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Comment: Re:Oh yes, we were (Score 1) 101

by MaWeiTao (#48027557) Attached to: California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants For Drone Surveillance

It's not really surprising at all considering that this reality is demonstrated in Europe and Asia on a daily basis. Once you accept that the government is responsible for the overarching welfare of society it's natural that they would adopt an authoritarian stance and intervene in corporate and economic affairs, all for the greater good.

That both ends of the political spectrum end up adopting similar approaches is probably inevitable. It may violate the original ideology, but bureaucracy makes it inevitable that both sides adopt the same strategy. It's how they market themselves that varies, but what they want is to secure their power base. That their decisions may or may not benefit the people is a side effect.

Comment: Re:The big question is 'why' ? (Score 3, Interesting) 330

by MaWeiTao (#47911863) Attached to: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

I'm not sure what rock you've been living under if you believe Minecraft is last week's news. I might have thought so too until I started noticing that kids are more into Minecraft than at any point in the past. I think the cultural impact of that game has thus far been underestimated.

Outside of Farmville, Candy Crush and that class of social games I've never seen a game cross gender lines like Minecraft. I can't recall every seeing a game with such widespread, universal appeal, period. Super Mario Bros doesn't even come close. Walk through any store with a Minecraft book or toy in hand and you'll have a half-dozen kids comment on it. Every boy I've met under 14 plays the game and seems to do so on a regular basis.

It's possible Minecraft is peaking, but I personally think this is uncharted territory for any game. It's on the level of a Facebook in it's ubiquity. Someone will eventually unseat both, but it won't be easy. In the meantime there's so much that can be added to Minecraft to sustain that popularity, and significant updates still come on a regular basis.

Not that Microsoft couldn't kill the game by sticking everything behind pay walls but hopefully they'll be smarter than that.

Comment: Re:Freak outbreak of common sense (Score 1) 421

by MaWeiTao (#47892215) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

I suppose in your universe cars would come without tires so that they can't force you to go with Pirelli over Michelin.

People want convenience. They don't want the pain in the ass of having to choose and then install their own OS, or worse, paying someone else to do so. I can't imagine a PC would be any cheaper without Windows, and if so, how much cheaper would it be? $20? $50? But the alternative is paying $80+ for a copy of Windows, which most consumers would inevitably buy. Many would then be forced to spend another $50-$100 to pay someone to install it.

For those who really don't want Windows, there are already countless avenues for purchasing a Windows-free machine.

Comment: Make the smartwatch a dumbphone. (Score 1) 471

by MaWeiTao (#47873237) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

It's a bit ironic that nearly all smartphones are growing, including Apple's, but everyone is jumping on this smartwatch bandwagon which features a display too small to be truly useful.

With smartwatches why even bother with a mobile phone at all? Allow it to work with a desktop, laptop or tablet for more complex functionality. When untethered give it dumbphone functionality so that the watch can at least make calls and send texts, even if they have to be dictated. I think that's well within the realm of what's feasible with current technology and then you're giving the watch some level of true value.

The fitness tracking functionality is nice, but as data shows, adherence is abysmal for Fitbits and the rest. That functionality isn't going to make non-active individuals suddenly active, and fitness freaks don't necessarily need the info. If anything, these devices typically just create more work.

Comment: Plastic Metal (Score 1) 220

by MaWeiTao (#47662997) Attached to: Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

I don't get the obsessive appeal of phones with metal shells. Every iPhone I've ever seen that's led a life case-free really shows it's age, with all kinds of scuffs and obvious wear. The wear on plastic phones is far less apparent because the scratches don't show nearly as much.

I suppose excessive wear plus for the device maker as a motivator to get consumers to upgrade on a regular basis. It certainly helps that your average stupid consumer equates cold metal with luxury.

Comment: Re:Strategic coverage (Score 1) 150

by MaWeiTao (#47601307) Attached to: Japan To Launch a Military Space Force In 2019

Regardless, visit Japan and you'd never know their economy had been stagnant for over two decades. I'd take that kind of stagnation to American "growth" any day. They may be running a huge deficit, but at least the money seems to be used more productively than it ever is in the US. I'd love to see the kinds of massive infrastructure projects they undertake introduced over here. Stimulus spending in America consists of pointless and useless beautification on some stretch of road, not a new bridge link to cut travel times by half and foster local development.

I've suspected that their economy has stagnated because Japanese companies have expanded as far as they possibly can. The only way to rekindle growth is to engage in the kind of ingenuity and risk taking which Japanese may not be capable of. I certainly don't think this is something the government can fix. It's either that or US-style cost-cutting and layoffs. Although, while that would give the illusion of growth in the short term it would also gut their core competencies.

Comment: Re:News source (Score 1) 165

by MaWeiTao (#47532885) Attached to: Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

I agree with you on everything exception your mention of Democracy Now. They definitely cover some legitimate stories and they haven't been commercialized, but they're clearly pushing a particular worldview and appealing to a certain demographic in very much the same way as Foxnews. Just because you happen to agree with that particular perspective doesn't mean that they aren't biased.

Comment: Re:What's the point (Score 3, Insightful) 353

by MaWeiTao (#47409731) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

You've posted twice about the supposed wonders of the NHS, but the reality doesn't seem to corroborate your claims. There are numerous reports about the massive financial crisis the NHS is facing. Evidently the problems are the worst they've been in a decade, resulting in significant layoffs and that 44% of hospitals will end the year in deficit. The fact that the things were bad only a decade ago seems to imply that the system has always had a problem with sustainability.

Sustainability seems to be a significant problem with socialized healthcare systems the world over. That's where the problems arise. Americans are hit with the cost of healthcare up front, Europeans pay for it indirectly via high taxes and other compromises. You'll likely be hit with a huge bill in the US, but at least if a doctor spots something of concern you'll be scheduled for tests the very next day. If they find a problem you can be in surgery the following week. In Europe you end up on waiting lists and hope things don't get worse before you get treatment. Unless you're wealthy, then you can pay for prompt care, which ironically causes the same economic divide people complain about in the US.

There are other more subtle problems I've personally observed in Europe in Asia. Doctors are overburdened and relatively underpaid. So I've found that they tend to gloss over issues and don't really spend enough time evaluating a patient's condition. These and many other problems are the sorts of things you only really start noticing when you've lived in a country for any length of time. I've noticed that immigrants to the US always complain about the cost of healthcare. Until they start noticing those subtle differences, the extra effort American doctors put into patient care, prompt treatment and a general sense that everything is handled more thoroughly.

At the end of the day, healthcare is a massively complex and expensive beast. I've yet to see an implementation that comes close to solving most critical issues.

Comment: Re:Political/Moral (Score 1) 305

by MaWeiTao (#47359929) Attached to: How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?

The problem with Occupy Wall Street was that instead of being about real and legitimate problems it turned into a bunch of self-centered brats bitching about things like college loans. Idiots stormed a Bank of America branch at one point demanding something like college loans being forgiven. If they have an issue with the cost of eduction they should have gone to the source, protest the universities themselves for their wasteful spending and exorbitant tuition. Instead, Americans have this irrational loyalty to the college they attended and are far too comfortable with the idea of credit. Just think, the very thing they were demanding, easy credit, was one of the bigger sources of economic trouble.

Comment: Re:No one will ever buy a GM product again (Score 1) 307

by MaWeiTao (#47180961) Attached to: GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

I'm pretty sure this engineer is actually a middle manager. This falls under his area of responsibility because it's not upper management's responsibility to worry about such granular details. That said, a big problem with corporate America is that middle management is not measured by actual performance and productivity. So this guy solved the problem in a way that probably looked good to the higher ups because he wasn't causing disruption. Honestly, he likely didn't care either way; all he wanted was a secure paycheck and to be out the door at 5pm sharp.

Comment: Absurd comparison. (Score 0) 433

by MaWeiTao (#47065425) Attached to: U.S. Drone Attack Strategy Against Al-Qaeda May Be Wrong

This is a ridiculous comparison to make. Corporate executives don't have to worry about a missile being lobbed into their BMW on their morning commute. Middle managers also don't have to worry about being caught up in the collateral damage.

There are legitimate arguments to be made against drone strikes, but I struggle to see how it isn't effective. Al-Qaeda clearly been forced to change the way it operates. That big open air meeting they held in Yemen, in broad daylight was their attempt to pretend that they're not intimidated. The fact that a drone strike followed the release of that video shows the reality of the situation they face. If nothing else, it brings the same level of fear to these terrorists that they inflict on their own fellow citizens.

Comment: Re:Climate change is for pussies. (Score 1) 258

by MaWeiTao (#46991503) Attached to: What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze?

I work right on the water, in a location that's indicated on that map to have experienced over 4ft of inundation. Maybe those figures actually represent deviation from normal high tide and not actually inundation. While there was indeed flooding around here it didn't exceed 12" and only affected a few waterfront areas. Go a few hundred feet and there was no flooding at all. The flooding also didn't persist for the duration of the storm, instead receding once the tide went out.

I'm not suggesting that the rising sea level isn't a problem. I'm suggesting that it isn't the urgent issue it keeps being presented as. The rise is so gradual that people will almost certain adapt long before it could turn into a critical problem. As it stands, in a few residential neighborhoods affected by flooding some have moved out and others have taken measures to defend against flooding.

This is the sort of thing we're going to see increasingly around the world, and eventually some of these spots may be completely given up to the sea. However, for the most part it's not going to occur at a frantic pace that would pose a humanitarian nightmare. People will simply adapt or move.

The problem with some aspects of trying to take action now is that it's too soon to even know how we should be responding. It's the typical nonsense I face with management. They're so frantic to get started on a project, to do anything, that we end up wasting an inordinate amount of time and money simply fixing problems caused by rushing. And in many cases the original goals go unfulfilled anyway.

Comment: Re:Memories do decay upon recall (Score 1) 426

Is it that retrieval alters the memory or your processing of the retrieved memory that alters it? That's an important distinction.

I would propose that the original memory isn't altered at all, but that new experiences and thoughts get layered on top of it. The original memory, when retrieved gets inextricably tied to all that and thus distorted. If you were able to store a memory that is unlikely to be tainted in this manner, unique smells and flavors come to mind, I imagine when it's retrieved years later it wouldn't be distorted at all.

Comment: Re:Where's Waldo? (Score 1) 126

by MaWeiTao (#46928845) Attached to: Skepticism Grows Over Claims That MH370 Lies In the Bay of Bengal

It is newsworthy, but not to the extent that is merits the constant coverage CNN has been giving it.

But it's easy to see why they're stuck on this particular story. It garners ratings but requires minimal financial and personnel commitment on CNN's part. There's nowhere to send reporters but the local harbor to pointlessly demonstrate some bit of tech. They could send reporters to Malaysia, but why bother when other news agencies are doing the real work for them? The fact that it's politically neutral is another bonus. So there's not much left but to endlessly speculate.

There are other stories that offer much more substance and are far more relevant to us. They also require a lot more work on the part of real journalists. Unfortunately, there's no room for those people because we need to pay for presenters who are borderline celebrities. That and the talking head format has gotten far too prevalent for it's own good.

Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how not to. So it is with the great programmers.