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Barrett Brown, Formerly of Anonymous, Sentenced To 63 Months

DriveDog Re:Serves him right (110 comments)

I don't know all the facts. Which makes me... like almost everyone else here.

It certainly smells like "shoot the messenger" to me. Somebody was upset that their data was leaked, they couldn't or didn't want to attack the leaker, so they went for a convenient scapegoat.

3 days ago
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Apple Agrees To Chinese Security Audits of Its Products

DriveDog Another black mark (114 comments)

...if that means the Chinese government gets to look at Apple's source code while Apple's customers do not.

3 days ago
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Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

DriveDog A little late... (415 comments)

Closing the barn door after the cows are out? Demonstrates the typical wisdom of these people.

3 days ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

DriveDog JavaScript (637 comments)

VB, what a horrible idea. And I thought Pascal was bad. It's a conspiracy to increase H-1B, since there won't be any capable programmers who grew up in the US.

5 days ago
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Microsoft Researchers Use Light Beams To Charge Smartphones

DriveDog spoof it (65 comments)

So if I put a picture of a phone on some other object, like the cat... ... and then program the indoor drone to attack the illuminated object... Seriously, just agree on a standard dock with conductive contacts that's easy to drop your phone on. How hard is that? The EU effectively made manufacturers agree on compatibility with microUSD.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

DriveDog Re:What you're looking for... (189 comments)

Many models don't function properly when installed in Mom's basement.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

DriveDog Re:what is your return on investment? (189 comments)

And they will. But it's harder for them to justify burning more coal and building more plants. And nothing increases costs faster than building more plants.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

DriveDog Re:Insteon vs x10 (189 comments)

X10 is lacking in many ways, and I still use some of it, but the biggest problem I've had was with durability. Many of the components were horribly made and just broke. Stanley, GE, Radio Shack, didn't matter. Old Sears parts lasted longer but still just died. I can't comment on how vulnerable the others are, but X10 is very vulnerableâ"from outside sockets and other units on the same transformer. North Koreans aren't going to hack your house from Pyongyang, but sneaky neighborhood kids can. I think you can filter the signals from the incoming power lines, but that's not commonly done. Also, you need to bridge the two incoming 110V legs so that X10 signals get across, otherwise parts of your house might not talk to other parts. Still, to play around a bit, there's no cheaper way than X10.

about two weeks ago
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Slashdot Asks: The Beanies Return; Who Deserves Recognition for 2014?

DriveDog Re:Edward Snowden: For exposing the NSA (299 comments)

Second that, Snowden for confirming for us that our worst surveillance scenarios have already occurred. And... because he doesn't have some huge character flaw like Assange, which many use to try to detract from Julian's contributions. As far a "running away to Russia" is concerned, where would he go? Only a handful of nations can be expected to refuse to cooperate with the US. China, North Korea, Iran, Myanmar (maybe), Russia... which would you choose?

about three weeks ago
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LG To Show Off New 55-Inch 8K Display at CES

DriveDog Re:Why? (179 comments)

Absolutely. Too bad there are so many problems with BluRay players. The only reason of which I'm aware that BluRay machines have frequent software updates is so DRM can be frequently changed. We should all just say no to future media that doesn't have unchanging specs.

about a month and a half ago
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LG To Show Off New 55-Inch 8K Display at CES

DriveDog Re:Throw away your ancient out of date 4K sets! (179 comments)

"Although a 50 inch 8K display on my desk would be a wonderful thing for my work computer."

Agreed, but I'd get more increase in productivity from a decent chair.

about a month and a half ago
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LG To Show Off New 55-Inch 8K Display at CES

DriveDog Swell (179 comments)

Huge pixel count. Great. Seriously, I like it. I can view DSLR photos in full resolution.

But it's going to take a long time for bandwidth available to most folks to catch up with the needs of 3840x2160. Hard to imagine the data flow necessary for 7680x4320 being available to most of us for years. In fact, that's about the fastest being rolled out to residences today. Then what? Then there'll have to be sources. Netflix's servers don't provide 1080p for me now, having an ISP that doesn't interfere and 50Mbps bandwidth on DSL, which should be just about enough for even uncompressed video.

Hey, at least the focus is on pixel count instead of idiotic curved screens and 3D. What would be real advances? Holographic 3D and quality programming. Now we have who knows how many TV channels and networks, but only about the same number (very few) of quality shows as we had 50 years ago, not long after the FCC head's "television is a vast wasteland" comment.

about a month and a half ago
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Ford Ditches Microsoft Partnership On Sync, Goes With QNX

DriveDog A good sign (233 comments)

Funny, I wouldn't have given Ford the credit for recognizing the wisdom of such a move. Kudos to them. Wish my IPTV provider would ditch the Cisco/Windows set tops for something based on QNX, as they're seriously horrible. Part of what's smart about this move by Ford is that it avoids their cars being associated with the frequent complaint of how bad MS stuff can be, whether correct or not. There's no such conversation among other than geeks about QNX. It has numerous supporters and very few detractors for any reason other than it's not free. The only downside I see (aside from there being used cars out there with Windows) is that others—GM, Fiat/Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan—are likely to hesitate to move to QNX. There's still quite a bit of NIH syndrome.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?

DriveDog sense of the word (195 comments)

I think of hacking as almost anything to alter almost anything about the car, but it sounds like you're thinking mostly interfacing with the electronics to get there. I can't answer who's best, but I know for sure that some manufacturers make accessing and interpreting CAN bus information a lot easier than others. Search for CAN bus interface info for various makes in which you're interested and see how much is out there and how difficult it looks. When I find time (yeah right) I want to grab events from pushing steering wheel buttons and use it to control my own devices. So I'm not really looking to put messages on the CAN bus, just read from it. In general, models that have cult followings (not just "ricers") will have a lot more info out there that their owners have accumulated and shared. MINIs are not among the easiest cars to interface with (as with other BMWs), but there's a lot of info out there because of the interest among owners. On the other hand, something like a Camry, popular as they are, is unlikely to have been explored as much because they're appliances that people buy to reliably get them where they want to go and not for providing fun or making a statement.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

DriveDog Re:Skip Oracle. (147 comments)

SAS may be the best answer to "query huge amounts of data in sometimes rather odd ways". Using SQL Server for storage is fine, but not using anything else in front of it (SSAS is useless) is bringing a knife to a gun fight. Trying to do everything in a relational way means tying a hand and a foot behind your back. The real world doesn't neatly fit the model, hard as you might try to make it, so performance suffers greatly and doing unusual ad hoc things takes longer to figure out. Get SAS to send pure relational operations to the DBMS to do but perform other operations within. SAS's own SQL engine gives the user much more convenience since it supports SAS's functions and macro language, far richer than plain DBMS's, but I haven't found it to be particularly quick. In interoperability, SQL Server continues to improve, but SAS still works better with many more other applications. It has always been a best choice for moving data around. Organizations often choke on the licensing model, since most do "capital investments" every few years instead of paying a "licensing fee" every year (hefty, but does include some of the best support going). All this was about plain SAS. SAS/BI is really the product SAS will try to sell you to do what you describe; I haven't used it so can't rate it.

As far as those comments about writing code with SAS being "terrible", well, it can be inconsistent, but mostly those people have just never grasped the somewhat unique models it uses of handling observations. I find T-SQL to be seriously lacking for many tasks. If going all-MS, get VS and use a regular procedural language along with SQL Server.

about 2 months ago
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New GCHQ Chief Says Social Media Aids Terrorists

DriveDog Re:J'accuse! (228 comments)

I think you'd have to go back at least to Gutenberg. Gave the power to individuals to create many copies in hours rather than single copies in years.

about 3 months ago
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Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

DriveDog perception of what truth is (460 comments)

When "scientists" discuss harsh facts that may have disastrous consequences, people think they're exaggerating, trying to be persuasive, and not being impartial.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

DriveDog Yes! (234 comments)

Probably. I went back around age 45 to get a physics B.A. at a local state university with a small department so I could teach high school science (had 2 prior undergrad degrees in Econ and CS). I wasn't planning to do any astronomy or astrophysics, but I needed a few more hours, and the school had a 32" observatory, a Harvard-trained astrophysicist, and several interesting classes. The teaching gig afterwards didn't work out, but I'm so glad I studied astrophysics. Independent amateur researchers absolutely do contribute, but not very often in theoretical astrophysics. There's a LOT of original astronomy that can and is done by amateurs on smallish budgets. Learn a little nuclear physics and understand what's going on inside stars. Every week there's some new cool discovery in the news (a Thorne-Zytkow star found recently) and being able to comprehend what it's about is great. Many stars don't fit into neat categories, and those are the most interesting. You can use your programming skills in quite a few ways, if you're so inclined. Around here there's a community college with a small observatory run by students and a couple of committed teachers that hosts astronomy conferences and speakers. For some, it's a great opportunity to learn and contribute to the community. I have no idea how common such programs are. If you really want to spend time observing on your own, the DIY community is stronger than ever. Just as with other types of hacking, you could contribute by designing affordable, innovative DIY equipment made of common items. Like to travel? It's a good excuse to go looking for dark clear skies, and many places with dark skies are stunning in other ways. Heck, I'm thinking of taking a scope on a 21' boat to a dark isolated island. I won't discover anything but bugbites, but what a nice outing. Don't let the naysayers bother you, except for this: there probably aren't too many careers available. Keep your day job (literally). Oh, one more thing—don't restrict yourself to light. Radiotelescopy offers a lot of opportunities for amateurs as well, alone or in cooperation with others.

about 4 months ago
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Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

DriveDog What's not said... (191 comments)

What did Cook not say? Did he bluntly say "we cannot read your mail"? Or did he just say "we don't have a key"? A general statement like "There is no way for us to read your mail or provide your mail to anyone else" would have more meaning. Reporters could ignore such statements, or at least every time they print one, point out how it could be misleading.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

DriveDog Re:I wouldn't use it, but... (471 comments)

I'd recommend starting by avoiding LCDs. Use something like color E-Ink—a low-power but high-contract display—and use it artfully.

about 4 months ago

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