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Ask Slashdot: Best Tools For Dealing With Glare Sensitivity?

dereference Yes, or adjust your monitor (195 comments)

Try installing some LEDs on the back of your monitor to illuminate the wall behind the screen.

Or, if you prefer more moderate or darker ambient lighting, you can simply turn down the brightness of your monitor. I normally keep mine between 10% and 25% of full brightness, and usually adjust the contrast a bit as well.

For what it's worth, I found this solution by mistake many years ago. I had set my laptop to always use its dimmest setting. It was a power saving feature, meant for use when powered by battery only. Having the screen always dim, I got very used to it that way. I wondered why other laptops started giving me headaches, until I eventually placed mine next to another, and realized it was the intensity of the default (full brightness) settings that was the problem.

about 2 years ago

Man Pays For Cross-Country Trip Using Bacon As Currency

dereference Not to him (176 comments)

I hope he keeps good records. The services he trades for bacon are considered "barter income," and are taxable at fair market rates.

You've got it the wrong way around. There are no tax implications to him. He just paid a fair price for goods and service. The providers of the goods and services, however, do need to keep track of the bacon received and report it (right along side all the traditional income) as barter income.

more than 2 years ago

Dice Buys Geeknet's Media Business, Including Slashdot, In $20M Deal

dereference Not a wrong number (466 comments)

Something sounds very wrong with those numbers. The ratio I usually hear of company sale price to earnings is on the order of 5 or 6 to 1. If said properties had $20m in revenue, the sale price for them should be over $100m

Earnings and Revenue are not the same. Revenue is basically just the gross income (with some adjustments). Earnings are net, meaning revenue minus expenses. In services (rather than products) industries, a sales price equal to the annual revenue is quite typical.

more than 2 years ago

VeriSign Could Add 220 New Top Level Domains

dereference Maybe not so many (116 comments)

You have to put a dot at the end of a domain name for a rooted search, or it's looked up locally first. If you're on a stanford.edu machine, and look up "music" or "art", you'll get the site for that department. If you want the "music" TLD (I wonder who gets that. The RIAA? iTunes? Myspace?), you have to type "music.". Unless you're really into DNS semantics, you probably don't know that.

That's an interesting point, but according to the man page for resolv.conf, the default for the ndots option is 1, meaning "if there are any dots in a name, the name will be tried first as an absolute name before any search list elements are appended to it." While you're correct that "music" won't work properly without the trailing dot, my guess is that most actual sites would be something like "www.music" (or something a bit more whimsical, such as "my.music"). In these cases, the name contains the requisite minimum one dot, thus hinting to the resolver that this is indeed an absolute name (specifically "www.music." or "my.music.").

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Statistical Analysis Packages For Libraries?

dereference MYSTAT (or SYSTAT) (146 comments)

Sounds like R might be a bit much for your needs.

Agreed. Another good alternative is MYSTAT, the free "student" version of SYSTAT. Note also that many academic institutions negotiate site licenses for SYSTAT, so you might already have the full version available to you.

more than 3 years ago

Online Call To Shoot President Ruled Free Speech

dereference Re:Assault (395 comments)

Can you explain the difference between someone stating publicly that they are going to kill the president, and a bully at school stating he is going to beat the crap out of another kid, or kill the school principal or blow up the school?

Yes. Do you honestly perceive these as entirely equivalent? Let's start with the fact that the secret service does not descend upon every kid talking trash and arrest them. So, clearly, there is a difference, whether you perceive it or not, whether you agree or not.

Did you maybe forget that not all of the possible "things one can say" qualify for protection as free speech? Threatening to blow up the school is along the same lines as yelling "fire" in a crowded theater (as the oft-cited example goes) or making a presumably false bomb threat. (I mention "presumably false" because in a real bomb threat, the actual crime has already taken place by planting a bomb.) These aren't examples of protected speech. These are criminal acts. And they should be punished accordingly.

These are the same thing - threatening the safety of another and should all be taken seriously.

Surely they need not be taken equally seriously. Otherwise we might employ your tactic of extrapolation. In such, one might argue that you're basically suggesting that all kids taunting "I'm going to kick your butt" while playing sports, or even "I'm going to get you" while playing tag, should be summarily arrested and charged as a threat to society. Can you not see that, at the very least, there is a spectrum of reasonable responses, and that contextual circumstances may play a role in deciding the appropriate action (if any) to take?

A kid threatening another in public may be considered bullying, but I hardly think we should arrest the bully. As I've already said, I think a more appropriate response would be to take steps to ensure the other kid is protected and safe (and has assurances of this) with no punishment for crimes that haven't yet been committed. And yes, if the bully should actually cause harm to the other kid (or anyone else) or starts using unprotected speech (e.g. a bomb threat) that's when the bully should start losing some rights immediately. I'd say the same principle applies to the ex-spouse example you gave above.

more than 3 years ago

Online Call To Shoot President Ruled Free Speech

dereference Assault (395 comments)

Wow. Thankfully you have no say in anti-bullying laws.

My statements do not at all imply that anti-bullying laws should be weakened. Bullying is libel/slander or assault, and should be treated as such by punishing the offender accordingly. That's not at all what happened in TFA, nor is it implied in my posting above. Indeed, I explicitly mentioned the case of assault as a vastly different situation. You seem to have extrapolated a bit too far again; you may be experiencing knee-jerk reactions before achieving full comprehension of these replies that apparently offend you.

more than 3 years ago

Online Call To Shoot President Ruled Free Speech

dereference Pre-emptive arrests (395 comments)

So basically what you are saying is if someone utters a death threat to someone else, like a guy to his ex-wife, then it's ok if the police don't do anything since they can arrest him AFTER she gets killed. Yes, that seems like the way it should work.

With one important alteration to your statement, to make is consistent with the GP you're mocking, the answer to this in the US should be a resounding yes, yes, and yes again! You extrapolated that the police should do nothing. I'd assert that the police should not be allowed to do anything to limit the rights of the person exercising free speech, let alone arresting that person. That doesn't imply the police cannot do whatever is reasonable to help protect the threatened party. If further hostile speech is done in proximity to the victim, that might be assault, in which case by all means arrest the person.

In fact, popular crime dramas for decades used this as a recurring plot point, that the police were unable to be proactive in their response. Detectives solved crimes. Crimes that already happened. They might then prevent further future crimes, but there was always an extant crime. What you may notice is that's no longer the case; art has caught up to the reality of life. Now many stories/shows/movies revolve around attempting to prevent a crime in the first place.

At the risk of reducing this to politics, I see the US "pre-emptive" invasion of Iraq as a turning point.

more than 3 years ago

Posting AC - a Thing of the Past?

dereference Post Anonymously (390 comments)

If you're logged in, but check the "post anonymously" setting, slashdot apparently retains your association as the author of that comment. You cannot mod your own comment in such a case, even if you logout and login again. I don't know about actual AC postings, although I suspect at the very least the source IP address is retained.

more than 3 years ago

Golden Gate Bridge To Eliminate Tollbooths

dereference Employer taxes (349 comments)

Interesting. Honestly curious Brit here - I know that US employees suffer lower levels of personal income tax than in the UK (or Europe) but I'm wondering if your employers pay more?

Probably not.

US employers don't contribute anything toward the personal income tax of the employees. This is obfuscated by the fact that employers in most cases are required to withhold from payroll several taxes that are obligations of the employee. These include estimated* personal income tax (federal, plus state and local as applicable) plus the actual Medicare tax and actual employee's share of the Social Security tax. Instead of being paid directly to the employee, all such taxes are withheld from gross pay, and paid directly by the employer to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of each employee.

The employer's only payroll tax liability is its share of the Social Security tax for each employee. For decades this has been split 50-50 between employer and employee, although just this year the employee's portion was reduced. Employers must also pay for several statutory insurance policies, including federal and state unemployment programs, plus in most cases a workers' compensation plan, but none of these is strictly a tax.

(*The fact that it's an estimate greatly confuses people on a mass scale, as they've been conditioned to believe that the interest-free return of any overages withheld is a gift from the government, and thus some even attempt to deliberately increase withholdings to achieve a bigger return, but that's another story entirely.)

more than 3 years ago

Tomcat 7 Finalized

dereference So much vitriol; so few answers (103 comments)

Basically how can execution of a thread be stopped [...]?

The short answer is that a thread can never be both arbitrarily and safely stopped. That's why Thread.stop() has been deprecated since nearly its introduction in Java. There's an official summary of the reasons, linked from the API. Essentially any forcible stoppage of a thread could silently compromise the thread-safety of the entire application.

How do you even time out Executor threads after a fixed amount of time?

If your worker threads happen to by blocked on IO or something similar, or they are waiting for a synchronization monitor, then you can indeed interrupt them. However, that doesn't seem to be the case in your situation; you seem to be saying that these threads aren't waiting, they're just merrily running along, doing productive work. You want them to be arbitrarily halted after some time or some event, but that's just not possible.

In those cases, your threads are supposed to police themselves, usually by polling some external signal (set by another thread) indicating that they should give up. Since threads can't kill other threads safely, the very mechanism has been deprecated. By the way, this has nothing to do with the (relatively new) Executor threads, nor with any particular version of Tomcat.

about 4 years ago

A Pointed Critique of Thunderbird 3's Performance Compared to v.2

dereference Mozilla Suite (234 comments)

Long ago, in the days of Netscape 6/7/8, the mail client of what was later Mozilla Suite (now SeaMonkey) was absolutely fantastic in terms of performance. The "new" standalone Thunderbird as introduced was horribly slow by comparison, and has only gotten substantially slower over time, even on the same hardware with roughly the same level and rate of messages. I haven't tried SeaMonkey recently, but several years ago it seemed an order of magnitude faster than Thunderbird. Does anybody know how Mozilla managed to make the standalone product so slow?

more than 4 years ago

Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project

dereference Of course not (687 comments)

Do you honestly think that if the authorities really believed a bomb was being put together there and the parents had refused the search, the police would have shown up a couple of hours later and gently knocked on the door to say "Excuse me, madam, I have a warrant to search this house for explosives, please allow me to execute it peacefully"?

No, of course not. I'd expect that some kind of SWAT team would be summoned the moment they refused the search in the first place. I'm not at all suggesting my proposed reaction would create anything less than a highly volatile and dangerous situation.

In fact, they'd probably simply be arrested on the spot. They would not be given any opportunity to contact their attorney, or even their child, to explain the situation. I'd guess that upon being arrested for something like "suspected support of a terrorist" that their house could then be legally searched despite their lack of cooperation. Perhaps then the "fuel for the mower" (noted in a sibling comment) would be used to justify the actions, to counter any potential claims of false arrest.

Again, it's rather easy (for any of us) to make such a decision as a thought experiment, when there aren't actually real police knocking on the real door, and a real innocent child isn't involved. But it would have been great to see the parents assert/defend their legal rights. I personally don't fear terrorists nearly as much as I fear that each time we don't stand up for our own rights, we risk their further erosion.

about 5 years ago

Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project

dereference Cooperative (687 comments)

...his home also had to be checked...

Yes, that's the most shocking part of the story to me as well. I'm not sure I'd be very cooperative with the authorities if I were the parents. I think I'd turn it into yet another learning moment, showing the kid how not to bow unquestioningly to authority. I'd have called an attorney, and politely declined the search until a proper warrant was served.

I'm guessing the parents were horrified to learn of the inconvenience imposed by the morons in charge, and wanted to get it over quickly and prove that their kid was good, so I don't fault them at all for cooperating. But they weren't responsible for the hysteria, and they shouldn't have been pressured to comply. It's as if the authorities allowed the administration to hold the entire school hostage, until this unfortunate family was forced to prove its own innocence. It's quite insane.

about 5 years ago

AT&T Glitch Connects Users To Wrong Accounts

dereference Almost certainly (138 comments)

I have no inside details on AT&T or Facebook, but what you've described is almost certainly the problem. AT&T very likely use fairly aggressive caching proxies, especially lately to help mitigate their infamous capacity issues. I'd say that what happened here is pages are being cached without proper regard for cookies. That's fine for sites that don't have custom accounts, and only use cookies for tracking various page view statistics. But Facebook (like nearly every other site in the world that requires a login) issues a cookie to identify you, once you've entered your credentials. So that cookie is how the server knows it's you, and not somebody else. If AT&T's forward caching proxies ignore this cookie, and just give you the most recent page served from Facebook, you're sure to hijack somebody else's session. And, since your first request sends your new credentials, the person you've hijacked (if still online) will now have passively hijacked your session, explaining the last scenario from TFA where sessions appeared to have been swapped.

about 5 years ago

Federal Appeals Court Tosses Spam Patent

dereference Citation (76 comments)

[citation needed] pretty sure most spam is not illegal.

Citation: CAN-SPAM Act

more than 5 years ago

Best Tool For Remembering Passwords?

dereference Until (1007 comments)

Post-It notes have the distinct advantage that no computer virus or Trojan can steal it.

Yes, that's perfectly safe, until you have to type it into a computer for any reason.

more than 5 years ago

Wolfenstein Being Recalled In Germany

dereference States (625 comments)

Could California declare "no more swastikas" and force Activision to edit California editions of Wolfenstein, or would the U.S. overrule that decision?

I'm not sure how serious you were, but (sorry in advance for a car analogy) California already requires stricter emissions rules than most other states, and car makers of all kinds (US and imports) must comply in order to have their cars sold in that state.

Unless a state law is somehow challenged and found to be unconstitutional, it would stand. One would guess that the display of swastikas would be protected speech (and thus laws against it unconstitutional). However, given the attention to "hate crimes" apparently gaining a lot of focus, you never know.

more than 5 years ago


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