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The Squishy Future of Robotics

mjwx Humans and robots working together. (36 comments)

Coming to your office in the near future:

Frank: Steve, did you fart?
Steve: uh... no, must of been RB24-VQ11
Frank: Jesus VQ, that's rancid.

2 days ago

Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

mjwx Re:Yay for government!!! (132 comments)

The carriers already can (and do) block stolen phones. Each phone has a unique IMEI number, in addition to the SIM card number.

The carriers are already required to do this in some countries, and do it voluntarily in other countries. They just don't do it in the US.

IMEI blacklists are common in many countries, including the UK. When a device is stolen the IMEI number is put on the list and carriers reject the device and (potentially) notify investigators.

Blacklists are useless.

Steal phone in the UK, sell it in Poland or Hungary where the carrier doesn't have a blacklist.

Or better yet, change the IMEI.

A remote wipe will be equally as useless as the criminals will just learn to immediately turn the phone off and then give it to someone who can disable the remote wipe. There's always someone willing to sell their knowledge/skills with no morals. Why would you think this doesn't extend to people who hack phones.

2 days ago

Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

mjwx Re:Same old, same old. (788 comments)

To this day I'll never understand why teachers were so blind to the fact that the bigger stronger "athletic" kids constantly harassed the weaker kids.

You're lucky, since in your case the bullies were actually considered to be part of the party at fault.

And the teachers actions are easy to understand when you realize that they're not interested in justice - they want peace in the classroom.

In modern times, the teachers hands are tied. If a teacher stands up to a bully, that bully's father is in the administrators office threatening lawyers.

I got bullied a bit in High School, one of the teachers was good with it. He'd let the bully get away with a little bit, but after he thought enough was enough he'd start using inventive forms of punishment (I.E. he'd put a dot on the blackboard and the student had to stand with their nose touching it).

Ultimately I defeated the bullies by becoming part of the clique. I developed a sense of humour, started cracking jokes and that ended up making friends. Once that happened the bullies (who are really, inherently cowards) realised that if they continued to pick on me, they'd be the ones outside the clique.

I really do feel for teachers these days, it's not that they want to tolerate the bullying, quite the contrary they'd love to toss the bully's out by the scruff of their necks with a swift boot to the pants for good measure but the shitstorm that would create would make WWII look like a school yard scuffle. Its getting to the point where helicopter parents and tiger mums are so aggressive with the layers that they cant even give them a negative report. The worst thing a teacher can write is "Little Johnny needs to pay more attention in class" which has become teacher code for "Little Johnny is a right little shit".

I used to share a house with two teachers, top blokes, always had good pot but their work was shit. If any parent made trouble with the principal, they'd get it dumped down on them two fold.

2 days ago

Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

mjwx Re:Rewarding the bullies... (788 comments)

1. Kids shoot up schools. Why schools?

Because your targets are guaranteed to be unable to shoot back?

Same with theatres, shopping centres, cafe's and MickyD's.

I know many Americans have this fantasy about everyone being John Wayne packing a six shooter and picking off a gunman at 1000 yards but the reality is, very few people carry and most of them wont be able to shoot straight at the best of times, let alone in the heat of an attack and they have no idea which person is the shooter.

You need to go back and re-read the GP's post, people who shoot up schools pick schools for very specific reasons.

2 days ago

Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

mjwx Re:Rewarding the bullies... (788 comments)

1. Kids shoot up schools. Why schools? Why not shopping malls before Christmas or movie theaters during blockbuster premiers? If it's body count and fame you're after, that's where you'd have to do your killing spree. Schools are rather meh for either. Not very cramped, lots of exits, before you can rack up a sensible body count most of the people already hit the exit. Now try a movie theater with 2 exits for 200+ people. Shot 10 or so and a body count of at least 50 is certain due to the stampede! So why schools?


Terrorists in Israel target theatres, buses and other places where they can kill a lot of people without having many escape. Blowing up a school doesn't make sense because campuses are large and open (ergo requires a lot of explosives).

It's not a killing spree. It's revenge. Plain and simple.

This, and why are kids feeling the need to get revenge?

Like you said, politicians, parents, news media are all very quick to blame video games, comic books, movies, rock and/or roll music but never look at the real cause. The society that created them.

The kids who go off the edge are reacting. You have to remember that the Columbine killers had lists of people to kill and they even let some people go because they were nice to them. Until the US abandons the Lord of the Flies culture in schools, until the US stops encouraging popularity contests by elevating mediocrity and finally admits that allowing those elevated by this system to ostracise people they don't like the US will continue to suffer from extreme violence in schools.

But this means the parents, politicans and news media need to admit the society they created is horribly wrong... and that's harder than blaming the people who got shot.

School shootings are not prevalent in other countries that have a higher rate of violence (violent crime, specifically shootings) because the same culture does not exist.

2 days ago

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

mjwx Re:my situation is similar (385 comments)

I'm not forced to pay the $30 fee. I could do my taxes by hand, if I wanted, and avoid it. TurboTax also has a free option which I could *probably* use, but for the $30 you get more hand-holding and sanity checks to make sure you didn't screw something up. To me, $30/year is worth it if it reduces my chance of being audited even slightly. Plus its way cheaper than what I'd pay an accountant or tax preparer.

Sure you could do it by hand, but then you risk all kinds of mistakes and increases the chance of being audited, so in effect, people are being forced to pay to submit their tax returns.

I find this to be criminal, keep your assault rifles, I'm happier with a sane tax code and working tax office.

In Australia, via the e-tax program you have to be retarded to stuff it up. Most companies submit your group certificates (the record that details how much you paid and the tax withheld) to the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) so most of your tax return fills itself out. Even filling one out as a small business isn't difficult (quarterly Business Activity Statements). People hate the ATO, but they do go out of their way to make doing your taxes easier and in effect I guess this makes their job easier too.

2 days ago

Ubisoft Hands Out Nexus 7 Tablets At a Game's Press Event

mjwx Re:Because nobody wanted the crummy battery life?? (43 comments)

While I love my Nexus 4 and especially the, now discontinued, Nexus 10, the 7 is a piece of junk, IMO. I run the same software on all of them (actually, less on the 7), and I have to charge it as often as the 4, which I use far more and is also receiving a cell signal.

The 10 is pretty sweet though. I can get almost two weeks, as compared to one/two days from the 7, with similar usage. I've wanted to throw the thing away myself. I don't blame Ubisoft.

Sounds like theirs something wrong with your Nexus 7.

I've never heard of battery problems with any Nexus 7 and I did a metric crapload of research before plonking down A$440 for the LTE variant of the Nexus 7. I realistically have to charge it once a week with normal usage or once every 5 days with heavy usage.

You've probably got a rouge app that keeps draining your battery life.

2 days ago

Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

mjwx Re:Ukraine's borders were changed by use of force (295 comments)

"Finally, would the British Empire accept a referendum by residents of it's colonies in the new world, for example, on breaking away from motherland and becoming independent?"

New Zealand,
Sri Lanaka,
Papua New Guinea,

This is just a short list of countries that voted for independence or gained independence from England using diplomatic means. Countries like Australia and New Zealand are quite proud that we gained our independence with a vote, not a war.

In fact the states that have been actively fighting the British have remained in British control the longest (Ireland).

You might be able to add Scotland to this list, after centuries of fighting the English for independence, it looks like they'll get it just by voting.

3 days ago

How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

mjwx Re:Android ... (193 comments)

Yes. I'd love to hear an unbiased review from a site that doesn't sell them. ...bought myself a WiFi hotspot and a cheap service plan (FreedomPop) today to start down this path.

There is an unbiased site, but you need to own a unicorn to get membership.

I'm still looking for a wiring loom for a Honda Integra (Acura RSX for the Americans).

3 days ago

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

mjwx Re:my situation is similar (385 comments)

Live in Texas, pretty simple tax return. I've always used TurboTax online and never had any complaints. I think I chose the $30 option.

Ever since I've been old enough to pay tax, the Australian government has offered free software (e-tax) to allow me to file tax free of charge (e-tax looks like it's interface is still in Windows 3.1). I find it to be criminal for the government to force a charge for you to file your taxes.

Even though I opt to pay an accountant to do my taxes for me, I have the choice.

3 days ago

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

mjwx Re:Overseas comment (385 comments)

I like the UK system - if you're an employee and you're happy with the tax your employer has withheld on your behalf, you don't have to do anything. You get a statement at the end of the year telling you how much you've been paid and how much tax has been withheld - if you think they've got it wrong, or you want to claim deductions, you file a tax return saying so.

Its the same system in Australia, but everyone has to file a tax return.

Where things get complex is when you have investments that are earning money, property, stocks, term deposits and the like.

3 days ago

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

mjwx Re:How do you do your taxes? (385 comments)

Well that's just mean, why would you taunt them like that, you must know that lifeless bodies are worth less.

Depends how fresh they are, organs are worth a great deal these days.

3 days ago

Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

mjwx Re:Automating taxes (415 comments)

It would not be hard to make it clear to people how much "The Man" is taking.

You'd think so but I'm an accountant and I do our company payroll. You would be *amazed* at how seldom many people look at their paycheck, particularly if it is direct deposit. I get asked all the time how much vacation people have left even though it is printed right on our paystubs every two weeks.

I'm not amazed at how few people look at their payslips. Most employers in Oz send them electronically these days, it's nice to have them sent to my Gmail account where they automatically get tagged and filed.

The solution for people asking you how much leave they have left is to get a system that allows users to check this for themselves. Most employers I've worked for have an Intranet page where you can put in your preferred leave dates and it will tell you how much leave you will have accrued by that date.

3 days ago

How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

mjwx Re:Android ... (193 comments)

Which model?

3 days ago

How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

mjwx Re:The Real Breakthrough - non auto-maker Maps (193 comments)

Since Apple has no control over quality of implementation

But one great aspect of CarPlay has already done something I thought would not happen for a while - breaking the car manufactures monopoly on in-car mapping.

These two points contradict each other.

If Apple has no control over implementation, then implementation is till reliant on the good will of the car manufacturers to put it into _THEIR_ in car entertainment systems.

I don't know if CarPlay will gain any traction.

It wont, precisely because the manufacturers don't want to give up their monopoly.

3 days ago

Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

mjwx Re:Um, no? (307 comments)

And you waste a load of shotgun shells that are going to be extremely valuable in the post apocalypse.

Depends, the 20 gauge are plentiful but the lever action shotgun they go in is rare and breaks easy (single shotgun's reload speed is atrocious), the 12 gauge is rare, but the combat shotgun is even rarer. I'll stick to the cowboy repeater backed up with a 10mm SMG and varmint/hunting/sniper rifle for long range.

3 days ago

First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

mjwx Re:Useless (184 comments)

On the other hand, some things (like animals and pedestrians) require some means of illumination at night.

I wonder how we ever managed to survive before electric light...

Oh, wait, humans can actually see by starlight alone.

You're not going to read a book or do rocket surgery but you can walk around outdoors without electric lights even when there's no moon. I've done plenty of hiking, etc. under a full moon.

The thing about starlight is that it's primarily reflected light from our own sun and this changes depending on which part of the lunar cycle you're in. I used to live in a small mining town 1500 KM from the nearest city (so its easy to find a place with no artificial light), you'd have times when it was pitch black and other times where you could see for a KM however the contrast was extremely washed out, so whilst you'd spot a person walking you'd have trouble seeing their face. Put simply, you'll have a lot of trouble spotting white lines on black roads.

Try doing your hiking under no moon and see how much light there is.

If this paint works as intended, it will be a godsend for anyone travelling remote roads at night, where I live there are thousands of kilometres of unlit roads.

4 days ago

Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

mjwx Re:Changing IMEI is illegal (109 comments)

Under a 2002 law it was made illegal to change the IMEI unless you're the manufacturer. However, under a 2006 amendment to the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 it was made illegal to even OFFER to do this. You don't have to actually change the IMEI to commit the offense, you just have to offer or say you will. Punishment is up to 5 years in prison. The smartphone blackmarket could be wiped out just by enforcing this law.

Somewhere in South London:

Crim 1 orrigh' me ol China, we've half-inched this mugs dog an' bone.
Crim 2 Now we just have to change the IMEI.
Crim 1 But that's illegal my sahn.
Crim 2 You're right guv, better give up then.

4 days ago

Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

mjwx Re:Why can't US "journalists" do this? (109 comments)

Unfortunately, that's always the end result of having ads pay for journalism. At some point, there's always a conflict. And money will always will.

This, due to the unique way the BBC is funded, they don't have to cave to advertisers whims.

4 days ago

Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

mjwx Re:PBA Cards (325 comments)

See above. Works well and often, despite publication.


Above says your name.

Sorry, but this is a complete fallacy perpetuated by people with no idea about how the hospitality industry works. In most countries, taking money for upgrades will get employees fired. In most developing countries, even the allegation of it is enough.

On a recent trip to Vegas for a wedding, 11 people in the group tried this, 11 people failed, 10 of them were told that it never works and they'd get fired if they got caught and handed the money back visibly (cameras watch the staff, not just the punters). Taking tips is one thing, giving out hotel resources in exchange for money is another.

4 days ago



Apple loses final bid to stop Samsung Galaxy Tab i

mjwx mjwx writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mjwx (966435) writes "Apple has lost its bid to gain an injunction against Samsung selling it's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the Australian High court today.

The High court ruled in Samsung's favour saying "the argument from Apple's lawyers had insufficient prospects of success". Samsung has said that the injunction should never have been granted in the first place. Apple had not issued a statement at the time of submission.

According to Slashgear Apple has been requested to pay Samsung's legal costs.

Given that the High court is the highest court in Australia, Apple has no chance of an appeal. Samsung is free to begin distribution of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia."

Link to Original Source

Australia ranked fourth in Internet freedom

mjwx mjwx writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mjwx (966435) writes "A report published by Freedom House has placed Australia in fourth in Internet Freedom, below Estonia, the United States and Germany. Freedom House highlights the lack of acutal censorship in Australia pointing out that the highly unpopular proposed ISP level censorship has been shelved since the 2010 Australian election.

The freedom house report is available here."

Link to Original Source

UK Home Office set to scrap National ID cards

mjwx mjwx writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mjwx (966435) writes "In what would seem to be a sudden break of common sense for the UK, the Home Office has put forward a plan to scrap the national ID card system put into place by the previous government. From the BBC,

"The Home Office is to reveal later how it will abolish the national identity card programme for UK citizens.

The bill, a Queen's Speech pledge, includes scrapping the National Identity Register and the next generation of biometric passports."

The National ID card system, meant to tackle fraud and illegal immigration has drawn widespread criticism for infringing on privacy and civil rights. However the main driver for the change in this policy seems to be the 800 million pound cost. Also in the article, indications of a larger bill aimed at reforms to the DNA database, tighter regulation of CCTV and a review of libel laws."


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