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SpaceX To Present Manned Dragon Capsule

laing How was it not private before? (128 comments)

NASA is helping SpaceX. Is Boeing a branch of the Federal Government? How is now different from before?

about 3 months ago
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"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

laing Wrongly Placed Blame (742 comments)

Instead of blaming capitalism, why not place the blame on the responsible individuals? Other economic systems have had exactly the same problems with people who have behaved exactly like Gates and Balmer.

Only time will tell if things will be any different under Nadella. Right now it's too early to say that Microsoft has changed it's ways.

about 6 months ago
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Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

laing You may be on to something (526 comments)

Dell went private with a lot of help from Microsoft ($2G). Perhaps this all comes down to an anti-OSS policy mandate.

about 7 months ago
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HP To Charge For Service Packs and Firmware For Out-of-Warranty Customers

laing At least they're being more honest about it now (385 comments)

HP is not the same company it was before the Compaq merger, but I see this as an improvement over some of their recent past underhanded tactics. One example that comes to mind is the time that I had to pay >$1k for a "refurbished" tape drive (rather than forking out over twice that for a new one) after a firmware "upgrade" caused the drive to self destruct by adding a useless and stressing servo limit test at power up.
HP isn't the best at anything anymore, but they certainly still rake in the profits (largely from ink jet refill cartridges).
Save yourself some money and a future headache by buying a Xerox printer, a Fujitsu scanner, or a Dell computer.

about 7 months ago
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Watch Steve Jobs Demo the Mac, In 1984

laing Try this (129 comments)

Link: here

about 7 months ago
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Watch Steve Jobs Demo the Mac, In 1984

laing My favorite quote (129 comments)

"We think Unix is a pretty lousy operating system to put inside a workstation. It's old technology and it's really big and you need a Winchester so you can never make the workstations cheap..."
I'm glad that Jobs was open minded enough to recognize the value of Unix, and to eventually migrate MacOS to BSD Unix.
(I watched the video and typed this post from a laptop running Linux.)

about 7 months ago
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Scientists Say Climate Change Is Damaging Iowa Agriculture

laing Climate Change is the new Witchcraft (444 comments)

As recently as a few hundred years ago, farmers turned to witchcraft while seeking blame for similar problems. People haven't changed very much. Science and education have improved over the past few hundred years. Science and big government now fulfil part of the role the church did in those days. Overall there isn't much difference between what happened then and what is happening now. When do the human sacrifices begin?

See: How a Bad Rye Crop Might Have Caused the Salem Witch Trials.

about 10 months ago
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The Linux Backdoor Attempt of 2003

laing Thank You! (360 comments)

I remembered this incident when it occurred. Last month I spent an hour searching the Internet for any trace of it and came up empty. At the time I was taking an IT security course and I wanted to share the details of the incident with my classmates. Given recent events within the IT security community, this story seemed very relevant. I couldn't find anything at all so I eventually gave up.
Thank you for bringing this incident back to light.

about a year ago
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Court Declares Google Must Face Wiretap Charges For Wi-Fi Snooping

laing Re:Judges untrained in comms technology, that's ho (214 comments)

Analog cellular phone calls are covered by a separate law (The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986). It not only makes it illegal to record them, it makes it illegal to sell a radio that can receive them (or be easily modified to receive them). Thankfully all mobile phones are digital now. Unfortunately that law is still on the books.
Another court case conflicts with the Google ruling. Back when they were in popular use, the police sometimes recorded wireless phone calls from 46/49 MHz cordless phones (without a warrant). The police used these recordings in court to convict a drug dealer and the drug dealer argued that the communications were private. The courts ruled that they were not. Here is the court ruling from this case:

about a year ago
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Court Declares Google Must Face Wiretap Charges For Wi-Fi Snooping

laing Terrible Ruling (214 comments)

Unencrypted RF communications should be fair game for anyone to receive and record. The fact that it's digital seems to be what swayed the judges in this case. I can't for the life of me understand how this could have happened. I'm not in favor Google's actions, but they were not illegal. Now the law has been twisted and there will be unintended consequences.

about a year ago
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Microsoft YouTube App Strips Ads; Adds Download

laing Google will block it (381 comments)

Give them a day. I'll bet it stops working tomorrow.

about a year ago
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FSF Certifies Atheros-Based ThinkPenguin 802.11 N USB Adapter

laing Re:Master Mode (85 comments)

Whether or not it supports master mode is the first thing I looked for on the product page. It doesn't say whether it does or not anywhere. If it did, I would buy one today.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Getting Apps To Use Phones' Full Power?

laing On the other side (184 comments)

My poor old Nexus One struggles with memory usage. Every time some app is updated for Android 4 I lose more space (both storage and run-time).

I only use that phone about 9 days per month, but it is becoming less and less useful as time goes by because of this memory usage issue.

A few months ago I moved the Dalvik cache onto an Ext3 partition and it helped somewhat. I still have over half of my apps moved to the SD card because everything will not fit.

Developers, please continue to try to optimize your applications for older phones.

Thank you.

about a year and a half ago
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A Glimpse of a Truly Elastic Cloud

laing More correctly (201 comments)

You said; "The floppies would boot up the computer right into the game so there was no OS involved."

What you meant to say was that the installed OS of your computer was not involved. The games you were booting from floppies provided their own OS, and it did not resemble the one you were accustomed to.

The BIOS is part of an operating system. Some older operating systems use the ROM BIOS for all of their I/O. Older PCs booted up in real mode and could use the ROM BIOS without consequences. Newer machines and operating systems need a BIOS that is compatible with protected mode. Most newer UEFI BIOSs still support the legacy mode.

Back before the IBM PC and MS-DOS, many people ran CP/M. The CP/M OS consisted of a console command processor (CCP), basic disk operating system (BDOS), and basic input output system (BIOS). This is the origin of the acronym.

Unless you bought your CP/M computer from some systems provider (such as Northstar, Osborne, or NLS), you had to write your own BIOS. If you added a peripheral (such as a printer), you often had to modify your BIOS to support it. (The elite BIOS programmers would even include code for I/O redirection.)

about a year and a half ago
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US Wants Apple, Google, and Microsoft To Get a Grip On Mobile Privacy

laing Delusional People (103 comments)

The "less than one-third" people who feel they are in control of their personal information are living in a dream. All of the service providers collect and use all of the information that is available to them. If everyone knew what is happening behind the scenes they might demand data privacy laws similar to those in Germany.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Long Do We Give an Online Service To Fix Issues?

laing Timely Article (113 comments)

I can truly sympathize with the OP. My 300 Mbps Verizon FiOS service has been broken for over a week now. Verizon claims it is a widespread outage, but apparently it isn't wide enough to get anyone to actually work on it. Today I reconfigured my network to use one of my kids' cell phones for the main Internet connection. Now it works better than it has for weeks, even though I'm only getting 6 Mbps of bandwidth. Upon my initial report Verizon insisted that everything was fine and that it must be my equipment. Two days later the techs showed up, and after two hours they flagged the problem as an "outage". I've called every day since then and they always claim that it will be repaired by 1pm the next day (or 1am if I'm calling in the afternoon). There is no evidence that anybody has worked this problem. The equipment in question is commonplace, and Verizon has the resources to complete a repair like this in a matter of hours.

Verizon's customer service has been completely worthless. You cannot even speak with a tier-2 technician, and the tier-1 phone monkeys are not allowed to access any useful corporate information.

Just like (GTE) DSL and ISDN before it, Verizon FiOS was an excellent product when it was first introduced. Things began to go downhill a few years later when the product support was transitioned away from the "Advanced Products Group" to the regular phone monkeys. I've had it for five years and it's been good, but I'm now ready to pull the plug.

-- This space for rent.

about a year and a half ago

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