Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

fyngyrz Re:Pre-mapped environments are a dead end (131 comments)

You're quite right that roads will need to be upgraded to provide telemetry to autonomous cars, and this will happen gradually over many, many decades.

Didn't say that, didn't mean to imply it, and don't believe it. Other than that, no. :)

3 hours ago
top

Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

fyngyrz Pre-mapped environments are a dead end (131 comments)

The only way a car can be designed to safely self-drive is doing it just the way we do: by creating a local, up-to-date mapping of the surrounding area in real time and working within that representation with sufficient skill to respond to anything that might appear.

Pre-existing environmental mapping simply cannot keep up. Construction, pets crossing the road, wild animals, falling rocks, pedestrians, vandalism of road signs and traffic indicators and lane painting, washouts, drunks, heart attacks, stinging insects, oversize loads swinging around traffic lights and signs, special transports, some guy at the side of the road madly waving a hand-printed sign that says "BRIDGE IS OUT!"... the list of unpredictable effects upon the local driving environment seems almost endless -- and keep in mind these things can occur in combinations of more than one type and more than one incident. Often suddenly.

Further, if the car is smart enough to be capable of updating the environmental map in real time and deal with any combination of changes, then it's already smart enough to maintain a completely dynamic local mapping and doesn't need a pre-existing mapping for anything but gross navigational purposes (route planning) and even that can require the vehicle to adapt.

Contrariwise, if it isn't smart enough to maintain a full local environmental mapping, then it is inherently unsafe.

Someone(s) at Google didn't think this one through.

5 hours ago
top

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

fyngyrz Re:No one is saying that (466 comments)

No one should have a "right to not be offended." Being offended is subjective. It has everything to do with you as an individual, or as part of a collective, or a group, or a society, or a community; it varies due to your moral conditioning, your religious beliefs, your upbringing, your education; what offends one person or group (collective, society, community) may not offend another; and in the final analysis, it requires one person to attempt to read the mind of other persons in order to anticipate whether a specific expression or perception will cause offense in the mind of another. And no, codifying an action in law is not in any way sufficient... it is well established that not even lawyers can know the law well enough to anticipate what is legal, and what is not. Sane law relies on the basic idea that we try not to risk or cause harm to the bodies, finances and reputations of others without them consenting and being aware of the risks. Law that bans something based upon the idea that some group simply finds expression objectionable is the very worst kind of law, utterly devoid of consideration or others, while absolutely permeated in self-indulgence. It is, in the end, something that encourages weak-mindedness.

Conversely, when people are truly harmed (not just offended) without their informed consent (and legitimate defense is not the cause), then the matter is one that should arguably be considered for law. Otherwise, no.

Your story depicts consequences of concerted psychological warfare upon an incompetent individual. Harm is possible. informed consent is not. Special care that does not apply in general society is called for. This is why your example completely fails to make your point. What applies to competent individuals is not particularly relevant to what applies to those not competent, whether that be because they are biologically deficient, or simply too immature to attain that level of sophistication.

What you want, in the end, is that no one can be offended by expression or perception within the context of normal society. If you allow society to pursue this course, you will end up being unable to express yourself, for I guarantee you that almost anything you can say or do will offend someone, and likely grievously so.

Either you take the attitude that others must deal with the ideas expressed to them or within their ken, or you begin to muzzle yourself -- and everyone else. Benefits would definitely accrue to those who wish to be coddled, but everyone else will suffer. Free expression is important. It is definitely more important than the possibility that someone, or many someones, might be offended. If that's not how you see it, then we have no common ground where a meeting of minds could take place on this issue.

yesterday
top

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

fyngyrz Re: Moral Imperialism (466 comments)

You might as well say the constitution is based on words, so we can do whatever we want.

Here's the legit deal: The judges get judicial power. Guilty or innocent, sentencing.

The feds, congress get enumerated powers.

The states get anything else that isn't outright forbidden to them (ex post facto laws, for instance.)

Anything left after that goes to the people.

See how those powers slide in a very particular direction? See why it's downright silly to claim that they magically slide UPHILL to the judiciary, when there's no such indication, anywhere, that such is the case? AND, to hammer it home, the thing explicitly says that if it's not in here, it belongs to the states or the people. There is NO authority for SCOTUS to do most of what it does. None whatsoever. And hell, even if there were, there they go rubber stamping the inversion of the commerce clause, ex post facto laws, rights violations left, right and sideways... you're looking right at them, and you don't see what they've done to you, and the rest of us. Pity.

This is all about direct usurpation of power that belonged to the people, frankly. Although we still have just the barest sliver of it left, which we can apply via jury nullification. Although, as you probably know, we're not even allowed to talk about that in court because judges(!) don't like it. Funny thing, that. Judges. They seem to be doing a lot of unauthorized things, don't they?

2 days ago
top

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

fyngyrz That dysfunctional line in the sand (466 comments)

There's no such thing as a "well designed lawful age metric." Though I'm not sure you were even implying there was. But in any case:

It's about comprehension, consent, and physical development. Age cannot serve to draw such a multidimensional line effectively. There are obvious cases of young teens who know exactly what they are doing, are doing it carefully, and not in any way coming to harm. There are obvious cases of "adults" who are so unready for sex by the "comprehension" and "informed" metrics that it is painful to even consider it. And everything you can think of in between.

2 days ago
top

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

fyngyrz lol verizon (466 comments)

Verizon, as a telephone company, doesn't censor "illegal" voice traffic, does it? They do not, last I checked. That's because Verizon is a common-carrier and is not held liable for telephone content over its wires.

No, it's because they make sure every word you say is parsed by the government. The government decides if it doesn't like what you said if and when it becomes convenient for them to do so. Not only is your speech free, it's on deposit in special government accounts with your name right on them. You had just better hope it doesn't start earning "interest."

2 days ago
top

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

fyngyrz No one is saying that (466 comments)

You're being disingenuous here.

We know loud sound and loss of sleep can cause direct physical harm. That's the basis for not yelling, bullhorns, and so on.

There is no sane basis for banning words, drawings, sculptures, renderings, woodcarvings and so on. None whatsoever.

The only sane basis for banning *anything* is it either causes such immediate harm to purse or person, or it is so likely to do so (ex, massively drunk driving) that the activity must be interfered with to lessen the odds of that potential becoming reality.

When speech gets loud or amplified, the legit question is not what was said. Ever. The question is what were you thinking putting people's hearing and/or sleep cycles at risk?

There is no reasonable argument that can justify a "right not to be offended", and there never, ever should be such a thing encoded in law. It should be painfully obvious as to why. If it isn't... oy.

2 days ago
top

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

fyngyrz Re: Moral Imperialism (466 comments)

So, when people devise these tests, are they just out of their fucking minds, or what?

Awesome. You get it. You and a few others. Everyone else has a torch in one hand, a pitchfork in the other, and they like it that way.

2 days ago
top

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

fyngyrz Re: Moral Imperialism (466 comments)

Yes, but it's the Supreme Court's job to decide if the law about it is Constitutional.

Only because they said so (Marbury v. Madson, ca 1802 -- they made it up out of thin air.) The constitution says they have judicial power. That's guilty or not, assign punishment if so. Not "the law is whatever I think it is today."

The constitution is crystal clear about many things that the judges, in explicit violation of their oaths, have made mean something else entirely. Previous poster is quite correct. The experiment failed.

This is a corporate oligarchy. Not a constitutional republic. It's been that way for a while, but it's right out in the open now. Corporations are people. Money is speech. Those two ideas, taken together, directly disenfranchise the people. You think you can outspend a corporation? If you can, you probably own one. Or more. And you're part of the problem. The rest of us are just along for the ride now... a brave new world, indeed.

2 days ago
top

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

fyngyrz Lets do analogies (466 comments)

No, a better analogy would be locking up people for having a drawing of a copyrighted song. Because, you know, people might THINK of hearing the song, and we can't have THAT.

It's. A. Drawing.

2 days ago
top

Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

fyngyrz Oh yeah. :) (368 comments)

Most clickable things on the web don't have boxes to make them look like physical buttons.

Those are hyperlinks. That's the generally accepted, even traditional, look for a hyperlink. You do know what a hyperlink is, do you not? When I click a hyperlink, I expect to arrive on a web page forthwith. That's what they mean. But that's not what these mean. These mean... random stuff. Normal words... are words. Underlined and/or blue-colored words are hyperlinks. Buttons, despite Ive's insane, drooling jihad against skeuomorphism, should look like you are expected to reach over and press them. This leverages the user's familiarity with the real world (something I admit I don't think I can assume you have) and creates a natural understanding of an implied action just by existing. An action, I might add, that is not hyperlinking. Because we use, you know, highlighted words for that. How would you react to a stereo that had no buttons, just words on its face? Is that intuitive? Of bloody course it isn't. You press a button, it depresses, it looks different, it clicks, you know to expect the action to occur. If it's a toggled state, the button stays in. Natural. Normal. Expected. But a word? Where's the premise for touching a word? Where indeed? Hyperlinks, you say? YES! BLOODY HYPERLINKS!

Ives is probably the worlds foremost product designer

Ah. Ah ha. Ha. Ha Ha Ha. Oh, that is priceless. Just priceless. Ive's work is at best, a mixed bag, and he surely isn't the world's foremost designer. I can think of any number of designers that make him look like the pretentious hack he is. Starting with any number of supercar designers, wandering off into audio equipment and musical instrument design, heck, there are even refrigerators that are designed better than Ive's work product. Also, Scott Forstall's ideas were far better in terms of design than Ives. He just wasn't minimalist -- but minimalist is not a synonym for "good", and in fact, very seldom is that the case.

Also, look at the new Mac Pro. What a dysfunctional failure-storm. Can't install drives in it, doesn't fit in with other equipment well, requires desk warts to be even reasonably functional... expansion is a plug-addled nightmare... even the plugs themselves can be pulled right out, no security (physical or data) whatsoever. Oh yeah, Ives. I wouldn't let that guy "design" my kitchen. He'd probably take out all the plugs, knobs and buttons, color everything silver, and not allow silverware dividers in the drawers or pots on the stove. But you'd get a microwave with only one setting, and son, you'd be expected to like it. And you... well, you probably would. Lacking any kind of taste as you do. ;)

You're one of these people that will always be a reactionary against change.

Yes, absolutely, that's why I praise Mavericks so highly after years of buggy OS's left unfixed. That's why I thought "awesome" when the fully expandable Mac Pro came out, and why I bought right in. That's why I changed from Windows to the Mac. That's why I generally have the latest in home theater gear. That's why I have a Tesla on order. That's why I cohabit instead of marry. That's why I'm atheist and not theist. That's why I just took in a severely injured kitten. That's why I get such a kick out of messing with a Raspberry Pi, cobbling up little RPi projects we can use around the house. That's why my favorite literary genre is hard science fiction. That's why I have moved to SDRs, away from conventional radios. In fact, that's why I write SDR software.

Yeah, I'm just terrified of change, you bet. You crack me up. Any other "insights" you might care to share while you're making things up out of the clear blue? I think Fox News is holding a place for you, better get right over there.

Let me attempt to clue you in here: I'm not "afraid of the new Mac Pro because it's.... new", I dislike it because they functionally crippled it and because they compromised its reliability. I'm not "afraid of Yosemite because it looks different", I don't like it because it is unintuitive. because it is known to have privacy issues, and because it is ugly, which I would hasten to point out to you, since you clearly don't get it, is not in any way the same thing as "new."

I think your actual problem is that you pee down your leg when another Apple user doesn't play the sycophant as you expect. Can't help you with that. In my worldview, something is good when it actually is good. Not just because it came from a particular source.

3 days ago
top

White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

fyngyrz Re:Just impractical (348 comments)

Podkayne... isn't real?

But... but...

She's why I wanted to be a synthesist!

3 days ago
top

White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

fyngyrz Er, what? (348 comments)

Yet another "Ready, Fire, Aim" sally from the blind, deaf and dumb contingent. Please DO go on, it's absolutely fascinating. :)

You might start with your definition of a "libshit"; is that a left winger? A libertarian? A librarian? What?

Also, I was dreadfully sorry to learn that your sense of humor was shot off in the war.

3 days ago
top

Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

fyngyrz Consumer driven products are often vehicles (368 comments)

My nearly-an-SUV 3/4 ton pickup (Avalanche) neatly converts into nearly a full pickup if I want it to. The back of the passenger compartment comes out, the rear seat area becomes part of the bed, and as a bonus, you can pop out the glass, open all the windows and the moon roof, and you're nearly sorta in a jeep. Kinda. If Jeeps had pickup beds. :)

Reminds me of recent fighter designs. Not really great at any one thing, but pretty good at most. As long as I don't have to take it into a furball, I guess I'm ok.

3 days ago
top

Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

fyngyrz Re:Apple's take on Windows 8 (368 comments)

Primordial subatomic particle soup?

Why, we used to virtually sit by an imaginary pond, hypothesizing that probabilistically speaking, we could, at some point, be observing the potential ducks quarking. Then we just like "flock it", and someone decided to bang (big) and that was the beginning of the end of that. I'd expand upon this, but I'm too hubble to indulge. I red that, it must be so. It's enough to stretch your brane.

3 days ago
top

Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

fyngyrz Re:Apple's take on Windows 8 (368 comments)

Grass? We didn't have any grass. We just cowered in and among the anthills, interminably scratching our ant bites, waiting for the next Monolith to drop from the sky so we might learn how to utilize the bones of our fellows...

3 days ago
top

Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

fyngyrz Or not (368 comments)

Well, if you have a Mac you'll use and like Helvetica.

Or, you'll stick with buggy-ass 10.6/Mountain Lion if your machine is one of those left unsupported by Apple in its most recent "fuck you" to its customers, or, you simply still require that your PPC apps work.

Or, if you can run it, you'll stick with 10.9/Mavericks. And benefit from (finally) a decently stable OS that hasn't yet been hit with the flat stick, uses the nicer fonts, and generally try to hang on for a while until hopefully, Apple gets rid of that blind, tasteless cluetard Ives, followed by a return to design principles that don't make their products look like a generic pack of cigarettes.

I mean seriously -- have you folks yet *looked* at Yosemite? Minimalism taken beyond ugly, well into "what the hell" ("buttons" that are nothing but text... who was the dimwit that thought that was an "advance", I wonder? Browser with no title-bar, information-poor pseudo URLs... it'd be funny if it weren't so sad. These functional downgrades were *not* done with usability in mind. For anyone. This isn't design. This is flailing at random change with no one around who can tell you "dude, that's... stupid" to your face.) I'm half surprised they didn't take the ability to nest folders away. But hey! Maybe next time, eh?

3 days ago
top

The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

fyngyrz (E|e)volution (345 comments)

We can unequivocally, repeatedly, and successfully demonstrate evolution in software as well. It's a done deal. Period. No doubt whatsoever that evolution is a real process, and works just as advertised.

Anyone who denies the process works is either mired in denial or ignorance, no exceptions whatsoever.

As for how it applies to reproduction and the changes that occur from generation to generation ("Evolution"), once you actually know how evolution the process works, it is a lot harder to explain why it would not apply to such biological/temporal sequencing, than it is to explain how it does.

Add that to the fact that we have no other competing theory with anywhere near the repeated validation of the process for how things managed to get as they are, and it's clear that it is definitely time to apply a reasonable level of confidence to Evolution, cap E.

The (very) sad thing is how deeply a lack of basic scientific understanding pervades the citizens. Not so they could do science, just so they could learn science is a tool that actually works to directly advance our understanding of the reality around us, unlike superstition and myth, which only serve to obfuscate and delay understanding.

Our K-12 schools are terrible.

4 days ago
top

Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq

fyngyrz You're an ACA troll (376 comments)

I'm not failing to say anything.

First of all, the only reasons an employer healthcare plan gets cancelled WRT anything to do with the ACA, is 1, they don't meet the minimum standards (which means the plan sucked and its former members need to get themselves onto a plan that doesn't) or that 2, your employer decided to cancel it, in which case, your beef is with your employer. There no even moderately adequate plan, anywhere, that the ACA caused to stop working or otherwise interfered with.

Health care does the best for the most when it is available to all people who are sick and/or injured. Not just for people who make money. If you want diseased people walking the streets without treatment, you're clueless. If you think ER treatment is sufficient to deal with that, you're clueless. If you think ER care is cheaper than proper prophylactic care, you're clueless. If you think forcing sick people to come to work is good for the most important things -- the economy, the other workers, the individual -- you're clueless. If you think people suffering in pain and without adequate treatment is ok if they're not working, you're not only clueless, you're an ass. If you think the government making sure that no one (ok, fewer people... but it's a start) goes without health care is a *bad* idea, then you have failed to rub enough brain cells together to create the required spark of intelligence you need to properly evaluate these issues. So you probably want to rethink this, preferably this time with the facts at hand instead of drooling right wing agitprop.

Now, what has your lack of a job got to do with the ACA, other than the fact that you have more options for healthcare, assuming your state isn't one where the right wingers have destroyed the bottom rung of the ACA by rejecting the medicare expansion?

Yes, the tree of liberty has some very severe problems right now, but the ACA isn't one of them.

5 days ago

Submissions

top

If you're connected, Apple collects your data. No matter what.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  3 days ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "It would seem that no matter how you configure Yosemite, Apple is listening. Keeping in mind that this is only what's been discovered so far, and given what's known to be going on, it's not unthinkable that more is as well. Should users just sit back and accept this as the new normal? It will be interesting to see if these discoveries result in an outcry, or not."
Link to Original Source
top

RRAM poses challenge to FLASH memory market

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "RRAM, a long-awaited alternative to other memory technologies that can retain data while powered down, has finally reached manufacturing. With higher data density, 3D stacking on chip (not chip-on-chip, but layer-on layer), lower power, more longevity, RRAM seems poised to drive electronic storage considerably forward. If initial designs use the current interfaces, we could see some immediate performance gains (RRAM is quite a bit faster than flash) as well as increased data capacities. Of course, no one needs more than... oh, never mind."
Link to Original Source
top

Samsung releases source code for NX300 and NX2000 mirrorless cameras

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "There are already powerful third-party software mods for cameras such as magic lantern, but as far as I know, they're all reverse-engineering efforts, and have been somewhat hamstrung because of that. Samsung, in offering the source code to these two cameras, may have tapped a golden vein. I'm a Canon user, but upon learning this, I immediately began to consider Samsung as a 2nd camera."
Link to Original Source
top

Twitter sells two years of user data, tweets

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Thought those tweets had settled back into anonymity, or that they weren't being kept for long? Ooops. Turns out that Twitter has sold a huge database of several years tweets to a marketing company, which in turn has quite a list of customers ready to data-mine the trove of remarks about, well, everything."
Link to Original Source
top

FAA Bill Authorizes Surveillance Drones over US

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Congress passed a bill this week that makes it easier for the government to fly unmanned spy planes in U.S. airspace. One wonders if those gentle souls who find it so entertaining to shoot road signs will enjoy this intriguing new opportunity."
Link to Original Source
top

Time Travel in our lifetimes?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "If space travel is the final frontier, then what is time travel?

Einstein showed that mass and energy are the same thing. The time machine we’ve designed uses light in the form of circulating lasers to warp or loop time.

In Einstein’s theory it turns out that not only matter such as the Earth can create gravity but also light. It is the energy of light that creates gravity. Consequently, since time is affected by gravity and light can create gravity due to its energy then light can also affect time."

Link to Original Source
top

Legal Tender? Maybe not.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 3 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Lousiana has passed a bill that says people may no longer use cash for second hand transactions. The idea being to make all transactions traceable, thus foiling copper theft, etc. This move has profound implications that range from constitutional rights to bitcoin, Craigslist and so forth; I wonder if there are any slashdotters at all that support such a move."
Link to Original Source
top

Costdom of Speech

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 3 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "Philadelphia decides that bloggers must pay $300 for a "license." Again, government, this time at a city level, interprets "shall make no law" as "hey, boys, let's make a law!" The first — and the fourteenth — amendment specifically say this is not allowable government behavior."
Link to Original Source
top

In THIS house... FTL fields and currents. Really!

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "So you think of electrons like dominoes in a wire. Push on the one in the end, the others react one after another. Pretty vanilla physics. Further, because the electrons are moving, you get magnetic effects, radio, etc. Good stuff. So. What if you move all the "dominos" at once? Put your virtual hand on all of them, and push them over. They're not moving sequentially any longer. They move together. At any speed you can make them go. Well, that's what these researchers are doing — "pushing" all along a conductor at once, able to make a signal go — ready? — FTL. Fascinating stuff. And it may explain pulsars."
Link to Original Source
top

Copyright sure... but what about "feel"?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 6 years ago

fyngyrz writes "After securing copyright permission to use the Romantic's song "What I Like About You", the publisher of the game "Guitar Hero" is being sued by the band because "the company has infringed the group's right to its own image and likeness" because the cover song is so similar to the original version.

They're seeking an injunction against the game, which could do some real sales damage during the holiday season if granted.

Now, speaking as a musician, I'm right with the program when people say copyright is flawed, but... has this band fallen off the edge here?"

Link to Original Source
top

Climate change science; taking a closer look.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Climate change, global warming. Done deal, right? Not so fast:

A study has been submitted for publication in the journal Energy and Environment which actually looks at the level of support in the scientific community. From the results: "Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis." It is very interesting to see how neutral (and properly so!) the scientific community actually remains when it comes to anthropocentric global warming.

Are we seeing the pendulum swing back to a rational position?"

Link to Original Source
top

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming."
Link to Original Source
top

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Looks like Mars is warming just as fast as we are. Unfortunately, it's a little more difficult to whip the public into a frenzy of guilt over emissions when even the most daft rank and file citizen will figure out that our CO2 excess doesn't make it to Mars under any circumstances, and so the discovery doesn't bode well for the CO2 alarmists.

Looks like we might be back to terrorists, panicking over each others morals, and legislating personal choices for the entertainment of the day."

Journals

top

Why no recent journal entries?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Because I have a blog at http://fyngyrz.com/.

It kind of makes the whole journal thing redundant. If you really want to see what I have to say about random things, by all means, you're invited to the blog. If not, well, it seems you're in substantial company, if nothing else. :)

top

One of those poignant losses

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 7 years ago

18th October, 2007, we lost a dear old friend, a (mostly) Siamese cat yclept "Gwai-loh." Gwai was quite vocal, as are many Siamese; he also had some strange characteristics, for instance you could hold him upside-down on the ceiling and he would walk around - inverted - for as long as you were willing to hold him up there. For years, we kept him around the office, and he had a habit of coming up for affection when whoever he was approaching was on the phone. So he'd come up to you, get right up to your face (and the phone) and let loose with a really loud meow. Which you would then have to explain to the customer. One time I was on the phone with a rather famous Hollywood special effects dude when Gwai let loose with this, we had a good laugh over it. Eventually, we put up a web page on our site with a .wav of Gwai's signature meow, and a picture of him staring at a screensaver on a ginormous (for the time) monitor. A surprising amount of the code in WinImages was written with Gwai warm and settled either in my lap or across my arms.

Well, eventually, the old boy's liver failed, and I put out a rather startling amount of money to see if we could get around that, and amazingly enough, it worked. We got two more years of Gwai, all of it of quite high quality, before he finally laid down for the last time. His last couple of days were spent purring and head bumping while all the while refusing to eat or drink... finally, he just didn't wake up.

I miss him terribly. Sometimes it hits me right between the eyes and I can't even think straight. I can't dig over a decade and a half of unconditional love and affection out of my system with any amount of rationalization or any other flavor of self-bullshittery. Here's to my grizzled old friend. I only hope he knew how much I loved him in return.

top

Mouseovers - as bad as popups?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 7 years ago

Is anyone else as annoyed as I am by words and phrases in web articles that pop up boxes because my mouse pointer happened to cross them, temporarily hiding the content I was reading in the first place? I didn't click on anything, and consequently, I don't want a context change. I find these annoying to the point of noting what the site is and not going back. Anyone else feel the same? Anyone have a defense of the practice?

I went to this article today to read it in response to a slashdot posting, and managed to accidentally activate the wireless mouseover / popup as I was reading. Bam. Content hidden, thought stream interrupted. Isn't this essentially popups, revisited?

top

Cold War, Version II

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

So I wake up this morning, and Putin has dissolved his government.

Then, same morning, Russia announces a bomb with nuclear-level destructive capability. But they say they're not escalating.

Then, later the same day, the US announces they have a matter-antimatter (proton/positron) annihilation laser, which, they say, is to normal lasers as nuclear weapons are to normal bombs.

At the same time, Bush, old "We'll never pull 'em out", is about to announce a troop pullback in Iraq.

Oil's hovering around $80 a barrel. The dollar is in the outhouse, and we've basically had many of our civil rights eliminated or made irrelevant.

Did I miss something here?

top

More on Global Temperature Change

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article (vile email registration required) from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming.

But wait; there's more. This months Discover Magazine (print version also) has a lengthy article about this same mechanism, that is, cloud formation driving the climate and the sun driving cloud formation by way of modulating the effect cosmic rays have, by Henrik Svensmark, the 49-year-old director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen.

Svensmark says that we are in a warming trend, so his conclusions are at odds with those of Patterson; but they both agree that CO2 isn't nearly the looming threat that it has been made out to be with regard to climate change.

top

Montana surprises us again, this time on Eminent Domain

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Recently, Montana legislators made news when they passed legislation outlawing Real-ID, calling it a threat to privacy and liberty. Now, legislation making the taking of property by eminent domain for the purposes of increasing tax revenues illegal has been passed and signed into law by Montana's governor. For more on why this is a serious issue, check out the Supreme Court's "Kelo" decision, named after a Connecticut woman who (unsuccessfully) fought to keep her home from city plans to arbitrarily take it and subsequently turn it over to private developers with the objective of collecting higher tax revenues from the property.

Montana has a 2% unemployment rate at present, and maintains a balanced budget, something the feds might want to give some consideration to. I have to say that although I am typically very cynical about government, and although Montana has made some very serious mis-steps in terms of liberties in the last few decades, the state seems more interested in doing the right thing than the wrong thing at this point in time, and I am feeling very pleased with my representatives right now as a long-time resident.

top

Has Apple made a costly miss-step?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

With the recent news about cellphone activity allegedly being the underlying cause for the sudden loss of large numbers of bees, an insect that forges an absolutely critical and irreplaceable part of the food chain, is Apple's iPhone doomed to enter the market just as cell phones face severe clampdowns, or even wholesale replacement?

Cell phones operate at microwave frequencies for a pretty good reason; basically, microwaves enable small equipment. They also do a decent job of penetrating many types of structures, if not through the walls, then at least through the windows. However, there are other frequencies available, lower frequencies that have been busy for many decades without any significant observed effect on bees or other life. People already understand how useful cell phones are, and there are manufacturers with significant experience in VHF radio, to name one technically possible replacement band — so an interesting market shake-up is certainly feasible. Excellent VHF transceivers are marketed by amateur radio manufacturers, for example.

Normally, we would assume that an established, profitable market similar to the cellphone market would be stable and have a long, healthy life expectancy based on the functionality offered to the market. However, if the bees go, we will too - and that, ladies and gentleman, is an outcome that not even Steve Job's legendary reality distortion field can deal with.

Perhaps Apple should get back to working on OSX, and forget the iPhone. I have this nagging feeling that the iPhone is going to be this year's "politically incorrect" device. I know I've stopped using my cellphone for anything but emergency calls; how about you? Seen any bees lately?

top

My Mac finally crashed.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I bought my daily-driver Mac, a mini, pretty much when the PowerPC mini was released. I was tempted beyond belief by that form factor, and the price. I loaded it; a gig of ram, bluetooth, wifi, modem, big drive (for the day), the superdrive, and so forth. I bought every option because the more that was jammed into the box, the more I liked the form factor. I know it's a little weird, but there you have it.

Since then, I've used the little box daily, for just about everything. It's been powered up since I bought it (thanks to a UPS.) This year, a couple of months ago, I bought a Mac laptop - a top of the line 17" Mac Pro - but I still use the mini every day. I've rebooted the mini many times, almost always in response to an Apple upgrade or security modification, once when I went from 10.3 to 10.4, never as an attempt to fix a problem. I've never had any problems of that kind, frankly.

Today, without any particular warning, my Mac dimmed the screen, locked my mouse and keyboard, popped a black rectangle up which informed me in no uncertain terms that I needed to reboot. Now. I lost a long post I had been writing for Kuro5hin.org, and I failed to even reach the level of being annoyed about that because it was just so astonishing to me that the mini had actually - gulp - crashed.

I just want to say that I hadn't even realized that my expectations had been silently and sneakily leveraged to be so astonishingly high. After years of being screwed with, and over, by Microsoft operating systems, I no longer expect that an OS should, or will, crash. Massive kudos to Apple.

...and my little PPC mini came right back up, and yes, I'm using it right now, and I still don't expect it to crash. :) I was using a beta version of a web browser and my guess is it was just a little too beta.

top

Best slashdot comment ever encountered

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 9 years ago Best slashdot comment, ever:

Russia's Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered

Posted by timothy on Monday July 25, @11:48AM
from the but-what's-the-motive-detective-columbo? dept.
Karellen !-P writes "Vardan Kushnir, a notorious russian spammer who headed the English learning centers, the Center for American English, the New York English Centre and the Centre for Spoken English, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head."
----------------------------------------
Should have opted out. (Score:5, Funny)
by Tackhead (54550) on Monday July 25, @11:54AM
(#13157866)
> He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.
From a hidden microphone at the scene of the murder:

"You are receiving *WHAM* this blow to the head *WHAM* because you are part of a *WHAM* specially-selected list of *WHAM* people who agreed to receive *WHAM* blows to the head *WHAM*.

To stop *WHAM* receiving these *WHAM* blows to the head, please *WHAM* email us at no-more-please@optout.blowtothehead. com and *WHAM* we will remove you from our list of *WHAM* blow-to-the-head-club members *WHAM* (heh, we said "club"!) *WHAM* within 24 to 48 hours.

top

Slashdot needs some fixes

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 9 years ago Slashdot is fun and useful and all, but there are some pretty annoying problems with the site. They constantly come up in an "off topic" manner, and consequently get (sort-of) appropriately modded down - this journal submission is intended to give them a legitimate home. I submitted it as a story, but - of course - it was rejected.

These are the things that seem most obvious to me, but I am sure there are others, given how annoying the issues I have in mind are to me. Please feel free to add your thoughts to all this, shoot my ideas down, whatever.

Moderation is anonymous

I say this is a Very Bad Thing. You can compare this to Kuro5hin, where you can easily see who did what to whom. Moderation with accountability allows anyone to see when a vendetta is being pursued, or when someone is systematically modding a subject down because they disagree, rather than because the issue is actually off-topic, a flame and so forth. I cannot begin to count the number of comments I have seen that have been modded down because they were contraversial, as opposed to offtopic, flamebait, or whatever else the down-mod claimed they were. The site's editors are also anonymous and that provides a hidden power structure which isn't a particularly good thing in any venue. I have read multiple claims that this poster or that poster cannot get mod points "because they modded something [a slashdot luminary] posted some time ago." If this is an illusion, exposing who did what to whom will in turn expose the illusion. If it is not an illusion, then exposing what happened should reduce the problem, because such action would rightfully be condemned by readers if it is inappropriate. I find the idea that the site's editors might be sneaking around and quietly muzzling moderators in a punitive manner more than a little disturbing.

So my first suggestion here is simply to lose moderation anonymity. My second is that if and when mod capability is removed from a user, the date of, and reason for, that action be posted right in their user page.

Many - perhaps even most - down mods are punitive or inappropriate

I suggest that the meta-moderation process be adjusted to include the ability to flag down-mods as obviously inappropriate, and to remove moderation privileges from those who commit such down-mods, as well as the down-mods themselves.

Up-mods don't need metamoderation

I suggest the outright removal of metamoderation of up-mods; if someone considers something interesting (or whatever) positive characteristic, who are we to say that this isn't so? That's the moderator's take on the comment, and up-moderation is a (very limited) opportunity for a moderator to "uplift" the story to the rest of us based on that perception. Upmods aren't harmful the way down-mods are - quite the contrary - and it seems to me to be a complete waste of time to metamoderate upmods for that very reason.

With mod points so scarce (and I agree they should be) we are forced to pick the things we really appreciate to up-mod. I rarely see an honest need to down-mod (obvious "first post" and gay/nigger trolls excepted), but I simply do not see a need to counter an up-mod. Someone thinks this, that or the other thing is insightful or interesting or sexy or whatever? Ok, that's at least notable - and that is exactly what an up-moderated and hence higher point comment does, it becomes more notable - not more interesting, not more insightful, but more notable. It might not actually seem that the applied moderation is accurate to us on reading the modded comment, but it is interesting that so-and-so (or at least "someone", if moderator anonymity remains preserved) thought it was worthy of a mod point. Comments can argue the issue if a poster is so motivated, and that seems like plenty of recourse to me. We see this all the time anyway; why not simply make it the official means of argument with an upmod?

Metamoderation is a scarce resource - put it where it does the most good

The removal of up-mod metamoderation could allow multiple meta-moderation of down-mods so that a reasonable, multi-user consensus that a down-mod is innapropriate can be reached. It seems to me that it should not be a light thing to say that someone is abusing the moderation system; you want to be reasonably certain. A meta objection to a down mod should cause that down-mod to immediately rear its ugly little head in a bunch of other meta-moderation queues so that consensus can be reached - and then corrective action taken if the mod is widely deemed inappropriate. This last point is important: It is a real shame that reasonable posts are permanently lost to the default view because some moderator was being a twit.

Fix the comment point system

There are several things wrong with this area of the site. The first is simply exposure, like authorship of moderation. Anyone who looks at the summary of points in a profile and tries to figure out what happened to a heavily moderated comment in a story is doomed to failure. It's Byzantine at best, and opaque and threatening at worst. Expose it.

Next, The math behind up/down mods is bizarre, to say the least. At a minimum, fix it so it is linear; or if not, then at least expose each and every mod point and show what it did to the story (along with the inflicting member - again, see Kuro5hin for a nice example of how this should be done.) Of course, if only this is done, an outcry will probably arise to fix the math, for the obvious reasons. :)

Expand the moderation choices

I have also seen lots of very good suggestions for additional moderation reasons. I'd like to see the readership discuss that here and perhaps a poll be subsequently created to see which new moderations should actually be added.

Story submission is entirely in italics

How is one expected to visually check the HTML of a story if the story preview enforces italics for the entire body? Why not use dark blue on white, and let italics flow according to the story tags so we can actually see what we're writing? You know, that radical new concept, "WYSIWYG"?

Sign the Polls

Stories are signed so we know who to thank (or blame) for the story. Sign the polls too. As I write this, there is a poll up for "favorite writing instrument" and the poll fails to include "keyboard" as an option. Somebody should have some digital egg on their face for that one. Maybe accountability will result in better quality polls. One can hope, anyway!

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?