Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Tox, a Skype Replacement Built On 'Privacy First'

smchris Mandatory linux 4.3 upgrade (174 comments)

It always seemed we could at least sandbox Skype as a limited unique user, but 4.3 requires Pulse and pulse is increasingly the de facto sound system over alsa. Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't pulse running at the user level only allow ONE user and system-wide utilization is vehemently discouraged by the developers for SECURITY reasons? If so, it seems like Microsoft and the NSA have worked out a way to p0wn any linux box where a person has installed a working 4.3 Skype.

I guess you could still use it for chat as a unique user.

about a month ago
top

Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

smchris Re:Binoculars (187 comments)

Binoculars are the recommendation in The Backyard Astronomer. But, then, they don't particularly recommend buying a child a telescope either.

Personally, I went with a used 4.5" Orion Dob as the first instrument and I think it was a good choice. Now I have larger instruments _and_ binoculars. Yes, a small Dob isn't great for groups because you have to keep adjusting it. But, like people say, polar aligning an EQ is something to be explained too and you're still going to be moving it regularly manually. Doesn't sound like you are budgeting for a motor mount. I can just see binoculars being an interesting challenge as you try to get _each_ kid to find stuff. "No, look at where my finger is pointing. That one! Are you seeing it, the one I'm pointing at?" And, sure, I can see stuff like Jupiter's Galilean moons, the Orion nebula, a lot of moon detail, etc. with the 10x70s but anybody who tells you it's more fun to recline in a lounge chair, hold your breath and maintain your arms as rigid as possible so things don't move _too_ much should probably have his disdain for small Dobs taken with a grain of salt.

about a month ago
top

Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

smchris Call me a rock wielding barbarian (127 comments)

But I absolutely, totally LOVE depth of field. Screw the art school graduates. I bought a large screen digital tv for the illusion of a window upon the world.

I would like to think -- I sincerely HOPE -- that artificially inducing audience "focus" by depth of field will be as quaint as silent movie captions in 50 years.
 

about 5 months ago
top

It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

smchris So who's going to defend the principal (470 comments)

This is one of the more compelling arguments for national standards where local administration would have the excuse that they were "forced" to follow imposed guidelines. Otherwise, every nutter in the community will rally to tar and feather the administration.

about 6 months ago
top

FWD.us Wants More H-1B Visas, But 50% Go To Offshore Firms

smchris Get used to it (325 comments)

Everybody I hang with in Minnesota loves Klobuchar. She has that nerd girl with glasses look and does photo ops out bicycling with the family. Probably eats granola. Always AWOL on any serious issue where anybody might have a different view so she'd have to defend herself on a reelection, she's always present for the photo op when she brings some tax money back for a women's shelter or something. In other words, the definitional example of a pork barrel populist. My point being that people in Minnesota who consider themselves Democrats and "progressive" seem happy with her _image_, so don't expect any blow back on this _issue_. And it highlights the embarrassing point that Democrats aren't much deeper than FOX Republicans.

about 6 months ago
top

Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve?

smchris Presidential Medal of Freedom? (822 comments)

Why not? Obama is the appropriate Nobel Peace Prize winner to bestow it for maximum satire.

about 8 months ago
top

VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage

smchris One of my pet peeves about the Teabaggers (683 comments)

It all comes down to pig ignorance. When they call Obama a "commie socialist fascist" they are just spouting words as meaningless grunts of disapproval like a dog barking. Considering his friendliness to capitalism with efforts like the TPP, Obama really should be a "commie socialist fascist capitalist" and then he can embrace EVERY major political/economic system. Really, how do you become a commie fascist when they are virtually diametrically opposed systems? Which is to say, what about these protestors wanting a more equitable society makes them "just like Hitler" (fascist)? Nonsense mutterings of a (rich) barbarian who hasn't a clue about history or cultural wisdom, but you can get away with that level of moronic discourse in American society.

about 8 months ago
top

Best skywatching equipment at my disposal:

smchris The Minnesota Astronomical Society is awesome (201 comments)

There's the building with the permanent mount refractor. I think it's about 8". There's the building with the 16" reflectors with permanent mounts, computer control and refractor with astrocam riding one of them, there's the little hydrogen sun filter scope and the 24" dob. And the classroom building/clubhouse. That's just the facilities at the _main_ site. Not their biggest dob, not the biggest refractor. Hell, people with enough interest should MOVE here.

about 8 months ago
top

Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie

smchris Re:Only in America (1431 comments)

That was my thought. He couldn't have just beaten the guy up?

about 9 months ago
top

Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years

smchris Re:When a secret is a criminal act, it's evidence. (491 comments)

It's fun and games to paint these people as anarchists but Assange worked with major world papers about what should and shouldn't have been released. Was or wasn't this the case with the Manning files? Although I do believe after his partner was detained Glenn Greenwald has suggested he might become less selective on what gets released.

about a year ago
top

Volkswagen Concept Car Averages 262 MPG

smchris Not crazy about poor visibility (353 comments)

I don't know that it was ever acknowleged but as a proud Pinto owner I know the nasty visibility constraints of the rear "posts" were a problem and I've always suspected Pinto owners put themselves into position for a rear collision and explosion.

about a year ago
top

HP Back In Tablet Game With Android-Based 'Slate7'

smchris Re:1024x600 (120 comments)

Yes. I've already had the Aspire One netbook experience so it's a deal breaker. $30 is a mighty small investment in a better daily experience with a Nexus 7.

about a year and a half ago
top

The Two Big Problems With Online College Courses

smchris Re:How do you teach motivation? (215 comments)

"Historically people like you would be allowed to flunk out of college so that the seats would be available for people who valued education."

Got that right. Saw the announcement at the little state college I attended in the early 70s for a couple of my years where they congratulated faculty on maintaining the average Freshman GPA at 2.1, within .1 of an ideal Bell curve. See if that would elicit "customer delight" today, but, then, Reagan turned tertiary ed into a "business." Back when you were expected to be motivated, the government was paying most of the tuition bill so there was an implicit contract that _you_ would perform, not that the _college_ would make you happy.

90% attrition? Sounds about right. Back when I was on the move and U of South Africa was about the only option for me to get a graduate Honours through the mail and consulate exams, I believe their attrition was around 90% too. Best advice I got was to make it "real." Buy the frackin' university sweatshirt and wear it every day at your appointed study times and whatever other gimmick you can think of like streaming the campus radio station.

about a year and a half ago
top

Monsanto's 'Terminator' Seeds Set To Make a Comeback

smchris Re:Good. (284 comments)

Yeah, lawsuits are the American way. And farmers are so rich they can hire lawyers to easily match Monsanto's legal team.

about a year and a half ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Is the Bar Being Lowered At Universities?

smchris This geezer thinks so (605 comments)

Is it dumbed down at the secondary level? When I graduated from high school -- like, DECADES ago -- about 14% of my class where honor students. I recently decided to get the home town paper. Last year, 40+% were "honor" students at my high school. That Flynn Effect must really be working for them. The paper runs Snowflake of the Month stories: "Johnny has a wonderful attitude and Suzy is always helpful to other students." That sort of silliness would have embarrassed the hell out of me in my day.

The Reagan era turned universities into "businesses." Where's the customer delight in a failing grade?

about a year and a half ago
top

Credit Card Swipe Fees Begin Sunday In USA

smchris Re:I'm curious to see how many retailers actually (732 comments)

Pretty sure that's what we'll be doing. We've been doing "one bill shall pay them all for years" but, nearing retirement, we've got more time to hold up the line than money. The credit union gives us one free box/year, so do the math and see that it pays for us to go Old School. "Good job, retailers." I also think self-check-out at grocery stores is stupid when there is someone to do the job for you. If even more people now think like I do, maybe we can keep more cashiers off unemployment and on the payroll.

It will be interesting to see whether online sales just got a 2-3% inflation jump though because I'm _sooooo_ sure this will mean lower total prices for us all in that arena. Because, you know, when has the Libertarian Dream ever failed us?

about a year and a half ago
top

A Humanoid Robot Named "Baxter" Could Revive US Manufacturing

smchris Can Baxter buy the products it produces? (414 comments)

If nobody has jobs anymore we better transition to an economy where everything the robots produce is free.

about a year and a half ago
top

Degree Hack: Cobbling Together Credit Hours For Cheap

smchris GRE Subject Tests (368 comments)

Back when it was Regents, you could get a "concentration" basically just by getting an above mean score on a GRE subject test. Since I believe the guy who started the Triple Nine IQ Society had about a dozen of them, that became a bit of a fad. I picked up English Lit, Sociology, Political Science and History -- yup, accredited as long as you say it's a "concentration" -- in a year for chuckles for slightly over a $1000 total back when the economy was good to add to my traditional two majors. I always had a sneaking suspicion the college hated our guts for making fun of the process and we may have screwed it for other people. You can still get credit but, offhand, I think it's more like half a concentration for a score significantly better than mean.

Nonetheless, if you pass several GRE subjects tests, I imagine that's still a lot of elective credits received very, _VERY_ cheaply.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

smchris hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

smchris has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?