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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

edcalaban Stop yelling at me for my electronic fence (354 comments)

Dear FBI,

Just because I choose to prevent your abusive use of e-binoculars to watch me by putting up an e-fence, doesn't mean I'm a pedophile, child pornographer, or terrorist. It means I value my privacy and that I don't trust you.

Please stop abusing your powers.


about 4 months ago

Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science

edcalaban Re:The article is flat-out wrong. (315 comments)

I don't know why this is so hard for people to understand.

Because they don't read anything other than the sensationalized articles.

about 6 months ago

Coddled, Surveilled, and Monetized: How Modern Houses Can Watch You

edcalaban Re:So confused (150 comments)

To be fair, there are some advantages to smarter switches - adjusting light levels automatically based on current demand, keypads for controlling multiple lights to set (potentially different) levels at a time (ex: turn everything off, put lights to a comfortable TV viewing level), and for some setups allowing you to trigger your lights based on time or occupancy (though occupancy/vacancy is built in to switches now too).

For example, I have a switch that does vacancy sensing in my bathroom - now I can leave my fan on to air out the shower when I leave for work in the morning. A friend of mine has an occupancy sensor in his stairwell that turns on (and off) his entryway lights so he doesn't need to walk down and turn them off from their only switch (bad design, but something that happens).

Full disclosure: I work for a company that makes light switches and their control systems.

about 7 months ago

Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

edcalaban Re:A robot can only make 30,000 devices and...? (530 comments)

Is that 30,000 devices before being replaced, or 30,000 kinds of devices? The latter would seem to make more financial sense, though I'm not sure if it's actually feasible.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

edcalaban Re:The customer's basement (310 comments)

I could almost wish. She'd probably be less demanding :(

And I'd get more cookies.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

edcalaban The customer's basement (310 comments)

1. What is the most unusual location you have written a program from?
In the customer's basement. Their house, not their place of work.

2. What is the most unusual circumstance under which you have written a program?
Pretty much the above, but with the added amusement of two other techs standing around while you sit on some heating equipment, wondering why you can't finish this faster.

3. What is the most unusual computing platform that you wrote a program from?
A headless server box? Nothing too exciting here.

4. What is the most unusual application program that you wrote?
I only write usual boring stuff :(

about 8 months ago

Temporary Classrooms Are Bad For the Environment, and Worse For Kids

edcalaban Just like software... (187 comments)

The good old permanent temporary solution.

about 8 months ago

To Save the Internet We Need To Own the Means of Distribution

edcalaban Re:Yes. (338 comments)

If you're taking an extremely narrow understanding of essential, then yes. However, there are other reasons things might be essential - take Reverse 911 for emergency awareness (requires a phone). More generally, in this case essential infrastructure is actually being used like the term critical infrastructure. Some examples (cribbed without shame):

  • electricity generation, transmission and distribution
  • public health (hospitals, ambulances)
  • water supply (drinking water, waste water/sewage, stemming of surface water (e.g. dikes and sluices))
  • telecommunication

So the question becomes, "is the Internet critical infrastructure", not "is the Internet essential for survival". Personally, I think it falls quite nicely under telecommunications.

about 9 months ago

UK ISP Adult Filters Block Sex Education Websites Allows Access To Porn

edcalaban Clbuttic Mistake (227 comments)

It's every filter ever, all over again!

about a year ago

Microsoft Botches More Patches In Latest Automatic Update

edcalaban Re:way overblown (254 comments)

The issue is applying a new patch to an out of date version.

If this is not the definition of updating I don't know what is...

I think the AC means "applying a patch to a version older than it was meant to patch." Like those game patches that have to be applied in order.

about a year ago

Retail Stores Plan Elaborate Ways To Track You

edcalaban Re:Does anyone actually... (195 comments)

I do, and it doesn't seem to have impacted my battery life much at all.

I leave it on because it works with my car radio, and I use that (plus an app) to trigger various things, like turning off my WiFi when I leave in the morning. It also lets me play music on long trips and I can do bluetooth calls (in my car, not a headset).

about a year and a half ago

Hardly Anyone Is Buying 'Smart Guns'

edcalaban Re:Smart guns... (814 comments)

But to me, mine are kept in a safe that is secured to the floor in my house

Wait a second. You oppose guns that require the user to be wearing something, because you might not have it on at the time when you have to use a gun to protect yourself in a rush. But at the same time, you store your guns in a safe, which presumably takes the same (if not more) time to open as putting on the device that enables a smart gun.

If you properly maintain your guns to keep them out of reach of unintended users, then you are not going to be able to use them instantly in a crisis situation. That is how it has always been. Smart guns don't change anything.

I think the point he is trying to get at is if he's out and about with his gun, this adds the possibility of "Oh, I forgot my . Now the bear shall eat me."

In other words, there's the crisis this won't influence (gun is stored) and the one it will (gun is on him).

about a year and a half ago

Kenya Police: Our Fake Bomb Detectors Are Real

edcalaban Re:no testing I guess? (151 comments)

> Did all of these countries he sold them to fail to do any testing on whether they worked?

They passed the bribe test successfully. What more do we need?

about 2 years ago

In Wake of Poor Reviews, Amazon Yanks SimCity Download

edcalaban Re:"There Are Few Better Ways?" (511 comments)

I rated it 4 stars because I legitimately enjoy the game, and I think other people can too. It's not a singleplayer city builder, and that seems to be what a lot of people expected when the preordered the game. If you go in there thinking of it as a primarily multiplayer experience (like Natural Selection 2 or Team Fortress 2), the always on aspect isn't as bad.

Yes, it sucks that they decided an offline mode wasn't important (given I can still play when I lose connection and it resyncs later it doesn't seem a stretch...). Yes, the servers shitting themselves constantly sucks (lines occasionally, losing connection about every 1 to 2 hours, waiting to authenticate or getting stuck checking for updates). Yes, the standard deluge of day one issues that QA missed sucks (getting stuck in a mini-tutorial because it paused and I just used the last of my coal so I can't gift? WTF?).

But they're working on the servers, they're working on the bugs, and Maxis is being completely open about what's going on. Oh, and the game itself is enjoyable, I can play it with my friends, and it hasn't lost any progress even when I lose my connection and keep playing. So hey, maybe some of us are rating it based on if we enjoy it, not if it's Sim City 4.5.

about 2 years ago

Blizzard Set To Debut 'Something New' At PAX East

edcalaban Re:Definitions, please (150 comments)

Not the first, just the first to get super popular. Check your own wiki link - Aeon of Strife was the first, and they used to be called AOSs.

about 2 years ago

Python Trademark Filer Ignorant of Python?

edcalaban Re:Company lacks credibility (261 comments)

Honestly, I'm not surprised. We had a customer complain about having to buy an app on Android and iOS - said complaint somehow went straight to a VP. It trickled down through a couple layers of management before they came to us (the mobile app team) where we could explain that no, there's nothing we can do, it's no different from buying Office on a Mac and a PC.

The point being, these VPs are very knowledgeable, but their knowledge is a different domain (business, hardware, etc, not software). It's likely the same here - the people who decided on the brand name don't actually have much domain knowledge of software.

about 2 years ago

Google Outage Shows Risk of Doing Business In China

edcalaban Re:anyone else curious (113 comments)

Probably because most people won't know how to fix it.

more than 2 years ago


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