company, or if (as some ISPs have done) typos and invalid DNS entries got redirected to a page stuffed with advertising.

Excuse me if I don't understand this aspect of Amazon's trading practice - but then you are probably sitting in your mom's basement spending her money on Amazon all day long. Okay now we're even.

about 4 months ago

How One Man Fought His ISP's Bad Behavior and Won

Bazman What's the problem here? (181 comments)

From the article: he goes to amazon.com, it returns the IP for the proxy, and eventually a redirect to www.amazon.com/?affiliate=id

How does that affect the user? Do they see a different page than if they'd gone straight to www.amazon.com? Or is it just that the affiliate gets a cut if the user buys anything from amazon at that point? Who loses out here? Other affiliates who aren't in the program?

about 4 months ago


Bazman hasn't submitted any stories.



Bazman Bazman writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I suspected this all along. I've been doing data analysis of tropical disease data for quite some time - meningitis in Africa, loaloa in Cameroon, and most recently lymphatic filariasis in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

And then last week I discover where the money comes from. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They pay the tropical medicine researchers, and the tropical medicine researchers pay me to do the statistics.

But the joke is on Bill, because I only use Free Software - R running under Linux. Reports are written in LaTeX.

Of course this doesn't go down well with my anarchist-inclined friends. Especially when I told one of them that I had a meeting with the tropical medicine people and some guys from the World Bank next week...

Next entry in a years time, no doubt.


Bazman Bazman writes  |  more than 12 years ago

so today is the day of my sea otter movie
  premiere. i'm up until 1.30am writing the
  voice-over script. get up at 7.30am and sort out
  the microphone. Record the parts to my Akai
  digital recorder, and then have to muck with the
  soundcard drivers to get the digital input
  working. I was expecting this sort of trouble,
  and it didn't take long to sort it out. Chopped
  up all the audio and put it in its proper place
  on the Premiere timeline. Grrreat. Adjust a few
  levels here and there and its ready to mix down
  onto my camera.

Once its on the DV tape in the camera, its over
to the TV and the VCR to make a VHS copy. Hello,
that doesn't sound right. There's something wrong
with the audio at the start of the film. Rats. I
check the Premiere project and there's a section
of wav file out of place. Delete. Fixed. Sorted.
I mix down to the camera again.

Then its over to the TV. its 12:30, the transfer
to VHS takes 30 minutes, I'll be out of the house
and on my way to the 3pm showing no problem. I
switch the camera on. Low Battery. I plug the
mains in. Low battery. I try my monster great
fully charged 10 hour battery. Low battery. I
take the batteries out, wander round the house
for a minute, try again. Low battery. The camera
will do nothing except display Low Battery.

This is the final process in getting the finished
film ready. And I'm stuck, totally. Despair hits.
Obscenities fly at nobody in particular. Then I
have an idea. I pack the camera and the tapes into
my bag and run into town to the camera shop where
I bought the camera. I tell them my story. The
man tries my camera with a fresh battery and
it says 'Low Battery'. He takes it for repair,
and offers to make a VHS copy from my DV tape. I
have to come back in an hour.

  Its funny having an hour in which you're in a
tense deadline situation but there's nothing you
can do. I walk back home and try to relax on the
couch. I also search for the receipt for the
camera, and find it in my desk draw.

  After an hour, I pack everything I need onto my
bike and speed back to the camera shop. The film
is being transferred on a machine in full view in
the shop, and some customers are watching! I
wander into town and sit by the fountain for ten
minutes, relaxing again. Nothing I can do.

  Back to the shop, and pick up the tape. Its now
2.25. I speed onto campus and arrive at 2:45, just
in time. At 3pm there's a few Biology students and
some friends in the room to watch the film. They
all seem to like it, and four of us go and have
a coffee in the coffee bar afterwards. I think
they liked it. They certainly liked the otters.



Bazman Bazman writes  |  more than 12 years ago So at least on Saturday I got a fair bit of editing done on my sea otter film - even did a cheesy animated line-over-map thing showing the float plane going from Cordova to the camp, with a silhoutte float plane over the top. Niiiice.

Then saturday night to the pub. The Bobbin was chocka-full of goths.

Then on sunday decide to install my new hard drives. Nightmare. Windows decided that my paging file wasnt big enough. Or wasnt there. But logged me straight out without giving me a chance to fix it. Aargh. Two reinstalls later I got a semblance of a working system back and then had to fix all the device drivers. I've not checked that my soundcards are working yet, I'm just grateful to have video back.

And a power failure on Saturday means lots of machines here at work are screaming. Aaaaaargh....

I dont like Mondays, tell me why, I dont like Mondays...


Bazman Bazman writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Friday. Working at 8.40, and about to leave. At least
today I'll get home before 11. Working hard for a
deadline next week to get some web-based reporting
of food poisoning cases done. I've found a great
web-based free GIS 'mapserver' (google for it) and
thats saved a lot of work and made it all possible.
Now I just have to get the data into it.

Every day we are sent updated data by email which gets
filtered by procmail, gunzipped, un-pgped, and stuffed
into a Postgres database table. Then the idea is that
every midnight or so a job gets the data out of the
table, matches up the postcodes (like zip-codes) with
the small area-based units we use (census tracts of a
sort) and computes incidences over space and time.
Then all this data has to go into a Dbase .dbf file
cos thats what the GIS uses.

So not only am I building a GIS, doing stats analyses
with R (www.r-project.org), I'm also writing code for
R to write out dbf files. Hence the late nights.

And I'm making a documentary about sea otters that has
to be done in a couple of weeks. Aaaaah.

So its Friday, but I dont think I'm going to have a
restful weekend somehow.

  Happiness to all of you.



Bazman Bazman writes  |  more than 12 years ago Ah, I've got moderator points again. Now I have to pay for all those great comments I write on slashdot. Dang.

So, I'm going to whore myself. If you've got comments you want modded up, send $1 to me and I'll use all my moderator points on you whenever I get mod access.

Nothing much else happening today....


Bazman Bazman writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Well well well. Here I am, reading stuff on slashdot when I see someone has a journal entry. When did slashdot become 'blogs for nerds'?

  today I have mostly been thinking about playing football.

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