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Comment: Hmmm ... (Score 1) 115

by gstoddart (#48648239) Attached to: Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts

So, in this judges opinion, can we make a fake Instagram account for him or the police?

Or is this act of lying purely something they reserve for themselves?

Because, you know, maybe this judge should start sharing his fondness for sheep and Barbie dolls.

Oh, wait ... if we did it, it would be a crime. And, I'm sorry, but if it's a crime for us, then you should have some form of prior authorization.

Otherwise this judge has said "we can commit crimes, you can't" ... which will pretty much confirm that the law deems themselves above it. In which case this judge's new Instagram account should be interesting to see.

Comment: Re:40 is an artificial boundary (Score 1) 181

by The Grim Reefer (#48648135) Attached to: At 40, a person is ...

Significant figures (as a mathematical term), precision, and rounding are a little different than you seem to think. Significant figures only deal with zeros preceding or following a set of numbers. Which doesn't seem to be what you are referring to. 5.4717696 has eight significant figures. 5.500000 has two.

Obliviously you accept errors much more readily than I do. Granted, I generally don't measure out to quite as far as I did in my examples, but I was simply making a point. Which you apparently didn't comprehend. 3.4 miles in the case I used was much shorter, and simpler, to notate than expressing it in metric. So that's what I used. "Significant figures", as you are describing them are not a mathematical term but an adjective for what you feel is relevant precision.

Rounding 3.4 miles to 5.5 km is off by over 7.7 feet. Happy? I rounded that just for you.I would probably accept 5.47 km in 3.4 miles as it's just shy of five inches difference. Though I'd be happier with 5.472.

Comment: Re:Copyright trolls (Score 1) 539

by mcgrew (#48647959) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

If you're writing music that is indeed a concern; I'm sure Seether will be sued for same damned life; its rhythm guitar is note for note identical to the melody to I Will Follow Him (a bad pop song from the early sixties). There's a suit against Led Zeppelin for a guitar riff that sounds vaguely like Stairway to Heaven; I think Zep will win, but it turns out that the guy suing would have had no standing if Zeppelin had never heard the song.

Other art forms don't have that problem.

Comment: Re:Intrinsic motivation vs. Extrinsic motivation (Score 1) 539

by mcgrew (#48647773) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Well, you have to respect your audience. Since I'm retired, I have no need to monetize my books; I'm just happy people read them, which is the whole point of writing them.

I seem to have written Nobots at too high a reading level for some folks; I got comments such as "can I find those words in a dictionary?" So I wrote Mars, Ho! (may be ready for publication this week) mostly from the perspective of a high school graduate with bad grammar, which was oddly more of a challenge.

I did get some folks saddened when I stopped writing diary-like stuff, but they seem to like the sci-fi even more.

Comment: Re: What took them so long? (Score 1) 170

by Kjella (#48647723) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

For your simplified example, it is probably cheaper -- and just as secure -- to have an operator enter the dozen or so keystrokes to order "produce x amount of class y steel" than to design, build, install and support a more automated method. Human involvement has the added bonus of (nominally) intelligent oversight of the intended behavior for the day.

Do you have any idea what the error rate for manual data entry is? Typically about 0.5% of the entries will be wrong. Retyping information is a very error prone process.

Comment: Re:Good news, bad news (Score 1) 539

by mcgrew (#48647711) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Buying? We're talking about a post-scarcity society here. If no one is enjoying your art, it may not be any good. If nobody is using your code, it's probably poorly designed. Find something else to hold your interest, it isn't hard.

I'm lucky, in that people read my books every day, according to site stats, and folks buy hardcover copies and send me fan mail, which is far better than money; I have enough money to live pretty well.

Sales is the worst possible metric for any creative endeavor. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his life, to his brother to repay a debt. Meanwhile, what was selling in the galleries for big bucks is worthless today.

Comment: Re:Copyright trolls (Score 1) 539

by mcgrew (#48647563) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

I have no fear of copyright trolls; I register my books with the US Copyright office. If one fucks with me, I'll wind up with HIS money.

And since I'm my own publisher, I'm my own gatekeeper. You can find my books in bookstores world-wide, and I've posted them on the internet. Site stats say folks are reading them every day.

What I'm doing was impossible twenty years ago. Now that I'm retired I have the time to do it. When the subject of conversation actually comes to pass, everybody will be retired.

User Journal

Journal: A mild rant 2

Journal by mcgrew

I've been listening to KSHE since the day they changed format in 1967. They play some great rock and roll.

They're a hundred miles away; Im in the fringe reception area so I listen online. So a few days ago I'm editing random Scribblings and the music stops. I curse Firefox and Flash and ComCast and pull the browser up to refresh the page that plays the music, and I see "Still listening?"

Comment: Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (Score 1) 131

by The Grim Reefer (#48646367) Attached to: NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

It's still inside the atmosphere

So NASA can stop sending up spacesuits for when the astronauts need to go outside for repairs then? A tracksuit and some sunblock will be so much cheaper and save on weight.

Russia/USSR is going to be pretty pissed to find out that they weren't the first country to put a man in space. Or that they never did for that matter.

Comment: Re:Hints (Score 1) 68

by mcgrew (#48642319) Attached to: Boeing and BlackBerry Making a Self-Destructing Phone

They've been working on it for over 12 years; I wrote the following for my web site in 2002. It will be in an upcoming book. Apologies for the mangled unicode, but slashdot's preview is worthless, since "preview" shows the unicode but the submission displays garbage. Here is the article:

McCoy: He's dead, Jim
        Several years ago, before PCs were not nearly as com-mon in the home as they are now, a friend of mine asked of my computer, âoebut aren't you afraid it will explode?â
        He was a Star Trek fan, and in the old 1950s and 1960s science fiction and spy shows, computers all had a nasty habit of blowing up. All one had to do to these TV or movie computers to make them explode was shoot them, with either a ray gun or a police revolver. Some TV and movie computers would blow up if you âoepressed the wrong buttonâ; one episode of the 1960s TV show The Prisoner (âoeI am not a number! I am a free man!â) had a computer that could answer any question. The bad guys, who had imprisoned the hero, a spy who had resigned his post, wanted to know why he resigned. Of course, before the bad guys could ask the computer âoeWhy did number six resign his post?â the intrepid number six offered that he had a question the computer could not answer.
        He typed in to the Remington electric typewriter and fed the paper into the computer, which, of course, promptly started smoking, sparking, and ultimately blew up. The question was simply âoewhy?â
        Similarly, in an episode of Star Trek, Spock makes a computer explode by asking it to figure the value of pi to the last decimal place. Of course, any time a Star Trek computer was fired on, whether by a Klingon or Federation phaser, and no matter what civilization designed and built the computer, it would explode in a grand display of fireworks.
        I had to explain to my friend that this was all nonsense, that early computers from the early 1950s used thousands of vacuum tubes, requiring high voltages, which could throw showers of sparks and bright purple flashes with the characteristic âoepop!â if there was a short circuit in its 120-240 volt circuitry but would not actually explode, and that modern computers ran on three to twelve volts and wouldn't even get a spark from a short.
        I had to explain to my friend that the only explosions were in my games; that the computer itself here in the analog world was safe.
        Along with the matter transporter and faster than light travel, the exploding computer was one of those things relegated to science fiction.
        Until now.
        New Scientist reports that they have found a way to make silicon explode on demand, either by shock, as with that .38 caliber police special or by electrical signal.
        âoeThis machine is stolen and will self-destruct in ten seconds.â
        New Scientist says âoeFor instance, the American spy plane impounded by China last year could have used it to destroy its secret electronics systems.â
        They add âoeIn a stolen mobile phone, the network would send a trigger signal to the part of the chip containing the gadolinium nitrate âdetonatorâ(TM), triggering the explosion... and detonate it at will.â
        So not only is Star Trek's computer to blow up, its communicators will too! I can see in five years when these bozos have the anti theft circuits in phones. Drop your phone now and it might break. Drop it in five years and it might take your leg off!
        Of course, the new viruses in ten years will not just reformat your hard drive; the kids will be writing viruses to make people's computers explode in their homes!
        Doncha just love science... Personally, I'm hoping someone with a little common sense will have a talk with these educated morons and explain that just maybe, exploding computers ain't such a good idea after all. Just maybe the US Government might be more concerned with bringing its spy plane crew home alive than exploding its electronics; they could have blown the plane up with conventional explosives, or even driven the thing into the ground, but they didn't.
        When my cell phone explodes the manufacturer better hope it takes my head off, because if it doesn't I'm suing the shit out of the morons!
        Beam me up, Scotty.

Wishing without work is like fishing without bait. -- Frank Tyger