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Comments

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Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

tverbeek Re:"Vrije University"? (136 comments)

You'd at least capitalize it as "Vrije Universiteit", because it's a proper noun* and those are capitalized (in either English or Dutch).

*Not just a free university, but the Free University.

about two weeks ago
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Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

tverbeek Re:"Vrije University"? (136 comments)

And Liberty University is already taken.

Liberty University is called that instead of "Free University" because it is neither free-as-in-beer nor free-as-in-speech. It teaches the religion of Capitalism and the legal principles of the Bible.

about two weeks ago
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On 4th of July:

tverbeek Re:Hello Americans (340 comments)

You are apparently unfamiliar with "twilight". And probably Summer Solstice.

about three weeks ago
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On 4th of July:

tverbeek missing option (340 comments)

I hear amateur fireworks.

Since the state of Michigan loosened restrictions on the sale of fireworks, every yahoo with a lighter has started setting them off, beginning sporadically the weekend before the holiday.

Any holiday.

about three weeks ago
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Trio of Big Black Holes Spotted In Galaxy Smashup

tverbeek confusing headline (74 comments)

From the headline, I thought this was a story about damage to a smartphone.

about three weeks ago
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Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

tverbeek sexist double standard (265 comments)

I wonder if this has anything to do with the double-standard that Facebook applies to nudity in images. Posting a drawing or painting of a male butt can get your photo removed and your account suspended, while posting a photograph of female breasts gets nothing. Too many straight guys reviewing people's image uploads?

about a month ago
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Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

tverbeek Re:Diversity is not a virtue (265 comments)

"Diversity is not a virtue", said the straight white dude who fears he will lose his unearned position of privilege if diversity is valued in the workforce.

"There is nothing worthwhile in diversity in and of itself," said the straight white dude who fears he will lose his unearned position of privilege because diversity in the workforce makes his character traits less valued.

Of course you are right, straight white dude: diversity in the workforce doesn't do a whole lot to directly make things better for you. But there are other people in the world who matter too. As much as you do, even (if you can wrap your self-centered solipsistic little brain about that). It is a virtue, because it's worthwhile for them.

about a month ago
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Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry

tverbeek Re:Families come first (370 comments)

"Older people have families, they come first."

No, I don't. So they do not.

But I'm almost 50, and I figure that I've successfully interviewed for my last tech job. That doesn't mean I'll never get hired for another job, but it does mean that I won't get another job through the hiring process that recruits younger techs. If I get one, it'll be through networking, through the still-good-old-boy system.

about a month ago
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Google Forks OpenSSL, Announces BoringSSL

tverbeek Wayne Boring (128 comments)

I thought that BoringSSL was named in honor of classic Superman artist Wayne Boring.

about a month ago
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Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

tverbeek Re:Tonka Tough (431 comments)

You can find some interesting examples of Chinese (non)reliability in the motorscooter industry. With no domestically-manufactured scooters on the US market, there's a range of imports sold here, from the top-price European bikes (e.g. Piaggio Vespa) at the top, Japanese (Honda, Yamaha) and Taiwanese (Genuine, SYM) in the middle, and P.R.Chinese (generics) at the bottom. Those "chinascoots" sell for mere hundreds of dollars, have a poor reputation for quality, and are sneered at by everyone who understands that.

However, a few scooter manufacturers based elsewhere have tried opening plants (or using existing ones) in the PRC, and applying their own corporate quality-control standards to them, with rather good results (e.g. Piaggo's PRC-made Fly). You'd have to be both racist and ignorant of the iPhone to think that Chinese workers can't produce quality goods; like anyone else, they build to the specs that are given to them and standards that are expected of them. The difference is the legal environment in which they work. They don't have the environmental, human rights, or labor standards of their competitors in other countries, and that's why they cost less. (But give it time: I hear the US GOP has a plan to fix that.)

about a month ago
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Bill Gates To Stanford Grads: Don't (Only) Focus On Profit

tverbeek Re:So says the richest man in the world... (284 comments)

So you've never heard of someone getting on in years, looking back, and telling younger people not to make the same mistakes they made?

(Maybe someday it'll even happen to you.)

about a month ago
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House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

tverbeek I went to college with Dave Brat (932 comments)

Dear God.

I used to know this guy. It took me a little while for it to register, but the goofy grin confirms it: this is the same doofus I went to college with. The college is a haven for Republican Calvinism (i.e. God chooses certain people to be successful), steeped in the worship of capitalism (God's invisible hand rewarding hard work). (The Amway/Blackwater dynasty are major donors.) I didn't know Dave well (sorry, no damaging stories to tell), but he was active in student government, and struck me as a classic empty suit: superficially charming with an upper-middle-class sense of entitlement. Not stupid, but not a deep thinker, the sort who doesn't question the values he was taught as a child... because they've always worked for him. (One of the key ways I differ from him.) I should've known he'd run for Congress someday.

I'm sorry.

about a month and a half ago
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US Secret Service Wants To Identify Snark

tverbeek Seriously? (213 comments)

"We are not currently aware of any automated technology that could do that (detect sarcasm). No one is considered a leader in that..."

Is he serious?

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

tverbeek Re:Internet at library (114 comments)

Have you ever tried to do this? Without your own car? Perhaps with a disability? Are you lucky enough to live in a city that has a library? How far is it to walk to it from where you live? Do you have cold winters there, or hot and humid summers? Is there public transportation that goes from near your house to the library? If so, how many buses does it take? What's the fare, and how much does that add up to if you do it once a day? How long does the ride take? Do you have someone to watch your kids while you do it, or do you bring them along? Did it even occur to you to consider any of these questions?

about 2 months ago
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Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

tverbeek poor adults not eligible (114 comments)

This "Internet Essentials" program might help some poor people, but it's only available to people with children (eligible for school lunch programs). It's a typical example of how we consider children who live in poverty to be "innocent victims", but adults who can't work due to disability or lack of jobs are treated as if they were unworthy of assistance. In this case, internet access could make a huge difference for them in terms of quality of life and/or additional cost savings (giving access to low-entry-price services, such as VOIP and Netflix instead of POTS and CATV), or the ability to effectively try to re-enter the workforce (incredibly difficult without in-home internet access).

about 2 months ago
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Four Weeks Without Soap Or Shampoo

tverbeek not so bad (250 comments)

I've gone 10 days without washing (other than water), on a wilderness backpacking trip. Despite the fact that I was sweating a lot every day, at the end of the expedition I didn't feel as "dirty" as I would've expected. I think we could find a happy medium between our modern antibacterial-soap fetish and ye olde annual bath.

about 2 months ago
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Rand Paul Starts New Drone War In Congress

tverbeek Re:Even a stopped clock is right... (272 comments)

The stopped-clock metaphor is rather apt in this case. Rand Paul's hands are stuck in one position ("the federal government is wrong"), and from time to time that position is correct.

about 3 months ago
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Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected

tverbeek Re:..and streamed video doesn't come with awful DR (477 comments)

Complaining about DRM right after a snarky comment about how old-fashioned it is to want your own copy of a movie was the best laugh I've had all day. Because the only people who complain about DRM on video discs are people who want their own copies. Meanwhile, the oh-so-modren approach of streaming movies from cloud services is wrapped up in all sorts of DRM, as well as the certainty that you'll lose access to them one way or another down the line (the main legitimate argument against DRM).

about 3 months ago
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Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

tverbeek It ain't broke (865 comments)

This line of thinking – mechanical keys are not perfect and sometimes don't work properly, therefore we must replace them with something else – fails to take into consideration that whatever we replace it with will also not be perfect and will also sometimes not work properly, especially in new and unexpected ways that we are not prepared for. Fact is, the mechanical ignition key is a pretty well-debugged piece of technology. It isn't fundamentally broken, and doesn't need to be "fixed" by throwing it out and hastily replacing it with something else, especially something without a century of usage behind it.

I'll be honest: I'm an old-fashioned person who liked having the ability to shut off a computer by physically opening the circuit that powered it (i.e. flipping a big crimson switch). As a tech, I get frustrated with equipment that has a "power button" that really only serves to put the device in low-power standby mode, such that turning it "off" and back "on" doesn't reinitialize it (requiring me to instead pull the power cable from the wall ... which only works if it doesn't have a battery). The "open the pod bay doors, Hal" approach doesn't give me warm fuzzies, mostly due to experience with the real world where new technology routinely fails to live up to the naïve expectations of the young and/or credulous.

about 3 months ago
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What percentage of your online communications are encrypted?

tverbeek standard encryption (186 comments)

I double-ROT13 all of my textual communication.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Russians find "new bacteria" in Lake Vostok

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  about a year ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "Russian scientists believe they have found a wholly new type of bacteria in the mysterious subglacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. "After putting aside all possible elements of contamination, DNA was found that did not coincide with any of the well-known types in the global database," he said. "We are calling this life form unclassified and unidentified.""
Link to Original Source
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Canadian charges against US manga reader dropped

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 2 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "The US-based Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Canada-based Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund have announced that the Canadian government has withdrawn all criminal charges in R. v. Matheson, a case which involved a US citizen who was arrested and faced criminal charges in Canada relating to manga found on his computer when he entered the country. Customs agents declared the illustrations of fictional characters to be "child pornography". The defendant, a 27-year-old comic book reader, amateur artist, and computer programmer, has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. Despite financial assistance from the CBLDF and CLLDF, he has an outstanding debt of $45K for his defense."
Link to Original Source
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HP reverses course on PCs

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 2 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "Not to be outdone by Netflix's bumpercar strategic planning, HP's current CEO has announced that they will not be divesting themselves of their Personal System Group, which makes some of the world's bestselling laptops and desktops. No word on what this means (if anything) for the fate of WebOS and its mobile devices."
Link to Original Source
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Spock gives up the con

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 2 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "Leonard Nimoy announced at the Creation Con in Chicago, celebrating the 45th anniversary of Star Trek, that this would be his last appearance at a Trek convention. He spoke for an hour, which at least suggests that he's making this move by choice and not out of necessity. He's 80 years old. "Live long and prosper," he told the crowd."
Link to Original Source
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Comics Code dead

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "After more than half a century of stifling the comic book industry, the Comics Code Authority is effectively dead. Created in response to Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, one of the early think-of-the-children censorship campaigns, and Congressional hearings, the Code laid out a checklist of requirements and restrictions for comics to be distributed to newsstand vendors, effectively ensuring that in North America, only simplistic stories for children would be told using the medium of sequential art. It gradually lost many of its teeth, and an increasing number of publishers gave up on newsstand distribution and ignored the Code, but at the turn of the century the US's largest comics publishers still participated. Marvel quit it in 2001, in favor of self-applied ratings styled after the MPAA's and ESRB's. Last year Bongo (publishers of the Simpsons comics) quietly dropped out. Now DC and Archie, the last publishers willingly subjecting their books to approval, have announced that they're discontinuing their use of the CCA, with DC following Marvel's example, and Archie (which recently introduced an openly gay supporting character, something flatly forbidden by the original Code) carrying on under their own standards. The Code's cousins: the MPAA and ESRB ratings, the RIAA parental advisory, and the mishmash of warnings on TV shows still live on, but at least North American comics publishers are no longer subject to external censorship."
Link to Original Source
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Bill O'Reilly: science cannot explain the tides

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "David Silverman of the American Atheists was a guest on The O'Reilly Factor to talk about the billboards the AAG has put up recently, including one declaring the Christian Nativity story a myth. O'Reilly, playing to his home-field advantage, figured he could show up his guest by citing a daily miracle that proved the legitimacy of religion, a mystery beyond the ability of science to grasp: "The tide comes in and it goes out, Mr. Silverman," he lectured. "It always comes in, and always goes out. You can't explain that.""
Link to Original Source
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Big Blue Sun?

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

tverbeek writes "IBM is in talks with Sun Microsystems for a buyout. IBM would get Sun's hardware business and some substantial software (especially web and virtualization) expertise. Sun would get the financial support and the stability of being part of Big Blue. The merger would create a company with an increasingly attractive alternative to Wintel systems, with strong support for open-source technology."
Link to Original Source
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Majel Barrett Roddenberry Has Died

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

tverbeek writes "Majel Barrett Roddenberry, wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and the only person to appear — in one form or another — in every Trek TV series plus the movies, has died of complications from leukemia. She was 76. In addition to her ongoing involvement in Trek and its fandom, she produced her late husband's series Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda, and made an appearance as a key character in an episode of "rival" series Babylon 5."
Link to Original Source
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Anti-Science political campaign launched

tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "MiCAUSE (Michigan Citizens Against Unrestricted Science & Experimention) — a political organization opposed to embryonic stem cell research on "moral" grounds — has launched a sneaky media campaign that pretends that the issue is the state's economy and taxes. Referring (without detail) to measures in states where stem cell research has not only been legalized, but also received investment funds, the TV ads claim that approval of Proposal 2 on the Michigan ballot this November wouuld not help the state's recessionary economy by stimulating the creation of jobs (on one of the few industries with growth potential in the Midwest), but would instead hurt the taxpaper by (somehow) forcing them to subsidize it."
Link to Original Source
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tverbeek tverbeek writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tverbeek (457094) writes "Good news and bad news on the RFID privacy front. The good news is that U.S. citizens may not need to carry an RFID-embedded passport just to cross the border with Canada. The bad news is that the driver's license you carry with you nearly everywhere would be embedded with an RFID chip instead. That's the scenario that's going to be tested in the state of Washington as a pilot program starting in January 2008, according to an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer . Washington is anticipating loads of border-crossing traffic for the 2010 Olympics in adjacent Vancouver BC, shortly after the federal passport requirement goes into effect in June 2009. The "enhanced" licenses would require applicants to submit to an in-person interview and show proof of citizenship to get one."

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