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Comment Profit and robotics (Score 3, Interesting) 173

I'm a guy who stared up, glassy eyed (mostly because I was a kid in the middle of a serious sunstroke) as Armstrong stepped down that ladder, I had my plastic model of the Saturn V and scrapbook after scrapbook of the Apollo missions,so I guess you could call me a fan of exploration, science, engineering - all the things that had to come together for that moment to happen, but I honestly think those days are gone or at least disappearing. Two things end up driving exploration - a romantic ideal of the need to know, and the chance for someone to make a whack of cash. I think like after the "discovery" of North America, it's the investors that will drive the future of space. Nobody with any control over the sort of money this is going to cost believes that we are genuinely on the edge of destroying Earth - no "Interstellar scenario" is forthcoming - so what it will end up being is profit. Mining, most likely. As robotics advances the arguments are fewer and fewer for putting humans in harm's way. Maybe Mars will end up being on the list, my bet is the asteroid belt, though.

Comment D&D is an accounting unit of measurement (Score 1) 210

What is a movie, or a book? It's *story* - drama, comedy, tragedy, what have you. It's not the legal right to use the term "beholder" or "owlbear". This announcement should be greeted with the same anticipation as Hugh Jackman selling a high end pen(Montblanc), there's nothing inherently awful about it, but why would you assume it's tidings of anything particularly good? All D&D means is a certain guarantee of bums in seats on opening weekend, nothing more. The bean counters are squirming in their seats, nothing more.
I was holding out for Bunnies & Burrows, anyway.

Comment So what's the solution? (Score 1) 351

First off - I worked in advertising for 12 years, I've met some of the least self-confident, bullshit-spewing people in that business I've ever had to work with, and a few legitimately clever folks, too. Like any business, I suppose, but the level of emperor's new clothes syndrome reaches incredible heights. I can't watch any "behind the scenes" of an ad campaign without my gag reflex kicking in.

Also, I am one of those people, like some in the threads here, who thinks advertising "doesn't work" on me. My eye is well trained to skip over ad space and to roll skyward when I'm forced to sit through commercials (pretty much only when I go to see a movie in a theatre, which is rare). You can tell me it's all subliminal, my subconscious is being groomed to consume all you want, but in the end when I crave a cola, I pick coke because pepsi tastes like fructose mixed with old coffee grounds, not because they'd like to teach the world to sing. I do think advertising "works", however, because there are shit tons of people out there who gobble this crap up (yes, outraged parent posting your minion toy from Macdonald's saying something vaguely like "shit" on YouTube, I'm looking at you). It's Barnum and Bailey, friend, line those rubes up and take their money.

So entire economies are based on this advertising model, enough to bring countries to their knees, like it or not, so my question is: what exactly is the alternative posed by that navel-gazing article? What shall we do to stand against this outrage against humanity, supposedly somehow different than what advertisers have been doing ever since the first snake oil salesman started barking from a corner in the early morning mists of a village that would one day become Mesopotamia? It just read like a cranky old man piece with no point whatsoever, and worse, no alternatives.

Comment I'm preferring Jobs' public profile (Score 1) 1168

At least he was just a grasping, greedy meglomanical fascist, and I didn't need to hear public proclamations of his sexual orientation or just how much he was going to pooch his family in his will when he kicks off. Now this.
Honestly, you idiot, I don't care about any of your thoughts on any of these topics. You seems to think that because you're the world's most publicly rich gay man, that gives you cred. Pfft.

Comment This is about hypocritical morals (Score 1) 1081

Animals by the thousands are being killed every hour to keep the meat machine going (I eat meat), so this shouldn't be a problem. What you need to do to guarantee a simple, virtually foolproof method of execution is a variation on a single bullet to the head. Russians have been doing that for years - no suffering or lingering, just ending the life by a shredding of the centre of everything that allows what we consider a person to be aware. The end. Hanging is a leftover from older methods of torture, the electric chair was a political decision, same as the gas chamber. Those two are positively absurd as machines to end human life - one is some sort of horror show to see how much torturing you can do via overloading the nervous system and frying the body, the other a variation on suffocation - generally considered to be one of the worst ways to go. The firing squad is a formalized lottery to protect the "blame" for the death by multiplying the possibility of failure and hoping the numbers crunch out right. The guillotine is a technology update on a reasonably sound principle which worked for years as a quick termination but sadly still has some notable failures. All of these are about methods of trying to make the notion of the state killing an individual somehow more "humane" or acceptable. Hypocrisy.
Do I personally think the state should be killing people as policy? Nope. Just pointing out the obvious. One bullet to the brain will kill a person instantly.

Comment Re: Funniest headline I've seen all day (Score 1) 223

Speaking as a born and bred Canuck, you are exactly right. Within a day, two messages came forth from the powers that be: it's not illegal to spock a fiver, and this, which I would categorize as a passive aggressive mother's request that you are welcome to keep practising your trombone but I've got this headache that shoots right up and through my temples. Just wait until your father gets home!

Comment Re: I've got this (Score 1) 400

There seems to be a confusion of "freedom of speech" and the rights of a provider to decide for themselves what they wish to propagate. I certainly wouldn't suggest that anyone be "forced" to take down videos, but if a provider has a video showing someone being burned alive, if they decide that those two words are sufficient to convey the horror of the act without needing to show the act itself, I totally defend their right to withhold it. We're being assaulted on all sides by media reporting acts of violence more than ever before, and with more immediacy than history has ever seen. Beheading, lynching, torture, water boarding, all of those terrible things that humans have done to each other over it's entire history, have never been more available to see in graphic detail by so many. This used to be the lot of people who had to go fight, now the whole family can watch it. I'm not arguing for taking a step back, but I would like to point out that seeing a horrific video isn't going to suddenly open my eyes to the world's horror, and that government and media brainwashing of the masses is just as prevalent, if not moreso, than it was when I was a kid in the 70's. All they tend to do is desensitize the viewer. Blindly shrieking "freedom of speech!" doesn't make torture porn news reports more acceptable, nor does it mean that the average viewer is woefully undereducated in what is actually going on in the world.

Comment Headsets (Score 1) 420

Nothing's perfect, but it depends mightily on your line of work. I work in VFX where the age tends to be low and plugging into your music when you need to focus on your shot is extremely common. Otherwise it's more about being different from a warren of disconnected offices rather than always better or worse. I haven't worked from a sealed office in many many years and I don't miss it in the slightest. For the record, I'm not young. :-)

Comment Re:The only winning move.... (Score 3, Insightful) 435

It's evolution - either it survives or it doesn't, users will cave or they won't. MS will bring back the start menu or they won't - this can be applied to pretty much everything. So yeah, vote with your wallet, that's *all* MS cares about, like any other corporation. If there's some seriously flawed security issues in the implementation, make it public so users enjoying the service can be informed. But a "hell no we won't go... ONLINE!" flashmob? Please. Let the natural order decide and if it grinds your gears all that much best to buy an apple orchard and keep the local kids out of it - better use of your time.
I use steam all the time, a PS3 less so, I get some value from being connected, but it's nice to know if I wanted to I have offline mode with steam. MS will likely give me less choice so I probably won't invest.

Comment The mistake is assuming time is being measured (Score 1) 736

Apart from genuinely broken progress paradigms, I think users have the expectation that progress gives them a meaningful representation of 'time remaining'. That is really hard to determine, due to all the variables mentioned in this thread. I am in my xen space if I am 1. Reasonably warned ahead of time that the process might take as much as xx minutes, and 2. The indicator is actually giving me feedback that shit is happening, as opposed to "I'm stuck". Given the range of hardware and possible combinations of installed software, I don't think there's a problem at all if I get those two pieces of information.


Comment Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez (Score 1) 33

This is basically that book, using lights instead of scent detection. I think the scent angle has more promise, doesn't need LOS, but then again you're at the mercy of air currents. Oh, and we're all doomed, m'kay?

It's a fun read, btw. While the characters are formulaic, Suarez is one of those rare authors that doesn't talk down to his audience when it comes to science.

Comment Re:So fucking what? (Score 2) 349

You really think it means nothing that a CEO of a major corporation(and countless other CEOs and business leaders) do something like this? I know, not to you personally, obviously, but this is how trends and perceptions are started and propagated. The story is about how screwed RIM is, and I think this is a valid thing for them to be worried about. Sure, RIM might possibly survive as a hardcore business technology if they get their act together and focus on that rather than poorly attempting to be 'cool', but just because you're disdainful of 'shallow' features like social media(which for many businesses is increasingly critical) and whipping out your phone and showing a client an awesome new game/learning tool/organization tool and impressing the hell out of them, and also loosening up the atmosphere to boot, doesn't mean others do too. It's less about shame and more about staying current.

Comment Notice to tech gadget corporations (Score 1) 51

When I first saw ads for Paperwhite, I was sort of meh, I've been using my Transformer Prime/Razr to read books, my Kindle went to my wife. Why another gadget? This notice made me look again...and I'm betting I'll never find a reason to want to actually root it. Just the fact that root-ability is out there attracts a segment of the demographic. I'm thinking I want one of these now...

It is your destiny. - Darth Vader