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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

cje Florida voters support normalizing relations (435 comments)

The conventional wisdom that it's political suicide in Florida to support normalization of relations with Cuba just isn't true any longer. 56% of Americans in general support it. That number increases to 62% if you focus only on responses from the Hispanic/Latino community, and it increases to 63% if you just ask people from Florida.

Here's the poll.

The "angry Scarface extra" demographic in Florida is dying (both metaphorically and literally.) The times, they are a-changing.

about a month ago

Grand Theft Auto V For Modern Platforms Confirmed

cje Denser traffic? (133 comments)

While some of the proposed changes (e.g., better draw distance, more detail, etc.) aim to make the game better on modern hardware, it seems like adding things like "denser traffic" would have the effect of changing the gameplay itself. While denser traffic would certainly make the game's Southern California setting a little bit more realistic, I'm not sure that it would make the game more enjoyable. In particular, it seems like a change of this nature could make some of the game's high-speed chase missions and side events into a big pain in the ass.

The fact that you can do something doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

about 8 months ago

Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

cje I don't know. (294 comments)

If the contents of my Facebook feed can be taken into consideration, one could reasonably make the argument that robots are smarter than humans right now.

about a year ago

Nearly 1 In 4 Adults Surf the Web While Driving

cje Re:first post from the road! (365 comments)

I realize that you're dead, but you browsed the Internet while driving... on dialup? That's pretty hardcore.

about a year ago

Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns

cje He doesn't get it. (572 comments)

The issue is not "intermittent Internet connectivity." Most of the people who are spun up on this are concerned about the principle of always-on DRM in general. Even if people had an iron-clad agreement with their ISP that they would provide them with five-nines uptime on my WAN connection, it doesn't change the basic principle that lots of people are miffed that their Internet connection is being used on a 24-hour basis to demonstrate that they are, in fact, not thieves.

Of course, this doesn't even address the fact that the most reliable Internet connection in the world is completely useless if the server(s) that you're attempting to connect to are down due to incompetence, unanticipated demand, DDoS attacks, etc.

about 2 years ago

Reiser4 File System Still In Development

cje Aliens (317 comments)

The murder of his wife was the straw that broke the camel's back, but for me, I started turning away from Reiser based on the sliminess of the Burke character he played in "Aliens". Of course, that "Mad About You" shit didn't help much, either.

more than 2 years ago

Libertarian Candidate Excluded From Debate For Refusing Corporate Donations

cje Re:Slashdotter in congress (627 comments)

"Mr. Speaker, I move that we... pour a bowl of hot grits down our pants!"

more than 2 years ago

Ask Steve Wozniak Anything

cje Apple II graphics / text "Venetian" interleaving (612 comments)

Anybody who programmed the Apple II back in the 1980s is familiar with the interleaving "venetian blind" effect due to the relationship between locations in both the text/low-resolution and high-resolution video RAM and their actual locations on-screen. I seem to remember reading that this was a conscious design choice by you early on and that it resulted in somewhat simpler hardware. Can you shed some light on how the Apple II's graphics structure came to be?

I spent so much time writing code to generate lookup tables to map locations in video RAM to their on-screen counterparts that at one point I had the hexadecimal 6502 machine language sequence memorized. This, sadly, is now gone (replaced by quotes from Seinfeld reruns and meaningless football statistics.)

more than 2 years ago

TSA Spending $245 Million On "Second Generation" Body Scanners

cje Re:Note to TSA (335 comments)

The problem with the Israeli model is that it isn't terribly feasible at a large scale. It works because Israel is a tiny country with only one major international airport (Ben Gurion) that needs to be secured. This type of massive security infrastructure (extremely tight physical perimeter around the airport, security personnel with extensive psychology training, countless constantly-monitored security cameras, legions of plainclothes guards, etc.) is not a realistic scenario when you have hundreds of major international and regional airports like the US does.

more than 2 years ago

Secret Security Questions Are a Joke

cje Bad security questions (408 comments)

Not only are some of the "standard" security questions bad because they're easy to research, some of them are bad because there are multiple correct ways to answer them, and it can be difficult to remember how you chose to answer.

My least favorite security question is "What street did you grow up on?" Depending on the answer to this question, there could be four completely valid ways to answer it. For example, I grew up on 5th Street. So depending on whether or not I feel like the word "street" ought to be included in the response, there are four correct ways to answer this question:

"Fifth Street"
"5th Street"

Now, I'll choose one today, when I provide my initial answer. But when I'm asked this question six months down the road, am I going to choose the same one? Maybe not.

The key is not just choosing good security questions that are hard to research and/or guess. They also should have unambiguous answers.

more than 2 years ago

Skydiver Leaps From 18 Miles Up In 'Space Jump' Practice

cje Heh (192 comments)

I'm the original author of this little piece of satire, and it amazes me that it still continues to pop up regularly after more than a decade.

more than 2 years ago

Don't Super-Size My Smartphone!

cje Personally, I don't want them bigger (660 comments)

I have an IPhone 4S, and it's about the right size for me. Most days, I wear jeans to work, and anything bigger than the IPhone would be uncomfortable to carry around in my front pocket (not to mention cumbersome to take out when I need to answer it). I can see the benefits to having a larger screen with a higher resolution, but the bottom line is you have to drag it around with you.

There's always the option of using a belt clip, which would make it easier to carry around a phone with a larger form factor, but I just don't like that from an aesthetic perspective. To me, it's a compromise between screen size/resolution and convenience, and I'm perfectly happy with the 3.5" screen.

more than 2 years ago

Bas Lansdorp Answers Your Questions About Going to Mars

cje Re:Sex (189 comments)

If it's a boy, you could name him Kim (after Kim Stanley Robinson).

And if it's a girl, you could name her Kim (after Kim Stanley Robinson).

more than 2 years ago

Ask Joseph Palaia About Building Lunar Machines and Living On Mars

cje Protection from space-based radiation (107 comments)

One of the biggest impediments to long-term settlement of Mars is the fact that it lacks an Earth-like magnetosphere to protect surface dwellers from solar flares/CMEs and other forms of energetic particle radiation. Similarly, the very thin Martian atmosphere provides little of the protection that the Earth has from photon-based radiation (e.g., UV/X-rays, etc.)

How much of a problem is space-based radiation for future Martian settlers, and what would be the best way to deal with it?

more than 2 years ago

Introducing SlashBI

cje Re:This will go down well...lulz (339 comments)

Slashdot died the day that Jon Katz left.

Please, for the love of everything that is good and holy, bring back Jon Katz! /runs and hides

more than 2 years ago

Tennessee "Teaching the Controversy" Bill Becomes Law

cje Burgers don't flip themselves... (672 comments)

...and even a high-tech economy needs ditch diggers.

Do I feel sorry for kids in Tennessee? Sure, I suppose. They didn't really have anything to do with this. But at the same time, it's not like this happened by accident.

more than 2 years ago

Tennessee "Teaching the Controversy" Bill Becomes Law

cje Re:There you have it (672 comments)

You're making a joke, but in many ways, gravity is much less understood than biological evolution is.

more than 2 years ago

Teens Share Passwords As a Form of Intimacy

cje Thanks for the spoilers warning (533 comments)

I was planning on reading Romeo and Juliet this winter.

Now it looks like I don't have to.


By the way, Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, and Bruce Willis was dead for the whole movie.

about 3 years ago

Inside Obama's Twitter Blitz On the Payroll Tax

cje Well, this one is. (294 comments)

I hate to say it, because it's horribly unpopular from a political perspective, but this payroll tax "holiday" is just disastrous policy. Depending on what numbers and what year you're looking at, anywhere from 81 to 89 percent of the entire U.S. budget goes to two things: defense and entitlements. And of those entitlements, the biggest long-term liabilities and problems that we have are Social Security and Medicare.

When you hear these Presidential candidates talk about how they would fix the budget deficits by getting rid of things like the EPA, the IRS, the Departments of Commerce / Energy / Education, etc., then you know should know that they are not making any sort of good-faith effort at solving the problem, and that they cannot be taken seriously. The dirty little secret is that you could cut out 100% of the discretionary non-defense spending (i.e., everything except for the military and entitlements) and you would have barely made a dent in the problem as a whole.

The whole purpose of the payroll/FICA tax is to provide funds for Social Security and Medicate. Again, these are the two biggest problems that the U.S. has from a budget perspective -- biggest by leaps and bounds. So not only does this policy make the deficit problem worse, it makes it worse in the worst possible way. Politicians can claim that these tax cuts are "paid for", but everybody knows that these types of Washington claims are usually just shell games for political purposes.

For what it's worth, I like the fact that the payroll tax holiday disproportionally benefits those towards the lower end of the income scale. But there has to be a better way to do this, especially at this critical time in history when the Boomers are retiring and we're going to need these trust funds more than at any time in our history.

more than 3 years ago

NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers

cje Re:Ban all the drivers.... (938 comments)

I don't disagree with this at all, but the cynical side of me fears that there would be a slew of special-interest groups (everybody from law enforcement agencies who are reliant on traffic ticket income to MADD) who would move heaven and Earth to prevent something like this from ever seeing the light of day.

more than 3 years ago


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