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Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

slart42 Re:The access is not as dire as you would imagi (104 comments)

I was there in 2011, and similarly, I found most larger towns to have an "internet cafe" in the offices of the government operated phone agency. Access was not obviously restricted, but indeed very slow - and expensive at around 8 CUC (=8 USD)/h. If cubans were to pay the same rates, it would be well out of their reach (but I don't know if that's the case, a lot of services in Cuba charge exchangeable CUC to foreigners, but local CUP to Cubans (25 CUP = 1 CUC)).

A lot of people working in any kind of government agencies (universities, etc) would have internet access as work, though.

I think internet access at home is rare (and possibly illegal), and usually only if someone secretly sets up a modem at their work place to dial in from home (they have an extensive wire telephone systems, which is state run, and free to use).

9 hours ago
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Montana Lawmakers Propose 85 Mph Speed Limit On Interstates

slart42 Re:German cars (525 comments)

Sorry, wasn't clear enough. "Bikes" as in "Motorbikes".

Police may stop and fine you if your bicycle is not in order, especially if your lights don't work. Whether they actually do that varies a lot between cities.

about three weeks ago
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Montana Lawmakers Propose 85 Mph Speed Limit On Interstates

slart42 Re:German cars (525 comments)

I currently live in Germany and the technical inspections are all safety related, not cosmetic issues like rust.

Well, they can make a good case for issues to be "safety related". For any older car, rust *is* usually the deal breaker (as it reduces the integrity of the chassis - which is true, but I don't believe that it is indeed a cause for many traffic related injuries which would not happen otherwise). In fact, if your car is old enough to have historic plates, they are actually entitled to complain about cosmetic issues, as the historic plate mandates the car to be kept in a state "worth preserving". Ie, stuff like ("You need to repaint the valve cover in your engine bay as the paint on it became dated").

Regardless of that, I've had inspectors complain about tons of "safety" issues in my car or bikes over the years, including:

-Ripped seat cover ("passenger might be injured if a spring pokes out")
-Missing isolation cap on battery pole ("electical fire hazard")
-little skull shaped caps on tire valves ("not allowed")
-fan would not work on highest setting ("no guarantee of adequate cooling of passengers if going at high temperatures")
-Worn out seat
-Motorcycle not equipped with a steering column lock
-Motorcycle would engine would not auto-shut off when extending footstand (bike was made before these became standard, but that did not matter, had to retrofit)

(These are some examples - I've also met many inspectors much more reasonable then that, but still, I am convinced that the car industry is actually pushing for tighter inspections, as it will mean more new car sells. The car industry is the biggest arm of the german economy, and they do have a lot of power.)

about three weeks ago
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Montana Lawmakers Propose 85 Mph Speed Limit On Interstates

slart42 Re:German cars (525 comments)

Those germans are such great drivers.

Except for the fact that that video is taken in Belgium.

about three weeks ago
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Montana Lawmakers Propose 85 Mph Speed Limit On Interstates

slart42 Re:German cars (525 comments)

Furthermore, in Germany there are mandatory periodic technical inspections, and these are no joke. Half the cars I see in the USA would never pass these inspections.

This is true. But I doubt that the US has a high rate of dangerous traffic accidents caused by failing cars. I have always felt that the technical inspections we have serve more to subsidize the car industry (by making sure old cars are taken off the road due to some rust or whatever they will come up with), and as a self-service to the inspection agencies to keep them in business. I guess regular brake & light checkups would make sense, but beyond that, I really doubt that there is much actual improvements in safety to be gained.

about three weeks ago
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Chinese Couple Sells Children To Support Online Game Addiction

slart42 Re:These folks need drugs. (131 comments)

Replying to myself: My Google skills mislead me, that wikipedia link referred to the Republic of China (Taiwan), not mainland China (which does seem to have capital punishment on drug trafficking, no idea how commonly it is applied).

about 5 months ago
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Chinese Couple Sells Children To Support Online Game Addiction

slart42 Re:These folks need drugs. (131 comments)

In all seriousness, is this what happens when you make drugs punishable by the death penalty?

I don't think so. Actually, drugs seem to be very easy to come by in China (At least that was my impression in Beijing earlier this year).

While the death penalty for drug trade exists on paper, according to wikipedia, it has not been applied in over a decade: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...

about 5 months ago
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A Strategy For Attaining Cuban Internet Connectivity

slart42 Re:Control vs. Prosperity (119 comments)

Tell me, if the exact same thing is true of capitalism, then why is it that all of the self identified capitalist societies have the highest education rates, highest literacy rates, and highest standards of living for everybody overall?

"Education rates" and "Standards of living" or somewhat subjective and thus hard to compare (though I guess what you say is true for many countries, with notable exceptions). "Literacy rates" are hard comparable numbers, and looking at that Cuba is not doing bad:

Literacy in Cuba 99.8%
Literacy in US 99%

Source: CIA World fact book: https://www.cia.gov/library/pu...

about 10 months ago
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When Cars Go Driverless, What Happens To the Honking?

slart42 Re:Honking is different overseas (267 comments)

While it is very true that horn usage has very different cultural implications around the world, characterizing every country outside of the US as "overseas" is a wrong over-generalisation. Most northern-european countries have a very similar interpretation of the horn as you described in the US (minus the part why people get out to kick your ass, usually).

about a year ago
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US Light Bulb Phase-Out's Next Step Begins Next Month

slart42 Re:Seriously? (1146 comments)

You could by them in the real world (and they did fit the socket) - and they were of course nothing else then relabeled ordinary light bulbs. It was an attempt to both challenge and ridicule the law banning light bulbs in the EU. Well, it did not hold up in court, so you can no longer buy them in the real world, but they actually used to sell them on that site.

1 year,6 days
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US Light Bulb Phase-Out's Next Step Begins Next Month

slart42 Re:Seriously? (1146 comments)

Ha, You could buy heatballs instead - They are little radiators which conveniently fit into your lightbulb sockets, and are 90% energy efficient (the remaining 10% of the energy is wasted as light) : http://heatball.de/en/

1 year,6 days
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First Arab Supercar Costs $3.4 Million, Has Diamond-Encrusted Headlights

slart42 Re:If it's for the 1%, why advertise it? (241 comments)

If it's for the 1%, why advertise it?

At the other comment points out, this is for the 0.001%.

But, generally you advertise such products to a wider audience, because why would the 1% (or 0.001%) buy stuff like this if the rest of the world couldn't tell how expensive it is? How big would the appeal of a Rolex watch be, if nobody else could tell that it's not some random no-name watch bough from a market selling chinese junk products (which, ironically, most "Rolexes" are).

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Experiences Working At a High-Profile Game Studio?

slart42 Re: What does the job entail? (189 comments)

After reading several comments that game industry jobs are all sweatshop work, I thought I might share my (different) experience. I work at Unity, so not exactly a games company, but game industry anyways. I've been here for quite a few years no and have always been (and I still am) very happy about my work. While everybody has done overtime work to get urgent fixes done at some time or other, this is not the rule, and we are far from the working conditions in many places described here. The development team has a great culture, we get to work on exciting stuff, and we get plenty of opportunities to try out things which interest us -- as a rule, similar to Google's "20% time", we have FAFF (fridays are for fun) to work on pet projects, as well as regular Hack Weeks, were the whole dev team is brought in to one location to form teams to try new ideas. It's fun.

If you're interested, check out http://unity3d.com/jobs/ - but then, I guess your chances of being hired for an engineering position when fresh out of colleges are somewhat slim, unless you have done some really awesome stuff besides your education. But that will not be any different in any of the other larger companies in the industry.

about a year ago
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Despite Global Release, Breaking Bad Heavily Pirated

slart42 Re:How many knew that it was a global release? (443 comments)

Germany as well here -- I don't think this "global" release was actually global. Somebody proof me wrong, but I could not find a legal way to watch or download the new episode in my country yet (while watching it illegally is, as always, trivial and free). Maybe "global" as in "all major markets in which where TV shows are by default watched in english" (instead of those countries where you have to wait a year for them to release a badly synchronized version to be able to legally get an original language version).

about a year ago
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Length of Applause Not Tied To Quality of Presentation

slart42 Re:You can start people clapping really easily (138 comments)

Similar experience from my teens:

In my school the principal had all 1500 students gathered in the gym to give some sort of boring speech. In between the students would clap, which I found stupid, because I thought he was talking bullshit. So me and two friends decided to make fun of it, and started clapping in odd places. To our surprise it caught on really well, and quickly everyone joined in - probably some because they got the prank, and others out of reflex. In any case, the situation quickly became hilarious with everyone in the audience clapping as soon as the principal would open his mouth to speak - at some point he started screaming "Stop clapping" - which was of course replied to with a big applause.

about a year and a half ago
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My view of touchscreen laptops:

slart42 Re:touchscreen laptops are AWESOME! (359 comments)

You know what you do when you get smudges on your screen? YOU WIPE THEM! just like your behind when there is excrement in it.. no big deal - we do it daily

Wait, so you liken using a touchscreen laptop to taking a dump? I'm not sold.

about a year and a half ago
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How Unity3D Became a Game-Development Beast

slart42 Re:And Unity Still Sucks (115 comments)

I agree. It's been over a decade and it's still in a shitty state. The only reason to use it is (was) reach. It seems that Unreal, which performs better and is tooled better, has the same reach. If you make one of the thousands of shitty games that this "article" refers to, then you'd even make less than the $50k/yr limit, making unreal's UDK free.

But then, if you make shitty games making less then UDKs $50k/yr limit, you likely wouldn't succeed in shipping your game at all without Unity. Unity does make game development very accessible and allows many people to make games (some of them shitty, but also many great ones), without needing to understand all the details of the tech. That won't stop you from using that understanding to make much more pushing games if you can.

about a year and a half ago
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One Bitcoin By the Numbers: Is There Still Profit To Be Made?

slart42 Re:And that is the problem with bitcoin (239 comments)

Google for places that accept bitcoins. The trade is simply non-existent. Places that reached the news have stopped accepting them and the remaining online shops are the ones you would normally stay a million miles away from. Shady doesn't even begin to describe them.

The argument of bitcoins not having any value because they are not being used for anything but speculation comes up every time bitcoins are discussed. I don't think it's true any more. Underground market places for drugs and other goods which require untraceable money transactions are thriving, and driving a lot of people into buying bitcoins to actually use them for trading, who don't care about speculation or anything. Are those sites shady? Yes. That does not make them any less real. If a large part of the worlds drug trade will use bitcoins for their transactions in the future, that would be a much more stable economy backing this currency than many goverment-backed currencies can claim.

about a year and a half ago
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TPB now hosted in North Korea

slart42 traceroute thepiratebay.se (3 comments)

Seems to be true.

traceroute thepiratebay.se gives me:

[...]
19 175.45.177.217 (175.45.177.217) 772.472 ms * 854.100 ms

http://ip-lookup.net/index.php?ip=175.45.177.217

role: STAR JOINT VENTURE CO LTD - network administrat
address: Ryugyong-dong Potong-gang District
country: KP
mnt-by: MAINT-STAR-KP
changed: hm-changed@apnic.net 20091214
source: APNIC

about 2 years ago
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Google Chrome Getting Audio Indicators To Show You Noisy Tabs

slart42 Re:Flash and plugin sounds (155 comments)

I remember this being discussed on the FF bugzilla years ago. It was seen as a very good idea, but the issue was (at least then) that most audio is played by Flash applets which the browser can't control, thus making it useless in most scenarios. I wonder how Chrome tackles the issue of plugin content playing audio.

Chrome uses it's own build of the flash plugin, which is not using the NPAPI plugin API, but Google's own Pepper API, which has support for Audio built into the API - and thus will handle playback of the audio through the browser, so the browser has full knowlegde and control of the audio.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Block major labels off the internet

slart42 slart42 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

slart42 (694765) writes "Bust all major labels is a campaign to block web site access to anyone accessing the internet from computers belonging to major record labels. The site provides a script to embed into your web site/blog/whatever, which displays a message (analogue to the error message users see when trying to access youtube videos from countries where the record industry does not want you to see the content) and blocks access when viewing the site from an IP address belonging to a list of record labels or industry associations. With enough people using this, it could make a pretty strong message."
Link to Original Source
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Portal on iPhone

slart42 slart42 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

slart42 (694765) writes "After yesterday's story on ASCII Portal, today, touchArcade posted a video showing a port of portal to the iPhone. It is not clear who created this, or if it has any chance of being released (with or without legal blessing from Valve), but it certainly is an impressive tech demo of what can be done on an iPhone and with the Unity game engine."
Link to Original Source
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T-Mobile sells unlocked iPhones in Germany

slart42 slart42 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slart42 (694765) writes "Following up Tuesday's story, in which Vodaphone brought T-Mobile to court for selling iPhones in Germany without an option to buy them without an expensive two-year contract, T-Mobile has now announced (german Spiegel article) the sale of unlocked iPhones for a "bargain" price of only 999 Euros. Getting your hands on one of these might provide some insight on how to "properly" unlock an iPhone, which won't be relocked with the next firmware update from Apple."
Link to Original Source

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