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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

astro Re:Character Assassination (299 comments)

Take quoting Wikipedia with all the grains of salt you want, but I find this relevant and appropriate - Under Character Assassination -> In a Totalitarian Regime, we find:

"The effect of a character assassination driven by an individual is not equal to that of a state-driven campaign. The state-sponsored destruction of reputations, fostered by political propaganda and cultural mechanisms, can have more far-reaching consequences. One of the earliest signs of a society’s compliance to loosening the reins on the perpetration of crimes (and even massacres) with total impunity is when a government favors or directly encourages a campaign aimed at destroying the dignity and reputation of its adversaries, and the public accepts its allegations without question. The mobilisation toward ruining the reputation of adversaries is the prelude to the mobilisation of violence in order to annihilate them. Official dehumanisation has always preceded the physical assault of the victims."

about two weeks ago
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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

astro Re:Character Assassination (299 comments)

But what do any of you know about his actions except what various media has told you? Were you there? Were you victimized by Assange? Do you personally know someone who was? If the answers to those questions is "no", then you really need to think about who you are trusting: Television and online reporting, from blogs to major outlets. I am browsing at -1 and have yet to see a single comment that is from someone that even speciously purports to have any personal knowledge of his actions.

Beware hearsay.

about two weeks ago
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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

astro Character Assassination (299 comments)

I see from the comments here that the governmental mission of character assassination of this fellow is largely complete and successful. Do you know Assange personally? Have you ever had dealings with him apart from seeing stories online and on TV about him? I don't and I haven't, and thus I don't pretend the biases against him that most people here seem to have been suckered into (nor do I have any bias toward him).

I don't find a coordinated corporate media campaign to ruin this guy unrealistic in the least, though.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?

astro First World Problems (154 comments)

You can't actually be serious? What? I like a good recliner myself, but as an Ask Slashdot this takes things to new lows.

about two weeks ago
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Netflix Now Works On Linux With HTML5 DRM Video Support In Chrome

astro Re:Why is (201 comments)

From the replies on the linked blog post, people are having distro-specific successes / failures even after following the instructions. I can imagine this being anything from distro specific paths, to permissions on certain binaries that could be different for say, Fedora from Mint, to codec issues (though as I understand it with Chrome the codecs are all basically wrapped up in the binary?) The specific technical details of this situation are a bit out of my area of expertise but I don't think any of the things I guess at here are out of the realm of possibility.

Technical issues aside - I welcome this development. I know and understand completely that a lot of people have issues with DRM making it's way into the core HTML (5) specs, but I kind of see it as unavoidable if we want to enjoy commercial content without needing completely non-standard garbageware like Silverlight or Flash. I have used Netflix with the Compholio Wine / Pipelight stuff, and while it works, it struggles to do so.

Yeah, there is a slippery slope and lots of compromise - but I would have less reason to ever boot into Windows if my paid subscriptions to content that I enjoy could work natively under "Linux". And just don't ask me to stop watching movies or playing 3xA game titles, because I won't.

about three weeks ago
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Netflix Now Works On Linux With HTML5 DRM Video Support In Chrome

astro Re:Why is (201 comments)

Because no matter how strongly they state that a configuration is not supported, if it's not expressly blocked, people will try to get technical support for it. And with the distro landscape as it is, supporting mainstream software on "Linux" is a nightmare.

about three weeks ago
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Windows XP Falls Below 25% Market Share, Windows 8 Drops Slightly

astro Re:Who has the market share? (336 comments)

No. The last Macbook Pro I bought (2010?), online, through the mainstream consumer-facing online Apple store, was customizable to a pretty crazy degree, down to which speed CPU and how many cores, how much RAM, what screen size and what external peripherals I wanted shipped to me. Not just obvious things like how much HDD space. It was more customizable than the Windows laptops from major vendors when I bought it. I am primarily a PC/Win/Linux person, but I was quite happy with everything but the price of my MBP, and the lack of AAA game titles - I do use my computer for both professional productivity AND recreation.

I no longer am in a professional or personal situation where a laptop offers substantial benefits to me, so this year when I bought a new PC, I selected individual components and had a local shop custom assemble it (a first, I have always assembled my own PCs in the past, but in this case there was no significant cost benefit to doing so). I have probably the computing power of a €2.500,00 Mac in a roughly €500 tower and am quite happy with it. It is definitely not as "shiny" as an Apple product, but nobody ever sees it anyway.

Anyway, my point being: buying Apple in no way implies a one-size-fits-all purchasing experience.

about a month ago
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Comparison: Linux Text Editors

astro Joe's Own Editor (402 comments)

As a kid I grew up on Wordstar (running on CP/M, on an Osborne 1) and as such joe (http://joe-editor.sourceforge.net/), which is more or less a command-compatible workalike to Wordstar, suits me perfectly. While it is still available and updated reasonably regularly, it is getting harder to find / install easily for modern *nix systems. I love joe, though, I don't even have to think to use it.

about a month ago
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

astro The hubbub is misplaced (354 comments)

The US Postal Service has been trying to cut losses by ending Saturday delivery of ALL mail for years. I used to be a Netflix DVD subscriber and am admittedly streaming-only now (DVDs are hard to squeeze through my VPN - I live in Germany now), but I fail to see the big deal. Feel fortunate you still receive Saturday delivery of junk mail and bills.

about a month ago
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Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

astro Re:Russian automaker of commodity cars (106 comments)

I stand corrected - I really thought they were Russian cars. I also thought Skoda (no Unicode on Slashdot) was a Russian brand, but no, I just looked it up, and they're Czech.

about a month and a half ago
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Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

astro Russian automaker of commodity cars (106 comments)

I initially read the title to be referencing Seat, a Russian maker of affordable cars that are common accross Europe, not as the place you put your backside while you are driving. /me chuckles...

about a month and a half ago
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Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

astro Not new, and not shocking. (242 comments)

If anything it's shocking the process isn't used more. I know in my hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, reverse-osmosis waste water filtering was used at least as early as the 1980s, perhaps even the 70s. I'm trying to find a reference for proof, but haven't come up with one in a couple of minutes of Googling.

The Wikipedia article on RO, by the way, is in pretty shabby shape if anyone gets a rise out of improving such things.

about a month and a half ago
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Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

astro Re:This news piece has been greatly exagerated (219 comments)

Bullshit. How do you know that you don't know anyone that was affected by it? Do you know which week in 2012 the experiment was conducted? Do you know which of the ~billion FB accounts were the 700k experimented upon? I find it pretty shocking that so many people are having difficulty understanding the difference between A/B testing and intentional emotional manipulation where a significant negative (or positive) result was the data point the study strove to measure.

I can quite imagine that a significant number of offline lives were impacted by this experiment. People exposed to negative content presumably don't limit their negative reactions to behavior only in the venue where they were exposed to the negative content.

about 2 months ago
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Why Should Game Stories Make Sense?

astro Silent Hill (169 comments)

I think that the Silent Hill games (at least 1-4) do a fantastic job of having strong themes and plot but still leaving a lot open to perceptual conjecture on the part of the player.

about 4 months ago
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Hulu Blocks VPN Users

astro Grrr. (259 comments)

I am a citizen of the USA, and I pay monthly for services (not Hulu) that I am not easily able to watch in my country of residence, Germany. It's really annoying to have restrictions on content that I PAY FOR.

I don't pay Hulu, I am not interested in their content, but there is a certain other major US-based content network that lulls me to sleep with usually shitty (but occasionally brilliant) movies and television shows.

I did get off the commercial VPN services and roll my own OpenVPN, as suggested by others here - It's not that hard. But I still think this whole thing is obnoxious and stinks. If I wanted to pay USD 7.99 per month for content and another 13 on top for the commercial VPN I was using - all to US companies and as an American citizen, why in the hell would they refuse my money and block my enjoyment of their services?

about 4 months ago
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Facebook Data Miner Will Shock You

astro Wolfram Alpha (164 comments)

I'd place a small wager that Ubi partnered with Wolfram Alpha on this - I did the Watch Dogs thing about a week ago, and thought it was actually a quite coolly stylized representation of basically very close to what WA spits out as analysis of my Facebook profile. I wasn't shocked. Rather, I thought it was pretty trick marketing, and was impressed.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

astro Tape decks (702 comments)

Despite being relatively complex machines, I have some old cassette player/recorders that are still functioning just as the day they were bought even thirty years ago. The one in my hand right now is a General Electric 3-53008 and it works super despite tons of abuse.

about 4 months ago
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

astro Re:That micro-floppy (276 comments)

The death of Jaz / Zip drives, IIRC, sounded like a loud "CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK" - it wasn't so quiet.

about 4 months ago
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Study: Video Gamer Aggression Result of Game Experience, Not Violent Content

astro I've observed this phenomena. (180 comments)

This, I am sure, will sound totally silly, but I've seen this in action. My wife's favorite games are the old "House Of The Dead" rail-shooters, and Angry Birds. House of the Dead noticeably relaxes her, and she doesn't hit much frustration it it. Angry Birds makes me fear for my life, practically, if she hits a losing streak. It's made worse by the social aspect - she gets furious if she is lower in the rankings than people she knows and competes against.

Note: My wife and I don't have fancy new gaming systems or high-powered computers. We're poor, which is fine with me, but it does limit our gaming options to things like the above.

about 5 months ago
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Latest Humble Bundle Supports Open Source GameDev Tools

astro Re:Lets Clarify....... (29 comments)

I was only introduced to Ren'Py by this /. post and I am thinking of giving it a go. I've been wanting a rapid way to tell lightly interactive stories, and this looks to fit the bill quite well. I'm intimidated by the amount of time it might take me to source / create images, but that is of course not a failure of what you have created here. I read the quick start, downloaded a couple of games (and a couple of straight novels) and looked through their scripts... I'm intrigued. I'm medium-advanced with Python, and nothing I have in mind should require too much craziness. So... yeah, intrigued.

about 5 months ago

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