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Comments

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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Jason Levine Re:The death of leniency (511 comments)

Except that this COULD help a police officer who has been wrongly accused. Take the Ferguson case, for example. Let's suppose that the officer had a body camera and it clearly showed the kid doing what the officer claimed he did. Perhaps people would agree with the officer and not be calling for his arrest. However, if the officer had a body camera and it showed the kid standing with his arms up while the cop opened fire, it would provide hard evidence of wrong doing. In other words, this could help exonerate good cops whose actions are misrepresented and bad cops whose actions might otherwise go unpunished thanks to them lying about the circumstances.

10 hours ago
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Jason Levine Re:The death of leniency (511 comments)

The camera video doesn't mean a constant audit. If a cop pulls you over for speeding and lets you go with a warning, his supervisor isn't going to be viewing that recording. If the cop pulls you over for speeding, drags you out of the car, beats you, and then claims that you pulled a gun on him, the supervisor (and possibly jury too) will view the recording and be able to tell whether the officer was correct in his actions.

10 hours ago
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Jason Levine Re:I like... (511 comments)

People behave better when they know they are being filmed.

Not always otherwise the old TV show COPS wouldn't have had any footage to use.

Come to think of it, though, perhaps the local departments could sell some footage to TV "reality" shows in exchange for funding to use the cameras. This arrest brought to you by NBC's new fall lineup!

11 hours ago
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Jason Levine Re:I like... (511 comments)

Also, I'm sure that equipment doesn't just get shoved into a box and forgotten about. There are likely maintenance costs involved. Even if it just shoved into a box until needed, there are likely storage costs. Do away with the tanks for local police and they might find they have some money for cameras.

11 hours ago
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Jason Levine Re:I like... (511 comments)

Even in this extreme case, it would be useful. Obviously, the police often arrive mid-situation. They need to use their judgement based on what they see at the time. The cameras will help by showing us just what they saw and how that led to their actions. In the case of Good Cops, it can exonerate them if the "victims" were shown to be ignoring the police and getting aggressive. In the case of Bad Cops, it can show the the victims weren't getting aggressive like the police claimed and actually were trying to comply. It wouldn't be perfect, but it would be better than "Person A says this happened but the cop says that happened."

11 hours ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Jason Levine Re:The bill, maybe. The BS headline? No. (450 comments)

Or a "religious interpretation" as creationists are fond of claiming that Evolution (or, to use the more religion-sounding name they call it: Darwinism) is a religious belief.

It isn't, of course, but if they can claim it to be so, and if they can get some politicians to agree, then perhaps they can get Evolution banned as a "religion."

yesterday
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Jason Levine Re:This is good! (450 comments)

Not only that, but without the "why", the facts can be easily undermined.

Teacher to kids: "Evolution is the process by which species change over time to better suit their environment."

ID Advocate: "See? There's no evidence for it and the so-called scientists are just making things up as they go along. It's not like they have some 'process' they follow. If they did, wouldn't you have been taught that in school?"

yesterday
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Jason Levine Re:Sigh (312 comments)

Specifically, they want to keep people from using too much Internet video as this competes with their cable TV service. If you could watch as much Internet video as you wanted, you might be able to get all of your video entertainment needs online and thus would be able to cut the cord. With caps... oops, "thresholds", you have a choice of either limiting your Internet video usage and possibly needing to keep cable TV, or using Internet video and paying extra. (Bonus for Comcast: That "extra" goes to them instead of to Netflix, Amazon, Google, or any other Internet Video provider.)

yesterday
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Jason Levine Re:Sigh (312 comments)

congresscritters receive compensation from corporations in the form of "after public service" appointments

Some of those "after public service" appointments are for lobbying firms, lobbying for the very corporations that the politician so effectively represented in Congress. They then lobby the current Congressfolk, including promises of "after public service" appointments. Thus completes the circle is complete.

yesterday
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Jason Levine Re:Sigh (312 comments)

Obligatory Pearls Before Swine.

Money doesn't influence anyone! Also the gumdrop trees in Candy Land are great! ;-)

yesterday
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

Jason Levine Re:Corroborating Hieroglyphics? (195 comments)

Well, yes and no. The aliens did build it, but they used cheap human labor for the grunt work. Sure, they could have just moved the giant blocks with their minds, but aliens are so lazy.

yesterday
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

Jason Levine Re:No Steering Wheel In Time (488 comments)

And let's not forget Google's habit of suddenly canceling projects. "I'm sorry, but starting next week the GoogleCar will be shutting down and your automobile will no longer be functional. We apologize for any inconvenience. By the way, have you heard of our new and completely unrelated AndroidMobile service? Perhaps you'd like to purchase a car from us that uses this service."

yesterday
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

Jason Levine Re:Wrong (195 comments)

I know that was a joke, but at the time the cheap labor and no worker safety was right there. Why outsource when slaves will do anything you tell them to do? (Or else!) As for worker safety? Who cares if a few dozen slaves get worked to death? They're cheap enough to replace.

yesterday
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

Jason Levine Re:Obligatory D & D joke (195 comments)

Obviously, they had their slaves roll for initiative. The ones who didn't have good initiative were stationed in FRONT of the giant stone dice.

yesterday
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

Jason Levine Re:No Steering Wheel In Time (488 comments)

"Completely unsafe?" How many humans drive every day with no incident vs. how many accidents occur? I drive to work every day and don't wind up crashing into a car each time. In my entire driving career (about 20 years), I've been in 4 accidents. (Only 1 of those my fault - though the insurance company disputed the fault of a second one.) I couldn't tell you how many miles I've logged that resulted in me getting to my destination without any harm to me or my passengers. Going by days driven vs. accidents, though, I have about a 0.05% chance of getting into an accident when I set out on the road. Put another way, I'm a 99.95% safe driver.

What's the track record for a theoretical Consumer GoogleCar? It hasn't been released yet, so it's completely unproven. It might be 100% safe. It might only be 75% safe. If it is 90% safe, it will be less safe than me. If it is 99.99% safe, it will be a safer driver than me. The point is that I don't know. Why should I put complete trust in something, eliminating any backup system, when that thing has no track record? Because the company assures me it is safe?

Keep the manual controls so people have that manual backup. If the automated cars are as good as they say, people won't use the steering wheels and the need for them will go away. However, ripping out all backup systems and putting your trust in something with little to no real world experience is short sighted. I'm all for embracing new technology, but bleeding edge shouldn't be referring to possible automated car glitches.

yesterday
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

Jason Levine Re:No Steering Wheel In Time (488 comments)

You can have self-driving cars with licensed drivers behind the wheel ready to take over just in case. Trust, but verify. Glitches are bound to occur with any new technology. Saying that you shouldn't have a backup system ready (in this case, a human driver), isn't hobbling the technology, it's verifying it. As the technology proves itself, it will be freed up to do more and more without a driver.

Eventually, we might get to the point where you put your baby in a car seat and tell GoogleCar to drive the baby to Grandma's house. However, I wouldn't trust Version 1.0 of a technology with a task like that right off the bat.

(Before someone points out that Google's been testing these cars; they have, but I'd still consider a consumer release version to be "Version 1.0.")

yesterday
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Climate Scientist Pioneer Talks About the Furture of Geoengineering

Jason Levine Re:Furture? (138 comments)

I come from the future. Just look at my posting date/time. See? Future!

yesterday
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TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

Jason Levine Re:My Father Got Hit By These Folks (243 comments)

The scammers wanted my father to run a remote access tool. My assumption at the time was that they were then going to load some trojan or something to take control of the PC (likely silently to harvest as much data as possible). Going by the TechCentral article, they have you enter Paypal and/or Credit card information on a page (while watching what you are typing) to pay them a "PC cleaning fee." If you don't pay them, they start rooting through your PC for valuable documents and/or delete any documents they don't care about. The scam is definitely slick enough that the elderly (or anyone who doesn't know a lot about computers) would get hit hard by it.

yesterday
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

Jason Levine No Steering Wheel In Time (488 comments)

I agree that an automated car will need a steering wheel in the immediate future. Once their track record has been proven and people are comfortable with them, however, cars will gradually lose manual controls. We'll likely be telling our grandkids with stories of hundreds of non-automated cars screaming down the highway piloted by fallible humans. Of course, they'll just roll their eyes at us, make an "uphill both ways in the snow" comment, and tell their RobotCar to take them to the mall.

2 days ago
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TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

Jason Levine My Father Got Hit By These Folks (243 comments)

I was taking my boys out bowling last summer when I got a call from my father telling me that "Windows" had called him and told him his computer was infected with a virus. I immediately told him it was a scam and to just hang up. At first, he didn't want to "just in case they were telling the truth", but he eventually hung up on them. They had gotten him to go to a website but not run a program. I told him that even opening a website could infect him and to treat his computer as if it was infected. Later, when I examined the website and his computer, I concluded that the website was a simple page that linked to remote access tools. These were perfectly valid tools (e.g. TeamViewer) from the company's own servers, but obviously being used for nefarious purposes. Running these tools themselves wouldn't have been a problem - except for the scammer on the other end of the connection. The fact that he stopped short of running their tool saved him.

The same scammers (or others running the same scam) called him back a few times since. My dad might not be the most computer savvy, but he does learn. He's not going to fall for the same thing twice and now that he knows it's a scam he berates the person for a few seconds before hanging up on them.

2 days ago

Submissions

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What To Do With Old Domains

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  about 10 months ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "While looking to buy a new domain for a website idea I had, I realized that over the years I've purchased quite a few domain names. I'm not a domain hoarder by any stretch of the imagination, but 14 domains isn't a small number either. Of those domains, only 6 are actively being used. Many of the others were used for web projects that died out or that never launched. I could let the domains expire or possibly sell them (some might actually take in some cash), but I'm afraid of the domains being grabbed by spammers or other nefarious individuals. Holding onto them is an option, but increasingly I'm wondering why I'm paying annual fees for domain names that I'm not using and likely will never use again.

How do you handle old domain names in your possession that you no longer need?"
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Best Science Fiction/Fantasy for 8 Year Olds

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "My son is 8 years old. I'd love to get him interested in Science Fiction, but most of the books I can think of seem to be targeted to older kids/adults.

Thinking that the length of some novels might be off-putting to him, I read him some of the short stories in Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot". He liked these but I could tell he was having a hard time keeping up. I think the wording of the stories was too advanced and there was too much talking and not enough action. Personally, I love Asimov, but I think much of it just went over his head.

Which science fiction and/or fantasy books would you recommend for an 8 year old? (Either stories he could read himself or that we could read together over the course of a few weeks.)"
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Teaching Your Children Computer Skills At Home

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "My son's school district, like many across the country, is facing budget issues. Already, art and music are being cut and two elementary schools are likely to be shut down. (One of which my son currently attends.) My wife recently found out that our school doesn't even have a computer teacher. Nobody's teaching the kids how to use word processing programs, how to browse the Internet, etc. They have "computer time" in which someone watches over them while the kids are allowed to visit PBSKids.org and similar websites.

My son is very bright and computer savvy for a first grader, but obviously I want him to know how to do more than simply load up a website. We've discussed home schooling with varying degrees of seriousness. Even if we don't home school, we might want to supplement what he's learning in school with computer lessons at home. My wife is a teacher and has access to various resources, but I was wondering what resources the Slashdot community might recommend.

How do you teach your children about computers and how to use them? Do you know of any websites or programs that would be appropriate for my first grade son to use? (I've already introduced him to TuxPaint, TuxMath and TuxTyping.)"
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Theft of Services Claim with Honor System Paywall

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "Towards the end of the day yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone claiming that my company's employees had been stealing his services. I always take claims like this seriously, so I read on. Apparently, his website is called the North Country Gazette. It appears to be a "news" site, but structured like a blog. Each article contains the text: "Free access to The North Country Gazette is limited to one visit, one article, no exceptions. After your free trial, a subscription is needed and without same, your access will be denied. To sign up, see subscription ad on this page. If you have questions, contact us at news@northcountrygazette.org"

The e-mail claimed theft of services because an employee visited two articles without paying. I thought it might be a scam (the threatening tone of the e-mail didn't help) so I visited the site to make sure it was legit. Soon after my one article view, I received a second e-mail calling me "obstinate", telling me to "do your job instead of surfing the internet" and threatening legal action if we visited his site again.

The thing is, though, he doesn't seem to have any kind of paywall in place. No mechanism to detect if a user has viewed an article and stop them from viewing more like other paywalls I've encountered. Just a system to detect when his honor system isn't honored. How seriously should I take his threats? Can someone really sue over theft of services due to three page views (four if you count me accessing his home page)? Can some small text on a website (which doesn't even contain a "pay here" link) really bind you into paying for a subscription? I will definitely be informing my company's legal counsel, but I was wondering if anyone on Slashdot has heard of anything like this?"
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Killer Sue Wikipedia To Remove Their Names

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber killed a German actor in 1990. Now that they are out of prison, German law states that they can't be referred to by name in relation to the killings. Therefore, they have sued to get Wikipedia to remove their names from the Wikipedia article about the killings. The German edition of Wikipedia has already complied, but the English edition is citing US freedom of speech and a lack of presence in Germany as reasons why they don't need to remove the name. In a bit of irony, their lawyer e-mailed the NY Times: “In the spirit of this discussion, I trust that you will not mention my clients’ names in your article.""
Link to Original Source
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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensively Streaming Media?

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "I recently won a Roku box and my family and I have been enjoying watching Netflix movies/TV shows via it. So much so, in fact, that we are considering canceling our cable service. Canceling cable would save us $65 a month. Of course, this would mean the loss of a big entertainment source for my children (age 6 and 2), my wife and me. We have a decent DVD collection, but it tends to be hard to find the right DVD and play it for the boys. (The DVDs are in stacks and tend to get disorganized.) I'd rather rip them to my upstairs computer and stream the video, but I need some help.

First of all, we don't have a large budget to work with. Yes, we'd be saving per month without the cable bill, but my wife won't let me spend thousands on equipment so that we can save $800 a year. That said, our requirements are low. We don't have any HD televisions in the house and don't have plans to upgrade our existing sets anytime soon. So while it might be nice if the solutions can handle HD, there's no need to spend more money on an HD-compatible product.

Secondly, running ethernet cable is out of the question. My wife refuses to let me drill holes in the walls/floor and to be honest, I don't blame her. My wireless network (current router a Netgear WGR614 v5) tends to cut out at times. Powerline networking intrigues me, but the wiring in the house is old and I'm afraid that it won't be a stable connection. Another option I found was ethernet-over-coax. Would I be better off upgrading my wireless network (replacing the router and/or adding an access point somewhere) or going with a powerline or coax solution?

Third, ditching cable would mean we would lose our cable-provided DVR. While most shows we watch would be viewable via Hulu, we would like to still be able to record shows (especially kids shows on PBS) and play them later. What kind of DVR system would you recommend?

Lastly, my desktop computer isn't exactly the newest system in the world. It is 6 years old and, while not underpowered, might not be up to handling some tasks. Would I be better off building or buying a DVR/Media Center box? If so, how much would I wind up paying for this?

Thanks for any advice you can give."
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Wii outsells 360, PS3, PS2, PSP combined in April

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Jason Levine writes "Ars Technica is reporting that, during the month of April, the Nintendo Wii outsold not only the XBox 360 and the Sony PS3, but the 360, PS3, PS2, and PSP combined. The Nintendo Wii sold 714,200 units. Microsoft's XBox 360 sold 188,000 units and Sony's PS3 sold 187,100 units. The PSP moved 192,700 units and the PS2 moved 124,400 units. In addition, six of the top 10 games sold in April were Nintendo Wii games."
Link to Original Source

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