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The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

iamacat How and why? (323 comments)

They can "plan" and "call for" all they want, but EU has no authority over a US company and banning it from doing business would violate trade treaties. They can certainly set rules for doing business that apply equally to all foreign and domestic players. Why don't they focus on that instead of useless and inflammatory rhetoric? It seems that Europe has it's own tea party.

As to "why" part, where is the lock in? All major browsers including Chrome support a choice of search engines. Internet Explorer has Bing as default and soon Firefox will default to Yahoo. It sounds like EU government wants to put interests of its own big businesses over personal choices of ordinary citizens. Again, same as US, but so sad.

4 days ago
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It's Not Developers Slowing Things Down, It's the Process

iamacat Re:In my experience.... (185 comments)

Seems like a horrible and unusual experience. In a sane organization, getting fired would be a very extreme response to not participating in a single project. You will likely be transferred to something more to your liking. If it's your constant attitude, then yes you will have problems. But then how do you expect to work in a place if you can not make yourself useful?

4 days ago
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It's Not Developers Slowing Things Down, It's the Process

iamacat Speed is not the point (185 comments)

The last thing you want to do is quickly release an application that people do not understand and that doesn't do what is needed. A delay in release is much preferable. Multiple prototypes and user studies may be needed to clarify those vague specs.

Yes, discipline is needed and indecision can be taken to extremes. But most apps/services fail because they have not been adequately thought through rather than by launching late.

4 days ago
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Firefox Signs Five-Year Deal With Yahoo, Drops Google as Default Search Engine

iamacat Time for a truly open browser (394 comments)

Firefox, with its marketing deals and in-browser ads is no longer "it". It would be great to have an independent project driver by developer enthusiasm rather than anyone's business needs. Linux kernel and many other projects manage that somehow. Only then the software can do uncompromisingly right things for users and web developers. Why silently pick one search engine when query can be submitted to several in parallel and user given a quick tool to compare results?

On developer side, we need a truly great and modern language rather then ever more arcane Javascript libraries and optimization engines.

about a week ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

iamacat They can, however, make less mistakes then us (327 comments)

A well programmed police bot will not fire 3 shots in the back of a fleeing teenager. It may well only fire shots when innocent humans are in immediate danger and permit its own destruction otherwise, as more bots can always be sent to complete the arrest non-lethally.

The same bot might roll over a toddler hiding under the blanket because its programming doesn't cover this exact case and it doesn't have imagination. However, these mistakes will be rarer than human police/soldier. And after they happen once, every unit will get a software update with a new safeguard and apply it correctly every time.

about a week ago
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Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X

iamacat Careful what you wish for (327 comments)

I got a Wintec ExpressCard SSD for my 17 inch Macbook Pro and suffered through multiple rounds of filesystem corruption before realizing it's caused by trim enabler. I think this is a correct decision for vast majority of users. For the rest, there is an option of disabling kext signing.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

iamacat Don't bring anything (223 comments)

Every time when you do something exciting on this scale, any pre-set plans or goals get forgotten in a matter of days as new ones naturally present themselves. So just enjoy the experience and leave stuff home for a year. At most, bring a bunch of paperbacks to read during downtime.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

iamacat Re:Right tool for right job (219 comments)

You missed the new. It's now really free.

about two weeks ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

iamacat Re:children killing children (697 comments)

So what's up with arguments that you need an automatic gun with high capacity magazine to defend yourself against multiple meth junkies or whatever? Just give these guys bird rifles and they can keep intruders "reliably enough".

I think it's common sense that there will be some accidents where you hit people in the eyes, but by and large lethality is way less than military weapons if people are running away or conversly charging to disarm you,

about two weeks ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

iamacat Re:$100000 would buy a lot of crayons (697 comments)

I don't mind my car registration fees going towards funding highway patrol. Or gas taxed to mitigate climate change. I guess I am Ok with some of my ISP bill going to keep malware at bay, if government actually does so effectively. Having gun owners paying for technology to detect misuse of guns is no more or less fair than that.

As for mental health, I think going nuts is a risk of being alive, so all of us should pay taxes to keep these folks from hurting themselves or others equally.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

iamacat Right tool for right job (219 comments)

Thin client with a keyboard is perfect for K-12 education. As students join, leave, or spill coke on their laptops, you can just redistribute $200 clients and replaces damaged ones without draining your finances. Schools can not afford highly skilled administrators that would keep data backed up and secure enough to match cloud storage run by company that specializes in this kind of thing.

Microsoft could have joined this market and been fairly successful at it. I played with POSReady 2009 in a VM recently. It's pretty much ChromeOS with Win32/.Net API and ability to run Office and DirectX software locally would be nice. Not sure if it can be configured to be as tightly integrated with Azure as Chromebook is with Google cloud services, but Microsoft certainly has smart people to make it happen.

Instead, they have for long time chosen to focus on expensive Surface hardware that doesn't quite commit to being either a great tablet OS or a great desktop OS. New CEO has done a lot of interesting moves, like making Office free for mobile devices and iOS/Android development support in Visual Studio. Perhaps they will succeed in education in time.

about two weeks ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

iamacat Re:children killing children (697 comments)

You guys were hunting squirrels with AR-15s? Oh boy! And I thought those were small caliber rifles that, while still dangerous, are not very likely to kill a person, let alone commit a mass massacre.

I would certainly let my daughter hunt squirrels at somewhat younger age than I would let her drive, if she ever expresses interest.

about two weeks ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

iamacat Re:An ounce of prevention... (697 comments)

If mental health is the issue, even very basic gun regulation will be very successful at reducing violence. Most severely disturbed people are not great at patience, learning or cooperating with authorities. Make gun ownership conditional on periodically passing a class with realistic shoot/don't shoot situation training. This is anyway badly needed to increase safety of everyone, and especially gun owners themselves. But will also weed out unstable individuals.

Yes some will obtain guns illegally, but this gives authorities opportunity to bust sellers through sting operations or other means, or to arrest illegal owner during an unrelated brush with law. This is very similar to issuing and revoking driver licenses. There are many violations, but just imagine how dangerous roads would be with no licensing at all.

about two weeks ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

iamacat $100000 would buy a lot of crayons (697 comments)

Have cost-benefit analysis been done to show this is the most effective way to increase kids safety? Will this save more lives than having epi pens on hand, or more modern school buses?

The only way this makes sense is if these are paid for by taxes on gun sales. It seems reasonable to require buyers to pay taxes to combat potential misuse of their purchase (and that this money should not be used for other things like epi pens).

about two weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo Chamber

iamacat Re:Give credit to the first voice-only product (112 comments)

Voice accessibility features are for blind/reduced sight users who generally use their phones quite heavily, like they rest of us. While there are certainly bugs, they mostly suck for you because you never let go of the screen and train yourself to use them. Cooking, driving, biking lazy and especially blind/handicapped users will embrace and benefit from devices designed from ground up for voice.

about two weeks ago
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There's No Such Thing As a General-Purpose Processor

iamacat What a useless paper (181 comments)

Basically it's making a big deal out of the fact that today's commonly available hardware is optimized for today's commonly available software. Duh! General purpose is a term relative to purposes a particular person has in mind. Nobody is suggested that Core i7 is capable of running Lt Cmdr Data.

A genuinely interesting paper would have specific ideas for architecture capable of solving problems beyond the scope of current CPUs and GPUs.

about two weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo Chamber

iamacat Give credit to the first voice-only product (112 comments)

Voice control is there on phones and some car dash controls, but always as a secondary interface. Making a product dedicated to voice is a chance for both users and developers to stop relying on screen as a crutch and make the new interface really work for them. Eventually this can bring sales to Amazon if users find it more convenient to just say "Alexa, order me some toilet paper" rather than getting a phone out of the pocket".

about two weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo: a $200, Multi-Function, Audio-Centric Device

iamacat Re:Voice-only might work (129 comments)

Then his #@$hole will suffer in PMITA federal penitentiary and I can get lifelock and refunds for any charges. It's when law enforcement itself is corrupt all the way to the highest levels in the country that there is a big problem.

about three weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo: a $200, Multi-Function, Audio-Centric Device

iamacat Voice-only might work (129 comments)

It could be that losing screen is as essential for voice interface as losing keyboard and stylus was for multitouch tablets. Not in a technical sense, but to get both users and developers to embrace new way of interacting and discover what works. I see this working very well with kids, especially if wrapped in a cute toy and an age-appropriate content selection. If nothing else, this device will have terrific accessibility for blind users.

If only NSA didn't spoil the fun by displaying complete disregard for law and common sense! Now people will never trust the hotword detection and assume it can be overridden from remote to listen all the time.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Makes Office Mobile Editing Free As in Freemium

iamacat I am impressed (98 comments)

The company is trying something new. It may or may not work out for them, but if they keep exploring, they are bound to find something that succeeds. That, and the effort to really understand user needs through Windows 10 preview, tells me that there may be some how for MS to capture back some of their former success.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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LTE Hotspot as the only cellular service?

iamacat iamacat writes  |  about a month ago

iamacat (583406) writes "I am thinking of canceling my regular voice plan and using an LTE hotspot for all my voice and data needs. One big draw is ability to easily use multiple devices without expensive additional lines or constantly swapping SIMs. So I can have an ultra compact Android phone and an iPod touch and use one of them depending on which apps I fell like using. Or, if I anticipate needing more screen real estate, I can bring only a Nexus 7 or a laptop and still be able to make and receive VoIP calls. When I am home or at work, I would be within range of regular WiFi and not need to eat into the data plan or battery life of the hotspot.

Has anyone done something similar? Did the setup work well and which devices/VoIP services did you end up using? How about software for automatic WiFi handoffs between the hotspot and regular home/work networks?"
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ExtJS is trying to back down on LGPL

iamacat iamacat writes  |  more than 6 years ago

iamacat (583406) writes "For years, ExtJS was dual licensed under commercial license and LGPL. Now they decided to switch to GPL or commercial in an attempt to cash in on their popularity by pushing LGPL users into their commercial license. This is their right as code's owners. The catch? Jack Slocum of ExtJS is now claiming that their product was never licensed under LGPL and is threatening to sue people who redistribute old versions as such. That despite the previous license stating "Ext is also licensed under the terms of the Open Source LGPL 3.0 license". The author of a related project, gwt-ext, speaks out."
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iamacat iamacat writes  |  more than 7 years ago

iamacat writes "Jack Valenti died shortly after a stroke after leading MPAA for nearly four decades. His obituary describes him as "a showman, a gentleman, an orator and a passionate champion of this country, its movies and the enduring freedoms that made both so important to this world". Let's all mark the April 26 as a day to mourn passing of a great gentleman who lobbied so hard for our freedoms."

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