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Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

Mike Van Pelt Waze, the battery killer (164 comments)

I used Waze off-and-on for a while. I didn't find the "social networking" stuff exactly appropriate while driving. Worse, it kept popping up screen-obscuring advertisements for things like Enema (however the rapper spells his name) albums that I have active antipathy to, and no way to get it to target ads less inappropirately.

Worst, though, was the battery use, and the fact that no matter what I did with the settings, it insisted on randomly re-starting itself and devouring my battery. That was why I eventually uninstalled it.

It did have some good features, but I sure hope Google doesn't incorporate its misfeatures into Google Maps.

12 hours ago
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Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Mike Van Pelt Re:Wonder how Elon Musk (262 comments)

would reply to this

He sees a lot of egotism at work, too, but he says if you're setting out to change the world, you're probably going to need a big ego to do it.

"Yes, I have an attitude. It is not my problem."

about three weeks ago
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Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

Mike Van Pelt Rocky Mountain Institute? (409 comments)

Since the Rocky Mountain Institute's head proclaims that "It would be nothing short of a disaster if we were ever to find a source of cheap, clean, abundant energy", I take any statement from RMI with ... about a metric ton of salt.

about three weeks ago
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The Hidden Cost of Your New Xfinity Router

Mike Van Pelt Re:Service in exchange for a free modem? (224 comments)

It isn't a 'public' hotspot, it is a hotspot for Comcast customers. And you are getting something - the ability to use those same Comcast hotspots.

They also increased the bandwidth quite a bit when the new modems were delivered, and removed the bandwidth cap.

$20/year for the electricity to run it? Is that really so outrageous? Seriously?

about three weeks ago
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Was America's Top Rocketeer a Communist Spy? The FBI Thought So

Mike Van Pelt Re:Communist == Spy in America? (165 comments)

There was a certain celebrated folk singer. Communist, of course. In May 1941, he and his group published an album of "Don't send our boys over there to fight for the plutocrats" songs, against any involvement in stopping the Axis powers from taking all of Europe. ("Und tomorrow, ze VORLD!")

On June 22, 1941, he pulled this "peacenik" album from distribution, and quickly started cranking out "We must arm, fight, and save the world from Hitler" songs.

So, what happened on June 22, 1941? There's a reason I consider this folk singer to be Stalin's Sock Puppet.

about a month ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

Mike Van Pelt Re:Mod parent DOWN (514 comments)

I really admire the way the CEO of Cypress Semiconductor refused to knuckle under to Jackson back in 2001 after Jackson labeled Cypress a "white supremacist hate group.’” I hope every Silicon Valley target of his does the same.

T. J. Rodgers. One of my very favorite comments on Jesse Jackson ever: "Jesse Jackson is like a seagull. He flies in, craps all over everything, then flys out again."

about a month ago
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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Mike Van Pelt Enough is enough (317 comments)

It's long past time for people that pull this kind of crap to get slapped with a "Vexatious Litigant" ruling, and barred from filing any more lawsuits... about ANYTHING.

about a month ago
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"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

Mike Van Pelt Re:Elmer Fudd (184 comments)

Exactly the first image that comes to my mind at the words "Magic helmet", too.

about a month ago
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"Internet's Own Boy" Briefly Knocked Off YouTube With Bogus DMCA Claim

Mike Van Pelt Requirements for a DMCA takedown. (157 comments)

What's really needed (short of scrapping the whole thing) is to change the law so that DMCA takedowns must be of the form "I declare under penalty of perjury that I am the owner of this copyrighted material, and it is being used here in violation of my copyright." And start putting some of these bastards in jail for perjury if they keep this crap up.

about 2 months ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

Mike Van Pelt The Iron Law (538 comments)

College administrations are bureaucracies, and what's going on is the Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

In any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

(Thanks to Jerry Pournelle for this observation of emperical fact. Alas, without any sure-fire way to kill the damned thing.)

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft's Cloud Storage Service OneDrive Now Offers 15GB For Free

Mike Van Pelt Re:Big deal (99 comments)

Note also, if you take him up on that referral link, not only does he get an extra 5GB, but you do, too. 20GB, not 15GB. (Rats, he beat me to it...)

Another feature of copy.com is that the storage accounting for shared storage is shared. So, if you have a 1GB file that you share with nine other copy.com users, you each get charged only 100MB.

about 2 months ago
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Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

Mike Van Pelt Re:Who are you? (646 comments)

My great grandfather was Mohawk. I typically say I'm part Mohawk, not indian or native American.

That brings up a question I've never been able to find the answer to -- is there, in any Native American language, a word for "Native American", as opposed to the people who came to this hemisphere a few thousand years after their ancestors did? I'm looking for a word that existed before, oh, say 1800 or so, not a recent coinage.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

Mike Van Pelt Re:Shamir's Secret Sharing and Encryption. (208 comments)

This. I've idly thought about this every now and then, and passguardian.com is exactly the tool I was thinking of.

In my case, what I'll be distriubting is parts of my LastPass login and password, with the actual data stored there.

about 2 months ago
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Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

Mike Van Pelt Re:I just dont get it (646 comments)

That's what I get from Native Americans I know -- they don't give a rip about sports team names. They've told me the only ones that make a noise about this are "Professional Indians". (They say with a grimace of distaste.)

Basically, I don't much care, because I despise all professional sports equally, but I don't have any evidence for the claim that actual Native Americans find the team name offensive, and I do have evidence otherwise.

about 2 months ago
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After Non-Profit Application Furor, IRS Says It's Lost 2 Years Of Lerner's Email

Mike Van Pelt Rosemary Woods did it? (372 comments)

There's an 18 minute gap in the backups.

about 3 months ago
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After the Belfast Project Fiasco, Time For Another Look At Time Capsule Crypto?

Mike Van Pelt Thinking about making this a service... (170 comments)

The difficult part is finding some place to put your device where it can transmit data that everyone can receive, but it can not be otherwise accessed. ("Recipe for unicorn soup: First, catch a unicorn...") However, there are some possibilities. On the Moon would be good for a decade or so. Even an ordinary orbit, with "destruct if anyone gets close" circuitry, would be a possibility.

Now, the easy part. Generate a bunch of ginormous public/private key pairs, one for each day of secrecy expiration you want to provide with this device. Store the private keys on the device, programmed to continuously transmit all expired private keys. Publish the public keys.

Now, to encrypt something to be revealed on January 1, 2038, you just encrypt it with the "January 1, 2038" public key. Not even you can decrypt it until the private key is transmited by the repository.

Of course, there is the itty bitty trust issue that the entity making the device didn't keep a copy of the private keys.

about 3 months ago
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US Nuclear Plants Expanding Long-Term Waste Storage Facilities

Mike Van Pelt "States will compete for a repository" (187 comments)

Isn't that what was done before? With Nevada winning the competition, and all those jobs building the repository at Yucca Mountain?

about 3 months ago
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Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates

Mike Van Pelt Re:Police (584 comments)

Heh... Yeah, I'd like to see this fully generalized: If law enforcement is allowed to have it, private citizens are allowed to have it. If private citizens are not allowed to have it, law enforcement is not allowed to have it. No exceptions whatsoever, period, ever.

about 3 months ago
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Thorium: The Wonder Fuel That Wasn't

Mike Van Pelt Consider the source. (204 comments)

As I was reading that article, my thought was "Who wrote this crap?" Tendentious scare-mongering and blatant misrepresentation of ... practically everything he mentions.

Then I looked at the URL at the top of my web browser. thebulletin.org. Ah. Figures. If I'd looked at where that link went before I clicked on it, I'd probably not have bothered.

Ah well, looking on the bright side, at least it wasn't a goatse link.

about 4 months ago
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A Look at Smart Gun Technology

Mike Van Pelt Re:Camera gun (765 comments)

Every place in the entire Federalist Papers that firearms are mentioned, maybe?

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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West Africa Internet connectivity slashed

Mike Van Pelt Mike Van Pelt writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Mike Van Pelt writes ""Large parts of West Africa are struggling to get back online following damage to an undersea cable."

Where will I go to get my get my (big bucks from the purloined millions of random deposed dictator of the day) now?"

Link to Original Source
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Google Maps missing satellite view

Mike Van Pelt Mike Van Pelt writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Mike Van Pelt writes "Google seems to be missing the satellite images tonight — when I click on any map at any resolution with the satellite option set, it shows the roads but no images, then replaces the roads with tiles of its "We are sorry, but we don't have imagery at this zoom level for this region" message.

This is an example, screen-captured before it had completely replaced the map with the "no imagery" messages.

http://mikevanpelt.com/images/Google-no-sat.png

Have they perhaps overreacted to the lawsuit reported earlier?"

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