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Federal Smartphone Kill-Switch Legislation Proposed

El Cubano Re:Just because you can... (173 comments)

This is just another example of the nanny state. If I want a phone with remote kill switch or wipe capability, I will buy one that has it, or one on which I can install an app that has the capability. They do exist. Making this capability mandatory is only going to increase the cost of phones.

There are instances where such an increase in cost to the consumer is arguably warranted (e.g., seatbelts, airbags, etc.). But there is no public safety or public health argument here. It is strictly a matter of convenience.

about a year ago

My most frequent OS migration path?

El Cubano Not sure about most frequent ... (413 comments)

I am not sure about most frequent, but I went from Windows to Linux over 10 years ago and haven't looked back since. I still encounter Windows periodically in my work, but I try to keep my distance. All the systems I administer for myself run Linux. I wouldn't want to be making any OS migration a "frequent" activity.

about 2 years ago

Will It Take a 'Cyber Pearl Harbor' To Break Congressional Deadlock?

El Cubano Re:Filibuster and Supermajority (104 comments)

I am familiar with both the filibuster and supermajority. However, neither was mentioned in the summary or even the linked article.

more than 2 years ago

Will It Take a 'Cyber Pearl Harbor' To Break Congressional Deadlock?

El Cubano The minority party gets blamed for stalling? (104 comments)

Republicans have stalled the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 with a Senate vote of 51-47 against the legislation

So, I am not an expert on politics, but in the current congress, there 51 democratic senators, 47 republican senators, and 2 independents (both of whom caucus with the democrats). By my count, if every single senate republican voted against this, that still only comes to 47 votes. That means that the other 4 would have had to break ranks with the democratic party. So, just who is at fault here?

Just saying.

more than 2 years ago

Broadcom To Buy NetLogic For $3.7 Billion

El Cubano Re:Tax Breaks (35 comments)

the only thing tax breaks do is line the pockets of big corporations. There is no "trickle down" effect any more.

Umm, a very large number of people in the US with any sort of retirement savings have them in stocks of some form or another (either through direct ownership or through mutual funds). So, when a public company becomes more profitable, the price of its stock increases, which in turn helps out many people. But then, I guess I was always a "glass half full" sort of person.

more than 3 years ago

Some Hotmail Accounts Wiped

El Cubano Re:What do you expect? (298 comments)

Now everything is going "cloud", I can see a gap in the market for "family cloud" appliances - plonk them on your home network, trust a few similar units on the networks of family members, and get the benefits of redundant backups, mail service, etc, exchanging the cost of your privacy for a few hundred dollars.

That is exactly what Eben Moglen discussed during his presentation at DebConf10. Info on the presentation (including links to video) is available. Also check out Joey Hess' commentary on the presentation. His objective price point is less than one hundred dollars, IIRC.

about 4 years ago

Conservative Textbook Curriculum Passes Final Vote In Texas

El Cubano Re:Can this be legally challenged? (895 comments)

Sorry, but prayer led by state paid employees in a state-funded institution i.e. public school is obviously establishment of a state religion.

Let's try a little word substitution:

Sorry, but prayer led by state paid chaplain in a state-funded institution i.e. state penitentiary is obviously establishment of a state religion.

Or how about this one:

Sorry, but prayer led by military chaplain in a military-funded institution i.e. chapel is obviously establishment of a state religion.

What about if the "employee" is not paid? What about when congress opens its session with a prayer? (That is done at the opening of every congress, IIRC.) What about when a school sponsored club meets on the school grounds, but wants to start with a student-led prayer? (There are instances that can be cited where such things have been prohibited.) What about the case of the Boy Scout council in Philadelphia that was essentially evicted from the property the city was leasing them for $1/year? (The argument there was that the city's favorable lease to the Boy Scouts constituted an establishment of religion, because of the Boy Scouts' policy against atheists.) Is each one of those a state establishment of religion?

I'm not buying it. I'm not saying that I have the answer, but it sure is not as clear-cut as you make it out to be.

more than 4 years ago

Best Practices For Infrastructure Upgrade?

El Cubano Think about the complexity of duplication (264 comments)

there's hardly any fallback if any of the services dies or an office is disconnected. Now, as the hardware must be replaced, I'd like to buff things up a bit: distributed instances of services (at least one instance per office) and a fallback/load-balancing scheme (either to an instance in another office or a duplicated one within the same).

Is that really necessary? I know that we all would like to have bullet-proof services. However, is the network service to the various offices so unreliable that it justifies the added complexity of instantiating services at every location? Or even introducing redundancy at each location? If you were talking about thousands or tens of thousands of users at each location, it might make sense just because you would have to distribute the load in some way.

What you need to do is evaluate your connectivity and its reliability. For example:

  • How reliable is the current connectivity?
  • If it is not reliable enough, how much would it cost over the long run to upgrade to a sufficiently reliable service?
  • If the connection goes down, how does it affect that office? (I.e., if the Internet is completely inaccessible, will having all those duplicated services at the remote office enable them to continue working as though nothing were wrong? If the service being out causes such a disruption that having duplicate services at the remote office doesn't help, then why bother?)
  • How much will it cost over the long run to add all that extra hardware, along with the burden of maintaining it and all the services running on it?

Once you answer at least those questions, then you have the information you need in order to make a sensible decision.

more than 5 years ago

Planck Telescope Is Coolest Spacecraft Ever

El Cubano Re:rabit from the moon (196 comments)

comparable to measuring from Earth the heat produced by a rabbit sitting on the Moon

Is anyone else dissapointed we don't already have this capability?

I'm actually a little disappointed that this wasn't expressed in standard metric terms. I thought here on Slashdot, the agreed upon standard was something in terms of libraries of congress. Is there a conversion factor or something we can apply here?

more than 5 years ago

Cisco Barges Into the Server Market

El Cubano They go for the "soft" target (206 comments)

The one thing that Cisco is clear on is who is signing off on these deals: the CIO. Cisco and its partners are going right to the top to push the California systems, right over the heads of server, storage, and network managers who want to protect their own fiefdoms.

Presumably, they are doing this because they know that the CIOs, on average, are less well informed than their technical subordinates. It is a classic salesman's tactic: go straight to the "decision maker." I'm not saying that CIOs are not well qualified and intelligent people (I'm sure that most are). However, at the CxO level in a large company, you are a strategic thinker. You are most likely not going to be on the bleeding edge of the latest hardware trend.

To put it another way, the CIO is the "soft" target. You always go for the soft target.

Naturally, Cisco (and other vendors) know this. Hence, you go after the CIO and dazzle him with fancy presentations and wine and dine him and viola, you get a big sale. This how MS does it, and how other big tech companies do it.

If you are fortunate enough to have the ear of your CIO, make sure to warn him about snake oil peddlers.

more than 5 years ago

$6 Billion Proposal For High-Speed Internet Grants

El Cubano Ahh ... the generosity (280 comments)

The $6 billion is considered a down payment on efforts Obama will make in this area over the next several years. Of course let's not forget the $200 billion broadband scandal that the large telecommunication companies have been paid but never delivered on.

I'm so glad that the Democrats are so generous with MY money. Of course, the Republicans before them were basically the same, as were the Democrats before those Republicans, and so on going back quite a ways.

Seriously, why is the answer to mismanagement of money (tax payer or private money as the recent market troubles have shown) always to give away tax payer money?

School run out of money? Here is more tax payer money. Spent too much building your pro sports team's venue? Here is some tax payer money. Make bad choices in the marketplace? Here is some tax payer money. When is this going to stop? When we've mortgaged how many generations' future earnings on today's ridiculous growth of government?

about 6 years ago

Dag Wieers Scoffs at Coordinated Linux Release Proposal

El Cubano Who really benefits? (240 comments)

claiming that it 'is no more than a wish to benefit from a lot of work that Novell and Red Hat are already doing in the Enterprise space.'

Red Hat has not provided a consumer desktop distribution in over 5 years. It used to be that most new comers were introduced to Linux via Red Hat. I would wager that today most new comers are introduced to Linux via Ubuntu. When those people who are introduced to Ubuntu have an opportunity to influence decisions in the enterprise, I would expect that many (or most, depending on the environment) are recommending RHEL because of the tremendous brand recognition within the IT world. (I know that Red Hat is not the only game in town, but they are far more prevalent in the enterprise and any other distro.) After all "it's all Linux."

So, I would say that Red Hat has already benefited from Ubuntu's run away popularity in the space the Red Hat vacated 5 years ago. What's wrong with a little reciprocity?

more than 6 years ago



Useless tech restricts driver cell phone use

El Cubano El Cubano writes  |  about 6 years ago

El Cubano writes "The AP is running an article that discusses new technology to disable cellphones from sending and/or receiving voice calls and text messages while the owner is driving. Unfortunately, the common theme seems to be that these services cost money (up to US$20/month) and that they don't work (because the technology uses GPS, any cell phone moving at "driving" speed with this technology is automatically locked). This seems to be targeted at parents who want to make sure that their children are not talking/texting while driving. What ever happened to parents actually parenting? Why not just take away the keys and/or the phones if the child is not following the rules?"
Link to Original Source

Bill proposes to ban touch screen voting

El Cubano El Cubano writes  |  more than 7 years ago

El Cubano writes "Senator Bill Nelson (R-FL) has proposed a bill which would ban the use of touch-screen voting machines in federal elections. From the announcement:

The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 would require all voting machines to produce a voter-verified paper trail by next year's presidential election and provides up to $1 billion for states to use for new voting equipment. But most importantly, the bill would phase out the use of touch-screen voting machines in federal elections by 2012, a measure Browning said he supports.
This seems like exactly the sort of thing that the Slashdot crowd has been clamoring for. Time to write your congress people and tell then to throw their support behind this bill."

Link to Original Source

Music industry mad about free album giveaway

El Cubano El Cubano writes  |  more than 7 years ago

El Cubano writes "FOXNews is running an Associated Press article about Prince giving away copies of his new album, "Planet Earth." The article opens: "Prince has angered the music industry and stirred up trouble among British retailers by giving away his new album with a tabloid newspaper this weekend." Apparently, the music industry feels quite threatened that a popular artist might actually want to give away his music. Here are some choice quotes from the article:

"The Artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behavior like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores," said Paul Quirk, co-chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association,

"We're stunned that HMV has decided to take what appears to be a complete U-turn on their stance," said Simon Douglas, managing director of retail at Virgin Megastores. "It's not only retailers that suffer; the public will suffer in the long term by restricting choice on the high street."

Quirk said the deal was "yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music."
I'm sure that none of this is a surprise to readers here."

Link to Original Source

El Cubano El Cubano writes  |  more than 7 years ago

El Cubano writes "FOXNews is carrying an AP story about a guy who has a basement with 100 Macs in it. From the article:

His bar is made out of 30 Mac Classics arranged next to and on top of each other. Guests can drink at the bar, "but no one ever does," he noted. (Just imagine how much technology could be destroyed with just one spilled drink.)


For special events, like New Year's Eve, he'll play videos on several monitors or set up strobe effects on multiple machines, creating a rave-like atmosphere.

I'm sure it is quite the party hang out for the neighbors. Cue the jokes about geeks and basements."

El Cubano El Cubano writes  |  more than 7 years ago

El Cubano writes "I know that many Slashdot readers are also Speakeasy customers (or at least know about Speakeasy) and admire their friendliness towards geeks and Linux users.

This morning I received a mass email from the CEO of Speakeasy (I imagine it went out to all Speakeasy customers) saying that Speakeasy had been acquired by Best Buy.

The message read in part:

Today is an historic and exciting day for Speakeasy.

I am pleased to announce that Speakeasy has been acquired by Best Buy, an innovative and growing Fortune 100 company and the top consumer electronics retailer in North America. This is a significant milestone for our company as our new relationship will help us realize our goals of becoming the No. 1 provider of voice and data solutions to small businesses. It is important to note that though Speakeasy will now be a wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy, we will continue to operate as a standalone, independent operating division with headquarters in Seattle.

I know that many around here don't have a particularly high opinion of Best Buy or their business practices. What do other Slashdotters think will be the end result of this?"

El Cubano El Cubano writes  |  more than 7 years ago

El Cubano writes "The New Zealand Herald is carrying a story titled Council prosecutes itself, pays fine into own coffers. Yes, it really is what you think. The council actually sued itself in court. The most telling thing is how proud of themselves they are for "doing the right thing":

"We feel vindicated by this decision," said councillor Vanessa Neeson, who is chairman of the planning and regulatory committee. The council had been mocked for prosecuting itself but it was showing that it was not above the law, she said.

El Cubano El Cubano writes  |  about 8 years ago

El Cubano writes "ITworld is carrying a story (sorry, no printable version) saying that John Seely Brown (former chief scientist at Xerox and director of PARC, currently teaching at the University of Southern California) is encouraging engineering schools to change the way they educate. From the article:
"Training someone for a career makes no sense. At best, you can train someone for a career trajectory," said John Seely Brown.
What do slashdotters think? Should engineering schools be producing tradesmen (i.e., like an apprenticeship program) or should they be producing "thinkers" (i.e., people who can cope with a wide variety of problem inside and outside their area of expertise)?"


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