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Comment Re:Our value is community. Not the broken site. (Score 2) 466 466

NO. Just no.

I agree with you about the stupid character set problem and the need for better editors/editing, but almost everything else you complain about is actually what makes moderation here vastly superior to just about any other site. It's certainly not perfect, and there are perhaps tweaks to be done to moderation, but if we did what you suggest, it would completely fill the site with crap posts and allow the moderation to be gamed as on every other internet site.

Most of your complaints could be solved by not posting AC and by contributing positively to the site (and thus getting good karma). If users can't be bothered to do that, I don't want to see their posts. I only want to see an AC if it's a really superior post, so the default moderation levels are about right. Again, it's not perfect, but it's superior to most sites and to almost everything you're proposing.

Comment Re:A plea to fuck off. (Score 2) 362 362

I have one strongish password which I modify in a systematic and easy to remember way based on the website name. For example (and this isn't exactly what I do, obviously), say my core password is ghs78kja: on slashdot I would use as a password /DOTghs78kjaSLASH* on the New Scientist's site I would use /SCIENTISTghs78kjaNEW*.

While I understand the appeal of such a system (and tried it briefly years ago), it seems somewhat bizarre to me if you actually want any security. Yes, it will stop some random hacker who obtained a password list from site X from automatically logging into site Y by just applying the old list.

But if a hacker actually gives a crap about what he's doing and actually wants to get into your accounts, a system like this is well-known enough that he could guess your passwords to other sites once he knows one of them.

Obviously you said this isn't what you use exactly, but to really make it reasonably secure, you'd need to have a much more sophisticated method of generating password modifications for each site (e.g., disguising the name or manipulating it in a non-obvious way, performing some non-obvious modification on your "core" password based on the site name, etc.). And once you go down that road to generate something non-obvious, then you need to recreate those steps of generation every time you try to remember a password... which could be tedious and annoying unless you design it well.

Anyhow, for accounts you really don't care about, something like this sounds fine. But GP was talking about strong passwords, which should probably be more individualized for accounts you really want to keep secure.

These passwords are all unique, long, very easy to remember, and use all the character classes.

Yeah, except I'm sure they break half of the password policies at various sites anyway. That's the primary reason I started using a password manager -- even if I used a system like yours, I'd still have to remember all the random constraints on passwords for a various sites.

For example, some sites have length maximums that could be anywhere from 8 characters up. Some sites will accept a longer string when you try to login, but they won't warn you that your password must be shorter, so you keep typing in your 20-character phrase and get rejected because your password is actually the first 12 characters or whatever. And then you have sites that don't accept special characters, or sites that require special characters (but only from a certain list), or sites that don't allow you to begin your password with a number or a special character or whatever, or sites that don't accept strings of more than X letters in a row (yes, those exist, and you have to mix up the letters with numbers or special characters).... or whatever other random constraint applies.

With a password manager, I can have 30-character passwords or whatever on all the sites that accept them. If they use special characters, I can randomly generate a password with them. If they don't, I can specify a random alphanumeric password. Or whatever. And if the maximum length is 12 characters, I can specify that too without artificially limiting the length of my passwords on other sites or having to remember "Oh yeah, that site only allows a short password and it won't warn me if I try to enter my long one..." etc.

I'm not saying password managers are the best option for everything. But for remembering random website passwords, they can work pretty well.

Comment Re:Everything is copyrighted (Score 1) 140 140

Cease and desist. I have patented the software innovation of copyrighting a joke.

No, you cease and desist. I have copyrighted a joke about patenting the copyrighting of jokes, so your post is infringing already.

I've also patented the software innovation of posting internet discussions about patenting copyrights of jokes, so if you plan to respond here, please mail a license fee to me first. Thanks!

Comment Re:i haven't bought a car in a while... (Score 1) 252 252

YMMV but personally I hate parallel parking with my no assist, no camera, no proximity sensor car. I hate trying to predict through the mirrors how far I got left until I bump into someone, mostly I'm overcautious meaning it takes me way too many cycles of back and forth.

Get a friend who actually knows how to parallel park. Have them stand outside your car while you do it on a quiet street. Have them motion to tell you how much room you have and can continue to back up. Pay attention to your mirrors and what things look like. Repeat 10 times. Now you know where your car ends and won't have to "back up until you hit something" again. Problem solved.

Do this exercise with a few different cars types with different types of rear ends (sedan, hatchback, pickup, etc.), and pretty soon you'll be able to estimate your car length pretty well with mirrors in just about any car you drive. I know this is harder to learn for some people, but all it takes is a little practice and a second person to guide you a bit while you practice.

Comment Re:Emissions! (Score 1) 80 80

Mayor promises to eat better: less beans, more fibre.

While beans do have significant flatulence causing aspects in their oligosaccharides and cell wall cements, most things that contain significant amounts of fiber have potential for causing flatulence. So if the goal is to reduce "gaseous emissions," a high-fiber diet is unlikely to help

Comment Re:Is it really bad to reduce aggressive treatment (Score 1) 245 245

Tipping that balance away from the "helping the patient" side seems a little perilous to me.

Agreed. The problem comes when we take "helping the patient" to be synonymous with "keeping the patient alive at all costs, no matter how pain, suffering, or disruption in quality of life may occur." Medical practitioners often make that equation, but it's not always true. Sometimes what's best for the patient is to listen to their needs... and sometimes prolonging life no matter what (and sometimes only gaining an extra few weeks or months, often with great suffering) is NOT "helping the patient" overall.

Comment Re:Is it really bad to reduce aggressive treatment (Score 1) 245 245

If your surgeons are aggressive in treatment, you'll have some people dying a bit sooner than they would have otherwise (the failures), but you'll also have people surviving who wouldn't have otherwise (the successes).

While this is true, it overlooks a few significant things, like the fact that those last few weeks can often be very meaningful for the family and the patient... time to "say goodbye" and perhaps do some final things with family and friends. A surgeon who "oversells" a risky treatment or doesn't properly weigh the decisions with the patient and family may deprive them of some really important time. It may be "just a few weeks or months," but that is often precious time to lose. And studies have shown that doctor authority carries great weight with people, so they'll likely go along even with a risky procedure if the doctor presents it in a positive light.

Also, your two outcomes (patient dies or patient recovers) are not the only possible ones. Others include: patient experiences severe complications and continues living but in severe pain or disabled, patient goes into a coma or non-responsive state, drawing out the grieving process for families and shouldering them with difficult decisions, patient gains a short time but quality of life is degraded a bit in those last few weeks or months, not allowing the patient to do what he/she wanted to at the end of life... etc

Our medical establishment is very focused on prolonging life at all costs these days. But length of life is not always what's best for the patient overall.

Comment Re:I hate it already! (Score 2) 118 118

They'd rather have cutesy flicks and swishes, so that only those "on the inside" know the magic gestures, and can feel superior to the unwashed masses who don't have iPhones.

And there you have it: Apple knew it could make more profit by having the "cool" device that people "in the know" can use, which they can charge more for, rather than a more discoverable classic UI.

Also, I suspect a lot of these choices have to do with patents and such. You may not be able to patent a button that says "archive," but you make an archive function activated with an obscure weird-looking icon with a bunch of random shapes on a button, or by activating "archive" with a three-finger swipe and swish, and now you have something that could "catch on" among the cool devices, which means everyone else has to pay licensing fees if the want to use it in their UI.

Comment Re:Taxi company (Score 1) 193 193

Uber doesn't own the cars, and the taxi company owns the cars.

Nowhere near true in all cases. Many drivers own their own cars and/or operate independently. I believe in NYC, for example, something like 1/4 or more of taxis are owner operated. They actually have a certain number of medallions set aside which can only be used by independent operators.

And in cases where the cars are owned by the company, the driver generally leases the cab. By your logic, if someone uses a leased vehicle for "ride-sharing," does that make the car dealership (which still owns the vehicle) a "taxi company"?

Bottom line: Ownership of cars does NOT differentiate standard taxis from the Uber situation.

Comment Re:No it is not (Score 1) 351 351

I'm telling you, if you scratch the surface of someone who claims to be completely unaffected by advertising, you're going to find someone who's making a lot more subconscious purchasing decisions than you would expect.

Well, I never claimed to be "completely unaffected by advertising." But I'd say the reality is that people who make some effort to avoid the onslaught of ads probably actually do encounter fewer ads... which means they are likely to be less influenced than the average person.

Anyhow, maybe you're right, but I simply rarely buy name brand items, except where no cheaper off-brand or generic item is available (for items where quality is not a major issue) or where the generic items are demonstrably worse when I've tried them. Where item variety is enough that different brands tend to actually be really different, I try a variety of things and choose what I like best.

For major purchases, I do significant research and try to find unbiased sources. (Admittedly, that's sometimes difficult.) A rejection from Consumer Reports or an expert source or something like that would override any brand recognition for me.

And, where I really want quality for a major purchase, and it's possible to get something crafted and durable, I'll do that. I've commissioned and purchased furniture from carpenters and woodworkers I know personally, made from real wood (and I've sometimes built it myself). I have ordered handmade cookware made to my specs that will last for at least a few generations.

Some of us really don't want to participate in the general consumer economy. Some of us simply don't buy random crap just because "everyone has one these days" or because X "is the newest, coolest gadget." Some months ago, I spent some time with relatives who tend to have the TV on all day -- I sat down around the TV for hours over several days and made a point of watching the ads because I rarely see them (and I'm kind of curious when I do see them to see what sort of weirdness has become popular). Over the course of probably 8-10 hours of TV watching, I didn't see an ad for a single item I actually own or currently purchase (or am interested in purchasing)... well, except for my garbage bags (which, well, I've tried generics, and they don't seem as good) and the car I own, but it's hard to find "off-brand" cars.

So, sure -- ads probably do influence me. But I find it hard to see a strong influence when I look around my house and have a hard time finding major brand-name items.

Comment Re: No it is not (Score 2) 351 351

"I don't pay any attention to advertising at all unless I am proactively seeking a product in a store"

That's just the thing. You think you aren't, but you are, you're just not aware of it at a conscious level.

While this is true, one still needs to actually encounter ads to be influenced by them. I think many people on Slashdot who "don't pay any attention to advertising at all" aren't just people who say they don't watch commercials or look at the flashing ads on the side of a website -- they actually don't watch broadcast TV at all and run ad blockers that filter out 99% of ads.

I really have little clue what the "popular brands" are for most items, because I simply don't see much advertising at all.... not that I "see it but don't look at it" but I actually, literally do NOT see it because those ads are never within viewing range of me. For example, I have no clue what movies are playing in theaters now -- and I haven't really had a clue for the past decade or more since I stopped watching all broadcast TV. I'm not going to be "subconsciously" influenced to go see some popular movie when I don't ever see an ad for it and thus don't even know it exists. I only know about movies when I periodically decide to see what's playing and go to a site specifically devoted to current movie reviews.

So, "subconscious suggestion" isn't really as effective for at least some of the extremists on Slashdot. And even if it is, my general policy when looking for a purchase is to either go for a generic cheaper brand (if quality is basically equal for such products) or to look more closely at brands I haven't heard of before, because I recognize there is generally more variety (and variance in quality) in product classes to be seen outside the dominant corporate overlords.

I recognize that most people aren't like me. But that doesn't mean that your argument magically applies to people who don't even come in contact with most ads... and who are deliberately contrarian in purchasing. (My general opinion of modern corporate culture is that advertising often rewards products which satisfy the lowest common denominator, rather than the best quality products. The more familiar a brand sounds to me, the more suspicious I am that it's overpriced for its quality. That doesn't mean I reject it outright, but I'll often try out the generic or unknown product before settling on the brand.)

Comment Re:Absolutely (Score 1) 351 351

Radio, TV, and most websites would not exist but for it, and it is a meritocracy as well - if the advertized product sucks, or the ad sucks, the advertiser loses their money with no reward. The opposite holds as well - a good product and a good ad can be very beneficial to customers and the advertiser.

It depends on your definition of "meritocracy." To me, a meritocracy is when the best things rise to the top. To you, a meritocracy is when the "lowest common denominator" products rise to the top.

For example, I don't think a lot of TV ads exist for fine dining restaurants, artisan craft foods and beverages, or other high quality items. Instead, ads are saturated with wars between McDonalds and Burger King, between Budweiser and Coors, and between Cheetos and Fritos (and Doritos... and...).

You really want to claim that advertising promotes a "meritocracy" where the best products rise to the top and "can be very beneficial to customers"? No -- advertising generally rewards the companies who can make the most profits by manufacturing the product with the least (but still barely acceptable) quality for most people .

I fail to see how that's really that beneficial for consumers -- unless you see the success of McDonalds and Budweiser as symbols of the triumph of a meritocracy. It just ends up promoting giant corporations that know how to either (1) maximize profits by catering to the lowest popular denominator or (2) trick people into buying a product they didn't even want or need with a stupid ad (see infomercials, or their 30-second cousins "for the low price of $19.95").

(P.S. I'm not at all saying that ads can't sometimes be beneficial for items with better quality early on in the stages of a product -- sure they can. But the vast majority of advertising is not about that.)

Comment Re:No it is not (Score 2) 351 351

I don't watch broadcast television, I don't read billboards, I completely ignore banners and side-column ads

Modern marketing techniques are designed for people like you. They're specifically made for people who don't pay attention to ads.

How exactly do the advertisers manage to design ads that will get through to GP who "doesn't watch broadcast television"? If GP doesn't see as many ads, he'll be less influenced by them, no?

I, like GP, don't tend to even notice ads off to the side. It's like my eyes are almost "allergic" to them. And your contention that they affect me significantly just doesn't seem to be borne out by how I actually purchase products. Do some of them have SOME subliminal effect? I'm sure. But nowhere near your wacko conspiracy theorist level of hysteria.

Then how the fuck would you know about the "industry's kowtowing to political correctness" causing them to divest themselves of sexy women in ads? Were you lying then or are you lying now?

Well, given that you produced a link that easily showed GP was WRONG, it's pretty clear that GP is probably ignorant because, well... he doesn't pay attention to ads and therefore he doesn't even know what the current trends are in advertising.

"Lying" implies intent to deceive. GP was simply mistaken... because he doesn't notice enough ads to even know what's going on in them. He speculated, on the basis of his knowledge of PC behavior -- but, as you point out, his speculation was wrong.

You'd be better off accepting the effect that advertising is having on you, being aware of it, and actively subverting it. Adbusters is a good place to start. Otherwise, you'll still be reaching for the brand name and not knowing why.

It's weird -- I don't even know the brand names for most products. Seriously. I don't. If I've never bought a product before, I have to go and research to even find out what the brand names ARE. Because I don't pay attention to ads.

Sure, when I was a kid, and I watched broadcast TV, I saw lots of ads. I still remember many of those jingles, and I know those brands -- because I watched those ads. Today, I have no clue what movies are playing in theaters. I have no clue what brand names exist for product classes I haven't bought before. I have no idea what most popular beers or cars or whatever even look like... unless I've specifically researched them before a car purchase or whatever. And even if I did see an ad, I'm usually LESS likely to buy something heavily advertised, since I like to support variety and unusual product choices -- as long as they are quality -- rather than shelling out money to the "default" corporate overlord in a particular sector.

So, I think your rant is demonstrably false at least for some people. Again, I'm sure there are SOME minor unconscious effects for some ads that are flashing off to the side on a website or something... but since I use ad blockers, I never see most of them (just like I don't see commercials since I don't watch broadcast TV). And if I probably see only maybe 1 or 2% of the ads that most people see, I'm pretty certain that the advertisers aren't somehow magically able to affect me as much as they affect most people....

Comment Re:The real story is even worse (Score 1) 178 178

And no one really uses that piano arrangement (my guess), so almost none of the enforcement should ever have been valid.

But the problem is that U.S. court precedent has mostly considered the idea that melody is the primary determinant of copyright. For better or for worse, that's generally the standard. Now, whether this particular arrangement is the earliest to contain proper notice and copyright registration, as well as a properly filed renewal (as was required during that period)... well these are all interesting questions.

The claim to copyright today is completely bogus. But the specific piano arrangement is legally irrelevant for the copyright claim, only the melody and proper copyright for any fixed publication of that melody.

Comment Re:It only works without humans (Score 4, Insightful) 503 503

Scarcity is a limiting factor, but human greed is even more of a limiting factor. We will never reach anything resembling a utopian society where everyone's basic needs are met, regardless of the means, because of human nature, not because of available resources.

Well, "human nature" is somewhat malleable by social constructs. So I wouldn't say "never." But there are significant roadblocks.

For example, John Maynard Keynes predicted that only workaholics would be working over 15 hours per week by 2030. We don't really seem to be on that path, despite the fact that worker productivity has basically quadrupled in the U.S. since 1950. (I know some people are going to argue over how accurate this claim is -- but the exact numbers don't matter so much. It's undisputed among economists that worker productivity has gone up significantly over the past 75 years.)

We could all be working 10 hours per week and living with a similar economic standard of living to 1950. Personally, I'd be fine with that, though I know many people wouldn't.

Or we could be less contentious and go back the productivity of 1975 or so... and basically keep our current standard of living for middle classes, but just pay rich people less. Alas, we've chosen greed over spare time.

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to work.