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Comments

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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

John Jorsett Even Heinlein got it wrong (275 comments)

I remember reading one of Robert Heinlein's novels in which a character (Slipstick Libby, perhaps) was on a rocket ship and dealing with a computer. Via punch cards.

about a week ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

John Jorsett Re:i pledge to you... (722 comments)

Put another way, don't let perfect be the enemy of better.

Put yet another way, shut the hell up and do what I tell you.

about two weeks ago
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Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

John Jorsett Self-parodying clown (824 comments)

Chris McAvoy says he's glad he works at Mozilla, where he can say things "without fear of retribution". Evidently he believes that isn't a courtesy that should be extended to the CEO.

about three weeks ago
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Does Crime Leave a Genetic Trace?

John Jorsett Animal torture (160 comments)

What disturbs me most about this story is that the "stressful situations" must essentially be mouse torture. Having to do things like that are why I'd never be able to do lab work involving live animals. I'd probably end up releasing them or smuggling them out and turning them into pets.

about 2 months ago
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GOP Bill To Outlaw EPA 'Secret Science' That Is Not Transparent, Reproducible

John Jorsett Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (618 comments)

Why only the EPA?

Why not all the other stuff the government does?

You have to start somewhere, and if it's successful in this case, then the rest can follow. What surprises me about this story is that I thought all that data had to be disclosed already. How stupid is it that we have regulations based on data that's isn't made available for independent verification?

about 2 months ago
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Government To Require Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication

John Jorsett Recipe for havoc (390 comments)

This sounds like a potential disaster in the making. What's to prevent someone intent on mischief from creating spoof messages and causing hideous problems because your car thinks cars around it are involved in accidents, stopped, approaching at high speed, etc.? Even better, faking emergency vehicle messages that cause you to pull over and let the spoofer sail on through. A lot of people would be tempted to employ one of those.

about 3 months ago
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California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

John Jorsett The REAL answer (399 comments)

Vouchers that go with the kid. If the local government schools are doing a lousy job, let the parents take their kid and the money and go elsewhere. Competition to satisfy those customers and keep the money coming is the shortest and most effective path to reforming the system and keeping it reformed.

about 3 months ago
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California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

John Jorsett Re:Dangerous... (399 comments)

Also, teachers are, in most places, unionized (the article doesn't seem to mention if California teachers are or not). Go against the union in such a drastic manner and you may find yourself with a widespread strike on your hands.

FTFA: Teachers unions have vigorously defended tenure, seniority and dismissal rules, calling them crucial safeguards and essential to recruiting and retaining quality instructors.

California teachers are indeed unionized, and are one of the most powerful political forces in the state, which is one reason there's so little change.

To your latter point: if the lawsuit succeeds, existing work rules would be negated by a court. A strike would be pointless, since the teachers' employers would be powerless to reinstate them.

about 3 months ago
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RNC Calls For Halt To Unconstitutional Surveillance

John Jorsett Re:even a broken clock... (523 comments)

Before they die off, the baby boomers want their social security.

Basically our only hope is that all the drugs in the 60s and 70s, leaves them short lived now. Otherwise we're printing money.

I'd have been happy to have received and invested all of the money that I and my employers paid into the SS system over the years in return for not receiving SS, but that wasn't an option, so yeah, I'm going to want mine. Can I assume that you'll be pushing your elected officials to give you the deal that was never available to me so that you're not in the same place I am later in life, or are you going to bitch at my generation but leave the system you're criticizing in place?

about 3 months ago
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RNC Calls For Halt To Unconstitutional Surveillance

John Jorsett Re: even a broken clock... (523 comments)

They believe in gay rights and legalizing pot and lower taxes and small govt and no surveillance or drone attacks. What's not to love?

If they would stop there, it would be great. It's when they get into the libertarian utopia stuff where there are no regulations and corporations can do no wrong is that things go off the rails rather quickly.

I don't know where you're getting your ideas of what libertarians think, but believing corporations can do no wrong and that there should be no regulation isn't in the mainstream of libertarian thought. Maybe it seems that way to you because libertarians push back against the more insane and intrusive stuff that government does in those areas, so it appears that we hate it all in toto, but that's not the case. We just want to limit government to a sensible role, not the all-encompassing, all-seeing no-sparrow-falls behemoth that it's become.

about 3 months ago
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Building An Uncensorable Course Guide At Yale

John Jorsett Why does it need to BE uncensorable? (47 comments)

However, it should be breakable: if Yale changes their website so that the extension no longer matches it and thus cannot scrape it, it should break.

Then it just turns into a pissing contest over who's willing to update their site/extension for longer.
Or maybe the extension is updated to cache the data on your computer and manipulate it there.

Cat and Mouse games will not suffice. Yale is going to have to face this head on.

Somebody explain to me just WHY Yale would have a problem with the same data presented differently. If they're going to this kind of trouble to stamp it out, it must pose a threat of some sort, so what is it?

about 3 months ago
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Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High

John Jorsett Re:An ode to wankery (846 comments)

...and it's 0.01% of published literature, not scientists.

And it also doesn't mean 99.99% think global warming is real and man-made. There's no breakout of the "We don't know"s, and the "The sun is doing it"s.

about 3 months ago
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The First Prescription-Only App

John Jorsett Re:Security? (84 comments)

I just love this meme on Slashdot. Instant Worse Case Scenario. In fact, instant OMG! Meteor-Strike-Worst-Case-Ever scenario. First off, it's not a ventilator - nobody dies instantly if the app doesn't work.

If I were this company I'd be more concerned with people claiming to have followed the app's advice and become worse because of it. Our litigation-crazed society makes it inevitable.

about 4 months ago
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There's Kanye West-Themed Crypto-Currency On the Way

John Jorsett Should we trust the newer crypto currencies? (237 comments)

I was thinking the other day that if I were a technically-adept, enterprising dirtbag, I'd invent a crypto currency with hidden security defects that only I knew how to exploit (at least in the short term), let a bunch of it get created and then use the defects to swipe a ton of it and cash it in.

about 4 months ago
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US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"

John Jorsett Don't check important items (894 comments)

Don't put important stuff in your checked luggage such as flutes that you earn your livelihood with. At least if you have them in your hand luggage you can put up an argument. Maybe you'd have to go so far as returning to your country of origin rather than submit to having them confiscated, but at least you'd still have them. Not to mention the possibility of having stuff stolen by the baggage inspectors; there have been plenty of those sorts of stories.

about 4 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

John Jorsett Re:All or nothing (903 comments)

Contraception is something that allows you to manage the unexpected.

> In the olden days, by which I mean pre-Obamacare, you could indeed "pick and choose" what procedures and medications your policy would cover.

In other words, there are no standards and no concept of consumer protection. Corporations are just free to run roughshod over you. This could be your fundie employer or your crass insurance company that has an obvious conflict of interest.

You have no clue about Guilded Age you seem to long for so much.

Every state has a regulator for insurance products. If there are problems and you want to address them, that should happen as close to the people as possible, not in a one-size-fits all central bureaucracy that believes it can control all. And of course, back in the guilded age I lived thru but am clueless about, the INDIVIDUAL had the ultimate power: one could ditch the fundie employer and/or the crass insurance company. Not so easy now. Some markets (and I use that word loosely) have but a single insurer.

Obamacare is ultimately going to prove unworkable, as evidenced by the ad hoc and chaotic delays, changes, and demands that the Obama administration is making almost on a daily basis. The only question is how much suffering and expense is it going to take before that's acknowledged, and what's going to replace it.

about 4 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

John Jorsett Re:All or nothing (903 comments)

You either have healthcare or you don't. No picking and choosing what procedures or medications fit your chosen lifestyle.

A) This is supposedly about health *insurance*. Insurance is for contingent, unlikely, but potentially costly events. Contraception is none of those, being completely knowable, 100% predictable, and inexpensive.

B) In the olden days, by which I mean pre-Obamacare, you could indeed "pick and choose" what procedures and medications your policy would cover. It's the central conceit of Obamacare that Big Fed knows best and is going to make sure you get it, pounded down your gullet if necessary.

about 4 months ago
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Is a Super-Sized iPad the Future of Education?

John Jorsett Re:iDesk (234 comments)

Kids are just going to destroy, abuse, and lose the expensive tech.

You are overgeneralising. My youngest son goes to a school that uses iPads. The kids all take their iPad to school every day, and after one and a half year, his one is still in perfect condition, and I think the whole class had one 'accident' over that period. The school found a pretty simple solution to prevent this: the parents pay for the iPads themselves...

Contrast that with the experience at the Los Angeles Unified School District. After distributing take-home iPads at some schools (to be used for taking standardized tests, digital books, classroom notes, homework, etc.), the kids discovered how to defeat the protections that kept them from being general-purpose tablet devices, and proceeded to use them for gaming, social networking, etc. The schools demanded them back and only two-thirds were returned. LAUSD didn't yet know how they were going to handle that, since so many of its families are poverty-stricken and, many being illegally present, don't exist in the financial world for LAUSD to go after the money. Last I heard, the schools still had the ones it got back locked in a closet somewhere, and LAUSD had delayed indefinitely the rollout of iPads to more schools.

about 4 months ago
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How Healthcare.gov Changed the Software Testing Conversation

John Jorsett At this point what difference does it make (118 comments)

By all accounts, there was some testing done, however inadequate. Thing is, the system utterly failed that testing and THEY DEPLOYED IT ANYWAY. If you're going to ignore the testing, why even do it? Just throw open the doors and hope for the best. Which is what they did, apparently.

about 4 months ago
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Goodbye, California? Tim Draper Proposes a 6-Way Split

John Jorsett And now for something that might actually happen (489 comments)

This doesn't affect the nation at large the way a split would do, but there's a California group that's just gotten approval to start gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would create an Assembly district for every 5,000 residents, and a Senate district for every 10,000 residents. They wouldn't all go to Sacramento, but rather themselves designate from among their number the same number of representatives (80 Assembly, 40 Senate) for each legislative body as we currently have. The advantages are said to be a kneecapping of special interests' ability to influence elections, a drastic reduction in the amount of money needed to get elected, and a much more diffuse and responsive legislature. Additional details via the link. I haven't made my mind up about this, but it's an interesting idea.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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A new form of click fraud?

John Jorsett John Jorsett writes  |  more than 2 years ago

John Jorsett writes "Lately I've been getting a lot of calls from various outfits saying that I'd filled out an online form asking for more information on sleep apnea, college financial aid, etc. At first I thought that I had pissed off some telemarketer and this was revenge harassment. Now as the calls have continued for weeks with a widening array of solicitors, I'm beginning to think that it's a new form of click fraud. If these companies are paying for these leads, my name and number might be being sold as phony online submissions. Are any other Slashdotters experiencing this?"
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Ask Slashdot: Telling vendor email was compromised

John Jorsett John Jorsett writes  |  more than 3 years ago

John Jorsett (171560) writes "I create for myself a unique email address for every vendor with which I do business, and that address isn't kept in my address book. When a spammer sends something to that address, I know that the vendor's email address database has been compromised. Trouble is, when I notify the vendor that their customer's email addresses are leaking and that they should check their security, I get no response and, as far as I can tell, no action is ever taken. I just change to a different email address, so should I even be bothering with notification, and if so, what's the best way to inform a vendor that their security needs attention?"
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Google to offer encrypted searches next week

John Jorsett John Jorsett writes  |  more than 3 years ago

John Jorsett (171560) writes "CNet reports that, embarrassed by the revelation that its Street View program had improperly collected usage data from WiFi hot spots, Google attempted to repair its image by announcing Friday that it would begin offering an encrypted version of its search service next week."
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