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Facebook Apologizes To Drag Queens Over "Real Name" Rule

mikechant Re:its their own fault (280 comments)

You seem like many other posters to have missed the actual effect of the facebook announcement. Firstly it is not about the right to use 'fake' names (i.e. ones that you do not use 'in real life'), it is about the right to use the/a name you are generally/frequently known by, which is arguably more 'real' than your so-called real name.
And secondly it appears to apply to everyone, so if you are a straight male whose parents called you 'Dick Shit' but everyone apart from your bank (say) knows you as 'Richard the third' then you have the right to be known as such on facebook. So this decision gives exactly the same rights to everybody.

And yes, I realiize you might have been misled by the fact that the facebook *apology* was directed at transgender people and drag queens/kings. But that was because these groups had been specifically targeted by one person reporting them as having 'fake names'. The actual *policy* change benefits *anyone* who in real life goes by a different name to that on their birth certificate etc. I know several male and female straight people who have gone by a 'different' name for their entire adult life, e.g. just because they have a strong dislike of their birth name and this policy should benefit them if they choose to take advantage of it.

about 2 months ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

mikechant Re:Why didn't they just listen to users? (681 comments)

The Zune wasn't a bad product besides the poor color choice of brown.

...and the name of the 'squirting' thing

...and the being sure not to play 'playsforsure' purchases from MS's own store

about 5 months ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

mikechant Re:But 7 works fine. (681 comments)

http://www.netmarketshare.com/...

Shows WinXP currently at 25% which looks more like reality than the w3schools 8%ish figure which appears to be unrepresentative as it relates only to *one* web site's logs.

about 5 months ago
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Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

mikechant Re:Not the right way anyway (583 comments)

It is like the train system, eventually, after privatisation was supposed to make it more efficient, and ticket prices kept going up and up, you come to wonder that its problem isn't mismanagement, inefficient government, greedy corporations, nor old tech, it is just that it is a Victorian technology and concept.

Assuming you are talking about the UK rail system, despite it being "a Victorian technology and concept", and despite the fare increases, usage keeps going up, year after year (with very occasional economy related blips), and when lines/stations are re-opened they are typically getting massively more passengers than expected.

The second graph down on this page shows the trend:
http://www.railway-technical.c...

This page gives the up-to date figures:
http://orr.gov.uk/news-and-med....

New housing in some areas is being planned around new stations, e.g.
http://www.yorkshireeveningpos...

It's becoming increasingly clear that at least some of the Beeching closures should be and will be reversed, and some completely new lines will be built.
East-West rail (including reopening and electrification) is already planned and budgeted, HS2 is progressing, HS1 extension is highly likely, Crossrail will be finished soon, Crossrail 2 is high on the agenda, mass electrification is proceeding rapidly. And apart from the special case of HS2 there is a real political consensus around rail expansion.

Trams have also been re-invented for the 21st century in major UK cities; Manchester especially but also Nottingham and Birmingham are expanding their networks and are very popular.

Tram-trains are coming soon, initially in Sheffield.

about 6 months ago
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The Man Behind Munich's Migration of 15,000 PCs From Windows To Linux

mikechant Re:Not only that... (264 comments)

"Screwed" because MS only supported their OS for 13 years?
But also sold it on some new machines as recently as 4 years ago...

Hell, which Linux company is going to maintain a version of their OS (for free) for 3 years?

Err...several, for free, for considerably more than 3 years.

Common examples:
Ubuntu LTS: Now 5 years (increased from 3 years at V12.04)
CentOS: Pretty much follows Red Hat. e.g CentOS V6 maintained for 9 years (2011-2020).
Given that XP was atypical with 13 years support and Win7 gets 11 years (2009-2020), CentOS is very much in the same ballpark.

But wait: CentOS 6 will get 9 years of *full* support (including new hardware support every 6 months and new features mainly every 2 years). Win7 only gets 6 years full support and 5 years extended (security updates only).
I'd say that's a draw between CentOS 6 and Windows 7.

about 7 months ago
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Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says

mikechant Re:Mathematics (589 comments)

TFA is about UK public sector, firing is practically impossible,

Yes, it's so impossible that only 631,000 public sector jobs have gone since 2010. With about another 400,000 currently scheduled.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/u...

Yes, it's a left-wing paper. The 631,000 figure is correct and undisputed though.

about 7 months ago
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School Tricks Pupils Into Installing a Root CA

mikechant Re:In their defence. (417 comments)

If we could not filter the ssl sites, there would be no option but to block ssl entirely by blocking all traffic on port 443.

Then that's what you should do. Intercepting an SSL session between (say) a pupil and their bank would potentially be illegal without the permission of both the pupil *and* the bank. And the bank is not going to give this permission. Blocking ssl is the only legally safe solution.
Still, it's your legal risk, up to you.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

mikechant Re:Mint 13 Mate LTS (287 comments)

Or if it can wait a month or so, install V17 and it's supported till 2019.

about 9 months ago
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BPAS Appeals £200,000 Fine Over Hacked Website

mikechant Re:hmmm (104 comments)

What we do know about the charity case is that there were almost ten thousand records of patients of a highly controversial practice

It's not 'highly controversial' in the UK, where this happened (unlike the US).

about 9 months ago
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NSA's Legal Win Introduces a Lot of Online Insecurity

mikechant Re:How about that rented storage? (239 comments)

In the UK, almost everything that's "owned" is leasehold.
No, that's not true. No idea where you got that idea from. Maybe you were thinking of central London. Nearly all properties in the UK** are freehold, only about 2 Million are leasehold, mostly flats/apartments. There are about 22 Million properties in the UK, so that's about 10% leasehold.

This mentions the 2 million figure:
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-1585043/Mortgages-homes-guide-Leasehold-vs-freehold--right-buy.html

**UK: Actually figures may be for England and Wales not Scotland probably, but that covers about 90% of the UK by population so that's good enough for these purposes.

about a year ago
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How Ya Gonna Get 'Em Down On the UNIX Farm?

mikechant Re:I wonder . . . (606 comments)

Yes, a CLI CAN be turing complete and a GUI cannot be.

No, you're wrong. Just because *most* GUIs are not Turing complete doesn't mean they can't be. Informal proof: Take a Turing complete text-based language, convert the keywords, structures, operators, constants, variables etc. into GUI editable objects, write a GUI that allows these objects to be assembled in arbitrary ways, e.g. by drag-and-drop, and there you go. Effectively you are visually constructing some sort of flowchart which is mathematically equivalent to a textually expressed program. Some GUI IDEs are actually like this, which shows that the principle is possible in practice.

You might object that such a GUI IDE is not Turing complete on the grounds that it can't do this or that function with the underlying hardware/low-level OS etc.. but that's not valid; a general Turing complete language does not have to have access to lower levels of software/hardware. A concrete example is that many 'normal' text based Turing complete languages might not be able to do direct I/O or access raw devices of any sort, or handle DMA or interrupts, and thus might be unable to perform certain functions (like read the disc partition table for example) without invoking routines in some *other* (lower level) Turing complete language. But that's not what Turing completeness is about; it's about being able to express an arbitrary algorithm on an abstract machine.
Doing this through a GUI may be clumsy in many cases but not impossible.

about a year ago
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Why Charles Stross Wants Bitcoin To Die In a Fire

mikechant Re:Mod Parent Article Down. (691 comments)

Exactly. I once sent an email to Tate & Lyle (really) complaining that their brown sugar 'cubes' were in fact cuboids (unlike their white ones, which *were* cubes within a reasonable tolerance).

Never got a reply.

about a year ago
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Officials Say HealthCare.gov Site Now Performing Well

mikechant Re:Here's What I Know (644 comments)

You had your tooth drilled without anesthetic?

I have this done *at my request* and the dentist does not seem surprised. I find the injections much more painful than the drilling (many of my teeth have been filled so much they seem to have very little sensation left in them). It's just a faint dull pain for a short time, no big deal.

about a year ago
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New Windows XP Zero-Day Under Attack

mikechant Re:Upate to the most current (241 comments)

You and the GP are both wrong. The proper way to do it is to risk-assess and cost-benefit analyse every potential upgrade and upgrade or don't upgrade based on the results.
I work on a large number of outsourced mainframes and the decision on whether to upgrade a specific software product for a specific customer is quite complex, and often depends on such things as the software supplier's previous record (do they break things a lot at new releases, etc..), and the criticality of the software involved (crudely, how much money will the customer lose per hour if this facility is unavailable).
The result is that some products are 'frozen' at a particular release (and the risk involved with this option is recorded and reviewed regularly), some are updated occasionally with extensive pre-rollout testing (typically when the current release approaches its end of support date) and some are updated regularly in a routine fashion.

about a year ago
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Microsoft Admits Windows 8.1 Update May Bork Your Mouse, Promises a Fix

mikechant Re:You have to test the mouse for OS updates now? (326 comments)

Every time a USB drive was put in, a new device driver, and probably malware, was installed.

It's even worse than that. It reinstalls the device drivers every time you plug the *same* device into a different USB port. I'd hoped this behaviour would go away when my WinXP work PC was replaced recently with a new Win7 PC, but no - plug USB headphones into each of the 4 front USB ports and it reinstalls the drivers 4 times. That's pretty brain-dead.

1 year,21 days
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Google Wants Patent On Splitting Restaurant Bills

mikechant Re:Fine Print (196 comments)

The sociable thing to do (unless one member of the party consumes just half a leaf of lettuce) is to divide the bill by the number of people at the table. Sure, there will be imbalances, but over multiple occasions (in normally reasonable and congenial company) they should pretty much average out.

Up to a point. Personally, I like to be able to drink as much red wine as I feel like, so I always bung in an extra GBP15 (cost of bottle of Merlot at curry house) at the end even if I didn't drink it all. This way I know nobody will be muttering about me 'not paying my way' and I can relax.

about a year ago
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First Few Doctor Who Episodes May Fall To Public Domain Next Year

mikechant Re:Not rushing to Youtube to watch (216 comments)

It's only £6.25 (about $10) in the UK. Looks as if they might actually be physically shipping it from the UK.

about a year ago
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Could a Grace Hopper Get Hired In Today's Silicon Valley?

mikechant Re:one question (608 comments)

Pro-tip: that "old hag" was worth approximately 1x10^12 of you. In every respect. That is all.

about a year ago
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Could a Grace Hopper Get Hired In Today's Silicon Valley?

mikechant Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (608 comments)

You never see women hanging off the back of a garbage truck. Is this a problem?

30-40 years ago you almost never saw women driving buses in the UK, particularly big double deckers. It was remarkable and would even get an article in the national newspapers. Now it's completely 'normal'. As far as I know the main things that changed was that
a/ Recently it stopped being regarded as 'totally unfeminine' for a woman to be a bus driver (mainly due to the 'early pioneers').
b/ The existing male workers and their unions stopped resisting female drivers (they couldn't justify it any more).
c/ Bus companies were no longer allowed to refuse to employ women "because they had no womens' toilets" etc.
d/ Ubiquitous power steering meant neither men or women needed brute strength any more (side-note - in the UK garbage disposal no longer needs strength any more due to the fairly recent use of wheely bins with mechanical lifts - and this was of massive benefit to the existing mostly male garbage collectors in terms of reduced back injuries etc. - so maybe in 30 years time women garbage collectors will be just as common as women bus drivers are now).

Nobody started forcing women to drive buses; the barriers just slowly came down.

Things change. Just because something is 'how it is' now doesn't mean it's always got to be like that, or that it's somehow 'natural'.

As other posts have pointed out, it's always worth looking at other countries; then you will often find out that (say) a profession like programming which is 90% male in the US is 50/50 in another country where the job does not have the same 'male' image. This must surely undermine the assumption that it's 'just how it is' in relation to the male/female balance and show it's a cultural thing - and lead to the conclusion that the talents of the under-represented sex are being wasted.

about a year ago

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