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RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

Scratch-O-Matic Branded gear (423 comments)

One thing that has always irritated me about Radio Shack is that just about everything they sell says "Radio Shack" on it. No professional equipment that I can think of is labeled with the name of the store where it was purchased, so this makes everything from Radio Shack feel like cheap amateur stuff.

about 5 months ago

Voyager 1 Exits Our Solar System

Scratch-O-Matic Re:Amazing (341 comments)

My mom is still using a Mitsubishi television she bought in 1983.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best EEPROM Programmer For a Hobbyists?

Scratch-O-Matic Re:Dont call them Programmers (165 comments)

I vote for "filling." And the code that's ready to be put in is called "the fill. "

more than 2 years ago

Extension To Chrome Brings Remote Desktop Abilities

Scratch-O-Matic Re:Hat trick (189 comments)

Wiping your butt with leaves? What could possibly go wrong?

more than 2 years ago

Cable Channels Panic Over iPad Streaming App

Scratch-O-Matic Dumped all my cable tv (346 comments)

I recently completely dropped all my television service after getting pissed off one too many times at my cable bill. No basic cable, no dish, no nothing. Only Internet. I figured I'd go out and get one of those digital broadcast converters when I had the urge to watch television..but I haven't had that urge yet. Instead, streaming from Netflix has completely filled my need. Several years ago I had a thought experiment in which I tried to decide if I'd rather give up tv or Internet if forced to choose. I reluctantly figured I'd do without the tv. The real decision was a much easier choice by far.

more than 3 years ago

Libya SIGINT Jamming Satellites, Towers

Scratch-O-Matic SIGINT? (463 comments)

Unless "Libya SIGINT" refers to some organization, the title of this submission is a little off. SIGINT, or signals intelligence, refers to a type of collection, not a type of transmission. This is like saying somebody's catch-all mailbox was sending out spam.

more than 3 years ago

Tech History Behind New York's New Year's Eve Ball

Scratch-O-Matic Re:Grumble (106 comments)

The old one weighed a little more than 28 stone; the new is nearly 860 stone.

more than 3 years ago

Has Any Creative Work Failed Because of Piracy?

Scratch-O-Matic I guess I can head over to Best Buy... (1115 comments)

...and steal whatever the hell I want off the shelves, because Best Buy will most certainly NOT FAIL due to my theft.

about 4 years ago

Website Mass-Bans Users Who Mention AdBlock

Scratch-O-Matic Seeing ads vs. WAITING for ads (660 comments)

I have some machines with adblock and some without. I guess I've gotten used to ads, because they don't seem to bother me that much anymore. But one thing that does drive me crazy is when a page stops loading, and the status bar says something along the lines of, "Waiting for". That's asking a little much.

more than 4 years ago

Study Shows TV Makes Kids Fat, Computers Don't

Scratch-O-Matic Video games (276 comments)

Interesting. I recently realized that I have come to consider video games (Wii) a healthy alternative to tv for my two boys (5 and 7.) Last Saturday I told them to turn the tv off and find something to do, and the 5 year old asked if he could play Wii. I said sure. And it's not because of the physical activity with Wii's more the matter of participating in what's on the screen. There's probably a generational shift in progress.

more than 4 years ago

Scalpers Earned $25M Gaming Online Ticket Sellers

Scratch-O-Matic Re:What a lot of work. (574 comments)

The problem is that the CAPTCHA approach is flawed. Any similar type of challenge-response system can be abused for illegal activity.

I met a guy who was a pilot in Vietnam. They had (and still have) a system where everyone carries a card with a grid of numbers and letters on it, and you can authenticate someone over the radio by picking a couple spots on the grid and they respond with, for example, the character adjacent to them. Well, he forgot his card one day and was queried by a controlling agency using the authentication card. He told them to stand by, switched frequencies, and issued the same challenge to another agency. They responded, and he switched back and passed it along to successfully authenticate himself.

more than 4 years ago

Mozilla Exec Urges Switch From Google To Bing

Scratch-O-Matic Did somebody say switch? (527 comments)

That's funny, because I'm in the process of switching from Firefox to Chrome. I've used Firefox almost exclusively on Linux, OSX, and Windows for a few years now. But for many months it has gotten more and more sluggish on every machine, routinely locking up for seconds at a time doing who know's what. I'm sick of it. I miss the extensions on Chrome but I do not miss the stutter-step browsing.

more than 4 years ago

Murdoch Says, "We'll Charge For All Our Sites"

Scratch-O-Matic Re:Bye, bye. (881 comments)

This is true if your "distribution" refers only to delivery. But you seem to have forgotten the part about the collection, organization, editing, and formatting of your information product prior to delivery. So, yes, most information is free. Having someone gather it up for you is not. Water is free too, but for some reason I still get a water bill every month...and it's not just for the pipes.

more than 4 years ago

Rude Drivers Reduce Traffic Jams

Scratch-O-Matic I loved driving in Italy... (882 comments)

where the people would do things like drive three abreast on a two-lane road, because one person was passing without enough clearance. The oncoming car would slide out to make room. Their traffic looked crazy, but everybody knew what they were doing, and were willing to accommodate other drivers without throwing a fit.

more than 4 years ago

Visualizing False Positives In Broad Screening

Scratch-O-Matic Re:Think you understand these things? Try this... (365 comments)

In my case I just wrote out the possible combinations, and saw the 1/3 right away. I had fallen for the same problem as the 100 coin tosses: by the time I have identified a child enough to refer to the "other child," I have already beaten some of the odds!

But please clarify the "one is a girl" and "one is named Mary."

about 5 years ago

Visualizing False Positives In Broad Screening

Scratch-O-Matic Re:Think you understand these things? Try this... (365 comments)

Um, yeah, forget what I said about 50:50 in the first case. But I too am having trouble seeing the difference between the first case and the second case.

about 5 years ago

Visualizing False Positives In Broad Screening

Scratch-O-Matic Re:Think you understand these things? Try this... (365 comments)

I wonder if it's possible you mis-stated the problem? If you tell me they have two children and that at least one is a daughter, the tested condition ("both children are girls") comes down to the other child also being a girl, with a probability of 50%. If the other child is a boy, then the condition is not true, and if the other child is a girl, the condition is true. The condition will be true in 50% of the cases. Am I missing something?

Put another way, "In all families with exactly two children, both children will be girls in 50% of families who have at least one girl."

I'm assuming, as you stated, that any given child has an equal chance of being a boy or a girl.

about 5 years ago

Visualizing False Positives In Broad Screening

Scratch-O-Matic "Unschooled" in security (365 comments)

It's good to inform people who don't understand statistics. On the flipside, here are two points for people unfamiliar with security:

1. A broad screening for "terrorists" is not made with the expectation that every person flagged is a terrorist. Rather, it identifies behaviors that make a person worth giving a second look. If properly conducted, the flagged person is not treated or considered a threat during the second or even the third look. The 300 people you mentioned would almost certainly be treated politely and sent on their way (I myself have received a second or third look several times. No problem.)

2. Perhaps the most important purpose of a broad security screening is to discourage criminals from using that avenue in the first place. If I have several dozen potential means of attack, for example, the ones that involve getting a weapon onto an airplane are going to be near the bottom of the list. Not because I can't do it, but because, why bother?

about 5 years ago

Samsung Papyrus E-Book Reader, Coming Soon

Scratch-O-Matic Re:Why in the world (145 comments)

I guess the crux of our disagreement is whether a netbook makes a "fine e-book reader." As I said, I have both, and I can't imagine reading a book on my netbook. It simply is not suitable for that purpose, in my opinion. I'm not just talking about whether I can read from the screen or not. I'm talking about reading for hours on end, in many different locations and in many different positions and postures, and all types of lighting, with no power cords or downtime during the entire process. In other words...just like a book. But a book that becomes whatever I want to read at the moment.

I do agree, however, that at the current price point, the Kindle and other readers are luxury items. But the issue of price does not mean that another similar item is "just as good."

more than 5 years ago


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