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Comment: Re:Why Steam? Why? (Score 2, Insightful) 159

by MobyDisk (#48625493) Attached to: To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

Didn't the rouble lose like a million percent of its value...but they also don't want to alienate the Russians by raising their prices to compensate for the currency crash

Economically speaking, this would mean that valve is selling games at 1 millionth of the usual price, but still profiting off them. Profiting so much, that they are willing to make custom software changes rather than just change the price. That's surprising math to me. Sometimes I wonder why companies, especially companies selling digital goods, don't just set the price in one particular currency then let it somewhat auto-fluctuate in the other currencies according to the market. Wouldn't that be simpler for them?

Politically speaking, Russia's currency lost value because they invaded a nearby nation and they are under sanctions. It is interesting that Valve is willing to go through effort to continue to offer them games at a price they can afford.

Comment: Re:Open-source is no longer a threat to them (Score 1) 217

by MobyDisk (#48625165) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

Excellent questions. There are a few reasons, but they are indirect.

Why would they care if anyone uses .NET if it's free and cross-platform?

1) Because Azure will be the default place to deploy .NET servers, which makes them money.
2) Because .NET developers will tend to use Visual Studio, which makes them money.
3) Because Windows phone and Windows 8 and the Windows store will be the default place to deploy those apps, which makes them money.

Also, note that there have been free and cross-platform imlpementations of .NET for >10 years. It has done very little to dilute Microsoft's business.

Isn't this more of an indication that they are abandoning .NET so they don't have to keep paying to maintain it?/quote.
Open source != abandonware. And open source != free to maintain. Red Hat has not abandoned Linux, and pays quite a lot to improve and maintain it. Microsoft is moving toward the same model.

Comment: Open-source is no longer a threat to them (Score 5, Insightful) 217

by MobyDisk (#48620037) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

What has changed is that open-source is no longer a threat to Microsoft. It was a threat when Windows competed against Linux for the desktop and for the server. But today, Microsoft doesn't care about Windows and has re-invented itself: Microsoft lays its hopes on Azure.

All this open-sourcing of .NET is to entice people to use .NET and thus use Windows Azure. By eliminating the stigma of being closed and proprietary, they eliminate the #1 objection to using .NET. This openness goes both ways: not only is .NET opening, but Azure is supporting other stacks: node and LAMP for example. They don't care what tools you use anymore, they just want your hosting business.

Microsoft's new competitors are OpenStack, Amazon, and other cloud service providers. They will compete with those providers by trying to have the cloud platform that supports the most tools and the easiest process to get stuff into the cloud.

Comment: Is this technologically feasible? (Score 1) 134

by MobyDisk (#48580813) Attached to: Facebook Offers Solution To End Drunken Posts

Facebook is doing some interesting research. Is it even possible to determine, from a picture, if someone is drunk? Do you start with face recognition algorithms, and look at the face? Can the algorithm learn body language? I am skeptical on this.

Fashioning such a tool is largely about building image recognition technology that can distinguish between your drunken self and your sober self, and using a red-hot form of artificial intelligence called “deep learning”—a technology bootstrapped by LeCun and other academics—Facebook has already reached a point where it can identify your face and your friends’ faces in the photos you post to its social network, letting you more easily tag them with the right names.

Identifying one's face is not barely even AI any more. The fingerprint is based on the distance between the facial features. Yes, neural networks and things are good at finding those features, so AI is involved to some degree. Identifying some vague concept like drunkenness based on a facial recognition algorithm seems like a big step. I'll be impressed if they can do this with any reliability. I bet you could do better looking at the GPS coordinates of the picture, proximity to bars, the people in the picture, and the time of day. Maybe that is more like what they are doing, than actually judging the image itself.

P.S. This is supposed to be a tech blog. How sad is it that a story about deep learning AI yields nothing but a series of jokes about drunkenness?

+ - Once again, Baltimore police arrest a person for recording them->

Submitted by MobyDisk
MobyDisk (75490) writes "Yesterday, a woman was arrested for recording the police from her car while stopped in traffic. Ars Technica writes, "Stopped in traffic, she began filming the nearby arrest of a man...Police erased the 135-second recording from the woman's phone, but it was recovered from her cloud account according to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City lawsuit, which seeks $7 million."

Baltimore police lost a similar case against Anthony Graber in 2010 and another against Christopher Sharp in 2014. The is happening so often in Baltimore that in 2012, the US Department of Justice sent a letter to the police reminding them that they cannot stop recordings, and most certainly cannot delete them.

Local awareness of this issue is high since the the Mayor and the City Council support requiring police body cameras. The city council just passed a bill requiring them, but the mayor is delaying implementation until a task force determines how best to go about it. The country is also focused on police behavior in light of the recent cases in Ferguson and New York, the latter of which involved a citizen recording.

So the mayor, city council, police department policies, courts, and federal government are all telling police officers to stop doing this. Yet it continues to happen, and in a rather violent matter. What can people do to curb this problem?"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Keurig, meet IBM (Score 1) 270

by MobyDisk (#48575653) Attached to: Keurig 2.0 Genuine K-Cup Spoofing Vulnerability

Sounds like the HP and IBM law suits over printer cartridge lock-in.

This is *exactly* the kind of thing that the DMCA was made to prevent! Tape is a circumvention device and should be banned! (Since there was recently an article here about how the DMCA is being abused, so I'm itching for them to issue a DMCA takedown against this article so I can add it to the list of reasons to repeal the DMCA).

Comment: Unsustainable business model (Score 2) 59

by MobyDisk (#48558043) Attached to: Royal Mail Pilots 3D Printing Service

Who are the customers of this? I am skeptical of the business model for 3D printing as a service.

There are 2 kinds of people who want to 3D print:
- Makers
- Gimmick lovers

The makers won't use this service. 3 years ago every hackerspace had a 3D printer, and it was a cool reason to join up. Now, the makers just buy their own printer. The cost has gone down, and designing a 3D object is an iterative interactive process.

The gimmick lovers could use the service. There are two types of gimmicks:
- Stock gimmicks that are all the same
- Custom gimmicks

If there is significant demand for a stock gimmick, then it is cheaper and faster to mass produce the item and sell it. This is how we have done it for decades. Popular items on Thingiverse and are now sold on Amazon.

That leaves custom gimmicks and low-demand stock items for 3D printing. Does the royal mail have a system for customizing gimmicks? If not, then the pool grows yet smaller. I don't know if that customer base is big enough to be profitable. Maybe someone who wants a custom or rare gimmick can find a friend with a 3D printer. That's how it was with 2D printing back in the 80s. You always had a friend with a computer and a color dot-matrix printer, and they could make those "Happy Birthday" banners for you. I suspect that might be the way this really works.

How many places offer CNC routing as a service? That seems like the most equivalent thing to 3D printing. It has been around for decades, but I don't know of the post-office offering that service.

Comment: Haters gonna hate (Score 3, Interesting) 187

by MobyDisk (#48534005) Attached to: Microsoft Introduces<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET Core

Those who have decided MS is eternally evil will never accept .NET. But you gotta admit that Microsoft is doing this right. This isn't the Gates / Balmer company any more. It seems that Microsoft realized that the Wintel & MS Office monopolies are dead, and that the bazaar is defeating the cathedral.

Their new hope is Azure. All this open-sourcing of .NET is to entice people to use .NET and thus use Windows Azure. By eliminating the stigma of being closed and proprietary, they eliminate the #1 objection to using .NET. Note that this door is open both ways: not only is .NET opening, but Azure is supporting other stacks: node and LAMP for example. They don't care what tools you use anymore, they just want your hosting business.

Comment: Re:It will never pass and not for the reasons (Score 0) 109

by MobyDisk (#48531161) Attached to: Ron Wyden Introduces Bill To Ban FBI 'Backdoors' In Tech Products

Very wise question. Is it because the amendments are made by committees?

IMHO, this is one of the problems with the US system. The constitution grants the houses the ability to govern themselves. So while a bill requires a simple majority to pass, there are lots of other votes that must happen before the bill can even be voted upon. There are rules static when a bill can be introduced, how amendments are added, how it gets out of committee, and how it comes to the floor for vote. So in the end, a senator/representation can't just propose X and bring it up for a vote. At that point, is it really democracy any longer?

Comment: Re:Random failures (Score 1) 125

by MobyDisk (#48531107) Attached to: Consumer-Grade SSDs Survive Two Petabytes of Writes

The SSDs will have lots of regulation on-board because there are very specific voltages required to read and write to Flash memory. They should be just as reliable as USB flash drives and RAM and CPU and video cards and other electrically-sensitive things that require particular voltages to operate.

Comment: Re:Yeesh (Score 3, Interesting) 584

by MobyDisk (#48522351) Attached to: Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

Try as we do, we can't escape the reality that girls are not only physically different than boys, but as an aggregate group do lean towards certain behaviours and interests...

While that may be true, it does not fully account for the discrepancies we see in society.

I'm all for removing artificial barriers, but once they are down...

It isn't about barriers so much as it is about encouragement. Certainly, girls have access to all the same stuff boys do. But society encourages them toward different things. I didn't see this so much until I had 2 sons. Here are some examples:

- Buy a happy meal from McDonalds. They ask if you want the girl's toy or the boy's toy. The kids are being placed on a track very early.
- Watch some kids TV shows and compare:
    - The number female scientists versus male scientists.
    - Same with heroes and heroines.
    - And athletes.

My 5-year-old son recently told me that girls like cute things and boys like science. He figured this out from watching G-rated movies, TV, and commercials. I try to review what he watches, but it is inevitable! I have peers with female children didn't even buy Mega Blocks, Duplo Blocks, or Legos for their daughters. Then when the girls turn 5 they declared that the kids just weren't interested in them. BS: they got doll houses, and my little ponies, and 2 cheezy "Lego Friends" sets.

It isn't just that girls may have a proclivity toward those things. They are actively steered toward them. Only after this is fixed can we make a reasonable judgement as to what natural tendencies the sexes have. But we have a long way to go before we get there.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford

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