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Stephen Colbert To Be Letterman's Successor

bscott Re:WHy would he do it? (193 comments)

> His bank account will see a significant step up

Not as much as you might think. He makes more than half what Letterman does now ($8 mil/yr vs Dave's ~$15mil) and it's unlikely CBS will pay him as much as they paid Dave, at least not to begin with.

Since Dave (and Leno for that matter) took pay cuts a few years back due to declining audiences across the board, Jon Stewart has been the highest-paid talk show host on the air.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

bscott Re:Pragmatism (503 comments)

You could usually see it coming at my last job, when a Dvorak user would step up to - for instance - a communal computer used for presentations, and attempted to log into something. They always had to type their password twice, the second time after wincing in realization of what they'd done the first time...

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

bscott Re:Pragmatism (503 comments)

I should add - I'm glad those features are there, I think they're cool, and I sometimes wish I could use them. If I had only one computer to use for the rest of eternity, it'd be so customized I'd only need eyeblinks to do everything.

But those features are only good insofar as they don't take away from stability. And when my Linux desktop encounters an error, it's pretty much always Compiz these days... this has been true across the last two revs of Ubuntu, v11-v13 and across two separate hardware platforms Dell-Lenovo, and reinstalls every few months. Never had problems with Ubuntu v8-v10...

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

bscott Pragmatism (503 comments)

If you can't have a consistent experience across even one day, why get too reliant on customizations and shortcuts?

Back in the day, I had to switch between Data General (terminals), MacOS, and Amiga keyboards and UIs on a daily basis between work and home. These days, of course, everything has changed - now I bounce from Linux to Android to OSX, and more than occasionally Windows too. It's just never paid off to build a super-custom setup when you can't stick with it.

I use Linux for my main desktop at home partly because it is so quick and easy to reinstall - just keep your data on a backed-up server and you can virtually forget about maintenance or troubleshooting. Get used to the default setup and just reinstall whenever you run into something you can't work around - 15 minutes to get back to a familiar desktop is quicker than any full restore-from-backup I'm aware of. (I actually like Linux internals but every time I learn something, I end up forgetting it before I need it a second time; it gets frustrating...)

I'm aware I'm giving up a fair amount of potential productivity and convenience. I don't care any more. I'm just happy when I remember not to try and touch the monitor on my wife's iMac.

I got friends and colleagues who, for example, use Dvorak. More power to 'em. They're younger and more stubborn than I, and most of the time they have one laptop they use both at home and at work. As a wise man once remarked, I'm older now, I got to move my car on street-sweeping day, I can't be doing just anything I want any more...

about 3 months ago
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Largest Bitcoin Mining Pool Pledges Not To Execute '51% Attack'

bscott Not enough (351 comments)

Would it not do more for the community they claim to be supporting if they were to cap their membership at 50% (allowing their current proportion to rebalance by attrition or as the rest of the network continues to grow) thus preventing anyone ELSE from doing it as well?

about 3 months ago
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Who Is Liable When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?

bscott "What's the point of a baby, sir?" (937 comments)

> what's the point of a self-driving car if you can't relax or do something else while 'driving?'"

It's early days yet, give it time.

There was no point in cars AT ALL when they first were introduced: they were slower than horses, you needed to bring a mechanic along with you 'cos they broke down every mile. Some cities you had to employ a guy to walk ahead of the car with flags to warn people. Utterly without practical use, they were.

They got better, laws adapted. You have to start somewhere though!

about 3 months ago
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Swarms of Small Satellites Set To Deliver Close To Real-Time Imagery of Earth

bscott Finally, life catches up to Max Headroom (112 comments)

Been rewatching "Max Headroom" (one of my all-time faves) lately and have been so impressed with how much they foresaw. Sure, today's cameras are a lot smaller and several details about society and industry were a bit off-base, but the idea that information is more valuable than money, the rise of corporate power while governments decline in relevance, and a lot of other things they got spot on.

That said, the live telemetry from "satcams" is something which has been missing. Google made a big leap forward with Maps and Streetview, I just wanted it to all connect together in realtime like at Theora's console... nice to know we're still making progress!

about 3 months ago
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Is Computer Science Education Racist and Sexist?

bscott Racist? Ask this man... (612 comments)

I've obscured the name of the company so as to avoid a messy copyright battle, but this is the photo selected for the "Security Threats" chapter of my networking class: http://goo.gl/R67PWF

Takeaway message: be wary of inter-dimensional black guys in dungarees...

about 4 months ago
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What Sci-Fi Movies Teach Us About Project Management Skills

bscott Science Fact (186 comments)

You don't need to reach for SF to get a great project management lesson, just look at the Apollo program.

A triumph of the human spirit, of technology, of ingenuity, sure - but mainly, an overwhelming triumph of project management. Who says the government can't handle any big jobs, eh? (well, anyone who's been watching for the last 40 years maybe...)

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Package Redirection Service For Shipping to Australia?

bscott Friends?! (206 comments)

I have to wonder, did you leave the U.S. because you had no friends?

I moved to Australia 7 years ago and I still have friends back in America. Although I can get a lot more things here now than I used to, I still occasionally have a friend help forward things to me. There's no reason to go with a service, just Paypal them the postage.

Maybe you can send them things they might enjoy too - my friend's wife developed a taste for Tim Tams (cookies) and so we have a regular exchange going, as my Aussie wife misses the "graham crackers" she could get in the U.S. which are unheard-of here...

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Package Redirection Service For Shipping to Australia?

bscott Re:welcome to the socialist wonderland (206 comments)

FWIW I can confirm, having experienced hospitalization in the U.S. - with top-tier Blue Cross coverage - and later in Australia as well - the ordinary everyday Medicare system - there is no real difference in the quality of care.

The equipment, the people, and the access are all very good in both countries - assuming you have insurance in the U.S., and I'm comparing major cities to major cities here of course.

What's dramatically different is the cost, and the level of paperwork. In America we were snowed under for years with insurance company statements and bills from a dozen providers - we ended up just sorting them by color and then weighing them... and we had to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket after Blue Cross was finished.

In Australia, you pay maybe $80 for a doctor visit, and get some of it back from the government Prescriptions average $10-$20. If you go to the ER and get admitted to a room, you have to pay $6 a day if you want the TV to work. And I think you sign like one form on your way out. You never hear from them again.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Request Someone To Send Me a Public Key?

bscott Re:Asking Slashdot for advice on being polite?? (399 comments)

Whoops - I misread the post - they're not asking for your private KEY, just private data... ah well, most of the suggested sentence structure still holds.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Request Someone To Send Me a Public Key?

bscott Asking Slashdot for advice on being polite?? (399 comments)

If you don't have the social skills to phrase a polite question, Slashdot is perhaps not the ideal place to go looking for advice...

Technical issues with giving anyone your private key aside (I can't think of any reason to give it out to someone no matter how much you trust them) just explaining things clearly should work for any reasonable person:

"I have no problem with you having my personal key, but I am concerned about the integrity of the data while in transit. I would appreciate it if you can supply me with a public key for your organization, then I will be able to encode my key so that only you can decode it. This will ensure that our mutual privacy won't be at risk due to using an insecure communication system such as Email. Thanks very much!" etc

about 8 months ago
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The Men Trying To Save Us From the Machines

bscott Center for Terminator Studies (161 comments)

I wrote about the CSER last year at http://www.thisiswhyweredoomed.com/2012/12/europeans-will-doom-us-all.html - if you take this and combine it with the news that the EU is building the world's most powerful laser, you'll wonder why the movie version of Skynet even bothered with a time machine in the first place...

(oh yeah, they already HAVE a Skynet - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skynet_(satellite)

about 10 months ago
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Slashdot Anniversary: Melbourne, zAU, AU

bscott Re:Finding the crowd (19 comments)

Oh and hey - that picture was taken BEFORE I turned ugly!

about a year and a half ago
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Slashdot Anniversary: Melbourne, zAU, AU

bscott Re:Finding the crowd (19 comments)

Never said I was coming, sorry if I misled anyone... it's too long of a drive for me now that I no longer live in the city, and too much time taken away from the family now that I have one.

I do know what it's like to be the only one showing up at a gathering, though - usually it's me!

about a year and a half ago
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Slashdot Anniversary: Melbourne, zAU, AU

bscott Re:Finding the crowd (19 comments)

If you're the first to arrive, set your phone's SSID to something relevant and let people triangulate on it.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Linux Game For Young Kids?

bscott Puzzles (338 comments)

I have a 6-yr-old and a 3-yr-old. So far the smaller one is happy enough with a few kid-friendly games on mom's iPhone (very sparingly, a few times a week at most) but I'm finding the 6-yr-old very engaged with online casual puzzle games. He's not quite ready for escape-the-room-type stuff, but there are quite a few kid-friendly puzzlers out there - check JayIsGames.com, you can search by tags and I use "kidfriendly" and "puzzle" (and "flash" because I'm not downloading anything, even if I did have Windows around)

While others may disagree, I'm happy to let the local schools teach the basic 3 R's; later on I'll supplement the history and geography and science. Right now I'm more interested in making sure he has analytical skills, including skeptical thinking and inductive reasoning. He's not the math/science geek I was at his age. So I'm trying to make sure he learns as much as possible about puzzles and different ways of solving them. "Rubble Trouble" is a current favorite, but that's only after we've gone through most of the Bonte stable (especially "Factory Balls"! he solved virtually all of them, not bad for (at the time) a 5-year-old)

As for the 3-yr-old, he loves Angry Birds first and foremost, but is just as happy tossing the birds to the left as to the right. He's developing differently and takes things at his own speed, so we're kind of feeling our way forward. (by contrast with the older boy, who's basically a carbon copy of my wife's personality) If he ends up more like me there'll be no keeping him away from the more analytical, strategy-type games - violence-based or otherwise - and he'll be wanting to modify the games as soon as he's finished with 'em... I'll certainly be showing him puzzles of every shape and size until we find a genre he likes.

Kids can only be steered so far. But there's enough out there that you can find something that you and the child can agree on for almost any combination of "you" and "the child"!

about a year and a half ago
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Slashdot Anniversary: Melbourne, zAU, AU

bscott Re:Tentative (19 comments)

I was at the 10-yr event too. But back then I had a lot fewer calls on my time - now there's 2 small kids and a fulltime work AND school schedule to contend with. So I'm afraid I'll only be there in spirit...

about a year and a half ago
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Auto-Scanning the Names People Choose For Their Wireless APs

bscott Re:answer. (422 comments)

Just when I think I live in a remote corner of the world, something like this shows up - this guy came within a few hundred meters of picking up my SSID...

And it's just about exactly one year after the "Craig from Windsor" notes began showing up all around where I work, and went viral online.

Wonder what'll happen next March?

about 4 years ago

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