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Comments

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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

NormalVisual Re:Nobody else seems to want it (638 comments)

So individual apps had to be aware of the individual drivers.

For some drivers, yes. Drivers that defined block devices just showed up as a drive letter and were available to any program without any device-specific code needed in the user app itself, although there occasionally was a system EXE that needed to be run as well to provide the functionality. Examples include CD-ROM support under DOS (with a device-specific driver + MSCDEX.EXE to read the filesystem on the drive) and RAM drive support (RAMDRIVE.SYS).

yesterday
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Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners

NormalVisual Re:This is ridiculous. WRONG WRONG WRONG (143 comments)

Or, in the real world, do X anyway as secretive as possible and hope the courts don't order them to stop.

The courts don't mean much to these people - the FISA court's own statements about being misled by the NSA proves that. The only thing within the law guaranteed to stop them is to start jailing those responsible or cutting off their funding.

yesterday
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$125,000 Settlement Given To Man Arrested for Photographing NYPD

NormalVisual Re:That's awesome! Taxpayers get fucked! (227 comments)

I think it needs to come directly out of the affected officers' pockets, in the form of an individual professional liability insurance policy similar to what doctors carry. Make that coverage a condition for employment in a law enforcement capacity. If the cop does his job right, his premiums stay low. If he screws up too much, his premiums will get so high that he can't continue to work in that field, or won't be able to find an insurer to cover him. No insurance, no job. A side benefit is that as the percentage of claims that get paid out rises, the cost is spread over the entire profession, which gives cops a financial incentive to keep their own in line.

2 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

NormalVisual Re:Too much surplus (264 comments)

I meant effective measures, as in holding those in law enforcement personally accountable. Not their departments, not the city, but personally. This business of giving police officers, district attorneys, and judges near-absolute immunity for their actions needs to be looked at a lot more closely.

4 days ago
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

NormalVisual Re:Too much surplus (264 comments)

Complaining about actual or alleged abuses by this or that police officer or department doesn't change the role of the police in the criminal justice system and their function of law enforcement.

It doesn't change the intended role. In reality, that role is often not adhered to, and when it's not, there is usually precious little the populace can do about it while remaining within the confines of the law.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are Online Job Applications So Badly Designed?

NormalVisual Re:Blame HR ... (277 comments)

They're designed to allow HR and recruiters to select the specific set of buzzwords they're looking for but have no understanding of, all while doing the minimum amount of work and the least amount of understanding.

The bolded statement sums it up. These application systems are intended to offload as much data entry work onto the candidate as possible. From the company's perspective, why should they pay HR to do data entry when they can get the candidates to do it for free?

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

NormalVisual Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (364 comments)

If you do anything across state lines it falls to the Feds which are 1 party.

Courts have gone both ways about that. In Lane vs. CBS Broadcasting, the federal court held that in the absence of explicit stated intent to the contrary, complete federal preemption only applied in cases in which state law was less restrictive, and otherwise the state's law applied. In my state (an all-party state), I don't think your statement is something I'd want to bet a third-degree felony conviction on.

about two weeks ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

NormalVisual Re:Not true! (291 comments)

I find web development rather simple in comparison to trying to write a basic thread manager for a PIC18F uC, not saying you're wrong, just different views.

I should probably elaborate on my statement - I find web development more challenging because of the variety of stuff beyond my control that I have to account for. Different OSs, different browsers, different interpretations of the HTML/CSS specs, etc., whereas in the embedded world, you generally have pretty tight control over the platform you're working with, and you can say with some degree of certainty that the processor is going to take X number of nanoseconds to run a particular block of code or respond to an interrupt. If I'm writing something to run on a microcontroller, almost any problem I have with the code not running properly is going to be the result of a something that I've screwed up myself. While I can certainly screw up in a higher level environment, there are constantly issues to deal with involving inconsistent or undocumented behavior of the platform, or component bugs not of my own doing that still have to be identified and worked around. You don't get stalled by unexpected garbage collection when working on a PIC in assembly, and you don't have to be familiar with 18 zillion frameworks just to get text out to an LCD.

I will definitely agree that embedded work demands a much more complete understanding of how the machine actually works and the ability to decompose a solution into much more detail, but it's much less fatiguing for me because there's a lot less crap getting in the way of getting stuff working. It's also a lot more fun. :-)

about two weeks ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

NormalVisual Re:Not true! (291 comments)

A real programmer interfaces at the hardware level and tells a computer how to do it's job without having to use bulky objects, interfaces and abstraction.

Ah, a variation on the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. A "real" programmer is familiar with a wide set of tools and the knowledge when to use each. There are times when that tool set includes the ability to read schematics and an oscilloscope or DMM to verify proper operation of hand-written assembly, and there are times when huge enterprise projects require tons of abstraction in a high-level language in order to keep the complexity manageable.

Frankly, I find web development a hell of a lot more challenging than embedded work.

about two weeks ago
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New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight

NormalVisual Re:How do Americans' minds work? (117 comments)

"by zapping with electricity water bubbling through a matrix of iron oxide"

To me, the original statement implies there's a special kind of water called "electricity water", while the paraphrased version offered is merely awkward. I think a better way to phrase it would have been "by applying electricity to water bubbling through a matrix of iron oxide". [shrug]

about two weeks ago
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Idiot Leaves Driver's Seat In Self-Driving Infiniti, On the Highway

NormalVisual Re:Lawn mowers (406 comments)

What the car needs to do is find the nearest exit, pull off, and then pull onto the shoulder.

Then once stopped, automatically deploy the artificial arm and slap the driver firmly about the head and shoulders.

about two weeks ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

NormalVisual Re:Is it a legitimate collection? (570 comments)

People are so afraid of a credit rating problem these days that they will often pay off a "bad debt" that is fraudulent to get their score "fixed".

And this is sad, because they're not aware that there are some relatively strong laws that protect them in regards to debt collectors.

about three weeks ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

NormalVisual Re:Because collections agencies do not accept faul (570 comments)

but nothing can convince a collection agency that they were sold bad debt.

Having to explain to the judge why they're collecting when you can prove you paid it often works, and can put *their* money in your pocket to boot. Small claims court is great for this, especially when they don't bother showing up and you get a default judgment.

about three weeks ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

NormalVisual Re:I'm probably one of them (570 comments)

I said no problems, just give me a copy of the invoice and we'll pay up. They said. Can't do that.

The proper response: "If you can't validate the debt, you can't legally attempt to collect it, and if you continue to do so I'll sue you for violating the applicable sections of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, in addition to whatever state laws apply. You'll be receiving a letter via certified mail saying essentially the same thing once you give me your agency's name and address."

To cut a long story short, the phone company sells anything past due date to a collection agency BUT doesn't bother to give them the supporting documentation.
How retarded is that!


It's stupid of any collection agency to fail to get the necessary documentation to prove a debt is valid, but it works very much in favor of the supposed debtor.

about three weeks ago
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Two South African Cancer Patients Receive 3D Printed Titanium Jaw Implants

NormalVisual Re:Don't Call it Waste (71 comments)

It'll be recycled, but what they'll get for the shavings will be a lot less than the equivalent weight of a fresh block.

about three weeks ago
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Enraged Verizon FiOS Customer Seemingly Demonstrates Netflix Throttling

NormalVisual Re:Alternative explanation (398 comments)

No, the traceroute wouldn't show the hops between your PC and the VPN server, so that part of path could not be compared.

This is true as long as the VPN link is up. If it's down, then it's trivial to do a traceroute between yourself and the VPN server to fill in the missing hops.

about a month ago
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Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

NormalVisual Re:So release your own video on demand... (200 comments)

I don't care how big they get because they can't form the same kind of monopoly.

And this is why content providers and ISPs should be separate. This is only an issue for cable companies because they provide both bandwidth and content, and Netflix threatens their content offerings because it provides a service that people actually *want* at a reasonable price.

about a month ago
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Comcast Carrying 1Tbit/s of IPv6 Internet Traffic

NormalVisual IPv6 routers (146 comments)

Can anyone recommend a SOHO-level router that properly supports IPv6? Right now I've got my desktop on a Teredo (okay, stop laughing) tunnel set up to a server I have colo'd which in turn has a real /64. It works pretty well, but it was a pain to set up and counts against my colo bandwidth, and of course adds a bit of latency. Router support for IPv6 may be moot since I don't even know for sure that AT&T has IPv6 rolled out here anyway.

about a month ago
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Comcast Carrying 1Tbit/s of IPv6 Internet Traffic

NormalVisual Re:Their implementation sucks. (146 comments)

With all the IPV6 address space available, why not give out a static IPV6 prefix, but no, they want to change it frequently.

Because they don't want you running servers with a static IP? Can't have that now, can we?

about a month ago
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Comcast Carrying 1Tbit/s of IPv6 Internet Traffic

NormalVisual Re:Crap Traffic (146 comments)

18,446,744,073,709,551,616, or 18 quintillion, or 18 million trillion, minus a couple for netblock addresses. "Practically unlimited" is a good term here. :-)

about a month ago

Submissions

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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Newegg Patent Case

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  about 7 months ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes ""It's a really tough time to be a patent owner", said Soverain Software, LLC president Katharine Wolanyk, after the Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit invalidated three of Soverain's shopping cart patents. Soverain had sued Newegg for allegedly infringing the patents in question, and had won in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Newegg later had the decision overturned on appeal, with the court ruling that the patents in question were obvious, and thus invalid."
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Jack Daniels Shows How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  about 2 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "When the Jack Daniels distillery recently became aware of a book whose cover they felt substantially infringed their trademark, they didn't go into instant "Terminator mode" — instead, they wrote a very thoughtful, civil letter to the infringing party, and even offered to help defray the costs of coming into compliance. I believe plenty of other companies (and many in the tech world) could use this as an example of how *not* to alienate people and come off looking like a bunch of greedy jerks."
Link to Original Source
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Whose Cameras Are Watching New York Roads?

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 2 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "License-plate reading cameras are popping up on utility poles all over St. Lawrence County in upstate New York, but no one is willing to say who they belong to . One camera was found by a utility crew, removed from the pole, and given to the local police. "Massena Police Chief Timmy Currier said he returned it to the owner, but wouldn’t say how he knew who the owner was, nor would he say who he gave it to....(Andrew) McMahon, the superintendent at Massena Electric Department, said one of his crews found a box on one of their poles and took it down because “it was in the electric space,” the top tier of wires on the pole above the telephone and cable TV wires, and whoever put it there had taken a chance with electrocution. He said they had never received a request or been informed about its placement.""
Link to Original Source
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Australian Restaurant To Use iPads As Menus

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "The Pearl restaurant in Melbourne will soon begin using Apple iPads running custom software to describe the available culinary options to its customers. Chris Lucas, the proprietor, has spent $40,000 in development costs on top of the costs of the devices themselves in order to research the food offerings in as much detail as they choose.

No word regarding the expected longevity of the iMenus, but it's doubtful they'll deal with spills and accidental drops nearly as well as paper menus."

Link to Original Source
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Sony Offices Raided In Copyright Dispute

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "A copyright dispute between Latin recording artist Alejandro Fernández and Sony Music has resulted in more than 6,000 CDs being seized from Sony's Mexico City office by the Mexican police, along with master tapes and cover art. Fernández's contract with Sony was for seven albums, and the label had compiled and was attempting to market and sell an eighth album, created from previously unreleased tracks. The seizure comes two weeks after Sony ignored a cease and desist letter from Fernández's attornies. Sony of course maintains it has done nothing wrong."
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Seagate 1TB Drives Failing at Alarming Rate

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 5 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "Owners of Seagate 1TB drives have been experiencing serious issues of late — many recent 7200.11 Barracuda SATA drives have a problem with the version SD15 firmware that often results in the drive failing on power-up after working perfectly fine for a time. While the data on the drive appears to be safe, the drive is completely bricked, resulting in the inability to flash it to any further firmware revisions without a bit of hardware hacking. The problem is making for an interesting discussion on Seagate's community forums, particularly since Seagate still refuses to acknowledge the issue and is tightly censoring the "official" discussion on the forums, so many 7200.11 owners are having to discuss the issue outside of Seagate's control. Tom's Hardware has also picked up the increasingly-vocal story. So, if you've got one of the big Barracudas, it's probably a good idea to to stay on top of those backups."
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"Cloverfield" Trailer Available on Apple.c

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "After much waiting and speculation, the hi-def trailer for J.J. Abrams' new monster movie "Cloverfield" has finally been made available on Apple's web site. Still no really clear shots of the monster(s), but we really didn't expect that, did we? Let the hours of vapid and pointless speculation begin!"
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MythTV Listings To Cost $15 for 3 Months

NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  about 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "Schedules Direct, the folks that have been working towards providing listing data for MythTV users in the shadow of the impending shutdown of existing listing services by Zap2It, has finally announced pricing for their soon-to-be-available service. They will be initially charging $15 for a 3-month subscription, but anticipate substantial price decreases as they get more people on board. I for one am quite happy to hear this news."
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NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "The mailing lists were buzzing recently when Michael Buesch, one of the maintainers for the GPL'd bc43xx Broadcom wireless chip driver project, called the OpenBSD folks to task for apparently including code without permission from his project in the OpenBSD bcw project, which aims to provide functionality with Broadcom wireless chips under that OS. It seems that the problem has been resolved for now with the BSD driver author totally giving up on the project and Theo De Raadt taking the position that Buesch's posts on the subject were "inhuman"."
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NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts ruled today that recording XM Satellite Radio broadcasts using the built-in recording functionality of some XM receivers is not equivalent to taping music off the radio with an analog cassette deck, as detailed in this article. The judge's reasoning was that the built-in recorders in XM units essentially make XM a broadcaster and distributor, whereas XM is only paying to be a broadcaster."
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NormalVisual NormalVisual writes  |  more than 7 years ago

NormalVisual (565491) writes "It appears that the unconstitutional and controversial warrantless surveillance program being conducted by the Bush Administration can continue until an appeals court can hear the case, according to this AP article. The 6th Circuit ruled that while the lower court had ruled the program was unconstitutional, they felt that the case's chances before the appeals court and the possible danger to national security warranted their decision to let it continue despite the likelihood that the appeal process will take months.

Good to know that the whole "separation of powers" thing works so well for keeping the government in check, eh?"

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