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Xiaomi's Next OS Looks Strikingly Similar To iOS

Phil Urich I actually really like my smartwatch (181 comments)

I have a Pebble Steel, and it lets me choose between a lot of cool looking watchfaces (or write my own fairly easily, although I've lazily failed to get around to that), shows me the current weather on my wrist if I want rather than having to launch an app on my phone, and being e-ink it works perfectly fine in the brightest of sunlight.

Now, convincing me that an LCD touchscreen watch makes any sort of sense, that's another story. The Pebble is, generally, just everything a normal watch is with a little bit of extra on top. Anything that sacrifices outdoor legibility or battery life, however? Yeah, that's just companies desperately hunting around for the next big boom market because our insane society has decided that profits must always increase, and stability is somehow death.

about a month ago

Gamestop's Ludicrous Idea: Require Preorders To Unlock Custom Game Content

Phil Urich Re:Gamer Masochism vs Self Interest (86 comments)

Dammit, I thought that was included in the season pass.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?

Phil Urich There was a brief, shining moment... (259 comments)

Alas, electronics have not yet advanced to the point where it is reasonable to have one phone with support for all combinations of bands and technologies.

Right before LTE started rolling out, and before Nokia was forced to adopt chipsets approved for Windows Phone rather than using their own, the high-end Nokia devices developed had pentaband 3G and quadband 2G, which covered nearly everything (sure, some rural places in very few countries were CDMA, but this was already rare). It seemed then like other manufacturers might catch up. Unfortunately, with LTE we've re-fragmented, and manufacturers have used it as an excuse to go back to selling different models for different markets/carriers.

about 4 months ago

KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace

Phil Urich Re:One question (94 comments)

See In fairness, most (in fact, the overwhelming majority) of elements within KDE are resolution independent (hell, KDE has been using SVG icons since well before the KDE4 days), and basically every element can be changed and tweaked as desired, it's just that it takes a shit ton of annoying manual tweaking.

You're right though, it Isn't There Yet (tm). But it is in fact a focus of much of the development; this is generally on the minds of KDE devs, and is being worked towards for Plasma Next, as well as for specific applications; for example, the Yakuake developer is changing the theming engine specifically with resolution-independence and high-DPI screens in mind. So upcoming versions of KDE will be, at very least, closer to supporting high DPI and resolution independence, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if a version or two into Frameworks 5 we get a nice centralized control for scaling the UI.

about 4 months ago

KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace

Phil Urich Notifications have improved greatly recently (94 comments)

I'm using Kubuntu and have seen the notifications look+feel improve greatly lately, and have never seen the issues you describe. So, not to jump on the "you're using the wrong distro" bandwagon (which is probably used as an excuse more than it deserves to be, and often deflects from real issues), but . . . yeah, I'm going to say you should try another distro and see if there's a difference for you.

about 4 months ago

KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace

Phil Urich Re:It doesn't look that different (94 comments)

But will I ever get Kasbar back?

A lot of the features of Kasbar are built in to the default or alternative taskbars; considering how easy QML is to work with, you might even want to look at hacking away at it yourself.

Personally I'm 100% satisfied with the options currently available, and all the quintessentially awesome KDE stuff I missed during the initial port---Filelight, Yakuake, etc---all made it back in by around 4.4. I honestly never used Kasbar much myself, so I only have dim recollections of it alongside basic descriptions on old websites, but again, people have done some crazy things with Plasma and it's getting easier as things shift towards QML (you can already code mode things in QML in Plasma-Current, AFAIK, but the Plasma-Next development has made this all easier and they've run into the edge cases and lack of features that they've then had to implement to shift towards pure QML themselves, so there should be fewer 'gotchas').

about 4 months ago

Percentage of Elderly In Japan Continues to Grow as Number of Children Drops

Phil Urich Umm, accepting only similar folks != no prejudice (283 comments)

More over it takes time to assimilate. At first you feel like an outsider, but having lived in Japan for a while I'd say I'm not pretty well integrated. It's hard to explain but now I think and act that way I find foreigners stick out like a sore thumb as well. They often talk too loudly, or just position themselves awkwardly or ask un-subtle questions. Once you settle in though somehow Japanese people can just tell (and now so can I), and treat you without prejudice.

But . . . isn't that the entire problem, that they're prejudiced against anyone who doesn't talk and act exactly "correctly"? I think pretty much by definition people aren't prejudiced against people who are like themselves. Once you adopt every social convention and mannerism they no longer act so xenophobic towards you? That's not something to boast about, and you aren't really convincing anyone that the Japanese are tolerant of differences if it takes skillful, concerted effort in concealing and obliterating those differences before they're tolerant of you.

Personally I find the idea of everyone having to adopt specific thoughts and actions lest they be judged to be horrifying (and the same reason I often feel quite uncomfortable in small towns in North America). And one of the things I will definitely judge a culture for is its intolerance of differences (see, again, small town North America).

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Phil Urich Bought one for $5 the other day (702 comments)

Obviously a hell of a lot harder to dial, but sounds great (both in terms of call quality, and that brilliant mechanical bell ring).

about 5 months ago

Interview: John McAfee Answers Your Questions

Phil Urich The best quote from his responses: (124 comments)

Investigation as a method of solving crimes is a novel idea that has not yet caught on in Belize, or much of Central America for that matter.

about 5 months ago

Emails Reveal Battle Over Employee Poaching Between Google and Facebook

Phil Urich Re:This is why I became a leftist (132 comments)

It is the purpose of government to preserve the status quo. To keep the rich rich and the poor poor

Actually, many of this corporations didn't exist ten years ago and none of this guys weren't shit-load-millionairs. So there, the govermente sucks at preserving the status quo.

What about the major shareholders and board members of "this corporations [sic]"? Were they "shit-load-millionairs [sic]"? Yeah, most of them probably were. And you do remember that for example Facebook was started by rich boys who went to Harvard, right? It's not exactly a rags-to-riches story, just a riches-to-more-riches. And lets not even start on the average wages for tech-sector employees . . . but then again, since the third spelling mistake you made was "govermente" for government I'm starting to suspect I've just been sucked in by a troll.

about 6 months ago

Russian Officials Dump iPads For Samsung Tablets Over Spy Fears

Phil Urich Not stock, not Cyanogenmod, go Replicant (198 comments)

If they were really concerned about spying, shouldn't they go with a Nexus that runs Replicant

I mean, for the average person I'm not saying they need to be so paranoid; there's likely backdoors or potential exploits, but it's also unlikely to ever matter, and some of the functionality that's sacrificed is likely not worth it for the average bloke. But for guarding state secrets? You want something that involves zero binary blobs, and Replicant is the closest you get for Android.

about 6 months ago

KDE and Canonical Developers Disagree Over Display Server

Phil Urich I've been using Wayland and systemd for nearly a m (202 comments)

SailfishOS, running on the current Jolla device, is quite smooth and nice, in a way that my N9 (despite the slickness of the design of the UI) never was. Both were underpowered hardware for their times, but Wayland allows the kinds of GPU-accelerated and compositing-oriented display that allow for what people are increasingly used to from other OSes.

Now, in terms of systemd I'm more on your side, there's certainly a baseline of arrogance that the primary devs have shown. On the other hand, they seem sometimes to be justified, and while there was some shouting and mudflinging in the recent Debian decision, there were also some extremely thoughtful and thorough considerations that I read from Debian developers which convinced me that, despite some of its shortcomings, systemd is a needed improvement and is well thought out. Err, I can't seem to find any of them right now, but from a system administration perspective I do see this blog as a fairly succinct list of reasons why systemd is good for sysadmins. As one myself, who until now has worked merely on SysV or Upstart systems, many of those reasons do seem pretty compelling to me. So far I've only toyed with systemd in the phone that now resides in my pocket, however, so I certainly can't speak from direct experience yet. But I'm very interested to try it out.

about 6 months ago

Unreal Engine 4 Launching With Full Source Code

Phil Urich I'm laughing, but also crying (149 comments)

Things have gotten much better in gaming as of late, but also a hell of a lot worse. A few titles have come out lately that actually have full editors and SDKs, but it's still a far cry (hurr hurr) from where it was at one point. I loved the Unreal Engine, but there came a point (with Deus Ex 2 and the post-Raven Shield Rainbox Six games) where UE titles stopped shipping with editors, and I found myself getting very little mileage out of them. And then of course Epic went from having fairly great Linux support to having none. I went from being a rabid fan of nearly anything built with that engine to a person who didn't even bother buying the first-party titles.

about 6 months ago

High Court Rules Detention of David Miranda Was Lawful

Phil Urich RWP's press freedom ranking is bogus (169 comments)

Listen to this On The Media story or this article for details, but basically Reporters Without Borders changes its methodology every year, and the rankings are largely based on the perceptions of reporters within the respective countries, which is far from an objective measure. So as WP article states,

Most of the coverage is based on the premise that 2013 saw a sudden, alarming and perhaps unprecedented decline in media press freedom because the ranking dropped from the previous year. This is just bad data journalism for big two reasons. First, it confuses relative rankings with absolute scores – more on this later. Second, it ignores the fact that Reporters Without Borders has been raising and dropping the U.S. ranking for years.

I actually largely agree with your more abstract points, but it's worth pointing out that the entire press freedom ranking you cite is at best fairly misleading, and arguably entirely worthless. As the author of the article points out when interviewed on On The Media, Reporters Without Borders does some excellent work compiling statistics and incidents of press freedoms being impinged upon around the world. But their ranking system is best ignored.

about 7 months ago

Facebook To Buy WhatsApp

Phil Urich Does your carrier charge you for txt? Lolz (199 comments)

You've never heard of it? Are you still using your carrier's txt plan? Lolz

Why wouldn't I? I can text anyone anywhere in the world for free, and I don't have to worry about whether we're using the same service and if they actually still check that service or blah blah blah. And services like WhatsApp are tied to phone numbers anyways, so WhatsApp users are just a subset of people with numbers I could text to.

about 7 months ago

Routers Pose Biggest Security Threat To Home Networks

Phil Urich Sometimes there's little you can do (VDSL sucks) (264 comments)

My current ISP uses VDSL2 for all their current plans, and they only offer modem+router combos (and refuse to even allow you to put them into bridge mode). The problem is that VDSL2 requires a cert from the ISP to work, so even if I could find a compatible VDSL2 standalone modem I wouldn't be able to use it.

There is only one other primary ISP available to me, and they are a cable provider, and also only offer modem+router combos. At least for them they'll remotely put their device into bridge mode, but you're still stuck with a router connected to the internet in your home and you just have to trust them that it'll be fine (and I've heard they're far from stable).

It seems like my only options if I want to run my own router hardware are to pay for an expensive business plan (I mean, at least I hope they still offer modem-only solutions for businesses) or to just stick with my old ADSL plan. It's slow, but I can use my own router with their inoffensive standalone modem, and as a bonus my plan is old enough that I don't have usage caps, unlike seemingly every other plan in Canada now (unless you pay an extreme additional premium).

about 7 months ago

Edward Snowden's Lawyer Claims Harassment From Heathrow Border Agent

Phil Urich Wait, why business class? (261 comments)

.. at which point, the person refused entry has to buy a ticket out of there as soon as reasonably possible. Which would typically mean buying a business class ticket.

I'll admit I'm not sure how that follows. Admittedly, our society has gotten to a place where we seem to assume that if a person doesn't have unlimited wealth it's a personal failing on their part, so I'm not entirely surprised if that's the case. But I'm curious what the legal justification would be.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?

Phil Urich No, jackass questions deserve jackass answers (478 comments)

This article is yet another confirmation that Slashdot just gets worse and worse. I hate to troll, but come on guys, up the quality some.

Actually the question begs a legitimate answer. However the majority here seem to be jerks. The question wasn't to gather as many jackasses to ask why, it was a technical question. So what are you ass holes griping about. His reason is his reason is none of you're fucking business. If you are too stupid to have the answer then why don't you shut up and go pick you're nose.

We are not obligated to help him. If he is trying to do something unethical, we are in fact obligated to not help him. And we will then have fun belittling him and tearing apart the question. And if he and you aren't alright with that then why don't you just shut up and go pick "you're" nose (that's the point at which I figured you're probably just a troll, but what the hell, sometimes it's fun to indulge in a little troll feeding).

about 7 months ago

Gracenote, Privacy, and the Rise of Metadata As a Valuable Asset

Phil Urich You "listen to everything"? Bullshit. (33 comments)

Musical taste is a proxy for social group membership, but what if you have no taste in music? Back in high school, folks would ask me, "What music do you listen to?" I never had an answer, because I listen to everything.

This is offtopic, and do feel free to prove me wrong (although don't necessarily expect me to just take your word for it...howabout the irony of a profile?) but I honestly doubt that you listen to 'everything'. I've yet to run into a person that said that that didn't just mean "anything on the radio". Do you listen to french punk? German post-punk? Post-rock? Ambient drone? Black metal? Death metal? Chiptunes? Bluegrass? Baroque? Classical? Classic hip-hop? Early acid jazz? Jazz? Inuit throat singing? Industrial? I'm guessing the answer to many (if not most) is "no". And that's not exactly a complete list of the kinds of genres that are out there . . .

about 7 months ago


Phil Urich hasn't submitted any stories.



On the subject of Freaks

Phil Urich Phil Urich writes  |  more than 8 years ago I was just reading the comments, lurking as per usual on Slashdot, when I noticed someone's sig (more specifically here. "I have gotten my first slashdot freak. My life is now complete." Hmm, I thought, I wonder if I have any? I checked, and yup, I've got one myself. On a complete whim, I proclaim a "I have a freak club", consisting of anyone wanting to join that has apparently been listed by someone else as a foe. Come one, come all!

I figure a good indication that a person saying something that could be worth saying is if people are outwardly objecting to them; if everyone agrees, what's the point in saying it, right?

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