Ambivalence can be the most destructive form of evil.
This is exactly right, and those kinds of geeks are not "good" geeks. They are a kind of evil themselves.
Your rocket scientist reference is both correct and a good example of that: Oppenheimer famously replied to someone asking if he was bothered by the fact that his work was being used to kill lots of innocent people and his response was that his only worry was getting them to go up. It was someone else's job to worry about where they come down.
That's pure evil, right there.
For all Its faults, the NSA is more of a flawed character than an evil one
We are what we do. The NSA is doing evil, regardless of what their intentions are.
In the context of the NSA's activities, my answer is "the fourth amendment."
I wouldn't characterize the NSA as "good guys", but ignoring that for the sake of argument...
If you really have to do general harm to listen in to the bad guys, then the solution is to give up on the notion of listening to them in that way. It makes the job harder, and that sucks for them, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
This is no different than a clerk waling up to people in different demographics and pointing out different sales that may interest them. That it is done by computer rather than a person is irrelevant.
I think it's highly relevant for a bunch of reasons, but skipping past that: I refuse to shop anywhere that is as intrusive as that. I don't want anyone walking up to me and pointing out different sales that "may interest me", whether it's by a computer or not.
How does confirming the attribute of humanity not qualify as authentication?
Because "authentication" is a term of art that specifically means "proving you are the specific person you say you are". Proving that someone is a human is not proving which specific human they are, and so it is not authentication.
As for the meters, that is just for a pilot program the real program will not use that, it will use odometer checks.
If that's true, that's a sea change from what they've been proposing since the first pilot program in 2004. Using GPS to track miles driven in-state has always been part of plan. It's not just for the testing programs. Google news archives for copious commentary and debate on this going back a decade.
However, us Oregonians who have been following this push for years know that GPS tracking of every vehicle is overtly part of the plan. This is not inference, this is consistently represented by politicians as being an essential and non-negotiable part of the whole scheme. It's also the reason people hate the idea. If they got rid of the GPS part, almost nobody would really care.
Cars are renewed every 2 years in Oregon and I suspect a lot of cars change hands during a 2 year period. Who ends up being responsible for the tax?
Just for completeness, Oregon allows for registering cars for periods longer than 2 years. 2 years is just the most common.
I don't know how titles work in Oregon, but I have to report the current odometer reading when I sell a car in California.
Oregon only requires this for cars that are 10 years old or younger.
This is my experience, too: on multiple laptops, Linux has better battery life than Windows.
As a software engineer working on a large consumer product, I can attest that every single line of code coming from our team goes through code review. It does increase short term costs a bit (but not prohibitively), but results in great net savings over the long haul as most defects are found before shipping, when code fixes are cheap. Finding and fixing the same defects after shipping is horrendously expensive and results in angry customers.
Of course, everyone focuses on the UI because its what people see
Everyone focuses on the UI because that's what gets in the way. The improvements in Windows 8 are not earth-shaking, and not nearly large enough to overcome the awfulness of the UI.
Hell, why isn't it making use of a always-visible toolbar?
Personally, I'm really glad that it isn't. Always-visible toolbars are egregiously terrible.
When a column of text is more than 80 characters (about 40em in CSS terms) wide, it becomes harder for the eye to find the start of the next line without skipping or repeating a line. That's why I've tended to set max-width: 32em on text columns. Besides, if you're on a 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 monitor, you can divide it into two 960px wide windows using the "Snap" or "Tile" feature of your window manager.
This may be true for you, but it's not for me. I hate hate hate column width limitations like this. It's even worse when in a newspaper-like format of multiple narrow columns next to each other. (So your suggestion of multiple windows is pointless to me.
What I strongly prefer is that the column which contains the articles becomes as wide as my window width allows it to be,and the text flows accordingly. Then, people such as yourself who prefer narrow columns can have them by narrowing the window, and people like myself who want them wide can have them too.