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Comment: Like So Many of Humanity's Woes (Score 1) 119

by Greyfox (#47556983) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline
This one seems to be caused by a tiny percentage of assholes on both sides. Peace will never be in the assholes' best interest as it will reduce the amount of control the assholes have over their populations. Dozens of times during my lifetime peace has been within reach, only to be shattered by some asshole on one side or the other. Until such time as leaders arise on both sides who are interested and committed to a peaceful solution, this situation will not change.

Comment: No, it isn't and they don't (Score 1) 133

by jd (#47556521) Attached to: OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

The Internet is not powered by experiments on humans. Not even in the DARPA days.

No, websites do NOT experiment on users. Users may experiment on websites, if there's customization, but the rules for good design have not changed either in the past 30 years or the past 3,000. And, to judge from how humans organized carvings and paintings, not the past 30,000 either.

To say that websites experiment on people is tripe. Mouldy tripe. Websites may offer experimental views, surveys on what works, log analysis, etc, but these are statistical experiments on depersonalized aggregate data. Not people.

Experiments on people, especially without consent, is vulgar and wrong. It also doesn't help the website, because knowing what happens doesn't tell you why. Early experiments in AI are littered with extraordinarily bad results for this reason. Assuming you know why, assuming you can casually sketch in the cause merely by knowing one specific effect, is insanity.

Look, I will spell it out to these guys. Stop playing Sherlock Holmes, you only end up looking like Lestrade. Sir Conan Doyle's fictional hero used recursive subdivision, a technique Real Geeks use all the time for everything from decision trees to searching lists. Isolating single factors isn't subdivision because there isn't a single ordered space to subdivide. Scientists mask, yes, but only when dealing with single ordered spaces, and only AFTER producing a hypothesis. And if it involves research on humans, also after filling out a bloody great load of paperwork.

I flat-out refuse to use any website tainted with such puerile nonsense, insofar as I know it to have occurred. No matter how valuable that site may have been, it cannot remain valuable if it is driven by pseudoscience. There's also the matter of respect. If you don't respect me, why should I store any data with you? I can probably do better than most sites out there over a coffee break, so what's in it for me? What's so valuable that I should tolerate being second-class? It had better be damn good.

I'll take a temporary hit on what I can do, if it safeguards my absolute, unconditional control over my virtual persona. And temporary is all it would ever be. There's very little that's truly exclusive and even less that's exclusive and interesting.

The same is true of all users. We don't need any specific website, websites need us. We dictate our own limits, we dictate what safeguards are minimal, we dictate how far a site owner can go. Websites serve their users. They exist only to serve. And unlike with a certain elite class in the Dune series, that's actually true and enforceable.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 2, Insightful) 160

by gstoddart (#47556105) Attached to: Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

You know, after the Sony rootkit issue, I do kind of expect vendors to be up front about this.

Because, "hey, here's our software, oh, it might wreck your computer" is kind of a big deal.

These companies feel entitled to install all sorts of crap on your machine. But, this being EA, it's already crap.

They really should be required to tell you the extra crap they're installing, because it has the potential to really fsck up your computer.

Comment: Re:How to regulate something that is unregulateabl (Score 1) 141

by gstoddart (#47551609) Attached to: US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

Being a cryptocurrency rather than a physical one also means that they can vanish your money with the click of a button instead of having to personally visit you.

So, tell me again, how is this different from most money these days?

Anything you have on deposit is pretty much just electrons. The vast majority of 'real' money is pretty much just as virtual these days.

Comment: Re:How to regulate something that is unregulateabl (Score 2, Insightful) 141

by gstoddart (#47551369) Attached to: US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

By treating it like currency and passing laws about what you can do it?

They make not be able to regulate the entire currency, but they can certainly pass laws regarding their own people and what they are required to do.

Did anybody really think that you could simply say you have a form of currency which isn't regulated and expect governments to just say "well, they've beaten us"?

That would be a neat trick.

Comment: Sorry to lose feature phones (Score 2) 141

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47550835) Attached to: Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

I'm actually quite sad to read this. I have little interest in so-called smart phones. I have computers and tablets for running serious software and for web browsing. I don't use a lot of cloud services like those hosted by Google and Facebook, and I have little need for the kind of software that exists only as a smartphone app.

So, for many years, I have just bought a cheap and cheerful Nokia feature phone. They invariably have good battery life compared to any smartphone. They are much smaller in my pocket. They run reliably for their entire useful lifetime, without breaking or shifting everything around arbitrarily during some dramatic firmware update. They don't come with the same level of creepware that smartphones from all the major brands now do. I can buy one for next to nothing at any phone shop, without signing up to pay half my salary on a phone plan with a multi-year lock-in to the same network. And they still let me do what I actually need a phone for: pushing a couple of buttons and then talking with someone, or maybe sending the occasional text message.

I realise that smart phones rule the universe these days and I'm some sort of technological Neanderthal (aside from all the other bleeding edge tablets, computers and software I work with everyday, obviously) but I for one will miss Nokia feature phones. I guess I'll go back to hoping for a resurgent BlackBerry that at least has a business focus and therefore something resembling security and not assuming I want a Facebook icon on my home screen that can't be deleted.

Comment: Re:Every month a new battery breakthrough, but.. (Score 1) 114

by gstoddart (#47550581) Attached to: Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

Nowhere did they say they had a battery ready for market. Moron.

No, but the GPs point remains valid -- we keep hearing about all of these breakthroughs in batteries, but they don't ever actually ever seem to materialize.

It certainly seems like all of this research never actually turns into anything you can actually buy.

So either these advances aren't trickling down to consumer stuff, or companies are doing a lousy job of telling us about it. If they're not trickling down to consumers, why?

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson

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