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Taiwan Protests Apple Maps That Show Island As Province of China

jfruh Isn't this what the Taiwanese believe as well? (262 comments)

Both the government of the People's Republic of China (which controls the mainland) and the government of the Republic of China (which controls Taiwan) believe that Taiwan is a part of China. The two just disagree about who China's rightful government is. I realize that over the past 60 years Taiwan has grown more and more self-contained and has become a de facto state independent of China, but in theory there's nothing either side should object to in portraying Taiwan as part of China.

about 6 months ago
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How Big Data Is Destroying the US Healthcare System

jfruh this is banned starting next year (507 comments)

Kind of bizarre that this whole jeremiad seems to ignore the fact that the Obamacare reforms ban exactly this practice starting in 2014? This is responsible for a lot of the disruptions to the market we're seeing now -- some young healthy people are going to be paying more, and some older sicker people are going to be paying less. (The other disruptions are that some of the old policies had coverage caps that wouldn't have covered expensive catastrophic illnesses; that's also banned, and their replacements are more expensive.)

about 6 months ago
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Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Private Business Will Not Open the Space Frontier

jfruh SpaceX is impressive, but... (580 comments)

...to say that it's an example of free enterprise in space is laughable. The company's most high-profile missions -- the Dragon capsules to and from the ISS -- are fully paid for by NASA. SpaceX is essentially a government contractor. It's "profitable" because the government is paying it do things (and because it can do those things more efficiently than the government could itself, for a variety of structural reasons). So, yeah, I have no doubt that Elon Musk could set up a Mars colony if the U.S. government paid him to do it. I'm just not sure that really constitutes "private business" doing the job.

about 8 months ago
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Transport Expert Insists 'Don't Dismiss Wacky Hyperloop'

jfruh 10% of the capacity of high-speed rail (385 comments)

An actual transit engineer crunches the numbers here:

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/19848/musks-hyperloop-math-doesnt-add-up/

And finds that while the journey for individuals may be faster, the system as a whole would have one-tenth the capacity (i.e., the ability to move people in numbers) than the planned high-speed rail system. You could solve this problem by building 10 times as many tubes, of course, but that would eliminate the 90% cost savings Musk is touting.

The radically reduced travel times vs. HSR are also deceiving. The maps Musk released show the system travelling from the fringes of the Bay Area to the fringes of the LA area, because it's hard/expensive/impossible to get land for the straightaways you'd need for the project within densely built up urban areas. To get from San Francisco to the hyperloop station, or from the hyperloop station to downtown LA, you'd have to switch to local transit or drive, which will double or triple travel time. Not coincidentally, must of the construction and expense that adds to HSR's very high price tag will come in SF and LA urban areas, since that system goes from downtown to downtown.

about 8 months ago
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Microsoft Slashes Prices On Surface

jfruh Re:Better idea - inform the consumer (330 comments)

Right now MS adverts for the surface are nothing more than hipster dipshits dancing on a boardroom table and spining the Surface around ... MS can't act like Apple.

iPad and iPhone ads are actually pretty good about showing you in succinct ways what you can do with the product. They're usually made up of quick, targeted clips of apps in use. It's kind of flabbergasted me that Microsoft hasn't done the same thing with their TV ads, especially when it comes to Office. It's almost as if their marketing dept. came to the conclusion that "We have to fight Apple on their own terms" without actually sitting down to watch how Apple markets its products.

about 9 months ago
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How the Syrian Electronic Army Hacked The Onion

jfruh Re:I read the Onion, I thought it was a joke (91 comments)

This is wildly incorrect. You could tell form their posts that the Syrians knew exactly what the Onion was and were actually writing Onion-style headlines to promote their point of view. "UN admonishes Syria for getting in way of Jewish missles," that sort of thing.

about a year ago
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Surface Pro Sold Out; Was It Just Understocked?

jfruh for the love of god, why? (413 comments)

It's a lap-burning battery-sucking brick with processing power to rival a laptop. That's the type of tablet I want.

You and very few other people! I mean, what's the point, exactly? Why not get a similarly light ultrabook? The whole idea of a tablet is that it's light, the batterly lasts all day, and the UI is oriented around touch. I mean, there are things about the iPad that drive me nuts (particularly file-handling, or rather the way it tries abstract away file-handling completely) but it gets all that right. Do you really want something as heavy as a laptop with a laptop-focused OS, but with no keyboard?

about a year ago
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Forbes 2013 Career List Flamed By University Professors

jfruh fundamental misunderstanding of what academics do (370 comments)

The problem is that many non-academics believe that the primary job of college professors is teaching undergraduates, and so they see any time not in the classroom as "time off" (never mind that the ratio of classroom prep time to classroom time can approach 1:1 if you really care about doing it right). In some institutions this is much of what college professors do, but in most schools that have any pretentions of being a research institution, academics are expected to produce publishable scholarship. Scientists and engineers spend much if not most of their time in the lab; humanities profs tend to work less collaboratively, but still spend a lot of hours reading, researching, and writing in whatever their field is. Most schools will give lip service to the idea that working with students is the most important thing, but in reality most of the incentives are geared towards producing quantifiable amounts of research (so many books, so many published articles, etc.). Far from having semester breaks "off," professors often use this time to focus more intently on their research, and sabbatical years are generally used to polish off major works of scholarship. On the surface, it can seem like this is work you're doing for you rather than for your job -- after all, it's your name on the book, and you take your reputation with you if you jump to another school -- but this work is one of the university's primary missions, and it's what they're paying you to do, as it reflects back on htem.

It's also worth nothing that in those schools where teaching undergrads really is the primary mission, professors spend much more time in the classroom than the stereotype discussed in the Forbest article (i.e., 3 or 4 classes a semester as opposed to the two typical of a research institution).

Finally, there's an awful lot of diversity within academia as to what professorial workload is like. In particular, more and more academics are being hired on interm or adjunct bases and end up spending a lot more time in the classroom for a lot less money than what tenured and tenure-track profs get. The irony is that the way to get onto the tenure track is to publish impressive research, but the lower-level jobs often don't allow you the time to do it.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Facebook, Twitter For Business, Is It Worth the Privacy Trade-Off?

jfruh Yes, and use a one-time-only address (158 comments)

Having a social media presence is pretty crucial to doing the sort of freelance work you're describing, since so much of how you get business happens via word of mouth (and so much of "word of mouth" happens on social media).

One of the simplest things you can do to protect your privacy is to create an email addres that you *only* use for social media accounts (like, a special gmail address that just forwards mail to your regular adress, or maybe facebook@yourdomain.com if you own your own domain). This rather horrifying article from the WSJ about the way that social media tracking work makes clear that your email address is a big part of how your identity is tracked online. If they can't match the email address you use for your Facebook login with any other aspects of your online identity, you have some protections.

If you're using them strictly as a business tool, I wouldn't worry too much about photos -- I do think it's helpful to have a photo of yourself, especially in a one-to-one business like freelance photography. You can set your Facebook account so other people can't tag you in their photos.

about a year ago
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How Websites Know Your Email Address the First Time You Visit

jfruh Wall Street Journal has more details (184 comments)

The Wall Street Journal had a big article about this practice, which is not new and is fully mainstream among U.S. companies. The article contains this COMPLETELY AMAZING quote" "Dataium [a company that facilitates this tracking] said that shoppers' Web browsing is still anonymous, even though it can be tied to their names. "

about a year ago
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Why Can't Industry Design an Affordable Hearing Aid?

jfruh Re:Because it's a medical device. (549 comments)

But in the end it's because the manufacturers have figured out what the highest price an average insurance company will pay...

This actually isn't true, at least in the United States. Very few health insurance plans pay for hearing aids, and I don't believe their included in the mandated coverage under the ACA either.

about a year and a half ago
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Are We Getting Smarter? Rising IQ Scores In the Twenty-First Century

jfruh Re:Definition of "smart" (421 comments)

Sorry this is uncited, but I remember reading about an IQ test that western researchers tried to give to residents of a rural African village sometime in the mid-to-late 20th century. Most of the villagers were illiterate, so the crux was developing a test that didn't involve reading or writing. One of the test items involved a bunch of abstract shapes that had been molded out of clay; the villagers were told to match the shapes that "went together." Most of them "failed" this part of the test, because the researchers' definition of "passing" would be to match up shapes that looked alike, whereas the villagers tried to interpret the shapes as real objects and group them functionally, e.g., they matched spherical objects that looked like fruit to long, thin objects that looked like knives.

about a year and a half ago
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AT&T Promises To Expand LTE To More US Markets

jfruh Re:How about percentage of the LAND AREA? (105 comments)

The whole POINT of wireless is that you can use it when you're ON THE ROAD, somewhere OUT OF A CITY, or otherwise anywhere but parked at home or the office. The carriers seem to have lost track of that.

Er, you realize that the vast majority of people, even when they're on the road and out of their home/office, are going other places where people live, right? Usually in their own city? For most people, I'd wager that the huge majority of their cell phone calls are made within a half-hour drive from their house.

about a year and a half ago
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The Nation Is Losing Its Toolbox

jfruh revealing conversation with my stepfather (525 comments)

I had a conversation with my step-father a few months ago (he's 71) when he was talking about how when he was a teenager and young adult he used to tinker with his cars all the time, trying to squeeze a bit more performance out of it. Now, of course, he never opens his car's hood. "Do you miss it?" I asked him. "Of course not," he said. "Those cars were garbage. They lasted half as long as the new models, and the reason we were always tinkering with them is that stuff went wrong with them so often that you couldn't afford to take it to the mechanic for every little thing."

about a year and a half ago
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It Costs $450 In Marketing To Make Someone Buy a $49 Nokia Lumia

jfruh Re:Subsidized price (363 comments)

"Windows" and "Microsoft" are not positive brands. You attach "Windows" to something, and people immediately think of their home PC. That is not a good thing given how awful the average home PC is.

Notice that in Nokia's big first wave of ads for the Lumia (the "beta testing is over" ads with Chris Parnell, aka 30 Rock's Dr. Spaceman), nobody ever says the words "Microsoft" or "Windows".

about 2 years ago
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Data Center Staff Will Sleep Among the Racks For London Olympics

jfruh I'm sorry, this is ridiculous (210 comments)

There's such a fucked-up culture, particularly in tech, that you aren't hard-core unless you're sacrificing your life and health for work. It's a two-week event: would it kill the employer to pay a bit more to bring on extra staff to work the overnight shift?

about 2 years ago
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Television Next In Line For Industry-Wide Shakeup?

jfruh TV is not about picture quality (381 comments)

If TV is about picture quality, why does my wife watch Modern Family on the 15-inch screen on her laptop in our office and not on the 40-inch HD TV we have downstairs in the living room? Oh, right, because it's super easy for her to legally watch episodes whenever she wants via ABC's Web site in a browser, whereas doing so on our TV varies between "a pain in the ass" and "impossible."

The company that solves this problem will make millions, and it won't be a company that's convinced that all people want is ever-sharper video.

more than 2 years ago
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Mitt Romney, Robotics, and the Uncanny Valley

jfruh Letterman said it best... (501 comments)

...when he said Romney looks like "the guy who plays the American president in a Canadian movie."

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Intel Pushes Into Tablet Market, Pushes Away From Microsoft

jfruh jfruh writes  |  yesterday

jfruh (300774) writes "The Wintel cartel appears to be well and truly dead, as Intel chases after ARM with grim determination into the rapidly growing world of Android tablets. "Our mix of OSes reflects pretty much what you see in the marketplace," the company's CEO said, a nice way of saying they see more potential growth from white-box Chinese tablet makers than from Microsoft Surface. Intel managed to ship 5 million tablet chips in the first quarter of the year, although plunging PC sales meant that company profit overall was still down."
Link to Original Source
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Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket

jfruh jfruh writes  |  2 days ago

jfruh (300774) writes "Back in Februrary, after a lengthy dispute, Netflix agreed to pay Comcast for network access after being dogged by complaints of slow speeds from Comcast subscribers. Two months later, it appears that Comcast has delivered on its promises, jumping up six places in Netflix's ISP speed rankings. The question of whether this is good news for anyone but Comcast is still open."
Link to Original Source
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Four In Five Americans Want Data-Sharing Restricted By Law

jfruh jfruh writes  |  2 days ago

jfruh (300774) writes "Some surveys from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project have found, not suprisingly, that Americans are concerned about the privacy and safety of their personal data, worrying about everything from securtiy breaches to corporate misues of it. Perhaps the most striking data point from the survey: 79% of respondents want tighter government regulations that would restrict how their personal data is shared."
Link to Original Source
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Wanted: Phones That Stop Us From Killing Each Other With Cars

jfruh jfruh writes  |  3 days ago

jfruh (300774) writes "Tech blogger Kevin Purdy is a pretty tech-savvy guy. Why, just the other day, he remotely logged into a small server at my office yesterday, restarted it from the command line, then opened a server function in a screen session. But he still hasn't figured out a way to use his car's Bluetooth system to send the pre-written text message replies he's programmed into his phone. And he argues that, if we aim to end the epidemic of distracted driving that literally kills people every day, we need phones that make features like that much, much easier to use."
Link to Original Source
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Would Amazon Dare To Make A Phone? Of Course

jfruh jfruh writes  |  3 days ago

jfruh (300774) writes "'So-and-so is about to release a smartphone' is one of the oldest tech rumors around, and most of the time nothing comes of it. But Stephen Lawson of the IDG News Service argues that if anyone non-phonemaker were going to dip their toes into that treacherous water, it'd be Amazon. The company hasn't been afraid to take on incumbents in the tablet and TV set-top box markets, and the financial rewards for breaking out of the content ecosystem imposed by other providers are too great to ignore."
Link to Original Source
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Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Unix Admins

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about a week ago

jfruh (300774) writes "Being a Unix or Linux admin tends to be an odd kind of job: you often spend much of your workday on your own, with lots of time when you don't have a specific pressing task, punctuated by moments of panic where you need to do something very important right away. Sandra Henry-Stocker, a veteran sysadmin, offers some tips on how to best structure your professional life if you're in this job. Her advice includes setting priorities, knowing your tools, and providing explanations to the co-workers who you help."
Link to Original Source
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Is Apple A Bad Citizen Of The Tech Community?

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about a week ago

jfruh (300774) writes "While much criticism and praise for Apple comes with its engagement with the larger world — politics, charity, labor practices, and so on — there hasn't been much discussion of how Apple contributes to the open source and standards communities of the tech world. It turns out the world's most valuable company doesn't give back much. Despite widespread reliance on open source software, Apple isn't a major corporate sponsor of any open source proejcts — for instance, Microsoft gives more to the Apache Foundation, despite selling a Web server that competes against Apache's free flagship product. Considering the fact that open source and open standards were all that kept Apple from extinction during the dark days of Microsoft dominance, you'd think they'd be more grateful."
Link to Original Source
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FTC Tells Facebook To Maintain WhatsApp's Privacy Policies

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about a week ago

jfruh (300774) writes "One of the intriguing angles of Facebook's multi-billion dollar acquisition of WhatsApp was in the realm of privacy: Facebook is a free service that makes all its money by selling user information and attention to advertisers and marketers, while WhatsApp is a paid service that makes extravagant claims about protecting the privacy of its users. Now the FTC is telling Facebook that it must make good on WhatsApp's current privacy promises. Doing otherwise would constitute a deceptive or unfair practice under the FTC Act."
Link to Original Source
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IBM Working To Individually Tailor Online Marketing

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about a week ago

jfruh (300774) writes "For most people, IBM still has a staid reputation as a make of mainframes and server software. But Big Blue's push into services is now decades old, and it's acquiring companies and tech that are moving it in some interesting — and creepy — directions. For instance, the company is now working using social media sites, Web usage, email, and other digital signals to craft personalized offers and promotions to individuals."
Link to Original Source
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Sesame Street Gets It; HBO Doesn't

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about a week ago

jfruh (300774) writes "It's one of the most popular entertainment franchises in America; millions around the country want access to it and want access to it now. In response, entertainment industry execs are happily taking their customers' money, and giving them access to new and old shows online, whether they have a cable subscription or not. It's Sesame Street, and Sesame Go is available for $4 a month or $30 a year. Why isn't HBO paying attention?"
Link to Original Source
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Samsung Claims Breakthrough In Graphene Chip Design

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about two weeks ago

jfruh (300774) writes "Graphene, a carbon-based crystalline lattice that is extremely strong, lightweight, and an excellent conductor of electricity and heat, is coveted as a potential base for semiconductor chip design, and Samsung, working with the Sungkyungkwan University School of Advanced Materials Science and Engineering, has claimed a big jump towards that goal. With IBM also making progress in this realm, the days of silicon could actually be numbered."
Link to Original Source
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Amazon Gadget Lets You Order Groceries From Your Kitchen

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about two weeks ago

jfruh (300774) writes "The idea of an Internet-enabled refrigerator that orders milk for you when you run out has been a staple of futuristic "Internet of things" pitches for years, and for years nobody has had any real interest in owning such a thing. Now Amazon has a variant that it hopes will pique the interest of users of its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service: the Dash, a handheld gadget that you can keep in your kitchen and use to add items to your next order, either by scanning their barcode or just saying the product name."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft Lauds 5-Year-Old 'Security Researcher'

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about two weeks ago

jfruh (300774) writes "Earlier this year, 5-year-old Kristoffer Von Hasssel's parents noticed he was logged in to his father's Xbox Live account and playing games he wasn't supposed to have access to. It turns out that he hadn't stolen his dad's password; rather, he had discovered a bug where a series of trivial keypresses allowed him to bypass the password verification screen. His father — himself a security researcher — notified Microsoft, who not only fixed the bug but put Kristoffer on its monthly list of security researchers who discovered important bugs."
Link to Original Source
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China Cracks Down On Bitcoin, Cuts Off Exchanges' Bank Access

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about two weeks ago

jfruh (300774) writes "Bitcoin has made many governments and regulators uncomfortable, and the Chinese government is responding to the challenge it poses with its usual lack of subtlety. Two Chinese bitcoin exchanges have found themselves cut off from the money economy, as Chinese banks, under pressure from the government, refuse to do business with them."
Link to Original Source
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Intel To Bring Exclusive Content To Intel-Powered Devices

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about two weeks ago

jfruh (300774) writes "One of the storylines of the rise of smartphones and tablets has been the collapse of Intel's near-monopolistic dominance of the chips that power everyday computing devices. The chipmaking giant isn't taking this all lying down, though, as it tries to fight its way into the mobile market using any means available, and the company's software chief Doug Fishe hinted at one troubling-sounding method: creating exclusive content that only works on Intel-powered gadgets. Fisher gave the example of more detailed backgrounds on games, but otherwise was short on details of what sort of content might be used in this program and how artists would be coaxed into providing it and locking it down."
Link to Original Source
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Security Researcher: Tesla Passwords Too Easy To Hack

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about two weeks ago

jfruh (300774) writes "One of the things Tesla owners love about their cars is that you can connect your teslamotors.com account to a smartphone app that can remotely unlock the car's doors, locate it, close and open its roof, flash its lights or honk its horn. But considering how much control your account gives you, that account is far too easy to hack, says security researcher Nitesh Dhanjani. Among other problems, Tesla doesn't impose adequate complexity requirements on passwords, and doesn't lock the account after a certain number of failed attempts."
Link to Original Source
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State Colleges Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

jfruh jfruh writes  |  about two weeks ago

jfruh (300774) writes "PayScale has recently released a survey of various U.S. colleges and majors, and determined, perhaps unsurprisingly, that computer science graduates of elite colleges make the most money in post-graduate life. However, blogger Phil Johnson approached the problem in a different way, taking into account the amount students and their families need to pay in tuition, that the best return on investment in comp sci degree often comes from top-tier public universities, which cost significantly less for in-state students but still offer great rewards in terms of salaries for grads."
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