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Comment: Re:HUH (Score 1) 341 341

All kidding aside, 40 years from now we'll still be driving our own cars because programmers won't be able to help a car decide if it is allowed to avoid a collision that will kill a driver by swerving onto a sidewalk and killing two pedestrians.

Self-driving cars won't even attempt to make decisions like that. If faced with a no-win situation, they'll default to trying to stop as quickly and safely as possible. If that still results in a crash, the car's black box should contain enough sensor data to prove that the crash was either a freak of nature (mechanical failure, etc.) or someone else's fault.

Comment: Re:Finaly. (Score 1) 225 225

Without Flash, what's the preferred way to deploy vector animations of the sort seen on Homestar Runner, Weebl's Stuff, Newgrounds, Dagobah, and Albino Blacksheep, without bloating them by a factor of 10 by rendering them to WebM?

Animated SVG for the simpler stuff, HTML5 canvas with JavaScript for more complicated animations.

Comment: Re: The only way MS gets more apps in their store (Score 1) 192 192

The problem though is going to be corporate customers. The ones with thousands of desktop systems that do pay. Big corps tend to be conservative about IT upgrades, and by giving Windows away MS would be sacrificing that revenue stream. They're probably reluctant to do that.

Of course, they could just drop the price of the Home Edition (or whatever they're calling it today) to zero and charge for the Pro one. But then they need to make the home edition good enough to be useful, but not so good that business would be happy using it. That's not compromise that's worked well for them in the past.

Actually, it's quite straightforward: the Pro edition can join domains, while the Home edition can't. This by itself will work quite well as a differentiator. Big businesses aren't going to give up Active Directory and Group Policy to save a few bucks on license fees, while home uisers (and some small businesses) won't give a damn.

Comment: Re:Desparate Microsoft pulls a "Sun Microsystems" (Score 1) 525 525

I'll agree that I haven't seen very much Qt out in industry, but I haven't seen much .NET either.

Maybe you haven't been looking very hard? The job listings I see are about 40% .NET and 40% Java. Nothing else comes close.

Comment: Awesome (Score 2) 525 525

This is very good news. ASP.NET is a great web development platform, far superior to the atrocious hack that is PHP. The only reason so far why PHP has predominated is licensing costs: until now, you needed a Windows Server to do ASP.NET properly (or else resort to unsupported hacks like Mono), whereas PHP is free. Now that the playing field is about to become more level, hopefully it will be the beginning of the end for PHP.

Comment: Re:Tempting (Score 1) 181 181

Would a 'friendly community' welcome a new boss who supported banning inter-racial marriage? No, and the oh but it's just a personal view nonsense wouldn't fly there either.

What you're overlooking is that Proposition 8 passed. You're not talking about blacklisting people for views way outside the Overton Window. You're talking about blacklisting people for taking part in an active political controversy where you don't like their position.

Comment: Re:Okay then (Score 2) 99 99

According to an Oct. 1, 2013, report prepared for Home Depot by consultant FishNet Security, the retailer left its computers vulnerable by switching off Symantecâ(TM)s Network Threat Protection (NTP) firewall in favor of one packaged with Windows.

No enterprise installation should ever be relying on individual client firewall software for network security. At best, that should be a second line of defense. It is the job of the perimeter firewall to handle these kind of threats.

Comment: Re:Getting trolled (Score 1) 716 716

A week from now if someone does follow through on the threats is it still a joke? Seriously, sometimes threats do get carried out.

When was the last time an Internet threat by a stranger was actually carried out in meatspace?

Note that I'm not including cases where the victim already knew the perpetrator in the real world and the threat just happened to take place on an online service, nor am I counting instances where the entire crime took place online, such as DoS attacks or stealing personal information. I'm talking about some guy on the Internet making a threat of committing violence against someone they don't already have a personal real-life acquaintance with, and then actually carrying it out. Has this ever happened? If not, why shouldn't all such threats be disregarded as meaningless and empty?

Comment: Re:Getting trolled (Score 2) 716 716

Death threats are illegal, they don't become legal because they're On The Internet any more than an old technology should become patentable because it's done On The Internet.

The legality of death threats is actually not a cut-and-dried issue. This article discusses various U.S. court cases related to death threats, and what criteria the courts use to determine whether they are protected free speech or not.

I suspect that a death threat accompanied by "doxxing" would be considered more serious than an isolated threat out of the blue in a chat room, since posting personal information would make it more likely that "a reasonable listener would understand [it] as an actual threat of violence" and not just rhetoric. But I'm not a lawyer, so I can't be certain of this. Of course, it goes without saying that the safest (and most ethical) course of conduct is not to issue any death threats at all.

Comment: Re:In bankruptcy, information is an asset (Score 2) 167 167

And no matter what the charter is, if they are liquidated the court will sell all of your data to the highest bidder to pay off creditors.

That is true if the user data is considered part of the bankruptcy estate. But that won't necessarily be the case. Under US law, everyone automatically has copyright for anything they write or compose. If the primary concern is to protect user privacy, the user agreement for the site could stipulate that users retain copyright to all their data, and the site has a nonexclusive, nontransferrable license to use that data so long as they adhere to the privacy terms. In the case of bankruptcy, the only "asset" would be the nontransferrable license – not the data itself, which would still belong to the end users.

I expect issues like this to come up once a few mid-size or large cloud providers go broke. I don't think the courts are going to allow the creditors to seize data assets belonging to customers in these instances.

Comment: Re:PowerPoint on a Server? (Score 2) 114 114

If your process involves generating Office, documents, it's generally the easiest way. The server automation tools for generation of Office documents are basically scripts and wrappers around.... Office. So if you want to generate some report that spits out an Excel file at the end, you can bet it was generated in Excel the first time around because the reporting tool actually called Excel to fill in the fields.

This may have been correct 5 to 10 years ago, but you should never do this in a modern installation if you can possibly help it. Microsoft's official position is that "Microsoft does not recommend or support server-side Automation of Office."

You should be using the Open XML SDK to create Office documents in your web application. The default classes and methods are somewhat opaque, but fortunately, there are a lot of helper toolkits that run on top of OOXML SDK to make things much easier. I used Simple OOXML, which hasn't been updated for a while and has limited documentation, but works pretty well, and is free. These solutions are not only much more robust in a server-side situation, but you don't have to devote an Office license to the server.

Comment: What about embedded systems? (Score 1) 700 700

This is going to be a real problem with embedded systems. At my last workplace, we had coin/bill vending units hooked up to PCs, which were connected using a FTDI serial-to-USB connection. I think the chip was legit – but how would I be able to tell? We purchased these vending units from a manufacturer, which in turn, I'm sure, bought the serial-to-USB chips (or even pre-made boards) from another vendor. What if that other vendor used clone chips without telling anyone?

And yes, we did occasionally install FTDI driver updates on these. If one of these units were to be bricked, FTDI is going to be open to some very substantial lawsuits. Arguing "unclean hands" won't work when the people getting hurt are about four steps removed from any actual culpability.

Comment: Re:The good news (Score 1) 700 700

Not going to happen, the same way that it didn't happen when DirectTV (or dish, whoever) bricked all of those pirate hardware years ago

No claims were made in that case because anyone who came forward would have to admit committing a federal crime. In contrast, there are plenty of ways that someone could wind up with a bricked device that they had no knowledge was not authentic, and could not reasonably have known.

Comment: Re:fuck ribbons (Score 1) 347 347

I actually like the Ribbon in Office, because the Office apps have so many features that regular menus/toolbars hinder discoverability. (I suppose I might feel differently if I had invested a lot of time into memorizing the Office 2003 menus, but I didn't.) On most other applications, Ribbon is overkill, taking up too much space (and vertical space is especially precious on widescreens).