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Comment There's another piece (Score 1) 137

In addition to the already described points of "Black Friday" turning into "Black Week", and Amazon apps dinging us when there's a new deal we can swipe-left or swipe-right, the stores painted themselves into a bit of a corner - "up to 80% off!"...that thing that no one wants, ever. The things that are actually wanted are only 5% off. The $200 laptops...each store only gets three of them, so if you're dediated enough to be one of the first three in line, you might be lucky enough to get one, but stores stopped shipping reasonable quantities of doorbuster deals, so anyone who got up early and didn't get what they came for started saying "screw this" after the first few rounds of disappointment, finally coming to the realization that spending $20 more and having it shipped to them from Amazon was an infinitely better gamble than spending four hours freezing outside.

Black Friday used to be the day where it was possible to get actually good deals, but it got distilled until there was nothing left.

Comment Re:What if it was a bomb? (Score 1) 806

he took an off-the-shelf alarm clock, and made it look like a bomb. He did this very deliberately.

Reasonable doubt regarding motivations aside, there were a number of issues with the device being a bomb. Yes, it looked like a bomb if the only bomb you've ever seen has been from a Tom Cruise / Bruce Willis / Liam Neeson movie...but that that point, you're not qualified to determine what is and isn't a bomb. There was nothing even resembling an explosive charge in the case, and even Achmed the Dead Terrorist knows that you don't build a bomb that is required to be plugged into an electrical outlet in order to work, as you'd be rather defeated by way of unplugging the bomb.

Should the school have ignored, what could have been a bomb, because the kid was a Muslim?

No. You follow actual procedure, like "evacuating the building" and "calling a bomb diffusion team", and you treat it like it's actually got an explosive charge, none of which was done. Sure, hold the kid in the principles office (or some approximation thereof as a result of the evacuation procedure), and when the bomb squad tells you that it's absolutely not a bomb, you hand the device back to the student and say, "even though it's not a bomb, I don't want to see this in school again". THAT is how you deal with this situation - treat the device like a bomb, and then when you find out that it isn't a bomb, you treat the student like he's not in possession of a bomb. Not that hard.

What sort of litigation would there have been if it was a bomb, and the school did nothing?

Oh plenty...but the reason why they'd be lawsuited to hell and back in that case would be because they didn't follow the procedures they were supposed to follow when dealing with a bomb scare.

Now, all of that being said, even RIAA/MPAA math would have trouble coming up with $15 million in damages from the situation. A mess was made by all parties involved, these things happen, apologies were made, and I wouldn't be patently against filing a four figure lawsuit + court fees, just on principle. Lawsuits like this though are why we can't have nice things.

Comment Re: Is Windows10 a thing? (Score 1) 195

Counterargument: Macbooks aren't always $1,500. They sell units now with 128gb of storage, which fits very little - a handful of phone backups or iPhoto storage will eat that alive. 256 and 512 are obviously preferable, but one must know how much storage they will need at time of purchase, since it's not possible to upgrade later..and units with that amount of internal storage are a lot more expensive - the 1TB upgrade for a MacBook Pro is an $800 add-on. With the USB port count as low as it can go, external storage isn't much fun. You can buy a Synology or similar NAS, but that is necessitated by the storage situation on the machine. "Put it all in iCloud" is the go-to battle cry, but that cost would need to get factored in, and using iCloud at the exclusion of any other storage method means that you're at Apple's mercy to keep your data safe.
Yes, a $1,500 Macbook that holds up for five years is a better deal than a $500 Dell unit every two years...but over ten years, two $1,500 Macbooks + storage solution + de facto mandatory USB adapters + Applecare over ten years is, depending on exactly which combination of things you get, still notably more expensive than five new $500 Dell units over the same period.

Comment That's not why... (Score 1) 175

You take a 1000 page story for adults - keep 100% faithful to the original story - spread it over three episodes - and it's great.

You take a 200 page story for children - market it to adults, rewrite half of it, kludge in new characters - stretch it over three episodes - and it sucks.

Why are we looking for deeper reasons?

Comment Re:We need an excuse to outlaw encryption again? (Score 1) 145

We need an excuse to outlaw encryption again? (Score:1)
by Opportunist (166417)

I bet my rear end that no later than tomorrow we'll get to hear about how we have to outlaw telling people how to use encryption and how to avoid being tracked on the internet.

I am confident that we can rely on Cameron to not disappoint us.

Username checks out.

Comment To everyone whining about the title... (Score 4, Informative) 109

Here is the list of organizations who got the info:

Georgia Democratic Party
Georgia Republican Party
Georgia Libertarian Party
Independence Party of Georgia
Southern Party of Georgia
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Macon Telegraph
Savannah Morning News
Georgia GunOwner Magazine
Georgia Pundit
News Publishing Co.

Who is the biggest risk? Who has the least to lose and the most ideological fervor? Who is most likely simply to get hacked?

Actually, it isn't the gun nut magazine, it's the Southern Party of Georgia.

That would make an even better headline: Georgia Gives Personal Data of 6 Million Voters To Racist Lost Cause Political Party You've Never Heard Of

Comment Re:Upset about Georgia Gun Owner Magazine... (Score 0) 109

Which is more likely to abuse the information - a small magazine devoted to individual rights, or the two major political parties?

The tiny gun magazine, of course. The political parties and newspapers actually have reputations to lose.

Besides, have you ever heard how gun nuts talk?

Comment Re: Hate emojis ... (Score 1) 151

So, I guess the Chinese and Japanese have been wrong all this time, then?

Actually, yes. The amount of time wasted learning Kanji in Japanese schooling is nuts, IMO. And the affect on literacy is similarly appalling -- you can't even read a newspaper without completing secondary school, because of the need to memorise all those characters.

I'm a big fan of Japan switching over completely to hiragana. One simple phonetic alphabet for everything, anyone with a couple of years of primary school ed. can read, what's not to like? Kanji is seriously holding Japan back.

Just my two yen.

Comment Re:Hate emojis ... (Score 1) 151

Android has come with emojis as a system resource since 4.1

My phone has been stuck on 4.0.4 for years and will be stuck there forever, you insensitive so-and-so. Android - ya want a new windshield wiper, ya gotta buy a new model car.

Fixed that for you. Android -- ya want a new windshield wiper, ya gotta install it yourself. But at least it's open and free.

Comment Sure are a lot of morons in this thread (Score 5, Informative) 387

They're eating up the author's framing as if it was literally what Nye said. What he actually said was that NASCAR should reward fuel efficiency as well as speed, as it would make a more interesting engineering problem.

Besides, everybody knows that if you're not NASCAR, you're NASCDR.

Comment Re:But but but but (Score 1) 211

I agree that we are closing in on a time when perhaps people can make stuff for themselves...and in the case of software projects, we're don't have "manufacturing costs" anyway - once your software is "developed" and "tested" - you're done.

But we somehow need to pay people who are smarter (or more persistent) than we are to design those slog through the 43 failed write the code, to promote the idea...and a Kickstarter is as good a way as any to make that happen. I've paid for several Kickstarter projects where the results of the projects are given away for free whether you pledged or not...but without the pledges, the work can't happen - so in a sense that doesn't matter. - is a great example of that.

Earning money in an environment where people make their own physical objects demands a system like Kickstarter to pay for detailed design to get done.

Comment I have run 6 Kickstarters so far... (Score 1) 211

My background:

I've run 6 Kickstarters with my wife to launch and expand our family business. The first project failed to make goal because we didn't understand that Kickstarter doesn't deliver an audience. We learned and the next four similar projects succeeded spectacularly - and now we have a viable business - with zero debt and nobody owning a share of our business but us. We have lots of very happy customers, lots of expensive equipment - and around a thousand very happy supporters. We also had one attempt to diversify into a different market which failed to make goal.

Kickstarter is a very powerful thing for people like us. We were able to start with $100 and a crappy PC - and now we earn enough for one of us to give up the day job - and we'll likely grow until both of us are working it full-time.

So it's worthy of trying hard to keep it alive. It creates jobs and gets innovative products to market without the need to deal with bankers and all the horror that goes with that. It allows customers and product designers to work together. When it works, everybody wins.

But it's clear that these million dollar failures (with accusations of fraud, etc) have to stop - because they make the news and kill the entire beautiful concept of crowd-funding.

My feeling is that backers should avoid pushing too far above the "project goal" for a persons' first project. If they ask for $15,000...maybe let it ride to $25,000 - but then pledge no more. But on a second or subsequent project, when the business has succeeded at what they proposed - more or less within the estimated time - then let them earn a fortune the second time around.

Meeting goal SHOULD be enough to get a new business started...and after pushing through that first production run, we all learn a LOT. On the second time out, we know the ropes - and can be trusted with more money.

IMHO, Kickstarter should create a two-tier system - in tier #1, projects have to justify every penny they'll spend in mind-numbing detail - and they should be limited by KS themselves to 200% of that goal or $50,000 - whichever is greater.

When a project owner has successfully delivered on a tier #1 project, they should be released from probation and allowed to grow their business with either a new project - or a re-run of the previous one, but without the $$$ caps. Backers of the tier #1 project should be encouraged to leave feedback on the subsequent project without having to pledge against it.

I'd also prohibit "backer-only" updates...they allow bad projects to hide terrible news from the outside world - and muzzle their backers from commenting adversely.

    -- Steve

Comment Re:Hate emojis ... (Score 1) 151

The vast majority of this crap is just enabling third parties to track your fucking email and texts as everyone has to download the stupid things.

Android has come with emojis as a system resource since 4.1 (and I assume iOS has had them built-in for similarly as long). You don't download them (and certainly not each time ... that would be incredibly weird). You can be reassured that no bandwidth has been wasted by the world (at least, not as far as emojis are concerned). (And using them as trackers? Seriously? Most apps easily have the permissions to track their users without ever having to resort to emoji-based methods, even if emoji-tracking was even possible ...)

That said, I think that emojis are ugly, stupid and are dumbing down communication. The OED has lost any remaining credibility if it's adding emoji as words (god help us all), and it can get off my lawn.

The hardest part of climbing the ladder of success is getting through the crowd at the bottom.