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Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

crow SQUIRREL! (631 comments)

Not to dispute your point, but your conclusion is wrong. When the largest backer is Wal Mart, you don't assume a high I.Q. in the customer base.

about a month ago

Building All the Major Open-Source Web Browsers

crow Re:Easy with Gentoo (106 comments)

I agree that it should be easy. My point wasn't to rely on distributors for building. It was that the work has already been done for major projects like the ones listed, so you can get a sense of their build complexity by looking at what they had to do.

For example, here are some ebuild sizes:
gcc-4.9.1 1556 bytes
mythtv-0.27.4 9796 bytes
firefox-33.0 11698 bytes
libreoffice- 18473 bytes
chromium-40.0.2194.2 18610 bytes
netbeans-ide-8.0 29367 bytes

That's a rough approximation of complexity. Sure, you can have a long but simple ebuild with comments and trivial stuff. You can hide lots of complexity in an eclass file. But it's a starting point.

As you can see, a project that uses a typical autoconf setup like gcc, while a very large project, has a very simple ebuild script. Meanwhile, Chromium and LibreOffice are quite complex. I don't know much about netbeans, but it's the largest ebuild in Portage right now. Other large ebuilds include openldap, ghc, php, and ati-drivers.

about 1 month ago

Building All the Major Open-Source Web Browsers

crow Easy with Gentoo (106 comments)

Of course, if you use a source-based distribution, it's easy, but that's not the point. If you download the source and build it yourself, you'll have to learn a bit about how they manage the build environment. You'll have to handle being sure all the dependencies are installed. You'll have to figure out any configuration options.

That's exactly what people who make distributions do. If you want to see how complicated the build is for any piece of software, just look at how complicated the build scripts are for various distributions. I expect you can find these for the binary distributions. With Gentoo, just look at the ebuild file.

about 1 month ago

Ebola Vaccine Trials Forcing Tough Choices

crow Harder if mildly effective (178 comments)

The difficulty in determining the effectiveness of the vaccine when you give it to everyone is dependant on how effective it is. If it reduces the chances of exposure resulting in infection by 10%, then yes, it will be tough to show that it's not useless. However, if it reduces the chances by 90%, it will be quite obvious.

about a month and a half ago

Test-Driving a $35 Firefox OS Smartphone

crow Not legal in the USA (132 comments)

It doesn't have a GPS. Doesn't that mean it's not legal in the USA? I thought that was required for all phones so that if you call 911, the dispatcher will know where you are. I also thought that the GPS was integrated into the chipsets that they have to use for other basic features anyway.

about a month and a half ago

Google's Security Guards Are Now Officially Google Employees

crow Good and Bad (134 comments)

There are good things and bad things about hiring workers directly for things like security. At the tech company I work for, we hire outside services for security, landscaping, stocking the coffee stations, and running the cafeteria. Obviously these workers aren't getting the same benefits package that direct employees get. On the other hand, it lets the company focus on doing what the company does and letting other companies specialize in other services.

It's rather like using an outside cloud vendor for IT services instead of implementing them in-house. The only difference is that the people doing the work are doing it on-site.

It also means that the outside contractors are treated differently when there are layoffs. The company decides to reduce headcount, but the service contracts are managed under different budgets, so those workers aren't cut.

about a month and a half ago

A Garbage Truck That Would Make Elon Musk Proud

crow Re:Low hanging fruit (174 comments)

FIRE TRUCKS: They rarely have to travel more than a few miles at a time, with plenty of time to recharge. And they're all ridiculously expensive already, so the added cost of batteries is insignificant.

about 2 months ago

Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

crow Why all the separate PLAY apps? (427 comments)

I use the PLAY store to get apps, and it has a bunch of other stuff integrated like music and movies that I ignore. That's fine. Buy why are there now all these separate PLAY apps? What's the point?

about 2 months ago

Remote Exploit Vulnerability Found In Bash

crow And in Gentoo (399 comments)

app-shells/bash-4.2_p47-r1 is not vulnerable. I just updated.

about 2 months ago

It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

crow His Dark Materials--first book only (410 comments)

The "His Dark Materials" trilogy was good, but the first book was by far the best. It went seriously downhill after that. There was a lot of potential, but it just didn't deliver.

about 2 months ago

Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

crow MythTV, FreeNAS (287 comments)

I have MythTV running with a 3TB drive, but it's down to the last 100GB. It also holds all our photos and Time Machine backup for one iMac. I'm now planning a FreeNAS box with 8TB usable and drive slots for three more drives when that fills up (probably 6TB or larger drives by then). I plan on ripping all our DVDs and putting them in storage.

I did a comparison of the cost between the server and a nice entertainment center that was mostly for storing DVDs, and the server won by a landslide.

about 2 months ago

Logitech Aims To Control the Smart Home

crow Re:express train to bankrupt (115 comments)

I think for most people this sort of thing doesn't make sense, but there are a few places where it does:

*) Security. If you're paranoid about break-ins, being able to monitor your home remotely can bring some peace of mind.

*) Stalking your family. The same security features will sell to anyone that wants to know what their family is doing when they're away. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; think of baby monitors and such.

*) Remote management. If you have a property like a vacation home or are just away from home a lot, being able to remotely manage the heat and air conditioning is a huge benefit. This also brings in the potential to do things like automatically disable the air conditioning if a door or window is open. I would love to have a thermostat that would display "close the sliding door to activate the air conditioning."

But yes, for most people, there is no need for any of this.

Then again, I would love to have automatic blinds that open and close based on such criteria as sunrise/sunset and weather. In the winter, I want the skylight blinds open during the day and closed at night. In the summer, I want the reverse. All the window blinds should close a half-hour after sunset by default (or maybe I would find something else makes sense).

about 2 months ago

L.A. TV Stations Free Up Some Spectrum For Wireless Broadband

crow Re:Sharing channel == worse picture quality (80 comments)

Possibly, but more likely they're dropping their subchannels that were ignored by everyone anyway.

Most broadcasters use their physical channel for one HD logical channel and several SD streams. For example, 4.1 might be HD CBS, 4.2 might be the same thing in SD, and 4.3 might be continuous weather. If they drop the SD channels, they can probably fit in both HD channels with little degradation.

about 2 months ago

Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

crow Re:Link to TFA is *not* paywalled. (149 comments)

It loads fine for me.

Many news sites give you a limited number of free articles. This may be one of those. Typically after you hit the limit, your options are:

*) Pay money
*) Don't read the articles
*) Clear your cookies
*) Use private browsing mode

about 2 months ago

Comcast Using JavaScript Injection To Serve Ads On Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

crow Copyright violation? (230 comments)

Does this violate the copyright of the sites the user is visiting? By modifying the content stream, they're creating a derivative work without authorization.

On the other hand, user-controlled plugins and ad blockers do that all the time, so I wouldn't be too quick to make that argument in court.

about 3 months ago

Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills

crow Re:Working from home (161 comments)

Yup. EMC provided me with an ISDN line and later reimbursed me for my Internet expenses when they switched to VPN. I think it was just a few years ago that they stopped reimbursing, saying that home Internet is now normal, and the VPN use doesn't increase the cost.

My phone has always been paid for by the company. If they stop paying for it, I stop using a cell phone.

about 3 months ago

How many devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi?

crow Re:Phones + 1 laptop. (260 comments)


I'm so glad that I wired our house for ethernet. Granted, WiFi wasn't quite up to speed fifteen years ago, but ethernet is rock solid.

Wired on ethernet, we have:
*) My laptop docking station
*) My wife's iMac
*) network laser printer
*) game console
*) MythTV DVR
*) Blu-Ray player
*) HDHR Prime TV tuner
*) OBI100 phone adapter

The WiFi has just one phone and one tablet except when we have guests, though I also have an ethernet outlet in the guest bedroom.

It was interesting to retrofit the house's wiring for ethernet. Mostly it was a matter of using existing phone or coax cables to pull new cables and converting the old single-purpose outlets into multi-outlets. Most place I put in two ethernet, one phone, and one coax. The coax has been a complete waste, but otherwise it was a great plan.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Should I Fight Against Online Voting In Our Municipality?

crow Municipal elections are *more* important (190 comments)

Municipal elections aren't less important than the Presidential election. On a per-vote basis, they're much more important. Your vote makes much more difference in a local election. The choice you make are much more likely to have a real impact on your community.

The problem with municipal elections is that it's much harder to learn who to vote for. You have to do real work to figure out who the candidates are and what they stand for.

Note: I'm an elected municipal official, so my opinion is a bit biased here.

about 4 months ago



Two Lost Doctor Who Episodes Found

crow crow writes  |  more than 2 years ago

crow (16139) writes "Two episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s, thought to have been destroyed in the 1970s, have been found. Both were in the hands of a private collector who didn't know what he had. Like most episodes of the time, these were half-hour shows, part of a four-part story, and portions of both stories are still missing."
Link to Original Source



Drinking age, status crimes

crow crow writes  |  more than 12 years ago A friend asked, The drinking ago: pro or con?

I'm of mixed opinion. I'm uneasy about the idea of status crimes. From a pragmatic perspective, I believe (though I haven't researched the statistics) that raising the age from 19 (as it was in many states) to 21 did, indeed, succeed in reducing drunk driving fatalities.

I think the problem is that our culture is not one in which we are taught to drink responsibly. Hence, when first given access to alcohol, the consumption is anything but responsible. By prohibiting such access until people are of an age where they are supposedly more responsible to begin with, such irresponsibility is minimized.

Not the best approach, but I don't see our culture changing teach more responsible behaviour anytime soon. On the contrary, I think we are still moving towards blaming others for our problems.

Of course, as one who doesn't drink, I may not have the best perspective on the topic.

Now on the related topic of the smoking age, I'm all in favor of the movement in California to raise the age to 21. Here my reasoning is very different: I don't think anyone should smoke, and setting a higher age should reduce the number of people who start smoking. This would be a move consistent with the trend to reduce smoking as a part of our culture. (California, like most western states, is large enough that the problem of people crossing the border to buy cigarettes is only an issue in a small portion of the state.)


Gas Tax at 40%

crow crow writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Today's thoughts on taxation:

The state tax on gas is $.21/gallon in Massachusetts. The federal tax is $.184/gallon. That's $.394/gallon, putting the pre-tax price at the pump under a dollar a gallon at the cheaper stations.

That's currently about a 40% tax.

Are any other forms of energy taxed at anything close to 40%?

Now granted, the government spends a lot of money keeping the transportation system going, but is 40% appropriate? How much does Massachusetts spend on transportation (excluding the Big Dig), compared with how much it brings in from the gas tax? What about the federal government?

Are gas taxes subsidising other government programs, or are other taxes subsidizing transportation? There are good arguements to be made for which way (if either) it should be, but I just don't have the information.

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