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Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

Farmer Tim Re:Ltetres odrer (224 comments)

Pfft! In the old days when someone posted the text of the article to the comments it was called karma whoring...

about two weeks ago

Was Eich a Threat To Mozilla's $1B Google "Trust Fund"?

Farmer Tim Re:Everything else aside ... (564 comments)

Pope Opportunist is quite satisfactory, if a little generic.

about two weeks ago

Judge OKs Class Action Suit Against Apple For E-Book Price Fixing

Farmer Tim Re:Books vs Apps (88 comments)

The difference is "price fixing” (a specific legal term) only applies when multiple vendors collude to set a price and effectively stifle competition. In the case of a sole vendor there is no competition, so they can legally set whatever price they want; this isn’t “price fixing”.

about three weeks ago

Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

Farmer Tim Re:Mavericks upgrade (241 comments)

Two suggestions: run the 10.6.8 combo update (that should overwrite the existing App Store installation), or do a clean install on an external hard drive, download the Mavericks installer from the App Store while booted from that, then copy the “Install OS X Mavericks” application from the Applications folder to your internal hard drive before it installs (I did this with a supported Mac to grab the installer to hack onto an unsupported MacPro 1,1). Of course, the latter option takes as long as reinstalling the OS and requires an external hard drive, so you might as well just spend the hour and a bit and reinstall the OS...it’s not difficult, and it leaves all your installed software intact (and if that doesn’t solve the problem you can be pretty sure it’s misconfigured third party software, such as Little Snitch).

While I’m not a fan of the App Store and would prefer the option of a direct download, it works well for the vast majority of users, and it does a better job of keeping them up to date than the previous Software Update mechanism. It’s a pest in corner cases, though.

about 2 months ago

Lumia Phones Leaking Private Data To Microsoft

Farmer Tim Re:Hang on a minute (110 comments)

I'm calling BS.

More secure than texting BS...

about 2 months ago

Confirmed: Earth's Oldest Rock In Australia

Farmer Tim Re:Amazing! (74 comments)

The ABC is probably more at fault, they're supposed to have a dedicated science unit so it gets that kind of thing right.

Of course, one could take the view that it's obvious that not every single rock on Earth has been dated, therefore the only people who really need the word "known" in the headline are pedants or the immensely thick.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

Farmer Tim Re:This Ask Slashdot must be from the /. Beta Team (876 comments)

The art analogy is definitely wrong for Slashdot. I’d say a more apt analogy is replacing a rustic but functional outhouse with a shiny chrome shovel and a sign pointing towards a nearby forest.

about 2 months ago

Why the Latest FISA Release By Google Et Al. Means Squat

Farmer Tim Re:Classic Slashdot (131 comments)


about 2 months ago

Apple Reportedly Testing Inductive, Solar and Motion Charging For Its Smartwatch

Farmer Tim Re:exclude /. sections? (219 comments)

It depends: you can turn off the Apple section in your user settings, unfortunately there isn’t a “Wild Speculation” section you can turn off.

about 3 months ago

How Silicon Valley CEOs Conspired To Suppress Engineers' Wages

Farmer Tim Re:The 1%'ers (462 comments)

It's coming Silicone Valley.

Silicon, no "e". Silicone is the stuff in breast implants.. ..I’ll leave it to the reader to reinterpret the above quote in that context.

about 3 months ago

Apple Macintosh Turns 30

Farmer Tim Re:My Mac Sucks (154 comments)

According to http://www.apple-history.com/8... the troll’s specs are correct, it could use up to 1GB of RAM (the last one I worked on had 256MB), and the 300MHz model was actually one of the last PPC604 computers to go into production, only months before the G3.

about 3 months ago

GPUs Dropping Dead In 2011 MacBook Pro Models

Farmer Tim Re:Warranty Shouldn't Matter (359 comments)

Whoopsshould’ve added to the first paragraph that it isn’t unreasonable to expect a AU$2,500 computer (the cost of the 15” with 1GB VRAM) to last longer than three years. It’s a durable item, not disposable.

about 3 months ago

GPUs Dropping Dead In 2011 MacBook Pro Models

Farmer Tim Re:Warranty Shouldn't Matter (359 comments)

While it would suck, I wouldn't expect a company to even call me back after my warranty has expired. Their liability has expired.

Here in Australia we have a provision in consumer law that states any item considered “durable” (meaning there’s a reasonable expectation of years of service) is covered for manufacturing or design defects regardless of how long the manufacturer’s warranty is; this is referred to as the doctrine of implied warranty. For example, there is a case where Samsung had to refund (not repair, it’s at the purchaser’s discretion) 70% of the purchase price of a TV set which failed after three years because there’s a reasonable expectation that an $8000 big screen TV should last for ten years.

Since these models are failing en masse this is clearly a manufacturing or design defect; in other words, the units had an underlying fault at the time of purchase, this isn’t just normal wear and tear. It’s illegal to sell faulty goods, so Apple remains liable despite the time elapsed before the symptoms appeared; the warranty period is actually irrelevant.

about 3 months ago

Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

Farmer Tim Re:Just no (380 comments)

To be fair, the earliest MacPros are about to turn 8, and they're outclassed by an i7 laptop from three years ago. Any business thinking that's still a high end workstation (and hasn't written the depreciation off on tax) has bigger problems than software updates...

And BTW, my 2006 MacPro runs Mavericks just fine with a GeForce 8800GT using the drivers supplied with the OS, so your babble about 64 bit graphics drivers is nonsense (or maybe a distortion of the fact that Mavericks won't boot on a computer with 32bit UEFI, you need either a patched boot.efi file or the Chameleon bootloader). Mavericks won't work on graphics cards that don't support OpenGL 4 or OpenCL either...true, that does include most of the stock cards in the original MacPro, but in perspective that's no more surprising than a 1999 video card not supporting Windows Vista.

about 3 months ago

US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"

Farmer Tim Re:Kinda sucks. (894 comments)

What can you do? Require that the owner is informed of a possible problem before any action is taken, and also require them to be present to witness and acknowledge in writing the destruction of any items. The first condition would vastly reduce mistakes, the second takes care of theft disguised as seizure. I know checked baggage doesn't always take the same route as the passenger, but if something is found in an en route search that doesn't pose an immediate threat to the aircraft the luggage item could be tagged (say, a big red sticker) and the matter dealt with at the final destination.

The problem isn't that customs inspection is pointless, I think it actually does serve a valid purpose, so shutting them down is the wrong solution. The problem is giving civil servants the power to summarily destroy property more or less at whim and without consultation; that's a bug which can be fixed without nuking the entire system.

about 4 months ago


Farmer Tim hasn't submitted any stories.



Mod Point Madness

Farmer Tim Farmer Tim writes  |  more than 2 years ago

I've been handed 85 moderator points in the last 9 days. I wonder what the high score is...


End of the world

Farmer Tim Farmer Tim writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Well, its now 1 AM, 6/6/06, and so far the minions of hell have failed to burst forth and wreak havoc upon the world...or at least my rainy corner (maybe demons don't like wet weather; their horns poke holes in their umbrellas, I imagine).

For anyone concerned I'll be providing regular updates, but I really don't expect any activity more diabolical than the average Tuesday. Admittedly, that's a pretty high standard around here...

My apologies to anyone who mistook the title of this journal for something important. You should know better by now ;)



Farmer Tim Farmer Tim writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I'm sometimes given reason to ponder the strangeness of life and how it seems like there's some mysterious force playing silly buggers with us. Today was one of those days.

Last year I did the audio work for a short horror film (I know, I'm a pretentious tosser) about a home invasion where someone gets a knife through the back of their head. A week after filming a member of the crew was attacked with a machete in a home invasion, and his right ear was nearly severed.

One hell of a coincidence, right? Read on.

Forward to last week. Myself and the afore-mentioned crew member, now recovered, are packaging short films for a local community TV station. The station wants to put on classic horror films, and approach us to provide films and a host (my colleague having almost scary expertise in film trivia). Being a little camera shy and not even remotely photogenic, the best idea we could come up with was making a skeleton puppet, so we set about ordering one for the job.

Today, some police turned up on my doorstep with grim news: the severely decayed corpse of my long lost uncle Tony has been found in a tent in a national park.

Conclusion 1: The universe has an incredible sense of comic timing. Two days earlier and we could have saved $80.

Conclusion 2: Some people will do anything to get on television.

I think I'm in danger of developing a metaphysical persecution complex. Does anyone else have a true story of bizarre coincidence?


When is a joke not a joke? When there's velcro! Wha...?

Farmer Tim Farmer Tim writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Several weeks ago I responded to a comment about velcro-tab sneakers, mentioning that I still have two pairs, and it was marked up as funny. Oddly, I was only half joking: for anyone wanting to re-live the 80's (and may God have mercy on you) they're still made by Pacific Dunlop*, and available through K-Mart* stores here in Australia. I suspect these are still popular here because Australian beer generally contains more alcohol than American beer, and as a nation we don't like having to sober up enough to cope with shoelaces before walking to the pub.

Just a warning: Dunlop also make car tyres, so be careful not to confuse the two product lines unless you have really big, odd-shaped feet. If you're uncertain, use the compatibility guide at the top right of this journal entry.

*I'm not trying to advertise for them, I'm providing this info as a service to the sartorially impaired. I don't honestly expect anyone to actually buy a pair...


Anti-corporate politics and efficient energy use

Farmer Tim Farmer Tim writes  |  more than 8 years ago Recently I've been accused of being a corporate apologist because I made a qualified positive remark about Apple - not the first time I've heard the accusation, and I suspect won't it be the last. Now, I'm not fool enough to believe that corporations are all sweetness and light; quite the opposite, I've had ample experience directly dealing with corporations (large recording and media companies mainly, better known as the dregs of the scum), I've worked for corporations, I've bought from corporations, I've been screwed at both ends of the supply chain and in the middle, so I've learned first-hand what utter bastards they can be all round. They're money making machines without concern for any other issue, pure and simple.

That's the vitriol out of the way, now for the pragmatism.

Corporations, for all their lack of ethics and outright illegal activites, do represent the largest source of investment in R&D and manufacturing infrastructure, whether we like it or not. The government isn't going to take over any time soon; if anything, government investment in R&D is going to drop as welfare spending increases (and its debatable whether government R&D is the most efficient method of funding, but that's a side issue). To use a subject close to all our hearts, without corporations the size of Intel, AMD or IBM, who would step up to continue development of microprocessors? I'm not trolling, its a serious question. Building a new chip fab isn't really compatible with the open source philosophy because it needs a substantial investment in physical equipment; though I'm sure the talent is available to design a very high quality processor through a distributed effort, getting it into production would be another matter. That's just one example, and our mass-production based consumerist society is full of others.

So the question I'm enabling comments for is this: what would you, gentle slashdotter, suggest as a way of making the existing corporate system more accountable and ethical, or alternatively, what system could be used to compete against the corporation from a grass-roots level, in an open source-like manner? How can the energy from all the anger I see be channelled into useful action? I'm interested to hear what people think can be done; of course, I'll patent any really good ideas ;)

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