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The Epidemic of Digital Distraction

zoney_ie Re:Interesting... (159 comments)

It's one of the more unreadable pieces of text I've come across recently... and given most of the competition for that prize is also online, that's saying something.

Not sure the author's theory/point really worked! If the article does read well to some people, that's rather worrying.

about 3 years ago
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New IMF Head Says US Must Raise Debt Limit, or Face 'Nasty Consequences'

zoney_ie Re:This threat isn't from banks this time (932 comments)

If they want a balanced budget and less debt, how does opposing taxation fit in with that?

more than 3 years ago
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IT Crises vs. Vacation: Sometimes It Isn't Pretty

zoney_ie Re:It's worse the other way (352 comments)

If you are essential, you'll have a week or two of clearly observed mania and making arrangements with coworkers for the two weeks off, followed on your return by a similar week or two catching up and following up with co-workers all over.

And even if you can avoid doing anything during vacation, if you are essential, people will have found your absence a hindrance.

more than 3 years ago
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Facebook Facial Recognition Raises New Privacy Concerns

zoney_ie Re:Very Small Inconvenience (159 comments)

I'm sure someone in the EU could take a case against them. When they notify you that a friend wants you to join, I am sure the later reminders they send are long after they should have deleted your email address. Additionally they seem to link a circle of potential "friends" with your email address ("you may also know") - some of whom are unrelated to the friend who gave Facebook your email. Finally they have your real name too (again courtesy of your friend).

As far as I know, this kind of thing is illegal under European data protection rules. It simply requires someone to gather hard evidence (email trail) and find out who is the relevant person in Brussels to send it to.

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A note on the OP, as regards the unreleased Google tool, how do we know they aren't using this internally to tag photos of people in streetview internally in order to cross-reference this geographic information with other profile information on individuals, used for advertising?

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It's all gone beyond sci-fi stuff at this stage - truly the realm of nightmares. The Sony fiasco was only the beginning.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Adventure Game To Start With?

zoney_ie Re:If you want a Diablo-like game (480 comments)

Found it a lot more repetitive and boring than Titan Quest (a Diablo clone with Greek mythology).

Plus, as regards Titan Quest, it's pretty awesome to be fighting your way through ancient Greece, Egypt, Babylon, not to mention Hades, with every manner of mythological beasty in the repetoire attacking you.

more than 3 years ago
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DC Reboots Universe

zoney_ie Re:Reboot? (292 comments)

I found it an enjoyable action movie, but I did watch it thinking, "this isn't Star Trek". Now the original series has a brashness that later Star Trek didn't have, but nevertheless, this was only to the forefront for particular scenes in most episodes, not the whole show.

Also while fun and amusing, there was something almost "Galaxy Quest"-like about the parodies, sorry, portrayals of the "rebooted" characters.

It was a very genuine 21st century movie, for good or bad. Look back a decade or two later and it could be very dated, a lot of "contemporary" visual styles and acting and so on. Mind you, maybe we're going to be subjected to this kind of thing for some time to come? It's entertainment, but there's a certain superficiality and brainlessness to it, and almost a sort of "adults as teenagers" thing going on.

But I guess when even the BBC are reporting on a major e-coli health threat in Europe as a "cucumber crisis", there's not much hope for the future.

more than 3 years ago
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Windows 1.0: the Power of DOS, Plus Tiled Windows

zoney_ie Re:Errors (249 comments)

Yes, they changed the calculator in Windows 7. That's really all I was saying in response to the commentator who said calc was unchanged.

It kind of degenerated into a bit of a rant.

more than 3 years ago
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Windows 1.0: the Power of DOS, Plus Tiled Windows

zoney_ie Re:Errors (249 comments)

Last time I checked, calculator in Windows 7 has a "programmer" mode as well as scientific and basic, that on first glance is helpful (swap between bases) but doesn't really allow you to do much calculation. If I'm not mistaken, they've also removed the functionality to switch between number bases in the scientific mode. And finally it doesn't keep your current calculation up when you swap modes.

Typical Windows; in theory helpful, in reality some special version of hell.

Although I'm fairly convinced at this stage that Linux and Apple software are just different versions of hell.

more than 3 years ago
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HDMI Brands Don't Matter

zoney_ie Re:preaching to the choir (399 comments)

Indeed - I had a region 1 DVD to play recently (i.e. not even PAL resolution) and because my Bluray player is region-locked even for DVD, I had to use my laptop (HDMI out). What was nice was that the software sent the output as native resolution for what was being played back, so my nice new LG LCD TV with decent upscaling could do its job. I was amazed at how well this worked compared to previous scaling by various devices that I encountered (although the blu-ray player, also LG, is as good and almost means there's not much point getting blu-ray discs!). I had seen the results of scaling from VHS input to the TV, but that wasn't as awesome as even so the picture is really too poor for 42" (on bought VHS - home recorded Super VHS are reasonable).

In general I'm very very pleased with recent AV kit (and laptop) and what it can do. All simple to interconnect too compared to the past although unfortunately with brother's PS3 and a Sky HD box, a HDMI switch box is needed - but even that switches automatically perfectly. A pity the Sky box can't send surround sound via HDMI, but fortunately the Blu-ray home cinema has a second optical in. In fact the Sky box is the main downer as it makes some noise doing background downloading/encrypting of broadcasts to HDD for "play on demand" features (seemingly even if you disable that).

And yes, I simply used the cheapest HDMI cables I could get, although some were bought locally for convenience so the cheapest was a stiff €15 for a short cable! (Although since then I think the local "euro store" has HDMI cables, as do Lidl/Aldi at times).

more than 3 years ago
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Former Senator Wants to Mine The Moon

zoney_ie Re:Why is this notable? (351 comments)

Actually, modern technology isn't the wonderful magic people assume. In fact because of it being more complex, it is likely that development times in general are longer than in the past (the finished product does orders of magnitude more of course). As regards bureaucracy and project management, I think that has also gone up and again, perhaps in some ways because of modern technology. But without it, development times for modern tech would likely be longer again.

I've come to conclude that even "Scotty"-like predictions of how long something will take to complete (i.e. say 3 months when you expect it to take a month) are inadequate for hardware or software today (e.g. it might take 6 months in my example).

more than 3 years ago
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Will Touch Screens Kill the Keyboard?

zoney_ie Re:No (332 comments)

It's really very awkward. I find it a lot quicker with my Nokia N97 mini to simply slide it open and use the keyboard rather than type on the touchscreen. Mind you for a few words or fields in forms etc, sometimes I'll use the handwriting recognition, that's handy enough. Clicking on buttons/menus etc. on the touchscreen is handy too, although even so for any less than trivial browsing, I find it less hassle to slide the phone open and use the arrow keys to make sure links are properly highlighted rather than carefully positioning a fingernail. Having a resistive touchscreen does lend itself to a bit more accuracy even if pressure is needed - plus you can get away with keeping your gloves on for imprecise tasks like navigating address book/call log and making a phone call.

As for larger devices, I can't see how people would move away from a genuine keyboard. Certainly touchscreens *as well*, but not replacing keyboards for anything but simple tasks (just as people might use a touchpad on a laptop but if setting up shop for a while, many will use a mouse).

Ergonomically on a desktop or even sitting in front of a laptop, it would be pretty awkward either having to extend ones arms to the screen all the time, or crane your neck down to look at your touchscreen "keyboard" if an alternate display was placed at typing level.

more than 3 years ago
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OS I'd Most Like To See Make a Comeback

zoney_ie Re:Classic Mac OS (763 comments)

In fairness, with the behaviour you describe it's hard to see how Apple could even be regarded as a little better than Windows. Some of the problem applications on Windows are as they are due to copying the OSX "DIY" approach with "cool" interfaces of their own breaking the paradigm of a unified GUI.

more than 3 years ago
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The Luck of the Irish Runs Out

zoney_ie Re:People would protest against raising corp. tax (809 comments)

Actually education is being given more preferential treatment in cuts being minimised compared to even healthcare.

It's likely to be relatively unaffected by the cuts in government spending. Admittedly that means kids still going to school in rotting >century old buildings and temporary pre-fabs, but the level of people's education is not likely to drop. Quite the reverse given the fear of joblessness.

more than 2 years ago
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The Luck of the Irish Runs Out

zoney_ie Re:Why it won't affect the companies.. (809 comments)

The rich aren't paying 40% tax! The top tax rate is 41% but this is only paid on income over €36K (single) or €45K (married) or €73K (married both working).

But when you factor in people's tax credits and various tax reliefs, the statistical data for workers in Ireland shows that income tax peaks at about 20% of income. Those with a *lot* of income who would in theory be affected more significantly by the 41% tax rate actually pay tax advisors and use various schemes so that at the top end, the income tax proportion drops below 20% again!

Most workers pay almost no income tax - as you pay none at all up to something like €17K (when you factor in tax credits). Median income is about 20K, and ordinary workers would pay a max of about 10% effective tax rate. On an above-average income, I pay about 12% total in tax.

10% is the tax rate some countries charge the low paid! (as opposed to 0% here!)

We do have many other taxes, but that's to make up for low income tax.

Of course all this is only valid until the budget on 7th December.

more than 2 years ago
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The Luck of the Irish Runs Out

zoney_ie People would protest against raising corp. tax (809 comments)

Look, left-wing parties are likely to do well in our next election, but no-one sensible here, left or right, wants to raise the corporation tax rate. These companies provide our jobs.

If a raise would be announced, ordinary people here would really start to protest.

more than 2 years ago
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Symbian Foundation Sites To Close

zoney_ie Re:The last vestage of Psion (78 comments)

I'm pretty happy with my N97 mini (slide-out QWERTY keyboard). I just wish Opera wouldn't crash every so often (phone runs out of memory).

The Psion was pretty cool back in the day, even the second-hand monochrome one I had was useful, but I think it's a stretch to generalise that smartphones aren't that good as PDAs.

Finally, there's no alternative to having a compromise one-for-all device. Who wants to carry separate devices? Besides which the functionality all does interact (contacts - phone, file system/viewer - camera, web browser - network connectivity, etc.) We just need further improvement of designs and software. They are not that great at a given function? That may be true for individual features on particular phones (i.e. in general) but I do not accept that you cannot find some devices that excel at some of the functions despite having the kitchen sink.

more than 3 years ago
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The temperature where I am now is controlled by...

zoney_ie Re:Missing option.. (402 comments)

But heat given by that can be resisted, e.g. by window blinds.

Insufficient solar power can be augmented by burning stuff locally.

more than 3 years ago
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In the Face of Android, Why Should Nokia Stick With MeeGo?

zoney_ie Re:I recently had to replace my phone... (336 comments)

That's not true. Nokia still have a lot of these phones and in candybar form-factor too. Admittedly mostly they aren't offered by ordinary carriers, but I have seen them in real life being offered by Tesco Mobile (if you are in the US, Tesco is a major UK grocery/everything monopoly like Walmart). They cost something like €20 or €30 (that's without signing your life away on network commitments as well!) Mostly the only issue with these (and why people don't go with it) is that it is targeted at the bottom end of the market (even O2 offer sim-only bill contracts of just €15 a month, and you can get very cheap phones with more functionality too - say at €50 price point, so Tesco is for people *really* wanting to spend almost nothing).

Anyway, the Internet is your friend as it is surely trivial to find a "dumb phone" online cheap (Hong Kong is probably a good bet - postage from there is cheap). Here in Ireland, if you manage to buy something less than €23 there is no VAT or import duty. It's probably the same where you are - i.e. buying something really cheap from Asia there are no hidden extras to pay.

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2010: 11 years after euro introduction slashdot still can't process the euro symbol character entered directly into the submit form. Pathetic.

more than 3 years ago
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UK's Royal Mail Launches First Intelligent Stamps

zoney_ie Re:Stamps for how long? (69 comments)

I'm skeptical about what you say as Germany is one of the few countries that deliveries from there seem to mostly have real stamps, although I have also received packages from the Netherlands and Belgium with real stamps. Now the UK for example, yes it's mostly just labels with printing on them.

more than 3 years ago
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75% Use Same Password For Social Media & Email

zoney_ie Re:firefox has that hash function (278 comments)

Actually I would say it is hard to choose such an algorithm that can't be guessed when you have one or two passwords, nevermind more. Such an algorithm relies on details particular to the place you're logging into, if you start obfuscating these details, it increases the complexity for the user too. As the algorithm gets better at not being guessable, you are more going to defeat the purpose of the algorithm - i.e. have a password that *you* can work out for a given situation.

about 4 years ago

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