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Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

pmontra Re:What about Lasik? (157 comments)

Maybe yes, maybe no but that's pretty minor. Instead how about having to decide to get your legs removed to have a chance to win a gold medal in most track and field events in the standard Olympic Games? Inevitably somebody will decide it's worth trying (so many crazy people) and that would start something pretty nasty, much worse than doping. I rather prevent it.


Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

pmontra Different equipment, different categories (157 comments)

Eventually prosthetics will get so good that they'll let athletes achieve much better results than any unmodified human. When it happens everybody will see that the only way to go is different categories for different equipments. We are bound by compassion and politically correctness until we get to that point, so how to address this problem now? Call me hard hearted but I'd still apply my reasoning and enforce different categories right now even if we are in doubt of who's getting an advantage at the moment.


Critical Vulnerabilities In Web-Based Password Managers Found

pmontra Surprise (114 comments)

The web in insecure, don't store passwords in the web. Use keepassx instead. You get it for Windows and OS X on the site, for Linux using package managers, for Android on the Play Store and maybe also for iOS (look for MiniKeePass).

about two weeks ago

How the NEPTUNE Project Wired the Ocean

pmontra And so it starts (46 comments)

Ah, the Juan De Fuca plate. You deploy a network cable, you analyze the surroundings, you discover you can extract geothermal energy and by 2050 you end up with the Rifters universe. P. Watts rejoice! :-)

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

pmontra Nothing (427 comments)

I didn't wear anything on my wrists in the last 25 years and I can't think about any feature that would me want to do it again. One of the good features of a phone is that you put it into a pocket and take it out only when you need it. Your hands and wrists are free. When I go cycling I've already got my bike computer, on the bike. About monitoring all those quantified self things, they don't matter to me.

about a month ago

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

pmontra Re:Apple Actually Cares About Privacy (323 comments)

I'm the one you're replying to and I fully agree with you. A big initial markup leaves many strategies open.

about a month and a half ago

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

pmontra Re:Apple Actually Cares About Privacy (323 comments)

They don't connect the dots for everybody for free. Become a strategic partner (that is: find a way to bring them more money) and they'll be happy do connect the dots for you. So don't be naive: Apple cares about its customers only when it can turn that care into profit.

BTW, this app does the same on a rooted Android device.

about a month and a half ago

New Car Can Lean Into Curves, Literally

pmontra F1 Active Suspensions (243 comments)

All Formula 1 cars had active suspensions in the early 90's. They were computer managed to keep the car flat in the curves and maximize aerodynamically generated downforce and also to absorb impact with kerbs in chicanes with almost no rebounds (more traction). Actually they were introduced by Lotus in the early '80s but didn't get mainstream because of weight and limitations in the electronics. Williams had a better version of them in their 1991 car (electronics got much better by then) and eventually all the team followed suit until FIA banned the technology starting from 1994 because of safety concerns (Zanardi barely survived a heavy crash due to an active suspensions failure). More details on F1 active suspensions here.

Production cars used them since the 80's.

What Mercedes is doing now is reminiscent of the early Italian high speed train Pendolino. "By tilting, the train could go around curves designed for slower trains at higher speeds without causing undue discomfort to passengers." See one of those trains tilting in a curve in the UK in 2012.

about a month and a half ago

Games That Make Players Act Like Psychopaths

pmontra Re:My favorite, and last, memory of DayZ (212 comments)

I'm surprised the designers made that decision. Didn't that destroy the game? I mean, why should I attempt to pass this entry test until I'm lucky enough to escape the death squad? I might go play 2048 instead of buying Rust. Oh wait, 2048 wasn't there yet. Angry Birds maybe?

about 2 months ago

Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future?

pmontra Re:Light pollution (193 comments)

And cars have lights.
I wonder what will happen when an hex fails. Would the driver assume that an obstacle is on the road hiding the hex and needlessly (and maybe dangerously) brake?
I'm not saying that this technology doesn't have any advantages over standard lightning but maybe they are too far into the curve of diminishing returns.
By the way, how difficult would be stealing a hex and bringing it at home to turn it into a fancy table? I see plenty of opportunities for vandalism. Unfortunately this isn't a nice world.

about 2 months ago

Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future?

pmontra Light pollution (193 comments)

We don't need another source of light pollution.

about 2 months ago

Nature Publisher Requires Authors To Waive "Moral Rights" To Works

pmontra There are many journals (82 comments)

How bad it could be not writing for Nature or SciAm until they change their policy to something more moral?

about 4 months ago

Linux 3.14 Kernel Released

pmontra Re:ZRAM (132 comments)

I have a 16 GB laptop and I don't have any swap. I never run out of memory. free -m tells me that it's using about 4 GB for programs and data and almost 10 GB for file system buffers. I understand that I could get some more buffers if it compressed in RAM those pages that would have been swapped out, but is that really important? If you have little RAM you don't want to swap into it, if you have plenty you don't swap.

about 4 months ago

Brazil Blocks Foreign Mobile Phones

pmontra Re:Tourists (97 comments)

If it is so that blockade won't last long. There will be pressure from both international and Brazilian phone operators to relax it because they'll lose a fair amount of profits.

about 4 months ago

Brazil Blocks Foreign Mobile Phones

pmontra Tourists (97 comments)

So you go on vacation in Brazil and you either pay international roaming fees or you buy a cheap dumb phone to make local calls. Lame but not too expensive. Furthermore a dump phone needs to be charged once per week or even less frequently.

Btw, are they going to confiscate tourists clothes on entry? They've not been not bought in Brazil, so no sales tax paid there!

about 4 months ago

Ubuntu Gnome Seeking Long Term Support Status

pmontra Re:I want Ubuntu 8.04 back. (26 comments)

I admire both Canonical and the Gnome team because they made bold decisions and innovated the desktop. Unfortunately they moved into directions far away from how I like to use my desktop. At least I hope Canonical succeeds in giving us a device that can be both a phone and a computer. My dream is a 100 g (3.5 oz) device with the same computing power of a quad core i7. Many years to go.

Disclaimer: I'm using better and worse in a subjective way in this post. I'm not deluding myself by thinking that everybody must agree with me.

I started using Gnome as my primary DE in 2009 coming from XP (Vista being the alternative, ugh). Gnome 2 was vastly superior to XP. More beautiful and less clicks to perform any given task. So we might argue about what's better, Gnome or OSX, but in my experience both of them are better that XP and 7 (*). I won't even start talking about Windows 8. All my friends hate it but they decided they won't downgrade to Windows 7 (too complex to do) or switch to Linux, which is a know unknown to them even if most of them are using only Openoffice and Firefox/Chrome on Windows and very little else, no games.

(*) Actually I never liked Mac's top menu (since 1984) and the dock (it's distracting). I'd say that parts of Windows GUI are better than OSX (the windows and start menus) and parts are worse (pretty much everything else).

Given a choice I'd take a configurable OSX, to get rid of everything I don't like so you won't be surprised if I liked Gnome 2. I configured it with only a bottom panel and I added the Compiz cube to manage virtual desktops. The visual 3D effect while switching helps me remember where I am in desktop-land. I've been happy with that arrangement since then.

I occasionally had to use a Mac and I kept disliking the main ideas behind its GUI. I also occasionally had to use Win 7 and I didn't find it any better than XP. It has the same odd dynamics of waiting until a pendrive registers in the system (how can Linux make it happen instantaneously?), having to negotiate that maze the control panel became along the years, or having to install drivers to make hardware work (**)

(**) If the hardware is very new maybe there is no Linux driver, game over. But otherwise it's plug and play. My webcam, scanner, network printer, camera and smarphone (as USB drives) worked without me having to do anything. Why not on Windows?

I used Gnome 3 and KDE recently on a new PC because I run into some bugs with my Gnome Classic desktop (which - btw - is GTK3, not 2). I ruled out Unity because of the top panel and the launcher. Too bad because the HUD and lenses are useful but it's all or nothing. I tweaked the Gnome shell with extensions until it looked almost like my old desktop. It was not as good as that and before I even started to tweak the theme (the default is ugly black) it started freezing from time to time. So I gave a chance to KDE.

KDE was a good surprise at the beginning. It's very easy to make it behave like my old desktop, however it lacks polish and usability. All the DE have a Redmondian sense of aesthetics and interactions that makes me feel odd at using it. At least it seems that they tried to clone and perfect Windows 7, not 8, and they succeeded. However they perpetrated those same Windows's original sins of hiding external drives in the tray icon bars, too many clicks to do anything, etc. It's a good DE if you come from Windows but it tastes bad if you come from Gnome or (I think) OSX.

I eventually found fixes and workarounds for the bugs I was experiencing with Gnome Classic so I'm back to it. That's a clean and simple desktop and it suits my needs.

To recap, my hierarchy is Gnome 2 > Gnome 3 > OSX/Unity > KDE > Windows 7/XP > Windows 8 with the OSX/Unity not being usable by me because of insisting on the top menu and dock/launcher.

about 5 months ago

Spectacular New Martian Impact Crater Spotted From Orbit

pmontra Re:ATTN: Screwed Up (99 comments)

In other news: Hypersonic Missile Digs Spectacular Martial Impact Crater. Sorry I can't post a link to that, it's Top Secret!

about 6 months ago

Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

pmontra Re: Why? (2219 comments)

Of course, and of course I probably took jobs that ended up doing no good to anybody without me knowing it. The fault for that is always with the customer. I was only rationalizing why those UI designers blamed by GP are doing to /. what they are doing: customer asks, designer/developer acts. I don't think the designers made the requirements. This statement from Dice (italics mine)

We want to take our current content and all the stuff that matters to this community and deliver it on a site that still speaks to the interests and habits of our current audience, but that is, at the same time, more accessible and shareable by a wider audience.

hints at a very clear requirement from the customer and incremental changes won't make it. They want something like TechCrunch with that all gray design? See how they look similar. Lucky us Dice still doesn't require us to sign in with facebook, disqus, livefyre to comment (TC periodically changes the comment hosting provider).

about 6 months ago



Spanish Firm Wins Tablet Case Against Apple

pmontra pmontra writes  |  more than 2 years ago

pmontra (738736) writes "A Spanish company has won a legal case against Apple and will be able to sell an Android tablet that Apple had claimed infringes on the iPad patent. It is now seeking damages from Apple for a temporary seizure of its products by Spanish customs. Furthermore they are pursuing an antitrust complaint against Apple, alleging abusive anticompetitive behavior."
Link to Original Source

Free Wi-Fi for the Residents of Venice, Italy

pmontra pmontra writes  |  about 5 years ago

pmontra (738736) writes "The City of Venice, Italy, started to offer free Wi-Fi to residents (Google translation from the Italian source) on July 3 2009. Tourists and other visitors will pay 5 Euros a day for the service starting from September. The hot spots are connected to a ten thousand kilometers (6.250 miles) fiber optic LAN the City started deploying in the '90s. The first day of free Internet access has been celebrated with a digital treasure hunt in the channels of the lagoon city."


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