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How much of your media do you store locally?

KeithH The cloud is for backups and small stuff (187 comments)

The greatest portion of my data is photos, music, and videos. These are all large files consumed almost exclusively locally.

I back my stuff up to the cloud as well as off-site.

1 year,2 days

My ISP...

KeithH TekSavvy cable 300GB limit not enforced (290 comments)

My cable service has a nominal 300GB limit but I've exceeded it several times with no repercussions.

Given that I have Netflix and three teenage daughters, this is greatly appreciated.

about a year ago

Google Claims ChromeCast Local Streaming Only Broken Because of SDK Changes

KeithH A Question about Chromecast stream resolution (82 comments)

When I stream video from Netflix, the server chooses an encoding and resolution specific to the device running their client software. I assume that other video streaming servers behave in the same manner: why stream HD to a 320x800 display?

In the case of the Chromecast which is presumably displaying to a 1920x10820 display, is there some sort of passthrough signalling that will let the streaming device use a more appropriate resolution? Or do I only get the same resolution as the intermediate device?

On a related note, can somebody tell me why this device is desirable? I'm still struggling with the use case here. What is the benefit of Chromecast over something like teeny little wdtv box? It's smaller and cheaper but does a lot less.

about a year ago

Study Finds 3D Printers Pay For Themselves In Under a Year

KeithH Great! Cheaper junk. (322 comments)

This sounds like it is just what the world needs. Is this stuff economically recyclable? And is the material environmentally benign?

I find it depressing that everybody is so excited about cheaper plastic junk. I'd rather invest in an "unMakerBot" that consumed household clutter.

Now the printed trachea that saved that girls life: that's a worthwhile application of this technology!

about a year ago

Why Engineering Freshmen Should Take Humanities Courses

KeithH Already the case for Queen's University Engineers (564 comments)

When I was in engineering at Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario) in the mid-80s, it was already mandatory for students to take a humanities course each year (after the first). I took introductory Classics, Philosophy, and Religion. They weren't bird courses but they were a nice break from the applied maths and science courses that filled the rest of my life.

Of course, some engineers gamed the system by taking the Logic course from the Philosophy Department.

about a year and a half ago

Immigration Reform May Spur Software Robotics

KeithH If you could automate solving IT problems (146 comments)

then why do we have the problems in the first place?

Seriously, if the problems are that easy to solve, then why aren't they pre-emptively detected and repaired by some of the bloatware installed on enterprise machines these days?

I strongly suspect that this will simply be slightly more sophisticated automated call routing with voice recognition - in otherwords, just a way of delaying the costly, but still inevitable, point where one needs to talk to a human with a clue (i.e. knows where to route the ticket).

As most of us are aware, the standard IT support strategy for the truly meaty problems is simply to delay, delay, delay, until the customer gives up and goes away. Certainly, that's how HP does it (using well-meaning Indian, Malaysian, Costa Rican, and Bulgarian staff who don't have the authority to actually investigate problems).

about a year ago

Mozilla Delays Default Third-Party Cookie Blocking In Firefox

KeithH I've been blocking 3P cookies for years (106 comments)

and have never noticed a problem. This has always struck me as a no-brainer and it's annoyed the hell out of me that I have to modify the setting on every platform for each of my five family members.

I can't wait for them to change the default behaviour and I'll be very interested to see if they uncover any side effects that could conceivably be considered undesirable by the user.

My biggest worry is what the websites might do to circumvent the change.

about a year and a half ago

Siri's Creator Challenges Texting-While-Driving Study

KeithH The study results are very believable (262 comments)

Talking on a phone is different from talking to the passenger beside you. When one talks to a remote person, the brain creates a remote environment and moves its attention to that space. I'm not sure what is going on neurologically but the effect is very strong and I don't see an easy way around the problem. Perhaps we need to create an avatar for the other party that sits beside the driver in the car.

about a year and a half ago

In Canada, a Government-Backed Electronic Currency

KeithH It's about time (248 comments)

I'm fed up with banks, Paypal, Interac, and other middlemen taking a cut of every transaction. My governments have a legal right and a need to tax us but I didn't sign up for a 3% premium on all goods just to benefit the banks. I don't particularly trust my government but I don't distrust them as much as banks and other commercial enterprises.

about a year and a half ago

Why We'll Never Meet Aliens

KeithH The author is confusing intelligence with ability (629 comments)

The author writes How would you change if you were twice as smart as you are now...Or whenever it is you'll think we'd have the technology to travel to another solar system

Having the technology to travel to another solar system does not necessarily require a super-human intelligence. The author's conclusion may be correct but not due to this very weak argument.

One might instead argue that a race that has the capability of travelling to another solar system would be strongly motivated to do so simply because they have nearly exhausted the mysteries of their own system.

Consider an extremely long-lived race with a very slow metabolism. Unlike humans, they might very well have the patience for such a long trip and and a biological advantage that makes the prospect less daunting.

And back on the topic of intelligence, my experience is that curiosity is strongly correlated with intelligence. Furthermore, what would be the imperative driving the development of such intelligence? It would most likely be either curiosity or a threat. In either case, migration/exploration is likely.

about a year and a half ago

Perl's Glory Days Are Behind It, But It Isn't Going Anywhere

KeithH Why I still use Perl (379 comments)

In a nutshell, I still use Perl heavily because I get paid to produce software - mostly embedded realtime telecom s/w but also a lot of tools as well. Pragmatism dictates that I use the tools with which I am proficient and which are universally available. Twenty years ago, I had to use Bourne shell more than I liked because I could only count on the availability of /bin/sh. Now, I have the luxury of being able to expect /bin/perl (version 5 no less). This counts for a lot in an environment where my hundreds of colleagues and I use hundreds of different servers with different operating systems, distributions, versions, and architectures. Yes, there is a lot to complain about with Perl but at the end of the day, Perl is still an excellent tool for many many problems and won't disappear from industrial applications any time soon.

about 2 years ago

Torvalds Uses Profanity To Lambaste Romney Remarks

KeithH Being brilliant doesn't excuse crude behaviour (1223 comments)

His points may be correct but his coarse behaviour reflects poorly on him. I like Linux. I love Git. I think he's brilliant. But I don't think he's a particularly nice or admirable person. And, because he is a public figure, I think his comments reflect poorly on the community that he (in part) represents. Didn't his mom ever scold him for potty mouth? Or is that an unpalatable trait that he acquired to voice his arrogance?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Actual Best-in-Show For Free Anti Virus?

KeithH Consider MSEE a "fix" for broken windows. (515 comments)

An entire industry was spawned because Windows was conceived without security in mind. Now that Microsoft is redressing the oversight, I don't think many people outside the third-party AV industry will be crying foul. I'm no fan of Microsoft but I'm happy with MSSE and do not foresee an antitrust suit because of it.

more than 2 years ago

Will Online Learning Disrupt Programming Language Adoption?

KeithH It's all about the libraries (193 comments)

It's more important to provide a rich suite of libraries such as "CPAN".

Students (and new-grads) aren't realistically going to have that great an influence in most business environments.

Most programmers will happily learn a new language for personal interest but before they start using it professionally, they need all manner of additional features such as support from third party libraries, code analysis tools, IDEs and SCMs, and debugging tools.

That is a steep barrier to entry.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read?

KeithH Stephen Baxter's "Evolution" (1365 comments)

This standalone book walks the reader episodically through the history of man from a proto-mammal surviving the K-Pg mass extinction event 65 million years ago, through the evolution of primates, to the modern day where mankind dooms itself, and then through the future in increasingly depressing steps while our decendents are farmed like cattle to the far far distant end of life on Earth.

"Evolution" is a great cautionary tale but the finale where our descendents and the planet are literally unrecognizable is depressing and continues to haunt my immortal imagination.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Do With a Math Degree?

KeithH Find a better school or school board; we need her (416 comments)

You don't mention which grades she is teaching. Is it possible that she is teaching the wrong age group for her style of teaching? You mention "disrespectful criminals" which makes me think of inner city middle school. Perhaps a change of venue would be more satisfying than abandoning her dream. Our schools *need* teachers with a love of math. Please don't give up.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Syncing Files With Remote Server While On the Road?

KeithH USB Drive in backpack; netbook in hotel/car (239 comments)

My experience is that hotel/internet-cafe access is too slow and/or flaky and/or expensive for the purpose you describe. Pay-as-you-go HSPA cell access is very expensive (in Europe and even more-so in North America). I guess if you're only taking 300 small jpegs per day, you might be able to afford the Internet access charges but my experience, even in Europe, is that your best bet is to make your own local backups as you go. My strategy is to travel with a small netbook and a USB drive. Each evening, I offload my SD cards onto both devices and then keep the netbook in the hotel safe or car and the USB drive with my camera. For example, I just returned from two weeks in Tuscany and am currently importing 34GB of photos into a new Lightroom catalog. There's no way that I could have transferred that data over the Internet while on the road without wasting a lot of valuable travel time. Heck, it's taking 20 minutes just to copy the photos off the USB drive at 30MB/s! How much time can you spend drinking espresso waiting for uploads?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Are the Open Source Jobs?

KeithH Try embedded development (506 comments)

In many industries such as telecom, targets have moved from proprietary operating systems (such as VxWorks) to embedded Linux. When your target is Linux, there are obvious advantages to having a Linux-based development environment, especially around emulation tools. While some (okay, most) employers might still use Windows for the office side of the business, it is often possible, especially in R&D, to relegate the Windows world to a VM on your Linux development box. Good luck in your hunt.

more than 2 years ago

Why Google Is Disabling Kids' Gmail Accounts

KeithH It's even worse for Google+ (228 comments)

Facebook is full of underage users and lets them "go legit" when they turn 13. As a consequence, they've captured this audience and all of the adults that they'll grow into (as well as a goodly number of their parents). Google+ requires that users be eighteen. That's ridiculous. Ostensibly, it is temporary but I've seen no suggestion from Google that this is any sort of priority. This is why Google+ will never challenge Facebook. When Amazon and Facebook merge, they'll rule the world. How very unfortunate.

about 3 years ago

US Watchdog Bans Photoshop Use In Cosmetics Ads

KeithH Real food pictures don't look very appetizing (383 comments)

This will be interesting for food images. Photographs of real food are invariably unappetizing; we're hard-wired to recognize food that is just a little bit off. Professional food images are invariably made attractive through the use of some pretty unappetizing material, some of it not even edible.

about 3 years ago


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