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Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 344 344

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 344 344

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment Re:At least they are trying to solve the problem (Score 2) 212 212

The headline, I think, is the worst part; the choice of "doesn't" (vs. "can't") sets up the expectation that MS is refusing to hire qualified women. Perhaps that's true on some level, but it's certainly not the story...

Microsoft Uses US Women's Soccer Team To Explain Why It Doesn't Hire More Women 212 212

theodp writes: "It is not surprising that the U.S. women have been dominant in the sport [of soccer] in recent years. The explanation for that success lies in the talent pipeline," writes General Manager of Citizenship & Public Affairs Lori Forte Harnick on The Official Microsoft Blog. "Said another way, many girls in the U.S. have the opportunity to learn how to play soccer and, as a result, they benefit from the teamwork, skill development and fun involved. That's the kind of opportunity I would like to see develop for the technology sector, which presents a different, yet perhaps even more significant, set of opportunities for girls and young women. Unfortunately, the strength in the talent pipeline that we see in female soccer today is not the reality for technology. The U.S. is facing a shortage of Computer Science (CS) graduates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every year there are close to 140,000 jobs requiring a CS degree, but only 40,000 U.S. college graduates major in CS, which means that 100,000 positions go unfilled by domestic talent." Going with the soccer analogy, one thing FIFA realized that Microsoft didn't is that if you want girls to play your sport, you don't take away their ball!

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 2) 549 549

The car behind you speeds up, overtakes you, fills up the gap and awaits next opportunity to overtake the car that previously was in front of you. Meanwhile, you slip back to keep your distance, only to have the procedure repeat it self.

The process you are talking about happens to me all the time. Don't really see what the issue is. Let them rear-end somebody if they want to. Getting overtaken by a few people in a hurry never cost me any real time. In fact, I frequently see the overtakers at the same stop light I'm at once we both get off the freeway.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549 549

Well said! I think it's a shame they call things "accidents" when it's something like running a red light or speeding. That's just bad driving. But something like falling debris or frolicking wildlife? Pretty fair to call that an accident. In all of the cases I can think of, I would rather have a Google car respond than my own feeble driving abilities. Not to mention, they have superior threat detection.

Comment Re:I believe it was Mark Twain who said... (Score 1) 339 339

Unfortunately, this is not actually the case. Memories are fallible. You have to remember what you did or said, or what opinions you had at the time. Numerous studies have shown that it is trivial to make people remember details in a different way than what really occurred. How many people have heard stories from their childhood so often that they can't remember what is actual memory, and what is reconstructed from the story? I have a hard time remembering which of my siblings did stuff, or which of my friends told me a story. Hell, I've even forgotten an entire day (no drugs involved, honest).

Once I went on a trip with some friends and was excessively tired due to long work schedules. We had a great time hanging out at the lake and jet-skiing. A few years later, I went jet-skiing with the same friends. They were confused when I said I had never been jet-skiing before, and I had no idea how to operate the thing. They said, not only had I been jet-skiing, but that I was quite good at it. To this day, I have no recollection of the first outing. But I accept it as the truth, because they all said it happened. This was in the days before ubiquitous cell phones and digital cameras, and nobody would have brought a camera jet-skiing. So it's their word against mine, and I have to side with them.

Comment Re:Dramatic much? (Score 1) 339 339

I say not paying property tax can result in death because it reduces the cash flow to schools, thus reducing the quality of education, thus reducing the number of well-educated doctors, thus reducing people's access to quality healthcare, leading to worse health outcomes, including death. See! That was easy!

Comment Re:And my wife Morgan Fairchild... (Score 2) 339 339

There have been studies showing that humans are not alone, when it comes to the fine art of deception. Certain birds, mammals, and even fish have been known to use some form of deception to improve their situation. One of my favorites is the cuttlefish, which can show flashy male mating patterns on one side of the body, but leave the other side (facing potential competitors) dull and uninteresting.

As far as humans go, I imagine it's part learned and part innate. I have a four-year-old who lies all the time about stupid things that don't carry a negative consequence. Yet she's perfectly honest when I ask her whether she colored on her wall again.

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.