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Comments

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Throwable 36-Camera Ball Takes Spherical Panoramas

Epsillon Beautiful Red (140 comments)

And Wehm's micro-recorders. I thought I'd heard of these from some contemporary cyberpunk, just pinning down which story.

more than 2 years ago
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Major Sites To Join ‘World IPv6 Day’

Epsillon So how about it, Slashdot? (247 comments)

Isn't it about time News for Nerds got a 128bit address? You know it makes sense!

more than 3 years ago
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Ars Technica Inveighs Against Ad Blocking

Epsillon Re:Ads have been shown to harbor malware too (1051 comments)

"Ads are invasive, intrusive, annoying, and I don't want to see them. ever." - by Epsillon (608775) on Sunday March 07, @09:34AM (#31389634) Homepage

No, it bloody well isn't a quote from me. Try by mcelrath (8027) on Sunday March 07, @01:25.

No offence, mcelrath. I see nothing wrong or embarrassing about your post, just incorrect attribution really gets up my nose.

more than 4 years ago
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Ars Technica Inveighs Against Ad Blocking

Epsillon Re:It's the freeloaders time (1051 comments)

That's all very well, but these ad farms aren't just serving ads, are they? Most of the time they're also installing tracking cookies and collecting private information. You want me to see ads? Don't try to track me, then. Until this shit stops, I won't just be using AdBlock, I'll be blacklisting ad farms on my proxy and barring them on the gateway. Not only is this the primary motivation for me eschewing ad farms but it is also my fundamental right to retain control of what I allow in and out of my private network. Don't like it? Tough. My network, my rules.

more than 4 years ago
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Google Awarded Broad Patent For Location-Based Advertising

Epsillon Re:Let's hope they use it. (54 comments)

Even more awesomeness. A one-shot netblock rule to shut out all advertising and stop privacy leakage. What more could anyone want?

more than 4 years ago
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SCO Terminates Darl McBride

Epsillon Re:Did the Gun Help? (458 comments)

It's not paranoia, just yet another ego trip. "I'm so important they want to blow me away!" No Darl, you little turd, we want to see you live the rest of your hopefully long, long life as the insignificant worm you really are. That's a fitting punishment for egomaniacs.

more than 4 years ago
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Doubts Raised About Legal Soundness of GPL2

Epsillon Re:Related (521 comments)

OK, funny, but that isn't the issue here. Whatever the license says, the code is still legal, distribution within the terms is still legal and Darl and company are still toerags. What could happen is that a piece of legalese in the license may suddenly turn out to translate into layman as "you may print this code out, roll it up and beat baby seals to death with it," and the copyright holder may not have wanted that many baby seals on his or her conscience.

The GPL (v2) has been around long enough that I would have imagined those kinks had been spotted but, as with other licenses, the law behind them may change. What "derivative work" means today may not be the same thing it means tomorrow. Quite why they're singling out the GPLv2 for this when all licenses are subject to the same foundations of sand I'm not really sure. Maybe they think it will promote discussion - the fools!

more than 4 years ago
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Doubts Raised About Legal Soundness of GPL2

Epsillon Re:USA is not the whole world! (521 comments)

Yet the US courts are where the majority of this issue will be argued. Even I, as a Rightpondian, can see the sense in that. Chill. Not everything is a calculated insult to your national sovereignty.

more than 4 years ago
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Doubts Raised About Legal Soundness of GPL2

Epsillon Re:Ideology? (521 comments)

Linus is probably one of the most pragmatic members of the open source movement, along with being a self-proclaimed bastard (you say that like it's a bad thing). Linus will only think about moving from GPLv2 if Linus thinks it's necessary or beneficial, not because some pen-pusher, pundit or journo tells him to.

more than 4 years ago
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Palm Ignores USB-IF Warning, Restores iTunes Sync

Epsillon 0x1209 (656 comments)

Apple iPod Video, according to usbdevs. What do Apple do now? Blacklist their own product or get sneaky? IMHO, Palm are doing us no favours here. What is most likely to happen next is a DRM-esque key exchange between iPods and iTunes, which will not only bugger up the Pre's sync to iTunes feature permanently, but syncing iPods to OSS applications will more than likely be the collateral damage.

If they wanted to be really nasty, they could probably brick a connected Pre in the process of updating Apple firmware to implement this key exchange. You're an iPod Video, eh? Here, have some firmware before we talk again. "Well, Your Honour, it was using our vendor and device ID. Not our fault our flash code bricked it. Pre flasher code in our update software? The very thought!"

This will not end well. I'd forget about making your device pretend to be something else, Palm. It might come back to bite you and your customers on the arse.

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Attacks Linux With Retail-Training Talking Points

Epsillon Re:Sign me up... (681 comments)

Replying to my own post. Looks like I should practice what I preach. For Linux/Windows/OSX please read BSD/Linux/Windows/OSX/${OTHER_OS}

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Attacks Linux With Retail-Training Talking Points

Epsillon Re:Sign me up... (681 comments)

Ignoring them doesn't work because they feed off of each other, leading to some enormous threads with very little content beyond "{insert object of affection here} FTW!" What seems to put a stop to them is that rare beast, the highly gratifying post that looks at both sides of the free/proprietary issue objectively, examining the true reasons for the current state of software, i.e. all software sucks, usually an edifying read that immediately rings true to all but the most fanatical and blinkered supporter of one camp or the other.

For example, a true Linux user is never going to be happy with the system, in the same way an objective Windows user is going to find flaws and niggles each and every day and can probably be found reading others' experiences and nodding sagely at the sorry state of whatever bit of software has caused regressions. Being able to discuss these flaws logically without exaggeration and hyperbole marks the intelligent and encourages continuous improvement. I know my own system of choice has huge flaws at present - Java is a complete mess and the new lockd seems to be incompatible with the last iteration causing headaches between 7 and 8 in NFS environments, two major issues off the top of my head from my own testing and there will be more.

What encourages the fanpersons is arguments between obviously sane, sensible and intelligent people who can be objective but have fallen into the trap of becoming defensive over a single issue, such as opening with an unnecessary dig at the zealots which only serves to stir them up. Perhaps the answer is to be a bit more selective in choosing enemies, don't poke those that you have already identified with a stick at every opportunity and be a little more tolerant of those who just may be capable of objective thought?

Oh, and who modded the parent flamebait? Can you honestly say that there are no people using Slashdot's comments just to fan the flames as the parent hints? Can you even honestly think for one moment that there isn't a solid core of Linux/Windows/OSX users for whom the operating system is more important than the facilities it provides and who will hear not a bad word against the object of their affections or who feel superior to those who disagree with their choices? Please, let's have a dose of reality here for a moment.

more than 4 years ago
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Symantec Wants to Use Victims to Hunt Computer Criminals

Epsillon Lusers and education (139 comments)

Symantec, the largest maker of antivirus software

That, right there, just shows how very, very far users are from being educated...

more than 4 years ago
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James Murdoch Criticizes BBC For Providing "Free News"

Epsillon Re:QOTD (703 comments)

We do. And you know what? If it keeps the likes of Murdoch unhappy, I'll happily pay it again. There's a rumour doing the rounds that his BSkyB media company is trying to lure the ITV (the other PSB network that used to be made up of regional broadcasters) secondary channels away from the Freeview and Freesat networks. I shudder to think what other plans he has to lock broadcasting up under his own control, but he needs stopping, and fast.

more than 4 years ago
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TiVo Relaunching As a Patent Troll?

Epsillon Re:Why can't you watch TV with just a CRT? (335 comments)

No, those were a replacement for the battery, the old one having turned to rocks eons ago. The TV tuner was to be made from a Pringles can, a bit of coax of a specific length, the teletext unit from an old BBC-B (modified, of course) and some custom software. However, the project leaders started arguing about what colour the background of the home screen should be, fell out with each other and all that's left of the whole thing is an abandoned Sourceforge page.

Now THAT is believable ;o)

more than 4 years ago
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FSF Attacks Windows 7's "Sins" In New Campaign

Epsillon Re:I m waiting for google operating system (926 comments)

The degree of hand holding most casual users require seems to me to be fundamentally incompatible with them being truly in control of their own computin[g] experience.

That's about as concisely and cogently as I have ever seen this premise explained.

A good example is the Google Safebrowsing incorporated in Firefox. I, personally, hate the idea and remove the lot immediately but, that said, I can spot a phishing or malware site a mile off and it's highly unlikely that any such malware will be compatible with my underlying OS anyway. However, for the typical user, this stuff is almost essential regardless of the privacy implications.

more than 4 years ago
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FSF Attacks Windows 7's "Sins" In New Campaign

Epsillon Re:These people are delusional. (926 comments)

Why the hell is the parent marked troll? He (apologies, gender doesn't convey well in handles) is quite right that the Free Software and Open Source movements are two separate entities, although their communities often overlap. RMS himself tries his hardest to disassociate the two. And yes, some of us can see past the MS hatred to the zealotry that lies beneath, then end up questioning what the FSF's real motives are.

WGA DOES NOT examine the contents of your hard drive. It simply compares the installation time product key and hardware hash with a list of known bad keys and stored activation data, distinct from activation since this can happen at any time, such as a Windows update session.

On the security front, MS has made some important in-roads, particularly the old problem of running as root all the time. UAC may not be perfect, but it's a damned sight better than anything they've come up with since Windows 2000, which was *almost* perfect when set up correctly.

With such rebuttals being rather simple to come up with for someone with an open mind and few preconceptions, even without recourse to web searches, one wonders how much of the rest of this tirade against MS is accurate. Admittedly their business practice descriptions seem to be spot-on, especially with regards to pre-installation of Windows (you get it whether you want it or not), but those like myself running non-Windows based OSen would be foolish to buy a pre-built machine in the first place, given the hardware compatibility complexity and the quality of the rubbish they build "standard" PCs with these days. Yeah, yeah, laptops and netbooks, the usual response to this assertion. Well you can, if you know what you're doing and who to deal with, spec these yourself with equal facility.

As you can probably tell by now, I couldn't care less about market share figures. They're for the economists; I'm a technologist and I'd much rather deal with technical issues than political and economic.

more than 4 years ago
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Leaving the GPL Behind

Epsillon Re:This isn't sensationalist, it's the truth (543 comments)

Of course they have. The main reason BSD got sidelined, after growing very nicely thank you to start with, was the AT&T USL lawsuit spreading FUD and scaring users off. AT&T are not SCO and made for a pretty formidable opponent. By the time the litigation was over (AT&T backed down after it was found that a lot of BSD code had been subsumed into SVR4) and the unencumbered 4.4-BSD Lite was released, Linux had already gained traction (a working TCP stack) and was collecting up a lot of users disillusioned with the AT&T shenanigans. That the settlement was kept secret also added to the FUD and BSD, as a result, was almost left deserted and unloved. The licence and Linux being GPL really didn't make one iota of difference. Even Linus said later that had BSD been available and its status not legally dubious, he probably wouldn't have started on Linux.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Epsillon Epsillon writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Epsillon (608775) writes "The Register reports on a phenonmenon most users will be familiar with: Computer half-life.

"Five years ago, we activated a dozen new, freshly-purchased systems," said Computer Science Professor Asteio Artikolos. "Since then we have measured, on average, a 10-15 per cent reduction in the machines' clock speeds over that time. It's as if each machine's stock of megahertz were somehow leaking away.""

Journals

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Epsillon Epsillon writes  |  more than 6 years ago There is a lot of talk about BSD at the moment, not least of which centers on the experiences of new users on mailing lists, newsgroups and forums. There is a false feeling that the BSD community suffers from a misplaced sense of superiority due to answers of the "RTFM" type. Whilst understandably frustrating, this is simply a difference between the BSD and other cultures. The reason? Documentation.

I use FreeBSD. I make no apology for the shameless plug as I think it is a useful and worthwhile system to learn and use and, since I know FreeBSD, I'll concentrate on it for the rest of this entry. The FreeBSD documentation project is the reason for this journal entry, simply because a lot of people misunderstand why it is there and what it does.

FreeBSD is developed as a whole: Kernel, base system, ports and documentation. They all follow a basic structure laid down by the core team, the ports team and other subgroups and all follow POLA (point of least astonishment) as far as practical across releases. As such, most questions about FreeBSD can be answered in one of four places:

  • The FreeBSD Handbook (English version, also available in other languages). This really is a book, not a Wiki or a random collection of HTML pages. It is installed with every new system (except minimal install) in multiple languages and is quite readable. Find it in /usr/share/doc/en/books/handbook. Whilst you're there, have a look at the other books and articles in /usr/share/doc/en/. Nice, eh? Just think how long all that took to write.
  • The online man pages or man from a local console. Yes, man pages can be over-hyped, but I've found FreeBSD's to be both clear and concise. Tip: Install sysutils/most from the ports and set it as your pager for a much nicer layout of man pages. / searches forwards and ? searches backwards if you're looking for keywords. Don't forget apropos(1) either.
  • I really don't know whether to do this, but if you're offended by the term "newbie" look away now. The FreeBSD resources for newbies page offers alternative information for people not finding the answers in the other three places.

One of the reasons why the BSD help resources frequently appear to be populated by Big Scary Demons (with apologies to O'Reilly) is that people rarely use the above resources before asking questions. This principle applies to all software, not just the BSDs. Simply put, the documentation in FreeBSD is so extensive and so much time has been spent getting it right and accessible that it offends people when it is ignored. Smart questions are welcomed, of course. Things like "How do I install Samba" are likely to and, IMHO, should be greeted with a healthy dose of "RTFH" (read the fine Handbook).

The FreeBSD documentation people have worked hard to make the project's books, manuals and man pages as good, if not better, than any other project's. To ignore these resources is kicking sand in the faces of those who gave up their time to produce them for you. In short, it's not a superiority complex at all; it's a simple reaction to a lack of courtesy toward people who have tried to help you before you even knew you needed help.

Another little tip: If you're moving from one "flavour" to another, this might be just what you need.

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