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Comments

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20 Years of GSM and SMS

kbielefe Re:20 years later... (157 comments)

Repeat after me: prices are set by supply and demand, not by cost.

The minimum costs of providing labor are extremely low, yet workers keep insisting on making a profit instead of working at indentured servitude rates.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Can I Get Through To a Politician By E-mail?

kbielefe Re:Paper and Pen (204 comments)

I've received obviously personalized replies from Senator Kyl's office on multiple occasions. He happened to be my own senator, but that's not bad for the #2 republican in the Senate, even if it was just a staff member composing the letter. The president I've never gotten more than a form letter and a Christmas card. Other representatives are somewhere in between.

The trick is not to write on the night before a vote, but to write when a bill for their committee just got introduced, when they still have time to influence it, and maybe make improvements based on constituent input. Once a bill gets out on the floor, it's all a dog and pony show.

As far as local and state representatives go, they are usually accessible enough to be able to just go and talk to them at local events. Even your federal congressman can answer your questions in person at town halls. You just have to know where to go.

more than 2 years ago
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Is Santorum's "Google Problem" a Google Problem?

kbielefe Re:Legal Action (775 comments)

I use safesearch, and likewise haven't seen that site in the search results. However, I tried in an incognito window, which removes all cookies and history, and the objectionable site does indeed come up as the first result by default.

more than 2 years ago
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Twitter Gets Satellite Access

kbielefe Re:Oh really? (67 comments)

Spoken like someone who has never been in a widespread emergency. Last April several tornadoes tore through our state, knocking out high voltage power lines and a lot of communications infrastructure. The few mobile towers that were still functioning were jammed with calls. 911 was flooded with minor emergencies. It took a couple days to get more than a handful of radio stations on the air, and we didn't have the power to run a TV. We heard that power would likely not be restored for more than a week. Our cell phone batteries were halfway drained when we woke up under these conditions, without the means to charge it.

Are you seriously going to spend all day wearing down your battery trying to make one phone call? No. You send out a tweet or a facebook post that says you're all right, but communication is terrible and you'll post an update in 8 hours or so.

Maybe our lives weren't directly saved by social networking, but I like to think saving bandwidth for people with true emergencies helped.

more than 2 years ago
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Windows 8 Features With Linux Antecedents

kbielefe Re:A better question may be (642 comments)

Ah, the brilliant circular argument: I use windows because all my apps are windows apps. Good thing I learned English, because all the books I read are in English.

more than 2 years ago
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NTT DoCoMo Asks Google To Limit Android Data Use

kbielefe Re:Well that depends... (160 comments)

It's not VoIP calls that are the cited problem, it's the periodic signals when it's not in use that tell the server, "Hey, I'm still here!"

more than 2 years ago
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NTT DoCoMo Asks Google To Limit Android Data Use

kbielefe Re:Well that depends... (160 comments)

It's not that simple on a wireless connection where everyone shares the medium. For communications originating at the phone, the network provider can't do any throttling until the packet has already been received at their equipment, because they don't control the phone's transmitter. By that time, the bandwidth on the wireless link has already been consumed and wasn't available to other users. If the control signals originate at the server, the network provider could throttle it, but setting it up isn't trivial, and then you have problems like the servers sending retries because they aren't getting responses from the phone. The best solution requires cooperation from the OS and/or application writers.

more than 2 years ago
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Code Cleanup Culls LibreOffice Cruft

kbielefe Re:Bad examples (317 comments)

It's not crazy. A major board redesign will set a schedule back three months or more, so if you have two options and aren't sure which one will work, it's not uncommon to design for both if you have the room. Maybe you're evaluating two vendors. There are also usually components that are only used during development. Sometimes there's an experimental or premium feature that requires an extra chip, but you don't want to make two boards. Of course, most of the time unused components get left off in mass production, but developer's boards or ones from prototype runs might still have them.

more than 2 years ago
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5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons Announced

kbielefe Re:Translation. (309 comments)

Yeah, but at least your power gamer with 20 splatbooks is reset back to zero so you have half a hope of an actually balanced encounter.

more than 2 years ago
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Are You Better At Math Than a 4th (or 10th) Grader?

kbielefe A real sample test (845 comments)

For all you smug people, how about trying a sample for the real test (pdf)? They are all 10th grade level geometry and algebra. This surprised me a little, because even the GRE you take for graduate school has a few questions of the sort in the test the OP linked to.

more than 2 years ago
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IT Pros Can't Resist Peeking At Privileged Info

kbielefe Nuclear War (388 comments)

That's why I think nuclear armageddon won't be started by heads of state and their military advisors, but by some disrespected IT guy who constantly has to reset the passwords to the launch codes.

more than 2 years ago
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What's Keeping You On Windows?

kbielefe Fascinating (1880 comments)

If you're not emotionally involved, these discussions are fascinating. The number one factor people list for using an operating system is the one factor the OS has no control over: the apps available for it. What's also fascinating is the circular logic people employ about their apps: they use Windows because all the apps they use are for Windows. Well, duh.

more than 2 years ago
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Ubuntu 11.10 ('Oneiric Ocelot') Released

kbielefe Re:apt-get install gnome? (455 comments)

I guess it depends on how long habits from other operating systems were ingrained before you switched. There are a lot of people who accept whatever defaults they're given, and who also do a clean install for every upgrade. For them, it's just as easy to clean install a new distro.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Employee Accidentally Shares Rant About Google+

kbielefe Re:Amazon & Google (354 comments)

What I like about Google is they aren't afraid to fail, and their failures often have beneficial side effects for the internet as a whole. Even if all that comes from google+ is facebook being a little less annoying to use, I think there are people at Google who consider it worth the investment.

more than 2 years ago
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The Most Dangerous Programming Mistakes

kbielefe Re:Those aren't "programming" mistakes... (213 comments)

Only 3 of the 25 deal with missing requirements or design. The rest are implementation details. Sure, you can make a design that makes writing code vulnerable to SQL injection more difficult, but it's still something the programmer has to watch out for. Also, I expect programmers to bring up glaring omissions in the requirements or design, just like I would hope a worker on a car manufacturing floor would bring issues to the attention of engineering. They are on the front lines and see things designers miss.

more than 3 years ago
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Internet Explorer Use Slips Below 55%

kbielefe Re:Uh, "basis point"? (104 comments)

The reason it's commonly used in finance is that it makes clear the subtle distinction between "percent decrease" and "decrease in a value reported as a percentage." A 0.84% decrease from 55.11% brings you only to 54.65% (55.11 * (1-0.0084)), a drop of 46 basis points. A decrease of 84 basis points from 55.11% is a 1.52% decrease. The author used it appropriately except for that factor of 100 error.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft: One In 14 Downloads Is Malicious

kbielefe Re:By Windows users, or by IE users? (290 comments)

That's actually a really good question. You'd think if they could count them they could stop them.

more than 3 years ago
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Ubuntu 11.10 To Switch From GDM To LightDM

kbielefe Re:Ubuntu Vista defies expectations (236 comments)

I really like the unity shell too, for casual computing. Trying to do serious work on it actually pushed me back to KDE for the first time in ten years.

more than 3 years ago
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Alabama Nuclear Reactor Gets 'F' Grade

kbielefe Re:zero (436 comments)

Tornadoes ravage the area in the worst local storm in recorded history, knocking out transmission lines to nearly a half million people, taking a week to repair. Browns Ferry responds perfectly.

News reports an issue first discovered last year that might potentially have been a serious problem together with other unlikely failures, but it was caught in time to avoid that.

No, I don't sense an anti-nuclear bias in the media at all.

more than 3 years ago
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I Like My IT Budget Tight and My Developers Stupid

kbielefe Re:Most developer training is useless. (235 comments)

I've been pretty impressed by the training my company has been able to put together lately.

  • Seth Hallem, founder and former CEO of Coverity came to teach us about their static analysis tool.
  • Dan Saks came to teach us about embedded software best practices.
  • Scott Meyers came to teach us about using the STL effectively.
  • James Grenning came to teach us about test driven development.
  • Michael Barr came to teach us about real time scheduling.

Most of these guys are well respected in their fields, and while not exactly famous, are names I had seen more than once in connection with those topics. All of them spent some time looking at our company's needs specifically before doing the training in order to customize it for us. Our company isn't small, but not huge either. We have around 1600 employees, a few hundred of which took the training. It has really helped us revitalize a lot of our old school techniques. If a company our size can put a line up of training like that together, it ought to be within reach of most mid-size organizations.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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RAID for Grandma?

kbielefe kbielefe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

kbielefe writes "After another hard drive crash at the most inopportune time, I finally set up my home desktop with a RAID-1, to hopefully make the next crash less disruptive. My wife absolutely loved the idea, despite the expense of an extra hard drive. That got me thinking. As the family computer geek, I get at least one call a year wondering if I can recover data from a crashed hard drive, and it seems like redundant disks could really help the "grandma" users, who are notorious for never backing up their data. I realize it's not immune to failure, but it does drastically reduce the risk. Have any of you ever tried this with the grandma users you support? Why don't OEMs regularly offer it to desktop customers?"
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TSA Evaluating Laptop Bags

kbielefe kbielefe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

kbielefe writes "The TSA has sent out a call to laptop bag manufacturers to produce a laptop bag that could pass through airport screening without having to remove the laptop. The TSA will perform testing starting at the end of May, with the end result hopefully being a TSA stamp of approval that will reduce the hassle for a lot of us."
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Bill Introduced to Legalize Super Bowl at Church

kbielefe kbielefe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

kbielefe (606566) writes "As a follow up to Thou Shalt Not View The Super Bowl on a 56" Screen, Senator Arlen Specter has introduced legislation to make it legal for churches to show the Super Bowl, although they're still out of luck if they want to show the World Series. It's a ridiculously narrow exception to a ridiculously strict law, but it's a start. I hope you'll join me in writing my representatives to ask that it be extended to all non-profits and all professional sporting events."
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Legal Recourse Against Black Hats?

kbielefe kbielefe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

kbielefe writes "Although I don't consider myself a security expert, I try to keep up with the latest tools and techniques for my home network. I use a multi-layered approach, update religiously, and only have one hole in my firewall — my ssh server.

Earlier today, I noticed in my logs a brute force attack against my ssh server, from various IP addresses around the globe, but mostly from China. I know what to do from a system administrator perspective to protect myself, but this is the first time I've been singled out as the target of an attack (to my knowledge), and it left me wondering, "What next?" Should I notify my ISP? Is there anything I can or should do from a law enforcement perspective, or is it pretty much every man for himself like the wild west? Computer security literature seems relatively silent on that front."
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Censorship in Candidate Blog Comments

kbielefe kbielefe writes  |  more than 7 years ago

kbielefe writes "One of the newest campaign tools is the candidate blog. I thoroughly enjoy this new medium, and subscribe to the rss feeds of the top few presidential candidates of both major parties. Yesterday, there was a post outlining one of the candidate's policies, but all the comments were along the lines of "You're so smart. You're going to win for sure."

Even if I agreed with the policy, that type of fawning yes-men praise is a little sickening, so I submitted my own reasoned dissent, which largely consisted of questions about critical missing details of the plan. Along with the usual prohibitions, the blog's usage policy prevents "disruptive" postings, which I suppose was the justification for refusing to post my comment.

Now, people have the right to control their own blog, and I didn't really expect to get past the moderator. However, to create the appearance of an open forum, while really only accepting comments of your biggest supporters, seems deceptive to me. What are your experiences with candidate blogs? Are some better than others? Should they be required to be more up front about what comments they refuse, or does everyone just assume it's business as usual to quell dissent?"
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kbielefe kbielefe writes  |  more than 7 years ago

kbielefe writes "On Thursday, Sony Ericsson and Fossil Inc. announced a line of bluetooth watches that vibrate when a call comes in on your cell phone, display the number of the caller, and allow you to press a button to send the call to voicemail. No more digging around in your pocket or purse before deciding if the call is important enough to interrupt a meeting."

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