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An Animated, Open Letter To J.J. Abrams About Star Wars

caitsith01 That was actually better than I-III (376 comments)

Seriously, that video was actually better than all three of the prequels combined.

Especially the Yoda bit.

I wish I was kidding.

about a year ago

Adam Lanza Destroyed His Computer Before Rampage

caitsith01 Re:Israel Civil Force (1719 comments)

Will this armed paramilitary wear brown shirts and make sure that any "abnormal" citizens are detained and interrogated?

about 2 years ago

Adam Lanza Destroyed His Computer Before Rampage

caitsith01 USA perspective = bizarre (1719 comments)

She had 2 handguns, completely reasonable for self defense. A standard .223 carbine... standard rifle you can get at walmart, fun to shoot and then a shotgun, pretty typical for hunting small game.

You do realise that to most people in most parts of the civilized/first world, this sounds completely insane, right?

Two handguns for self defence? Insane. Guess what I have for self-defence in the first world country where I live? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even a bat or knife. Times I have been violently murdered or robbed so far: 0.

A "standard" .223 carbine... that you can buy at a neighbourhood variety store. Insane.

A shotgun, "pretty typical for hunting small game". Insane.

Even more insane, though, is this idea that your hobby/paranoia (which are the two reasons you implicitly think people should have guns) outweighs other people's safety.

Where I live, you actually don't see guns, other than small handguns, in holsters, carried by the police. That's it.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Guns just make people way more effective at killing each other. That's what they are for. Take up archery, buy a can of mace, and stop being so completely ridiculous about your weapon-infested society.


about 2 years ago

Australian Police Warn That Apple Maps Could Get Someone Killed

caitsith01 Re:Cue stupid comments from non-Australians (452 comments)

1) The other one being Brisbane and Gold Coast at 100km apart, I would say we're just concentrated on the coast line, not at all huge.

I'm probably an ignorant southerner, but isn't "Gold Coast" just a fancy name for "the outer suburbs of Brisbane"?

about 2 years ago

Australian Police Warn That Apple Maps Could Get Someone Killed

caitsith01 Re:Back in the day (452 comments)

People managed to navigate without all this garbage.

And if their maps wrongly placed their destination in completely the wrong place, they'd be equally screwed.

What's your point?

about 2 years ago

Australian Police Warn That Apple Maps Could Get Someone Killed

caitsith01 Cue stupid comments from non-Australians (452 comments)

Before there is too much stupidity, if you've never been to Australia, please realise:

1. It's huge. Really huge. I live in one out of two of the closer-together cities in Australia, and they're about 800kms apart. In the other direction, the next major city is 2,500kms away.

2. It's mostly empty (in terms of civilization). Think of driving through rural Utah or Arizona, which are quite similar to the Australian bush.

3. It's mostly flat and full of similar looking landscape.

4. National parks and non-national park areas often look quite similar.

5. There's usually only one or two ways to get around in the country.

6. Mildura is a small town in the middle of bloody nowhere. If I was driving there from here I'd expect to pass through a handful of tiny settlements on the way.

So if you are relying on your GPS to get you somewhere outside a major city, it's actually quite plausible and reasonable that you might not have much idea that you're being led off in the wrong direction until you (don't) get there.

It's also quite plausible that you can die - it has happened before. People get lost, they run out of fuel, they don't have water, the temperature easily gets up into the 40-50C range and - dead.

about 2 years ago

Valve's 'Steam Box' Console Is Real, Says Gabe Newell

caitsith01 Re:Dammit Valve! (298 comments)

Sooner or later Windows will be updated in a way that Steam won't run on it

Given that Windows 7 (what I use... haven't tried 8) still natively runs things designed for Windows 95 and 98, I'm not sure when or how you think Steam is going to "stop working" on Windows.

about 2 years ago

Beer Is Cheaper In the US Than Anywhere Else In the World

caitsith01 Re:Vodka is better (633 comments)

No, beer is utterly delicious, you just don't like it.

Oh, unless you mean mainstream American beer, which I agree, does taste like crap and is justifiably the cheapest in the world.

more than 2 years ago

Linux Is a Lemon On the Retina MacBook Pro

caitsith01 Re:Proof at last! (780 comments)

It's not 1997 anymore...the kernel has 99% of the drivers you'll need, unless you need a proprietary one or something that's up for inclusion in the kernel that hasn't made it into the stable version yet.

Or unless you want to do something really bizarre like using wifi to connect to a network...

more than 2 years ago

Could Flying Cars Actually Be On Their Way?

caitsith01 Re:In the air? (381 comments)

Flying -- with the notable exception of lighter-than-air such as gasbags -- is too energy intensive to be consumer-level practical at this point in time. Leaving out the technological, mass production, and licensing hurdles.

You forgot the most important issue - we are currently doing a good job of causing climate change with a few billion of us using motorised land vehicles. There is no way known that the environment can sustain any significant fraction of the population moving to air travel as a commuting method.

We should be focusing on getting rid of the idea that individuals need 1+ tonne lumps of metal to get around, not finding new ways to pump out greenhouse gases.

more than 2 years ago

Why Apple Is Suing Every Android Manufacturer In Sight

caitsith01 Re:... Because everyone is suing everyone ... (738 comments)

At that point, I thought we had arranged to nominate a certain group of citizens to cut through this kind of crap. Seriously, we must be at a point where government intervention is justified, rather than allowing billions of dollars of legal fees, court time and most importantly innovation to be wasted on this nonsense.

more than 2 years ago

What Happens To Your Used Games?

caitsith01 Re:Every single industry that sells tangible produ (276 comments)

Well, the counter argument to this is that the, let's call them 'informational', goods don't depreciate with use like a tangible product does.

Of course they do.

Have you ever followed the price of a new release game? They start at, say, $70, then drop to $50, then $30ish, then end up in a "value" version for $15-20, then the value version drops to as low as $10 or so. You can see this in both physical releases and electronically distributed versions.

They don't depreciate in the sense that a particular copy doesn't rust or get "mileage" like a car, but their value is linked almost entirely to their novelty, so they actually depreciate more predictably than a car.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Preempting Sexual Harassment In the Workplace?

caitsith01 Re:laws (1127 comments)

This, 1000x this.

Making up a humourus punishment is acknowledging that something potentially illegal happened, and trying to institutionally laugh it off. You absolutely cannot do that. Not once. Not ever.

This is such an American attitude. By making out like this is an all or nothing situation, you actually make it an all or nothing situation when it doesn't need to be.

IMHO a mature workplace would permit someone to cross a line once or twice, and would in a good natured way pull them back onto the right side of that line. Instead of automatically making everything a life and death big deal, why not act like an adult and defuse the situation if possible?

This whole discussion is ignoring the difference between behaviour which is (perhaps) inappropriate in context and behaviour which amounts to sexual harassment, too. Another peculiarly American perception seems to be that any reference to anything of a sexual nature in any context can "harass" someone who hears it.

more than 2 years ago

The World's First 3D-Printed Gun

caitsith01 Re:Printing Guns (846 comments)

Guns are only designed to kill things.

Wow. Somebody should tell the olympics. It seems that they are not aware of this fact.

So are you suggesting that the guns used in the Olympics were developed independently from the guns used to kill things?

more than 2 years ago

Apple Gets the Importance of Packaging; Why Doesn't Google?

caitsith01 Re:Wrap rage...? (639 comments)

Many people don't understand packaging is very important and your post, unfortunately, is no exception.

In the case of tablets and phones, packaging is the first personal encounter with what is intended to be a personal device. Getting this step right is crucial to shaping how a consumer perceives the product and too many companies neglect this simple but ineluctable point.

Underlying your post is an assumption that the person buying this device is sufficiently shallow, stupid, and lacking in perception that the way it is packaged actually alters their subsequent experience with it. Which might be true for people who buy phones etc. on the basis of image or "lifestyle" factors, but doesn't matter to people who buy things on the basis of what they actually do.

I had a Motorola phone which came in an amazing box - a crazy extruded metal lid which slid off to reveal the phone etc seated in a sort of display cabinet. The phone was still a piece of shit. OTOH I have a Sony phone now which came in a very boring white box, but the phone is a joy to use.

Or maybe the people you're talking about are the same ones who when given presents for Christmas as kids would play with the box and not the present?

As a few people have noted, the Kindle comes in amazingly simple, instantly disposable packaging. I don't think less of my Kindle because it didn't come in some kind of Russian doll box folded by ninjas like an ipad does. In fact it just confirms to me that what matters is what it does, not the box it came in.

more than 2 years ago

Apple Gets the Importance of Packaging; Why Doesn't Google?

caitsith01 Re:Wrap rage...? (639 comments)

Agreed - it's brilliant. Arrives safely, can't come open accidentally, yet when you want to open it you have a Kindle in your hands in about 4 seconds and a small amount of cardboard to throw away.

This should be the gold standard for all tech companies.

more than 2 years ago

Judge In Kim Dotcom Extradition Case Steps Down

caitsith01 Re:Translation: (132 comments)

Except for the last sentence. In the USA, there are no "exceptional circumstances" that permit a bureaucrat to prevent a judge from hearing a matter.

So if a judge went insane or committed some act of moral turpitude, there would be no power to remove him/her or prevent him/her from hearing a case?

That is the type of situation I'm talking about.

more than 2 years ago

Judge In Kim Dotcom Extradition Case Steps Down

caitsith01 Re:Translation: (132 comments)

The US bribed someone to get him out of the way so they can get a more acquiescent judge who won't give a damn about what the law says and about all the laws the FBI violated in either country.

I know it's not something you're used to, assuming you're a US citizen, but it's actually just that NZ is a country where the rule of law operates, and this is an example of the system properly and impartially dealing with the issue. Judges in NZ (and Australia... and Britain) aren't elected and, by US standards, are not beholden to party politics. Furthermore, except in exceptional circumstances, no bureaucrat has the power to prevent a judge from hearing a matter.

Had he not recused himself, there would have been a risk of a successful appeal on the basis of bias.

Of course if the same judge had made a speech talking about how the US is New Zealand's best friend when it comes to intellectual property issues, you'd be squealing about his bias.

more than 2 years ago

Microsoft: Windows 8 To RTM In August

caitsith01 Re:"showed off a host of Windows 8 devices" (343 comments)

Its RTM, available for download for all SA, Technet and MSDN subscribers.

You need to add a couple more niche-specific acronyms. As things stand I could almost understand that sentence.

more than 2 years ago

Making Saltwater Drinkable With Graphene

caitsith01 Re:Holes? (303 comments)

Actually, as with most situations where humans dump heaps of something somewhere without worrying about the consequences too much, the buildup of salt in the ocean potentially can have significant harmful effects on sea life.

This is a major issue near where I live at the moment - we have no water (driest state in the driest continent on Earth) so we are keen on desalination, but the planned desal plant may kill a unique local form of giant cuttlefish because we are going to pump heaps of salt into a gulf that doesn't flush out quickly:


I guess it'd like fish deciding that pumping a few percent of extra CO into the local atmosphere won't be a problem for us because the atmosphere is so big. At a certain point you don't want to be too near the outlet.

more than 2 years ago



Australia Considering P2P 'Three Strikes' Law

caitsith01 caitsith01 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

caitsith01 writes "ITNews reports that Australia's ever-unpopular Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, has foreshadowed new action by the Australian Government to crack down on illegal file sharing under the guise of promoting the digital economy. Options apparently being considered include the controversial and previously reported French three-strikes approach and an approach which sounds suspiciously like New Zealand's even more dubious guilty-upon-accusation approach to filesharing. Needless to say, although the Government is consulting with "representatives of both copyright owners and the Internet industry in an effort to reach an industry-led consensus on an effective solution", arguably the most significant group — ordinary Internet users — are not being consulted.

Senator Conroy is of course the man behind the crusade to 'protect' Australians from the horrors of the Internet with a mandatory, government-run blacklist, an effort which recently earned him the title of Internet Villain of the Year for 2009."

Link to Original Source

Buying a new laptop without Vista?

caitsith01 caitsith01 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

caitsith01 writes "I'm in the market for a new laptop, and it seems that almost overnight all major manufacturers have stopped offering Windows XP as an option and now only offer Vista. As I will be running XP and Linux no matter what, I strongly object to paying for Vista. Where can I find a quality laptop that comes with XP as its default OS? Please note that for a variety of reasons (games, price-performance, lock-in, natural aversion to zealotry) I am not interested in buying a Mac. I am also in the 'rest of world' category, so I can't take advantage of Dell's U.S.-only policy of offering greater choice in operating systems.

Alternatively, can anyone provide an update on the possibility of getting a refund for an unused copy of Vista?"



Moderation - some advice needed.

caitsith01 caitsith01 writes  |  more than 10 years ago I was just wondering if anyone could help me out - I have been a member here for quite a long time, I read and post every day, I am logged in pretty well continuously, and I have never, ever, had any mod points. I meta-moderate all the time, but to no avail. My karma is excellent, and my posts often get +5s for insightful, interesting or funny.

Any idea why this would be? I would like to be able to punish a few infidels from time to time, as well as reward others who make intelligent contributions.



Cell phone psychosis

caitsith01 caitsith01 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Is anyone else concerned about the possible long term effects of living in an environment in which you can always be contacted, always be located, and always contact others?

I'm only in my mid 20's, but when I was young I lived in the country and for whole days would be out of contact with 'civilisation.' I could have fallen down a well and noone would have found me for ages. Somehow I survived. By the time I was 11 or 12 I would camp out with friends, again with no ability to phone home if anything happened and no ability for my parents to check where I was. By the age of 16 I was living in a large city and starting to learn about wine, women and song - still without a mobile phone or TrackCo Tracking Brain Implant. It was only a few years ago that I started using a phone, and although it's useful I make sure to turn it off frequently and leave it at home occaisionally. I also regularly let it ring out so that people don't assume I will be contactable at all times.

Now my question is this: what about people who live their entire lives, from their earliest years, with a phone? Always in contact, always trackable. Surely this will have a serious psychological effect - severing of the umbilical cord of cellular connectivity already leads to panic in some people I know. If we go out camping and there's no reception, they get upset and on more than one occaision have climbed large hills in vain attempts to get back on the network. Other individuals have phoned me at random times sounding panicking and asking - why was your phone off? Are you ok??!

Basically what I am concerned about is that we will become a species addicted to the security of our cell phone blanket, and thereby lose a bit of our independence. I think we should change the culture to make it less centred around constant connectivity and more focused on convenience - convenience for the OWNER of the phone, not others who might wish to contact them. People should make a point of travelling occaisionally without their phones, turning them off during meals, movies, or even just for a few hours when they want to relax. The phone should be a tool, not a social floatation device to reassure us that if anything bad happens help is just a button-press away. Living with a panic alarm is just going to make you worry more about when you might need to use it.


Maximising political influence

caitsith01 caitsith01 writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I have recently become a member of a couple of organisations dedicated to causes that I am interested in - Amnesty International, and an environmental group with a very realistic and practical approach to protecting the environment.

I was motivated to do so because of the influence of money in politics. I decided that, if business interests are going to use money to influence political outcomes and marginalise the power of my vote, I had better fight fire with fire and put some of my own money into the mix to fight for what I believe in. I therefore tried to select groups who will use the money to maximum effect whilst still maintaining the ideals I want to support.

Really, this is quite a depressing situation. I feel like I shouldn't have to pay to have my views expressed, but when there are oil companies and anti-abortion religious extremists and weapons manufacturers and drug companies all pouring money into buying political influence it is not going to do much good to refuse to participate on the basis of principle. Recently, however, I've started to belive that it's possible that the only way to beat those who seek to corrupt the political process to serve their own interests is to get down in the mud and fight them with their own tactics and weapons - money, and to a lesser extent media spin and hidden influence of public figures. I think it is possible to do this and still maintain the moral high ground, because the 'interest' I wish to protect and serve is not financial, nor will it benefit me more than anyone else.

It's a dangerous path to take, though. There are so many examples of people who were once idealistic, decided they had to be in the game in order to win it, and ended up caring about the insider dealing and their personal interests more than the ideals they originally sought to champion. They say "anyone who isn't a communist when they're 20 is a coward; anyone who's still a communist when their 40 is an idiot," but to me that is just a lame justification for the tendency people have to lose sight of their higher aims and ideals and focus entirely on their own circumstances. I think that it's the person who is 40 and who has lost all of their idealism who is the coward and the idiot, not the person with the courage to still believe in something better and to fight for it.


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