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Ask Slashdot: DIY 4G Antenna Design For the Holidays?

Carik Re:30$? (135 comments)

From the story:

I would like to build an antenna for her 4G device so they can finally enjoy information the way I have. ... After shopping around any 4G antenna costs way too much money.

So no, this article isn't about building for enjoyment, it's about finding an affordable way to get online. Now, perhaps $30 + shipping is within the OP's "way too much" range, but perhaps he just didn't see that item.

about 2 years ago
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China May Restrict Genetically Engineered Rice

Carik Re:Genetically Modified Food. (183 comments)

[quote]Native species of grains? What agriculturally useful grain is this you see growing out in the wild? Rice, wheat, and especially corn are all dependent on man to cultivate the soil and plant them.[/quote]

Rice, wheat, and corn in the form we commercially farm them are moderately dependent on man to cultivate them.

Amaranth, spelt, and others are all capable of supporting and spreading themselves.

As to their use... well, for the most part, they're of fairly limited use. But it's always useful to have a wide gene-pool: pretty much any kind of animal breeder can tell you that it's a good idea to keep a few outcrosses available in case the primary bloodline gets too inbred. The day may well come when some pest or fungus evolves that will decimate commercial modern wheat, and nothing else. It'd be nice, at that point, to be able to work with some other grain.

In addition, those are also pretty useful for people who, for whatever reason, can't eat wheat. I know three or four people who can't eat wheat -- it makes them violently ill -- but have no problems with amaranth or spelt.

more than 2 years ago
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Trials and Errors: Why Science Is Failing Us

Carik Science DIDN'T fail us. (474 comments)

I saw this article a couple of weeks ago, and wrote a response to it. Here it is again...

My only complaint with this article is the title. This is NOT a failure of science. This is exactly what science is supposed to do. This is a failure of our understanding: scientific research doesn't guarantee absolute answers. It doesn't guarantee that we'll understand any specific thing at the end of the research. It's not a way to make money. It's simply an attempt to show that a given guess is or isn't correct. "Science," in every case mentioned in the article, is doing exactly what it is supposed to: proving an incorrect hypothesis to be incorrect.

I think the critical part there is "[Science is] not a way to make money." The author refers to science as "failing" in industry because the industry can't make money off it. That's not what it's for. It's a nice side effect, granted, but it's not the point. What we call "science" is a set of guidelines for testing guesses. Sometimes those tests show that our guess is probably accurate. Sometimes they show that guess is just plain wrong. In both cases, "science" is doing what it's supposed to do.

more than 2 years ago
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Dutch Supreme Court Sees Game Objects As Goods

Carik Re:This seems bizarre (136 comments)

It could be that the judge wanted to tack on more time... since it looks like he could only impose community service (possibly because everyone involved was a minor?), it may have given him an option to impose a harsher sentence.

I could easily see that: "OK, the max I'm allowed to impose on a minor for a single offense is 100 hours, and that's for threats of violence. But you deserve more punishment, so what else can I do? Oh... you also stole something. That's another 44 hours. If I could think of anything else to add, I would, so count yourself lucky, kid, and don't do it again."

more than 2 years ago
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Is E85 Dead Now?

Carik Re:10% Ethanol (556 comments)

I don't know about E85, but when my local gas stations switched to 10% ethanol my Subaru dropped from 28mpg to 21mpg. If I could get pure gasoline again, I'd happily pay a price 5% higher if I could get back that missing 25% of my fuel economy...

Not to mention that, at least around here, the gas prices didn't actually really drop when they started adding ethanol. And I won't even get started on the damage it seems to be doing to small engines (lawnmowers, for instance...).

more than 2 years ago
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Is E85 Dead Now?

Carik Re:10% Ethanol (556 comments)

No, you MISquoted wikipedia. To quote the full first sentence from the articles on backfiring and knocking:

Backfiring:
"A Back-fire or backfire is an explosion produced by a running internal combustion engine that occurs in the air intake or exhaust system rather than inside the combustion chamber."

Knocking:
"Knocking (also called knock, detonation, spark knock, pinging or pinking) in spark-ignition internal combustion engines occurs when combustion of the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder starts off correctly in response to ignition by the spark plug, but one or more pockets of air/fuel mixture explode outside the envelope of the normal combustion front."

Pinging and knocking are in the cylinder. Backfiring is in the exhaust system or air intake.

I have to admit, though... if you're too lazy to read past word seven of the backfire definition, it sounds like they're the same thing.

more than 2 years ago
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Filtering By License Should Be Possible in App Markets

Carik Re:I don't know about you... (57 comments)

[blockquote]I suspect that many people (including myself), when searching for an application in an App market would prefer to browse through the FLOSS offerings first, then fall back to free (as in beer) or adware and proprietary apps if nothing suitable (or familiar) is available.[/blockquote]

You're probably right. But "many" is not the majority. Most people just want to know whether it works. Google and Canonical aren't really aiming for the FOSS community. They're aiming for the community loosely labeled "people who have money." There's a fair amount of overlap, of course, but there's a lot more people in the second group than the first. Confusing 80% of the first community to cater to 90% of the second isn't really a good business decision.

That said, it probably wouldn't cost them much to add the feature, and it would be pretty easy to make it not get in the way of people who didn't care. I admit it would be a clever thing to do, and it would be nice if they did, since there are people who care.

more than 2 years ago
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Filtering By License Should Be Possible in App Markets

Carik Re:Should FSF decide to change its name (57 comments)

Well, "FOSS" seems to work pretty well. For people who know what it means, it works great. For everyone else, they can look it up.

Any word with multiple meanings confuses people once in a while. Using "free" for both software that's under an open source license and software that costs nothing has always seemed like a pitfall someone early on in the FOSS movement should have avoided to me. It makes it really hard to explain to people who don't already know what you're talking about, and leads to confusion even among people who do understand the concepts involved.

more than 2 years ago
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Filtering By License Should Be Possible in App Markets

Carik I don't know about you... (57 comments)

...but here's what I do:

I use the software that does what I need most effectively. My needs are rarely served by refusing to use a piece of software just because it's not open source. I often find that the open source software is a better value (for my needs, GIMP is a better choice than Photoshop, and it's starting to look like it's also a better choice than Lightroom), but not always.

The simple fact is, most people just don't care what license their software is. You can complain as much as you want that other people are just uneducated, but it doesn't matter.

To address one point directly from the article:

Are we really approaching a world where "free" could mean "under a free license", or "proprietary and crippled in terms of features", or "proprietary but ad-supported"? Really?

No. We're not approaching that. We're STILL at that. Free, to the vast run of humanity, means "you don't have to pay for it." It means "This doesn't cost anything." To a relatively small number, it may also mean "I have set this product free, and you may do whatever you want with it," but that's not the majority view.

Google knows that. That's why the free label on Android means "no charge." So does Canonical. They've come closer than anyone else to marketing linux in a way that appealed to ordinary consumers. Those ordinary consumers don't really care whether an app or application is open source. They care whether they'll have to pay for it or not. That's not a failing on their part. That's good business sense. It's rarely a worthwhile business technique to annoy your consumers with ideology: it's a much better technique to offer them stuff they don't have to pay for, if they'll just buy this one expensive thing from you.

more than 2 years ago
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NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers

Carik Re:Navigation isn't a luxury (938 comments)

"Navigation isn't a luxury"? You're right. So you're just going to have to learn to navigate. Sit down before you leave home, figure out the best route, then follow it.

I learned to drive in Boston. I spent 15 years driving there before I moved. I continue to drive there when I go back to visit friends. I don't have any device that will give me "real time navigation info", and I don't see a need for it. I do now have a GPS system -- I got it a year or so ago -- and it's nice to have if I need to get somewhere unexpectedly, but mostly I just figure out where I'm going ahead of time. It's not hard. If roads are closed, you find your way around. Maybe you pull into a parking lot and look at your map. Maybe you just take a bunch of turns that look like they should work... sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

For a technology that only really came on the scene a few years ago (for live traffic updates, longer for GPS), people have sure gotten to feel entitled about it.

about 3 years ago
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NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers

Carik Re:Public Transit (938 comments)

I'd love to. Aside from a few friends I don't see much anymore, public trans is the only thing I miss about living in Boston. My commute was a lot easier when I could take the bus/train in and out.

Sadly, I don't live in a big city anymore, and my local bus system is pretty much useless. It'll get me to work and back, if I don't mind waiting 60-90 minutes after my shift ends, and walking half a mile between my house and the bus. That's fine in the summer, but when the temperature is down around 0, it's not a lot of fun. And in the summer, I ride a bicycle or motorcycle.

about 3 years ago
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NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers

Carik Re:First, please ban: (938 comments)

It varies by state. A lot of states have rules that say anyone under 18 or so must be belted, but anyone over can make up their own mind.

about 3 years ago
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NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers

Carik Re:Great idea! (938 comments)

Yes, but the passenger can help watch the road. Your cell phone can't.

about 3 years ago
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How Does a Self-Taught Computer Geek Get Hired?

Carik Hire a resume writer (523 comments)

Most IT people suck at writing resumes. Shop around for someone who has placed a lot of IT workers -- or at least some! -- and go with them. If you have any friends who hired someone, see how they liked the person they worked with.

A good resume will get you noticed, and they'll know the buzzwords that local businesses are looking for.

about 3 years ago
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Two New Fed GPS Trackers Found On SUV

Carik Re:OK... (761 comments)

So which parts of the article do you believe? None of them? All of them? Only the parts that fit your belief system?

Judging by the comments in this thread, people believe that:
1) The guy in question is obviously not suspicious at all.
2) The guy in question is telling us everything in a completely balanced and impartial way.
3) The police are obviously trying to track him just because they felt like it, and have no reason at all.

My point was that, first of all, they might, in fact, have reason to be suspicious of him. Or, they might NOT be suspicious of him: they might be trying to figure out where his cousin is, and decided this was the right way to do it. We don't know, because we don't have a comment from the police. Second, I don't really believe much of what anyone in the article said. I find it likely that he has a cousin who was believed to be a drug dealer. I find it likely that there was a tracking device on his car. I find it likely that the police showed up while he was being interviewed. Beyond that? We, the readers, don't really have anything convincing in any direction. We have no evidence that he's telling the truth, we have no evidence that the police didn't have a warrant or cause to put a tracker on his car, we don't even really have any evidence that the police DID put a tracker on his car.

So, yes. I believe the quote from him that his brother was probably involved in drug dealing just as much as I believe the rest of the article. Which is to say, I take it as a possibility, but in no way proven to be true.

more than 3 years ago
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Two New Fed GPS Trackers Found On SUV

Carik Re:OK... (761 comments)

I've never actually seen an episode of CSI. I don't watch much TV at all, really. But here's the thing. You're right: Americans can pretty much go to Mexico whenever they want. But if their stated reason is to go visit a relative who was likely a drug dealer, that might be suspicious.

You're also right that there's no proof of a crime. But there might be reason to be suspicious. So far we only have one person's take, and it was the person with the most reason to make tracking him look unreasonable. The police have a responsibility to investigate things that look suspicious. There's a fine line there somewhere between "investigating something suspicious" and "abusing police authority"; I'm not convinced this crossed it.

Now: I DO think that they should have a warrant. Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but they're not answering questions. That DOES bother me. But I can see why they'd want to know more about this guy.

more than 3 years ago
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Two New Fed GPS Trackers Found On SUV

Carik Re:OK... (761 comments)

When I see a quote from the person being tracked saying that his cousin, who used to own the truck, left the country suddenly and was probably fleeing due to being a drug dealer, then yes. I find it no less credible than the rest of the story.

more than 3 years ago
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Two New Fed GPS Trackers Found On SUV

Carik Re:OK... (761 comments)

Because it's in the article? Well... the fact that the cousin left the country unexpectedly and was probably involved in the drug trade is in the article. I suppose it doesn't say he was charged with anything, so I overstated. I should have said "The guy's cousin left the country suddenly, and his relatives say he was probably fleeing because he was involved in the drug trade." But again... it was in the article.

more than 3 years ago
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Two New Fed GPS Trackers Found On SUV

Carik Re:OK... (761 comments)

Well, yes. My thought was more that if they'd gone for the warrant, they could have done a lot more useful things than just stick a tracker under his car, though. Like actually investigating to see if he was doing anything he shouldn't be.

more than 3 years ago

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