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Comment: Re:I used it decades ago (Score 2) 115

by markdavis (#49778495) Attached to: Mandriva Goes Out of Business

>"First time I ever hear of Mageia. It seems like a minor project in comparison to Mandriva..."

Not really. Most of the Mandriva user base, volunteer base, and contributors moved over to Mageia already, which accelerated the death of Mandriva. And I expect even more now.

I believe it has all the same number of packages and features of Mandriva, just completely community driven instead of by a [small] corporation. It is almost 4 years old now. The now defunct Mandriva even started using the Mageia distribution as a technical platform for their Business Server product in 2012.

Comment: Re:F/OSS reality (Score 4, Informative) 115

by markdavis (#49778423) Attached to: Mandriva Goes Out of Business

>"Strong? That's an understatement considering we're looking at +-1000 hits per day on average... compared to the 10s of thousand hits for Ubuntu"

Really? Because that is not what distrowatch shows. For last 6 months it has it listed as the 8th most watched distro and with 970 hits per day compared to Ubuntu's 1738 hits per day which is not even double.

In the last 12 months, Mageia is ranked 6th. And for the previous 12 months, Mageia was ranked 4th, with hits approaching Ubuntu. Mageia has longer release cycles, so when Mageia 5 hits, watch the current rank start to climb again.

Not that distrowatch is some type of scientific survey or anything, but it is something other than just wild rantings of an "anonymous coward".

Comment: Re:Not pointless... (Score 1) 432

by TapeCutter (#49771811) Attached to: D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker

It's not a crime to have your car parked somewhere if you have a suspended/revoked license

I don't see anyone claiming that it is a crime. What I do see is a lot of slashdotters ignoring the fact that the location of the parking spot aroused legitimate suspicion from police, likewise a pressure cooker in that location will legitimate raise their eyebrows even further.

This is how it operated in London and Paris when the IRA were being bastards. Sure, with 20/20 hindsight, an unlicensed dickhead with a dead car is not a perfect outcome, but it's a much better outcome than a false negative.

Comment: Karma is a bitch (Score 0) 432

by TapeCutter (#49771627) Attached to: D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker
Unattended, records show the (absent) owner has no license - could be stolen. Pressure cooker - improvised bombs and pressure cookers go together like ham and cheese, Boston Marathon was a recent example.

The cops did their job and rightly erred on the side of caution, the only "injustice" is the guy will not be compensated for the damage to his car, neither the cops or his insurance company are liable. OTOH, he had no license, his car should have been parked at his home where it would have aroused far less official suspicion.

Comment: Define "expert" (Score 1) 403

by TapeCutter (#49767339) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
Speculation yes, blind no. It's true that neither Musk nor Gates are AI academics/engineers, but they are both deeply involved in setting up and funding AI research, but the clincher is that they have huge wallets and have a long held personally interested in the subject. As such they almost certainly have a better grasp on AI and it's potential usest than the proverbial Joe Sixpack.

It follows that, with or without fame, they are both "experts" relative to the general population. As such their opinion ranks as an "educated guess" and is preferable to that of the majority of "Joe Sixpack's" who base their concerns on Terminator, Bender or an obscure passage from an ancient religious text. In other words, those with knowledge of what is possible today are more informed about what that may lead to tomorrow. In the same vein I have an (old fashioned 1990-ish) degree in computer science which included an AI component, I have written numerous AI toys over the last 30yrs, and recently sat through the 2010 online MIT course* for AI (just for fun). None of this means that Joe is a moron, Joe is quite likely to be an "expert" in other fields compared to you or I.

Here's the rub with "AI" (or any complex and controversial issue). Due to a messy divorce I hadn't really been paying attention to what had been going on in AI during the 2000's, it blew me away, I showed my 'wife' who happens to be a (sought after) business 'expert' who's lectures attract large audiences. She shrugged and said "The voice thing is neat, but what's the big deal, it's just looking up the answers on the internet, right?". To this day she simply does not have sufficient knowledge to recognize the problem. Just about everyone I have shown (other than fellow AI geeks) has a similar reaction. Not only don't they "get it", they don't even recognize "it" when "it" is talking to them. There's no offense intended when such an opinion is deemed "uninformed", it's actually a plea for Joe to familiarise himself with the problem before offering an opinion.

Personally, I'm not afraid of AI suddenly turning hostile, but "knowledge is power" so I am definitely concerned about what the "known behavior of the only high intelligence we've ever met" may do with such a tool/weapon. Given the track record of our species I don't think that is an unreasonable concern, in fact the last line of your post would seem to agree with it.

Now, if you actually take a few moments to (randomly) listen to what these people are saying about AI in their speeches and interviews, you may find that their concerns are not that different to yours and mine and that the "SkyNet" hype is just the MSM doing their thing to "sex up" conservative (and unoriginal) speculation about the human tendency to use tools in every endeavor, including our inhumane endeavours.

* For anyone wanting to sharpen their existing AI knowledge (and make smarter toys), I highly recommend MIT's online AI course. It took me about a month to watch and absorb all the lectures, I approached it as a "refresher" but also learnt some new tricks that were not available 25yrs ago. The guy running the show has trouble keeping his pants hitched up but he is simultaneously entertaining, intelligent, and down to earth, when I finished the series I wanted to sit down and talk "cabbages and kings" with him...

Comment: Re:Not Surprising (Score 0) 721

by ScentCone (#49767307) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment
Yeah. Except, it's the EU countries that went the austerity route that are now in the best shape, financially. And their people see that, and vote to reinforce the politicians that made that wise choice. Government largess can't make the economy grow when the government is too corrupt, and the people too indifferent (or too used to getting away with) to pay the taxes that will let the government throw around huge sums of money. "Stimulus" spending with borrowed money is right up there with sacrificing chickens or doing a magical dance when it comes to fixing what's actually wrong with places like Greece. The problem is cultural, and has been that way for decades. The Nanny State mentality is bad enough, but trying to keep it going when at the same time the entire nation plays games with tax collection so they can all lie to themselves about it is a recipe for ... contemporary Greece.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor