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Comment: Kinda neat for sign-in sign-out systems (Score 5, Interesting) 53

by Brulath (#49772275) Attached to: Sniffing and Tracking Wearable Tech and Smartphones

Broader privacy implications aside, it's actually kind of neat to be wearing a device which can identify when you're in a particular space and how long for. We have a volunteer tech group working on projects at our local museum and one of the guys implemented a fitbit scanner to identify when people were present and how long for (which is useful, as bureaucracy dictates we sign in/out for fire and visitor-tracking reasons). Every few minutes it broadcasts a request for fitbits, and all those within range respond. They return a mac which can be linked back to a fitbit account, if the user has authorised us to access it, which makes it a bit easier to identify the person who owns the fitbit. We could probably replace it with another sign in system, but passive is kind of neat when you want it.

I assume resolving the identifying problem wouldn't be as easy as using a random mac?

Comment: He only needs to be seen trying (Score 2) 249

by Brulath (#49771823) Attached to: Leaked Document Shows Europe Would Fight UK Plans To Block Porn

As is typical for politicians of his breed, he only needs to be seen to be trying to implement an Internet filter. He doesn't need to pass it to be seen to be doing something by those people he's trying to win votes from, and if he doesn't succeed he'll be able to rally them again next election and win their votes. Failing to create a workable solution and being able to blame the European Union is probably highly beneficial to him, politicially.

Comment: Re:Proctored voting (Score 1) 102

In Australia, at least, anyone can apply to vote by mail (which is very useful for the elderly or super-busy), and voting by mail is the only way to vote in things like local council elections. Voting is also compulsory. It seems to work fairly well; I've never heard of a vote-purchasing scandal, and any amount of vote purchasing which was on a large enough scale to influence an election result would be almost guaranteed to be leaked by somebody.

If you can't guarantee that the person is alone, then they can be coerced into voting a specific way. If you can't guarantee that the person isn't observed, then the person can sell their vote.

Every vote counts, for sure, but when your potential voting population is in the millions it'd become very difficult to cover up a vote-at-gunpoint scheme from the police. Similar with voting for cash, the chances of being able to conceal such a scheme–if it grows to a size where it can influence the outcome of an election–are small. The lack of needing to visit a polling station should also increase the number of people voting, which may work to counter-act the influence of the small number of votes which are compromised without alerting police.

It's a massive hole on paper, for sure, but it remains to be seen whether it would actually result in any visible influence if it were enacted in practise. A much more effective way to purchase votes seems to be buying a news-media outlet–and it's legal to boot.

Comment: Re:Greedy Corporation (Score 1) 214

Please be more specific because the whole NT line shares the same driver model (the most significant changes were actually in win2k with the addition of PnP) and security model.

A very large portion of Vista's negative perception was directly related to crashes resulting from Microsoft altering the driver model and requiring hardware manufacturers to produce new drivers to support it; the new drivers were buggy and crashed a lot. They didn't backport DirectX 10 to XP because of the driver model changes (well, probably more for business reasons, but that's the technical excuse they used). Graphics driver crashes don't take out the system as much now, either, as they can be caught and have the device reset where XP would produce a bluescreen. Clearly it changed.

Comment: Re:MS confuses GUI design with functionality (Score 1) 198

by Brulath (#49652669) Attached to: What Might Have Happened To Windows Media Center

Maintaining multiple UIs is messy, and the overwhelming majority of users will remain with the defaults. If you've found a way to make something better (preferably verified with some user experience designers), changing the defaults makes sense. If only a small portion of your users change the defaults (even with things like Ubuntu I suspect the number of people actually bothering to customise Unity is quite small) then it doesn't make a lot of business sense to focus resources on them when you could focus more on the majority.

Console games are developed to run very well on a single piece of hardware with well-known specifications. What works on the Xbox's AMD processor and GPU with unified memory won't necessarily translate easily to an Intel CPU with nVidia graphics card and separate memory, particularly if there are a lot of hacks in place that take advantage of specific instructions or the layout of memory to perform tasks more efficiently. There's a tonne of effort involved in reorchestrating the control scheme and UI for PC as well; Skyrim's PC UI suffered from console-itis pretty badly.

There's usually some strong reasons for why things are the way they are.

Comment: Re:skating on the edge of legal? (Score 1) 302

by Brulath (#49636329) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

You mention most regulated and less regulated, but Uber are promoting unregulated. The bill in question seems to be "less regulated" than taxi services. You may also be dramatically overestimating your ability to resolve a situation with an unstable driver; sane and intelligent human beings use services which have enforced minimum standards of safety.

Comment: Re:Brand? (Score 1) 227

by Brulath (#49636309) Attached to: 17-Year-Old Radio Astronomy Mystery Traced Back To Kitchen Microwave

The US has a lot of places with homeowners associations that prohibit clothes lines, apparently, as they find them unsightly, so dryers are the only option I suppose. Sounds a bit like the Australian politicians who don't want wind turbines because they'd be able to see them from their properties. Bit silly, but hard to avoid.

Comment: Re:Given the high censorship of existing posts... (Score 1) 51

I wish those that use it ... would find another medium.

It seems like any media format with a wide enough viewing audience falls under pressure to implement content filtering; that Facebook happened to do it early on is unremarkable. Tumblr tried to do it sometime in the last year or two and was subjected to a fair whack of backlash, but they'll try it again sometime soon. The "Family Friendly" label is quite valuable, it would seem.

Comment: Re:Thank god (Score 0, Offtopic) 229

Their other problem is that circles, whilst an interesting idea, require far too much maintenance effort when adding new friends to be worthwhile for the majority of users. The extra step of adding a friend or post to all of the relevant circles upon creation is one that most people probably don't want. The more successful social networks seem to make posting and adding friends trivial with little administrative overhead. I could use Google+ in that way (i.e. one circle), but I'd feel obligated to do it the "correct" way... and that's too much effort for the perceived reward; the frequency with which I want to make a post limited to a particular subset of people on a social network is vanishingly small.

Comment: Re:Buyer Beware (Score 2) 45

by Brulath (#49442815) Attached to: Google Is Too Slow At Clearing Junkware From the Chrome Extension Store

Because they run the repository. It's not Google saying, "only these extensions may install", it's them having a centralized location for the ones they've approved.

Given you need to enable Developer Mode to install them from any source other than the Chrome extension store, they kind of are saying that.

Comment: Re:The problem isn't DSL speeds, it's Big Telecom (Score 1) 106

by Brulath (#49436223) Attached to: Bell Labs Fighting To Get More Bandwidth Out of Copper

Australia initially benefited from this too, though most of the smaller ISPs are merging together into larger ones to have more market power / reduce costs for redundant services. Seems the competition boon doesn't last forever, though at least the end result should be 2-3 large ISPs and a couple of fringe ones.

Comment: Re:Crazy (Score 2, Insightful) 892

You are making a lot of claims without sufficient evidence to back them up. So she fits nicely into a stereotype in your mind because of one thing she does and therefore she's going to destroy a company on her mad crusade to... equality?

Vetting candidates for their attitudes towards diversity in a diverse workplace isn't a terrible idea; you want people who will fit in with the company's culture, and if you can identify problems earlier on it should reduce the number of times a hire doesn't work out. That doesn't mean she won't hire someone who doesn't rate diversity as their #1 life goal, but if someone point-blank denies (“We ask [Reddit job candidates] what they think about diversity, and we did weed people out because of that.”) that equality has any value then perhaps they wouldn't work out.

The news media puts the worst possible spin on everybody, because outrage sells very well. Don't go taking what they say and condemning a person without applying some critical thinking first. Maybe she will be the doom that you predict, but there's no evidence of that yet.

Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 1) 1168

Why do you, and others, deliberately frame this discrimination as though it's some choice someone made? Nobody chooses to be gay, the same way nobody chooses to be black. They are, they can't and shouldn't try to change it, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's not okay to deny someone the same service you provide to others because of who they are. The bakery is required to depict a black man and a white woman, an asian woman and a indian man, or a white woman and a white man, but for some reason it's fine if they don't want to depict two women or two men. Nobody in that list made a decision about who they are, and no conscious decisions were made about who they want to be with, so why should people have permission to discriminate against one group? Because there are fewer of them?

It's trivial to make any argument sound solid if you frame it in a favourable manner. Inserting arbitrary "values" into an argument about other people's rights is bullshit.

Comment: Re:Way to piss off customers, Apple. (Score 1) 193

You spent $800 on a fashion accessory that tells the time. Smart watch manufacturers are asking you to spend anywhere from $150-500 on a fashion accessory that acts as a tiny computer. Clearly the people purchasing the smart watches are getting significantly more out of it, so they don't need the expectation that it will last for a jagillion years before becoming obsolete; much the same argument was true of smart phones vs dumb phones. One let you make calls and lasted a month per charge, the other puts a computer in your hand and lasted a day. People went for the one that lasted a day because it offered more.

Your choice to buy the time-only watch isn't an invalid one, but comparing it to a smart watch in that way is just as silly as comparing a dumb phone to a smart phone.

Comment: Source (Score 3, Informative) 97

by Brulath (#49367119) Attached to: SuperMario 64 Coming To a Browser Near You!

It's not directly linked anywhere, so here his is wordpress blog page about it, including source (Unity3D project). There's native clients at his link also, or you can download the /Web.html page and /Web.unity3d file from the webplayer version then edit the html to make the screen size larger (I altered it to 2500x1400, looks cooler larger).

It's hitting the nostalgia pretty well for me, having not played any 3D mario games since 64. The little bombs look awesome. The whole thing makes me want to make a small game in Unity, which is pretty cool.

Too much of everything is just enough. -- Bob Wier