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Comments

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Commenters To Dropbox CEO: Houston, We Have a Problem

arkhan_jg Re:Recycling Personalities (447 comments)

At the same time, you should understand that you can't "inherit" a deficit. The idea is poppycock.

Of course you can. If you inherit an economy in recession, your tax receipts are low, and your spending on entitlements - that spending which people are legally entitled to have - neither of which can be corrected by presidential or congressional fiat. Then you add a couple of wars to that, necessitating paying those troops and for their equipment etc, another substantial expense it will take time to correct even if you start on ending the war on day 1. You have numerous other spending that is politically untouchable, as the various lobbies will end the career of any politician that touches it, so congress won't touch it with a barge pole.

Only a relatively small portion of the budget is called 'discretionary spending' for a reason. And then you have a congress that is majority controlled by a party that wants to cut taxes (on the rich, mainly) at every opportunity no matter the situation, and is prepared to shut down the government entirely if it doesn't get its way.

So you can't legally cut much of the spending, and you're under constant pressure to cut taxes, not raise them. Your predecessor left you a huge recession, a massive red ink bank bailout, huge military and entitlement spending, and a completely intransigent congress. He's a president, not the magician he would have needed to be to pull out a balanced budget on day 1. There simply wasn't the legal leeway to massively cut spending or massively raise taxes to do so.

Don't just take my word for it - have a look at this graph of obama's time of spending vs bush for some additional background.

Then you factor in that relief and stimulus spending during a recession is considered the correct economic policy to reverse the recession and end it quicker. Once the recession is over, then you can implement austerity to reduce the deficit. Doing austerity too early just worsens the recession, and we end up back in the 1930s. Borrowing money early to get through a crisis is generally considered the right thing to do from prior experience. So a balanced budget on day 1 would have been a really bad idea anyway even if it had been possible.

about two weeks ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

arkhan_jg Re:Hardware requirements (641 comments)

Sounds like that proprietary system that only runs on windows XP and still needs to connect to the internet, and now that's one 0-day rootkit from being f***** is working out for you much better...

FOSS doesn't mean cost free. If you wanted a non-proprietary system, you could always have paid someone to write it for you, given that 95% of the platform is already out there actually for free.

If the *cabling* to the locks is proprietary and needs you dig up the concrete to replace, then frankly, you guys didn't do your due diligence. The cabling on our new building lock system is bog standard cat5e, because it's a standard ethernet system on a physically separated network, with appropriate security to the locks in the event of physical cable compromise. Yes, it's a proprietary controller, but the management interface is standards compliant html5 so we're not tied to a given OS for management, and the controller is designed to be accessed separately from the locks network (it's currently behind a firewall and on a separate vlan). To replace it if the company goes under we swap out the standard-hole-sized locks, and controller, and pay someone to set it up. Hell, if it comes to it, we just turn it off and get some more physical keys cut.

about two weeks ago
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Lies Programmers Tell Themselves

arkhan_jg Re:Hofstadter's Law (452 comments)

"I'll just fix this quick and dirty for now, management will allow me time to redo it properly later."

about a month ago
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Getty Images Makes 35 Million Images Free For Non-Commercial Use

arkhan_jg Re:Why the embedded "player" doesn't work (66 comments)

You can't resize the source image, but you can resize the iframe and it will scale to fit. Scaling above the source image size will obviously lead to reduced quality/blurriness, but you can shrink it. If you want to have it be responsive design (and scale width/height due to browser size) it's fairly straightforward to chuck a little jquery at it, as is pretty common when dealing with making iframes responsive. I imagine a jquery plugin akin to fitvids.js will be along shortly to make it easier.

For chucking in stock header image in a blog post and not having to screw about trying to find a CC image that suits (or risking a nastygram by ripping something off google images), it's not completely useless. Though the limited sizes of the source images I looked at mean it's not going to be useful for much more than that, and I think the DRM overhead is pretty annoying.

It's not like most of us can afford to pay stock photo rates for our personal blogs though...

about a month and a half ago
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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World

arkhan_jg Re:Vive le Galt! (695 comments)

I've an idea. Let's look at the countries who have the happiest populations, and do what they do.

So who’s the happiest? As has been the case the past five years, that distinction goes to countries that enjoy peace, freedom, good healthcare, quality education, a functioning political system and plenty of opportunity: Norway, Sweden, Canada and New Zealand.

So capitalism, tempered with socialism. The strength of capitalism is that customers flock to the best products, and others have incentives to create them. Its biggest weakness is that a small advantage can be leveraged to a strong market position, making them successful not because they're good, but because they have too much power to dictate the market. Similarly unchecked capitalism means the wealthy use that power and money to make themselves wealthier still at everyone else's expense by rewriting the rules that benefit themselves at the direct cost of the rest.

Socialism - i.e. good public healthcare, good schools, a fair and accessible political system that works for all, not the few, a social safety net, economic regulation etc etc paid for by redistributive taxation ameliorates the rawer edge of a capitalist system, and means many have the opportunity to be happy, not just the people who lucked into being at the very top. Taken too far it can impede or even punish innovation, and there's always the risk that the people dictating who gets what become the ones who get the most.

So a hybrid system it is.

But no matter the system label, if it allows a small group to exercise all the power (religious-run states, the leaders of the only allowed political party, military dictatorships, a country run by the most wealthy) then it will be a bad system where the vast majority suffer, to serve those at the top.

about 2 months ago
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Gmail's 'Unsubscribe' Tool Comes Out of the Weeds

arkhan_jg Re:but i thought google was evil? (129 comments)

Dammit, slashdot took out the strikethru html code. Now I look like a user sheeple.

about 2 months ago
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Gmail's 'Unsubscribe' Tool Comes Out of the Weeds

arkhan_jg Re:but i thought google was evil? (129 comments)

Clearly you're not thinking hard enough like a naysayer.

Google are doing this because of their evil plan to block spam. You see, it will be popular with users sheeple, and they will flock to gmail's deceptively free service. And then the advertisers who used to send spam now have to go to google and pay for ads in gmail itself, instead of sending them and getting google to pay for the infrastructure.

And of course, google knows all about what you get in email and don't block, so they can tailor the ads just for you, and charge an even higher price!

Evil geniuses, those google people.

about 2 months ago
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Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration

arkhan_jg Re:Go Amish? (664 comments)

Even in the aerospace industry, there are software bugs. Very few, yes, because a lot more time and money is spent to track them down. There are mechanical failures too, despite the best engineering efforts. But anything we build has the potential to be flawed somewhere in the process. That's why we still put highly trained pilots in the things, for when something goes wrong - and even then, human error causes unintended faults, sometimes catastrophically.

If a car cost as much as a jet, and drivers went through as much training as a passenger pilot - and had to have a co-driver at all times - we'd be far safer on the roads.
After all, the vast majority of car crashes are driver error. And failure modes when you're at 30mph on wheels are a lot better on the whole than when at 30,000 feet. But if we built cars to the same standard, and held drivers to the same standard as aerospace engineering, only the rich could afford to.

There's a trade off between acceptable risk, and cost. Even though the designs get safer every year, maybe we allow too much risk in drivers and their cars. But absolute flaw free cars? Impossible.

about 2 months ago
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Obama To Ask For $1 Billion Climate Change Fund

arkhan_jg Re:There are no comments (410 comments)

It is too late to avoid major consequences. We're already going to see significant damage - worse flooding, rising sea levels, worse hurricanes, worse famines - from the CO2 and methane we've been emitting. The 2 deg C rise limit that's been agreed would be bad, but survivable, is going be very hard to hit, even if we take really radical action starting right now, i.e start shutting a lot of coal stations and not building more. It might even be impossible, even if we really, really try (note, we're not even pretending to try right now)

If we carry on as we are now though, we'll hit SIX degrees increase by the end of the century. That alone will be truly catastrophic, and likely will be bad enough to cripple us as an advanced species, let alone the billions of deaths. And that assumes we don't hit the tipping point - where the heat rise causes runaway greenhouse gas emissions (methane from permafrost, massively reduced albedo etc) - before that, at which point all bets are off that we survive at all.

TLDR; our kids and grandkids are already fucked. HOW fucked still remains up to us.

about 2 months ago
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Para Bellum Labs Will Attempt To Make the RNC a Political-Analytics Player

arkhan_jg Re:Waste of Time (212 comments)

Republicans don't need tech or an agenda attractive to the majority to win elections, they learned a different tactic. They have a small hardcore of voters who do vote in local elections, unlike most. Add in Citizens United, and now money can outright buy an election with low turnout. That gave them control of many state legislatures, and that then allows them to push through voter ID suppression laws; along with ruthless redistricting in 2010 to pack democrat voters into a handful of very, very democratic districts, while giving republican candidates a much larger number of districts with narrow republican victories. And having entrenched their control of state legislatures, they roll back at the state level many of the civil liberty victories of the last 100 years.

You can see the same tactic with stuffing educational boards with the continuous attempts to insert religion into the science curriculum.

Getting out the vote for a Democratic presidential candidate is one thing; but the Democrats have a lot to learn about winning local elections from the Republicans and the Tea Party, or rather, from their wealthy backers.

Who needs to win an election the old fashioned way, when you can just use huge corporate slush funds to fool the gullible and fearful and declare a significant portion of your opponent's voters ineligible to vote?

about 2 months ago
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Leonard Nimoy: Smoking Is Illogical

arkhan_jg Re:Electronic cigarettes (401 comments)

I had to try a few different ones before I found ones that worked for me. To get the proper 'smoking' feeling - which to me is as addictive as the nicotine - I had to go to a beefier variable voltage battery. As long as the thread is compatible (510 or ego) you can pair pretty much any battery with any head, and the head is the more important bit to get right, though you do need variable voltage/wattage to get the best out of em. Plus you can always use an adapter if necessary.

I'm currently rocking the new joyetech C2 emode head/tank - it uses a standard 510 thread. Only really 'sputters' a little when at the very last few puffs, though like all atomizer/clearomizers I've tried, you do need to blow it out into a tissue every once in a while. No leaks yet! It's also known as the electron-S. The official emode battery is ok, but I prefer my cheap lavatube knockoff, though it is a bit big to carry around, so I use the lavatube at home and the emode goes in the car with me.

There's the small joyetech ecom that uses the same C2 atomizer, so should be good, but not tried that yet. The C2 atomizer inside the head itself lasts me about 2-3 weeks before it needs cleaning; a few cleans then it needs replacing outright (you keep the rest of the tank)

Before I switched to this one, I used the kanger T3S (ego thread) that was pretty good. The coils needed cleaning about once a week. My wife uses a chinese variant that has dual coil and very warm smoke; the K3 DCS only available from totallywicked, but it's the only head that seems to work for her. Prone to cracking though with certain liquids. She uses my old batteries, the relative thin ego-c twist. It's pretty decent, and a good step up to variable voltage, but does tend to stop working a bit too quickly for my taste; we've had to buy several replacements over the last year, so it's cheaper in the long run to get a proper variable voltage battery compartment with replaceable batteries, if you don't mind the size.

about 2 months ago
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Leonard Nimoy: Smoking Is Illogical

arkhan_jg Re:82 years old (401 comments)

The high goes away pretty quickly as your brain adapts, though nicotine remains a mild stimulant. After that, you mainly just get the relief of feeding the addiction - you go into withdrawal pretty quickly once you're addicted. In addition, it's psychologically addictive as you get used to the relief, and associate it with the physical act of smoking. Thus quitting is very hard, even with nicotine replacement therapy, and why most who try to quit fail, repeatedly. Nicotine is supposedly as hard to quit as heroin.

Personally, I've switched to vaping from e-cigs. The same stress relief my brain associates with the physical act of smoking, a much lower dose of nicotine* (similar to caffeine in its effects) without all the tar, benzene and the many other carcinogens from combustion. Better to quit outright of course, but this is a workable half-way house for now, and much cheaper to boot.

* I've scaled down the amount of nicotine in the liquid to much lower than I started with.

about 2 months ago
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Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline

arkhan_jg Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (301 comments)

'Carbon pollution' is used as a shorthand for the several carbon-based greenhouse gases (released by human activity) that are heating up our atmosphere by trapping solar radiation.

carbon dioxide of course is the main anthropogenic culprit from fossil fuels; but it also covers methane (CH4), which is a more potent greenhouse gas per mole than CO2 and comes primarily from natural gas and oil mining, and then animal based food production, and finally landfills. Carbon monoxide is also a greenhouse gas, though a weak one - it's main effect is to strip OH radicals from the upper atmosphere, which would otherwise be breaking down methane. It can also lead to the formation of ozone, another greenhouse gas.

So carbon pollution covers several gases that are causing unwanted effects in our atmosphere; as opposed to just talking about one, carbon dioxide.

about 3 months ago
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Super Bowl Ads: Worth the Price Or Waste of Time?

arkhan_jg Re:Ads are toxic. (347 comments)

aussies would know nothing about rabid obsession over soccer...

Damn straight. World cup notwithstanding, soccer is a summer curiosity here, watched mainly by migrants from Europe and their grandchildren.

Cricket, on the other hand...

about 3 months ago
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Surge In Online Orders Overwhelms UPS Christmas Deliveries

arkhan_jg Re:First world problems (378 comments)

I got presents for my nephews that arrived late (from a seller that only shipped in-country), so I was delayed shipping them on to where they live. Entirely my fault for not ordering earlier, and I fully warned my sister that they would likely arrive after xmas, and sent extras with my parents (they were tight on room for luggage, so could only send small presents that way). Estimated delivery window fell right around xmas.

As it turned out, they only took 4 working days to cross europe, and arrived on xmas eve. Very grateful, and thankful for the delivery guys working right up to xmas to get stuff there in time - and if it had arrived after, as I fully expected to, I certainly wouldn't have complained.

People bitching because stuff ordered xmas 23rd didn't arrive on the 24th across a country the size of the US? Blimey, talk about a sense of entitlement.

about 4 months ago
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EV Owner Arrested Over 5 Cents Worth of Electricity From School's Outlet

arkhan_jg Re:Theft (1010 comments)

Of course the magnitude of the offence matters.

"The law does not concern itself with trifles" - usually referred to as 'de minimis' in laws. With most laws, you need to commit an offence of a significant enough seriousness to even be an offence. Once you get past that point, there is also the broad principle of proportionality, i.e. let the punishment fit the crime. Then you factor in intent, state of mind etc.

Speeding and parking illegally can lead to risk to others, so even relatively 'small' offences can have large consequences, and that's why they're taken somewhat seriously, beyond the actual consequences (which are usually, though not always, pretty much nil). Charging an electric car in a stationary parking spot? Not so much.

The correct response here was for the officer to inform the school, and then they could decide if they wanted to file a civil suit to get their 5c back. Invoking criminal theft just makes an ass of the police officer and the law.

about 5 months ago
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Google Nexus 5 Posts Best Gaming Benchmark Among Android Smartphones

arkhan_jg Re:Benchmark for a not yet released phone (78 comments)

Except the nexus 5 is likely to come in around half the price of the iPhone 5S (off contract) at $350. And quite a bit cheaper than the 5C, while blowing the latter away in performance terms.

It might only be the 2nd fastest overall, but at bang-per-buck, it's damned impressive. Personally, I'm hoping they bring back the very cheap nexus 4's; there's nothing even close to the quality/performance in that price range on android, and my wife is after a new android phone but doesn't want to spend too much.

about 6 months ago
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Telegraph Contributor Says Coding Is For Exceptionally Dull Weirdos

arkhan_jg Re:Troll feeding time, I guess. (453 comments)

Because it's a major article (it was near the top of the list of most-read articles on the telegraph site when I saw it yesterday) in a major serious newspaper read an awful lot by the right-wing management class in the UK. Ironically, it's also the paper read by many members of the (governing in coalition) Tory party, who are the ones who had the plan to revamp IT teaching to be more than 'this is how Microsoft Office works'.

It might be a troll article, but it IS how a lot of people think. So if you want insight into how British management think of coders, and IT guys in general, then there you are. We're a bunch of dull, weirdo tradesmen with a fungible skill. And that's why IT is being shat on from a great height in many companies, because we don't have some loudmouth 'ideas' guy, aka a suitable MBA type in their view, making us do useful stuff instead of muttering in a corner.

So if you're in IT, and you have a clueless dept head (some are good, some are crap, management has both types), then you need to basically become your own promoter and 'ideas' guy, in order to liaise with management and shape what they want (assuming they know what they want to achieve, which is not always the case) into something realistic and actually achievable, while making them think it was their idea.

about 6 months ago
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Mac OS 10.9's Mail App — Infinity Times Your Spam

arkhan_jg Re:Buggiest Mail (158 comments)

Even enabling All Mail doesn't do the trick - from that tidbits article: (which has been doing the rounds quite a bit)

That is, I can read, move, delete, reply to, or otherwise operate on messages in my Inbox on the Gmail Web site, on my iPhone or iPad, or in another IMAP client, and they all sync up perfectly with each other — but even after several hours, my Inbox in the Mavericks version of Mail doesn’t reflect those changes. It seems not to matter how frequently I tell Mail to check for new messages. I also tried quitting and restarting Mail, rebuilding the Inbox, and forcing a synchronization — several times — but my Inbox stubbornly refused to reflect reality. Occasionally I’ll glance at Mail after having ignored it for hours and notice that the Inbox is closer to being up to date than it used to be, but I can’t figure out when, why, or how this happens. This is the behavior that makes me truly crazy — if I have to keep Gmail open in a Web browser to make sure I’m getting all my messages, I might as well not be running Mail at all.

My boss is a) an Apple fan, and b) a Mail fan. I've had to instruct him and a couple of other senior management not to go to Mavericks for the time being. Because we use Google Apps, and having mail notifications delayed for hours is going to be a problem. Switching to a decent email client would of course solve the problem, but he loves Mail to death, and he'd rather switch the whole company to another mail provider than give it up (seriously - he suggested it because of this). Not that having Mail cause problems is anything new; my personal favourite is the way Mail does embedded attachments, causing most other mail clients to struggle to handle his messages - usually, they end up with half an email, the attachment, and a second (and sometimes 3rd and 4th) set of attachments with the rest of the email message piecemeal. And then he complains that people can't read his bloody mail.

Showing that it's not just Gmail getting f***** up the IMAP by Maverick Mail will be quite useful to argue the real problem, as usual, is Mail.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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AA Patrols to 'park & fly' in congested cities

arkhan_jg arkhan_jg writes  |  about 4 years ago

arkhan_jg (618674) writes "The AA, a British breakdown assistance company, are starting a new service for stranded motorists in tricky to reach places in time for the Easter getaway rush. As a follow on to motorcycle patrols threading through congestion and Land Rovers for snow-bound roads, the AA are introducing Project Apollo — a rapid response patrol that will see AA Rocketmen in lightweight jet-packs flitting over traffic jams to reach stranded motorists.

AA future technologies strategist, Dr Raif Lopol, said: "Despite advances in Jet Pack Technology (JPT), it is unlikely at this stage that AA patrols will actually 'patrol the skies' – fuel costs make that impractical.
"It is more likely that the AA patrol will employ the 'park & fly' system, whereby the AA patrol van parks within one mile of the stricken member and the jetpack is then launched from the rear of the van."

The jet-packs, which cost £42,000 each, are made of lightweight carbon fibre, have a top speed of 80mph, can reach a maximum height of 8,000ft and have a flying time of ten minutes.
Most importantly they can hover up to 250ft above gridlocked traffic and drop down to a stricken vehicle in areas where a patrol van may not be able to get through. A parachute is packed for emergencies.

"The initial test flights have gone well," said AA patrolman and test pilot Hugh Grenoble.
"We're working on an ultra-lightweight toolkit that should allow us to do most quick fix repairs. Obviously, we won't be able to do any towing but the benefits more than outweigh this. It will be nice not worrying about potholes for a start."

Link to Original Source
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BBC iPlayer about to offer HD streams

arkhan_jg arkhan_jg writes  |  about 5 years ago

arkhan_jg (618674) writes "The BBC's iPlayer offers British residents the chance to stream or download recently broadcast BBC programmes for free, even without paying for a TV licence. Now, the BBC is to start offering high definition versions of some programmes. While BBC HD content has been available as a premium option for some time on Sky satellite and Virgin cable TV, and as a recently free option via Freesat, takeup remains relatively low at less than 1/3 of households with even a basic subscription service. Over-the-air HD freeview broadcasts are still years away in the UK. The viewing of programmes over the internet via iPlayer has proved exceedingly popular though (387 million requests to stream or download since it launched on Christmas Day 2007), and for many this will be their first legitimate free exposure to BBC HD programmes.

Yet this news will not be popular with everyone. Almost all ADSL ISPs have low bandwidth quotas on their packages, often ranging from 5GB for the cheapest to 50GB for the premium packages. The BBC and ISPs have already clashed over the iPlayer, with ISPs claiming the on-demand TV service is putting strain on their networks, which need to be upgraded to cope. Tiscali suggested that they should be paid by the BBC to carry iPlayer traffic. Late last year, the BBC's head of digital media technology Anthony Rose suggested that iPlayer access should be part of tiered packages, and available to customers for an additional fee.

With such clashes over who's going to pay for the increased capacity needed to deliver the growing legitimate content demands of British customers, the new BBC iPlayer HD streaming is bound to intensify them."
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The Pirate Bay founders found guilty

arkhan_jg arkhan_jg writes  |  about 5 years ago

arkhan_jg (618674) writes "The Pirate Bay founders have been found guilty of being accessories to copyright infringement. Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde were sentenced to a year in jail. They were also ordered to pay 30m kronor ($3.6m or £2.4m) in damages. The damages were awarded to a number of entertainment companies, including Warner Bros, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, and Columbia Pictures.

The news was broken early by Peter Sunde aka brokep via twitter, from a "trustworthy source". Sunde is also insisting "nothing will happen to TPB, us personally or file sharing what so ever. This is just a theater for the media." The men have already stated that would appeal the verdict if they lost, and given the distributed nature of The Pirate Bay servers outside of Sweden, the site itself may well prove difficult to shut down. A round-up of the arguments in court has already been discussed on slashdot, and the BBC has some thoughts on what happens next.

The Pirate Bay staff intend to hold a streamed press conference at 13:00 CET (GMT+1) today, Friday 17th April."

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