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Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

Jmstuckman What's wrong with American drivers? (178 comments)

> What's wrong with American drivers?

DC's metro trains were designed to be operated automatically the vast majority of the time. Hence, the acceleration and braking systems were optimized for automatic operation (as opposed to manual operation) and it is difficult for a human driver to control the train's movements precisely and smoothly.

3 days ago
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PHP 5.6.0 Released

Jmstuckman Re:Now almost as useful as python was 5 years ago! (118 comments)

PHP is a horrible programming language, but I know why people like PHP applications -- the ability to install an application on a LAMP stack by just untarring a single archive into the deployment directory is priceless.

Last time I tried to install a Python web application, I had to give the installer root privileges to install a bunch of junk in some system-wide module directory. No thanks.

Last time I tried to install a Ruby web application, I ran into a bunch of snafus related to newer versions of Ruby not being backwards compatible with older code, and discovered that the "right" way to do it was to install a whole new package management system that wasn't in sync with my OS's own package manager. No thanks to that, either.

about a month ago
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Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

Jmstuckman Re:Bitcoin credibility? (267 comments)

According to the official "short game" rules, you may, indeed, build hotels after your third house.

Here are the real official rules.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

Jmstuckman Did something like this recently (194 comments)

I did something like this recently with Skype and Ubuntu 13.10. You can set up auto-login on Ubuntu, auto-start on Skype, and set up Skype to auto-answer and auto-activate the camera. In theory, it could get torpedoed by some kind of random dialog box, but it hasn't happened in two months. To make a it a little more bulletproof, you could set up a cron job that reboots the system nightly.

One warning: since Skype was acquired by Microsoft, the standard Skype login dialog was replaced with some kind of weird integration to Microsoft's outlook.com single-sign-on. When Microsoft is having system problems (like they were a couple months ago), it appears to lose all of the single-sign-on tokens, which will drop the system back to the login page, and you will be stuck. However, this only happened once in the past couple months. (Yes, things worked far better before Microsoft bought Skype, but it's not a lost cause.)

about 1 month ago
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Geographic Segregation By Education

Jmstuckman Moving is more natural (230 comments)

Absolutely right. I grew up in an economically disadvantaged area, went to college, and settled in one of the best-performing metro areas in the country. My classmates who skipped college are still there, driving 1-2 hours each way to the closest job they can find, and enduring the double disadvantages of lacking a college degree and living in a depressed area.

When one is living dangerously close to the poverty line, moving away from friends and family will be perceived as unacceptable risky. Only the most ambitious will leave, and most of those people went to college anyway.

about 2 months ago
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The Future of Wearables: Standalone, Unobtrusive, and Everywhere

Jmstuckman Why the fuck is that modded (56 comments)

The entire comment was apparently plagiarized from an article on another site. Given this, I'm wondering how it got all the way up to +4.

about 2 months ago
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Autonomous Trucking

Jmstuckman Rail? (142 comments)

As the previous AC post alluded, the particular requirements of freight and passenger transport don't mix well. The United States moves a massive amount of freight by rail, with very few long-distance rail lines being totally dedicated to passenger transport. Unfortunately, the unique requirements for passenger and freight traffic don't mix well.

Freight trains travel at lower speeds than the ideal passenger train, and acceleration and deceleration is extremely slow and inefficient. In the USA, the rail lines that share track with freight suffer from very slow average speeds and long delays, as they get stuck behind freight trains and are sometimes forced to stop and wait for conflicting traffic to pass. This results in long delays (both on long-distance lines and on local commuter lines which share freight tracks into the city) and the inability to add extra trains to improve service. Furthermore, for a passenger train to survive a crash with a freight train, an extraordinary amount of extra mass must be built into the passenger train, raising costs considerably. (Look up the Wikipedia page for the USA's Acela Express rolling stock.)

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Hosting Services That Don't Overreact To DMCA Requests?

Jmstuckman John Smith? (148 comments)

I thought that perjury was a criminal offense, not a civil one, meaning that one cannot "take them to court" -- you can only report it to the FBI and see if the US Attorney will choose to prosecute. Am I missing something here?

about 3 months ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

Jmstuckman Re:consent (130 comments)

From a legal standpoint, for an activity to be considered "research", it must be "designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge". http://www.virginia.edu/vpr/ir...

When a website uses A/B testing to improve its own internal operations, it's seeking to privately develop limited knowledge on its own operations, rather than general knowledge. This puts it outside the scope of US federal regulations on research, which have been narrowly crafted to avoid regulating commercial activities like these.

Given these criteria, Facebook was surely engaged in research.

about 3 months ago
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Amazon's Android Appstore Coming To BlackBerry

Jmstuckman Re:I'm sorry, could you repeat the question? (76 comments)

Waze for BB10 doesn't support the Q10 (screen too small). Maybe it supports the Z10, but if I wanted a phone without a physical keyboard, why shouldn't I just buy an Android phone and be done with it?

about 3 months ago
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Amazon's Android Appstore Coming To BlackBerry

Jmstuckman Re:I'm sorry, could you repeat the question? (76 comments)

Google Maps is a GREAT maps app. My point is that Blackberry devices won't run it -- it's not in the Amazon appstore.

about 3 months ago
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Amazon's Android Appstore Coming To BlackBerry

Jmstuckman I'm sorry, could you repeat the question? (76 comments)

The question: is it enough to save BlackBerry in the consumer market, or is it too little, too late?

How long has it been since BlackBerry has had more than a negligible share of the consumer market? These days, they seem to be almost exclusively enterprise. Seriously, the last time I can think of that anybody I know who bought their own BlackBerry was like 7 years ago. Who is using BlackBerry for personal use?

I bought a BlackBerry (Q10) for personal use -- I can enter text with a physical keyboard far faster than I can with any virtual keyboard. All of the current Android phones with physical keyboards are junk, so the BlackBerry was my best bet.

Incidentally, I've already been using the Amazon Appstore on BlackBerry for quite a while. One can simply download the APK from Amazon and install it on the BlackBerry -- no rooting required.

However, the biggest thing that I miss on BlackBerry is a good Maps app, and the Amazon Appstore doesn't really help here because Amazon doesn't have any good map and navigation apps either (or at least none that will work on small screen sizes).

about 3 months ago
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Windows 8.1 Finally Passes Windows 8 In Market Share

Jmstuckman Re:12.64 percent in only 17 months (187 comments)

Three years used to be a complete tech cycle in the consumer realm -- back in the 90s and early 2000s -- but the average consumer no longer upgrades their computer nearly that often. Most of my friends are still using 5-7 year old hardware, because the hardware from that era is still perfectly capable of running today's software. Your techie friends may upgrade every three years, but nobody else does.

The vast majority of consumers only upgrade their OS when they buy a new system. The lack of uptake of Windows 8 is simply because not that many people have replaced their computer in the last few years. Unfortunately, a lot of the hardware from the 2004-2005 era (the first generation of systems to take DDR2 RAM) is still floating around. Because these systems shipped with XP, they are still running XP, and we now have a problem on our hands.

Compare the Windows 8 growth curve to XP? That 9-year-old hardware from 2005 is still perfectly adequate for most tasks. On the other hand, using a PC from 1992 when XP came out in 2001 would have been impossible (unless you were rich, that computer would have had a 386 CPU and a hard drive with less than 100MB!)

about 4 months ago
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R Throwdown Challenge

Jmstuckman Re:Bad analogy (185 comments)

Although much R package code is written in R, many of the important bits are living in FORTRAN libraries (many of which date back to the 1980s) which are linked into the packages.

about 4 months ago
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TechCrunch and Others On the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Jmstuckman Might be the perfect tablet for academia (136 comments)

If that's what your're looking for, check out the Samsung Ativ Tab 3. It runs full Windows 8 (x86), it has a touchscreen and Wacom stylus, and it's great for reading PDFs. You can find it for well under $400 if you look around, and even better, it's *lighter* than the Surface Pro.

about 4 months ago
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US College Students Still Aren't All That Interested In Computer Science

Jmstuckman BA Degrees? (306 comments)

I would expect Computer Science degrees as a percentage of BA degrees to be low, as almost all Computer Science degrees are of the BS (or Bachelors of Science, if you will) variety.

The original article doesn't even have "BA" anywhere in it, though, so I have no idea where the submitter got that detail.

about 4 months ago
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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

Jmstuckman Re:Liability, Funding, Responsibilities (367 comments)

Agreed -- I also grew up in the country, in an area which was traditionally dependent on manufacturing jobs. Not only did we have the full gamut of shop classes, but we also had access to a nearby vocational high school where most of your junior and senior year would be spent learning a trade. Many large metro areas also have such vocational schools, but most people (most non-lower-income people, at least) never hear about them because they're un-trendy and poorly publicized.

On the other hand, my high school had no AP or computer programming classes, which kind of sucked for me.

about 5 months ago
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Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

Jmstuckman Re: (342 comments)

This surprises me. If the cable companies used to do this, then why do they pay royalties to the networks nowadays? Why is Aereo getting sued if they're doing the same thing the cable companies can do?

about 5 months ago

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Jmstuckman Jmstuckman writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Today, I told the Step 1... Step 4 -- PROFIT!! joke to someone who had never read Slashdot. They thought it was hilarious.

Life is weird.

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