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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

quacking duck When opposing sides agree to something... (2219 comments)

Having gone through all comments ranked 3 and above, and a random sampling of those at score 2, there wasn't one that definitely supported the beta. At best there were a bare handful of lukewarm "wait and see" and "it's not that big a deal," which is not support, merely acceptance.

So close to 99% of comments actively dislike or outright hate it.

There's a cynical adage in politics, which is roughly this: if all parties who normally disagree on everything, suddenly and overwhelmingly unite very passionately on a particular topic, then it's a very, very bad thing. No the analogy doesn't quite hold, but I hope the point is clear.

I tried the beta. It sucks, for all the reasons others have mentioned, but particularly the broken comment thread/thresholds and enormous waste of space. You already drove my visits down 50% when you released the horrible mobile interface (with "filtered due to preferences" often taking up more space than comments themselves, wtf?), take away the current/classic and I'm done with this site. The "disable advertising" option has been unchecked for a long while now, but as of today that box is ticked in protest.

about 7 months ago

U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

quacking duck Re:Controlled for minimum driving age? (635 comments)

I see why there's an 18-year-old cutoff for Michigan's GDL system... GDL and Driver's ed is very different in the Canadian province just north and east of Michigan.

The very first step in getting a G1 (i.e. graduated general licence, level 1) is the written test. You can drive with restrictions for 1 year before you can take your first road test, or 8 months if you take a driver's ed, which was maybe 20-30 hours class/assignments and 10-12 hours behind the wheel with instructor (so . After you get the G2 (less restrictions than G1, e.g. now able to drive without an experienced driver present, and no freeway restrictions), you have the remainder of the 5-year period to do the road test to get a full G licence.

about 7 months ago

U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

quacking duck Re:Driving isn't fun anymore (635 comments)

Another factor - most driving is no longer 'fun' - It's fighting traffic. it's a job.

Indeed, it's almost like flying for most people. Between the hassle of going through security, dealing with delays/rebookings, and sitting in cattle class for the flight, for many people it's no longer fun and instead a chore to grit your teeth and suffer through it. I have childhood memories of visiting the cockpit during a flight, even that's been taken away in the name of security.

Fortunately, as an aviation enthusiast and someone who loves takeoffs, landings, looking down from high up, and can fall asleep to turbulence, just give me a window seat behind the wing and I'm set for the trip (with apologies to those I have to climb over to go use the washroom).

about 7 months ago

U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

quacking duck Re:Controlled for minimum driving age? (635 comments)

That seems like an enormous loophole in Michigan's graduated driver's licensing system, the whole point of which should be to make *all* new drivers go through it. A 30-year old learning to drive for the first time might not be as brash and cocky as a 16- or even 18-year old because they have no illusions of invincibility anymore and/or they have dependents, but they're also probably not learning new skills as well as a younger one.

I have one friend, mid-30s, who just passed her 5-year window to fully graduate, so she'd have to start all over as if she were a new driver. Minimum time to full license is 20 months, if you took a driver's ed course, so it's obvious she really didn't care and just needs the license for ID purposes.

about 7 months ago

U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

quacking duck Re:Gas price probably has more to do with it. (635 comments)

When I visited friends and family in the Bay area, LA and San Diego, almost every car trip was at least half an hour (2/3 full speed on freeways + 1/3 stop-and-go city driving) each way. Didn't matter whether it was for food, movie... hell one night just going to the nightclub was 40 minutes of freeway into San Francisco. Sure there were plenty of similar places much closer but they had their preferred places, especially for food.

And yes we did drive two, maybe three counties away for a movie, it was the closest one that was showing what we wanted to see. So I can totally see how outings for some people can regularly be 2 gallons of gas, after less fuel-efficient city driving portions are also included.

about 7 months ago

Actually, It's Google That's Eating the World

quacking duck Re:The beta will kill Slashdot if it goes live. (205 comments)

On the whole I don't mind the current "Web 2.0" desktop version, but if beta is half as bad as the mobile version they forced us into a year or so ago, /. is toast.

The day /. pushed out the "updated" mobile version, where all the "Filtered due to preferences" take up more of the page than actual comments, was the day my /. visits dropped by at least half. Seriously, just hide/collapse the damn thing entirely, there isn't even a way to actually view it anyway if I wanted to see what an unfiltered comment was replying to, it's a total waste of space.

On the upside, I'm far more productive and/or social when I'm out of the house.

about 7 months ago

Stop Trying To 'Innovate' Keyboards, You're Just Making Them Worse

quacking duck Re:Windows keys? (459 comments)

Does anyone actually use the damn Windows Key? I have a Microsoft keyboard (the "split-in-half" one, tilted and all). It has a "Windows" key and another one on the right the is for - menus or something? I never touch either one. Hell, I rarely even hit any of the function keys.

Windows key: all the time at my last work (my home computer has always been Mac). It isn't just a "bring up start menu" key, as part of a keyboard shortcut combo it can do lots of other things.

Examples: as of Win7, Win+R = run prompt, Win+L=lock system, Win+D=show desktop (minimize all other programs), Win+E=new file Explorer window, Win+arrow keys=maximize, restore, window snap-left/right/move to other screen... There's others I forget right now, and there's others I never used but are listed somewhere online.

The context-menu key is far less useful in that you can't do key combos with it (AFAIK), but still handy when navigating or operating by keyboard alone and don't want to waste time moving hand to mouse/trackpad and back again repeatedly.

about 7 months ago

Previously-Unseen Photos of Challenger Disaster Appear Online

quacking duck Re:PHB's strike again (207 comments)

This is why every mission after Columbia had an 'Abort to ISS' option that would allow the shuttle to dock with ISS and wait for the relief shuttle (which was sitting at a 48 hour to launch stage IIRC) to return them home.

The remaining shuttles had that option, Columbia could not have. As the first spaceworthy shuttle, its construction included a lot more mass before they figured out they could safely reduce it, so Columbia could never reach the ISS with any payload.

Which raises some interesting, purely hypothetical questions: If a different shuttle (Discovery, Atlantis or Endeavour) had been lost, would NASA have continued using Columbia for regular space missions? The contingency option used for the Hubble servicing mission would've been a significant logistical problem, if every time Columbia went up a rescue shuttle had to be on immediate standby. And with the fleet reduced to two ISS-payload-capable shuttles, would the ISS have been merely delayed several years, or simply cancelled?

about 7 months ago

Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

quacking duck Re:Vista/7 (1009 comments)

You aren't alone. A computer engineering friend bought a Win8 laptop/tablet two weeks ago and despite it detecting almost 100 updates could not for the life of him get them to actually download and install. Didn't help his impression of the machine that apps were crashing left and right, either. He returned it and got an open-box sale Macbook Pro for almost the exact same price he'd paid for the Win8 machine. That's a pretty stinging fail for both Windows 8 and the OEM (Lenovo).

about 7 months ago

US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

quacking duck Re:This is the problem with religious people. (903 comments)

Religious people can't simply leave it well enough alone, and just say "Well if you think contraception is wrong, just don't buy it." Instead, they have to dictate to others what they may or may not do. "We can't allow you to get contraception through our health plan!"

This kind of thinking is wrong and needs to be abolished. Let each person decide what they think is best for themselves. If someone wants to believe a person will "go to hell" if they do something, that's fine. That someone can simply not do it. But don't try to legislate or make it more difficult for others to do what they like to do, provided they're not hurting others.

Absolutely. Until and unless recognized churches and affiliated groups give up their "non-profit" tax-exempt status, the government should tell them to shove their demands for "we believe it's wrong" exemptions where the sun don't shine.

about 8 months ago

The iOS 7 Jailbreak Fiasco

quacking duck Re:Jailbreak vs Rooting (210 comments)

Google gives you (the option) of control, and supplies ample warning before the user chooses to this, it is an option on some phones...even a selling point, mainly used to load none play applications (Android is Eden...with gates).

Basically nothing like each other.

That's for darn sure. Android still doesn't let users override an app's demand for permission to access stuff like GPS, contacts, cell data, photo album, etc.

Sure, you can simply not download an app based on what it says it demands when you try downloading it, but that's beside the point; for all Android's claim to empower the user, why is this of all things not a user option, years after iOS started doing it?

about 8 months ago

The iOS 7 Jailbreak Fiasco

quacking duck Re:Jailbreakingg (210 comments)

iBlacklist is another useful feature, only available by jailbreaking. Yes, I can block callers by creating contacts, but it gets old having a bunch of "zzzzRoboCaller" entries in my contacts as opposed to just one blacklist that does the job in a few taps.

Glancing quickly at the iBlacklist app, you need to create contacts to blacklist (or whitelist) them anyway.

In any event, you don't need to create separate contacts for every robocaller. I'm still on iOS6 and don't have the proper call block function that was added in iOS7, but I have a single contact for them called "spammer", every time an unknown number fails the / lookup test it gets added to this contact in just a few taps as well. It has a silent ringtone and custom vibration pattern so faint I never feel it. I have about three dozen numbers listed in that one spam contact.

about 8 months ago

Former Microsoft Exec To Lead

quacking duck I accept your surrender (214 comments)

So you agree they are the worst wait times in the world, roughly speaking. I'd say that's enough to make it clear that the Canadian system is in no way perfect. Are we in agreement on that, there are some significant disadvantages known?

If so, I don't see a need to go back and try to find the exact document I read a year ago. The point has made and agreed to.

Don't put words in my mouth. I said very clearly said the first time:

No, of course it's not perfect, I wouldn't even call it great, merely adequate

so of course there are significant disadvantages known, just as the US system has its own. And Canada was dead last on this one metric, compared against 11 developed countries, not the entire world.

The *only* real issue I had with your original post was that the title "30 day wait to see a doctor in Canada" is a clear lie of omission, barely improved when you clarified "For a GP, most wait less than 30 days." 2 days wait is a whole order of magnitude difference from 30 days. It's like me claiming "most broken arms cost less than $9,000 to take care of in the US" even though average out-of-pocket expense might be only $300-500.

Since I've cited sources for my key point about GP wait times, and you're using a flimsy excuse not to look for even a single credible source to back up your claim that 20-30% of Canadians wait 30+ days to see their GP, I accept your surrender.

about 8 months ago

Former Microsoft Exec To Lead

quacking duck Re:let's try reading the ENTIRE sentence (214 comments)

My beef is not with your pointing out the waiting period to see a specialist.

Per this report, of the 85% of Canadians with a family doctor, the average wait time to see the GP was 2 days. The report also ranks Canada dead last among countries compared on this metric, with only 45% able to see their doctor within two days for an illness.

But, when you first wrote "for a GP, most wait less than 30 days" you implied that a significant minority (which you've now explicitly stated as 20-30%) face 30+ days to see a GP.

Please quote the text and link to source (if not the wiki article) that says 20-30% had to wait more than a month to see a GP, or at least give me the actual number they used so I can search for it. I'm not seeing anything that could be reasonably interpreted the way you have.

about 8 months ago

Former Microsoft Exec To Lead

quacking duck Re:yes, 30 day wait for Dr. appointment in Canada (214 comments)

SOME Canadians go to the US for medical care, for more urgent medium/long term health issues.

You are misrepresenting the "see a doctor within 30 days" metric, the 30 days stat is *specifically* to see a specialist. To see a GP? Sure, waiting a few days is "less than 30 days" but that's a severe misrepresentation.

For more mundane matters, I can see my doctor or nurse practitioner within 48 business hours, sometimes the same day if I call in the morning. Getting a family doctor is an issue for some, but they (or I) can go to a walk-in clinic, with average wait times of maybe an hour (I was seen at a walk-in after a mere 15 minutes when visiting another province), but can walk out with a prescription or doctor's note. For broken limbs or moderate emergencies like appendicitis, you're seen within hours at a hospital, and major emergencies like heart attacks, strokes and car accident trauma it's immediate. And it's all "free".

Yeah, yeah, let's be pedantic and admit it's hidden in taxes, but when a broken arm in the US can cost some people over $1000 *after* insurance, I'm pretty confident I could suffer a broken arm, heart attack and appendicitis at different times in the same year and will have paid far less into the health care system than it would cost the average joe American who suffers a single major emergency. Never mind we don't have to fill out all those insurance forms.

No, of course it's not perfect, I wouldn't even call it great, merely adequate. But it's very hard to argue the average Canadian is worse off healthcare-wise than the average American per dollar spent.

about 8 months ago

Next-Gen Windshield Wipers To Be Based On Jet Fighter "Forcefield" Tech

quacking duck Re:Combine it! (237 comments)

Given how automated flying is these days, I don't think it's necessary for the pilot to see at all.

P.S. I say that only half in jest. Aren't you supposed to be able to land blind under IFR?

The crash of Asiana flight 214, where the pilots got so flummoxed that they couldn't safely land on a clear and sunny day when the runway's ILS was offline for upgrades, suggests that this line of thinking may have gone too far.

about 8 months ago

Canada Post Announces the End of Urban Home Delivery

quacking duck Re:Hey! Listen! (226 comments)

Do you guys hear that? That is the sound of Canadians not flipping out and loosing their shit and calling for the end of times due to reduced service.

It's quite a pleasant sound up here in Canada, unlike the noise Americans made a short while back.

Yeah, not to mention other earth-shattering changes like getting rid of the penny, changing from paper to plastic bills, going mostly chip-and-pin for credit cards... all in the last 5 years.

Sure there've been hiccups along the way, but it's unbelievable how resistant Americans are to changes in "the way things are" when it's suggested by government, as if it's some socialist/communist plot or something. There was even bitching about adding colour (barely) to paper currency.

about 8 months ago

Canada Post Announces the End of Urban Home Delivery

quacking duck Re:Slightly misleading. (226 comments)

I see a whole lot of mail returned to sender for being abandoned, or being discarded for being abandoned, in those communal mailboxes. I also see a lot of people only visiting their mailboxes weekly, like how they take out their trash cans for the truck to pick up, so mailboxes will be even bigger targets for thieves as there'll be more payoff for the effort than before.

The once-weekly visits will be a very small minority. I lived with communal boxes for years (since the community was built in the late 80s). Almost every household visits daily, it's never more than half a block away. Oftentimes people coming from work stop their cars nearby, get the mail, then drive the rest of the short distance home. It really isn't that big a deal.

I don't know how long it takes to be considered abandoned, but I've left stuff in mine for a week while I was away, it was all there when I got back (I had the same junkmail on top that a neighbour who checks daily had).

about 8 months ago

Snowden Document Shows Canada Set Up Spy Posts For NSA

quacking duck Re:What? (177 comments)

* 'There's not that much known about Canadian intelligence.'*

As A Canadian, I kinda resent that :)

It kind of works with the joke that every time a Canadian immigrates to the US, they increase the average IQ of both countries :-)

about 9 months ago

Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

quacking duck Re:I wasn't born yesterday (961 comments)

I notice you didn't include seat belts in that list. Cars lacking those, I'd definitely put in the category of "too dangerous."

Mind you, I know what you're getting at--a lot of modern conveniences are making people overconfident about their driving ability, so they're doing even riskier things thinking the safety features will protect them.

about 9 months ago



Seven-foot long minifig-scale Serenity model is a Lego masterpiece

quacking duck quacking duck writes  |  about 2 years ago

quacking duck (607555) writes "Just in time for the short-lived sci-fi show Firefly's 10th anniversary, Adrian Drake has completed a 7-foot, 135-pound LEGO model of the Serenity spaceship. It took Drake 475 hours over 21 months to build, using the "official" reference blueprints.

The detail is jaw-dropping. both outside and inside where every compartment has been recreated except the engine room, which couldn't be done without compromising the model's structural integrity. The engines even pivot, ducts and drive panels can be opened and closed.

It's an amazing feat of LEGO-work, which we might be lucky enough to see in person at future conventions."

Link to Original Source

How I lost my fear of Universal Health Care

quacking duck quacking duck writes  |  more than 2 years ago

quacking duck (607555) writes "What does it take to convince conservative, Republican evangelical Christians opposed to "Obamacare" health insurance that the current system is severely flawed, and changing it isn't the End Of The World As They Know It?

Apparently, living in Canada for a few years.

From the article: "When I moved to Canada in 2008, I was a die-hard conservative Republican. So when I found out that we were going to be covered by Canada’s Universal Health Care, I was somewhat disgusted. This meant we couldn’t choose our own health coverage, or even opt out if we wanted too. It also meant that abortion was covered by our taxes, something I had always believed was horrible. I believed based on my politics that government mandated health care was a violation of my freedom."

A Boing-boing writer follows up on this person's journey, noting that "Instead, Melissa slowly came to realize that the Canadian system was actually more family friendly than the American one.""

Link to Original Source

Apple kicks HDD marketing debate into high gear

quacking duck quacking duck writes  |  more than 4 years ago

quacking duck (607555) writes "With the release of Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard," Apple has updated a support document describing how their new operating system reports capacities of hard drives and other media. It has sided with hard drive makers who for years have advertised capacities as "1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes" instead of the traditional computer science definition, and in so doing has kicked the debate between marketing and computer science into high gear.

Binary prefixes for binary units (e.g. GiB for "gibibyte") have been promoted by the International Electrotechnical Commission and endorsed by IEEE and other standards organizations, but to date there's been limited acceptance (though manufacturers have wholeheartedly accepted the "new" definitions for GB and TB). Is Apple's move the first major step in forcing computer science to adopt the more awkward binary prefixes, breaking decades of accepted (if technically inaccurate) usage of SI prefixes?"


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