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Amazon's Echo: a $200, Multi-Function, Audio-Centric Device

R.Mo_Robert Re:Jack of all trades (129 comments)

Masters of only one (Let Kindle Slide). Online Shopping. I simply do not understand all of these devices that Amazon is trying to pimp. Phones? Tablets? I love shopping at Amazon but their brain dead hardware makes zero sense.

I actually like the Fire TV--it supports everything I need (I like Apple, but I'm not invested in iTunes movie purchases and rentals, and Amazon Prime is quite nice for both movies and TV), and it can side-load Android apps, which isn't always useful but is at least a little fun. The Fire TV Stick, recently released and much cheaper, might also be nice, but I haven't used it. I actually returned my Roku for this. As you possibly hint, the Kindle is also a nice device, though I mean the e-ink variety rather than the tablets (which may also be nice, but I have never used them but suspect I would much prefer my own tablet with the Kindle app, which I currently use if I want an LCD).

As for the Echo, if it can be used as a high-quality speaker, I can see it being useful for that, though it would be nice to have a physical connection rather than Bluetooth. Its intended main function sounds neat, but I'm not sure it will be that useful (and I'm not sure how I feel about having an always-on mic, even if it presumably doesn't transmit anything to Amazon unless it thinks you've beckoned it).

about three weeks ago
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Why the Time Is Always Set To 9:41 In Apple Ads

R.Mo_Robert Re:Which time? (109 comments)

So is it 9:41 or 9:42?

(Yes I RTFA. Subject line doesn't match the summary.)

Try R-ing both of TFAs, and you'll see that TFS (and TFH--is that a thing?) is correct.

about three weeks ago
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Why the Time Is Always Set To 9:41 In Apple Ads

R.Mo_Robert Re:Always except when it isn't (109 comments)

Headline: "the Time Is Always Set To 9:41 In Apple Ads"

Summary: "the clock has traditionally been always set to 9:42 in Apple advertisements." ... "The time was even slightly tweaked in 2010" ... "it displayed a different time"

That's some quality editing there, Slashdot.

While it might be a little confusing, it's actually correct. The time HAD traditionally been set to 9:42, then they tweaked it to 9:41 with the introduction of the iPad. (The goal was to match actual local time at the moment when the product is actually revealed, which happens slightly more than 40 minutes after it starts.)

about three weeks ago
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AT&T Locks Apple SIM Cards On New iPads

R.Mo_Robert Re:Legality (112 comments)

If they put it in the fine print, it is legal until a judge declares it not legal.

It's not even in the fine print (well, I'm sure it probably still is, but...). When you try to activate AT&T on the device, you'll get a modal dialog that pops up, warns you about this exact situation, and asks if you would like to continue.

about a month ago
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AT&T Locks Apple SIM Cards On New iPads

R.Mo_Robert Re: Non-story? (112 comments)

AT&T will unlock if you call and ask. They want they oppertunity to try and keep your business before unlocking. Last I checked that's good business to try and keep your customer. That being said if you don't like it go with one of the carriers with significantly less LTE coverage.

This isn't about unlocking the device. All iPads are and have always been unlocked. This is about AT&T's decision to disable using the multi-carrier Apple SIM card (new with this iteration of iPads) on any carrier besides AT&T once you use it once with AT&T. (Does Apple even sell the Apple SIM card separately? Maybe in store, but it's certainly not on their website as of now. Your best bet would be just to get an AT&T SIM card if you want to use them and save the Apple card for cooperating carriers.)

about a month ago
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Antiperspirants Could Contribute to Particulate Pollution

R.Mo_Robert Re:Heh (70 comments)

Not using antiperspirants ain't so good for the air either.

I know you're being funny, but it's actually worth noting that there is a difference between deodorants and antiperspirants (and that term itself is usually short for antiperspirant + deodorant). As you can probably guess now that the terms have been separated, the latter are supposed to stop you from smelling, while the latter are supposed to prevent you from sweating in the first place. I switched from antiperspirants to deodorants a few years ago after I became concerned that maybe jamming aluminum salts up my pores to block sweat in wasn't such a good idea. Most people would probably be fine with just a deodorant, and I say that as someone who is fairly physically active myself.

That being said, I'm not sure why the article singled out antiperspirants. I'm pretty sure you can find the siloxanes (one of the categories proposed as responsible for the problem) in many deodorants as well, e.g., as decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, which is used to make the product smooth. Off the top of my head (without being in the deodorant aisle at the store right now) I'd guess that "natural" brands like Toms or KMF would be some of the few that probably don't contain these. The specificity in the article seems unnecessary--to say nothing about whether personal care products are a significant source when the chemicals in question can also be found in building material and things that might be a larger source.

about a month and a half ago
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Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide

R.Mo_Robert Re:Cool (564 comments)

SCCM supports Linux and OS X clients, but as far as I know it does not support the deployment of task sequences to such clients. A task sequence is what you need to deploy an operating system using SCCM. So, the Linux and OS X boxen were likely spared (unless, by any chance, they deployed it for boot media in addition to SCCM clients and the user happened to insert and boot from SCCM boot media during this time, I guess).

about 6 months ago
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Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide

R.Mo_Robert Re:Cool (564 comments)

This is the very example needed to illustrate why "re-imaging" machines should not be done without a confirmation by the user of the machine.

I'd really hate to come to work one day and see that all the stuff I've been working on has been lost... because we were supposed to save it to the H (home) drive on the server that... also got wiped.

The SCCM server was wiped. The chances of that being the same server as the file server for H: is pretty low, and we don't know if that server was reimaged (though the advertisement was sent). In any case, all these servers were clearly backed up, so you would not have lost anything by putting it on H:, even if the relevant server was affected.

about 6 months ago
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Can Thunderbolt Survive USB SuperSpeed+?

R.Mo_Robert Not symmetrical (355 comments)

Minor nitpick: the Thunderbolt connector is not symmetrical. The writer must be confusing it with Apple's Lightning connector for iDevices, from which the new USB connector probably copied this feature.

(Actually, I believe the Thunderbolt connector is more or less symmetrical with respect to the x-axis, but this is undoubtedly not what the writer meant.)

about 6 months ago
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Applying Pavlovian Psychology to Password Management

R.Mo_Robert Re:ObXKCD: Passphrases (288 comments)

Not a great extent. Most of us knew the math already, but it only works well when you really select randomly from a dictionary instead of making grammatically correct sentences...

Are you implying that you really think that "correct horse battery staple" is a grammatical sentence?

about 7 months ago
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The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

R.Mo_Robert Re:Funny (693 comments)

As charming as your characterisation of /.s membership is, I'm more interested in whether or not there is any truth to the assertion that Gnome's funding was eaten up by outreach programmes. I managed to track down this article, so there does seem to be a certain amount of legitimacy to the claim.

You can actaully find more or less the same thing from GNOME themselves: https://wiki.gnome.org/FoundationBoard/CurrentBudgetFAQ. It states:

What is the problem? The Foundation does not have any cash reserves right now.

Why has this happened? The Outreach Program for Women (OPW) has proven to be extremely popular and has grown quite rapidly.... GNOME, as the lead organization, has been responsible for managing the finances for the entire effort. However, as the program grew, the processes did not keep up.

That being said, the original poster's sexism and cisgenderism is obviously out of line in any case, but it does appear the growth of this program (which undoubtedly is largely cis women) was a large factor in creating the current financial situation. They also except to have it resolved within a month or so and don't seem to be too concerned about it.

about 7 months ago
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Google Chrome Flaw Sets Your PC's Mic Live

R.Mo_Robert Re:Google had to have put this in on purpose (152 comments)

An "accidental bug" which enables not only the microphone (even when it's supposed to be turned off) but text to speech conversion? No way.

Did you even read the summary? It offers access only to the text-to-speech conversion output, not the microphone itself. (But yes, that was my first thought, and no, this should still not be happening.)

about 8 months ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

R.Mo_Robert Re:Bu the wasn't fired (1116 comments)

He fucking resigned.

Which the summary says. Or did we stop reading those now, too? I think the issue is whether this counts as an "attempt to coerce or influence" with threat of "discharge or loss of employment." The closest their official statements come to this is offering him another position, and I don't know if that happened before or after he resigned. In fact, I think even the summary of this article disagrees with the headline. What a confusing post.

about 8 months ago
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Dyn.com Ends Free Dynamic DNS

R.Mo_Robert Re:Viable Replacement? (242 comments)

dyndns.org

dyndns.org is dyn.com, so that won't help. That being said, they do offer paid services for more or less a couple dollars a month if you're attached to their featureset or something.

about 8 months ago
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Tesla Model S Has Hidden Ethernet Port, User Runs Firefox On the 17" Screen

R.Mo_Robert Re:Why Ubuntu?! (208 comments)

...in that they used 4-pin rather than 6

Blah. I clearly meant 8 (2-pair vs. 4-pair).

about 8 months ago
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Tesla Model S Has Hidden Ethernet Port, User Runs Firefox On the 17" Screen

R.Mo_Robert Re:Why Ubuntu?! (208 comments)

I want to know how he matched up the pins and the baud rate.
Screw that up on something like a car you're probably in for expensive repair and a real bad time at the car dealer [...]
I cant wait to see the data on how he did the whole thing.

It's Ethernet. I'm pretty sure nothing bad will happen if you accidentally switch two of the wires. You just won't get a connection. Their job was also a bit easier in that they used 4-pin rather than 6, but I guess they decided they wouldn't need GigE for whatever this was designed for. :)

about 8 months ago
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Facebook Shuts Down @Facebook Email System

R.Mo_Robert None of the above (149 comments)

Nobody used it because it sucked. My recollection is that it was basically another way to use Facebook Chat at first, around the same time that Chat and Messages were confusingly combined into one. I read a comment above that says it just forwards it to your registered e-mail address now. Regardless of whether they were able to monetize it or not, I can't see the appeal, and I bet nobody relied on it.

about 9 months ago
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L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

R.Mo_Robert Re:An Opportunity is disguise? (158 comments)

uses less power,

Nope.

No commercial buildings are using incandescent lights (and certainly not this one sine they're RF quiet). Modern LEDs and modern fluoresent tubes have comparable efficiency. They both top out at a little above 100lm/W in practical situations.

IOW, LEDs won't save any money at all.

I don't think that's accurate. Most LEDs I've seen are a little more efficient fluorescent bulbs, plus they last a lot longer. While the LED bulbs are still more expensive initially in most cases, I think the increased efficiency and longer life will balance out in their favor at the end. You might be right if (only) the fluorescent bulbs were free.

about 10 months ago
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Kentucky: Programming Language = Foreign Language

R.Mo_Robert Re:KY SB 16 2014 (426 comments)

HS language courses are the biggest waste of time. Do you actually learn anything in a HS language class? Just enough to recognize the language you are reading, maybe make fun of the weird shit they do in other countries, but definitely not well enough to be able to converse.

Actually, I took (four years of) Spanish in high school, then tested into the advanced Spanish classes in college, which were mostly composition and literature, and I only had to take them because I had a Spanish minor (or I would have tested out otherwise). I also studied in Mexico during this time and was obviously able to converse, but I learned the majority of that during high school and would have been perfectly fine then, too. Some people are just not quite as good at learning foreign languages as others, and certainly the quality of education varies (I went to a really small school, by the way, but I think we had good teachers, including one native speaker), but it's absolutely false to claim that you won't learn anything in an HS language class.

A computer programming language, however, is completely different. While I think it's useful to learn both, this proposal seems to lump them under the same skill, and I don't think that's accurate or a good way to do it. (I have a BA in CS and an MA in linguistics, including applied/SLA, so I do have experience with both, by the way.)

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Professor tells Republicans to "F*** off"

R.Mo_Robert R.Mo_Robert writes  |  more than 3 years ago

R.Mo_Robert (737913) writes "A tenured anthropology and women's studies professor at The University of Iowa has sparked a storm of debate in the blogosphere after sending an e-mail to the College Republicans group at the university saying simply, "F*** YOU, REPUBLICANS" from her University e-mail account. The message was in response to an mass e-mail sent to all University members that advertised a "Republican coming out week," including an "animal rights BBQ" and other events.

She later apologized and clarified her concerns, including that the group appropriated the "coming out" phrase from the LGBT rights movement and that the group's events made fun of causes many take seriously, including a mock of public employee protests in Wisconsin and animal rights. Nevertheless, the debate continues about if and whether she should be disciplined and she overstepped boundaries to free speech--to say nothing about issues related to tenure, accusations of liberal bias, and other issues that have sparked debate on both sides of the issue."

Link to Original Source
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Google acquiring On2

R.Mo_Robert R.Mo_Robert writes  |  more than 5 years ago

R.Mo_Robert (737913) writes "BetaNews is reporting that Google is acquiring On2, the video codec company and original developers of the VP3 codec from which Theora is derived. The article suggests that this may mean Google is backing Ogg Theora as the HTML5 video standard, but this is likely not the case--with Theora already being open-source and On2 having disclaimed all rights and patents, there is no reason Google should have needed to do this to push Theora.

You may recall from some time back that HTML5 no longer specifies which video codec(s) a browser should support due to there being, unfortunately, no suitable codec at this time. But Google (known for supporting H.264) practically owns Web video with YouTube in most people's minds, so their influence could really swing the future of HTML5 video either way. It remains to be seen whether Google's acquisition of On2 has any bearing on their plans for video on the Web."

Link to Original Source

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