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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

westlake Re:Bricking or Tracking? (237 comments)

The Government did not invent roads. Roads existed long before the Government made them, in fact most towns and cities had roads without a Government mandating and taxing people for using and building them.

Surveying a road, grading and maintaining it always comes with a pretty stiff price tag.

Local roads and bridges were traditionally paid for by taxes, tolls and contributions of labor and materials.

Long distance travel by car was damn near impossible before the US federal government became directly and deeply involved. [untitled photograph] [

8 hours ago

Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

westlake Too subjective to be useful. (261 comments)

Lots and lots of people cycle to where they need to go in the winter, and -28 is a pretty common winter temperature

I would like to see a real breakdown by age, sex, martial status, income, injuries and deaths in traffic, and reports of medical emergencies like hypothermia, heart attacks and so on,


Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

westlake Re:Infrastructure? (545 comments)

You pick any laptop with Windows pre-installed and buy another and let me install and configure Linux and put it in a box. You will then see how a Windows system when compared to a Linux system is inferior "out of the box."

How much say will I get in how you will configure the system?

You are a geek but I am not and we have a very different set of interests, values and expectations.


Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

westlake Big Whoop. (545 comments)

My desktop computer at home is running Linux for more than a decade now.

"Winning the desktop" has never been about winning over the geek.

It's always about winning over the full time office worker, the temp and the senior volunteer. The billion or so clerical workers in this world who keep things running behind the scenes.


Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

westlake By the numbers. (261 comments)

Finland has about 3 million passenger cars in use by a population of 5.46 million.

Finland, Vehicle stock grew in 2012

Helsinki has some 390 cars per 1000 inhabitants. This is less than in cities of similar density, such as Brussels' 483 per 1000, Stockholm's 401, and Oslo's 413.

Today, Helsinki is the only city in Finland to have trams and metro trains. There used to be two other cities in Finland with trams: Turku and Viipuri (Vyborg, now in Russia), but both have since abandoned trams. The Helsinki Metro, opened in 1982, is the only rapid transit system in Finland.



Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

westlake Re:Why speed only a little? (464 comments)

It is within Google's capability to dynamically map every speed trap and even moving police cars.

If a police car can be tracked so can you.

If a speed trap is fullt automated, how does Google detect it before you have been ticketed?

2 days ago

Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

westlake Re:A limit is a limit (464 comments)

When it comes to breaking the speed limit or being run over by a semi, I'll break the speed limit every time.

To what advantage if the semi is also being driven far above the speed limit?

Realistically, what are your chances of actually keeping pace with the thing or out-running it without losing control of your own vehicle?

2 days ago

News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

westlake ROTFL (698 comments)

Slashdot is a haven for rational thought

Stop it, please. You're killing me.

2 days ago

News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

westlake Look around you and what do you see? (698 comments)

I don't get why people want to lock themselve in an echo chamber. That seems silly to me.

--- and a bizarre question to be asking here.

You can see the posters here circling the wagons when topics like gender equality come up on Slashdot.

2 days ago

Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

westlake Re:All that money... (567 comments)

Yep. And then all that money that would be used to pay salaries that would be used on expenses locally, making the local economy work, will be redirected to Bill Gate's pockets.

The Munich economy is working just fine.

Munich is considered a global city and holds the headquarters of Siemens AG (electronics), BMW (car), MAN AG (truck manufacturer, engineering), Linde (gases), Allianz (insurance), Munich Re (re-insurance), and Rohde & Schwarz (electronics). Among German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants purchasing power is highest in Munich (26,648 euro per inhabitant) as of 2007. In 2006, Munich blue-collar workers enjoyed an average hourly wage of 18.62 euro (ca. $23).

The breakdown by cities proper (not metropolitan areas) of Global 500 cities listed Munich in 8th position in 2009. Munich is a centre for biotechnology, software and other service industries. Munich is the home of the headquarters of many other large companies such as the aircraft engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines, the injection molding machine manufacturer Krauss-Maffei, the camera and lighting manufacturer Arri, the semiconductor firm Infineon Technologies (headquartered in the suburban town of Neubiberg), lighting giant Osram, as well as the German or European headquarters of many foreign companies such as McDonald's and Microsoft.


as to that new corporate headquarters in Munich that makes the geek so suspicious:

Microsoft Deutschland decided to relocate its [30 year old] headquarters [from a suburb about 17km north of the city] and establish new, modern headquarters in Parkstadt Schwabing. Commencement of the construction works is planned for 2014. As of summer 2016, approximately 1,800 employees will find a new working environment in the new headquarters in Munich-Schwabing." a>Microsoft Deutschland GmbH relocates its headquarters[Nov 2013]

2 days ago

Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

westlake Re:LibreOffice/OpenOffice still kind of suck (567 comments)

The basic office-type products for Linux still kind of suck.

The geek still thinks in terms of the stand-alone office suite ca. 1995,

Its 2014 and LibreOffice doesn't include a plausible alternative to Outlook, OneNote and so on.

Microsoft sees MS Office as one component of an integrated Office system --- client, server, web and cloud --- that makes collaboration easy and scales well to an enterprise of any size.

2 days ago

Knocking Down the Great Firewall of China

westlake Am I missing something here? (163 comments)

If you download Lantern in an uncensored region, you can connect with someone in a censored region, who can then access whatever content they want through you. What makes the system so unique is that it operates on the basis of trust. ...the amount of information any single Lantern user can learn about other users is limited to a small subset, making infiltration significantly more difficult.

Outside of the geek's virtual worlds and ways of thinking ---

The more you know about someone, the more you are willing to trust them. Particularly when the stakes are high.

4 days ago

Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

westlake Re: Uber is quite retarded (338 comments)

Hahaha, you make it sound as if "being licensed" has some implication of advanced skill.

and maybe you don't know as much as you think you do:

The following are required by 1st time applicants for a Personenbeforderungsschein

Formal Application Antrag (obtained at the driver licensing office, usually the Road Traffic Office of the Community or Parish)

Personalausweis or passport (in combination with a valid personal registration)

Fuhrerschein (only the standard EU-Driving Licence is acceptable)

Medical Report from a Doctor specialised in ''Arbeitsmedizin'' or a Dr. with a qualification in ''Betriebsmedizin'' or a Report from a Reporting Institute for physical and mental driving competence. Info regarding which Drs. can do this is given by the Road Traffic Office. (The diagnostics relate to Stress, Reaction and Perception testing.)

Opticians Report or Certificate

Medical confirmation of Physical and Mental ability.

Fuhrungszeugnis (Criminal Record Report) with NO entries (for Official use only)

Extract from the Central Traffic Register Kraftfahrt-Bundesamtes in Flensburg

Ortskenntnisnachweis Proof of Knowledge (for the relevant district for Hire cars in Communities with population over 50.000).

Questions are to be answered regarding Places of Interest, Public Buildings, City districts. Generally routes will also be tested by giving starting and finishing points and allowing the candidate to describe the shortest route. Usually the Taxi company intending to employ the candidate will assist with the preparation for this test.

Knowledge test for taxi drivers in Germany. Is there one? Advice on working as a cabbie.
[Germany's English-speaking crowd. May 2010]

about a week ago

Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

westlake Language and Culture (144 comments)

They also still use faxes for similar reasons impenetrable and unfathomable.

To someone unfamiliar with the language and culture.

Handwritten messages have long been a necessity in Japan, where the written language is so complex, with two sets of symbols and 2,000 characters borrowed from Chinese, that keyboards remained impractical until the advent of word processors in the 1980s.

A decade ago Yuichiro Sugahara learned the hard way about his country's deep attachment to the fax machine, which the nation popularized in the 1980s. He tried to modernize his family-run company, which delivers traditional bento lunchboxes, by taking orders online. Sales quickly plummeted.

Today, his company, Tamagoya, is thriving with the hiss and beep of thousands of orders pouring in every morning, most by fax, many with minutely detailed handwritten requests like ''go light on the batter in the fried chicken'' or ''add an extra hard-boiled egg.''

''There is still something in Japanese culture that demands the warm, personal feelings that you get with a handwritten fax,'' said Mr. Sugahara, 43.

Faxes continue to appeal to older Japanese, who often feel uncomfortable with keyboards. Demographics have left Japan dominated by older generations who are still more likely to have a fax number than an e-mail address.

In Japan, with the exception of the savviest Internet start-ups or internationally minded manufacturers, the fax remains an essential tool for doing business. Many companies say they still rely on faxes to create a paper trail of orders and shipments not left by ephemeral e-mail. Banks rely on faxes because customers are worried about the safety of their personal information on the Internet.

Even Japan's largest yakuza crime syndicate, the Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi, has used faxes to send notifications of expulsion to members, police say.

In High-Tech Japan, the Fax Machines Roll On

about a week ago

Fugitive Child Sex Abuser Caught By Face-Recognition Technology

westlake Re:Where? (232 comments)

If you can't hide in Nepal, where can you hide?

There are maybe 3,000 expats living in Nepal. Living in Nepal - What it's like after 1.5 years

The odd man out is one of the oldest stereotypes of police work. Living on the run? Forget the flight to Kathmandu. Take the bus to New York City.

about a week ago

Fugitive Child Sex Abuser Caught By Face-Recognition Technology

westlake Re:We Are All Under Suspicion Now (232 comments)

Scanning travel documents for hits in criminal (or other databases) is yet another case of data being re-purposed for uses other than the original intent.

Your passport is proof of your identity, citizenship and right to travel outside your own borders. It has always been subject to verification through whatever means are available.

In its beginnings, a passport was a formal letter of introduction to your hosts and in the strongest possible language spoke of the legitimacy of your mission, your good faith and common sense. To be signed by someone highly placed and credible.

about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: Corporate Open Source Policy?

westlake Re:Move into the Future (57 comments)

IP has always been an imaginary government monopoly meant to enhance the business interests of a certain caste; originally that was the author/inventor, but that ship has long sailed - now it's corporate profits almost exclusively (and you may find exceptions that prove the rule.

There is nothing imaginary about the power backing up your ownership of a patent, a copyright, a quarter acre lot or a '57 Chevrolet Bel Air.

I have never understood how a geek manages to survive in a digital universe without coming to grips with the fundamental differences between the intangible and the imaginary.

about a week ago

The IPv4 Internet Hiccups

westlake Re:Yes, Please (247 comments)

If we had continued to keep the automobile speed limit at 10 mph year-after-year because a few lazy old farts refused to give up their goddamned horses and buggies, we'd still be driving around today at 10 mph.

Bad car analogy time.

The problem wasn't the horse and buggy.

The problem was the expense of paving roads, replacing bridges and so on.

The problem was that the funding, construction and maintenance of roads and bridges was considered a local responsibility ---- down to the township level or below.

The "last mile" problem in its primal form.

It was never so politically simple as drawing a line between A and B and saying that this what we need to do.

about a week ago

Patents That Kill

westlake Re:And this is the same for copyrights. (239 comments)

I agree there should be a limit on copyrights, but it shouldn't be much more than 10 years. At this time, people can use your characters and such, but guess what, after 10 years of the public enjoying something, it is a part of their life too.

The geek imagination rarely extends beyond fan fiction.

The geek tends to forget that patents and copyrights are meant to be an incentive to create something of your own, something new and something better. It's telling, I think, that the only two video game themed movies that are arguably worth a damn, Tron and Wreak-It-Ralph, both came from Disney.

about a week ago

Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

westlake $1,000,000 In Cash (261 comments)

perhaps if these people saved up and bought their own homes rather than renting, they wouldnt be in this mess.

The median price for a new or existing single family home or condo in San Francisco is one million dollars.

The median is the price for which half of homes sold for more and half for less.

The nosebleed price is a result of limited inventory and an influx of cash buyers willing to pay whatever it takes.

Many are tech workers with stock compensation from an initial public offering or takeover. Realtors call them "Google" kids even if they are 40 years old and work on biotech.

A secondary group of cash buyers are [mostly Asian investors] who see San Francisco as a relative bargain.

$1 million city: S.F. home price hits seven figures for the first time [July 17, 2014]

The median household income in the U.S. is $53,000. State & County QuickFacts [2008-2012]

about two weeks ago



Kidnapped by an Uber Driver in DC

westlake westlake writes  |  about a month ago

westlake (615356) writes "The Tweet says it all:

Was just kidnapped by an @uber driver in DC, held against my will, and involved in a high speed chase across state lines with police


— Ryan W Simonetti

According to Simonetti, his Uber driver panicked and made a run for it when being tailed by a taxi inspector .

''It was like an episode of ‘Cops,'' Simonetti said. ''We’ve all seen the ‘Cops’ episode. This only ends two ways. Either the car crashes or the guy jumps out and runs. And he had plenty of opportunities to slow down and jump out and run, and he wasn’t doing that.''

“It was insane,” Simonetti said. ''I physically tried to force his leg to hit the brake. I ripped off his pant leg. I said, ‘Here's two options. You take this exit, or I’m going to knock the side of your head in. If we crash, we crash, but you’re gonna kill us anyway.''

The driver in question has been ''deactivated'' by Uber.

Man visiting D.C. says Uber driver took him on wild ride"


Ethanol runs out of gas.

westlake westlake writes  |  about 9 months ago

westlake (615356) writes "By pulling back on an effort to guarantee ethanol an ever-growing share of the nation’s gasoline supply, the Obama administration could be putting the bio-fuels industry into the deep freeze.
Corn-based biofuel has for years been untouchable politically — until now. Reasons for the change are many: The boom in domestic oil drilling. Demand for gasoline has slumped. And criticism of the environmental impacts of corn ethanol has taken hold nationally."

Link to Original Source

Google Patents Pay-Per-Gaze Add Technology

westlake westlake writes  |  1 year,11 hours

westlake (615356) writes "The "focus" to no one's surprise is on Google Glass. For a look at the patent click here: Gaze tracking system

In particular, it outlines a method for billing advertisers based on the number of times users look at an advert – either online or offline, via a billboard, magazine or newspaper. While gaze tracking may sound a little creepy, it is merely an extension of the pay-per-click model commonly used to charge for online advertising, which measures how many users have engaged with a particular advert.

How Pay-Per-Gaze Advertising Could Work With Google Glass

Creepy, I can live with. Maybe. But a revenue stream based on how long you can keep your eyes focused on adds viewed through Google Glass is simply and plainly irresponsible."


The Big Story In PC Gaming That Slashdot Ignores.

westlake westlake writes  |  1 year,2 days

westlake (615356) writes "The Humble Origin Bundle has raised $6.8 million for charity. It has nine days and nineteen hours to break $10 million in sales.
The story has received broad coverage elsewhere. It's an impressive showing, but not a word, not a whisper of it has reached the front pages of Slashdot.
It is EA and it is Origin and Steam. It is Windows. It is AAA mass market titles like Dead Space, Battlefield 3 and The Sims. Eight games. 200 GB of prime download content. Yours for a $5 gift to the American Red Cross and others.
The Humble Bundle has been — and continues to be — a showcase for Indie gaming and the Linus port. But promotions on this scale could permanently alter the landscape."

The Humble Origin Bundle: Geek vs Gamer.

westlake westlake writes  |  1 year,6 days

westlake (615356) writes "In its first day and with four hours and thirteen days to go The Humble Origin Bundle has seen 760,000 sales and raised $3.6 million for charities like the American Red Cross, with all proceeds going to your charities of choice.

The games are mainstream AAA list titles:

Dead Island 1&3, Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, Crysis 2, Mirror's Edge, Medal of Honor, Battlefield 3 and The Sims 3 Starter Pack. Distribution is through Origin and Steam. Steam keys are available for most, but not all games. The Sims 3 is available for the Mac. It's quite possible that one or two games could be added later.

It's been a tortuous day for the geek — gamer. It's EA and it is Origin. The promotion has totally eclipsed this week's hard-core, multi-platform, DRM free, indie Introversion Humble Bundle (Defcon, Uplink, Darwinia) which sold a respectable 55,000 units, with a return of $320 thousand."

Suspect in Boston Marathon Dead In Shppt-Out With Police

westlake westlake writes  |  about a year ago

westlake (615356) writes "The breaking story from Reuters:


About five hours after the FBI released the pictures of the bombing suspects, a police officer was shot and killed on the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Middlesex County District Attorney said in a statement.

A short time later, police received reports of a carjacking by two men who kept their victim inside the car for about half an hour.

Police pursued that car to Watertown, where explosives were thrown from the car at police and gunfire was exchanged.

''During the exchange of the gunfire, we believe that one of the suspects was struck and ultimately taken into custody. A second suspect was able to flee from that car and there is an active search going on at this point in time,'' Colonel Timothy Alben, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, told a news conference." a>One suspect in Boston bombing dead, manhunt underway for second suspect


Contract Dispute Grounds Steve Jobs' iYacht "Venus"

westlake westlake writes  |  about a year and a half ago

westlake (615356) writes "The BBC notes that the designer of Steve Jobs' 105 million euro mega-yacht "Venus" has had the boat impounded in Amsterdam over the non-payment of 3 million euros of his 9 million euro fee.
It's the familiar story of story of a handshake deal that was never fully spelled out in a written contract and may reflect as well a willful blindness on all sides to Jobs visibly failing health."

Link to Original Source

In The World of Big Stuff, the U.S. Still Rules

westlake westlake writes  |  about a year and a half ago

westlake (615356) writes "From Peoria and the WSJ a look at the giant trucks manufactured by Komatsu and Caterpillar.

" In certain areas — notably aircraft, industrial engines, excavators and railway and mining equipment — the U.S. exports far more than it imports. These industries produce relatively small numbers of very expensive goods, requiring specialized technology and labor. Their competitive advantage rests partly on expertise built by U.S. companies in making durable, high-tech weaponry and other equipment for the military — frequently applicable to other products."

It may surprise the geek to learn that Komatsu doesn't employee a single industrial robot. The quality of workmanship simply isn't there where it is needed,In World of Big Stuff, the U.S. Still Rules "

Link to Original Source

The all-TIME List of 100 Best In PC and Console Gaming

westlake westlake writes  |  about 2 years ago

westlake (615356) writes "It's the season for lists and Time's Matt Peckham looks back on forty years PC and console gaming. There are some odd choices and missing pieces, of course. You can't hope to please everyone. Grim Fandango, for example, must stand for all the Lucas Arts games. The geek will find the inclusion of Net Hack cheering and a nod to the Indie gaming community.

For those who are finding the net a little slow this long holiday weekend, here is a dirrect link to the full list and Index page: All-TIME 100 greatest video games. [Index]"

Link to Original Source

Images from the banned Apple/Foxconn game

westlake westlake writes  |  about 2 years ago

westlake (615356) writes "Benjamin Poynter "In a Permanent Save State" imagines the afterlife of seven Foxconn workers who committed suicide, based on Buddhist traditions. It was pulled from the Apple App Store after narely an hour this weekend, but beautiful and haunting images and video from the game survive and have been posted to the web. In A Permanent Save State Fills You With Wonder And Sadness, Images from the banned Apple/Foxconn game"
Link to Original Source

Apple Retreats On EPEAT Environmental Standards

westlake westlake writes  |  more than 2 years ago

westlake writes "Apple's Senior VP for Hardware Engineering, Bob Mansfield, has posted a brief announcement of Apple's return to the EPEAT "green hardware" program:

We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.

It’s important to know that our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever. Apple makes the most environmentally responsible products in our industry. In fact, our engineering teams have worked incredibly hard over the years to make our products even more environmentally friendly, and much of our progress has come in areas not yet measured by EPEAT.

For more information on this breaking story: Apple moves products back on EPEAT environmental standard"
Link to Original Source


Apple Exits "Green Hardware" Program

westlake westlake writes  |  more than 2 years ago

westlake writes "From CNETreports that Apple is turning its back on the EPA supported EPEAT hardware certification program.

One of the problems EPEAT sees are barriers to recycling. Batteries and screens glued into place. That sort of thing.

There is a price for Apple in this.

CIO Journal notes that the U.S. government requires that 95 percent of its electronics bear the EPEAT seal of approval; large companies such as Ford and Kaiser Permanente require their CIOs to buy from EPEAT-certified firms; and many of the largest universities in the U.S. prefer to buy EPEAT-friendly gear."

Link to Original Source

Encyclopedia Britannica Goes "Out of Print" After 244 Years of Production

westlake westlake writes  |  more than 2 years ago

westlake writes "The Guardian is reporting that the 2010 edition of the Brittanica will be the last in print, The DVD edition and on-line subscription service will continue. The Brittanica's great strengh historically was in its signed contributions from men like Freud and Einstein. It was the quality of the writing as much as the content that made browsing these massive and often unweildy sets such a pleasure."
Link to Original Source

USS Enterprise Takes Its Final Voyage

westlake westlake writes  |  more than 2 years ago

westlake writes "The AP is reporting that world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise is being retired after fifty years of active service — the longest of any warship in US naval history. The big ship had become notoriously difficult to keep in repair. The only ship in its age and class, breakdowns became frequent and replacement parts often had to be custom made. Despite its place in naval history and popular culture, Enterprise will meet its end at the scrap yard and not be preserved as a museum. Famed USS Enterprise Takes Its Final Voyage"
Link to Original Source

The elephant in the room

westlake westlake writes  |  more than 3 years ago

westlake (615356) writes "Microsoft posts a record first quarter and Slashdot studiously ignores it. No matter that news like this rates some comment on OS News, Ars Technica, and so on. Microsoft thanks Windows 7, Office 2010, Xbox for record first quarter But the bigger story here, I think, is the "death of Linux" as a consumer brand name — to borrow a theme from an earlier post — and perhaps something even more disturbing. Wherever the future of Android and Chrome may lie, they belong to Google and AdSense. The sale of the user, rather than the sale or service of a product. In no country or region of the world and in no market segment do the stats for the traditional "community oriented" Linux distribution look at all healthy. StatCounter Global Stats"

The Dark Tower Coming To Theaters Near You

westlake westlake writes  |  more than 3 years ago

westlake (615356) writes "Nothing quite like this has ever been tried before. But Reuter's, The L.A. Times and many others are reporting that Ron Howard will produce Stephen King's The Dark Tower, for Universal as a theatrical trilogy with the in-between stories told through two seasons of an NBC television series. No news as yet on casting — suggestions anyone?"
Link to Original Source

Tweet 911

westlake westlake writes  |  about 4 years ago

westlake (615356) writes "A survey by the American Red Cross reveals that 3 out of 4 social media users expect help to arrive within one hour of their tweet or post to Facebook. More than 1 in 4 expect help to arrive in less than fifteen minutes.
Which is alarmingly naive.
In flat contraction to this, about half are unconvinced that the first responders are listening in at all.74% of Social Media Users Expect Cries for Help to Be Answered Within an Hour"

Link to Original Source

The Hotness of Windows 7

westlake westlake writes  |  more than 4 years ago

westlake (615356) writes "The success of Windows 7 can be seen in the second-quarter numbers. Profits up 60% from December 08. Operating profitability in the Windows and Windows Live Division 78% in the quarter. Operating profitability for the whole company: 44%. It's been a big story in the trade and financial press, but studiously ignored on Slashdot. The Hotness of Windows 7"
Link to Original Source


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