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Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

Speare Re:Went over my head. (593 comments)

Emotion is a fact.

I take from this short statement the same sentiment that Bruce Schneier was speaking about, when he stopped whining about how everything "security theater" was completely irrelevant, and started exploring the real and tangible impact and importance of the feeling of safety IN ADDITION TO actual safety controls. You cannot just dismiss grandma's warm and fuzzy acceptance of strict authoritarian searches, you have to actually include it in the calculus, the whole of which can inform the security methodology.

Security is both a feeling and a reality. The propensity for security theater comes from the interplay between the public and its leaders. When people are scared, they need something done that will make them feel safe, even if it doesn't truly make them safer. Politicians naturally want to do something in response to crisis, even if that something doesn't make any sense.

Religion is the same: you can't just dismiss religion, it's a palpable phenomenon for a large number of stakeholders. Often, you can coexist with their philosophy while still doing real science. Galileo wasn't locked up in house arrest for his science, he was locked up for being an ass to the church. The church actually had little problem with the already-common views on the shape of the solar system, and would have "come around" on the matter much faster without his goading.

about 8 months ago

Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July

Speare Adobe and ebook DRM? Color me surprised (304 comments)

So, we all know how well this worked out for Dmitry Sklyarov last time. Learning how DRM is a self-defeating technology is kinda like the cycles in the fashion industry: everything old is new again. The stakes just get higher and higher with all the maximalist lobbying that goes on between each cycle.

about 8 months ago

IBM's PC Junior Turns 30, Too

Speare Re:Despise that low-profile keyboard and mouse (178 comments)

The PCjr was not one of those flexible rubber keyboard things. The Mac keys are actually dense rubber/nylon, while the PCjr keys were plain hard ABS plastic of the same shape. The PCjr keyboard had a raised ridge around the whole board. Otherwise they were quite the same as the current Mac standalone keyboards. One reason for the chiclet design on the PCjr was so they could make little paper cards that fit in the raised ridge and surrounded every key, to label various key functions for specific applications.

about 8 months ago

IBM's PC Junior Turns 30, Too

Speare Re:Had one. Liked it. (178 comments)

Yeah, it's been a while... VGA was a dream compared. I also didn't mention the music chip, rather than just the usual bit-bang speaker.

about 8 months ago

IBM's PC Junior Turns 30, Too

Speare Re:i bought one (178 comments)

Funny that for all the bitching about the "chiclet" style keyboard back then, now I see way too many laptops (and even Macs) that are using what looks like the same style. I hated it then, and I hate it now.

I definitely should have said this in my other post. I laugh and laugh at the Mac's chiclet crap. They're horrible to use for touch typing, just one step above a membrane keyboard. Yet everyone "loves" them because Steve Jobs told them to.

I swapped my chiclet infrared keyboard for the heavy-ass IBM keyboard right away. As soon as Macs went to chiclet, I bought two of the last heavy-ass Apple bluetooth keyboards; one for today and one as a spare, to use them through the years.

about 8 months ago

IBM's PC Junior Turns 30, Too

Speare Had one. Liked it. (178 comments)

I had one, and I really liked it. It lacked DMA on the floppy drive so things were a bit slower during a file load or save. It only had one bay. Otherwise, it was basically the same as the PC (my dad had a low-serial-number model 5150). It had a couple more graphics modes than the standard VGA, enabling a lot of games to use 16 colors rather than 4. Nobody I knew ever used the "sidecar" bus for anything worthwhile.

about 8 months ago

Google Buys UK AI Startup Deep Mind

Speare Re:Voice assistant (113 comments)

And it's nothing like the command line, which does no interpreting, refining or clarification at all; it just executes a limited set of commands exactly as entered, with no room for so much as a misplaced comma.

ZORK I (1979):

> unlock grating with key
Which key do you mean, the skeleton key or the rusty key?

> skeleton

about 8 months ago

Programmer Debunks Source Code Shown In Movies and TV Shows

Speare common and fun (301 comments)

Doesn't everyone who can proram do this? Just like gun fans identify and count shots for each weapon they see?

From the (mistaken? wise?) use of a .300 in an IPv4 address in The Net, to the identification of some kind of 6502 assembly code in the Terminator's red overlay, it's always been something to try to do in the theater without freeze-frame available.

about 8 months ago

Police Pull Over More Drivers For DNA Tests

Speare three responses (562 comments)

Am I being detained?

Am I free to go?

No, I do not consent to any search.

about 9 months ago

Six Electric Cars Can Power an Office Building

Speare Re:Why not just do this using batteries? (296 comments)

The point of "power from vehicles" was for use in emergencies. The concept was first in the mainstream press after Fukushima wiped out a massive area of infrastructure. A hurricane in the Philippines is similar. If you can't get the car out of the local village to go get a working gas generator and gas to run it, then just use the car itself to keep your family from freezing.

about 9 months ago

Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

Speare Re:When you have a bad driver ... (961 comments)

I'm surprised we haven't seen many people posting things along the lines of, "Paul Walker would have walked away from the crash, if it were a Tesla."

about 10 months ago

Not All USB Power Is Created Equal

Speare Re:Don't really see the market (240 comments)

A lot of the replies here are incredulous about Nexus 7 power.

My Nexus 7 2012 edition would charge up, even if the screen and wifi was on, if left on a 500mA laptop USB port (usb debugging / storage enabled).

My Nexus 7 2013 edition would not charge up, even if the screen and wifi was off, if left on a 500mA laptop USB port (even with usb debugging / storage disabled). It would drain slowly. It required a 1A from a wall-wart to tread water with the screen on. It took a 2A wall-wart to actually charge up while using it. I still have to find a powered hub that will give more than USB standard 500mA, so I can pass debug/storage data while charging.

about 10 months ago

Musk Lashes Back Over Tesla Fire Controversy

Speare Re:It's all about the stock price (487 comments)

You can see this if you watch the Google News links related to a given stock. All year, "ValueWatch" has been beating Tesla up at every opportunity, and when there is no opportunity, they make up a reason. Someone's in a squeeze, so they try to hit the stock. Someone wants to buy, so they try to hit the stock. Even with all this brouhaha, TSLA is up 300% this calendar year.

about 10 months ago

A Plan To Fix Daylight Savings Time By Creating Two National Time Zones

Speare Daylight Saving Time (545 comments)

The title contains a pet peeve of mine: it's Daylight Saving Time, not 'savings.' It's not a bank where you deposit an hour and get it back in a 'savings account.'

about a year ago

Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH

Speare yeah, thanks (666 comments)

As the "dept" byline heading says, thanks for endangering so many people.

My grandfather was a leadfoot, and crossed from NC to AZ a couple times a year under 48 hours. My dad was to follow him in a second vehicle once, and ended up slowing down and going his own pace, when he saw just how irresponsibly granddad was rushing things just for the sake of rushing. Grandpa never killed anyone but I'm sure it's been very close a couple of times.

about a year ago

Learning To Code: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Speare Re:interesting that a newbie is telling the world (226 comments)

When I was an undergrad with a part time job helping out in a graduate chemistry lab, there was a suite of utilities written in FORTRAN. People depended heavily on this suite to calculate all manner of things related to their crystallography research.

The problem was, it was mostly written during one of those years where Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit were massively popular again, and people were learning to program with hunt-the-wumpus teletype programs. The original author "amused" himself by naming pretty much anything he could after some fantasy concept. CASTLE, FRODO, DRAGON, and so on. Okay, so to map out van der Waals surface strength, you ran CASTLE. Many things have quirky codenames, you get used to it. But all the variables followed suit. Now it was a bit more obscure to maintain the program or trace the logic.

Worst of all, the comments. In FORTRAN, columns 1 to 72 were for your program, and anything after 73 was a comment. The author wrote an "epic" of his own, all word-wrapped in the column space from 73 to 132 (the width of common teletype paper and long Hollerith punch cards). What a waste of his time, you might think. But it was also a huge impediment to maintenance; you see, people in the lab LIKED his story (for a while), so they had to figure out how to patch the logic without breaking the flow of the story. It took years before someone stripped all the prose and got the rest of the lab to follow the maintainable fork instead o the prosaic one.

about a year ago

MIT Research: Encryption Less Secure Than We Thought

Speare Re:Huh? (157 comments)

If you want a visual analogy that works, think of the "WOPR guesses launch codes" scene in War Games. In that movie, it's really just eye candy to drive tension in the plot, but it works in that general way for larger texts. If WOPR could somehow compute or infer that the third digit of the launch code is A, and can't be any other letter, then it "locks" that digit down and looks for other inferences it can make. Code breaking and sudoku overlap here too.

about a year ago

Jeff Bezos Buys the Washington Post

Speare Re:Shipping. (150 comments)

This puts a new spin on the Twain quip: "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel."

about a year ago

TOR Wants You To Stop Using Windows, Disable JavaScript

Speare Re:All I can say is... (341 comments)

For those who depend on TOR for their safety, more than they depend on a specific tool for their convenience, the following a safety advisory seems pretty rational. Air pollution in LA is bad on Tuesday! Young people and elderly should please remain indoors if possible!

about a year ago

Creator of xkcd Reveals Secret Back-story of His Epic, 3,099-Panel 'Time' Comic

Speare Re:xkcd is overrated (187 comments)

What did you bring that old quotes book you know I don't like to be read to out of up for?

about a year ago


Speare hasn't submitted any stories.



Slashdot Moderation System is Nonsensical

Speare Speare writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Been on Slashdot for at least a decade now, I forget when I joined. Have had "excellent" karma since before they used fuzzy words instead of numbers to describe it. Haven't had mod points for the past few years... then suddenly this month I've had mod points five or six times. Either the dice are loaded, or they ran out of other moderators, or the whole system is broken.

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