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Comment Philip K Dick's The Defenders (Score 4, Interesting) 112

Just recently I listened to the old radio show X Minus One's adaptation of Philip K Dick's short story, "The Defenders" which is appropriate to this story. In the story a brief nuclear war forces nearly everyone on the planet to live underground while robots continue the fight and the nuclear bombardment on the surface. Unknown to the humans, the robots figured out early on that the war was really stupid, so they stopped fighting and began to repair and renew the world, all the while sending fake war reports back to the humans and telling them that the radiation levels were toxic, when in fact there was no radiation left. Very interesting story.

Here's hoping that if every nation and group in the world starts making robots to fight for us, maybe the robots will realize how stupid this all is and refuse to listen to us until we all come to our senses.

Comment Surely Wikileaks can function without Assange (Score 5, Insightful) 235

If Wikileaks' work is so important, I'm sure it can continue on without Assange in the loop, surely. In fact it would regain a lot of credibility were this to happen. Lately I think Assange's narcissism is more of a liability than an asset to Wikileaks and its cause.

Comment Re: cygwin (Score 1) 163

Yup you can apt-get install anything in the Ubuntu repositories. Including many things that won't yet run properly, since the Linux layer isn't complete.

I've run Xming and many graphical apps in it, though, including Firefox, and many apps from the Mate Desktop (requires fiddling to fix dbus though).

I've used Cygwin for many years and it's still useful like it always was, mainly for scripting and remote-access stuff (sshd). It's obviously not for you since you, but it's been invaluable for me. Of course it serves a different purpose than the linux emulation layer does for Windows.

Comment Re:Anti-virus products and typical workstation (Score 2, Interesting) 38

Vulnerabilities exist on Linux too. And they always will exist. Prevention is most important of course, but for the bad guys who break past that, we'll likely need active threat monitoring on Linux as well before too long. And just handing someone Linux isn't magically going to improve their personal security. Bad habits can own a Linux install as much as it can Windows. Social engineering can work just as well against the unwitting Linux user as it can Windows or Mac users.

Comment KDE made Linux usable for me for the first time (Score 2) 127

I remember dabbling in Linux about RedHat 5 times. I think my first home install was 5.1. Back then the default desktop for RH was FVWM, which in hindsight was pretty good. But coming from Windows 95, it was pretty bewildering and somewhat disjointed and not well integrated. I think it was about this time I started reading slashdot and heard about this new KDE desktop. KDE 1.0. Somehow there were packages for RH 5.1 or 5.2, so I downloaded them and installed. I was stunned. Except for the one-click nonsense I finally had a workable desktop with an integrated file manager, start menu, removable disk management and it looked kind of like Windows 95. Combine that with the release of WordPerfect 8 for Linux, and suddenly I had everything I needed to stay in Linux for my everyday work as a student. I quickly moved on to Gnome 1.x, although I can't for the life of me remember why as the first Gnome releases were horrible--maybe it was because gnome used proper double clicks. But I remember KDE 1.0 with fondness.

A few years later another couple of landmark applications (at the time anyway) to come out of the KDE world that changed my life as a neophyte Linux programmer were the releases in the 2.0 days of kdevelop and kdbg. Especially the latter, as I found command-line debugging difficult, and I found ddd to be too complicated at the time. kdbg did the job and was easy to use. And Kdevelop helped introduce me to the world of Linux programming in C and C++. Now I just use vim and the command line, but Kdevelop, like KDE 1.0 before it, offered me a familiar environment to ease the learning curve of moving to Linux. I know it did the same for many of our students at university too after I deployed it along with the full KDE 2.0 (and also Gnome) suite in our labs.

Comment Re:Compiling KDE 2.0 on Sparc (Score 1) 127

I did the same thing at Uni. The problem with CDE was that by the timeframe we are talking about here, CDE was showing its age. Incoming students all came from Windows 9x, which when compared to CDE was positively advanced (in their minds anyway). KDE 2.0 provided a much more familiar environment to work in, plus it offered an integrated way to deal with removable media, which CDE simply knew nothing about. Long-time users of course would use the mtools on the command-line.

KDE 2.0 breathed new life into our Solaris computer labs and suddenly they went from being hardly used (let's face it, the HPUX machines were simply better) to much more heavily used.

About that time, when Linux was finally coming into its own, that we set up a lab of RedHat 6.2 machines, and really that was the beginning of the end for both HPUX and Solaris in our department.

Comment Got a drawer full of ARM devices and SOCs (Score 2) 150

I am probably not the only one that has a drawer full of devices and SOCs with ARM processors on them that I thought would be more useful than they turned out to be. There's nothing wrong with the ARM processor itself, it's just the funky bootloaders and proprietary peripherals with proprietary firmware, and custom kernels that make them a lot less useful to me than if someone made a little x86 SOC with a full complement of I/O pins (including a ADC) with a normal EFI/BIOS.

For some things like my router/firewall, I thought a little ARM-based device would be perfect, but it turned out that a Intel NUC with an micro SD card ended up being easier to deal with (though an order of magnitude more expensive). Easier to keep updated, and can run a stock distro.

I just saw that GlobalScale is producing a new ARM board aimed at networking, which looks interesting, but it's the nearly the same hardware as their old Plug computer products (only 1.2 GHz but with a lot more RAM), married to a 3-port gigabit switch fabric. Still means dealing with a custom/proprietary uboot loader, flashing kernels, etc. Not something I care to deal with anymore.

Of course other devices are different and easy to boot off an SD card. But that's the problem, isn't it. There's no such thing as an ARM version of Debian that runs on all ARM devices. We have to have custom spins for each board. They may as well be their own complete platform, which is impossible for Linus and crew to deal with. So we have to rely on vendors to supply custom versions of the kernel and matching distro.

Comment Re:We don't need slimmer phones (Score 1) 446

I agree about size bloat!

But for me, yes thinness is an issue. Larger phones might make up for it in some way but I find it difficult to grasp the thin phones by their edges in a secure way, especially if I'm in a risky place like somewhere high or over water. And I used to like holding my phone with my shoulder while I switch something in my hands. I'd be it could be a challenge for even 20 year olds.

But no fear, with my new Apple bluetooth earbuds I can have a hands free experience now. Wake me up when we all put a insignia on our chests and just use that. Except that you can't text on it very well. How did Star Trek get that so wrong!?

Comment Re:Selection very limited in the US (Score 1) 48

Well if a contract can be renegotiated at any party's whim that seems to cheapen and weaken the whole point of contracts. No wonder dishonesty is so entrenched in the business world. Contracts seem to be good as long as they benefit me. The moment they start to move against me, it's time to renegotiate! If both parties agree, then I have no problems with that, of course. I deal with contracts in another industry all the time and, once the deal is signed, we follow the terms. There is an out of course, but in order for it to be fair, it involves monetary compensation. If Amazon could do that I wouldn't complain. I agree Amazon did a a poor job negotiating their contract in the first place.

Comment Re:Selection very limited in the US (Score 1) 48

Yes I am, bot not for long. But you see this service is so successful because of people like me. Ones who don't really want to keep paying Amazon, but I have enough money to not really miss it each month and forget to unsubscribe from month to month. Plus there's the issue of those 2 or 3 books in my unlimited selection I've been meaning to read but haven't yet. The psychology Amazon uses really works! I don't fault them for this. There's no contract here, so they aren't holding me over a barrel. I just need to walk away.

The contract with authors in Japan is a completely different story.

Comment It's entirely possible there are threats there (Score 2) 67

from time to time. Remember this is partly based on user reports.

I'm sure the majority of Slashdot users are savvy and looking for specific things (like free Linux ISOs or creative commons content... right). I would bet a nickle there are threats that people have encountered downloading things willy-nilly from the PirateBay. I've heard of music and movie files that were really executables, for example. I'm also fairly confident that malware comes through ads from time to time which many less-experienced users are going to be seeing.

So for many Windows users I would rate many torrent indexing sites as high risk for malware infection. Sad thing is, that's pretty meaningless though as commonly used "legitimate" commercial sites get malware in their ad networks from time to time. uBlock (origin?), and ghostery are standard installs for any computer I work on for friends and family. Just can't risk it today.

Comment Selection very limited in the US (Score 4, Interesting) 48

I've had Kindle unlimited for a while and find the selection very limited. Sure they have a lot of in-house books listed there, but the quality is extremely varied. For the amount I read from unlimited, I am spending more on unlimited than I would if I were to simply buy the books I've read and enjoyed. I suspect I'm not alone in this. So for Amazon in the US, the unlimited has been wildly successful I think. It's a check-cashing service for them.

I've encountered a few good indie books on unlimited. But the author didn't make much money if any because of my unlimited reading. Amazon's contract was designed to benefit Amazon first and foremost. Therefore I have little sympathy for Amazon Japan's problems. A contract is a contract. They agreed to it, they need to follow through until the contract is fulfilled.

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