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Google Announces Project Ara Developer Conference, Shows Off First Prototype

ezakimak only for nerds (62 comments)

No one in the mass market will buy this. So many already can hardly handle a one-piece phone/tablet/laptop/computer/device. Women will not buy it simply because it's ugly.

"Oh, but you can upgrade the camera" you say? Anyone that is so much into photography that they need a better camera will buy...... a *real camera*. You know, with interchangeable, actual high-quality, purposeful lenses.

"Oh, but you can just upgrade the screen or processor" you say? Prediction: the upgrade path for any generation chassis will be limited to only one or two steps, then you need a new chassis. Just like with motherboards (because that's what the chassis is).

Now, doing this for laptops... that's the real question--why haven't they done this *yet*. (And no, just because you can aggravatingly, pain-stakingly pry open a laptop to service it and in some cases interchange some parts does not qualify).

This seems like such a step backwards. Are they going to go through the whole 1980/90s plug-and-pray interoperability nightmare again? This is one reason Apple became so dominant--they locked down the hardware, supported a canned set of options, and made their hardware compatibility issues mostly a non-issue. Their stuff *just worked*.

Also, what about the additional avenue of security holes: counterfeit modules, hacked modules, modules swapped out when you're not looking, etc. The android security/permisisons model is already poor at best for the masses.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Desktop x86 Motherboard Manufacturers?

ezakimak Asus != ASRock (294 comments)

They are not related. ASRock may have originated from Asus, but that was over a decade ago. They have long since been their own distinct, separate brand.

about 2 months ago
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San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Dismantling Will Cost $4.4 Billion, Take 20 Years

ezakimak Why not escrow the funds to decommission? (343 comments)

They should put the funds to decommission a nuclear plant in escrow before it's even built and turned on.

about 3 months ago
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Why People Are So Bad At Picking Passwords

ezakimak Perhaps calling it "password" is partly to blame? (299 comments)

If pass phrases are inherently far more secure, why do we still prompt people to create and use a *password* and then make a big stink that they did *exactly that*? Just because they do that poorly we shouldn't hold that against them since the process itself doesn't do anything to help them do so better--it's actually at odds, whereas simply indicating the different process of selecting a pass *phrase* does.

Why not simply change the labels and validation (since when should a site ever *prohibit* any specific character from a pass phrase?!!) to say "pass phrase" to urge people in a better direction?

We have bone-headed developers that have "helpfully" sent out emails to every member of a site saying "to improve security we have stripped all non alpha-numerics from your password"... Huh????? a) that means you stored my pass phrase *in plain text* in your database, then b) you *shortened it*! and c) you reduced the available combinations and d) turned my pass phrase into a password.

We have *banks* adding "site lock" security--reducing the security of their websites and *lying* to their users telling them that a) it increases their security and b) *trust the site lock image to indicate that it's really the correct site* rather than educating them to check the *SSL cert*!

Perhaps we need an article similar to "what every developer needs to know about character encoding" but for "handling user credentials". It's obvious that it's not just users that don't get it--but many developers and businesses also.

about a year ago
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Death of the Car Salesman? BMW Makes AI App To Sell Electric Cars

ezakimak I just wish the public could purchase directly (168 comments)

When I know what I want, I don't need (or want) a salesman in the way. They aren't actually providing a service at that point--they're just like little kids watching as the cookie jar is brought out waiting to get their hand in it.

It's silly to me that manufacturers cannot sell their products directly to consumers. I'd love it if the "build-your-own" features on all their websites were actually useful--with a "buy now" button at the end rather than a "check local inventory" that never has exactly what you just spent 10 minutes configuring.

about a year ago
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Fedora 18 Installer: Counterintuitive and Confusing?

ezakimak Too bad. (458 comments)

I haven't used RH in over a decade--but do remember years ago they had a decent installer that would even pull up a tetris game to occupy you while it copied files. Sad to hear it's gone downhill. (Or am I recalling Caldera's installer?)

about 2 years ago
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Man Charged With HIPAA Violations For Video Taping Police

ezakimak Re:What about my privacy? (620 comments)

There is *no privacy* in a *public* place. By definition. For any party, anywhere. How you act in public, witnesses around or not, is open to public knowledge--be it praiseworthy or ridicule-worthy.

Furthermore, if they first claim it was being taken in as evidence, then later they *deleted* the file--doesn't that constitute destruction of evidence (the source recording) on the police department's part? (unless they used full chain-of-custody and a data-forensics lab to copy the file?) Not to mention the obvious violation of his private information as well--I highly doubt they bothered to get a search warrant before perusing his phone's contents.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Motherboard Manufacturers?

ezakimak Re:Raspberry Pi (352 comments)

This is also only a problem if you insist on using 64 bit Linux, which means you can't use Flash, Skype, or anything else that's 32 bit only, and your Linux ends up less compatible with all the content on the Internet than it usually is.

I dunno what distros have this limitation. At least gentoo installs as multilib by default allowing 32bit apps to run just fine. There are also 32bit library wrappers allowing 64bit browsers to use 32bit plugins. This has been true for years.

about 2 years ago
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How Do We Program Moral Machines?

ezakimak Re:Why I doubt driverless cars will ever happen (604 comments)

Even if the car had a fault, accedents usually come from stupid drivers.

While I agree with this conclusion, the problem here, is that drivers don't get trained and routinely tested in a simulator for their ability to handle failure conditions, unlike airline pilots that both learn and *train* what to do for all sorts of contingencies. Furthermore airline pilots are given psych evaluations to ensure they have a reasonable ability to not panic and freeeze in an emergency situation. A stuck accelerator pedal will likely cause a majority of average drivers to panic and just hang on for the ride feeling out of control.

There's a reason flying an aircraft requires more training and more frequent recertification (check rides)--more can go wrong, and anything going wrong that is not handled in an aircraft is much more likely to be fatal. Whereas just about any idiot can manage to get a license to drive a car.

I would not be opposed to more stringent qualifications for driver licensing. I think people take for granted how serious operating a vehicle really is--it's a 2 ton missile, and the laws of physics yield for no one.

about 2 years ago
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With Pot Legal, Scientists Study Detection of Impaired Drivers

ezakimak Just test cogntive/motor function directly. (608 comments)

Rather than try to formulate some arbitrary yet scientifically measurable number specifically for just one more possible cause of impairment, which may result in different actual effects in different people, why not just directly test cognitive and motor skills like they used to for alcohol before the breathalyzers were widely available?
Seems that testing someone's awareness and motor function directly would address the immediate concern--and handle *any* possible cause: alcohol, THC, prescription meds, OTC meds, and outright drowsiness (your own melatonin) all with one test.

about 2 years ago
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Tesla Motors Sued By Car Dealers

ezakimak Re:Good! Maybe they strike the stupid laws over th (510 comments)

Franchise law is not relevant to being able to customize your purchase.

Yes, it is. Because it means they don't really have to compete. If the nearest dealer is the only one for 1000 miles and they won't place a factory order for you below MSRP, guess what you have to pay for a custom order? Or... go find another dealer much farther away that will place the order for you at invoice and have to pay shipping (or fly out and drive it back).

Without these laws, you could order just what you wanted, pay invoice, and have it delivered to your door.
So, true, while they don't preclude you from placing a custom order and getting exactly what you want, they most certainly are relevant because they affect the manner in which you have to go about doing so and the price you may have to pay to get it.

about 2 years ago
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Tesla Motors Sued By Car Dealers

ezakimak Re:Good! Maybe they strike the stupid laws over th (510 comments)

Removing these laws won't make franchises disappear and all their employees become jobless.
It will make them have to be honest, compete, and actually *add value* rather be a protected middleman guaranteed business.

Just imagine if franchises had to win sales based on their *knowledge* of the products they sell, convenience of having ready-to-take, *desirable* inventory, and *honest, capable* service departments?

Instead we get the horrible current situation--you want a new car? You *must* go to a dealer--even though half the sales staff know less than you about the car you want to buy. You want *warranty* service? You *must* go to a dealer--whether they are competent or not.

In the ideal world in my head, a license to perform warranty service should be independent from a license to sell new or used vehicles. Any mechanic that can pass the manufacturer's certifications can qualify for a license to perform warranty service. You could place a custom order directly on the manufacturer's website and have it delivered to your home--or opt to go to a dealer and inspect existing inventory-where they have to *work* to earn a sale from you--by being knowledgable, and being good at choosing inventory that people want--not forcing their random selection on people because there are no other alternatives.

about 2 years ago
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Tesla Motors Sued By Car Dealers

ezakimak Good! Maybe they strike the stupid laws over this. (510 comments)

The car dealer franchise laws began in California w/Reagan helping a buddy's business. Soon Bush did similar in TX, then lobbyists picked up the ball and rolled it to the other states.
I can think of no other industry where it's in fact *illegal* for a manufacturer to sell their own product directly to consumers.
It makes it so that it is no longer a free market. Who knows what options and colors people actually want--dealers order speculatively what they think they can sell, then sell them--people wind up choosing between the existing inventory, usually none having exactly what they want. You'd think on big ticket purchases people would be more picky about getting exactly what they want--but we wind up with millions of same-colored cars on the road anyways.

Strike down these laws and it should be possible to actually order a vehicle that you customized on a manufacturer's "build-your-own" website--rather than it directing you to a bunch of local dealers that have their heads up their asses and don't actually have one in stock like you just spent 20 minutes configuring.

Furthermore, right now, if you want to place a custom order, you *have* to do it through a dealer--who is now an unwelcome middleman that *hasn't* made a sale yet thinks they still deserve MSRP markup for merely printing out the paperwork even though you beat a path to their door with no other option.

I truly hope Tesla wins.

about 2 years ago
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Scientists Who Failed to Warn of Quake Found Guilty of Manslaughter

ezakimak more examples of how ridiculous people can be (459 comments)

I fail to see how anything these scapegoats said would change the survival rate of the earthquake. With or without accurate warnings, people would likely still have died just the same--since they cannot predict the exact moment an earthquake will strike, it's reasonable to assume some people would be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time--and fatally so, regardless.

How much different did they expect the people to behave had "adequate" warning been provided? Did they expect everyone to evacuate? Sounds just like a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't scenario for these guys.

Ultimately, the *earthquake* is to blame for the fatalities--not the (in)accuracy of the geologist's predictions or warnings.
They should not be held liable for deaths by natural causes. This is truly ludicrous. I hope they win on appeal.

about 2 years ago
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Nissan Develops Emergency Auto-Steering System

ezakimak And how well does it make moral decisions? (391 comments)

A driver may well choose property damage over bodily harm--eg crash into another vehicle rather than hit a pedestrian that radar may not even detect.
I cannot believe this will sell.

about 2 years ago
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Reiser4 File System Still In Development

ezakimak Can't trust it to honor permissions (317 comments)

We know from experience that hidden files won't stay hidden for long. A little coersion and it confesses everything--all in hopes that it won't get reformatted.

about 2 years ago

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