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Russia Writes Off 90 Percent of North Korea Debt

afgam28 Re:One this is for sure. (181 comments)

Maybe the Russians are just writing off their losses? I've got no idea about the terms of the loan, but if someone owed me a ridiculous amount of money that I knew would never be paid back, I'd settle for 10% of it and a commitment to a payment plan.


The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

afgam28 Re:What happened to that undergrad? (155 comments)

I'm not sure what the author means when he says that the student was "lost to history", because at the end of the article he says that it was Diane Hartley.

The BBC aired a special on the Citicorp Center crisis, and one of its viewers was Diane Hartley. It turns out that she was the student in LeMessurier’s story.

Her name is also mentioned in some papers on engineering ethics:



San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

afgam28 Re:Gentrification? (357 comments)

A cheap car (like a Toyota Corolla or Honda Fit) costs about $5000+/year to own. If you get rid of that car and live in a place where you don't need one (i.e. San Francisco) you've got about $400 extra per month that you can spend on rent. So you don't have to be rich to spend $1900/month, which is plenty if you want to share a 2 bedroom apartment with someone in SF.


It's not for everyone but obviously a lot of people like it enough to do just that.

4 days ago

Mt. Gox Questioned By Employees For At Least 2 Years Before Crisis

afgam28 Re:Now we'll find out something (134 comments)

Ah, you're right. I got it mixed up with the "Civic Si" which is a similar but slightly different car.

about three weeks ago

Firefox 29 Beta Arrives With UI Overhaul And CSS3 Variables

afgam28 Re:New UI? (256 comments)

Really? The Firefox 4 mockup page on their wiki contains some discussion on the Chrome UI, so it seems unlikely that Mozilla had developed something along the lines of the Chrome UI before Google did. Otherwise they could've just referred to their own designs rather than Google's.


Do you have any links to these pre-Chrome Firefox mockups?

about a month ago

Paris Bans Half of All Cars On the Road

afgam28 Re:Carpooling (405 comments)

From the article:

However, drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles will be exempt from the restrictions, reports The Independent, as are taxis, buses, emergency vehicles and cars carrying three or more people.

about a month ago

IBM Distances Itself From the NSA and Its Spy Activities

afgam28 Re:Fragmenting the internet? (61 comments)

If every website had to be set up in a different data center for each country that they served, most websites would not bother setting up in most countries. They'd just set up wherever is most profitable, and forget about the rest. For big sites like Google and Facebook, they might just go and set everything up everywhere, but smaller sites are probably going to be US-only, or China-only, etc.

For examples of this, look at websites that already need to have separate country-specific sites for other reasons. Amazon doesn't need to have servers in each country, but they kind of need to have local warehouses (part of it is to ensure reasonable shipping times, and another part of it is that some companies refuse to ship products overseas). Netflix doesn't need to have servers in each country, but their content is geoblocked in all but a few select countries.

It's bad enough that we have to deal with things like shipping restrictions and content restrictions, but at least this only affects a few web sites. If every single website out there was forced to set up servers everywhere, the reality is that they would just stop serving most countries, and the Internet would fragment into a bunch of country-specific bubbles.

about a month ago

Firefox Was the Most Attacked & Exploited Browser At Pwn2own 2014

afgam28 Re:Not so many options (207 comments)

15 years ago, Internet Explorer had just won the browser wars, and all we had on Linux was an old version of Netscape Navigator that barely worked. Even Netscape had abandoned it and no one had any idea if and when Mozilla would ever be ready.

Compared to that I think 2-3 options is pretty good, especially when all of the browser vendors respect web standards (even Microsoft), Firefox is completely open source and so is nearly all of Chrome and a large chunk of Safari too.

about a month ago

First LSD Test In 40 Years Reveal Drug Helps Terminal Patients Prepare For Death

afgam28 Re:bad trip to the power of infinity? (221 comments)

According to the article, the trial was for "LSD-assisted psychotherapy", so it was a combination between an acid trip and a session with a therapist. There was someone monitoring them, and they probably did have to get patients to "snap out of it" once in a while.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Should I Get Google Glass?

afgam28 Re:No (421 comments)

There are way to many camera's as it is today, no need for privately owned ones as well.

That's one way to look at it, but if there are already cameras everywhere then who cares if there are a few more? It won't take away any more of your privacy, since you already don't have any.

The other way to look at it is that we currently live in a society where surveillance is asymmetric. We're filmed by police, the NSA and corporations, but try walking up to a cop and filming him and see how successful you are.

A world where everyone is wearing privately-owned Glass might level the playing field a little bit.

about 2 months ago

WhatsApp: 2nd Biggest Tech Acquisition of All Time

afgam28 Re:CNN argues it's worth the money (257 comments)

Same (potential) situation here : there is no IP in WhatsApp. Just an excellent execution of well-known idea.

Not sure what you mean by that. The IP in WhatsApp is the execution of the idea...

about 2 months ago

Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

afgam28 Re:Rebooting (305 comments)

Also a car has many tens of ECUs, which are connected by a CAN bus that runs on the order of 100 kbit/s. This means that it takes many hours just to send all of the firmware updates to each ECU over CAN bus.

about 2 months ago

Google Tells Glass Users Not To Be 'Creepy Or Rude'

afgam28 Re:Friends? (341 comments)

A lot of those points could be made about the iPod. Can you imagine yourself listening to one at the dinner table? At dinner with a date at a restaurant?

There's nothing stopping people from taking off their Glass when it is socially inappropriate to wear it.

about 2 months ago

Is Amazon Making a Sub-$300 Console To Play Mobile Games?

afgam28 Re:Great, another Ouya (76 comments)

I like how you narrowed in on the form factor and operating system, and assumed that no other details are important enough that they could be used to differentiate. You know, little details like how Amazon has this whole business of streaming digital content, how it has the huge financial resources to produce content and market the device. Stuff that Ouya doesn't have.

But no....maybe you're right - it's a console and it runs an operating based on Android. So therefore it's going to be exactly the same.

about 3 months ago

Protesters Show Up At the Doorstep of Google Self-driving Car Engineer

afgam28 Protesting against a guy for developing housing? (692 comments)

A lot of people have pointed out the fact that getting rid of the shuttle buses will increase traffic. But another thing that strikes me as odd is that they accuse this guy of developing an apartment building in Berkeley. Don't they understand that this would increase housing supply, and bring the cost of housing down? They're basically sending a message to developers not to build any new buildings, which is a really dumb idea if they want to halt gentrification.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Are AdBlock's Days Numbered?

afgam28 Re:zero tolerance and who owns my computer (731 comments)

So then let's try to bring that back, rather than flying under the radar with adblockers that trick adservers into thinking that they're working. Even if the advertisers are serving malware, two wrongs don't make a right.

I think the ethics of ad blocking is similar to software copyright infringement; it undermines the business model of the company that is offering content. For this reason I don't run an ad blocker.

If you're against proprietary software licenses you shouldn't go and install an unlicensed copy of Windows, you should go download a Linux distribution. Just by using Linux you make yourself counted and you help create a sustainable ecosystem of free software. If no one was willing to pirate Windows, a lot more people would be using Linux on the desktop today.

Similarly if you're against the ad model you should go seek out and contribute to sites that aren't built on an advertising business model (e.g. Wikipedia).

The argument that ad networks serving malware justifies using an ad blocker is to me a bit like saying "Target can't secure their customers' credit cards, so I'm ethically justified in using fake credit cards there".

Disclaimer: I work for and own shares in a company that makes most of its money from advertising revenue.

about 3 months ago

PC Shipments In 2013 See the Worst Yearly Decline In History

afgam28 Re:Computers these days are more than adequate (564 comments)

Software IMO has stagnated. I can't think of anything I do at home or at work in a desktop PC that I wasn't doing 10 years ago.

I take issue with this. Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook and AWS were not available 10 years ago, and these days I regularly use all of them from my desktop PC at home or at work, and all of them let me do things that I couldn't do before.

about 3 months ago

Google Co-Opts Whale-Watching Boat To Ferry Employees

afgam28 Re:Transportation is evil (373 comments)

There's a lot of noise being made about the Ellis Act evictions, and how they've "skyrocketed" recently with a 170% increase in evictions. For some perspective, the raw number of Ellis Act evictions last year was 116, in a city with a population of 825,863. It sucks to be evicted, but this isn't a crisis on the scale that some are making it out to be.

about 3 months ago


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