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NHTSA and DOT Want Your Car To Be Able To Disable Your Cellphone Functions

WryCoder Re:Tech solution for a social problem (405 comments)

Only 10% deaths due to distracted driving? Then what are the other 90%? There was a news article recently claiming 65% of the deaths were due to daydreaming, and 15% to phones etc.

How about requiring the driver to solve a captcha every two minutes by speaking the letters. The gummint could make money on this!

They're looking at tech solutions because they are easy and fun, compared to social solutions.

about a year and a half ago

Microsoft Counts Down To XP Death

WryCoder That would be Debian Testing (766 comments)

I've been running Debian Testing on my desktop for over 10 years. It is continuously upgraded, and that includes all the apps, not just the OS. Never reinstalled it. And it's totally free/libre.

I expect to keep running it for the next ten years.

I have a cron that downloads the updates, which I like to apply by hand ("apt-get upgrade") every few days, so I can watch what's going on. But most of that could be done by cron, if you wanted to take a bit of risk (similar to what you take when you apply MS updates).

more than 3 years ago

Slashdot Launches Re-Design

WryCoder Front Page Comment Rating (2254 comments)

When I scan the front page, I want to see what posts have attracted discussion, and how many of the comments are highly rated.

Now you've eliminated the e.g 47/435 numbers completely. Please put them back, they are useful and interesting.

more than 3 years ago

Selling Incandescent Light Bulbs As Heating Devices

WryCoder Re:God, this is tiresome (557 comments)

Ah, yes, "very significant negative externalities." And what might those be? And what genius decides what they are and what to do about them?

"God, this is tiresome." IOW, stop with your ignorant objections and let "us" get on with our solutions.

more than 4 years ago

Facing Oblivion, Island Nation Makes Big Sacrifice

WryCoder Re:Atol Growth Tracks Sea Level - Darwin (360 comments)

We are not talking only about low-level atols.

Atols maintain their elevation wrt sea level: if sea level drops, wind erosion lowers the atol. If sea level rises, the coral (yes - underwater) builds the reef higher. Beaked fish, e.g. parrotfish, and wave action partially reduce the face of the reef to sand and rubble, which is deposited on the atol above waterline. The coral has no trouble keeping up with sea level rise, about a foot in a century. The real problem is decimation of the fish by hunting. That can slow or halt the build up of coral sand.

For vegetation to grow on the atol, fresh water is needed. This comes from the lagoon enclosed by the atol, and is contained in a "fresh water lens" that is slightly above sea level under the atol. If the lagoon is breached or allowed to dry out and fill with sand, the atol becomes a coral island. To keep this from happening, the lagoon mush be protected and fresh water must be carefully conserved. Coral islands may have much less water, due to run-off, unless vegetation is firmly established and not destroyed in a typhoon.

These facts have been confirmed since Darwin first proposed his theory of atol growth.

A recent, refereed article studied the surface area of 27 atols in the Central Pacific. 86% of them increased in area or remained the same as sea level rose over a 20 to 60 period.

Global and Planetary Change, Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.05.003

The dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise: evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the central pacific

more than 4 years ago

Facing Oblivion, Island Nation Makes Big Sacrifice

WryCoder Atol Growth (360 comments)

Studies show that atols and coral islands maintain their height above sealevel. The coral grows upwards as sealevel rises.

more than 4 years ago

IEEE Looks At Kevin Costner's Oil Cleanup Machines

WryCoder Re:Go Costner! Boo on BP! (289 comments)

Um, screen out the tarballs?

more than 4 years ago

HSBC Bank Sends Activated Debit Cards Through Mail

WryCoder Re:Cards should not be mailed. Period. (220 comments)

USPS has Priority mail for speed and Certified First Class for on-line tracking, with and without signature confirmation, with and without a hard copy receipt of delivery ("return confirmation"). Then there is Registered mail, which is insurable and kept under lock and key until delivered. These services are much cheaper than FedEx.

There is also USPS Express Mail - next day delivery with tracking. It's essentially equivalent to FedEx, and delivers to PO Boxes, which FedEx won't do.

more than 4 years ago

Foxconn May Close Factories In China

WryCoder Re:Suicide Rates (476 comments)

If you are one of the small group that are going to commit suicide anyway, when the word gets around that you can do something for your family /and/ make a statement, then you are more likely to jump off the roof at Foxconn than do it at home at night.

more than 4 years ago

Media Industry Wants Mandated Spyware and More

WryCoder It Ain't Torvalds (373 comments)

Linus is pretty agnostic when it comes to blobs - he's "practical". So there is a lot of secret, proprietary software in the kernel, often under NDA.

If you are talking about spyware at the middleware and app level, his kernel isn't involved.

If you want to thank someone, that would be Stallman and the Free Software Foundation. They are the ones who have been fighting this fight for 25 years, won in the copyright arena, but now moving into the software patent and trusted computing arenas.

The "trusted computing" (i.e. trusted by industry, not you) initiative is still alive. OP is a part of that, and deadly dangerous to free software. They are trying to block you from the internet unless your software is signed by approved authorities, bottom to top, and immutable. Refer to the FSF for more information.

If you are looking for a totally free GNU/Linux with no kernel blobs and no non-free applications, look at gNewSense. I have it running on a Lemote Yeeloong. Even the bios is free software. The kernel is a deblobbed linux kernel derived from the linux-libre project.

more than 4 years ago

Surveillance Backdoor Enabled Chinese Gmail Attack?

WryCoder Re:Missing the real issues (143 comments)

They need a court order even for pen register monitoring. But they don't need to support probable cause, just certify relevance to an investigation.

about 5 years ago

Less Than Free

WryCoder Re:More than free? (330 comments)

Better than free would be better.

more than 5 years ago

CT Scan "Reset Error" Gives 206 Patients Radiation Overdose

WryCoder Re:Feedback? (383 comments)

Why not require that scanners incorporate an independent detector that measures the amount X-ray energy?

This is already a requirement of 21CFR1020.33:

(2)Timers. (i) Means shall be provided to terminate the x-ray exposure automatically by either deenergizing the x-ray source or shuttering the x-ray beam in the event of equipment failure affecting data collection. Such termination shall occur within an interval that limits the total scan time to no more than 110 percent of its preset value through the use of either a backup timer or devices which monitor equipment function. A visible signal shall indicate when the x-ray exposure has been terminated through these means and manual resetting of the CT conditions of operation shall be required prior to the initiation of another scan.

more than 5 years ago

Interview With Jeremy Howard of FastMail.fm

WryCoder FM Customer Service (135 comments)

Well, I have mod points, but rather than using them, I'll tell my story.

My wife was losing mail and we couldn't track down the problem. I had server logs showing that some mail was accepted by fm, but then disappeared. After much hair pulling, I put in a support request.

I quickly received four pages of logs showing exactly what happened to the mail in question - from the time it was accepted until it was deleted by an email client.

It turns out that there was a Mac Email client which was set to delete mail coming from sources not in my wife's address book. I thought she was only using the webmail. But every once in awhile she'd start the Mac client and it would reach up and expunge mail from the one or two people who were in the fm address book, but not in the Mac Mail address book. Gone without a trace!

Believe me, this kind of service is worth far more than $20 per year.

As you can see from the thread, these guys build on free software, and give back. I run a number of mail servers myself, but I (and my family) use fm because it would take me man years to add on what these guys offer, to say nothing of admining it all.

I'm always amazed that people are willing to waste dozens, maybe hundreds, of hours just to save $20 per year. I keep trying to get my daughter to use fm, but she'd rather struggle with the spam on the free service I provide her on one of my servers than fork out the $20. Wastes my time, too.

more than 5 years ago

"Right To Repair" Bill Advances In Massachusetts

WryCoder Certified? (478 comments)

Certified? What's this "certified"?

People should have the right to repair, and have access to the necessary knowledge. Period.

Otherwise, we deepen the already vast split between the people who create and understand our technology, and the people who are merely consumers. Eloi.

We reached some kind of zenith around the middle of the last century - most the the kids who didn't live in the center city knew how to fix their bikes, lawnmowers, tractors, and cars. Some could fix their radios or wire a house. No more. Leave it to the "certified" professionals. After all, you wouldn't want a car on the road which was improperly repaired, it might hurt someone. Slippery slope, guys.

more than 5 years ago

ARM-Powered Linux Laptops Unveiled At Computex

WryCoder Re:Come on, guys (272 comments)

I'm reading this on an eeePC 1000HE that cost me $375. It's no workstation, but who wants to lug one of those around when all you want to do is browse, check email, and do some light development? I've used it during a Python sprint, and it's just fine. A 10 inch 1024x600 is kinda small for development, but it's passable.

I routinely get 8 hours out of the battery, so I rarely plug it in while using it, and generally leave the charger at home. And when I do plug it in during use, the charger is strong enough and the laptop drain small enough that the battery will recharge 100% in 2-3 hours even while using it on a wifi link.

more than 5 years ago

Digital Storage To Survive a 25-Year Dirt Nap?

WryCoder Re:Rust prevention / Paper printouts (1044 comments)

Yes, 2D barcode on paper. Seal blocks of sheets between thin copper sheets cold welded around the edge; that will protect against moisture and oxidation.

more than 6 years ago


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