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Nest Will Now Work With Your Door Locks, Light Bulbs and More

meeotch my lightbulbs are on the internet! (163 comments)

My primary objection (and others' as well, judging by the comments on this story) is having all my network-aware toasters and lightbulbs and whatnot connecting to systems outside of my house.

Does anyone know of an alternative with the same plug-it-in-and-it-just-works-ness, but with a more sensible scheme that lets me run without an internet connection? Or better still, with a single, secure internet-facing control, and everything else just talking in-house?

Secondary objection is that iirc (maybe just early versions), the Nest had no "dumb mode", where I could just set the schedule myself, preferably with a motion-sensor override in case I wake up or arrive home early. Again, is there a plug-and-play alternative that does this?

Ideal would be plug-and-play, but also scriptable via python or something in case I want to get fancy later on.

I know there are gajillion home automation standards / systems, and that I can roll my own from stone knives and bearskins - but honestly, it's overwhelming trying to sort through all the options. So please skip the "google it" style replies, if you can.

about three weeks ago

An Algorithm To Prevent Twitter Hashtag Degeneration

meeotch Brilliant! (162 comments)

Now, if only Slashdot had some sort of a system whereby submitted stories could be rated "thoughtful", or perhaps "not written by Bennett Haselton", thus preventing the front page from degenerating due to stupid, or offensive, or offensively stupid contributions.

Seriously - what is this, some sort of test to see how many screen-inches can be filled with the random bleatings of one jackass, before it impacts readership numbers? Like slashdot's version of the "cinnamon challenge"?

about a month and a half ago

Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

meeotch ohh... well no wonder (312 comments)

"Public sentiment toward the company turned abruptly negative after the unveiling of its phone app, which responds to car reservation requests by announcing, 'Die UberMenchen are coming to pick you up!,' and asking the customer to don a distinctive badge, so that they can be identified."

about 5 months ago

New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

meeotch what an opportunity! (100 comments)

Finally, a safe and financially savvy way to diversify my portfolio. I'm currently at about a 70/30 POG - Beanie Baby mix, but I feel like I'm tilted too heavily toward large caps.

(Ha! Large caps! You see what I did there?)

about 6 months ago

IBM Tries To Forecast and Control Beijing's Air Pollution

meeotch heritage report (63 comments)

In response to concerns both about possible export of American technologies to China as a result of IBM's involvement, and claims by climate scientists that emissions in China contribute significantly to global warming, think tank The Heritage Foundation released the following report:

"Heh, heh - His name is 'Dong'. Heh."

about 7 months ago

London Regulator Says Uber Is Operating Legally

meeotch say what you will... (105 comments)

...agree with the decision or disagree. But what's the deal with every legal matter, ever, requiring the involved parties to make public statements that sound like they're on the junior high debate team?

"The decision was welcomed by Uber's general manger as a 'victory for common sense, technology, innovation - and above all, London.'" No - the end of WWII was a victory for London. This is just one more thing Londoners can spend their money on.

"Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia said, 'We are disappointed in the outcome, but our work is not done. We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world." No, you're basically a cable company. A meaningful impact would be finding a cure for Alzheimer's.

Are canned statements like this actually effective in convincing the public that your pet project is inextricably linked to the survival of humanity itself? 'Cause to me, they just make you sound like a disingenuous prick.

Even better: this cliche soundbite garbage seems to be the only language spoken by our elected representatives, as well. Why not hire an orchestra to play ominous music in the background, while you're at it? It saddens me to see supposed leaders and captains of industry acting like pre-teens. It speaks poorly of us as a race.

about 7 months ago

NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

meeotch Re:Not about consumption, but about sales (532 comments)

Way to pick a tangential item to shoot down. Yes, you win - you can put together a meal that's only half a day's calories. If you're carrying around that pdf you linked on your phone... or you know - if the government forces them to put it on the damn menu.

I think you've just proved my point.

about 7 months ago

NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

meeotch Re:Not about consumption, but about sales (532 comments)

It's cheaper than most other options for eating out, or ordering in, or buying processed and easily cookable meals, if you don't have the time or energy to buy and cook a healthy meal every night, nor the money to buy one. How many people do you know that live off of a bag of apples, and rice, and maybe chicken? I make six figures, and I still barely ever eat fish, because it's so damn expensive. A lot of healthy food is expensive, and eating just the staples requires a fair amount of willpower, when you can just order Domino's.

Obviously, obese people who have money and choose to eat garbage are buying it for other reasons. Feel free to pick one from my post above.

about 7 months ago

NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

meeotch Re:Not about consumption, but about sales (532 comments)

Oh, and btw - I live in NYC, and personally, I think the soda ban was an inept attempt at being helpful. A massive education campaign would be better. But that costs money. And making the calorie info on packaged food more visible, like with chain restaurants, could only really be done at the national level.

And that would require some sort of giant entity with the power to spend billions of dollars, or enact legislation for the whole country. Too bad.

about 7 months ago

NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

meeotch Re:Not about consumption, but about sales (532 comments)

>> If a patron wanted, there was nothing stopping them from buying, say, 3 x 16fl oz drinks and gulp that all up. Alternatively, there was nothing stopping them from getting one 16fl oz drink and going for refills.
>> This was entirely on businesses, disallowing them to sell anything over 16fl oz.

This. Are people enraged and screaming "Tyranny!" about smoking bans and requiring cigarette packages to bear warnings? Largely, no. Why? Because aside from a lot of us either disliking second-hand smoke, or being a smoker and being unable to quit, the general consensus is that Big Tobacco was pretty evil - peddling a harmful and addictive product, and Big Government was the only one who could stop them.

See the analogy here? The (mostly large) corporations that provide our food have been pumping more and more high fructose corn syrup & fat into their products, and making them bigger and bigger. o.k., so you argue that they're just giving the people what they want. But that shit is *addictive* - just ask your local fatass sysadmin who lives on Monster and Doritos. Or go somewhere poor and count the obese people. Those people have a lot less "choice" - because Coke and McDonald's is *cheap*, in addition to being delicious.

In NYC (I think it's local), all chain restaurants are required to put calorie counts right next to the food on signs/menus, just like the cigarette companies. I fucking love McDonalds, but I stopped eating there. I'm a supposedly educated, well-off person with a relatively higher amount of "freedom" than some citizens. And I didn't know that almost everything on their menu was a *full day's* allotment of calories, until the Gubmint made them advertise it. (Since then, they've tacked on more lower-cal items, which is good.)

The reality is, advertising, doctoring of products to be addictive, and good ole' disingenuousness ("serving size: 8oz, servings per package: 2" on a can of Monster. What - do I put the other half in the fridge for later?), etc. is used to peddle crap to us all.

o.k., this is the basic nature of selling, you say. (Except for that goofy "make a better product" idea that some nuts espouse.) It's been that way forever. Fine. But when fully *one third* of us are obese, including tons of kids, and when the entities that are selling the stuff are so large that we couldn't possibly take them on, even together, then it's time for the one giant entity that exists to look out for us to level the fucking playing field. Who's going to argue that HFCS and ubiquitous advertising is somehow not manipulative? The gov't is just doing it's (relatively tiny) bit to help us choose to not be manipulated, just like with cigarettes & liquor.

I see the slippery slope - really. I used to be a card-carrying conservative. I'm still registered Republican, for crissake (though I've voted third party in every election since G.W.) But *everything* is a goddamn slippery slope - and a lot steeper in many cases. Why not take the energy you're wasting going full Enraged Libertarian on fucking soda issues, and point it at eternally renewable copyright legislation, or anti-pot laws - or, you know, the police state - by calling your congressthingies.

TL/DR: The gov't has a mandate to provide for the General Welfare. Obesity is an epidemic problem in this country. Making people think about their choices is *helping*, not fascism. Even at the cost of corps making slightly less money. Even if it's more expensive for the country, not less (see other posts for numbers.) And you can still drink 70oz. of Mountain Dew if you want, fatass.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: A 'Mavis Beacon' For Teaching Smartphone and Tablet Typing?

meeotch I don't want to type faster (55 comments)

...at least not on my goddamn telephone. I don't know how to "thumb type" at all, and oddly, when I'm sitting on the subway and I look around to see all the people furiously hammering away on their phones, I'm not one of them.

I use Swype (which is irritating in its own way, due to flaky prediction), and it's just usable enough that I can reply to an important email/text, or look something up on the net/maps. If it's not important, it waits until I'm sitting in front of a monitor - or better still, slips off the agenda entirely.

By all means, improve predictive text / speech recognition / HCI whatever. But why in the hell would I waste my time acquiring a skill that's only useful for burying one's head in (further) neurotic withdrawal from physical reality? It's like learning Esperanto so more people can read your Facebook page.

about 8 months ago

The Light Might Make You Heavy

meeotch But, but, but... (138 comments)

If I don't leave the lights on when I go to bed, how will I see my way to the refrigerator at 3:00 am?

about 8 months ago

Study: Stop Being So Cynical, You Could Give Yourself Dementia

meeotch really? (153 comments)

I call bullshit!

about 7 months ago

Data Mining Shows How Down-Voting Leads To Vicious Circle of Negative Feedback

meeotch Where'd they get their data? (293 comments)

Not only do authors of negatively-evaluated content contribute more but their future posts are of lower quality and are perceived by the community as such.

By reading Bennett Haselton stories?

BAM! Nailed it!

On a less snarky note: I've tried a number of times over the years to google up the study that I'm pretty sure corresponds to the following assertion, and failed. (Sources welcome.)

Anyway, the (possibly imagined) study claimed that the best way to motivate people was to reward them *randomly*. In the same way that people in Vegas think they've just about figured out the system, random rewards *keep people trying*. Whereas constant positive/negative feedback becomes "the new normal", and ceases to motivate after a while. You can see this in celebrities and rich people, when they believe that their position in life is justified, and bitch about not having more success/fame/etc. And also in the chronically unlucky/downtrodden, when they accept their "fate" and eventually stop trying to move up.

about 8 months ago

How Apple's Billion Dollar Sapphire Bet Will Pay Off

meeotch mesa? (195 comments)

Mesa facility, you say? I think it's clear they plan to use the synthetic sapphires to open a dimensional rift to an alien plane of existence, and destroy us all.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

meeotch Re:OneNote is very good (170 comments)

Ha - forgot to finish point #3, and renumber point #4. Like I said about editing my notes...

3. There are some stupid hotkeys that I find myself accidentally hitting all the time. Like "New page" and "New Section". I don't believe you can change them - though I assume you could steal them with AutoHotkey.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

meeotch Re:OneNote is very good (170 comments)

+1 for this. Though I'm sure nobody around here wants to hear about M$ products. "LALALALALAproprietaryLALALALALAwalledgardenLALALALALA".

I haven't tried Evernote, but only because I skimmed through the site, didn't like the formatting options, and since I've been using OneNote, I haven't felt the need. It did seem like Evernote had more options for grabbing stuff form disparate sources.

I also haven't tried OneNote 2013, because I don't like subscription software. (LALALALA) But OneNote 2010 has been pretty great. Particularly for my style of note-taking, which involves a lot of page layout, previously requiring going back and erasing when you realize you haven't left enough room, then rewriting all the notes in that section.

Some irritating issues, that mostly have workarounds:

1. You can't edit images (or not very well) once they're pasted in. Workaround: hotkey for screen cliping, hotkey to MS Paint. Ctrl-V edit Ctrl-C Ctrl-V into OneNote.
2. "Dock" mode actually takes over half of your desktop, and shoves all your icons out of the way. Workaround: icon saver program, hotkey.
3. There are some stupid hotkeys that
3. Probably some other stuff I'm not remembering.

The killer feature: With this guy's add-on, you can auto-complete to build up fairly complex mathematical equations pretty quickly.

It also auto-OCR's images in the background, so that you can search for text in images you've pasted in.

Exporting to pdf appears to preserve links, including "internal" ones between pages, as long as you export all the relevant pages together. Exporting to mht is not quite as successful.

Now my notes look like this:

I believe there's a tablet version - but I wouldn't want to use it with a stylus. Particularly if I was trying to use handwriting recognition to enter math equations.

about 9 months ago



35% of (American) Adults Have Debt "In Collections"

meeotch meeotch writes  |  about 5 months ago

meeotch (524339) writes "According to a new study by the Urban Institute, 35% of U.S. adults with a credit history (91% of the adult population of the U.S.) have debt "in collections" — a status generally not acquired until payments are at least 180 days past due. Debt problems seem to be worse in the South, with states hovering in the 40%+ range, while the Northeast has it better, at less than 30%. The study's authors claim their findings actually underrepresent low-income consumers, because "adults without a credit file are more likely to be financially disadvantaged."

Oddly, only 5% of adults have debt 30-180 days past due. This latter fact is partially accounted for by the fact that a broader range of debt can enter "in collections" status than "past due" status (e.g. parking tickets)... But also perhaps demonstrates that as one falls far enough along the debt spiral, escape becomes impossible. Particularly in the case of high-interest debt such as credit cards — the issuers of which cluster in states such as South Dakota, following a 1978 Supreme Court ruling that found that states' usury laws did not apply to banks headquartered in other states.

Even taking into account the folks to lost a parking ticket under their passenger seat, 35% is a pretty shocking number. Anyone have other theories why this number is so much higher than the 5% of people who are just "late"? How about some napkin math on the debt spiral? (And unfortunately, cue the inevitable geek snobbery about how people in debt must be "idiots".)"

Information Wants to be Free (for the Government)

meeotch meeotch writes  |  more than 6 years ago

meeotch writes "El Reg is reporting that a federal appeals court has ruled that the U.S. Air Force can't be sued under the DMCA. The case in question involves software written by and Air Force sergeant, which the senior brass decided that they liked. When the sergeant couldn't be coerced into turning over his source code, the Air Force demoted him and hired an outside company to crack the binary, rather than license the software. The appeals court found that the Air Force couldn't be sued, due to the principle of sovereign immunity, which says that a sovereign power can't be sued unless it consents to be (and the government has indeed consented... but apparently not in the case of the DMCA.) A similar case was discussed here previously — involving copyright infringement and state sovereignty. Now if I could only get someone from the military to download all my warez for me."
Link to Original Source


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