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Why Charles Stross Wants Bitcoin To Die In a Fire

Roadmaster Use of possessives (691 comments)

I hate being a grammar nazi but, this Stross guy being a writer, I think it's warranted. Lack of mastery in his own craft makes me distrust his research a bit, even if it's a bit of an ad hominem on my part.

to damage states ability to collect tax and monitor their citizens financial transactions, as seen both in TFA and the Slashdot summary, lacks possessives and looks just plain bad.

about 4 months ago

Want To Fight Allergies? Get a Dirty Dog

Roadmaster Re:I KNEW IT! (147 comments)

Where I live, Police will not enforce such laws. Animal control will not enforce those laws.

TFTFY. But really, if your authorities don't do their job, that's again no reason to seek outright bans on household animals. Vote to have the authorities changed by a team who cares. Failing that, move to a different location where authorities do care.

about 4 months ago

Skype Is Evaluating Adding Typing Suppression Feature

Roadmaster Won't work (77 comments)

It'll just lead to a lot of head-scratching and "can you repeat that" over weird, distorted-for-no-apparent-reason audio. At least I hope it works better than Google+'s "looks like you're typing, so I auto-muted you" feature, that one was a disaster for collaboration since the speaker couldn't go anywhere near the keyboard while talking. At least there's a way to say "don't mute me" now.

about 5 months ago

Time For a Hobbyist Smartphone?

Roadmaster Already done, people didn't want it. (207 comments)

There was already a phone proposed that could have done this with no problem. There wasn't enough interest on it to make it a reality.


And before you go complaining about the cost, please have a look at flagship Android phones and how much they cost *off contract*. The Edge was a pretty good value.

about 7 months ago

The Cryonics Institute Offers a Chance at Immortality (Video #2)

Roadmaster Re:The Cryonics Institure (155 comments)

I know it's a strange word but it's spelled correctly: Cryonics (from Greek kryos- meaning icy cold). :P

about 8 months ago

Ubuntu Edge Smartphone Funding Trends Low

Roadmaster Leery? (251 comments)

" I'm leery of spending quite so much on any phone.".

No, you're leery of not being subsidized by your phone carrier. Most high-end smartphones cost about the same as the Ubuntu Edge, if you buy them off-contract. Look at the 32-GB iPhone 5, it's $749, which is close to a 128-GB Ubuntu Edge (and of course I'm ignoring the Edge's other specs which also quite good).

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Work On Projects While Traveling?

Roadmaster Coworking (273 comments)

I suggest you look at the concept of coworking. Basically you'd rent, short-term, a desk in an open-plan office full of people who work under the same arrangement. This includes internet access, power, and perhaps snacks and drinks. The other people in the place provide the social work atmosphere you crave, and exposure to other interesting things they may be working on. You can pay by the day, week or month (week and month payments usually cover a set amount of days but are cheaper than paying by the day).

Coworking spaces exist in many cities around the world, and since coworking enthusiasts are, well, very enthusiastic about the concept, they communicate with each other and set up collaboration networks. Before you leave on your trip, I suggest you look for local coworking spaces to scout the concept, and talk to the space owners about your plans. They can certainly give you more information and tell you about the "coworking visa" which "allows active members of one space to use other coworking spaces around the world for free for a set number of days (3 is the default)."

Read more about it here:
http://wiki.coworking.com/w/page/16583831/FrontPage (they have a worldwide directory).

about a year ago

Smart Guns To Stop Mass Killings

Roadmaster Presupposes that all children are good (1388 comments)

"disable firing if the gun is pointed at a child or someone holding a child.". This is absurd, what if it's an evil child? or what if someone is holding an evil child to prevent it from escaping and yelling "take the shot before he runs away!!" ? What about dwarves? this wouldn't work against e.g. minime.

Simplistic heuristics will not cut it when you're talking about, literally, a life-and-death decision.

about a year ago

US Doctors Back Circumcision

Roadmaster $313 (1264 comments)

"each circumcision that is not performed costs the U.S. health-care system $313.".

At least they're telling you what's the most you should be willing to pay for this. I don't think that the medical "industry" will see a profit from this.

about a year and a half ago

Near-universal Mexican Healthcare Coverage Results From Science-informed Changes

Roadmaster Not really (732 comments)

These neoliberal politicians seem to live in an entirely different country, and Frenk is no exception; no wonder he's now run as far away from Mexico as possible and is now teaching elsewhere, standing, no doubt, on his alleged achievements while being the secretary of public health in Mexico.

As any mexican will tell you, his boasting is far from the truth; while he may have instituted a program that supposedly provides coverage for people not otherwise under any sort of health care plan (i.e. those who are not, as workers, covered by the mexican institute of social security (IMSS), or as government workers, covered by ISSSTE), he did so without increasing health spending significantly (from 2003 to 2005 it only increased 0.2 percent and it has remained constant ever since: http://corta.me/7mz). So how can you cover 50 million more people without increasing spending? very poorly, that's how. Understaffed and underequipped hospitals, lack of medication, soul-sucking bureaucracy and hoops to jump through, I don't think that's anything to boast about; as befits his neoliberal lineage, Frenk instituted these policies for the macroeconomic "bottom line".

IMSS is supposed to provide coverage for workers and their families. However this entails people working on a stable, formally constituted company which has the obligation to cover fees for employee coverage. It's not a privilege, it's a right that companies must provide to their employees. However, since Mexico has had near zero growth in the past two decades or so (and more so since 2000, when the disastrous, conservative PAN party arrived in power), job creation has stagnated, and even receded in some cases. Millions of people have to resort to the "informal economy", since there's no company through which they can have access to IMSS, this popular insurance thing was created to give some semblance of health care coverage to the 50 million poor and underemployed in Mexico. But make no mistake; this is not the glowing achievement that Frenk would have the world believe. It's really the government hastily trying to fulfill, in a half-assed way, their constitutionally mandated obligation for health care (Mexican Constitution, 4th Article). This has been there since 1983, so actually Frenk's implementation means a 20-year lag for the government to fulfill its obligations.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: the Best Linux Setup To Transition Windows Users?

Roadmaster Linux is not Windows (448 comments)

I'd start by reading this (and if possible, having them read it as well):


Bottom line is, they *have* to want to change. If, as you say, they will latch onto any differences to decry the fact that Linux is not *exactly* like Windows, then, well, you're screwed and may as well not waste your time, because the fact is, Linux *is* different from Windows (the very reason why e.g. I use it).

One thing I've always found funny is that these same people have possibly gone through many changes in Windows and MS Office, always without complaint, because it was fed to them by Microsoft as "the next step". It will probably be the same once they get Windows 8 on a computer; they may think "this is hard to learn" but they will learn it without complaint. But put them in front of Linux and they'll cry foul and refuse to use it because "it's different". This mentality is very hard to beat; I stopped trying a few years ago and just let them writhe in their malware-infected sewers while I continue being able to work on Linux.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Track Bugs For Personal Software Projects?

Roadmaster Redmine (221 comments)

When I need to set up a self-hosted project and bug tracker, I normally use Redmine, which is very easy to use. It's written with Ruby on Rails, and so should be relatively easy to get a local SQLite-backed copy running on Mac OS using Rails' built-in mini web server.

This post is overly complicated but some of its information may be useful:


about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't You Running KDE?

Roadmaster Why am I not using KDE? (818 comments)

I was actually a KDE 3.x user under Debian. I then tried updating to KDE 4.something and the system became unbearably slow and unusable. At that point it was easier for me to just install Ubuntu with GNOME (which I hadn't used in years), and it was good enough so I stayed there.

Recently I had a chance to use a more-recent KDE desktop and I found it cluttered and confusing. I'm sure that given a couple of days I'd get used to it and not have any problems. But I won't migrate just for the sake of migrating, and I have to say I'm pretty happy with my current (Ubuntu 12.04) desktop, Unity and all (yes, I actually like Unity!).

So that's why I'm not using KDE.

about 2 years ago

Slashdot Coming Attractions

Roadmaster No video (410 comments)

I dislike video. I can read articles at my speed/leisure, skim over them while I'm doing other stuff. Video has a fixed duration, and sucks up my attention for the whole duration.

Maybe I'm just a curmudgeon, but I dislike this tendency of the Internet turning into... TV.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For Linux Telecommuting Tools?

Roadmaster What do they use? (212 comments)

Most people in my organization telecommute, and we mostly use Google+ hangouts (with extras) whenever we need some face time with people elsewhere. It's worked well for us, but it has some limitations and it *is* controlled by a third party. We also use Google's Docs and Calendar tools heavily, so Google hangouts were a natural evolution. This works well in Linux and in both Firefox and Chrome.

That is on a technical level; in reality you are the one who needs to adapt. If you can dictate a solution, the one I propose is not bad. But you may have little choice because it's easier to change *you* than the rest of the organization if need be.

about 2 years ago

Kernel Bug Means Linux Power Usage Remains High

Roadmaster Anonymous reader? (179 comments)

I'm not so sure about this. I enabled the fix as proposed by Phoronix and saw a 15% battery life improvement; I'm now getting almost 5 hours, which is pretty good for this system.But 15% was not "significant" really. So "to regain much of their battery life" seems like an exaggeration in par with the alarmist tone of the articles in Phoronix. Sure, there's a problem, and I certainly appreciate Phoronix's efforts to pinpoint the cause and offer a workaround, but it's certainly not as bad as they've been making it look.

more than 2 years ago

Best Browser For Using Complex Web Applications?

Roadmaster My experience: (347 comments)

In my experience, the easiest way to get a consistent and stable printing experience is by generating PDF. I have yet to have stability problems if this is done properly. As you're working with Ruby on Rails, using Prawn and Prawnto might be useful. However, if you absolutely positively must NOT use PDF for printing, then this probably won't help you.

more than 3 years ago

HTML5 vs. Flash — the Case For Flash

Roadmaster drop-dead gorgeous FAIL (510 comments)

" the simplest tools for producing drop-dead gorgeous Websites".

This here is the dangerous part; thinking that the tool makes the designer. Anyone can produce crap with Flash tools, and all it takes is a stroll through the Web to witness first-hand how much damage Flash can do in the wrong hands.

However I agree that the "designer" will have the last word. And, for as long as Flash allows a graphic designer with no knowledge whatsoever of web practices, standards, and a minimum background in actual computing, to build and "just upload" a website, instead of collaborating with someone who knows what he's doing, we'll be doomed to suffer crap like this.

more than 3 years ago

For Automated Testing, Better Alternatives To DOS Batch Files?

Roadmaster Ruby + WxRuby + rubyscript2exe (426 comments)

You can whip up a quick GUI with Ruby and WxRuby, and when you're happy with it, create a single executable file with rubyscript2exe. I see two problems: files tend to be large (~10MB) and thus a bit slow to run, but once running they're quite snappy. Ruby is a very easy language and WxRuby is also quite easy to use (not to mention cross-platform but I guess that's not high on your wish list).

more than 3 years ago



Mexico's top DSL provider blocks outgoing SMTP

Roadmaster Roadmaster writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Roadmaster writes "Late in 2007, Telmex, Mexico's monopolistic telecom company and the country's top ADSL provider, implemented measures blocking traffic for port 25. This means ADSL users can no longer send email using any SMTP server other than Telmex's (which only allows use for Telmex-hosted accounts). Though the measure is meant to fight spam, there's an interesting slant, as "enterprise-level" accounts (those with 4-Mbps links) were not blocked; only 2-Mbps or slower accounts have been blocked. Altough Telmex has a webpage where you declare you're not a spammer and your SMTP traffic is unblocked, some reports indicate that the unblocking can take at least a few days. Meanwhile, lots of users are at a loss as to what to do; also, smaller businesses are left unable to send e-mail, and those without competent IT staff will probably be left without such services for a long time. The funny part? I have seen zero reduction of spam levels since the measure was implemented."


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