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Comment: No need to overthink this (Score 5, Insightful) 223

by Jeremi (#49557801) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Google's social networking features remain marginal for the same reason all of the other social networking sites remain marginal: the value of a social networking application is proportional to the number of people who are already using it. And Facebook hit critical mass first, which means that anyone who wants to "socialize" online with all of their buddies is going to want to do that on Facebook, because that's where all of their buddies are to be found online.

Asking people to also sign up for a second social-networking service is a losing proposition, because it inconveniences them (now they have to check two sites every day) without providing any compensating benefit (why talk to their friends on site B when they could already do that on site A?).

Comment: Re:so....why? (Score 4, Informative) 94

by grcumb (#49542027) Attached to: Gen. Petraeus To Be Sentenced To Two Years Probation and Fine

We get a lot of articles here that people say don't belong on Slashdot, but I usually side with them being good articles. "Stuff that matters" and all that, personal freedoms, general interest to nerds, etc. But this one...no, I'm just not seeing it. Nothing to do with personal freedoms, nothing to do with computers, nothing to do with public policy, absolutely zero effect on any of us, even those of us in the USA. It's just political celebrity news.

Except that his indiscretions were discovered because his electronic cloak-and-dagger skills weren't what he thought they were, and that the FBI discovered this in an electronic dragnet, and that he, the director of the CIA, disclosed state secrets to his soon-to-be-jealous lover, which constitutes a greater potential breach of security than Snowden and Assange combined....

But aside from that, yeah, no relevance to the life of the average geek. None whatsoever.

Comment: Re:"Worth" (Score 1) 71

by Jeremi (#49524715) Attached to: I predict that by next Earth Day Bitcoin will ...

Bitcoin has no inherent worth. At least fiat currency, in physical form, can be burned for heat or used to clean-up after using the bathroom, or melted down and used for weights for fishing.

... and that's precisely why people turn to physical cash -- they never know when they will run out of toilet paper or kindling. No currency will ever be truly accepted unless/until it can also provide those vital services!

Comment: Re:Results may be interesting. (Score 1) 333

by Jeremi (#49522827) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

That's not what I call "release". That's move from one cage to another. Maybe a bigger cage, but it's still a cage. Not freedom.

They wouldn't survive in the wild, so leaving them in the wild wouldn't be freedom either, it would be a death sentence.

That doesn't mean that putting them in a humane environment isn't the right thing to do. Keeping an animal in a 4x4 wire cage for its entire life is cruel. The distinction you're trying to make (an abstract idea of "complete freedom") isn't relevant and would be meaningless to the chimp; what's relevant is the chimpanzee's quality of life.

Comment: Re:Necessary step (Score 1) 333

by Jeremi (#49520319) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

What we've learned from our history is the stronger power typically enslaves the weaker, why would you think non-terrestrial intelligence wouldn't enslave us?

Historically there has been an economic advantage to enslaving people; if you enslaved someone you could get them to do work for you, so you didn't have to do the work yourself.

A non-terrestrial intelligence, contrariwise, would either not be present on Earth (in which case it wouldn't have the ability to enslave anyone on Earth), or if it did get to Earth, it did so by harnessing enough energy to make the trip across interstellar space. Any species capable of harnessing that much energy on its own is unlikely to need to enslave anyone to get its work done. It would be like you or I 'enslaving' a hamster to generate electrical power for our house -- there's not enough benefit to make it worth the effort of doing.

Comment: Re:Matlab (Score 1) 175

by Jeremi (#49516469) Attached to: Swift Tops List of Most-Loved Languages and Tech

there has to be a good reason for it, and making it easier for bad programmers to produce more bad code is not a valid one.

If all you've got is bad programmers, and their bad code is nevertheless good enough to accomplish the tasks you need to get done, then a tool that allows bad programmers to produce more bad code may be just the thing you need. (of course some would argue that that niche is already filled by Java, but time will tell)

Comment: Re:ISTR hearing something about that... (Score 1) 159

by Jeremi (#49515815) Attached to: New PCIe SSDs Load Games, Apps As Fast As Old SATA Drives

it actually caused a bug that would crash the system

It would be more accurate to say it revealed a bug. The bug was almost certainly a race condition that had always been present, but it took particular entry conditions (such as an unusually fast I/O device that the transcoder developers never tested against) to provoke the bug into causing a user-detectable failure.

Comment: That's odd... (Score 1) 294

by Alsee (#49478069) Attached to: Denver TSA Screeners Manipulated System In Order To Grope Men's Genitals

indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.

That's odd, when I went through the screening and they mis-entered me into the scanner as female, it didn't report any anomaly.

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