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Comments

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Virginia DMV Cracks Down On Uber, Lyft

griffjon Re:Seems reasonable... (260 comments)

Do you live in the area? I do. The cabs here can suck. A cab in the middle of summer that smells of old smoke, with no AC, in 95F and 10% humidity in the middle of summer is a not good thing.

That said, there are some amazing cabs too - but it's a guessing game. I've been (illegally) kicked out of cabs because my destination was too far or too "dangerous". Cabs get very picky during peak hours on who they pick up and in what neighborhoods they pick up in. Only this year do DC cabs take credit cards reliably, and only because of much-hated and delayed regulation changes based on Uber entering the game.

Do I think Uber/Lyft/etc. need to join in to regulations? Sure. That's a good direction. But sorry D/M/V cab industry, maybe you should have upped your game a long time ago. I have much respect for a good cabbie, but not much for the industry.

about 2 months ago
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Is One Laptop Per Child Winding Down?

griffjon Re:OLPC vs EEPC (111 comments)

As I said many, many times during OLPC's early years, they should have brought it to market globally as a secondary source of revenue and driver of innovation. Props to focusing on education products for the least-served, but the OLPC created the industry niche for netbooks (and arguably, then, tablets), and then after hyping it up, refused to enter the market. They quickly got lapped by hardware that wasn't as open or as rugged, but was available to anyone for a low price. Once the netbook market got churning with the usual for-profit entities, they rapidly blew the OLPC out of the water in almost every user-experienced feature.

I'm still sad about how that worked out.

about 5 months ago
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Is One Laptop Per Child Winding Down?

griffjon Doomed to repeat (111 comments)

"Papert and Negroponte distributed [computers] to school children in a suburb of Dakar, Senegal. The experience confirms one of Papert's central assumptions: children in remote, rural, and poor regions of the world take to computers as easily and naturally as children anywhere. These results will be validated in subsequent deployments in several countries, including Pakistan, Thailand, and Colombia. [...] Naturally, it failed. Nothing is that independent, especially an organization backed by a socialist government and staffed by highly individualistic industry visionaries from around the world. Besides, altruism has a credibility problem in an industry that thrives on intense commercial competition."

Oh, wait, wrong decade. That quote was from the 1992 attempt to do this with Apple II and Logo instead of OLPCs, Sugar, and Scratch.

My bad.

about 5 months ago
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At my current workplace, I've outlasted ...

griffjon Current, meh, but previous... (177 comments)

At my previous place of employment, I had trouble writing out my "goodbye" letter to the team remaining, as most of the good stories involved people who not only weren't there, but no one left even knew them.

That might be a sign, btw, for any managerial types, to worry about your staff turnover. Just sayin.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Bypass Gov't Spying On Cellphones?

griffjon Some great apps (364 comments)

At one level, you're toast, right? You need a burner phone you bought with cash, without using ID, and to activate it without linking it to your person. You need to never have it with you at your commons places to be (house, work, coffeeshop on the corner, etc.) - and once you start talking using apps on a smartphone, you've multiplied the complications here 1000x. If you care that much, you probably should just give up on cell phones.

But, there are a tons of ways to make your usage of cell phones safer and more secure. The Guardian Project is a great place to start - https://guardianproject.info/apps/ - you can get their apps from the Play store, from the F-Droid OSS repo, or as APKs directly. It brings Tor to your Android, OTR chatting, end-to-end encrypted VOIP calls, and even PGP email.

iOS is a bit further behind with all of this, for various reasons.

There was a great guide on this last year, but the site seems to have gone offline. Some intrepid data-rescuers have put the content up on github:

https://github.com/opensafermobile/materials

about a year ago
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Cyber Squatters Grab Up More Than 600 'Pope Francis' Domain Names

griffjon Re:What about.. (73 comments)

It's best to not piss off His Holiness, Jean-Malreaux I

If you get that reference, you're very, very geeky.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Stay Fit At Work?

griffjon Re:A couple simple rules (635 comments)

One great trick, I probably saw it on lifehacker or similar, is to phrase your decisions in terms of priorities - i.e., when choosing to do activity X (TV, long lunch, etc.) instead of Y (gym, run, etc.), consider that you're saying, "no, X is a higher priority for me than Y right now." It's cheesy, but it help keep you focused.

Yes - bringing a home-made lunch saves a ton of money, and is much easier to portion-control with. Don't eat snacks at work (supply yourself with healthy alternatives if need be).

Instead of an hour lunch break, take an hour gym break to a nearby gym, or work with your supervisor for a flex hour instead of a lunch break, show up an hour later (and use that to go to a gym on your way in). You'll be *amazed* at the increase in your afternoon productivity by going to a gym in the middle of the day, instead of stuffing yourself at the nearest lunch spot.

Walk/Run/Bike to or from work - only works if you have access to a shower facility or public transit for one-way commutes at work

Join a gym, *hire a trainer*, set a schedule. I went to the gym 3x/week for 2 years, slowly lost 5 pounds. Added a trainer, lost another 5 pounds ... in 3 months.

It sounds like the company cares about health, which is a great start - getting access to shower facilities at work really opens up a lot of possibilities, so investigate some options there.

about a year and a half ago
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Users Flock To Firewall-Busting Thesis Project

griffjon Re:So... (91 comments)

b) Exit nodes don't matter for blocking purposes. Bridge nodes are discoverable, but Tor has made them difficult to discover the complete set, https://bridges.torproject.org/ (or, since that'll be blocked in most useful places, emailing bridges@torproject.org with the "get bridges" in the body) only gives out a few at a time with a captcha requirement, and only sends to https-enabled webmail hosts.

Tor also has an unknown number of private bridges people run and disseminate through their own channels to friends and family and so on. This, plus obfsproxy and related tricks like the flashproxy work from Stanford, make it really really difficult to discover and block enough bridges into the network.

about a year and a half ago
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Users Flock To Firewall-Busting Thesis Project

griffjon Re:So... (91 comments)

...and Tor provides much higher privacy for the user, with related tools like leave-no-trace bootable-thumbdrives (TAILS) , and is much, much harder to block than a VPN (Iran just this week decided to restrict all VPN traffic).

Also, basing this off of Windows means that rapidly throwing up new servers is a bit more cost-prohibitive and licensing-restricted than flipping on an Amazon EC2 tor image (not using your free ec2 slot? go here: https://cloud.torproject.org/ ) , or hosting a tor server on a cheap VPS.

I value the guy's intentions, but question his supervisors approval of his field assessment sections.

about a year and a half ago
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Mayer Terminates Yahoo's Remote Employee Policy

griffjon Re:She should watch this Ted Talk (524 comments)

My previous place had an unofficial no-meetings-on-friday policy, which meant most people worked - productively - from home on Fridays. Tons of flexibility, and it meant we, as a team, kept ahead of the game because everyone used friday to knock out not only the collection of "oh, if only I had time" pieces that collect over the week, but also those "I need 3 hours, uninterrupted, to really dig into this" big-think pieces. No one overly abused it, and the not-infrequent fade out ~4p still meant the week's overall work was more productive than if everyone worked that last, useless hour on Friday.

That being said, we were a globally distributed group, and had already adapted well to well-calendared and well-prepared-for remote interactions over chat, conference calls and video calls.

Yes, you lose out on the hallway-chats, so it becomes important to have some central hub of people, and to make sure that no one sub-team was completely disconnected from the pulse of the office, but it can be done, and done well.

about a year and a half ago
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Evil, Almost Full Vim Implementation In Emacs, Reaches 1.0

griffjon The Straightline Project (252 comments)

Clearly, the thing lacking here is for both vim-in-emacs and emacs-in-vim to be so feature complete that you can nest them until you exhaust available memory. I propose that we codename the project to create this "straightline" , as it shall generate infinite jokes on /.

about a year and a half ago
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Interviews: Ask Lead Developer Ben Kamens About Khan Academy

griffjon Re:Verification (69 comments)

To add on to this, P2PU is working with Mozilla's Open Badge system for providing a badge-based verification process; can this model gain traction in academia? (http://info.p2pu.org/tag/badges/)

about a year and a half ago
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Current favorite still-image camera type:

griffjon Re:"35mm DSLR" (316 comments)

The Canon line (DSLR and P&S) has the added bonus of hacking-friendly-ish firmware, and MagicLantern / CHDK tools.

about a year and a half ago
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Washington Post: We Were Also Hacked By the Chinese

griffjon Attack details? (135 comments)

Has anyone seen any details on how to detect this specific method of attack, malware signatures, or similar? Cause that just might be of use, seeing the widespread nature of this.

Also, who hasn't been attacked? Bueller? Bueller?

about a year and a half ago
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Turning the Belkin WeMo Into a Deathtrap

griffjon Re:Subtlety. (146 comments)

You laugh, but in Peace Corps I actually had a fridge whose thermostat controls were dead, so it operated at either full-blast (freezing everthing) or unplugged. I abused an x10 plug and a timing script run off a computer to cycle it on and off over the course of the day to regulate it. Never died!

I think the most nefarious thing would be to turn off automatic coffee-makers ~ 15 seconds after they'd started, so the grounds are soaked and warm (i.e. ruined*), and there's no coffee.

* For anyone who considers having a automated coffee pot with grounds in it overnight not /already/ a ruined coffee experience, that is.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Free and Open Source Apps For Android?

griffjon Great collection of F/LOSS security/privacy tools (134 comments)

The Guardian Project develops and maintains a list of great security and privacy tools (Tor for android, secure chat, encrypted VOIP, PGP support for email... ). They're generally cross-posted on f-droid, and you can find play, f-droid and source links here: https://guardianproject.info/apps/

about a year and a half ago
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Open Source ExFAT File System Reaches 1.0 Status

griffjon Re:This doesn't make sense to me (151 comments)

Perhaps this is what you're looking for? http://informationwithoutborders.org/ is a reference implementation of a distributed, often-offline filesystem that is kinda a store-and-foward, very slow bittorrent setup. There's also FidoNet (http://www.fidonet.org/genlinfo.html) and FidoIP (http://sourceforge.net/projects/fidoip/) which are a bit more node-to-node file transfer/storage oriented.

about a year and a half ago
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Open Source ExFAT File System Reaches 1.0 Status

griffjon Re:This doesn't make sense to me (151 comments)

Ahem. I believe Kingston demo'd one at CES this year, and you can buy a 512G flash drive today. Cheap? No, but I'll put money on being able to purchase a 1TB thumbdrive-style flash drive in 18 months, max.

I spent the last few days re-doing my home backup system. With an equal number of OSX and Linux devices, and no windows devices, the best option for a drive that could go back and forth with minimal custom/flaky driver installs -- but still handle files over 4gb was, of all things, NTFS. I was ... well, frankly, more pissed off about that fact than a normal person should be about disk formats.

Finally (and what I dug into this thread to say) is that Station Wagons have craptastic lag.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Hands-on with Pixel Qi screens in full sunlight

griffjon griffjon writes  |  more than 4 years ago

griffjon writes "Side-by-side comparison of the OLPC's screen and an Acer with the new Pixel Qi screen installed, both of course sharing Mary Lou Jepsen's screen technology:

"The XO's dual mode screen still rules in terms of pixel resolution at 1200 x 900 vs. the Acer's 1024 x 600. It was amazing to see Windows 7, Amazon Kindle software, the New York Times web site and a QuickTime video in direct sunlight. Shades of gray and some color tints are visible. Besides the XOs and e-ink based Kindle ereaders, no other color screen device I own can be seen as clearly in sunlight. Not even the famed iPad. In the video, you can see that at a certain angle where line of sight and sun are aligned, the new Pixel Qi screen glows as if backlit!""

Link to Original Source
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Negroponte sees SugarOS as OLPC's Biggest Mistake

griffjon griffjon writes  |  more than 5 years ago

griffjon writes "In an interview, Nicholas Negroponte claims that the biggest mistake OLPC made was the revolutionary Red Hat-based SugarOS — instead he says they should have built Sugar as an application that ran on a "vanilla" Linux OS. Some disagree."
Link to Original Source
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Spreading Open Source in Schools: Sugar on a Stick

griffjon griffjon writes  |  more than 5 years ago

griffjon writes "Sugar on a Stick is the OLPC interface, updated by SugarLabs, to a bootable Fedora 11 that maintains changes on a USB stick. It can run on any computer (after rebooting) or in qemu. Kids got to test-drive Sugar on OLPCs and other networks at a school fair, which is an interesting way for OSS to get a foot in the door in schools where teachers send home MS Word assignments: "[My daughter] brought [her teacher] a USB stick with OOo and an offer on my part to assist in setting up the lab with free software; I didn't hear back, but I didn't hear about Word any more, either.""
Link to Original Source
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First Thoughts on the OLPC Sugar/Linux Update

griffjon griffjon writes  |  more than 5 years ago

griffjon writes "With less flash but more substance, the latest update to the Sugar GUI for the One Laptop Per Child XO was released last week. Unlike the overwhelmingly flat and outright negative reviews of the Windows XP version for the laptop, OLPCNews.com gives Sugar 8.2.0 the thumbs-up: "Finally, the XO laptop really works! ...the user interface is much more intuitive. Or as one parent said 'I can use the XO now!'" Bonus: Instant suspend/resume is working."
Link to Original Source
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Comparison of XP vs Linux/Sugar on the OLPC XO

griffjon griffjon writes  |  about 6 years ago

griffjon writes "OLPCNews has a comparison of Windows XP to the Sugar/Linux OS on the One Laptop per Child XO-1, based on the Microsoft Unlimited Potential video, touching on video recording, power usage, boot times, and mesh networking. An interesting, if saddening, read."
Link to Original Source
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OLPC firmware update supports Windows

griffjon griffjon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

griffjon writes "The latest firmware release for the OLPC XO is built to support Windows XP, but you won't be able to install any normal XP version, it's a specifically modified one for the XO. It's sad to see a potentially great platform start making changes to support XP, not to mention that XP is only continuing to survive beyond it's deadline thanks to the low-cost laptop market that Linux and the OLPC created"
Link to Original Source
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Multilingual URLs

griffjon griffjon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

griffjon writes "The Washington Post is reporting that ICANN is testing out fully multilingual domain names (not just [non-western-language].com, but with TLDs translated into other scripts, fixing annoyances for non-English speaking audiences such as "speakers of Hebrew, Arabic and any other language written from right to left must type half of the URL in one direction and the other half — the .com, .net or .org postscript — the opposite way." Let's hope it goes better this time around; "Next week's experiments use the domain name "example.test" translated into 11 languages. A previous model, however, used "hippopotamus" instead of "test." These plans went awry when an Israeli registrar realized the Hebrew word ICANN thought meant "hippopotamus" was an expletive and threatened to involve the Israeli government.""
Link to Original Source

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