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Comment: Re:...the best photographers were older people... (Score 1) 97

by Godai (#47935265) Attached to: How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

I'm going to have to disagree with you as well :)

My brother started taking photography seriously when he was living in Japan for a year. Within a year he went from being general capable (I can take a picture and that's it) to being fairly expert. Enough that he considered briefly making a living doing photography. He credits a lot of that rapid growth to getting instant feedback. Yes, people just taking pictures willy nilly and & looking at the results by itself does not make for fast skill building. But I would suggest that for someone who is interested in the craft, it is impossible to not see that immediate feedback -- even if you still need to fire the picture up in a power editor to be 100% sure -- versus taking pictures in a black hole and not seeing the results for hours at a minimum is an incredibly faster iterative cycle.

If the same people who grew up fascinated with cameras & photography thirty years ago had the digital cameras of today when they started out, there is no doubt at all that they would have become the experts they eventually became much, much, MUCH faster.

But obviously it has to be something a person cares about and invests the time to learn. Learning about composition, aperture, exposure & white balance are all important things, but they're things you can learn about a hell of a lot faster when you can do it in the field and see theory put into practice before your very eyes.


Rob Pardo Says Farewell To Blizzard 93

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the never-forget-tempest-x3 dept.
motang (1266566) writes Rob Pardo, Blizzard employee of 17 years who has worked on Warcraft and Diablo is leaving the company. "I'm looking forward to new challenges in my career, but I will always cherish the time I spent with you all and the amazing and collaborative teams at Blizzard," Pardo said. "It was both satisfying and humbling, and it made me a better developer and a better person. I look forward to playing Blizzard games as a player for many years to come. Most important, now I have plenty of time to learn how to build a competitive Hearthstone deck."

Comment: Re:"By Mistake" (Score 1) 711

by Godai (#47155961) Attached to: Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

The family sharing thing would be very nice to have as a recently married man. I have a large music library (though probably tiny to a lot of people, big to me!) that she'd like to access and it seems silly that we can't just both be able to play from it. Ditto books, movies, etc.

That said, I fully expect that over time this kind of thing will come to everyone on every platform. Microsoft kind of dipped their feet into this during the X-Box One debacle, though what they were talking about is now irrelevant given they dropped that whole aspect of their platform. Apple adding it will speed things along, and it doesn't surprise me that they're first; I imagine this will require some licensing hoop jumping and whatever else I think of Apple, they do seem to have a lot more muscle in that department.

Comment: Re:Bjarne Stroustrup (Score 1) 636

by Godai (#47154391) Attached to: Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

It's not a distraction since developers can still use Objective-C as much as they want, and will only switch to Swift if it offers significant advantages.

I'm sure that's how it will start, but they'll lose patience eventually, and probably not all that far down the road. Our Objective-C guy here is already reading up on SWIFT despite our large Objective-C codebase, not because he thinks it'll let him improve anything but because he'll need to know it when they deep six Objective-C in a couple of years. To be fair, anyone who writes Apple software should be used to that at this point, so Apple probably knows that any of their developers with an ounce of common sense will start coming up with a plan on how to move all their stuff to SWIFT over the next few years.

Comment: Re:And how about the CRA? (Score 5, Informative) 104

by Godai (#46778929) Attached to: RCMP Arrest Canadian Teen For Heartbleed Exploit

The Montreal Gazette article covers that. They asked a computer security consultant and he said the 24-hour delay was pretty reasonable given the impact taking down the site would have on people given the timing (tax season); not so much that they waited before doing it so much as it was a reasonable time to discuss it and come to a decision. So my guess is that no one will get burned over that.

The real questions are fairly simple: when did the breach occur, and how did they know? Also, how did they know 900 SIN numbers were taken and how do they know more weren't? None of these are necessarily conspiracy-esque questions, but they're relevant. Though it sounds like the CRA may not be at liberty to say anything about some (or any) of that, having been asked by the RCMP not to while they firm up charges.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 818

by Godai (#46766507) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

I agree with you, but I think we really need something other than first-past-the-post to make it really work right. It's great that we have these parties bubbling around as you say, but it'd better if the composition of parliament looked a little more like what popular support says it should. It's a bit weird to have parties with, say, 25% popular support have less than 10% of the house, for example. Still, everytime I get annoyed with our system, I watch the Daily Show or Colbert Report and get reminded how good we actually have it.


Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes? 386

Posted by timothy
from the what-you're-billed-and-what-you-owe-aren't-identical dept.
April 15, 2014 isn't just a full moon: it's Tax Day in the U.S. That means most American adults have already submitted a tax return, or an extension request, to the IRS and -- except for a few lucky states -- to their state governments as well. I filed my (very simple) tax return online. After scanning the free options, since I live in a state -- Texas -- that does not collect personal income tax, I chose Tax Act's free services. That meant enduring a series of annoying upgrade plugs throughout the process, but I could live with that; I have no reason to think it was better or worse than TurboTax or any of the other e-Filing companies, but I liked Tax Act’s interface, and it seemed less skeevy in all those upgrade plugs than the others I glanced at. The actual process took an hour and 19 minutes once I sat down with the papers I needed. My financial life is pretty simple, though: I didn't buy or sell a house, didn't buy or sell stocks outside of a retirement account mutual fund, and didn't move from one state to another. How do you do your taxes? Do you have an argument for one or another of the online services, or any cautionary tales? Do you prefer to send in forms on paper? Do you hire an accountant? (And for readers outside the U.S., it's always interesting to hear how taxes work in other countries, too. Are there elements of the U.S. system you'd prefer, or that you're glad you don't need to deal with?)

Comment: Re:Great points! (Score 1) 156

by Godai (#46565647) Attached to: In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

I think you're right that perception is a big problem. It would be really, really helpful if there was some objective way to measure how rarely a news source gets stuff wrong. Kind of like a Golden Glove for news. If news organizations could compete for that instead of their version of "First post!", it could only be better.

Comment: Re:What's changed though? (Score 1) 156

by Godai (#46565541) Attached to: In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

I completely agree, but you missed my follow-up point. They were already doing that more or less before the Internet era sprung on them (and to be fair, the 24-hour news channel didn't help). The problem is that those that kept doing that start losing ground to those that put the horse before the cart, as you put it. And that happened because we all tuned into the "Latest breaking something-we'll-check-later" News. I'm not saying they're blameless, but we definitely have a huge heaping share of the responsibility.

And I also agree about the obvious party affiliations, but I think a lot of that falls into "Tell people what they want to hear and they'll tune in." That isn't hurting their viewership unfortunately, it's helping. Again, that's largely on us. We should probably be tuning into news sources that offer differing opinions rather than the one we agree with, because when those guys look at the numbers, we're voting with our eyeballs that we *want* political affiliation. It's a case of "we want what isn't actually good for us."

Comment: Re:The issue is not about compliance with the law (Score 4, Insightful) 94

by Godai (#46564889) Attached to: Turkish Finance Minister Defends Twitter Ban

Actually, I disagree. Compliance with the law is the heart of the problem, the question is: whose law?

While I'm no fan Turkey's repressive laws, I do wonder how what Turkey is mad about differs all that much from the US or whomever complaining about pirated content being posted in countries where that's not illegal.

If country A does something we don't agree with, it's okay for technology to circumvent that. If country B does something we don't agree with, it's not okay for technology to circumvent that. The bottom line here seems to be less about technology and more: in a globally interconnected world, how do we decide what laws get applied where? So far it largely seems to be decided by the US leaning on anyone they don't agree with. You can bet if the positions were reversed, Turkey would be leaning on the US government to discipline Twitter. This works great if its something you agree with, and less so when its something you don't (maybe copyright laws). I could say we're fortunate that its the US with the Big Stick and not someone else, but maybe we only think that because we're in the West so we tend to align with our own values? And even if this works great, what happens when someone else takes possession of the Big Stick (China maybe?). Perhaps this won't be so appealing then?

Comment: What's changed though? (Score 2) 156

by Godai (#46563555) Attached to: In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

I've often thought about what differentiates a blogger from a journalist. To suggest that there is no difference is demeaning to journalists -- and yes, I know there are lots of those are hardly worthy of the name, but to just flatly equate the two is unjust to the professional, fact-checking variety that is supposed to be the standard.

Before the rise of the internet, there was no platform for any old person to put their opinion in print (digital or otherwise) and reach a broad audience. Sure, you could print up pamphlets and hand them out on street corners, but wide distribution was gated by publishers. We've removed a lot of middlemen between content producers and content consumers, and a lot of that is probably good. But one of the benefits (and problems in some cases) was that some of those middlemen provided filtering. It's great that we no longer have that filtering in one aspect; it's allowed a lot of things that the 'powers that be' judged uninteresting and turned out not to be so. But it also means that a lot of pure noise that was filtered out is now crowding out the signal in some cases.

Part of the problem journalism faces is that in order to compete on speed, they're skipping steps. There was a time when a juicy story was held back while they triple-checked it. That happens less & less because time-to-print (or broadcast, etc.) has become the defining metric. When you're competing with someone who doesn't check anything they put up, you start to look pretty follow-the-leaders when you post after fact-checking.

So while some of this is definitely a problem for journalists, namely how to stay relevant in a world of instant publication, a lot of this is our fault too. If we were willing to wait a bit, preferring immediately accuracy instead of immediate attention grabbing, it would give those who want to do things right the breathing room to verify. So long as we're all grabbing click bait the second its available, we're screaming loud and clear to the conglomerates that run our news media that its far more important to be first than accurate.

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