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Interviews: Guido van Rossum Answers Your Questions

blinking_at Lua (169 comments)

Lua is better than Python in every way.

1 year,5 days
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Free Wi-Fi: the Movement To Give Away Your Internet For the Good of Humanity

blinking_at Re:It's the right thing to do. (505 comments)

I keep an open access point running on reduced power. I can't access it from the sidewalk with any of my mobile devices, and I suspect it's pretty weak at any of my neighbors. I did one time have someone get on; I blocked their mac address, and they never came back. I live in a fairly secluded low traffic suburb, and, while of course someone with a good antenna or who lurked near a window could get access, it just isn't a realistic concern.

Circumstances vary. For most people I would recommend keeping their wifi locked down, because they don't have the background or inclination to be aware of what's happening on their network. But I like my friends to find their phones and tablets automatically connected when they visit.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Tax Software?

blinking_at Re:For this you want a professional product (387 comments)

There are two issues more important than "free": 1) I would like tax software that runs natively on Linux, and 2) I would like tax software that isn't tainted by the smarmy lock-in mindset that infects quicken and turbotax. For example, one of the really annoying things about quicken is its proprietary data format. A widely accepted standard format for financial data would be a wonderful thing...

more than 2 years ago
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Julian Assange To Host Talk Show

blinking_at Scary. (164 comments)

It is truly frightening how effective the campaign against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange has been. You have to think twice before you say anything in favor of them, on *any* platform.

more than 2 years ago
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2011 Was the 9th Hottest Year On Record

blinking_at Re:The open question... (877 comments)

Sorry, I should've linked to the actual paper of course.

High-Frequency Dynamics of Ocean pH: A Multi-Ecosystem Comparison

These biome-specific pH signatures disclose current levels of exposure to both high and low dissolved CO2, often demonstrating that resident organisms are already experiencing pH regimes that are not predicted until 2100

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0028983

The paper doesn't say what you think it says. It shows that there are wide variations in ocean acidity in the short term. The issue of the effect of long term changes in average acidity is not addressed. After all, we have daily and yearly temperature cycles -- but the polar caps are melting and the glaciers are retreating as a result of longer term average changes.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Camera For Getting Into Photography?

blinking_at Re:Engadget just did a review (569 comments)

I would get the S100. I owned a Canon Rebel something or another, but I bought an s90 because I wanted something that would fit in a pocket. I take the s90 everywhere; my daughter now has the rebel. I recently bought a canon g12 that I use when I have a photographic agenda, but in fact the s90 is still in my pocket even then. It is simply a great little camera that takes great pictures.

(I didn't know the s100 was out -- I may have to look into it, though, since the s90 is a bit old now...)

more than 2 years ago
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Dennis Ritchie, Creator of C Programming Language, Passed Away

blinking_at Re:Thank you (725 comments)

Somewhere I saw a line: "C is a language that respects the programmer".

more than 2 years ago
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Is There a Hearing Aid Price Bubble?

blinking_at It's not that simple... (698 comments)

Hearing loss typically isn't uniform for all frequencies -- there can be ranges where you hear quite well, and other ranges where you can't detect anything. A good hearing aid doesn't amplify everything uniformly -- if it did, it would probably contribute to more hearing loss. Instead, they transfer information on the dead frequencies to bands where you hear better, and thus don't have to amplify very much. Of course, such hearing aids must be tuned to your exact pattern of loss, which requires a trained audiologist. Moreover, as another poster pointed out, they can adjust to the characteristics of the external noise, and they are highly miniaturized.

So that they should be expensive than mere amplifiers is not at all surprising.

more than 2 years ago
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Amazon's Android Tablet Expected This Fall

blinking_at There are other imperatives at work... (109 comments)

... in the e-reader space. From a recent B&N mailer:

"Among the new features, NOOK Color v1.3 now offers access to special edition NOOK Magazines(tm) with enhanced interactivity and bonus features." Even without these special features, some magazines work very well indeed on the nook color -- I subscribe to national geographic, for example, and it is really quite nicely done. (I have one each of the other B&N readers, BTW, and the experience on the color version is vastly different than on the eInk ones.)

There are also interactive childrens ebooks that the color nook supports. Things like this give an opening for publishers and B&N to monetize content in a different way, and I think they may just be on to something.

about 3 years ago
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FSF Uses Android FUD To Push GPLv3

blinking_at article misrepresents the FSF press release. (282 comments)

The article and the poster confuse "GPL violations in software developed for the Android platform" with "GPL violations in Android". The FSF press release doesn't say "GPL violations in Android".

Indeed, the press release does promote GPLv3, but it's merely the author expressing an opinion. It's not spreading "FUD".

about 3 years ago
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ISPs Will Now Be Copyright Cops

blinking_at Re:just plain absurd (338 comments)

If it's a free country, shouldn't the private company be free to do what they want, barring any agreement with you that precludes them from doing otherwise?

Or is your "free country" just free for YOU?

You are confusing "private company" with "private person". On of the principle problems with modern society is that corporations are being given many of the same rights as private persons. This is effectively creating a legally codified class structure with an enormous gap between the "upper class" (corporations) and the "lower class" (private persons). So, no. In my view a "private company" should *not* have the same rights as I, a private person, enjoy.

about 3 years ago
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Slate: Amazon's Tax Stance Unfair and Unethical

blinking_at Re:if he's so concerned (949 comments)

Somalia is not an example of an anarchist society. Just because a government collapses doesn't mean that people respect the non-aggression principle any more than blowing up all the churches in a country turns everybody into atheists.

How does one enforce the "non-aggression principle" without violating it?

more than 3 years ago
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ICANN Approves .xxx Suffix For Porn Websites

blinking_at Re:100,000 preregistered? (273 comments)

I don't thank many sites will leave their precious .com's, but maybe they should be made to host all their material on .xxx so if a porn filter blocked .xxx on a child's computer no content could show up even if the user navigated to say, pornhub.com

This is precisely what the people behind .xxx are hoping, of course. That's why they have stayed in the game.

more than 4 years ago
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OLPC Unveils Plans For Tablets By 2012

blinking_at Re:I hate to say it, (102 comments)

He could have sold it to the first world, gotten the economies of scale on his side, and used the profits to subsidize the third world sales, possibly even bringing the price down to $100 each like originally planned.

What prevents some other organization/company from producing OLPC laptops? Suppose someone approached OLPC with a request to license the designs and manufacture them for sale, with perhaps some part of the profits going back to OLPC?

In fact, Negroponte's comment seems to indicate that he would be fine with someone else manufacturing the OLPC 3. This might mean that you could actually buy one directly.

more than 4 years ago
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OLPC 1.5 Hardware Upgrades Include Java, Full-Screen Video

blinking_at Where and when can I get one? (67 comments)

Perhaps another G1G1? I've always wondered, since the design was completely open source, why some clever person didn't just order a few thousand direct from the manufacturer, and sell them?

more than 4 years ago
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California Sec. of State Wants Open Source E-Voting Systems

blinking_at Re:Why is it so hard? (112 comments)

1. Take vote electronically.
2. Assign a randomly generated UUID.
3. Print UUID+vote on internal paper tape for backup.
4. Print UUID+vote on paper receipt for voter to keep.
5. Post UUID+vote on a public web site anyone can view.

Now, anybody can see the tally, do the math themselves, etc. And everyone who cares can look at their own UUID and see if the public tally is accurate.

I implemented this precise system several years ago at ICANN (www.icann.org), to support policy votes and elections to various positions in the organization. It's not perfect, but it works pretty well.

A later poster notes that it is susceptible to coercion.

That's true for any system that gives a verifiable record of the vote to the voter. It is very difficult to eliminate coercion entirely -- your evil boss could require you to take a picture of your signed ballot, bribe election workers to report on your ballot (or just say that he had), etc.

more than 5 years ago

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