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UK Prime Minister Says Gov't Should Be Capable of Reading Any Communications

laird Re:Again, this has nothing to do with terrorism (329 comments)

9/11 was under Bush. Are you arguing that Obama made Bush de-prioritize counter-terrorism?

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Ends Mainstream Support For Windows 7

laird Re:It's time to look forward (640 comments)

Sure, if we could disable all of the crud they piled on top, the core of Windows 8 is relatively good, as it's efficient and stable. But the crud on top is really, really irritating, and bloated, which is why Windows 7 looks so good in comparison. My PC that ran find in Win7 became almost unusable with Win8. I'm hoping someone writes an un-installer that rips our the crud, like there was for Vista.

about three weeks ago
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PHP vs. Node.js: the Battle For Developer Mind Share

laird Re:wtf? (245 comments)

I'm sure that's how you use Note.js, but as far as I can tell, the vast majority of the usage of Node.js is server side. And that's where it overlaps with PHP. They both can be used to do the same thing, but with different strengths. For example, if you're building a modern AJAX app, Node.js is very nice - it's very efficient, lets you use the same programming language for the client-side and server-side code, uses JSON to pass data, is event-driven, good at web services, etc. PHP's strengths are more for the old-school, non-AJAX web sites - it's easy to stick a database query into a web page to pull data and display it, etc. And, of course, there's an already-written PHP solution for almost everything which is it's real strength. For example, if you need a web site CMS, you pick one, and if it's written in PHP (most are) then you use PHP to write whatever plugins you need.

about three weeks ago
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The Importance of Deleting Old Stuff

laird I worked for a corp with a 30 day retention policy (177 comments)

I worked for one corporation with a 30 day email retention policy, and the servers were configured that way. After that, anything of importance was supposed to be printed and filed for future reference. And this was in the 90s. Of course, people still had email on their desktops, etc., but I'd guess it let them respond to lawsuits' discovery in a more limited manner than trawling through all email ever sent by anyone about anything, limiting risk of embarassment. I follow the logic, but pragmatically speaking it's convenient to have past emails easily searchable.

about three weeks ago
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UK Prime Minister Says Gov't Should Be Capable of Reading Any Communications

laird Why bother? (329 comments)

It's easy to set up secure communications within a small, trusted group. So this won't affect any real terrorists that are organized enough to be a real threat. They just install PGP (for example), just as anyone else can. And since the security is end-to-end, it's secure no matter what mail system it passes through. And no matter what laws anyone passes, math still works, so end-to-end encryption is secure from anyone attacking the security. And it's open source, so they can't sneak in corruptions to subvert security. Math doesn't care about politics - if the attackers are your government, or foreign attackers, it's all the same math that protects your communications.

What it will do, though, is let them collect tons of data from from people who aren't serious terrorists. Think of the fun the can have with that!

The real answer to terrorism isn't increased surveillance, or the "magic pixie dust" of data mining, it's real police work. That's what's stopped ever terrorist attack (that's been stopped) so far. If they cared about security, instead of surveillance or big equipment contracts, they'd focus on the stuff that works. Hire lots of smart people, train them and equip them, and pay them well, to do the hard work. The rest, attempting to outlaw encryption, scanning people's shoes, etc., is all a stupid waste of time and money, degrading our society's freedom (i.e. doing what the terrorists want) while achieving nothing of value.

about three weeks ago
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UK Prime Minister Says Gov't Should Be Capable of Reading Any Communications

laird Re:Again, this has nothing to do with terrorism (329 comments)

That and the White House de-prioritized terrorism, and ignored the clear warnings that they were repeatedly given. Why?

about three weeks ago
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Hands On With MakerBot's 3D-Printed Wood

laird Re:The real questiion (72 comments)

I think you're mistaking "what you want" for "what everyone wants". So while I agree that these press release tend to hand-wave over the difference between "printing in wood" and "printing in PLA with wood powder mixed in", I disagree with the idea that these composite materials aren't valid or interesting.

These sort of composite printing materials aren't very interesting from a structural perspective, because the mixed in particles aren't structural.

But they can have other interesting properties. For example, stainless steel and iron mixed into filament makes the filament look like metal, and magnets will stick to it. Mixing conductive materials in can yield (mildly) conductive 3d prints. Mixing wood in gives a material that feels and looks like wood. Bronze particles make the print look like bronze, and be extremely heavy. Heck, glow-in-the-dark is similarly a powder mixed into a base material. So is fire resistance. There are a near-infinite number of materials that are mixed into plastic to affect color, hardness, fire resistance, feel, ... all that's new is that people are figuring out how to take techniques from injection molding and casting of plastics and apply them to 3D printing. And that's a good thing!

And while you might only care about the structural properties, it's entirely legitimate that others might care about appearance, feel, weight, magnetism, glowing, etc.

about three weeks ago
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Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

laird Re:Not expensive for an audiophile device (391 comments)

Good points, Mr. Anonymous! Product positioning based on price sensitivity is probably what drives it. That is, there are plenty of products in the market already, but Sony saw an opportunity for the higher-end MP3 player than what's in the market, so even though it's by definition a smaller market, it's a better business opportunity than competing directly at the low-end (the dirt-cheap generic MP3 players) or the mid-range (Apple).

about three weeks ago
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Gun Rights Hacktivists To Fab 3D-Printed Guns At State Capitol

laird Re:Why promote dangerous fanatics? (573 comments)

Feel free to contribute some actual facts to the discussion. Posting anonymously and making unsupported vague assertions doesn't really advance the discussion.

about three weeks ago
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Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

laird Re:Completely wrong about quality (448 comments)

True.

But the stations have nearly wiped out news reporting. It's all done as cheaply as possible, because they view "news" as overhead required by the FCC as a technicality. It's been a long time since they considered it a responsibility (which it is legally). The FCC should pull some station's licenses, since they're not doing what they should to be granted access to the public airwaves.

about three weeks ago
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Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

laird Re:How about unburdening Cable services (448 comments)

Me, too. It was cheaper for me to get fantastic internet (100 Mbps), Netflix, Hulu and iTunes, than it was to pay the ever-inflating cable TV bill.

about three weeks ago
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Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

laird Re:The ability to speak with my wallet (448 comments)

I agree, but keep in mind that there's still plenty of good scripted programming being produced. The big difference, IMO, is that there's a near-unlimited number of channels these days (not even counting the internet) so there's a ton of other stuff. Game shows, and "reality" programming, are both very cheap to produce, and are a way to fill out programming hours profitably. But if you ignore the stuff you don't like, there's plenty of great original stuff being produced. And a lot of great older stuff is cheaply available now (Netflix, Hulu) that used to only be in boxed sets or occasional reruns.

about three weeks ago
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Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

laird Re:In other words ... (448 comments)

Or you're a customer who likes cable TV, but is pissed off because the cable companies have been jacking up prices much faster than inflation (http://www.ibtimes.com/cable-tv-bills-outpace-inflation-cablevision-nations-highest-1661698), and who hate the terrible service, but because they almost always have monopoly status granted to them (by the city, or the building owner) there's no competition to drive down prices and improve service.

So yes, they could opt out entirely. But it's unreasonable that's the only option - there should be some competitive options to give customers some way to get a deal that doesn't suck for them.

about three weeks ago
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Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

laird Re:And? (448 comments)

Yep. Or by analogy, the cable companies could price the "a la cart" model that they're being forced to offer so horribly that everyone "upgrades", paying more than they did before, but with more complex product pricing.

about three weeks ago
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Hands On With MakerBot's 3D-Printed Wood

laird Re:Makerbot: A day late, a couple dollars overpric (72 comments)

Amazon Prime is _fantastic_ for filament. There are many suppliers, the review system lets you weed out the bad products, and you get free 2-day shipping. The free shipping is the "deal maker" for me - buying through other channels it often it costs as much as the filament to get it shipped quickly!

Keep in mind that you're not really buying "Amazon Filament" you're getting DeltaMaker, or MakerBot, or Taulman3D or eSUN, or Octave, etc. - Amazon is just a sales channel, and doing "pick, pack and ship" of the product. So you need to pay attention to the supplier!

about three weeks ago
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Hands On With MakerBot's 3D-Printed Wood

laird Re:The real questiion (72 comments)

It's true that a printer that extrudes plastic can only make plastic things. But I think that there are many use cases beyond "expand your action figure universe, or fully equipt your doll house".

Yes, you could limit your 3D printing to toys (and toys can be fun), but it can be a lot more.

For example, 3D printed prosthetics (http://enablingthefuture.org) really change people's lives. And I've saved a fortune printing replacement parts that manufacturers wanted many, many hundreds of dollars for. And, of course, there's the creative and aesthetic ability to make anything that unleashes creativity, which has great value. And now that you can (for example) 3D print a statue that really looks and feels like Bronze, or iron, or stainless steel, or wood, it's even better! And if all you care about are the "functional" aspects, there are also materials, like Taulman3D's filament, with amazing strength, clarity, flexibility, etc., which people are using for 3D printing with very real world medical and engineering applications. There are things that are being 3D printed, like a strong, light flying wing with the motor and solar cells inside the wing, that couldn't reasonably be manufactured other ways.

about three weeks ago
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Hands On With MakerBot's 3D-Printed Wood

laird Re:Laywood (72 comments)

This device http://tunell.us/ detects filament tangles, jams, and end-of-filament, and pauses the print. The price is pretty reasonable, given the stress reduction.

Note that it cannot detect cases where the print fails but filament continues to feed. So you still need to keep an eye out on your print. But it certainly reduces the stress involved in hitting the end of a spool of filament.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit For Shrinking Storage Space In iOS 8

laird Re:MicroSD card? (325 comments)

What I wrote was the opposite of that - I said that Apple, like all similar companies, documents the total storage precisely, and says that user available storage is less. The exact user storage varies by OS version, options enabled (some consume storage), fonts installed, apps, etc.

Keep in mind that iOS 8 is 1 GB, so it's not like (for example) the MS Surface, which uses 27 GB of storage for the OS and standard apps.

about three weeks ago
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Hands On With MakerBot's 3D-Printed Wood

laird Re:Still ripping shit off, eh? (72 comments)

To be clear, FlashForge is based on the open source Replicator 1 designs, so while it's certainly "cloning", it's entirely legal for them to do so, so IMO it's not "ripping off" MakerBot.

Printing with mixed in particles has been going on a while - Laywood, BronzeFill, etc., have been happening over the last year or two, from a number of companies. So now MBI is doing it, too. And it's entirely possible that MBI is OEM-ing filament from those companies to sell under their label, as companies do that sort of thing all the time, because it's often smarter to do a deal (and rapidly/easily make money selling product) than to spend time/money engineering a competing product. So no reason to assume that they're "ripping off" anyone.

about three weeks ago
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Hands On With MakerBot's 3D-Printed Wood

laird Re:Oh noes Makerbot! (72 comments)

Nope, they filed patents on their original work, citing community created inventions as "prior art". People are reading the patents incorrectly and are interpreting the prior art section as if it's the claim - easy to do, as patents are pretty hard to read - but it doesn't help anything to repeat their incorrect analysis.

I agree that the new extruders suck, though. I like the idea that the extruder is an easy swap, but it's absurd that you can't open one up to clear a jam, so you have to swap the extruder for what should be routine maintenance.

As for the prices, well, it's far too high if you're happy with a cheap DIY-style printer, but there are many printers in the same price range as MBI (Ultimaker, for example) so I think that's probably a reasonable price if you want a professionally made printer with a real company behind it, with support, documentation, real R&D, etc. - remember, the price of the product has to support all of that for the company to be sustainable.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Prosthetists Meet Printers: Mainstreaming Open-Source 3D printed Prosthetics

laird laird writes  |  about 5 months ago

laird (2705) writes "Prosthetists Meet Printers: Mainstreaming Open-Source 3D printed Prosthetics for Underserved Populations

Crowd-sourced collaborative innovation is changing the face of modern medicine. e-NABLE, a global online community of humanitarian volunteers is leading the way by designing, building and disseminating inexpensive 3D printed prosthetics. Come join the e-NABLE organization and thought leaders in medicine, industry and public policy for a ground-breaking, industry-defining event at Johns Hopkins Hospital that will include the delivery of donated prothetic hands to children with upper limb differences.

We will unveil the new e-NABLE 2.0 hand, developed by Ivan Owen, Peter Binkley and Frankie Flood – the world’s first crowd-sourced, crowd-developed prosthetic that incorporates the collective intelligence, learning and experiences of e-NABLE’s online global community, parents and children who are using the devices themselves.

Anyone is welcome to attend.

Come learn about the future of 3D printing technology and the medical field, why the prosthetics industry should welcome this technology and get more information on policy issues and the upcoming FDA regulatory workshops in October.

You will have the opportunity to learn how to create a device, meet vendors and get information on various 3D printers and will get to witness children receiving their first 3D printed hand devices created just for them by our e-NABLE volunteers.

We are making history and changing lives. We invite you to join us!"

Link to Original Source
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$1B of public domain research released to public!

laird laird writes  |  more than 5 years ago

laird writes "Wikileaks has released nearly a billion dollars worth of quasi-secret reports commissioned by the United States Congress. The 6,780 reports, current as of this month, comprise over 127,000 pages of material on some of the most contentious issues in the nation, from the U.S. relationship with Israel to abortion legislation. Nearly 2,300 of the reports were updated in the last 12 months, while the oldest report goes back to 1990. The release represents the total output of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) electronically available to Congressional offices. The CRS is Congress's analytical agency and has a budget in excess of $100M per year.

Although all CRS reports are legally in the public domain, they are quasi-secret because the CRS, as a matter of policy, makes the reports available only to members of Congress, Congressional committees and select sister agencies such as the GAO. Members of Congress are free to selectively release CRS reports to the public but are only motivated to do so when they feel the results would assist them politically. Universally embarrassing reports are kept quiet."

Link to Original Source
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Are Content Delivery Clouds the next step of CDNs?

laird laird writes  |  more than 6 years ago

laird writes "Is the Content Delivery Cloud model the next step after CDN's? "A Content Delivery Cloud is a system of computers networked together across the internet that are orchestrated transparently to deliver content to end users, most often for the purposes of improving performance, scalabaility and cost efficiency. Extending the model of a traditional Content Delivery Network, a Content Delivery Cloud may utilize the resources of multiple CDN networks as well as end-user computers ("the cloud") to assist in the delivery of content." With coverage, research and commercial services emerging, is the Content Delivery Cloud coming sooner rather than later?"
Link to Original Source
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http://www.wired.com/software/webservices/news/200

laird laird writes  |  more than 7 years ago

laird writes "Faced with a surge in network usage, internet service providers are grumbling about rising traffic levels. ISPs say the looming growth of true peer-to-peer applications threatens to overwhelm them. Some ISPs have even started sniffing out P2P traffic on their networks and curbing it, either slowing file sharing to a trickle or bringing it to a halt.

Responding to this adversarial relationship, some P2P companies are adopting a posture of engagement with ISPs, and have formed a new industry working group to help broker relationships that, they say, will enable ISPs to better manage and distribute traffic loads on their networks.

The P4P Working Group consists of content-distribution-technology providers like BitTorrent, Pando Networks, LimeWire and VeriSign's Kontiki, as well as broadband companies like Verizon and AT&T, and hardware makers like Cisco Systems. There are close to a dozen members so far. The P4P operates under the guidance of the Distributed Computing Industry Association, a group that wants to foster legal peer-to-peer content distribution.

P4P's plan: Get ISPs and P2P-technology providers working together, to ensure that P2P traffic continues to flow and that users of P2P technologies don't overload ISPs' networks with too much sharing."

Link to Original Source
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laird laird writes  |  more than 8 years ago

laird writes "The principle of voting in the United States is that votes are cast in secret but tallied in public.

This principle is incompatible with the current practice of using voting systems whose inner workings are trade secrets owned by the voting-machine vendors. Those same vendors pay for their systems to be tested, and the results of those tests are also trade secrets — you guessed it — owned by the vendors.

Full article at http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?sto ry_id=3234 ."
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laird laird writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Laird Popkin writes "Pando Networks, known for integrating BitTorrent into email with a slick little, consumer-friendly client (and tons of very fast Linux servers), has extended its software to support web and RSS publishing of large files. TechCrunch has a nice writeup. There's more technical information about Pando at Pando's tech site."

Journals

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Just found journal

laird laird writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I just found the journal system here on Slashdot. Is it clever or over-reaching? Given that people build reputations on Slashdot, it kinda makes sense. Though if you host your life on Slashdot, well, I guess that says something too...

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