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Comments

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How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

swillden Re:I still can't for the life of me (241 comments)

OTOH, some of the mid-range Android stuff is quite good, and much cheaper than iPads. There may be better edu software for iOS, though, as another commenter claims.

yesterday
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

swillden Re:SUV vs pickup (198 comments)

An SUV does NOT fill the role of a pickup truck unless you don't actually need a pickup truck. You need a pickup when you are toting things that you do not want to carry in the interior of a vehicle like loose dirt, stone, certain bulky supplies, trash, etc. Messy stuff. Very bulky stuff. If you can put what you are likely to carry in an SUV then you don' t actually need a pickup.

An SUV plus a utility trailer does fill the role of a pickup truck.

Why would you "need" a commuter vehicle? The cost of any commuter vehicle is going to hugely outstrip any fuel savings you might possible generate.

The cost of a minivan plus a pickup plus the fuel to commute in the pickup is greater than the cost of an SUV plus a small sedan plus the fuel to commute in the sedan.

yesterday
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

swillden Re:The death is greatly exaggerated (198 comments)

Depends somewhat on lifestyle. If I'd had a minivan, I'd also have needed to buy a pickup truck. An SUV fills both roles. Neither quite as well as the ideal vehicle, but well enough that it makes more sense than two vehicles... actually three since we also needed a commuter vehicle.

yesterday
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

swillden Re: minivan dead? (198 comments)

The Minivan is the practical and logical choice

Agreed, unless you also need to tow stuff and/or go off road. Even if you don't do that stuff very much, renting an SUV or truck for those occasions isn't feasible, because as far as I can tell all rental car companies prohibit towing and off-road use. I do tow stuff regularly (boat, camp trailer, ATV trailer, utility trailer), and need to seat at least six people, which has made an SUV the practical and logical choice.

Now that my kids are moving out I no longer need so much seating, so a pickup truck is becoming the practical and logical choice. I'd like to upgrade to a bigger camp trailer, so one with a powerful diesel engine is looking particularly attractive.

yesterday
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Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

swillden Re:Faulty assumption (381 comments)

Almost no site I give a damn about relies on advertising.

Do you ever search for stuff?

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

swillden Re:Corporate culture (271 comments)

My son is certified as a Microsoft Architect and at one point in his career was a senior Microsoft executive.

He described the upper levels as very political. There was little team spirit.There was a lot of jockeying for position, backstabbing and attempts to degrade people to to elevate yourself.

He eventually left and started his own company (which is doing quite well. He just bought a 40' RV)

I'm honestly not trying to Godwin anything but that sounds alot like career politics in the Third Reich.

With the small difference that in the Third Reich those who failed badly enough at the politics ended up with a bullet in their brain.

It sounds a lot more like career politics in most corporations. Not all, certainly, but most.

4 days ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

swillden Re: This makes sense. (278 comments)

Watch out for key loggers. It is pretty easy for the bad guys to get your info. They do it all the time ...

If the bad guys are installing system-level software, or -- even worse -- plugging hardware into your box, you're sunk. There's basically no defense against that. Two-factor auth helps, but only for sites that support it, and even then a real-time attack can get in.

4 days ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

swillden Re:Only because they're stupid. (435 comments)

Not to mention it will probably have a police override allowing them to remotely either stop it

No need for any special remote control. One of the laws the driverless car will obey is the rule that requires you to pull over and stop when emergency vehicles approach with lights and siren. Emergency vehicles like, say, police cars.

Whoever at the FBI said this really didn't think it through.

5 days ago
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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

swillden Re:Railroads killed by the government... (194 comments)

Unless you count gas-taxes re-appripiated for mass-transit as a 'profit'.

Most of the Interstate is supported by fuel taxes. Fuel taxes are paid for by drivers. Who use the Interstate. So, I'd say that it's a pretty good case of 'user pays'.

Your argument would work if the fuel taxes funded the construction and maintenance of the interstates. They don't. If we wanted them to, we could get there without raising the fuel taxes paid by passenger vehicles, in fact those might possibly be reduced (though the reductions should probably be replaced with carbon taxes, used to fund carbon sequestration). Taxes on the fuel (or whatever) paid by trucks, however, should increase several fold, since they cause the vast majority of the highway construction and maintenance costs.

I really wish we'd fix up our highway funding so that it is usage supported, ending the massive subsidy we give the trucking system. Doing that would cause most of our bulk freight to move from the highways to rail, which is more energy-efficient and would make passenger highway travel safer. Unfortunately, it would also cost a lot of jobs in the trucking industry which wouldn't be offset by jobs in the more manpower-efficient rail industry, and that makes it politically impossible.

5 days ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

swillden Re:More Like Subsidized (525 comments)

There was no point in saying it unless you thought I felt otherwise.

You mean unless I thought Kjella thought otherwise, since that's who I said it to.

And my response would be that libertarians' response is in turn that people would willingly contribute to a fund to improve the air we breathe.

Some would say that, sure. I wouldn't, and neither would many others.

5 days ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

swillden Re:This makes sense. (278 comments)

Yep, as opposed to the morons that use password keepers and safes where all you have to observe is One password and then you have everything.

One password which is never sent anywhere from their device, plus you also have to get their device.

I don't think that word "moron" means what you think it means.

5 days ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

swillden Re:More Like Subsidized (525 comments)

I think you'd have a very hard time finding anyone who self-identifies as libertarian who would agree that "money should be forcibly collected from everyone in order to cover the externalities".

Yeah, you assumed you knew what I meant, but there's an opposing possibility which is just as valid which is what I actually meant. What I meant is that there's plenty of Libertarians who don't think that any way should be found to account for externalities.

Which view is perfectly consistent with the bit of my post that you quoted. A belief that no effort to address externalities and a belief that we should find a way to internalize them are both consistent with the statement that money should not be forcibly collected from everyone to cover externalities.

I didn't dispute your claim that some libertarians think no effort should be made to address externalities. I did say that "most libertarians would be just fine with using government to find a way to internalize the externalities", which may or may not be true, though I obviously think it is, or I wouldn't have said it.

about a week ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

swillden Re:This makes sense. (278 comments)

So, all I have to do is observe a small selection of your passwords and I know most of them, and even have strong clues as to the structure to facilitate what little guessing I need to do for your "hard" passwords.

Brilliant!

about a week ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

swillden Re:More Like Subsidized (525 comments)

What libertarians don't like is the idea that money should be forcibly collected from everyone in order to cover the externalities...

There's too many different people self-identifying as libertarians to make a declarative statement about that

Nonsense. The statement you quoted is one that basically all libertarians would agree with. You can perhaps quibble with my other statement that "most libertarians would be just fine with using government to find a way to internalize the externalities", but I think you'd have a very hard time finding anyone who self-identifies as libertarian who would agree that "money should be forcibly collected from everyone in order to cover the externalities".

about a week ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

swillden Re:I wanted to write about this place (423 comments)

These days, the common model is that the employee is paid a miserable wage, but would make up the rest in tips.

Not in France. You can tip in France, but it's rare and servers don't expect it to make up a significant portion of their wage.

about a week ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

swillden Re:More Like Subsidized (525 comments)

In libertarian world negative externalities are paid by those who are stuck with them, even if they're an unwilling third party to someone else's actions because nobody has any responsibility for the common good.

That's certainly one brand of libertarian, but libertarianism is a pretty broad swath of ideas. I'd say that most libertarians would be just fine with using government to find a way to internalize the externalities, to make whoever causes them to pay them. What libertarians don't like is the idea that money should be forcibly collected from everyone in order to cover the externalities... which, incidentally, still allows those who directly benefit from them to avoid paying their way.

about a week ago
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

swillden Re:105 megabits per second (401 comments)

To fall, you have to be high at some point. Slashdot has always been a pandering to the freesource zealotry.

There's nothing low about "freesource zealotry", particularly among those who actually contribute their time and skills to free software. Quite the opposite, in fact.

about a week ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

swillden Absolutely (278 comments)

I've always done this. I have one short, low-entropy password which I use on ALL low-risk web sites. For example, it's the one I use on slashdot. I don't really care if anyone gets in and starts posting stuff as me. In fact it might be a good thing, since it would give me some plausible deniability for the stupid things I sometimes say :-)

For important sites (e.g. financial), I use long, randomly-generated passwords and manage them in a password manager, which itself is protected with a very strong password. But for everything else, that's too much effort and serves no purpose. And for my "crown jewels" account -- my e-mail account, which if hacked would provide the intruder with the ability to reset most all of my other passwords -- I use a strong password and have two-factor authentication enabled.

about a week ago
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

swillden Re:105 megabits per second (401 comments)

If I am hearing correctly, this guy was signed up for 105 megabits per second... Do you know how hard it is to use 105 megabits/second?

Sigh.

Slashdot, how far you have fallen.

about a week ago
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The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

swillden Re:Wrong focus. (552 comments)

All the test could literally be done in a decent 8th grade science class.

Interesting. What tests are you thinking of that could so easily establish anthropogenic global warming?

about a week ago

Submissions

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Google Wallet now works with any card

swillden swillden writes  |  about 2 years ago

swillden writes "Google posted on Wednesday: 'we’re releasing a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Now, you can use any card when you shop in-store or online with Google Wallet. With the new version, you can also remotely disable your mobile wallet app from your Google Wallet account on the web.'"
Link to Original Source
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Google+ for Google Apps Released

swillden swillden writes  |  more than 2 years ago

swillden (191260) writes "Finally addressing a problem with the new Google+ social network that has generated a great number of complaints from long-time Google users, Google has announced the availability of Google+ for users with Google Apps accounts. The feature isn't enabled automatically for all Google Apps domains, though, it's necessary for the domain administrator to turn it on."
Link to Original Source
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Real-world RAID0 performance

swillden swillden writes  |  more than 5 years ago

swillden writes "I recently got the opportunity to play with some fairly high-end hardware and I was very surprised at the poor I/O performance. The machine was a 4-way Xeon with a high-end RAID controller and five 300GB SCSI Ultra-320 15,000 RPM drives, to be configured as a very high-performance database server. I didn't care so much about the real database workload, though, I just wanted to see what kind of data rate I could get, for fun.

Given that each of these drives individually can sustain over 100 MB/s, and given that I'd expect RAID0 to scale roughly linearly with the number of drives, I was expecting in the neighborhood of 500 MB/s. What I got (according to bonnie++) was about 200 MB/s, less than half the expected data rate. Disappointed, I decided to give Linux MD RAID a try, which got me up to about 240 MB/s, 20% faster than the hardware RAID, but still disappointing.

My question for the slashdot geeks that play with this kind of stuff all the time is: What kind of performance should I expect out of a system like this? Does RAID0 always scale so poorly? And, just for good nerdish fun, what's the fasted storage I/O you've ever seen?"
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What examples of Security Theater have you seen?

swillden swillden writes  |  more than 6 years ago

swillden writes "Everyone who pays any attention at all to security, both computer security and "meatspace" security, has heard the phrase Security Theater. For years I've paid close attention to security setups that I come in contact with, and tried to evaluate their real effectiveness vs their theatrical aspects. In the process I've found many examples of pure theater, but even more cases where the security was really a cover for another motive.

Recently, a neighbor uncovered a good example. He and his wife attended a local semi-pro baseball game where security guards were checking all bags for weapons. Since his wife carries a small pistol in her purse, they were concerned that there would be a problem. They decided to try anyway, and see if her concealed weapon permit satisfied the policy. The guard looked at her gun, said nothing and passed them in, then stopped the man behind them because he had beer and snacks in his bag. Park rules prohibit outside food. It's clear what the "security" check was really about: improving park food vending revenues.

So, what examples of pure security theater have slashdotters noticed? Even more interesting, what examples of security-as-excuse have you seen?."
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swillden swillden writes  |  more than 7 years ago

swillden writes "I've come across an increasing number of GPL programs lately that display an EULA-style click-wrap agreement during installation. While not exactly wrong, this seems like a bad idea to me, since it perpetuates the idea that you must agree to some arbitrary set of conditions in order to install and use a piece of software. In this case the conditions are very liberal (there are none, really), but still it reinforces the notion that you can't install a package unless you agree.

The FSF says that such click-wrapping is neither required nor forbidden but it seems like a bad idea to promote the click-wrap meme, even if the license is user-friendly. What do slashdotters think?"

Journals

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10 seconds that can help boot Orrin Hatch out of office

swillden swillden writes  |  about 8 years ago

I'm sure all of you have seen the many articles about various wacko things Senator Orrin Hatch has done to support the RIAA and MPAA. Among other things, he'd like to empower the media industry to remotely destroy the computers of people they suspect of illegally sharing files.

Wouldn't be great to give him the boot? You can help, by doing nothing more than voting on a web site.

See, for the first time in quite a few years Hatch has a serious contender for his seat. Pete Ashdown is a smart, tech-savvy businessman who's taken a year off to run his campaign. Ashdown is the sort of moderate Democrat who has a chance to win in Utah, and Utahns have expressed their opinion in polls that Hatch has been in office long enough and they'd like a change.

However good Ashdown's chances in theory, though, campaigning is about money, and he needs it.

That's where this vote comes in. Barbara Boxer has some campaign cash she's going to give to one of the Democrats running against a long-term incumbent senator. If Ashdown can win that vote, he'll have a great warchest to start the campaign with. It won't be enough, but it will give him a good start and will hopefully prime the pump for other large democratic contributions.

So go vote, and get all of your friends and neighbors to do the same! Even if they're Republicans, they still have to appreciate that an utterly one-sided race like Hatch has had in the past is not good for democracy. Get them to vote!

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