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Comments

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GNOME 3.12 Released

trainman Unity-ish UI (134 comments)

And I see they're still jumping on this Unity-ish sidebar UI bandwagon... ugh, I guess I'll be using xfce for a while longer so I can actually have a normal top and bottom panels. Running apps and workspace picker along the bottom, Application (etc) menus along the top with various system controls... its worked well for over a decade, yes some people might like the newer Vista/OSXy way to set things up, and fine that can be the (annoying) default, but at least give us the *option* to set up our workspace as we like. Saying "we don't support user customization anymore" is simply arrogant and not an option for open source software which was supposed to be all about the user having control.

It looks nice, and I commend them for all the hard work, I'm sure a lot of hours went in to it, but I won't be in any rush to upgrade if I still can't even do something simple like move my panels around.

about 4 months ago
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Proposed California Law Would Mandate Smartphone Kill Switch

trainman Canada has similar (252 comments)

We went a similar but different direction in Canada, rather than killing the phone there's a list of IMEIs for stolen phones, and all carriers will honour not allowing phones in the database on to their networks. Which this solution sounds little less onerous than re-engineering every handset OS to have this kill ability.

Also the phone doesn't actually have to be turned on to be blacklisted, how often will you send the "kill" pings out when stolen? Would a thief simply have to wait a few weeks until the heat dies down?

We have devices that register with networks when activated, isn't it far easier to wait for that event than to try and push a command to a phone that may never be turned on again?

Reference:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/stolen-phones-blacklist-launches-in-canada-1.1873674

about 7 months ago
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Apple Maps Accidentally Reveals Secret Military Base In Taiwan

trainman Xinjiang (131 comments)

Slight correction, Xinjiang is a province not a city. And a very lovely part of the country to visit.

about 2 years ago
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Slashdot Anniversary: Vancouver, BC, CA

trainman Re:The Yard Cafe (11 comments)

I have another event that day in New West, so I hope I can make it for at least part of the evening.

Contest for lowest user number at the party? ;)

about 2 years ago
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Google 'Wasting' $16 Billion On Projects Headed Nowhere

trainman Re:How is this a waste? (408 comments)

Also how is this different from Xerox Parc, Bell Labs and IBM Research (or even Microsoft Research) where staff are given the freedom to innovate and experiment with technologies with no immediate marketability. Without such basic research, which corporate America has been languishing in their support of over the past decade or two, we wouldn't have the transistor, laser or so many other key pieces of our modern world.

Google should be commended for being a good corporate citizen and giving back to science and society. Or as another commenter said, where should the money go, executive raises and dividends for shareholders?

more than 2 years ago
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Where Next-Generation Rare Earth Metals May Come From

trainman Re:Not the only place (179 comments)

There are also mines starting up for rare earths in the Canadian arctic. Actually, quite large deposits up there from what I've read.

about 2 years ago
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The Real Job Threat

trainman Re:I don't do any of those jobs... (990 comments)

What are you talking about, we enabled them to program themselves years ago! http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2362

But in all seriousness, I think computers and robots taking on more jobs is a GOOD thing, something we should encourage more. The debate at that point needs to shift, less jobs, more people unemployed, why would we have fewer and fewer people toiling away (harder and harder the way companies are pushing employees) with so many free bodies available? A more fundamental economic and societal shift will be needed, even the French 30 hour work week looks a little long at that point.

I would hope by spreading the work out (which yes will mean the current economic model will require a LOT of re-tuning, Occupy Wall Street, anyone?) it will give everyone more leisure time, more time to enjoy life. Our finite existence on this planet should not be tied to a lifetime of labour, our job should not definite us. Let's make a better society for ALL through this automation, like the old 50s and 60s cartoons envisions. George Jetson button pusher, anyone?

more than 2 years ago
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Russia Approves Siberia-Alaska Railway

trainman Track gauge (449 comments)

Umm, which track gauge will they use? North American or Russian? If the Russians agreed to use North American gauge and run the line all the way to China (which uses the same gauge as North America and Europe), well, that'd be convenient for us...

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: FTP Server Honeypots?

trainman Re:Fail2ban? (298 comments)

I second Fail2Ban, I've set my tripwire VERY tight for services. I also agree with the following post, SFTP, I'm phasing out FTP myself. About bloody time.

more than 3 years ago
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King Wants To Sell Out Ham Radio

trainman International agreements (309 comments)

Well that could be fun considering a lot of the HAM radio spectrum blocks are internationally recognized and used. Go ahead, sell it off, give it to someone else to use, I'm just north of your border, and my government hasn't proposed selling off that spectrum (yet). So I'm sure the private purchases of that spectrum will just LOVE when we all continue to key up on those bands (or the satellites already in orbit continue to transmit in to your borders on those frequencies).

Someone needs to inform this congressman of the realities of how spectrum allocation works.

more than 3 years ago
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Activists Seek Repeal of Ban On Incandescent Bulbs

trainman Efficiency not technology (1049 comments)

And as this 2007 Slashdot story points out:

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/07/02/26/1916211/GE-Announces-Advancement-in-Incandescent-Technology

Governments should mandate efficiency standards, not technology. I'm a bit on the free-market side myself, let the best bulb win, but not with absolutely no ground rules for that fight. If government were to truly stand back and let the market decide everything, cost would almost always win out and we'd have a proliferation of coal power plants and inefficient gas cars lacking almost every kind of pollution control system.

Government's role is to set the standard, in this case, so many lumen per watt, or however they want to word it, and then let the industry innovate the best technology to meet that goal.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Should I Trust My Network Administrator?

trainman Re:You get what you pay for... (730 comments)

And if my boss (as an IT staff member myself) was looking over my shoulder all the time, I'd quit.

Does the original question asked check their employee's bags every night for confidential documents? Mandate no USB drives?

Your employees are who you should be more worried about, jumping to a competitor and taking your client list with them.

But it all comes down to trusting your staff. I certainly hope you're not one of these paranoid bosses that only gives keys to the top managers.

more than 4 years ago
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GM Cornered Into Defending the Volt

trainman True cost of gas powered vehicles (769 comments)

The problem isn't the Volt costs too much, it's the fact the cheap cost of a gas vehicle and oil to put in it doesn't take in to account the true cost of the vehicle.

If the full cost weren't externalized to the same degree, for example the cost of healthcare for those made ill by exhaust, the cost of dealing with the impacts of climate change, even just the health and economic costs of people injured in road accidents, the price of a gas guzzling car would be a few times higher.

Instead the system externalizes these and others in society, not the actual drivers of these vehicles, are made to pay the costs. In some cases such as the impacts of climate change, those paying the true cost for gas powered vehicles could be on the other side of the planet.

It shows how our entire economic model must be reworked so the true cost of a product, cradle to grave, on all of society is taken in to account. A holistic approach to economics.

It's the same externalizing that Walmart uses, prices are kept down because things such as benefits and healthcare are pushed on to state governments through minimum wage paid employees.

It's time all members of society becomes accountable for their actions.

more than 5 years ago
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Christmas Tree Made From 70 SCSI Hard Drives

trainman Re:wrong picture? (248 comments)

Yes, because a picture of a Christmas tree is such a commonly used category photo on slashdot....

more than 5 years ago
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Battlestar Galactica Props Are For Sale

trainman Why Pasadena? (65 comments)

BSG is filmed here in Vancouver, why Pasadena???

Have the auction here, in the city that proudly loves and supports the series (and so many other series beloved by slashdot readers...).

Think of the environmental footprint and cost of shipping everything to California first. Just to have to ship that Viper back when I put in the winning bid. :)

more than 5 years ago
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Open Source Licenses For Academic Work?

trainman Re:Enforcing the license? (173 comments)

This was exactly my thought, we GPL all the software out of our lab. We also have a prominent notice on our download page giving the proper journal citation for this particular piece of software, so users know what to put.

However to not cite software used, particularly when the exact citation line is given to you so easily, in academic would be considered academic dishonesty. Sloppy as you said. And would reflect very poorly on the author of the paper if it were ever to come to light.

Since you can't really enforce it without a costly lawsuit, you simply have to have faith other academics will follow the same attribution code to cite sources, including software.

What might be more useful is writing this to a prominent journal in your field as a letter to bring attention to this issue, to help teach those older academics who never thought about the issues of citing software.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Open CA Authorities

trainman trainman writes  |  about 6 years ago

trainman writes "With the release of Firefox 3, those who have been using self-signed certificates for SSL now face a huge issue, the big, scary warning FF3 issues which is very unintuitive for non-technical users. It seems Firefox is pushing more websites in to the monopolistic arms of companies such as Verisign.

While there is good reason for CAs, to ensure the certificate a user is presented actually belongs to the domain you're visiting instead of being the result of DNS spoofing. Most of the rational for the need (and cost) to verify certificate applicants revolves around ensuring the applicant isn't simply trying to take advantage of domain typos or other social engineering exploits.

However for smaller, especially non-profit groups, which will never have issues with domain typo scammers, this adds an extra and difficult to swallow cost. All the browser needs to do when visiting a site is ensure the certificate you're presented matches the domain you typed. Who that domain and certificate belong to is of no consequence. Surely a service such as this doesn't need the same level of scrutiny and cost since all that is being done is verifying domain and certificate match, not if the domain you've typed is the legitimate company you're seeking to contact. This extra hand holding adds a tremendous cost and allows monopolistic companies such as Verisign to thrive.

Can organizations such as Mozilla not move towards a model that helps break this monopoly, helping establish a CA root authority that's cheap (free?) and only links the certificate to the domain, no actual verification of who owns the domain. Leave that to the user."

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