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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

by (1706743) Re:I know this! (555 comments)

Did it also include a 3D init system? Something tells me I'd prefer that to systemd...

about a week ago
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Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

by (1706743) Re:Go back in time 5 years (575 comments)

My favorite was when I apt-get upgraded my (headless) machine, which would then refuse to boot. No SSH access, just an emergency shell (very annoying for a headless machine). The problem? I didn't have my external USB hard disk -- which had an /etc/fstab entry -- plugged in.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

by (1706743) Re:Yay, units! (260 comments)

In fairness, there really aren't Good Units for dealing with this sort of thing. Yes, you can use "proper" energy units (J), but because we really don't use "metric time," a kJ/MJ/etc. isn't wonderful for everyday use (given that we're familiar with Watts).

If all you care about is running calculations and making them look pretty, then yeah...stick with SI. But if you want something to be intuitive, unfortunately, sometimes really stupid units make more sense.

about 3 months ago
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NASA's Greenhouse Gas Observatory Captures 'First Light'

by (1706743) Re:How is CO2 leading cause of warming? (143 comments)

We don't have a completely satisfactory theory of gravity (getting GR to play nice with quantum mechanics). Yet, we are very confident that the hypothesis that "things tend to fall" is correct.

Gravity is exceedingly complex, yet there are certain things which are evident from even a rudimentary theory of gravity -- namely, things tend to fall. CO2, likewise, has a complicated relationship to the climate -- but it is a known greenhouse gas, which has certain implications.

about 3 months ago
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Canadian ISP On Disclosing Subscriber Info: Come Back With a Warrant

by (1706743) Good for them (55 comments)

Unfortunate that respecting privacy to the extent the law permits is the exception, not the norm...

about 4 months ago
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Coming Soon(ish) From LG: Transparent, Rollup Display

by (1706743) Almost a million megapixels! (64 comments)

From TFA, so it must be true:

The rollable display sports a 1200x810 resolution with nearly 1 million megapixels.

I just wish my bank did that sort of math...

about 4 months ago
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Coming Soon(ish) From LG: Transparent, Rollup Display

by (1706743) Could this be the year (64 comments)

of the flexible semitransparent display?

about 4 months ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

by (1706743) Re:The difference isn't the card. (502 comments)

Ah, I think we're talking about different issues: Monoprice is fantastic, and absolutely is proof that you don't need to spend a ton of money to get good cables. I'm just saying that lousy cables -- if you can find them -- are problematic. For instance, RF attenuation is roughly exponential (units are usually dB/m) -- hence the need for Monoprice's Redmere series of active HDMI cables. I'm not saying Monster is better (all of my cables are Monoprice), I'm just pointing out that there are legitimate bandwidth requirements on video cables.

As to VGA, try running a monitor off of a significant (10m or so) length of lousy/old VGA cables at high resolution -- in my experience you get terrible ghosting and whatnot. I've personally had issues running monitors at 1920x1200 over short (~2m) VGA cables, though that could in part be due to the monitor's ADC, etc.

about 4 months ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

by (1706743) Re:The difference isn't the card. (502 comments)

I know this is a humorous post, but for really high-bandwidth applications, cables do actually matter. For example, driving WUXGA (1920x1200) at 60Hz, 24-bit/px, this is roughly 3.3Gb/s, or a little north of a gigabit/s for each color (RGB). Since each color runs over a single wire (I think), this is comparable to the requirements of gigabit ethernet -- except (I think) gigabit ethernet over twisted pair uses all 4 pairs of wires, as opposed to just a single wire for VGA. And, given that VGA is analog, noise certainly does creep in.

With a bandwidth in the 10s of kHz range, yeah...I sorta doubt audio cables matter much at all =)

about 5 months ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

by (1706743) Re:My sound card is an A/V amplifier (502 comments)

Agreed. It's just too bad that, AFAIK, there isn't great CEC support on desktop/laptop computers -- though this could be an outdated observation. Of course, the $35 Raspberry Pi supports HDMI CEC very well.

about 5 months ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

by (1706743) Re:Reconcile these two sentences please (502 comments)

I think "performance" might be referring to framerate (i.e., a measure of how CPU-intensive it is to drive the onboard vs. dedicated card), whereas audio quality is considered separately. Not the best writing, I'll agree...

about 5 months ago
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YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

by (1706743) Dupe... (110 comments)

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday May 29, 2014 @10:04PM from the how-do-you-stack-up? dept.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story...

about 5 months ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

by (1706743) Re:consent (130 comments)

So you would outlaw an advertising firm giving out two different coupons for the same food item, listed as "0% fat!" on one and "fat free!" on the other? After all, they are, at the end of the day, running an experiment on you the consumer, to find out which phrasing is more effective.

about 5 months ago
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Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

by (1706743) Re:Interesting... (119 comments)

But what wouldn't a benevolent progressive government pay for the ability to collect more data? Especially from the phones voluntarily plugged-in by unsuspecting residents?

From TFA:

The benches also connect wirelessly, using Verizon’s network, to the Internet to upload location-based environmental information, such as air quality and noise-level data.

I don't think they're trying to upload data through your phone without your knowledge, I believe the "cell phone charging" and "connects to the cell network" are unrelated, aside from the fact that both are supposedly powered via the solar panels.

about 5 months ago
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Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

by (1706743) "Victims" received positive or negative newsfeeds? (219 comments)

According to the WSJ's coverage http://online.wsj.com/articles... ,

The impetus for the study was an age-old complaint of some Facebook users: That going on Facebook and seeing all the great and wonderful things other people are doing makes people feel bad about their own lives.

So although conventional wisdom might say that seeing positive things makes you happier, here there have been accusations to the contrary -- positive things about other people makes you feel lousy about yourself. This study ostensibly looked at that (and I think it found something along the lines of conventional wisdom: happy posts make you post happy stuff, a [dubious!] proxy for your own happines...).

If Facebook knew (and how would they?) that X makes you depressed, then yes...there might be some moral issues with that. But it seems that Facebook asked a legitimate question -- especially so given that it was published in PNAS.

That said, yeah...it feels a little shady. But then, when I log onto Facebook, I am certainly not expecting any aspect of the website to be designed with my best interests in mind!

about 5 months ago
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Ars Takes an Early Look At the Privacy-Centric Blackphone

by (1706743) Apps which require location? (67 comments)

Obviously, if you're concerned about privacy, you should avoid apps which require location, etc., information. However, it would be neat if you could get PrivOS to spoof things like location (and possibly calls, contact lists, etc.).

Location information could still be very useful for apps that need it, if you have a sane spoofing policy (either manual or automatic). If you, say, travel to another city for a week, you could have the OS spoof a single location in that city for the duration of the trip. The privacy implications of, "Bob is in San Francisco" are somewhat different than, "Bob is at 14th and Valencia."

Of course, I didn't RTFA, so I have no idea if something like this is implemented/in the works/impossible...

about 5 months ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

by (1706743) Re:consent (130 comments)

But surely users are allowed to be put in an A/B test used for *commercial/advertisement* purposes, right? Is doing something for academic purposes somehow worse than for business purposes? Personally, I would rather my online behavior be used for a purpose which nominally increases our knowledge than for a purpose which increases someone's bottom line.

That said, I do find this whole thing to be a little shady...but I'm not sure it's a particularly rational reaction, given that I rarely care about A/B testing when it's being used to shamelessly make money off of me...

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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DIY SMS controlled power outlets

by (1706743) by (1706743) writes  |  more than 4 years ago

by (1706743) (1706744) writes "Although proprietary solutions do exist, it's possible (and easy!) to control power outlets/lamps/etc. via SMS – with no special hardware and no subscription fees (I'm not affiliated with any proprietary solution — no Slashvertisement here). All you need is an SMS-capable cell phone, a Google Voice account, ssh access to a box with an email account, an old computer, some relays/TRIACs, and a little time to kill. Aside from the cell phone, and possibly your email server, there are no monthly costs. In addition to switching off lights and appliances, you can run arbitrary commands on your computer this way (yes, there may be a few security implications with that...). Here's a simple howto."
Link to Original Source

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