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Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

uncqual Re:Battery (174 comments)

How much did Toyota get for your car vs. what Tesla gets for each Model S (counting the taxpayer's contribution)?

My Toyota is running fine after over ten years and I don't even bother with most "scheduled maintenance". Obviously oil and filter every so often (much less frequently than recommended), air filters, tires, batteries as needed. Only failure all those years has been I had to clean the MAF sensor to clear a 'check engine' light (did that myself). Some day I may change the spark plugs, belts, and hoses -- but so far no need.

Actually, every car I've purchased has been brand new well known Japanese brand badged and I've only once had anything eligible for a warranty repair. That was the original battery that went out just a couple months before its warranty expired -- and the dealer suggested that since I would have to pay the prorated replacement price I might just want to do down to the mom-and-pop battery place a couple miles away and save some money (which I did and did).

Of course, an anecdote isn't data and YMMV (there have been some lemons in the brands I've bought - I've just been lucky not to get one of these models).

about two weeks ago
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Scientists Who Smuggle Radioactive Materials

uncqual Re:I've got it!!! (66 comments)

Unfortunately, there are no more TLAs left so the function will have to be folded into existing agencies.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

uncqual Re:LibreOffice suffers badly from this problem (430 comments)

Indeed. But those who claim that LibreOffice (et al) is "as good as or better than" MS office are just plain wrong because the documentation gap alone makes that claim untrue. It does not seem that the documentation gap is something that has been being improved aggressively in LibreOffice in spite of the gap being something that will hinder its acceptance in the non technical community (i.e., the majority of office suite users).

Obviously, if you only use plain text, you don't need either MS Office or LibreOffice so good/bad/non-existent documentation of either wouldn't matter to you as you would never look at it.

I suppose, we could think of LibreOffice as the "office suite" for techies who don't need or want an office suite - but I'm not sure that's their target market (if so, effort has been wasted on things like MS Office compatibility and the like).

None of this is condemning LibreOffice. It's just pointing out one aspect of LibreOffice that is not competitive. It's likely this won't change soon given the limited funding. I know a lot of developers who like to code as a hobby and will do it for no compensation but I don't recall working with any technical writer (including the best I've worked with) that wrote technical documents just for the joy of it (they are, in some cases, spending their evenings and weekend writing the Great American Novel or something more literary though).

I do use spreadsheets for certain types of data organization and charting and I do sometimes send/exchange/edit documents that are sufficiently complex that they benefit from visual and linking structure (chapters, headings, indexes, TOC etc) so although I use plain text for most things, I do use office suites (currently an ancient version of MS Office and a current version of LibreOffice -- the latter for stuff that is unlikely ever to leave my home network [except for backup of course!]).

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

uncqual LibreOffice suffers badly from this problem (430 comments)

For a product intended for use by non-techies, LibreOffice's end user documentation is horrible. It's uneven in coverage, lacks useful examples, and is generally not sufficiently detailed. Comparing MS Office's documentation to LIbreOffice's documentation should make this obvious to all involved in LibreOffice even if they, themselves, are not "non-techie end users" and think "just read the code" is a good answer. This lacking reduces the uptake of LibreOffice unfortunately.

Interestingly, the fact that MS Office code is not open forces MS to document its use well (although they probably would have anyway as MS does understand that a product is not just what the compiler spits out) - even if just so third party "self help" books can be reliably accurate.

about three weeks ago
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Mozilla Dumps Info of 76,000 Developers To Public Web Server

uncqual Re:Slashdot comments (80 comments)

Are ignorance, negligence, or arrogance better reasons not to behavior professionally and follow accepted best practices?

Sure, maybe I could have reviewed the code personally since, I assume, it's open source (as are, I assume all the administration scripts they use? Yeh, right). But, I probably use, directly or indirectly, nearly a billion lines of code every year - I really don't have time to review each change any more than I have the resources or interest to test each gallon of gasoline I put in my car for full compliance with all industry and governmental standards.

about three weeks ago
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Mozilla Dumps Info of 76,000 Developers To Public Web Server

uncqual What would one expect of an organization... (80 comments)

...that would think it was okay to screw over users with a new UI and not continue to provide security and stability updates for a few years to those who didn't want a new broken UI (something few successful commercial enterprise companies have managed to do). Or, thought it was okay to, a few days ago, push an update which either broke the UI further or broke a popular add-on that many of us were using to work around their earlier mistake.

If you can't get UIs right or understand that UI stability is important, there's no hope that you can get security or hard problems right.

Finally, after using Firefox since shortly after it was first released, I'm evaluating Chrome, Safari, and (ugh, but MS does understand users) IE. As much as it pains me, IE is looking better and better because I don't really want to spend time worrying about drive-by updates that break my world any more than I look forward to spending my time worrying about drive-by updates to my porch light or microwave oven intended to give me "better" (NOT) functionality. Sad, but my job isn't to work around broken UIs in utilities and spend hours figuring out how to restore behavior similar to prior behavior in order to get security updates to previous sloppy code at unexpected moments. This reminds me of the mid/late 90's when you couldn't trust Microsoft updates not to break your system.

It's unwise to trust amateurs with any of your information. Therefore, none of this is newsworthy. Just abandon Mozilla and don't waste your time contributing (obviously, though, spend a few minutes closing your accounts @ Mozilla). I'm sad to have been driven to this conclusion as I like Open Source and Free (not as in Beer) Software, but also it's not worth my time to try each harebrained alpha product and search for workarounds in hopes of getting security updates. Sometimes it just makes more sense to go with professionals.

about three weeks ago
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How Many Members of Congress Does It Take To Pass a $400MM CS Bill?

uncqual Re:Easy enough (180 comments)

I've thought this as well -- although I think $50K per head corporate H-1B tax is too high for many cases. It just needs to be high enough to make absolutely sure that it swamps the "fudging" on pay rates that companies do for H-1Bs. I think something like 20-25% of salary is enough.

There's plenty of times I would have happily paid that tax because there just weren't any great candidates available except H-1Bs. I hate hiring H-1Bs because of the paperwork, but have done it when I need to and have never paid them less because they were H-1Bs (and, it cost more in reality because of the legal costs, my time, and HR's time).

about three weeks ago
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How Many Members of Congress Does It Take To Pass a $400MM CS Bill?

uncqual Re:Great... (180 comments)

How appropriately ironic that this document is an Excel spreadsheet.

about three weeks ago
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How Many Members of Congress Does It Take To Pass a $400MM CS Bill?

uncqual Re:Sorry, but... why? (180 comments)

I think there is some truth to this, but there is a problem in our highly mobile society if one city teaches things in one order and another city two states away teaches things in a different order. When a student's parent's move between these two cities, their kids are screwed (for example, they may never have learned what their peers at their new school learned last year and may be bored stiff "relearning" what their peers are studying this year but they learned last year).

As well, it seems very useful for employers to be able to count on a "high school degree" from any public high school to mean that the candidate has gained some minimum level of education. Of course, we are not even close to this now but it seems like a good idea. True, employers could work with ETS or someone to develop a national testing program that employers could rely on without having to run their own tests on each candidate, but that's a lot of overhead for everyone (although, it might be a good idea given how little a high school degree means today).

The later actually might be a good business opportunity for ETS -- employers would pay $2 for each certified query of test scores (which would be fairly detailed and include the dates and number of attempts etc) and people could take the test for a small fee (the real money for ETS would be in the continuing stream of paid queries by employers). A nice uniform standard for all that employers could count on for some subset of skills assessment.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Should I Fight Against Online Voting In Our Municipality?

uncqual Re:How about no (190 comments)

You want it to be "secure"? Have it be as an Opt-In program then, where they send you a CD, containing a Live version of a modified Linux distro, putting it in your PC will make it boot to it and thus your viruses no longer matter, from there you can just connect to the voting site and enter your information.

Don't forget the part where you have them figure out which BIOS they have and which key to hit and what to type/click to put the CD drive first in the boot sequence - perhaps because someone removed it to "keep grandpa's machine safe". No, that won't generate any support calls or anything like that.

It might not be so bad if the NSA would share the detailed information about voters' computer with the municipal government so each person gets "personalized" instructions ("If you run this on 'MomsOfficePC', press and type 3 at the first prompt; If you run this on 'DadsPornPC', press and type 2 at the first prompt; If you..."). However, I doubt the NSA will share the necessary data (although I don't doubt they might have it).

about a month ago
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NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload

uncqual Re:Why do we do these things? (109 comments)

The tangible benefit of this boondoggle is that today, we have the Internet, the direct descendant of ARPANET.

And, without that, we couldn't have /. -- and that's a benefit?

about a month ago
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NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload

uncqual Re:Why do we do these things? (109 comments)

The "eventually we will run out of room" argument doesn't make a lot of sense to me.The cost of, relatively safely, putting one human on even another planet in our solar system, let alone an unknown planet in another solar system in our galaxy, is enormous. Yes, the cost will come down, but seems unlikely to ever be less than several times the average person's lifetime net contribution to mankind unless that net contribution increases incredibly (which, in turn, seems unlikely to happen if we are suffering from overpopulation - as resources become scarcer, more effort is consumed extracting those resources -- but these high extraction costs don't translate into a better life for the average person -- it's just increased overhead).

Birth control and education is a much cheaper and sustainable solution to the "eventually we will run out of room" problem. Barring that, mass famine, war, genocide and natural selection will take care of the the problem quite efficiently.

If the concern is to address the "the Earth may become inhabitable to humans and we want to preserve the species" problem, space exploration could be a component of a strategy to address the concern. Except for a cataclysmic event such as multiple strikes from many very large asteroids, that concern is unlikely to need an answer for many millions of years. But, in any event, the answer to that concern almost certainly will not be to ship billions of humans off the planet (due to the expense and resource consumption of that activity). Instead, sets of breeders (either select humans or, more likely, a few caregivers along with artificial wombs and a diverse set of human genetic material to create a decent sized first generation of humans) will likely be sent to various promising celestial bodies in hopes that a few communities can be established and survive propagating whatever the "human" species is at that point (of course these communities, as well as those that remain on Earth, will independently evolve and probably would not recognize each other as "humans" in a few hundred thousand years -- so it's not clear what the point is).

Both of these concerns are, of course, predicated on an assumption that the human species is somehow special enough to the universe to bother to preserve except in an archeological record. I'm doubtful this is the case myself. However, I support NASA because it's got good spinoffs and, at least in the past, motivated kids to go into the science and engineering fields which is generally helpful to society. Space exploration may also help inform the answer to the question of if the human species is worth going to great effort to sustain past its natural (probably short compared to many species that surround us) extinction on Earth.

about a month ago
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Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

uncqual Re:No, no unfair advantage at all... (175 comments)

The same rules must apply to all for a competition to be fair.

Since I'm under 6 feet tall, should I be able to join an NBA team and every time I attempt a slam dunk, should the hoop be lowered for me? Or, should I be able to use a drone to drop the ball into the basket? Of course not.

In a coding competition, should people with IQs under 100 be given the problem three hours before those with IQs over 100?

Athletic contests are, by nature, partially a test of the athlete's native "good luck" at the lottery of genetics, disease, environment etc. To introduce artificial equipment which is arbitrary and only usable by a small number of athletes destroys the entire notion of a fair competition.

Suppose the top ten long jumpers world wide ended up being double amputees with high tech prosthesis, wouldn't that suggest that the event had become "double amputee, technology assisted, long jumping" rather than what we think of as "long jumping" now? What response would we have to that? In order to preserve what little interest there already is in track and field, I'd guess governing bodies would then either ban prosthesis or would reduce their effectiveness with arbitrary rules to "fix" the problem -- but then what is the "right" number of top hundred world wide long jumpers that utilize a prosthesis -- would we just set a quota? Perhaps if x% of the population are single amputees and y% are double amputees -- that's the exact percentage of such people who would be allowed in the "top hundred" recorded long jumps?

Why not allow athletes to use steroids? How about just ones with a muscle mass below some point? Why, why not? The argument that "steroids are harmful' seems weak if you're going to allow prostheses in long jumping -- cutting off your leg(s) to allow you to use a prosthesis in competition seems pretty harmful also. Are we going to judge how someone lost their leg(s) to avoid people from having their leg(s) amputated in order to wear high tech prosthesis? If it was in an accident with a piece of industrial equipment, do we have to judge if it was intentional (and hence the person didn't qualify to wear a prosthesis in competition) or accidental (allowing a prosthesis). What if someone is trapped by a rock pinning their leg in a remote location by themselves -- if they cut it off to escape, is that a "qualifying" amputation?

about 1 month ago
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Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

uncqual Re:Nudity (175 comments)

Sure - if there as a national standards body that accepted ladders in the "Ladder Assisted High Jump" event. In such an event, it's likely the ladders would have standards relating to factors such as height, weight, elasticity and all competitors in that event would be able to use ladders meeting those criteria.

about 1 month ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

uncqual The difference isn't the card. (502 comments)

People who know and value quality audio are willing to buy discrete audio cards even though it costs them more money.

However, they don't realize that the improvement they see is because they are also willing to pay more money for quality cables. It's the solid gold Monster Cables that they buy because the salesperson at Fry's recommends them that is really the source of the improved audio quality.

about a month and a half ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

uncqual Re:A win for freedom (1330 comments)

Yep, Congress (with the consent of the President or with a veto proof majority) can change the law so the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision is moot. Until then, it stands.

It's not clear to me why employers should be, effectively, forced to provide health insurance coverage. Fortunately, if I recall correctly, they have no requirement to subsidize coverage.

about 2 months ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

uncqual Re:No right to breech, pollute, destroy, ... (1330 comments)

The RFRA is a restriction on incursions on religious beliefs. It's name being Religious Freedom Restoration Act might have been a hint. Hence it can really only be used for "faith based" challenges - that's its entire point.

If the PPACA and related regulations require coverage for blood transfusions, a business owner who is a Christian Scientist and touts her faith on marketing materials may challenge that clause of the PPACA regulations. The courts would decide, in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, if the requirement violated the RFRA (perhaps because the government could have found another way to cover transfusions - such as by paying for them from the general fund).

As far as vaccines, I'm not sure (beyond those who dismiss medical treatment for religious grounds) that any religion has a specific aversion to vaccines. But, if someone has sincere religious beliefs that prohibit use of vaccines, the above would apply to that case as well.

about 2 months ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

uncqual Re:A win for freedom (1330 comments)

If the government denied you the right to seek an abortion or forced you to have an abortion against your religious beliefs, yes, it would likely be be unconstitutional in most cases. That's not the case here.

BTW, I'm an atheist and have no moral problem with abortion. However, as an civil libertarian, I want the government to keep their nose out of religious issues whenever it's feasible. If I want my employer provided insurance to cover abortion, I should ask about that before joining the company and go to work elsewhere if I don't like the answer.

about 2 months ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

uncqual Re:But now... (1330 comments)

It's interesting that she simply notes that "no decision of this Court recognized [...]". The fact that she didn't cite SCOTUS cases that accepted her apperant point of view suggests that the SCOTUS simply never ruled on the matter so I don't understand why this fact was worth mentioning. If a justification for not reaching some finding is that "the SCOTUS never recognized" something before, the court would grant cert in almost no cases except a circuit split (where they sort of are obligated to resolve a split). Cases that are not of first impression (i.e., not previously ruled on by the SCOTUS) are unlikely to be granted cert.

I find her comment rather circular.

about 2 months ago

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