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World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

mattsday Re:It Has Not Failed (474 comments)

I hope this isn't what you actually believe, as it sounds like an authoritarian nightmare to me! What would happen in your little imagined scenario is that the powers of control would inevitably extend to all undesirable* behaviour and would one-day collapse under its own weight or civil war -- after millions suffered.

* Undesirable being defined by the same nutcases who put this law in to place and could include being homosexual, jewish or having drugs planted on them

Back in the real world, I firmly believe punishment should fit the crime. In the case of taking drugs I can't think why it's a crime and why we would seek punishment! Someone at home getting high doesn't even deserve a trivial fine, let alone having their life ruined.

The only time I see it coming in to play is when mixed with other activties. High controlling machinery or a vechicle? Harsher sentencing. High looking after kids? Child neglect, harsher sentencing. Vandalism or assault... you get the idea.

There will be a negative impact to society where people get hooked on drugs and drop in productivity, but we already have problems with alcoholism, gambling, etc...

about 6 months ago

Routers Pose Biggest Security Threat To Home Networks

mattsday Re:So, will a 2005-era routers get a firmware upda (264 comments)

I agree, except it's better to push people on to 802.11n in the 2.4Ghz space; it uses the radio space more efficiently and won't slow down your neighbours. It also adds range and reliability. Considering most complaints aren't going to be about the routing performance but the wireless coverage, upgrading to n would be a boon for many, especially dual-band if their devices can run on 5Ghz.

about a year ago

France Plans 20-Billion Euro National Broadband Plan

mattsday VERY Cool! (178 comments)

Ignoring the politics a little bit, there was a really good example of how this CAN work recently with the B4RN project.


A consortium of local farmers came together and allowed the use of their farmland and spare time to place fibre and hook up the local residents with gigabit internet speeds. By coming together as a consortium and being cooperative (rather than greedy) they have combined both entrepreneurial vigour with a sense of social awareness. I don't see why this model couldn't work in France too...

about 2 years ago

How Much Beef Is In Your Burger?

mattsday Re:i have purchased the affected products. (709 comments)

It's not about the ethics of the animal in question, it's about the promises made by the manufacturer (no mention of horse) and the questions of quality control, correct process and oversight.

My concern isn't "OMG HORSIES!"

My concern is "fuck you consumer" as they pump the product full of whatever they think they can get away with to turn a profit.

about 2 years ago

Petition For Metric In US Halfway To Requiring Response From the White House

mattsday Re:*Cough* United Kingdom *cough* (1387 comments)

the United Kingdom still uses MILES to measure distance, MILES PER HOUR to measure speed, STONES and POUNDS and OUNCES to measure weight, and FLUID OUNCES to measure volume.

OK, I'll bite. Aside from miles to measure distance and speed on the roads, we certainly do not use pounds and ounces in daily life. All meat, food etc is sold in grams. Almost all drinks are sold in litres. Temperature is done in C on the TV and most cookbooks are metric (often with imperial translations).

The only exceptions I can think of are:
1. Beer and milk - we still buy these by the pint (with the metric equiv printed on the label)
2. Roads, as mentioned
3. Human weight is still often done in stones and lbs

Is it perfect? No. However, most people born in the last 30-40 years will have been taught exclusively metric at school. They're comfortable with it.

There is no way that anyone short of a politician would claim that the UK is "Metrified" (or metrificated) and yet they do.

Sorry, I know it's great to paint the US and Liberia as "holdouts". The truth is there are a lot of houldouts that JUST DON'T GET COUNTED.


The UK isn't perfect and we're not all the way there yet, but I don't think people are running around confused. We're getting there (to metric) it just might take a bit longer... The important thing is that we've started!

about 2 years ago

Ask Richard Stallman Anything

mattsday Relentlsly uncompromising (573 comments)

One thing I've always admired about you (but found difficult to emulate myself) is your steadfast consistency and refusal to compromise your principals.

With that said, are there any times when you look back and failed to do this - or perhaps wished you had been less hardline?

more than 2 years ago

In UK, Apple Must Run Ad Apologizing to Samsung

mattsday Re:Unique? (190 comments)

It's written in the judgement, section 84:

"Apple itself must (having created the confusion) make the position clear: that it acknowledges that the court has decided that these Samsung products do not infringe its registered design. The acknowledgement must come from the horse's mouth. Nothing short of that will be sure to do the job completely."

The judge took believed Apple deserved it because they had to lean up the mess they created. The judgement (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1339.html) is very easy to read and the summary of the Publicity Appeal (section 64 onwards) goes through this verdict. I was quite surprised at how informal and layman-oriented the language was.

more than 2 years ago

Apple Reportedly Luring Ex-Google Mappers With Jobs

mattsday Re:Data (334 comments)

A Google van drove past me about 2 weeks ago here in the UK, which last I checked is part of Europe.

more than 2 years ago

Designers Criticize Apple's User Interface For OS X and iOS

mattsday OS X Regressions (484 comments)

For those not familiar with this paradigm shift in OS X, John Siracusa nails it in his Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Review.

I don't think either implementation makes the applications easier to use. They seem to have been done for no other reason than "we can".

Mountain Lion's implementations aren't as awful, adding back most of the 10.6 functionality to iCal and making Address Book usable without constantly clicking between screens. However, they've gone this far, it would be trivial to remove the stitching and faux leather leaving them with standard apps that follow colouring conventions.

Certainly from a HUI perspective and imho the changes aren't positive.

more than 2 years ago

MS Office 2013 Pushing Home Users Toward Subscriptions

mattsday Re:Bright Business Future (349 comments)

Expect to be followed up with a "Free to Type" and "Pay to Save" model shortly.

With older versions it was pray to save, so this is an improvement!

more than 2 years ago

Chip and Pin "Weakness" Exposed By Cambridge Researchers

mattsday Re:The problem is shifting liability (133 comments)

I used to work in a store when Chip & PIN was introduced to the UK - after the switchover we were told in no uncertain terms that we would take liability if we didn't use Chip & PIN when it was available (e.g. verify by signature). This makes a lot of sense to me, as some peoples signatures had rubbed off and others really didn't match.

Whenever I go to the US, my card is almost never checked. I usually get my card back before I even sign. There is often zero fraud prevention at the point of sale. Even when they ask for photo ID (rarely) they often just check the picture, not my name or even if it's valid ID.

From my side, I would consider liability to be very much on a merchant who didn't bother checking properly and reduce it as an incentive to help me reduce fraud (e.g. chip & pin systems).

more than 2 years ago

GNOME: Possible Recovery Strategies

mattsday "Find new niches" (432 comments)

Why does GNOME have to find new niches? It's the de-facto desktop installation for an awful lot of distributions and has been the primary choice for an awful lot of people for the past 10+ years.

It seems to me that they already had a huge user base and many more coming on-board through the likes of Fedora, Ubuntu and Linux Mint. They had a good thing going with a consistent toolkit (GTK+2), LGPL and some really nice software. From my humble perspective, this is a great starting point.

Instead they released GNOME 3. I have no idea who it's for? I remember GNOME 1.x and the thousands of configuration options - it was definitely overkill for a standard desktop environment. I think GNOME 3 is bad for exactly the opposite reasons - completely no customisation. I have no idea why they can't get this right and understand their target audience.

Fortunately, there are solid alternatives. However, I find it a great shame that GNOME seems to be determined to lose its userbase to meet some CS/HCI textbook ideal.

more than 2 years ago

Linux Is a Lemon On the Retina MacBook Pro

mattsday Re:Linux on Mac?! (780 comments)

Add this to your .vimrc for numpad:
" Numpad Hacks
" Map numpad keys 0-9 to their respective digits
:imap Oq 1
:imap Or 2
:imap Os 3
:imap Ot 4
:imap Ou 5
:imap Ov 6
:imap Ow 7
:imap Ox 8
:imap Oy 9
:imap Op 0

iTerm2 is a decent terminal emulator in my opinion.

Not saying OS X is perfect, but at least you an use numpad now. My vimrc has a couple of other tricks for OS X too:

more than 2 years ago

Happy Birthday, Debian!

mattsday Thanks Debian! (172 comments)

In 1998 my mother bought me a 'Linux' book with Red Hat 5.2 attached. Being a geek I installed it and loved it. I dabbled with upgrading it and using the Ximian beta Gnome 2. It always felt clunky though.

Then I discovered Debian. Not only did it have an AWESOME package manager, but it taught me about free software. It showed me that people can collaborate across the globe to make an integrated, high quality operating system for free. Around this time, I was finding my place in the world and I honestly think the spirit of Debian helped me discover Humanism and a concept of greater, moral good.

To this day I am in awe of this effort. Looking across its entire collection, the social structure and the individual elements (kernel, GNU toolchain, X, OpenSSH etc) I think free software is one of humanities greatest achievements. Whether you use it or not, take reflection in how awesome this completely free project is and how much it's brought us.

Thanks Debian!

more than 2 years ago

BBC Delivered 2.8PB On Busiest Olympics Day, Reaching 700Gb/s As Wiggo Won Gold

mattsday Re:A fraction of what it could have been (96 comments)

The problem with what you say is that NBCs coverage was profit driven. They tape-delayed shows to ensure prime-time audiences, cut large elements out of the opening/closing ceremonies and most events were not free to watch online without a cable subscription.

Whilst the BBC and the Television License is a subject of debate in the UK, it's very narrow-minded to say the $230 USD (not $300) brings only dramas. Comedy, news, current affairs, radio, light entertainment, online streaming, education and a whole load of other content ad-free.

I haven't looked up the figures, but my bet is that the BBC channels are amongst the most popular TV and Radio offerings in the UK - people clearly seem to like what they produce (myself included, I would pay the license fee just to have Radio 4).

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Enterprise-Grade Linux Networking Hardware?

mattsday Re:Server (140 comments)

Cisco is presently moving to IOS-XE which is the classic IOS binary blob running under a Linux kernel, which strikes them a balance between stability/portability (Linux) and features (IOS).

Of course, it's somewhat disingenuous to describe IOS-XE as "Linux" as it's really using it as a hardware layer - more like a heavy hypervisor which can host other applications.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With University Firewalls?

mattsday Academic Freedom (582 comments)

Universities should be havens for academic freedom and research, not a narrow corridor where IT can arbitrarily set policy.

Fortunately most universities I know (at least in the UK) respect this. They might hate having to deal with student residences (the wild west), but they prefer to generally treat students as adults and respect that the internet is far too useful as a tool to have some guy lock it down in the misguided name of security.

more than 2 years ago

Two Porn Companies Take ICANN and .xxx Registrar To Court

mattsday Re:Religious groups (272 comments)

Which government? The internet is a global entity. What constitutes porn in one country shouldn't suddenly apply universally.

more than 3 years ago


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