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You Are What You're Tricked Into Eating

Chemtox Re:Not possible. (499 comments)

An extra head is not of much use if it's full of air. Same with muscles grown only for the "look" en vogue. There's probably a significant difference if your "third world" adventures focused in famine affected populations, but our species has survived for 200k years with more lean and mean diets, bodies and struggles.

Speaks volumes of our "civilized" "modern" selves that we have developed eating disorders unheard of during those 200k years, on one hand, and an obsessive cult of the body on the other, now that muscles don't really matter that much anymore... caring more about being a head taller, instead of, say, becoming more adept at using the head we already have.

about 9 months ago

How Did You Learn How To Program?

Chemtox Who cares how did we learn, what matters... (623 comments)

Who cares how did we learn, what matters is how can be best done today.

I'm not too fond of the memories of long nights banging my head against the White Book--but then again, it was only a high school hobby. Still, I wish someone would've steered me towards a more friendly introduction (and language), not to programming, but to problem solving with computers, AKA Computer Science. MIT's "Introduction to Computer Science and Programming" looks like a dream come true.

about a year and a half ago

Cracked Game Released To Get Back At Pirates

Chemtox To rob a thief... (509 comments)

1. Pirate game design ("abstract game development through cute bubbles"). Throw some antipiracy message in a special version and release it in the Bay (isn't that illegal for you? or legal for them?)
2. Make up complains by supposed pirate kiddies (probably should use worse grammar and less catchy phrases next time).
3. Spoonfeed the story until you get Slashdotted. Profit!?!?

Hard to believe a kiddie pirate (and also target audience of their game) could articulate a whole coherent paragraph, less so one full of gold PR nuggets. Also strange that you can't find the nuggets in the web other than in copies of the story.

about 2 years ago

One Boston Marathon Bomb Suspect Dead, Other At Large After Shootout With Police

Chemtox Re:Gotta Love 4chan (1109 comments)

Anonymous *is* 4Chan (there's no account system, you can write any name as you post but the default is Anonymous). Anonymous seemed to grow over 4Chan, but it's core, spirit and tactics will always belong to it. "In just for the lulz."

about 2 years ago

Secret Chat Between Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt Published By WikiLeaks

Chemtox Re:fascinating look (212 comments)

Correct. More specifically, he meant "you should not be searching for it in Google. Or Bing. Or DuckDuckGo. Or wherever." Things get logged everywhere, and your ISP, any intervening nodes or who knows what else could be snooping, so whether you (or Google) want it or not, you will leave a trail.

Google was probably the first major company to switch everyone to HTTPS by default, making its users much more impervious to sniffing (except local... seems WiFi won't ever be reasonably secure--and we're too lazy to drill holes in the walls anymore). But let's not allow facts and acts to get in the way of some good old fashioned out-of-context bashing.

about 2 years ago

Sergey Brin Says Using a Smartphone Is 'Emasculating'

Chemtox With Glass, you can eat your pie and be polite too (325 comments)

Haha, I'm reading Slashdot and watching cat videos in my Glass during a boring meeting without anyone noticing. Try doing that with your puny handhelds!

Oh shoot, they just did... the cranial sound system works pretty good, but this could still use some form of telepathy...

about 2 years ago

Star Wars: 1313, a 'Darker, Grittier' Star Wars Game

Chemtox X-Wing vs TIE Fighter vs Cosmic Encounter vsTribes (133 comments)

It was a very long time ago, in the year two-oh-oh-oh. Humanity had just survived the Apocalypse, only to be confronted with a new one. No, not because it was the year of the Linux desktop, though that was seen as worse than the end of the world in the dark aisles of Microborg. Still, in a low level PSYOPs training facility, a group of fresh fish were dreaming past all and every doomsday, planning to create the ultimate space combat simulator, which would allow them to recruit an elite squadron to take over the world. Needless to say, the Borg didn't look at the results with good eyes, what with it being only interested in massive scale armies, so the ultimate space combat simulator was thrown down the drain... ...where it was of course picked up by the e-cophreeks, which never let a bone go by. One borg's recycle bin is another entity's best bytes, and all that. They lovingly patched up the scratches with whatever materials they had available, going as far as covering the thing in dotmeth --which they got, of course, from another trash can-- to quickly ease its pain. And so, it thrived, rooting itself in the shadows of the drain system, spawning new life forms and technologies, maintained by a hardened core of elite pilots, biding its time for the day it can finally unleash the ultimate squadron upon the world (and thanks to SpaceX and friends, that might just happen before the next Apocalypse!).

Enter Allegiance. Small but dedicated community (40-60 players in the main server most of the day), lots of teamwork, many races and tech trees give it plenty of variety, the RTS elements --perhaps inspired in Starsiege Tribes-- give it a complete new dimension, the radar system makes for very satisfactory mouse and cat encounters, games have this nice crescendo of intensity, first exploring, researching and setting the stage, then using better ships to hunt down enemy miners and cripple their economy, while defending your own, and finally launching all-out killer blows against the enemy's tech bases, with bomber runs escorted by swarms of repair scouts to buy the bomber a few more precious meters to be in firing range, the turret gunners screaming GEROOONIMO for as long as the ammo clips will last; or stealth ships coming out of nowhere and smoking a base before you can even teleport to it; or huge and clunky capital ships smashing their way through every sector, attack waves succeeding one another until one side is finally overpowered, left to limp back to their main base in their escape pods, and launch for one final, futile defense. Yes, it's old, rickety and damn hard to pick up, even if you are used to blowing up imperial destroyers in a single pass. It's also the most fun you'll ever have in space.

more than 2 years ago

Coursera: Dozens of Free, Massive, and Open Online Courses

Chemtox Super Mario vs virtual realism (101 comments)

Just like it took Super Mario a good while to be able to fly (being able to fall without hurting yourself, that was just lazy coding mind you), online education will need some time before they realize there need not be the same constrains on a virtual classroom than on a real one. Good news is, over at Udacity they have got two feathers deadline free. I'd expect more to follow, there and at Coursera.

In the mean time, I'll make do with mushrooms and flowers.

more than 2 years ago

Music Player Amarok 2.5 Released

Chemtox What makes Amarok a must have... (152 comments)

...for me, is that I can quickly rate my music with key shortcuts (5 bindings, 10 values) without even looking at the song popup (though there's a handful shortcut to show it on demand too), and that all the data is on a right and proper database, to play with to my heart's content.

What can be annoying, however is when I'm *forced* to play with the DB to save my metadata, whenever they change the file identification or something goes wrong, which has happened a few times. This would be alleviated if Amarok wrote the metadata back to the file, an important missing feature.

As for the interface, I do miss the power of a spreadsheet, though the advanced search makes up for that for most practical purposes. Other than that, it's entirely functional, if a bit unresponsive

In short, even with it's shortcomings it's the best player I've ever used, helping me with what matters most to me: finding and playing the tracks I like
with the least possible effort: rating with bindings, and playing dynamic playlists (i.e. 1/3 I like, 1/2 unrated, 1/10 added last mont, 1/10 podcasts/study stuff). That said, I would be really pissed off at it if I didn't made regular backups of the DB, or was not capable of rescuing my data.

more than 3 years ago

Mexican Gov't Shuts Down Zetas' Secret Cell Network

Chemtox Re:Wow (300 comments)

Well, duh, what could you expect from a group called "gaffe"?

Now, I don't see what's particularly embarassing about the number "422". And the rumor about some (or all) of the founding Zetas having been trained in the US is just that, as no source that claims it can provide a single name, not even Wikipedia's (omg!): US-trained cartel terrorises Mexico. The Embassy in México is much more credible in this respect:

The Embassy conducted an extensive
cross-check of our database of Mexican military officials who
participated in U.S.-funded training programs against lists
of known members of Los ZETAS. The comparison of databases
did not produce any hits. However, intelligence from other
sources yielded the name of one individual was reportedly
trained by U.S. forces, retired from the Mexican Military,
was forcibly recruited into Los ZETAS

It's not even surprising to find some tabloids that use this same cable as proof that "several US trained soldiers switched to the ZETAS."

So I would tell you to leave the flag burning aside and stick to the facts, lest you end like Michael Moore. But fact is, we don't have enough. Yes, we know that the cartels could not grow so big without being in direct collusion with the government. Heck, some of them are demanding equal treatment, as it seems they are envious of the high connections of the Sinaloa's cartel! (which seem to be working, if you're to believe the pretty maps in the NYT or BBC News, which show it controlling the whole west half of México)

We know that corruption reaches on every level of government and military. Just look at Raúl Salinas, brother of former president Carlos, which ended up in jail, not for his crimes, but for political vendettas. And it was also politics what eventually led to his acquittal. We know he's guilty, we know where his hundreds of millions came from. But the people that could provide the proof won't, if they value their life style, or life itself.

And that's the real problem, me thinks: values. When we're bombarded from every angle with the idea that the only life worth living is in the numb comfort of expensive stuff, wild sex, hip drugs and sugary rock, then it just follows that you will have lots of people trying to obtain money by the easiest means available so they can fill their emptiness with shiny things and/or get wasted in style every weekend, be it on Tijuana or New Jersey. The common good can't compete with a 20mil house, honesty is just another commodity (on a sharp downward trend), and why read a boring poem when you can freaken hallucinate your own. "It was the envy of virtue, what made of Cain a criminal / Glory to him as it's vice, what is envied most today!"

But daydreaming aside, the only way to have truth and justice right now, is to buy them. And as long as the rich kids keep paying with fat wads and big guns, the drug and political cartels will outbid the rest of us. Still, outgunned as we are, we should aim for the truth and search for the facts, however tempting it is to brandish rumors and propaganda.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What's a Good Tablet/App Combination For Note-Taking?

Chemtox Livescribe, best of both worlds? (425 comments)

Livescribe's offerings look quite interesting: oversized pens that record whatever you write or doodle, and optionally, what you are listening while you write, so later you can replay both your writing and the audio recording in your computer, or this last directly from the pen. You can skip to any point in the recording by just clicking whatever you where writing at the time, both in the computer and in paper.

I could not find any tests of the quality of the OCR, for which seems you have to pay a hefty extra to get; and you also have to buy the special dot paper (or print it yourself), but still, seriously impressive, and aimed specifically at school. Here's a demo.

As for books... they have joined the app fade, so I'm sure if you are willing to pay, someone is willing to create a PDF reader for it. ;) I can't imagine why anyone would want to study languages or guitar chords in such a limited device. Play poker *against* your pen, seriously? Still, Hangman and Sudoku seem perfectly appropriate.

more than 3 years ago

The Rain On Saturn Falls Mainly From Space

Chemtox Re:Space (75 comments)

Imagination is a lot harder than knowledge.

I would imagine it is.

But I don't know. =/

more than 3 years ago

Is There a Formula For a Hit Song?

Chemtox Re:Axis of Awesome (243 comments)

Still, no one has come close to the level of refinement of Weird Al for re-recycling pop, which he salvages in the only possible way: with the sturdy harmonics of polka! He's been trying to rescue the ears of the world for 30 years already; seems to be taking longer than he thought, as Cecil Adams would say. ;)

more than 3 years ago

Rootkit Infection Requires Windows Reinstall

Chemtox Re:Boot Disc (510 comments)

3. Take over the housing market through any means, build cheaply but sell high, and rebuild after each flood. Rinse and repeat, while you slowly introduce the security measures that were the standard before you took over, so your PR dept. has something to say. This is the Windows re-image approach: Just assume it's going to get hit, and let the realtors or homeowners (yeah, right) care about having a plan to rebuild afterwards, which more often than not will not include what it's *in* the house.


To hell with the house, what I really care about is my boardgame and Play^H^H^H poststamp collections. How hard would it be to "forcefully" suggest during install that the Users|Documents and Settings directory be located in it's own partition, and then spam the heck out of the user with popups and whistles every week/month until he does at least a quick incremental backup? That way you can wipe and reinstall Windows every month with minimal fuss, as Gates intended it to be, and your documents' partition when something awful happens. But no, instead of Windows Backup Advantage, we got the Genuine thing...

more than 3 years ago

Mozilla Ships Firefox 5, Meets Rapid-Release Plan

Chemtox Re:More work for plugin developers (282 comments)

Or easier, use the official Add-on Compatibility Reporter extension. Besides allowing you to install any version of any extension, you can report back if it still works or any problems you have, so the developer easily knows if he needs to fix something or just bump the version.

Disabling the version check has been available since forever in the excellent MR Tech Toolkit extension (which was standard for devs) though he ceased all his Firefox activities rather suddenly after 3.0 (went "on Safari", perhaps?), and I'm guessing the thousands of "incompatible" reports most of his add-ons have gathered by now won't motivate him to come back. Or, perhaps we owe *him* the release of the Compatibility Reporter, his disappearance forcing the Mozilla devs to create an alternative to his Toolkit, when the problems with it became even more annoying than the compatibility check. ;)

20/20 hindsight: swapping a few normal users crying "my Firefox shows pink elephants! Yes, I set extensions.checkCompatibility=false long ago, though I don't know what that means!" for *hordes* of one star "dis not workin in ff5 pluuuuuuz updatez must haz cheextension!" lusers for *most* addons with *every* version change must not seem like a good trade now for the Mozilla devs.

The Compatibility Reporter is a step backwards (or rather, a waltz), and if it becomes popular, they will get both ACR aided pink elephants *and* must haz cheextensioners in increased numbers (thanks to the new rush to go up to 11), unless they take it to the next logical step: automatically bump the version of extensions that receive 95%+ "still works" reports (in Mozilla and locally, so we don't even have to download again). Most extensions keep on working anyway, and for popular extensions it would take a short time to get enough reports from power users on release day (or before, if they consider RC reports). If they work, let the normal users use them, and kill two birds (pachyderms, whatever) with one rock.

more than 3 years ago

LulzSec Phone-Bombs FBI and Blizzard

Chemtox Re:Balls of steel (404 comments)

Exactly. After all, Bin Laden was using a hardened variant of IPoAC, the transmission method most resilient to wire tapping. His implementation further reduced attack vectors by 50% (namely, bread crumbs baiting), leaving his communications vulnerable only to the (curiously old) "shoot the carrier" approaches.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Web Site Editing Software For the Long Haul?

Chemtox CKEditor plus your favorite CMS (545 comments)

CKEditor plus your favorite CMS. For me that would be Drupal, but I wold recommend WordPress (another demo) if you don't intend to develop on it.

On the desktop, I recall Dream Weaver producing dirty code, though that may have changed. I wouldn't bet on that for SharePoint though. I preferred HotDog and Composer --which are still ghosting around-- before switching full time to Emacs. In short, native apps are dead, and you could as well use LibreOffice. Its tag-fu is oke'ish. Now get off ma cloud!

more than 3 years ago

Google Guitar Doodle Song Gallery

Chemtox Forward to the past III (77 comments)

Until someone comes out with an ASIO driver for Firefox, I'm sticking to Guitar Queero.

more than 3 years ago

Microsoft Buying Skype for $8.5B

Chemtox Re:Alternatives? (605 comments)

It's not your IP what they check, I think, but your Google Profile's language and/or country. At least, I can use Google Voice to call to landlines with a Gmail account with no country and with English-US as language, not matter in which country I'm in. The service is still kind of shaky though...

And of course, Google Talk is available to voice/video chat net-to-net with anyone.

more than 3 years ago


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