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IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

_Sharp'r_ Re:I've seen IRS computers (682 comments)

A long time ago, when managing some government service contracts, I had someone from the BLM walk in and essentially say, "It's the end of the fiscal year and we need to spend some money left in our budget, what's the most expensive PCs and multiple monitor setups you can find to sell us to replace all our current machines with?"

I doubt Lois Lerner, a Director managing a group with 900 employees, was making due with old obsolete hardware like the guys in the trenches do. She managed a $90M+ budget, so I'm sure they could find some cash to keep her PC up to date.

about a month ago

Free Software Foundation Condemns Mozilla's Move To Support DRM In Firefox

_Sharp'r_ Re:Corporate directed not volunteer direct ... (403 comments)

Yeah. When the original volunteers make statements Hollywood finds offensive, they have to go, right?

"the W3C willfully underspecifying DRM in HTML5 is quite a different matter from browsers having to support several legacy plugins. Here is a narrow bridge on which to stand and fight — and perhaps fall, but (like Gandalf) live again and prevail in the longer run. If we lose this battle, there will be others where the world needs Mozilla.

"By now it should be clear why we view DRM as bad for users, open source, and alternative browser vendors:

        Users: DRM is technically a contradiction, which leads directly to legal restraints against fair use and other user interests (e.g., accessibility).
        Open source: Projects such as cannot implement a robust and Hollywood-compliant CDM black box inside the EME API container using open source software.
        Alternative browser vendors: CDMs are analogous to ActiveX components from the bad old days: different for each OS and possibly even available only to the OS’s default browser.

"I continue to collaborate with others, including some in Hollywood, on watermarking, not DRM."
- Brendan Eich, 22 October 2013

about 2 months ago

FCC Votes To Consider Next Round of 'Net Neutrality' Rules

_Sharp'r_ Re:Freedom? (182 comments)

Stop confusing the State worshipers with the idea that everything doesn't automatically belong to the "majority".

Next you'll be spouting on about inalienable rights or some such...

about 2 months ago

FCC Votes To Consider Next Round of 'Net Neutrality' Rules

_Sharp'r_ Re:The Democrats killed Net Neutrality !! (182 comments)

... allows the ISPs to misbehave while the FCC cannot enforce the rules.

Since when is people managing their own networks now considered misbehaving? The FCC can't enforce rules that don't actually exist (yet).

But don't worry, the Democrats will ensure we go down the path of the government setting the rules on the internet and for ISPs. Can't let people have the freedom to manage their own networks in accordance with their desires and their contracts with their customers, after all... that would be too much freedom.

Think back to this in a few years when we're lagging behind the rest of the world more because the FCC is now in charge of allowing "innovation" on the internet.

about 2 months ago

London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber

_Sharp'r_ Re:It's about power, not being a customer (417 comments)

It's generally the powerful who get to write the regulations you're so fond of.

That's why we have in powerful taxi companies who "own" a government granted medallion pissed off that there might be some new competition for customer's transport dollars by independent drivers and their previously lobbied regulations aren't stopping it.

No customer needs to be "protected" from Uber, a service they are free to choose to use or not use based on their own evaluation of if it fits their needs better or not. All Uber does is allow independent drivers to have the same type of dispatch infrastructure that the big taxi companies have, but more efficiently.

about 2 months ago

F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane

_Sharp'r_ Re:Down the river... (410 comments)

It's a good thing we got the FCC involved in all this rule making about the internet. Just think where we'd be if it wasn't for the FCC enforcing net neutrality all these years....

about 3 months ago

Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

_Sharp'r_ Re:Doubt it will shut down cloud storage... (342 comments)

When you're complaining about how the government helps their large donors get what they want, the words you're looking for are "Public Choice Economics", not "Free market!"

A free market implies that the government minimally interferes in the market, just enough to set a level playing field, not that the government determines market outcomes at the behest of it's backers by killing competitors.

about 2 months ago

For $20, Build a VR Headset For Your Smartphone

_Sharp'r_ Re:Instantly the most practical solution (50 comments)

Yeah, this is a $20 solution...of you've already purchased a more expensive smartphone, web cam and don't mind moving your head reeeeaaaaally slowly so the lag from the screen mirroring to your phone doesn't affect you too badly.

about 3 months ago

IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

_Sharp'r_ Re:your plan is stupid (632 comments)

So the fact that this particular bad law was written and passed by Democrats over the veto of a Republican, including the specific provision being added by a Democrat, makes Republicans solely responsible for it?

I think you're missing something in your logic there.....

about 3 months ago

Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

_Sharp'r_ Re: But.. but, socialism! (870 comments)

Factory work during the industrial revolution was much preferred to the agriculture work that preceded it. That's one major reason lots of people left the farms to head for the city and a factory job. The people doing the work were much better off in the horrible conditions you decry than they were trying to eke an existence out of the dirt. Now we've replaced most of the worst factory jobs with robots and people are even better off in soft service and office jobs. There's been a lot of progress made in wealth and productivity and that progress will continue unless misguided individuals manage to use the government to continue to slow down or stop it.

If you just want people to have a job, any job, then give them spoons and set them to digging and filling in ditches. It not about have "work" available, it's about the best use of people's time to produce the most overall wealth. Anything we can do to further mechanize things and use capital goods to make labor more efficient makes us all wealthier in the mid to long run.

about 4 months ago

Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000

_Sharp'r_ Re:and then we will need some kind of basic income (387 comments)

They are there because the employers can get away with it because there's not a shortage of unskilled employees.

And when you require their employer to increase the wage for their position, the employer will now hire a more qualified individual instead, since they have to pay for that anyway, leaving the less skilled employee (who is supposedly being helped) eventually out in the cold.

If your employer was suddenly required to pay 50% more in salary for your current position, do you think you'd keep your job long-term against other, more qualified people who would suddenly want that position as opposed to their old one? It all shakes out similarly in the end for those who used to make under the new minimum wage, typically the most needy among us who already have some of the fewest options.

about 5 months ago

WikiLeaks Cables Foreshadow Russian Instigation of Ukrainian Military Action

_Sharp'r_ Re:Sarah Palin (479 comments)

I suppose I'd have mentally picked St. Laurence Island as a more representative example, as it's part of Alaska and only 36 miles from Russia. You'd have to have a mountain in the distance to see Russia from there, but it's feasible.

But more accurately, Little Diomede Island, is only 2.4 miles from Big Diomede Island, so you can easily see Russia from there and even walk between the two countries during the parts of the year it's frozen over.

about 5 months ago

Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000

_Sharp'r_ Re:and then we will need some kind of basic income (387 comments)

I'll admit that I'm more familiar with the minimum wage history and practice in the U.S. than in the UK. Just happened to read that article the same day and it seems very topical.

However, the theory isn't that minimum wage causes unemployment for everyone. The vast majority already make more than the minimum wage, so other than increasing their costs for minimum-wage supplied products and services (which is a real wage decrease, come to think of it). Economic theory states that the impact on people who currently make the new minimum wage or lower is that they find it more difficult to get and/or keep employment, because at the margin, some of them become no longer worth employing for what they cost.

about 5 months ago

Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000

_Sharp'r_ Re: and then we will need some kind of basic incom (387 comments)

Perhaps try some simple wikipedia reading? I mean, I know that's almost like actually researching something, but really, you could just read the first paragraph and learn more than you appear to know.

The Jim Crow laws literally required businesses to segregate facilities. It was no longer a choice by the business. It was a legal requirement by Southern Democratic lawmakers to keep their different colored customers separate.

about 5 months ago

Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000

_Sharp'r_ Re:and then we will need some kind of basic income (387 comments)

Your facts seem to be less than accurate. For example, in the UK, the minimum wage for 16-17 year olds was set in 2004 and started increasing in 2006. Mysteriously, the unemployment rate for 16-17 year olds in the UK started heading up right at the same time until it almost doubled. Probably just a coincidence, right?

Increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among those who are less valuable to an employer than the minimum wage. They work the same way as every other law setting a price floor. Price floors doesn't exactly have controversial effects.

about 5 months ago

25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store

_Sharp'r_ Re:Here's some quotes (233 comments)

Unless, of course, that's what the government was going to use it for.

Then, what, 20% of it ends up going for that same purpose, after the politicians, lobbyists, bureaucracies and waste take their cuts?

Of course, that's only when they don't manage to create a worse problem altogether with their "program" by subsidizing the problem they were supposedly attempting to cure.

about 5 months ago

25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store

_Sharp'r_ Re:Love the quotes (233 comments)

Name a single charter school that accepts *every* applicant. When that happens, then we can talk.

Ok, Gateway Preparatory Academy (GPA). True, they only accept students who live in the State that chartered them, because otherwise the State doesn't pay, but they've accepted every student who has ever applied. That's because they haven't hit their State mandated cap on enrollment yet.

Any other Charter school in the same State that hasn't hit the cap the State Board of Education is willing to pay for also accepts every student that applies. The only time they have a lottery is when they are no longer legally allowed to accept more students, because the State has set a limit on enrollment. The only preference allowed when they have a lottery is that the children of the people who founded the school may get a preference if that's written into the Charter. Typically that might affect a handful of kids, as the number of founders is usually half a dozen or less and their kids were all enrolled before the school filled up years later.

Also, the Charter schools in the same State have the same rules for expulsion, special ed, etc... as the other public schools in the State. GPA has 2x the "average" special education enrollment and 2X the "average" gifted and talented enrollment.That's because personalized education attracts both ends of the spectrum.

There may be other States where the rules are different, but I didn't found a Charter school in those States, so I wasn't required to become an expert on their school-related law. I do know the way things work in a few States, though, and non of them work they way you state.

about 5 months ago

Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

_Sharp'r_ Re:How do we get more women involved in tech? (545 comments)

Thank you for your considered reply.

I don't know all the details (just from what you've stated), but I agree that if the change was rejected with the comment "women suck", that's obviously a pretty big statement about the lack of maturity of the person rejecting the change. A big enough statement that it pretty much creates an obligation for the higher level maintainer to accept the change at that point because to do otherwise would cast them as agreeing with the immature kid that rejected it.

Inconsiderate behavior like that isn't justified towards anyone in the context of maintaining an open source code repository, or anywhere else in life, for that matter. Sure, the owner of the code (which this specific case wasn't about an owner, just someone with privileges) has the right to behave however they like short of causing actual harm to someone else, but I'd hope it wouldn't take much of that sort of behavior toward anyone before folks with a sense of justice and propriety would create a fork and go on their merry way.

In this specific case, based on their reaction to the incident, it sounds like the actual owners of the repository agree that they needed to step in to limit the damage this particular individual was doing.

about 6 months ago



Brazilian Judge orders 24-hour shutdown of Google, Youtube and Executive arrest

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  about 2 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "Judge Flavio Peren of Mato Grosso do Sul state in Brazil has ordered the arrest of the President of Google Brazil, as well as the 24-hour shutdown of Google and Youtube for not removing videos attacking a mayoral candidate. Google is appealing, but has recently also faced ordered fines of $500K/day in Parana and the ordered arrest of another executive in Paraiba in similar cases."
Link to Original Source

Touchable Holograms Demonstrated

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 4 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "Physorg reports that researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed holograms that can be felt with bare hands. Acoustic radiation is used to create pressure on hands tracked by two Wiimotes and an IR marker. Judging by the videos it's still pretty crude, but "researchers demonstrate how a user can dribble a virtual bouncing ball, feel virtual raindrops bouncing off their hand, and feel a small virtual creature crawling on their palm.""

Computerized Election Results With No Election

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  about 5 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "According to breaking Spanish language newspaper reports, (translations available, USA Today mention), Honduran authorities have seized 45 computers containing certified election results for the constitutional election Zelaya wanted, but that never took place. The "certified" and detailed electronic records of the non-existent election show Zelaya's side having won overwhelmingly."

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 7 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "I'm trying to design the least expensive way to make OpenOffice, email, and a web browser available to students in a new charter elementary school. In my past experience working with charitable computer donations, I can usually get three to four working computers out of five donated "broken" computer systems, usually with plenty of monitors, keyboards and mice left over. I'd like to use one computer for multiple students by attaching multiple monitors, usb keyboards and mice.

The infrastructure is FreeBSD, with only a few MS Windows systems for certain staff. We're planning to use either FreeBSD or Linux with remotely stored home directories for the donated student desktops. These are multi-user operating systems in terms of physical resources required and operation, but only one physical console per machine. What drivers/OS versions support multiple local input devices and monitors that can be attached to a specific login session? Will this require virtualization? Is there a config I haven't found that you can use to assign these devices to specific ttys? Have you done this before?"

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 7 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "Nethercomm has offered proof that they can use commercial gas pipelines to homes and businesses as waveguides for wireless broadband. The pipelines attenuate the wireless signals and allow for Terabit wireless links to last-mile customers over their existing natural gas connections. What's next, broadband over water pipes?"


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