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Facebook Blamed For Driving Up Cellphone Bills, But It's Not Alone

scrib 3GB extra data usage per month! (131 comments)

I started a shared data pool plan for my family and my brother's usage was estimated at about 2GB per month. A couple weeks into the billing cycle I checked usage and my brother had used MORE data than the other FIVE of us combined, and was on track to use over 5GB! We talked about it and it turned out he had the new facebook app installed and complained that the videos had started autoplaying. He found it annoying. We did a quick search and found that the DEFAULT setting is to autoplay videos as you scroll past them, regardless of the connection type.

We changed the setting to "Wi-Fi Only" (or never) and nothing else about his usage. His average daily bandwidh went from 150MB to 50MB.

Facebook's new, annoying, default setting was on track to add 3GB PER MONTH of data usage! (30 days * 100MB)

We were lucky to be on a new plan with 6 people that I was monitoring to make sure we had the right data plan. An extra 3GB of data sent to a casual users ought to earn Facebook some kickbacks from cellphone providers!

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

scrib Re:Fast, Cheap, High Quality (370 comments)

He did. Fast and cheap. Do you have some actual advice?

This guy is in a situation where he knows how to do the job, but some HR person wants to see a check next to the "BS" line. Yes, the BS line. Quality isn't important so long as he can legitimately put BS CS on his resume.

My brother is in construction and they won't promote him further without a bachelors. What kind? Doesn't matter, really. He just needs to get a degree from somewhere accredited, the sooner the better, so some paper-pusher can approve it.

It might not be fastest, but I would check local community colleges. Some offer 4 year degrees. They tend to be cheaper than the degree mills, though not as fast. Two more years really isn't very long. Good luck!

about 6 months ago

Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)

scrib Too much fluff (1191 comments)

I read slashdot at work from a netbook tethered to a phone.
The extra screen real estate used for pointless, often goofy pictures is a waste. I have to scroll more and wait longer while I 3G down the nice big JPGs.
All I want is a clean, information dense site that I can browse quickly and easily. If this change isn't optional for users, then I simply won't be able to visit it at work and then I just won't visit it any more.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: How Best To Synchronize Projects Between Shared Drive and PCs?

scrib Re:Subsetting a repository of files (238 comments)

Yours is the answer I wanted to write and is the solution I've used for just such situations. However, it violates one of the first ridiculous requirements: "It is important that subscribing to a project is as easy as copying it from Z:\ to C:\projects\."

Koookie, that may be an easy way to copy files, but it is a miserably difficult way to manage projects - even for developers. SVN takes a little time to set up and understand and requires maybe a day's worth of training for any developer who hasn't used source control before (eg some college kids). As you can tell from the chorus, version control is worth it. It is absolutely crazy to try to do what you are describing without it. Give up the absurd "easy as dragging and dropping" requirement and use the tools of the trade.

1 year,9 days

Should the Next 'Doctor Who' Be a Woman?

scrib Should the next James Bond be a woman? (772 comments)

Why not? What other roles have been played by multiple actors that could have a little gender-bending?

about a year ago

Compared to my 1st computer's memory ...

scrib Re:Missing alternative (587 comments)

1KB x 1,000,000 != 1GB.
1KB x 1,024 x 1,024 = 1GB.

At least in RAM that's true. So really, only two answers are likely to be spot on.
My first was a TRS-80 with 4k that we upgraded to 16k! Woo hoo! I still have that computer...

about a year ago

Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles

scrib Re:Medical databases (814 comments)

I write software for a blood center and birth sex is critically important for proper handling of donated blood. I had no idea that male and female blood had to be handled differently, but it largely boils down to how a pregnancy (even one that spontaneously aborted and a woman might not even realize she had) can affect blood antibodies. An F->M transgender should report that fact.

As a starting point of research for the curious, check out TRALI.

Even though the plasma from female donors is used for manufacturing (as is ALL plasma collected at places that pay for it), I still encourage women to donate, especially platelets! (Technically, the plasma from AB+ females can be used.)

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Moving From Contract Developers To Hiring One In-House?

scrib Re:Stop being cheap. (524 comments)

Given the spec is incomplete, and your experience, wouldn't best practice be to analyse the requirements at the start and identify those edge cases and get decisions on them before starting.

Sure, that would be best practice. (Although, in reality, you often have to start coding the normal flow before all the edge cases are known just to meet deadlines.) I suspect OP isn't hiring contractors who will give him that bitter "90% of the work is before I start writing code" pill.

The OP is looking for someone who works cheap, can divine intention from specs, and knows everything but how to find clients themselves.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Moving From Contract Developers To Hiring One In-House?

scrib Re:Stop being cheap. (524 comments)

The specs are never as good as the spec writers think they are.

I've been a developer (contractor and employee) for nearly 20 years and have never seen specs that clearly defined everything. In any project of notable size, there are always huge portions of "it's obvious what I want," often with the UI. Spec writers are generally terrible at thinking about "edge case" behavior, focussing on the "normal flow" and trivializing the "alternate flows."

Why do you think the OP always has battles at the end of the project?
You find bugs in the code during development and testing.
You find bugs in the spec when you deliver.

about a year ago

LivingSocial Hacked: 50 Million Users Exposed

scrib Re:Now the real problem (80 comments)

They really should!
Maybe that's why they did...
From the email LivingSocial sent me:

We also encourage you, for your own personal data security, to consider changing password(s) on any other sites on which you use the same or similar password(s).

about a year ago

On the end of USPS 1st Class Saturday delivery:

scrib Re:Every other day for everything! (564 comments)

I love this idea and was going to post it. Absolutely!
Although cutting the trucks and workers in half is probably a bad idea. We should just reduce their numbers instead... :)

about a year and a half ago

Ask Dr. Robert Bakker About Dinosaurs and Merging Science and Religion

scrib Re:Religious rift in family (528 comments)

how can the deeply religious be convinced (or reassured) that accepting what science teaches does not require rejecting their faith?

Don't trouble the good doctor with this bogus question. I'm a deeply religions person who accepts what science teaches. Your mistake is assuming that all, or even most, people of faith are luddites who need convincing, like your aunts and uncles. In fact, most are not.

[citation needed]
I know that I was talking about Yourg Earth Creationists and Gallup poll is about if God created mankind within the last 10,000 years and those are different questions. However, the poll does show a clear rejection of science by people of faith. As of the 2012 numbers, "God created man as is" was 46%, "Man evolved with God's guidance" was 32%, "Man evolved without God's influence" was 15%. If we assume (I know, I'm going out on a limb here) that the 15% are largely comprised of the atheists, agnostics, and various unaffiliated, then people who believe in God in the U.S. (another limb, but that's where I live) are more likely to reject than accept the science of human evolution by almost a 3:2 margin.

Among the deeply religious in the U.S., you sir, are in the minority if you accept the science of human evolution.

However, since the title of this article is "... Merging Science and Religion" I thought I would ask about a particular situation in my life where trying to merge religious beliefs with sciences as varied and accepted as plate techtonics, carbon dating (or potassium or uranium), paleontology, and astronomy failed. My cousin, who is home-schooling, asked me how I thought she could teach her children what they are required to know for state tests and stick to the dogma of her church. Of course the answer is obvious, but there are none so blind as those who will not see.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Dr. Robert Bakker About Dinosaurs and Merging Science and Religion

scrib Re:Religious rift in family (528 comments)

I've already accepted that believing in God does not require rejecting science. I know a lot of atheists (we kind of hang out together, you know?) and none of us believe that anything in science is incompatible with believing in God.

However, there are a great many things I accept from science that contradict specific religious beliefs. The world is 4+ billion years old. While there have been catastrophic floods in history and pre-history, the entire Earth has never been flooded as described in Genesis.

Rejecting the particulars of a few stories is not the same thing as rejecting religion or God.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Dr. Robert Bakker About Dinosaurs and Merging Science and Religion

scrib Religious rift in family (528 comments)

I am an atheist, but I will concede that science does not conflict with religion as a general idea (the belief in God, or things outside of science), but science often does conflict with specific religious beliefs.

My grandparents raised some of their children religious and some not religious. My parents are atheist but I have aunts and unlces who are missionaries and cousins who are young Earth creationists. They reject sciences like paleontology, geology, and astronomy as hoaxes because they all point to an Earth much older than their church tells them. Of course, they "know" evolution is wrong, though they have a weak grasp on what it actually is.

The question: how can the deeply religious be convinced (or reassured) that accepting what science teaches does not require rejecting their faith?
Part B: have you ever convinced someone to change their mind about accepting those sciences?

about a year and a half ago

Windows 8 Changes Host File Blocking

scrib Re:So... (1030 comments)

How about this: Windows Defender removes from the hosts file references to well-known and often accessed sites that could be redirected by malware for nefarious purposes?

I might not want to visit but I certainly don't want it redirected to some other unknown IP address! Many, many, MANY websites I visit try to pull up links in that domain.

Perhaps they should make an exception for localhost references, but considering how much of the general population knows about hosts files, I'm inclined to side with GP. Odds are very high that on most machines running Windows Defenders, a redirected reference is malicious.

more than 2 years ago

What Would a Post-Email World Look Like?

scrib Re:What's email? (314 comments)

By that logic, email existed before the telephone. They just called it a "telegram."

more than 2 years ago

Dr. Who's Sonic Screwdriver a Step Closer To Reality

scrib I bet theirs works... (94 comments)

I bet THEIR Sonic Screwdriver works on WOOD!

more than 2 years ago

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin Beta 1 Released

scrib Re:AND it's no longer relevant. (243 comments)

I can speak for myself and agree with you, mostly. I used Ubuntu 10.04 for a long time (mostly with Gnome, a little bit with KDE) and kept a partition available to try out the latest and greatest Ubuntu. They were never as good as 10.04. I figured they introduced Unity right after the LTS edition because they wanted a couple years to get it right before the next LTS (12.04). Unity always struck me as pretty slick and simple, but not quite "done" as far as usability was concerned. I was (and still am ever so slightly) optimistic that they'll get most of that sorted out for 12.04. It was tough to maintain any hope when Alpha 2 flat-out would not boot on my system (which is built with all big name, off the shelf, common parts, with no OC). The glimmer of hope came back when one of the daily builds started working...

As for Unity, I know Ubuntu dropped KDE, but Gnome 3 is still an option they support and I think that is promising.
Will Linux Mint keep using the latest Ubuntu and adding KDE in themselves, or is that going to be too much to ask of them?

more than 2 years ago

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin Beta 1 Released

scrib Re:AND it's no longer relevant. (243 comments)

Does it matter that Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu?

more than 2 years ago

Ontario Teachers' Union Calls For Health-Related Classroom Wi-Fi Ban

scrib Re:Call your union rep (365 comments)

Actually, this depends quite a bit on other variables, notably the height of the pyramid. Standing at ground level puts your perspective above ground level. Imagine standing at the middle of one edge of a square pyramid that is 10 meters on a side. Imagine the pyramid is only 1 meter tall. Certainly, you can see all of the corners. Even when the apex reached eye level, because your eyes are offset from the center, you would still be able to see three sides, and thus all four corners.

This wouldn't work for the pyramids in Egypt, unless ground level involved a pretty big hill...

more than 2 years ago


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