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Google, National Parks Partner To Let Girls Program White House Xmas Tree Lights

astro Sexist, but not in the way people are thinking. (333 comments)

Yes, this is sexist, but not how others here are posting - sexism against boys (which actually isn't the case, as people are pointing out now). This is sexist in that it extends an invite for girls to code - for something pretty, something cute, something showy. Something typically associated with girls. It perpetuates the same kind of sexism as the "Barbie is a computer engineer" thing that got everyone so in a kerfuffle recently.

about three weeks ago
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The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built an OS To Talk To God

astro As a psycho-sociological artifact, I am interested (452 comments)

I haven't had professional need recently to install Virtualbox, but this spurs me to it. I actually want to see this and find it interesting.

about three weeks ago
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Australian Courts Will Be Able To See Your Browsing History

astro Re:Get a VPN with bitcoin (182 comments)

Only trouble here is you need a credit card to purchase hosting with most places in the US.

I pay with PayPal. As much as I have had things against PayPal in the past, it has turned out to be the best way for my USA clients to pay me, and for me in turn to pay for services either in the USA or here. It is a German PayPal account in €, so I did have to jump through a few hoops once I had received a certain threshold of money, but having done that it is also easy to transfer funds to my German bank account. I do still maintain a tiny USA bank account but it sits largely unused.

about a month and a half ago
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Australian Courts Will Be Able To See Your Browsing History

astro Re:Get a VPN with bitcoin (182 comments)

What I do (for different reasons than stated, basically I want USA prices on online purchases, and no censorship restrictions on game purchases in particular):

1. Rent a $30/mo VPS in the USA. Some people will say even that is on the pricey side, but it is with reliable folks that I know and trust, and they're a legit green business, running "carbon-negative".
2. Sell (very) cheap web hosting and support services to a handful of US clients, which makes the VPS purchase totally legit, if anyone were to ask why I have this.
3. Run OpenVPN on my own VPS. My VPN traffic to my own server that I have for legit reasons looks the same as my legit support traffic via SSH to my VPS.

I actually make pocket-change level profit doing this, instead of paying for a commercial VPN.

Note, though, that I am replying to parent - this would do me no good in the problem presented in the OP here - as I do not obscure my local browser history at all, were the German cops to come and take my computers.

about a month and a half ago
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What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?

astro Re:A working automated vehicle (320 comments)

Or one that can turn into a lane of busy traffic that currently requires you to make eye contact with another driver to get them to slow down and let you in.

This piece, at least, was one of the earliest-solved, easy problems. Wirelessly networked cars still having human drivers have been talked about in theory and experimented with for years - before this totally driverless thing became... a thing.

about 2 months ago
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Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic

astro Re:Nah, this is just stage 1 (324 comments)

It's not just about streaming. Downloading a modern Linux distro will now cost Hungarians almost five bucks. Downloading a current-gen game on steam, which will already cost them €60 (roughly 80 dollars) will now cost 15 dollars more.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

astro Re:Still have a boxed copy of Windows 2.0 (644 comments)

I actually have always felt I kinda missed out in that I never used OS/2 - a friend of mine at the time had a box running Warp; I think I clicked on it maybe three times, ever.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

astro Still have a boxed copy of Windows 2.0 (644 comments)

Before Windows 3.1, most computers with a GUI that I used were running CDE. Mostly Sun workstations, but also a few Alpha and AIX boxes. And one SGI running IRIX. My first home computer with a GUI was Slackware Linux with FVWM. Unless you count the GEM desktop on a C64.

Windows WFW 3.11 - was pretty ok. First version of Windows I used daily. There were lots of useful, or perhaps too many necessary, hacks in the early days of the internet.

Windows 95 was, in my opinion, pretty cool, and obviously was a real game-changer in terms of UI.

Windows ME was a horrible aberration. Garbage. I only experienced it on friends-and-family computers I would get summoned to "repair". Usually pre-installed by HP on the horrible boxes they were selling at the time. Note: HP did, in my mind, redeem themselves years later and resume making real computers.

I worked with Windows NT 3.51 and 4 a bit at various workplaces, but for server OS, almost everything was already Linux even at that time (1999-2002 time frame).

Windows 2000 was fantastic. Rock-solid. I never ran XP at home, just stuck with 2000 because there was no compelling reason to "upgrade". For a home and small business OS, I really think MS nailed it with 2000.

Windows Vista took more of a beating than it deserved. I ran it at home for a couple of years and had no real complaints other than the UI was pretty ugly a lot of the time.

Windows 7 was and still is fantastic. I love it. My computer does exactly everything I need it to do, and is crazy stable. Less crashes than even with 2000, which almost never crashed ever, anyway. I really do love Windows 7. Currently in my house we have Macs running Mavericks, my Win 7 box, and I boot to Manjaro Linux on occasion to get some work done that I just don't find practical under Windows because I never learned Powershell.

I tried Windows 8.0 for a while and was absolutely shocked at what a disaster it was. Just unbelievable. I never tried 8.1, which I understand fixed things considerably, but as I said, I love Win 7 and like with the 2000 -> XP shift, see no compelling reason to upgrade.

I am honestly intrigued by Windows 10 and will give it a spin when the preview is actually available, so perhaps even later today.

(Can't believe I am bothering to post this)

about 3 months ago
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PostgreSQL Outperforms MongoDB In New Round of Tests

astro Re:It doesn't matter (147 comments)

This comment just made me shudder with the painful memories of writing web applications in Cold Fusion that used ADO to talk to MS Access files as the DB backend in like 1998. Ugh.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

astro Einstein and Infeld (234 comments)

Start here, Einstein and Infeld. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Evolution_of_Physics

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Remote Server Support and Monitoring Solution?

astro Re:I just discovered NewRelic ... (137 comments)

NewRelic is pretty sweet, as the parent says, even at the free tier. They will definitely bombard your email and phone with hard-sales pitches, though, and there's a giant cost leap from free to the next tier.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Desktop x86 Motherboard Manufacturers?

astro Re:Non-issue (294 comments)

Sorry, but wrong on two counts:

1. That model motherboard uses the *exact* same UEFI and BIOS as mine (FM2A78M-HD+ - it is probably much older than the date I gave, which was its purchase date, sorry for any confusion) and just to make sure I wasn't making a misstatement, I flashed the BIOS and UEFI from the pre-bootloader interface this morning.

2. I do not upgrade often. I bought this computer with the Asrock this year because due to certain circumstances I was unable to bring my 2011 PC, which was an off-the-shelf HP from Best Buy (that I then upgraded substantially - I got such a deal on the base machine that it was less expensive than building a complete one), with me when I moved to Germany. Before that it had been at least five years since I bought a motherboard, and tended back then to run older budget hardware, because I am so far removed from a moneyed Apple fanboi.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Desktop x86 Motherboard Manufacturers?

astro Non-issue (294 comments)

The first "horror story" is specifically regarding flashing BIOS from Linux via USB. I don't understand how this is related to modern motherboards - in fact, I see it as an issue that is disappearing. This is a situation I have had on OLDER, pre-UEFI motherboards - the requirement to run an EXE from an installed version of Windows, rather than from a boot floppy that didn't care what OS was installed. Many (including my Asrock) modern mobos can update right from the UEFI system without even spinning up the boot drive.

The second is specific to power management on laptops (I will admit to tl;dr speed-reading here), which is clearly not what the OP is talking about.

Tempest in a teacup. The ONLY thing that doesn't work so well with my dual boot system with my July 2014 Asrock motherboard is enabling the accelerated boot system which just makes plain sense, as it relies on caching a booted state to disk to skip a lot of init. I was at first nervous about UEFI, having read a ton of FUD a couple of years back, but it really is a non-issue. If anything, I like the low-level system management on my Asrock better than the old Award/Phoenix dominated BIOS systems.

about 4 months ago
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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 4 months 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 4 months 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 4 months 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 4 months 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 4 months ago

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