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Comment: Re:Where can I find the except clause? (Score 1) 441

by Dutch Gun (#48043075) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

The US Constitution was founded on the principle that you do, in fact, have inherent rights. "Inalienable" is the phrase used, and it's been described elsewhere as "natural rights". Whether or not a judge or the state protects those rights have no bearing on whether those rights exist for an individual. The most important thing in our society is a general understanding of these principles, because our only real protection is a general societal agreement that these rights need to be protected and defended.

In practice, unfortunately, I agree that it's little consolation to one who's rights are defined them. But I still think it's a distinction worth making. If everyone gives up and says it's hopeless, then the battle is certainly lost. As it is, it's still an ongoing struggle. Human nature being what it is, it's *always* going to be a struggle, and so we can't ever afford to give up the fight.

Comment: Re:Update to Godwin's law? (Score 1) 441

by Dutch Gun (#48042989) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

I'd posit that, as a general rule of thumb, many conservatives tend to distrust the government except for the military and law-enforcement / national security agencies. It was Reagan who quipped that the nine most terrifying words were "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Many liberals seem to have the opposite view, mostly trusting the government (or supporting a bigger role for the government in many cases, at least) except for military, security, and law enforcement.

Other than that, the big difference is in how much rage is directed at the head-of-state. There's obviously more of a tendency to directly blame the guy in charge if you're of an opposing political ideology. For those of the same ideology, you'll hear stuff about blaming "the government", "the bureaucracy" / agency in question, or the individual announcing the policy - Holder in the case.

In this particular case, I was actually surprised to see the title specifically call this out as the "Obama Administration" rather than using a more politically-neutral term. So, there are always exceptions to any generalization or rules of thumb.

Comment: Re:Antecdotes != Evidence (Score 4, Insightful) 334

by Dutch Gun (#48042565) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

I used to have to do a clean install of Windows every few years to keep things performing well, but I don't recall doing that since the switch to NT-based systems (starting with 2000 for me personally). For users that keep installing malware/adware/spyware on their systems, it seems entirely likely that they'd have to do a clean re-install to get rid of all the cruft every once in a while. Some of that stuff is pretty hard to remove, and can really cause issues with system stability and performance.

When people talk about "OS decay", they're probably dealing with systems that have either a huge amount of software churn, a lot of crapware, or very often both. It's not so much about "learning how to use Windows 7" so much as not installing free, sketchy utilities that contain system-hogging spyware. Or perhaps it's better termed "learning not to abuse your operating system". People do the same sort of nonsense with their phones - install dozens of apps that all want do stay resident for whatever reason, and then they wonder where the battery life went. Same deal - if you give people the freedom to customize their device, some people will inevitably make bad choices.

I don't know if this applies to you parents or not, but I've certainly seen plenty of cringe-inducing systems for people to know just enough to be dangerous. My parent don't know enough to really do anything of consequence on their computer other than check e-mail, surf the net, and play solitaire, so their system (Windows XP) has stayed nice and tidy for the last seven or eight years (I think) they've had that machine.

Comment: Re:Economic versus political resistance (Score 1) 805

by Dutch Gun (#48042221) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

My family owns a business in light manufacturing. When one of the workers gets a new tool set, they literally throw away the metric tools, because they're completely worthless in typical industrial use. Multiply that imperial-unit inertia by about a million small hardware-related businesses and manufacturers across the country, and you can see why no one has been eager to swallow the cost of that conversion.

I agree with you about the tooling and infrastructure issue. Go to a local home depot and check out the selection of nuts, bolts, washers, screws, pins, connectors, etc. Most of those are still in imperial units. Some people "pooh, pooh" the actual cost of a real, complete conversion from one unit system to another. Most of those people tend to neglect the actual hardware in use today, and how pervasive those units are throughout the entire US manufacturing base. It would literally cost billions of dollars in conversion costs, and in the end, all we'll end up with is a more "mathematically pure" measurement system - zero functional difference. To local businesses and firms, there is literally no benefit to the conversion in the short term - only cost. The government would literally have to mandate a change by law to kickstart this, and it would be a short-term but real hit on the US economy.

It would be great if the US could switch to metrics. Most people - educated ones at least - understand it's a saner system and is better both for internal consumption and for international interoperability. But it's not what we have, and no one currently believes the conversion is actually worth the price we'd pay. It's one of the prices the US pays for having such a large, isolated infrastructure. It's harder for us to adapt to changes in some ways because of our sheer size, and there's much less pressure externally than with smaller, individual markets. The cultural resistance is not insignificant either, but that could be overcome with time.

Probably the best way to make it happen is for the government to provide some tax benefits to companies willing to do the conversion, and allow the transition to occur a bit more naturally over time. That would help to disguise the cost (there's no free lunch there, though), and eliminate some of the grumbling, and as such, some of the political opposition. It's not enough to just label things in different but equivalent units. Until you make the internal conversions in the low-level infrastructure, all you're doing is creating more work by superficially labeling things less efficiently.

Comment: Re:Like SAS etc (Score 1) 221

by Dutch Gun (#48041717) Attached to: Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

Why are you blaming the doctors, lawyers, and bureaucrats? There's no way to universally extract data from these proprietary systems and transmit it via e-mail to someone else, and certainly not securely. It's obviously a kludge, and everyone is starting to recognize this, which is why it's generating headlines - that's a start. Fax machines will die as soon as there's no actual use for them. We're obviously not at that point yet, so it's a good thing we have these older systems in place. The current headlines are far preferable to "Doctors are unable to exchange medical records with colleagues".

Scanning and e-mailing a document is semantically *exactly the same* as faxing it, only it's likely harder for the average office worker to do. What's the point of that? The solution is to create actual digital interoperability, not simply to arbitrarily remove the *one* solution that is actually solving the current problem, however clumsily.

Comment: Re:Mars has no magnetosphere (Score 1) 493

by Dutch Gun (#48041471) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

You say "we've never managed more than season colonies" on Antarctica, which is a little unfair, since we've never *tried* to do anything other than that. There's no good reason to build a large colony in Antarctica, and as such, it's neither been proposed nor attempted.

If you're suggesting this as an alternative solution, you forget that the entire point is to create an "offsite backup" for humanity. If it's for a technological litmus test of some sort, I don't see the point, because as you point out, there are huge differences between the two environments.


Comment: Re:More Efficient (Score 1) 493

by Dutch Gun (#48041129) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Honestly, just focus on the goal of making it self-sustaining from an industrial and technological standpoint - that's the hard part. Humanity will expand by itself and naturally create plenty of genetic backup genes. Expanding our population has never been one of our problem areas.

Comment: Re:Camel = Horse designed by committee... (Score 1) 635

by Dutch Gun (#48033479) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Windows 10

MS - ditch the clown paint and hire some designers that can create an appealing interface.

It won't work. From what I can tell, the entire designer community is currently convinced that gradients, transparency, and actual buttons or menus you can see / distinguish are the devil, and everything should be either some completely flat shade of white on white, or else some hideous primary color that makes your eyes bleed.

Everywhere I look, I see formerly attractive interfaces turning flat and ugly. I was really hoping Windows 9... er 10 wouldn't keep the same horrible-looking theme, but it looks like they're sticking with it for now.

Comment: Re:Just don't update it that way. (Score 1) 203

by Dutch Gun (#48007187) Attached to: Apple Yanks iOS 8 Update

It actually crossed my mind, but man, would that be lame if it were true. A curved backplate designed for strength is patentable? Every structural engineer on the planet learns this in his first year statics course (or probably in high school). I hope to high hell it isn't patented, even though I like my HTC One, because I'd just have to cry. Prior art includes soda and beer cans.

A quick search turned up no obvious hits, but I certainly could have missed it. Every time I searched, I got a lot of hits for Apple's patents on curved rectangles and curved batteries, etc.

Comment: Re:"Photorealistic" (Score 1) 131

by Dutch Gun (#48007127) Attached to: Euclideon Teases Photorealistic Voxel-Based Game Engine

I'm a game developer, and they're claiming their engine to be suitable for game development, so I'm just evaluating it on that basis. If it works well in other domains, good for them, but I know nothing about those industries. However, game engines have a lot of *very specific* requirements in order to make them practical. At the moment, generating game assets by 3D scanning objects is simply a non-starter for all but a very specific set of games.

Polygonal-based tools and pipelines are deeply entrenched in the industry right now, and I suspect anyone who cuts against the grain is going to make it pretty hard on themselves for a very minimal visual payoff. That tends to happens to pioneering technologies, even if they later become mainstream. Just my opinion, obviously, because we haven't seen anything more than static renderings so far.

Comment: Re:Obj-C (Score 3, Informative) 314

by Dutch Gun (#48007055) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

I was recently pondering whether my game engine (written in C++) should have it's native OSX back-end / interop written in Swift or Objective-C. From what I can see, for what I need to do, Objective-C remains the clear choice, at least for now. There's a lot of good documentation on Objective-C / Cocoa, as well as lots of examples for how to interop between Objective-C and C++. I haven't even been able to determine if this is possible with Swift after searching around a bit on the net. Interop with Objective-C, yes, but that's pointless for me. I don't see Apple obsoleting or depreciating Objective-C in the near future. There's a heck of a lot of legacy code in that language, and like you mentioned, it seems like Swift wouldn't even be a proper replacement at this point for everything Objective-C can currently do.

As with pretty much any other language-choice debate, you really first need to know what someone plans to do with it before you can make a worthwhile recommendation. All languages have strengths and weaknesses, so it's foolish to point to one without even knowing what you'll be doing. The OP first wants to know about "quick and easy" for which I'd probably recommend Swift, but then wants "portability", for which I'd recommend C (for him, since he knows that - personally I use C++) with carefully walled off interfaces to the GUI frontend, but *only* if the complexity merits such treatment rather than a simple port in native code for each version. Without any more info, I can't make a better recommendation than that really.

Comment: Re:HMD is the wrong path (Score 1) 88

by Dutch Gun (#47998987) Attached to: John Carmack's Oculus Connect Keynote Probably Had Samsung Cringing

Also, make sure there there's a safe way to remove the headset without killing the player due to a high-powered radiation burst, which a brilliant but psychotic game developer has devised in order to trap players inside his revolutionary virtual online game world until they can track him down and defeat him, thus allowing everyone to finally escape and re-join the real world.

Or at least, that's what I've learned from anime.

Comment: Re:"Photorealistic" (Score 4, Informative) 131

by Dutch Gun (#47994559) Attached to: Euclideon Teases Photorealistic Voxel-Based Game Engine

This company with it's impressive-looking but completely static scenes shows up every few years. Honestly, I didn't see anything that couldn't be done in that video with any modern engine targeting high-end video hardware. It's a bit of a cheat if you only have to show the terrain. I'll be more impressed when I see a demo with physics, animation, and dynamic lighting, because that's where things tend to get tricky. They mentioned in the video that they do have animation working - I'll be curious to see how it looks in the next video.

This company seems to be trying to solve the problem of how to accurately capture and reproduce the real world, but how many games actually want to capture real-world data? If you're in the business of creating fantasy worlds of any sort - and that's precisely what most games are - there's nothing in the real world for you to scan. There's a reason no one else is working this way, I think. As far as the game industry goes, I'm guessing it will probably remain a very niche product, if it's viable at all. I just don't see them throwing away 15 year's worth of maturing polygon-based tools and technologies anytime soon.

Comment: Re:Just don't update it that way. (Score 2) 203

by Dutch Gun (#47989963) Attached to: Apple Yanks iOS 8 Update

I've noticed my HTC One - which has an aluminum frame - has a distinctly curved back to it. From the photo's I've seen, the iPhone looks like it has a fairly flat back, correct? I just tried flexing my phone a bit, and it didn't seem to give much at all. I wouldn't be too surprised if that shape was deliberately chosen to give the HTC phone extra structural rigidity?

I guess I'm not too surprised to see some issues like that with the race to make these devices lighter, thinner, AND bigger.

Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television. - David Letterman