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Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

bdwoolman Memo (275 comments)

From: Kazuo Hirai

To: John Smedly

Re: SOE Rego

@#$$%^&*()!) (*$%@#$$%^&*()!)(*$%@#$$@ #$$%^&*()!)(*$%% @#$$%^&*()!)(*$%

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

bdwoolman HP LaserJet 5MP (702 comments)

My HP 5 MP Works normally after two decades service. When I bought it in 1994 the memory upgrade was very expensive so I skipped it. But about two years ago the extra modules (32 MB?) were quite reasonable so I sprung when the big new PDFs choked the printer's memory.. Ha. I bought some rubber roller dressing at an electronics store and that stopped the feed problems that began about two years ago -- just after I upgraded the memory. (Murphy at work.) I thought of getting rid of it, but find that I print less and less these days. And for the very few things I do print it is fine. It supports Post Script, but the native non Post Script LPL driver kicks out no memory problems with big modern PDFs and the new RAM. I also use an M Model keyboard. A space saving version (No separate number keys.) I think keeping working tech out of landfills is a kind of green thing to do. I say kind of because it is power hungry. Take my old Pentium 4. I heat my office with the bitch.

about 3 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

bdwoolman Imelda Marcos's World View... (818 comments)

Imelda maintains that there are only 500 people in the world. When she had the wealth of a nation in her pocket she used to be one of them. Now? Not so much. But her point is well taken and probably true in a way. I wonder what percentage of the world's wealth is held by the world's 500 richest people?

The wealth canyon in the US has been deepening since trickle down began thirty-five years ago. And the situation is slated to get worse not better. Dr Krugman had a great thumbsucker on this sad sit. a month or two back.

The recent SCOTUS decision on personal contributions corrupts the corruption. Special interests own Congress. (left and right) There remains vanishingly small political will to act in the public interest at any level in the political hierarchy. This has always been true in most of the world. Sad to see the rot ramp up in the Good Old US of A.

Our job creators created jobs alright. In China and for... robots. And themselves, of course, with princely paychecks. Got to make it into that elite 500 somehow.

about 3 months ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

bdwoolman From Okay Cupid... (1482 comments)

...To Okay Stupid. This requested boycott is a cynical media troll that plays on people's lowest impulses. I doubt this gutter play buys Stupid Cupid much goodwill just some media attention. Besides, Eich has stated that he supports a diverse workplace. And a lot of people have evolved on this issue over the years.

about 4 months ago
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Amazon Hikes Prime Membership Fee

bdwoolman Generally True (276 comments)

But I found Rubicon on Amazon prime. It's a smart, but subdued spy thriller a la Tinker Tailor. It got cancelled after a season. But I enjoyed it nevertheless. And it reached a pretty good partial conclusion. I missed it when it ran (I miss most stuff since I live and work here and there.) Anyway, there it is for what it's worth. But generally Netflix is indeed better.

about 4 months ago
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How long before most automobile driving is done by computers?

bdwoolman Limited liability laws allowed general aviation. (472 comments)

After deep-pockets law suits nearly killed US general aviation manufacturing some sensible limited-liability laws revived it. So, IMHO this troublesome aspect of autonomous driving will get sorted quickly. Insurers will love insuring people when the accident rate goes down as a result of automation. (Believe me. Their premiums will not drop proportionately.) Autonomous driving has to be very appealing to anyone who cares about human life. And certainly to anyone who trades on its fragility. Thirty thousand people die a year on our US roads . Robots are already acquitting themselves very well on everyday roads. Even today's robots would do much better than people under highway driving conditions and in light traffic. And I do not think it long before all but the most challenging driving tasks will be managed routinely. Frankly, the 'bots could hardly do worse than people. It is a bloodbath out there.

This pop sci article has what appears to be a very factual update on the Google autonomous car project. (500,000 miles without a crash.) But most closed beta test drivers still take over during tricky maneuvers and on side streets. I answered the Slashdot poll and thought about twenty years before we were all automated (I should live so long). But I expect to see a lot of automated cars in ten years. Maybe even Google's automated taxi service in some locales... Maybe.

about 9 months ago
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Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights

bdwoolman Let's talk about saving lives. (1440 comments)

In 2012 about 14000 people were murdered across the US. The death toll on the highways was roughly twice that much -- about 28000. The data is pretty conclusive that, as a risk factor, distracted driving is as bad as being drunk behind the wheel. So, while texting seems innocent enough on the face of it, when it is considered in the statistical aggregate as a contributor to premature mortality texting is a killer. The officer is arguably doing much to to save lives. As much as a homicide detective? Hard to say. But his contribution to public safety is not trivial. Good for him.

about 10 months ago
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Dispatch From the Future: Uber To Purchase 2,500 Driverless Cars From Google

bdwoolman Very little on the face of it. (282 comments)

These self driving vehicles are doing extremely well so far. Hundreds of thousands of miles with no at-fault accidents. And they could hardly do worse than people. Chimps could hardly do worse than people. Really. We suck at driving. Thirty thousand dead last year in the US. That is 10 times the number of people killed on 9/11 every year. And it is 75% (roughly) of the number we lost in the Vietnam war. When I see what other people do behind the wheel these days I really start to want this tech in place. Texters, talkers, make-up artists, wankers, DJs, nursemaids, tipplers and tokers... anything but driving. Time for the bots. "Home, Hal."

I was not in the least confused by this article. I guess I read the dateline. Let's see. If it really takes another ten years then we'll lose another 300,000 lives.

about a year ago
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Van Gogh Prints In 3D: Almost the Real Thing For $34,000

bdwoolman Well you gave a very spirited defence (104 comments)

I am, as I said, no great fan of Abstract Expressionism. A 'high brow con game' is what I said it had become. What I wanted to make clear was that Pollock was honest in his work. And that, without knowing he was doing so as such, he was channeling a mathematical reality that he saw or felt in nature. Nobody else has the high fractal index that his work has. It is diagnostic. And viewers sense it rather than see it. Our brains are wired to do so. That said, I agree with you that AE proved to be a dead end of sorts since it is so easy to phony up. Also the artist's expression of feelings is not communicated intact to the viewer with these paintings -- even Pollock's. They are emotionally quite neutral IMHO. Which is why interior designers love them for bank lobbies and such.

I am glad you did not dismiss him out of hand, but after due consideration. Ha ha. I think it took guts to stand up as you did to the tyranny of consensus. And to your small-minded art prof. You deserved an A for critical thinking. And for knowing what you like. And don't. And saying why.

For expressionism I prefer Edvard Munch. There is an awesome show in Oslo Norwayfor the next month or so for his 150th anniversary. He is a lot more than The Scream.

about a year ago
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Van Gogh Prints In 3D: Almost the Real Thing For $34,000

bdwoolman Before you discount Pollock out of hand... (104 comments)

Often imitated never equaled. Abstract expressionism was, and often remains, a high-brow art con game. That much is obvious. But many critics who were otherwise unimpressed by the 'abstract movement' felt that its founder, Pollock himself, was on to something different. They could see that he was seeing.... something. Pollock himself always maintained that he was painting "The rhythms of nature". Recently a discovery was made about his work that lends a lot of credence to his vision. I saw the documentary elsewhere, but this quote from the Wikipedia article on Pollock. tells the story better than I can.

In the 21st century, the physicists Richard Taylor, Micolich and Jonas studied Pollock's works and technique. They determined that some works display the properties of mathematical fractals.[20] They assert that the works expressed more fractal qualities as Pollock progressed in his career.[21] The authors speculate that Pollock may have had an intuition of the nature of chaotic motion, and tried to express mathematical chaos, more than ten years before "Chaos Theory" was proposed. Their work was used in trying to evaluate the authenticity of some works that were represented as Pollock's.

As for this article... I bought a painting at IKEA for an apartment we were renting out . It was an abstract print on canvas, but it had real paint on it with lots of texture. I wondered if it was painted by a robot or some kind of 3-D process since it was one of several. Interior designers like abstracts because they are non-entities. They fill space but disappear. Since they have no narrative they can't offend. That is, unless you are offended by the very idea of them.

about a year ago
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Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB & 1TB TLC NAND Drives Tested

bdwoolman Hot vs Crazy (156 comments)

Here's the thing. SSDs are now more reliable than when this guy logged this report.

But are still maybe not as steady Eddie as a good-quality HDD. But we still want them because having an SSD boot drive changes the whole computing experience due to their awesome speed. And since we are good about backups (Are we not?) we can be relaxed as we ride the SSD smokin' fast Roller Coaster. SSD or HDD then what's the problem if we have data security. Both are gonna FAIL. So what if Miss SSD stabs me for no good reason? It was a helluva ride, Bro. And well worth the stitches. I do wish SLC NAND was not priced out of reach, but, hey, when it comes to hottness we take what we can get. Right?

Okay. This is Slashdot we get no hottiness...no hottiness at all.. No no no hottiness. It's pathetic really. ....

about a year ago
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Amazon Forbids Crossing State Lines With Rented Textbooks

bdwoolman What about a federal VAT on internet sales? (125 comments)

The online sales the states must tax are intrastate. Interstate is still the problem for states and vendors alike (The new law requiring collection notwithstanding.), But the federal government clearly can tax such commerce -- electronic or otherwise. It is established law.

A Value Added Tax is a very fair kind of tax that only taxes the end consumer. (Fair being a relative term here.) It is an account-book pass through so it does not hurt sales up and down a supply chain. That is, VAT does not get written into the price and so with a VAT you do not wind up taxing tax in subsequent sales (with old fashioned sales tax you do). Some things (typically educational materials) are VAT exempt. And different classes of goods are taxed at different rates. The federal government could easily get vendors to collect such a tax universally online and then the USG could redistribute it to the states using a formula based on population. Or on internet sales dollars per capita. Or something.Or, as a nation, we could use the money and earmark it for improvements to our network. Or both. A VAT is a much different tax than a simple regressive sales tax which actually constipates the supply conduit.

Europe uses VATs to collect national taxes on consumption, which captures revenues from people who otherwise do not pay income taxes (in paces like Italy this is just about everyone -- or was.). A big gripe by the US rich is that such a large percentage of people pay no federal taxes when really they earn enough to do so, but off the books. Did you fix cars on the side for undeclared cash and use the money to buy a big-screen TV? With VAT Uncle Sam will at least get a little bite. And fair enough at that. IMHO A VAT in internet sales makes sense now that online retail has matured. And rather than a primitive sales tax a VAT is just a more nuanced solution. I imagine Mr Bezos will think otherwise and he has just bought Washington DC's hometown newspaper to allow him to subtly press his points home. Of course if you are a no-new-taxes-ever kind of person then such an idea is poison. It would go nowhere in the current House of Reps. But things will change at some point.

about a year ago
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Talking On the Phone While Driving Not So Dangerous After All

bdwoolman Old Biscuitbarrel. If you like erudite discussions (418 comments)

Try downloading the MP3 versions of the BBC's "In Our Time" with Melvyn Bragg. They make a downloadable MP3 available as well as streams. As an aside. In 2000 I started ripping NPR streams from Real Networks when I was in Moldova. I used "Total Recorder" which I still use from time to time to grab interesting streaming content. I had an aux jack in my Lada Niva's after market CD system. I would plug my 64MB (or was it 32MB) Creative Nomad MP3 player into the jack and rock NPR's All THings Considered as I tooled through Moldova and Eastern Romania. It was a bit of effort to make the audio so I did it only for longish trips. Even my wife was impressed, which is saying something.

about a year ago
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Talking On the Phone While Driving Not So Dangerous After All

bdwoolman Driving is dangerous. Period. (418 comments)

I think about the amount of energy accumulated when I am driving. Even at moderate urban speeds it is an awesome amount of destructive force when dissipated rapidly. To minimize the chance that such an energy release will destroy yours truly I minimize distractions. I view it is a long statistical game played over decades. Even small degradations of capability will tell in the long run. I am not a complete Pearson's Puppeteer about this (otherwise I would probably avoid cars altogether), but I try to channel the attitude a bit. I have always done my best to fully concentrate on the road. The fact that I have driven in many places where driving culture is quite crude and rude -- Eastern Europe, Asia -- has, I will confess, helped to concentrate my mind. As I see the crap that other people do in their cars, especially lately with all the cool new tech, I really am starting to get impatient for the robots to take over. With roughly 30,000 dead on our highways every year they can hardly do worse. In fact chimps could hardly do worse.

Mr Brin, Mr Page I know you are both quite busy. But, um, can you get on with it? Please?

about a year ago
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FCC Rural Phone Subsidies Reach As High As $3,000 Per Line

bdwoolman Yes, AC. AGE only has a bipartisan fig leaf. (372 comments)

That is why I chose to qualify the word bipartisan with "ostensibly". But it would have been a misstatement to say 'Republican' because the AGE board does have a few blue dog democrats pasted on its genitals. But lest anybody misunderstand it is clear that the paper was commissioned by a right leaning group. And AC has provided an interesting link. The author clearly has an ongoing small government agenda. I guess you could call AGE just another shrink tank.

1 year,10 days
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FCC Rural Phone Subsidies Reach As High As $3,000 Per Line

bdwoolman Waste fraud and abuse offend everybody (372 comments)

But... reading the paper I smelled a preconceived agenda. The paper was sponsored by Americans for Generational Equity an ostensibly bipartisan group concerned with the fact that the "Pig in the Python" is getting closer to the snake's cloaca. And the group worries that said meal is (or soon will) be providing less nourishment than it takes to digest it. Read: The Boomers are greying and will suck the life out of the country before they become python excrement. Think of the children.

A look at the group's composition reveals a majority of Republican notables with a sprinkle of moderate Democrats. The FCC is a bipartisan body and fairly judicious by nature IMHO. I have to wonder what is really going on here. There are hundreds of more fruitful places to look fo WF&A. As for real waste? Check out the US military.

1 year,11 days
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Egyptian President Overthrown, Constitution Suspended

bdwoolman Okay gtall. I'm busted! (413 comments)

Certainly Nasser was a Ba'athist and a pan Arabist. But I think it is fair to say that the brand of Arab-centric nationalism espoused by him and his two successors, and which remains so anathema to the medievalists, was mainly Ba'athist in spirit if not in name. I would also argue that today the lines between the Egyptian Army and the state are quite blurred, pliable interim president from the Judiciary notwithstanding. And have been for some time. But of course strictly speaking you are right. And I was using the Ba'athist label very loosely indeed. Certainly the Egyptians do not label themselves as such. I should know better than to play fast and loose around here. Busted.

1 year,18 days
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Egyptian President Overthrown, Constitution Suspended

bdwoolman Because our constitution is enlightened. (413 comments)

It is a secular document that embodies principles of government conceived by men of sublime genius on the heels of five hundred years of medieval religious terror. It embodies advanced philosophical principles of governance drawn carefully and thoughtfully from the ancients, the 'noble savages' as well as from new philosophies from the age of enlightenment itself (Rousseau). (We are still far from realizing its potential, but it DOES protect us. Mostly.)

The Ottoman Empire never experienced this critical cultural shift. Egypt was a part of it and locked in the middle age darkness until the 20th century. Secular Ba'athism was a half step forward, but it went out with Mubarak. The Army, ever the guardians of Ba'athist ideals, thought the time might be right for pluralism as a way to enter fully into the family of nations... and they hated Mubarak. They let the popular kettle boil, rolled the dice and came up with... Morsi. Feh! The "constitution" that Morsi rammed down the country's throat was an atavistic abomination that drew upon medieval juridical traditions that were outmoded by the 13th century. And which the Ba'athists hate with a passion. (Almost as much as the Jihadis hate the Ba'athists.) Witness that at long last, a hundred years after the last Sultan fell off the Sunni throne, that the former nations of the Ottomans are waking up. Morsi took a democratic ladder to the heights of power then clumsily pulled it up behind him and spat on those below. He now pays the price for his perfidy. The Army, essentially Ba'athist secularists and anathema to the jihadists, want a modern country. Had Morsi been as capable and cautious as Erdogan in Turkey it would have been a different story. But now he is toast. He was always there at their sufferance. They will hold new elections in a year or two and settle back to their barracks. But just as the Turkish army has been staunching the tide of medievalism for almost the last hundred years, so will the Egyptian Army continue to watch.

1 year,19 days
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Employers Switching From Payroll Checks To Prepaid Cards With Fees

bdwoolman Virginia Tax refund card difficult to set up (1103 comments)

I got my VA tax refund on one of the cards. I found the protocol for activating the card to be lengthy and elaborate. Needless to say since I post here such processes are not overly troublesome to me. But the process, which involved numerous hurdles -- including snagging a keyword from a PDF that opened separately -- was tiresome. And I wondered how many people would get so confused that they simply gave up. Especially since State refunds are not always that big. If enough people bailed in frustration the state could make out pretty well I thought. The sum of unclaimed refund money might be interesting to know in light of the headache involved in getting access to one's part of it via one of these PITA debit cards.

1 year,21 days

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