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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

Sowelu Chalk up another one (540 comments)

I'm also desperately waiting for another model with a slide out keyboard. I moved from the Samsung Epic (truly great phone but the charge port is attached to the motherboard very weakly), to the Photon Q (unremovable battery is a big minus), and I'm not sure where to go from here. Maybe back to the Epic if I can find one.

3 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

Sowelu Re:Two Steps (112 comments)

The poster said it won't boot, so they're selling it for parts. Some of those parts might still have data, and must be identified physically. Storage is awful tiny these days, so unless you know what you're looking for, you could miss a long term cache.

3 days ago

'Just Let Me Code!'

Sowelu Re:Code the way you want... (368 comments)

Well, it's different in the ways that make a difference for me...which weirdly enough are "different syntactic sugar" and "a different IDE". It's not as different as it could be, but it does have the advantage of keeping me sharp in the same concepts Java uses as well. I don't have to yell at Eclipse when I'm at home, and I get legit excited when I can play with Linq. (What has my life become...) And that's enough to prevent burnout. But, projectwise, instead of writing backend server components for internet things, I'm writing one big program that decompiles an old retro game and extracts its map and graphics data with a nice graphical client. It feels too big for python. I guess at this point, "small projects" means "things that are not fifty-dev enterprise software things". Small enough that one developer can actually do it all.

I can say that being one dev in control of an entire hobby project makes me a better unit tester (seriously, what company actually follows its own internal UT guidelines) and is great for architecture experience, if you are a midlevel SDE on the rise.

There's probably something positive intellectually about having two languages with slightly different data structures; when you try to solve a problem the same way and are forced to make minor changes, you might find optimizations that are useful in both languages.

My hobby language used to be Multi-User Forth. That got tedious.

about a week ago

'Just Let Me Code!'

Sowelu Re:Code the way you want... (368 comments)

May I also suggest that you make your work and your hobby /different languages/, so you can more easily separate them. When I've worked and coded-for-fun in Java at the same time, I'm miserable. When I started taking up C# at home (can the language hate, it's fine for small projects) I had a lot more fun. Work in the web industry? Write native apps for a hobby! You CAN code for work and for fun, but only if the projects are different enough that you can get in an entirely different headspace while having fun.

about a week ago

The Department of Homeland Security Needs Its Own Edward Snowden

Sowelu Re:i bet (190 comments)

I guess she could run to Abu Dhabi instead.

about a week ago

No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

Sowelu This is actually pretty nice. (282 comments)

As a former paid Microsoft shill (okay, contractor on like four different projects), I would wholeheartedly welcome this if I ever went back. Which I won't, but still.

One year was too little time. It takes months to ramp up; now you get a lot more productive time.

And 90 days of downtime between jobs was awkward--it's hard to set up a 3 month contract that fit perfectly in those dates. Realistically, you'd find another 6-month job in the meantime, and not go back to Microsoft until well after the mandatory break, even if MS was the best job you could get at the time.

So yeah. This is better for employees' stability, and for managers getting more productive time out of contractors.

about two weeks ago

New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sowelu Re:Unconstitutional (150 comments)

Let's not exaggerate about "no difference". Writs of assistance, and searches in general, back in the revolutionary days were highly disruptive to life and business. If someone copies out your entire gmail folder you probably won't notice it, it's not like they'll be taking up space and getting in your way and throwing your files around as you try to read it yourself. They were even used to gain entrance to a place and trash it under the guise of a search.

I'm not making a value judgment on the merits of this case or whether it's reasonable or not, but you are drawing a false equivalency. Seizing all of a person's electronics equipment or servers is a much closer analogy. Non-destructive copying with zero downtime is not.

about two weeks ago

New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sowelu Re:Two sides to this... (150 comments)

Thing is, that's not actually so bad to me at all. If you could tell whether someone was lying or telling the truth about performing some illegal act--and be certain of it (big assumption)--I'd wholeheartedly support it. It would catch criminals a lot faster, and exonerate the innocent a lot faster, what on earth could be bad about that? As you're describing it, it doesn't sound like it's violating any privacy of yours, except for the specific fact "did you commit the crime". It's just a one-shot perfectly accurate truth serum.

It certainly doesn't violate the 5th Amendment. The "no self incrimination" is specifically to cut down on coerced, inaccurate testimony. If this thing was accurate, it's a completely different issue.

It seems to me that almost every Internet Anti-Government Crusader's true agenda is "protect my right to lie to the authorities", or "protect my right to not get caught". Doesn't get any of my respect.

about two weeks ago

New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Sowelu Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (150 comments)

God, it's nice to see someone on here who doesn't think the government is a literal force of primal evil. Having even a little faith in the system seems to be thoughtcrime on internet boards.

about two weeks ago

Point-of-Sale System Bought On eBay Yields Treasure Trove of Private Data

Sowelu Re:meh, they're retail workers (68 comments)

or New York City for that matter...

about two weeks ago

US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

Sowelu Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

In truth, this is also why Social Security has its problems. When it was established, it was "You likely won't live to use it, but if you do, you will be well taken care of". It was insurance against an uncommon and, in a way, kind of negative thing happening to you: Living to an age such that you could no longer support yourself. It was a luxury that not many people had, and it could absolutely be hard on your family. Of course, now almost everyone lives long enough to collect it.

No, it wasn't meant to be a replacement for savings, and you weren't supposed to get out what you put in. A small portion of the population was supposed to collect it, because most of them didn't live long enough to.

about two weeks ago

My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

Sowelu Re: Dimmable LEDs (278 comments)

Uh, what else would you control it with?

(serious question, I guess? I've never seen a dimmer that wasn't a push-knob)

about two weeks ago

What Happens When Gaming Auteurs Try To Go It Alone?

Sowelu So maps... (86 comments)

I don't know much about what he actually did at Epic aside from some of Unreal Tournament's best maps (it was pretty awesome that it showed the author name when you loaded a map) and I don't know what his job was the other companies at all. Was he a coder? Designer? Producer? Artist/art director? Nothing but level-design-o-rama?

about three weeks ago

The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

Sowelu Re:Why is this news? (443 comments)

Cyclists ARE a menace, to themselves. I nearly killed one two years ago because he blew a stop sign coming down a hill, swerved in front of me, hooked his tires into a trolley track and fell over about 20' in front of my car. If I hadn't been driving below the speed limit he would have been street pizza.

Biking in hilly, high density areas (like downtown Seattle) should require a license. One that can be revoked.

about three weeks ago

UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys

Sowelu Re:Unprovidable keys (353 comments)

See though isn't that destruction of evidence? Which is pretty clearly illegal.

"Oh, you were looking for documents at my house? Sorry, I built my filing cabinet to shred and burn everything if I don't press a button every week" -- if you're arrested for (for example) financial fraud and you pull that kind of BS, you're in deep trouble. In fact, after you've started being investigated for something, any action to destroy potential evidence is super suspicious and may well be specifically illegal, even if (especially if) there's no way after the fact to prove whether it was incriminating or not. Just because you took that action far in the past when you set up the dead man's switch, doesn't excuse you from the consequences.

It's well established in corporate cases that people have an obligation to prevent automatic deletion of materials during an investigation. I'd be surprised if that didn't hold for private citizens too, why wouldn't it? If you would reasonably expect that the police have a lawful reason to search your documents, and you don't volunteer that those documents exist and are going to be deleted...I really don't see any ethical difference between that, and finding some way to delete them remotely yourself.

In a criminal case I don't see an ethical difference between "I did X and Y happened", and "I knew Y would happen if I didn't do X, and I didn't do it". Kind of like "I cut her brake line" vs "I knew her brake line was cut, and that she was going to drive the car, and I didn't inform her".

If there's an argument that a dead man's switch really is ethically different from active deletion...and I really do mean ethically different, not "more likely to get you off the hook for a crime"...I'd love to hear it.

about three weeks ago

Mapping a Monster Volcano

Sowelu Re:blast radius (105 comments)

I'm out of the blast range up north (Seatac) but would still hear it if it went off.

That said, magnitude 2 is basically "hit the ground real hard with a sledgehammer". A nearby major construction site causes a lot more vibration, so does a big truck on the freeway.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Web Language That's Long-Lived, and Not Too Buzzy?

Sowelu Re:.Net / Typescript (536 comments)

Honest question as a heavy C# user. Why Visual Basic? What advantage does it give, either in function or practice or even aesthetics, over C#? It seems that they are functionally identical but that C# has the better syntax; clearly there must be some reason VB.NET is still around though. Enlighten me please?

about a month ago

FreeDOS Is 20 Years Old

Sowelu Re:Best DOS game... (133 comments)

Just rediscovered Alien Legacy, a true Sierra golden age underdog from 1994. It's a space colonization game that's not a 4X, how novel!

I really really wish I could find all those old DOS TSRs from the mid-late 80s. I had one that put a bunch of ascii smiley face characters on the dos prompt that careened around and bounced off of lines of text; hold ctrl or alt to make them go in circles. I would not be surprised if it was really, truly lost in time with no remaining copies.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Correlation Between Text Editor and Programming Language?

Sowelu Well, C# is a given (359 comments)

Visual Studio when doing C# stuff. Eclipse when doing Java stuff. On Linux, vim or notepad++ when doing C stuff or any other random shell junk. On Windows, notepad++ (okay, let's be honest, it's usually just noteBut I always wind up missing Visual Studio. It seems to fit my workflows best, and if it worked well with Java I'd replace Eclipse with it in an instant.

about a month ago


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