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First New Top-Level Domains Added To the Root Zone

rxmd Re:Cyrillic is not a language (106 comments)

Actually no. This is just the English words "online" and "site" (not "sale") transliterated into the Cyrillic script. A lot of languages that are written in the Cyrillic alphabet use "online" and "site" as loan words from English, the new TLDs will fit all of them.

about a year ago

Irked By Cyberspying, Georgia Outs Russia-based Hacker

rxmd Re:Carpet (95 comments)

It's not carpet, they're styrofoam plates to imitate embossed plaster. You see that quite often in flats in Soviet-era prefab apartment blocks.

People used that sort of thing as part of low-to-medium-end remodels to individualize their flats a little bit, in particular in the 1990s, together with closing their balconies with masonry to get a little bit of extra (super-small) floor space, partly removing the inner wall sections to get a more individual layout, and moving the kitchens to the balcony to use the former kitchen as an extra room.

more than 2 years ago

Cat Parasite May Increase Risk of Suicide In Humans

rxmd Re:In Dutch it is called "dakhaas" (252 comments)

Coincidentally, in German it's called "Dachhase" and the origin is probably the siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683, so I guess you got the term from the Germans.

more than 2 years ago

Help Shape the Future of Slashdot

rxmd Unicode!! (763 comments)

Please, finally enable Unicode in comments.

It's 2011 and Unicode is used everywhere and allowed even in URLs, but Slashdot is still firmly stuck in 8-bit dark ages.

more than 3 years ago

Need a Receipt On Taxes? The Federal Tax Receipt

rxmd Re:I like paying taxes (642 comments)

The military. You really don't want to live in a country with lots of tanks around that are loyal to the highest bidder.

more than 3 years ago

Google Invests In World's Largest Solar Power Tower Plant

rxmd Re:What would happen to the birds? (387 comments)

If we look at the basic pattern behind your arguments, we find the following:

  • Plant X is a very old design - with modern designs that couldn't happen
  • The number of deaths is exaggerated anyway
  • Other death sources are much more prominent, but are ignored

You use them for wind power (Altamont Pass is old anyway, there aren't really that many bird deaths anyway, more birds get killed by cars than by windmills). However, interestingly enough they're exactly the same kinds of arguments a nuke defender would use (Fukushima is old anyway, not that many human deaths can be directly attributed to it anyway, more humans get killed by cars than by nuke plants).

I'm not saying either is right or wrong, but it's just very interesting to note just how similar the line of argument gets as soon as people are on the defensive.

more than 3 years ago

Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead

rxmd Re:Comment from the article... ? (577 comments)

My friend descended from a Siberian tribe. His grandmother died in Siberia because she happened to go out wearing just two or three layers less than you "should". See, it's cold enough over there in my friend's ancestral village that the windows are plastic. Glass would shatter.

I think your friend never lived in his "ancestral Siberian village" or is making a joke at your expense. I've been to Siberia, and I work in Central Asia. We regularly get -40 C in the winter and +40 in the summer. Glass doesn't shatter from cold temperatures, it shatters from rapid changes in temperature gradients. You don't get that from the weather. Glass does just fine in the cold. Ask your friend whether in his ancestral Siberia they use special trucks, train cars and helicopters with all-plastic windshields. Hint: they don't.

People do use plastic on their windows, but they don't replace windowpanes with it. They just tape an extra layer of plastic foil on the existing glass window, the idea being that it creates an air pocket which provides extra thermal insulation. Throughout the winter, a roll of Scotch tape is one of the more important household implements to have around.

I've never heard of Siberian microtornadoes either all the time I spent in the region. You can freeze to death in the cold. At -40 or so it happens quite easily but it doesn't take a microtornado to do it. You can also be assured that people in Siberia have had a practical enough attitude towards the weather for a few hundred years that if people actually died from microtornadoes, as opposed to plain old hypothermia, "research grant award futures versus college loan payment rates" (assuming such a thing even made sense in the Soviet or post-Soviet Russian system) would be of little concern.

about 4 years ago

Sony Adopts Objective-C and GNUstep Frameworks

rxmd Re:Summary is incorrect (345 comments)

Apple has always been one of the driving forces behind Unicode.

For selected values of "always". Apple has supported Unicode well since OS X, that is since 2001 or so, or in other words, ten years after the Unicode standard was published. Even Windows was earlier - Unicode support in Windows NT 3.x was there on the API level, in NT 4 it would work well if your programmers had been halfway diligent, and in Windows 2000 it would work well out of the box. With Apple systems before 2001, it was a pain to get Unicode working properly on MacOS 9 - it was technically supported in 9.x, but it didn't really work all that well.

With OS X, Apple finally had the opportunity (that Plan 9 had had something like a decade earlier) to design a new API that used Unicode for all strings. Prior to OS X, the Apple device that supported Unicode best was the Newton, and even there you didn't have proper input methods and rather limited font support.

more than 4 years ago

Ergonomic Mechanical-Switch Keyboard?

rxmd Kinesis Maxim, wristbands, workplace ergonomics (310 comments)

I developed major wrist problems when writing my PhD dissertation, which involved coding (some 20,000 lines of Python) and writing lots of text. I had started off on an IBM Thinkpad X60 keyboard, which while good as laptop keyboards go, is not ideal for coding.

What made the problem go away for me was four things:

  1. A Fujitsu-Siemens KBPC-E USB split keyboard. an adjustable keyboard that can be raised in the middle and has built-in adjustable wrist rests. The keyboard is a rebranded version of the Kinesis Maxim, with different keycaps. Normally they sell for somewhere between 60 and 100 EUR over here, I got lucky that there was an eBay seller who sold a bulk lot of them for 10 EUR each. I bought four.

    In addition I used a keyboard remapper to assign extra functions to the Windows keys (there is an extra set of Windows keys in the key column left of the keyboard). I remapped them into extra Enter and Backspace keys to be used with the left hand.

  2. A small traveller's mouse, with the pointer set to high acceleration. I can rest my hand on the table and push it around with small movements.
  3. A set of Rehband Manu ComforT wrist guards with built-in carbon fiber support (now made and sold by Otto Bock Healthcare. Not cheap at about 100 EUR each, but they did a good job.
  4. Taking care of overall ergonomics of the workplace. Sitting with a straight back, getting a low table so my elbows would remain at a 90 angle, that sort of thing. It's worth talking it over with an orthopedist, some of the tips you get may seem counterintuitive but it works.

With the combination of the four, I went from having constant pain in the wrist to writing 140,000 words within six months without major issues, Your mileage may vary, but in my case it has definitely worked.

more than 4 years ago

Bing Crosby, Television Sports Preservationist

rxmd Re:Now, (148 comments)

Bing Crosby deserves recognition for his place in history as the investor that stepped in with a $50,000 investment in Ampex Corporation for development of the reel to reel tape recorder. Ampex was a small company with six employees prior to that. During WWII Germany developed wire recorders with improved quality as a result of a high frequency (above audio range) signal added to the record current. That overcame non-linear magnetic behavior greatly reducing distortion.
Ampex used the same A.C. bias current technique with magnetic tape, and Bing Crosby was a major influence in the quick adoption by broadcasters.

Actually the Germans had been using magnetic tape recorders since about 1935. The AC bias technique you mentioned was developed for the AEG Magnetophon, which was a series of tape recorders, not wire recorders.

Towards 1943 or so it was pretty much a high-end system, with stereo and everything. There are a few surviving recordings that were later reissued in LP and CD form.

more than 4 years ago

A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars

rxmd Re:simple math (973 comments)

3.99 for sheet music to song....
0.99 for mp3 of song...


Well, what are you actually trying to say?

If you can take the $0.99 MP3 and use that to perform a song yourself, go ahead. I'm sure the composer won't mind.

As for the price difference, the target market for sheet music is much smaller than that for MP3s, so it's not really surprising that the price is higher, as there are fewer buyers to offset whatever initial investment there was.

Then again, I'm not sure if a $3 price difference between completely different products entitles anyone to anything. But that's already a question of ethics, not one of "simple math".

more than 4 years ago

Best Phone For a Wi-Fi-Only Location?

rxmd E-Series Nokia or other WiFi-capable Symbian phone (289 comments)

When I was in a similar situation I simply got a used Symbian phone (in my case a Nokia E60 for some 50 EUR, the most important thing is there to get one with the S60 operating system.). You should be able to use that with Skype for Symbian, or alternatively with fring if your phone is not supported directly. Works well.

The E-series Nokias had the advantage is that they also included a SIP client out of the box so you weren't limited to Skype. Also there is a Python programming environment if you're into that sort of thing.

Unlike the iPod Touch it also has the advantage that it works as a phone when you're somewhere where there actually is cellular reception, or when you go abroad.

more than 4 years ago

Cheap ADSL Holds Up 802.11n Router Design

rxmd Re:AirPort Extreme (268 comments)

If you're talking about the former, I don't actually use the file and print sharing features on the Airport, it could be complete garbage for all I know.

Then again, I'm the type that wants a router to "route" and a file server to share files. Any printer in 2010 that can't share itself over the network via a built in print server is also not worth my time.

Well, seeing how your requirements and usage patterns are apparently completely different from those of the person you're replying to, and also from those of the story submitter who wanted "dual band, great range, USB print server and storage", it's not really a surprise that you don't experience the issues those persons are having with your hardware, is it?

The other question is, if you are the type that rejects file sharing functionality in a router on principle, why spend the extra premium for this functionality?

more than 4 years ago

Former Soviet Republic of Georgia To Become IT Tax Haven

rxmd Re:So now our jobs go to Georgia? (153 comments)

I guess you could find more English speakers in many Asian cities than in Georgia, depending on what constitutes "Asia" for you.

That's silly. It's not about the number, it's about the percentage.

Actually it's about both. China probably has a lower percentage of English speakers than Georgia, but if you have more people enrolled into universities than Georgia has citizens, the raw number probably does make a difference.

Not to mention that there is a fair number of countries in Asia where the percentage is higher, too.

If you walk into a store, what's the chance that the guy behind the counter speaks English?

In Georgia, somewhat OK if you look at banks and tech stores, not great if you look at grocery stores or bus drivers.

If you hire a programmer without specifying a specific language to speak, what's the chance they speak English?

Better than the guy in the store, and probably better than in Turkmenistan or so, but not higher than in India, for example.

By your statement, New Zealand is a bad place for English speakers to do business because the whole country has less than 5 million English speakers, and you'll find more than that in France.

I was answering to a statement that there is an "abundance of English speakers", compared to other nations in Asia. There, the raw numbers do play a role. It's much easier to find a qualified English-speaking Indian than a Georgian.

more than 4 years ago

Former Soviet Republic of Georgia To Become IT Tax Haven

rxmd Re:So now our jobs go to Georgia? (153 comments)

Georgia also has an abundance of English speakers, unlike most of Asia. It has a large population of computer scientists and engineers, unlike Africa.

You are speaking about a country of four million people. The capital has a population of less than 1.5 million, and the regions outside the capital are largely uninteresting for IT investment. The abundance of English speakers and large population of engineers need to be seen in relation to that.

English in Georgia is largely limited to the young generation, people over 35 are more likely to speak Russian than English, even though they probably won't like to. I guess you could find more English speakers in many Asian cities than in Georgia, depending on what constitutes "Asia" for you. India, Bangladesh and Pakistan alone have something like a few hundred times the number of English speakers Georgia does. Knowledge also does not mean good knowledge. People already complain about the English of call centers in Bangalore, but I don't see significantly better English in Georgia on a broad scale.

And it's geographically close to the EU.

This means practically nothing. For IT work the Internet is the medium of choice anyway. For what it's worth, Kosovo is even closer to Europe, yet I don't see European IT outsourcing to Kosovo happening on a large scale. Georgia is also politically unstable. They got into a war with Russia recently where an EU commission later found that it was primarily the Georgians who started it. The Georgians may fly the EU flag outside government buildings on their own initiative and declare it their goal to join the EU and NATO, but both the EU and NATO are growing increasingly skeptical of the country. Politically they're further away from the EU than they ever were.

Political culture can be irrational in Georgia. It's formally a democracy, but changes of government have never resulted from elections. Public culture can be fairly racist; in 1991 the country was founded amindst slogans such as "Georgia for Georgians", which got them into several civil wars and cost them significant territories inhabited by ethnic minorities, which would now rather see themselves annexed by Russia than governed by Georgia (not that those minorities are necessarily much better in terms of interethnic relations). Infrastructure is problematic outside the cities, too. There are entire regions that don't have electricity (or that had them until 1992, when someone dismantled and stole 70km of overland electricity line for the copper).

Personally I actually like the country, make no mistake. I have been there, I have friends there, I can read Georgian if I have to. But it's not a place I'd recommend for major IT investments.

more than 4 years ago

German User Fined For Having an Open Wi-Fi

rxmd Re:actual judgement (563 comments)

And why can't I run an open hotspot if I want to?

You can, but if you do, you better have some solid proof pointing away from you when someone else breaks the law through your connection.

You can also leave your car for anyone to use, but it will be you who gets the parking tickets. (Yay for car analogies!)

more than 4 years ago

USAF's Robotic X-37B Orbiter Launched For Test Flight

rxmd Re:Wasn't the Buran autonomous...? (145 comments)

It was no coincidence that the Buran looks exactly like the Space Shuttle. It was a duplicate copy.

Actually it was not. The two looked similar because at the time there were only so many ways to build an orbiter, but on the technical level they are pretty fundamentally different. The most important difference is that the Space Shuttle is basically its own rocket, while Buran only had small engines for maneuvering, while launch was done by an Energia booster. Since it did not have to be built around a big engine, Buran is completely different structurally.

As a result, the Buran had a greater payload capacity (theoretical, as it was never tested with a payload) and a better glide number, but you needed a big rocket (theoretically reusable) every time you wanted to launch it. In other words, two fundamentally different approaches to the same technical problem.

more than 4 years ago

Studying For Certification Exams On Company Time?

rxmd Re:Where in the world? (281 comments)

If on Slashdot someone fails to mention what country they're in, you can be almost certain that they're in the US.

Seriously. If someone in Barcelona asks how much an apple costs, you don't ask them in what country.

Similarly, if someone on a US-centric website based out of the US asks a question related to a locality without specifying that locality, anyone with an IQ greater than that of a lawyer should be able to understand that they're referencing the United States.

You're basically repeating the same thing I already wrote, except that you're more abrasive about it.

more than 4 years ago

Studying For Certification Exams On Company Time?

rxmd Re:Where in the world? (281 comments)

When you ask legal questions, it's polite to mention which country you're in.

If on Slashdot someone fails to mention what country they're in, you can be almost certain that they're in the US.

more than 4 years ago

HP Patents Bignum Implementation From 1912

rxmd Re:Citation Gambit! (Sorry Mods, Offtopic!) (144 comments)

Your comment directly says his post was not long enough, so to discard the requested length below is a red herring.

No, it doesn't. It says he should have provided some references for his three stories. It's possible to provide references in a short, concise way. You don't do that either, making your post unnecessarily teduous to read.

Section B - Poster's comment #2.

"2. Aspirin was patented well after a similar process for making Salicylic Acid on an industrial scale was. The office decided, with no precidents, that making the same chemical in pure enough form that it was safe for medicinal use was novel. When challenged on it, the USPO said they were going through a bottle a day deciding patent claims and were not about to reject rewarding this claim no matter what the law said."

Your discussion on the chemistry, production and product history of aspirin is very lengthy, but does not constitute a substantial reference either for or against the GP's claim. It says nothing about the patent status of different *production methods*, only that they were different, which in my eyes seems to at least undermine the GP's argument. The rest is basically just a long list of links and pieces of text about aspirin that adds little to the discussion of patent practice at the USPTO, in addition to being largely orthogonal to either the parent or grandparent poster's statements. Also you mingle patents and trademarks in the discussion, which is careless and misleading at best.

In the spirit of Karl Popper's criticism of what he calls the Neo-Dialecticians (the reference for which you can find on Google) you may add a few items to your signature, such as variations of "Cx, Drowns Fellow Human Beings in a Sea of Words, with x one of "1: Correct", "2: Wrong", and "3, Irrelevant to the Subject". Your post looks like a case of C3.

about 5 years ago


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