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Comment Re:The people asked for Circuses... (Score 1) 485

Take for example TNG or Voyager. Basically their best work was season 1/2 and the last season. Why? In the first season they were trying it out. Seeing what was cool. The middle seasons are meandering and rather boring. The last seasons though it was more 'screw it we are not getting renewed lets do something interesting'

With Voyager's first two seaons, to me it felt like they were trying it out but never finding a good foundation for the rest of the series. There was only one really memorable character (the doctor) and the antagonists (Kazons) were uninspired. So in season 3/4 they gave the doctor more screen time, brought in the Borg and added a new character (Seven of Nine). You could call that pandering to their audience, but it did improve things a bit in my opinion.

Still, for me Voyager had a good premise but failed to do much with it. Perhaps because they went to one-off episodes pretty quickly, while the "in hostile space a long way from home" theme would have worked better with more continuity. Compare it to for example the first two seasons of the Battlestar Galactica reboot: even a simple detail like the population counter they show every episode does a lot to reenforce that theme.

Speaking of the Battlestar Galactica reboot, there the first two seasons are also the best, but my guess is that's for exactly the opposite reason as the one you named: in the first seasons it feels like they knew exactly what they were doing, while in later seasons they were trying things out and losing focus. I wouldn't be surprised if they started filming with 2 seasons of fleshed out scripts and had to write the rest as the series was already running..

Comment Re:Any Task Quickly... (Score 1) 354

A fresh install was pretty quick, but it would slow down a lot over time as you installed applications which added DLLs, registry entries, fonts etc. And uninstalling an application usually didn't remove everything, so the only way to make Windows 95 quick again was reinstalling the whole OS.

Comment Re:In the US. (Score 1) 904

Again, this works in the US with big suburbs where everyone has a parking lot with an electric outlet. In other countries (like good old Europe), where most people live in apartments and there is just no way you can plug your car at night, it doesn't work. It is just impossible until you can refill your car in 5 minutes like with gasoline...

There is no requirement to have a garage or driveway next to the house: charging stations can be built next to residential parking spots. And in some countries that is subsidized. I've seen several in the city I live in.

Oh, and many Europeans travel 1000+km on a single streak with their cars on holidays. Again, if the cars you want to sell have to wait 2 times 4 hours to refill in such travel, you're not going to sell many of them.

Some people do, but others always take a flight to their holiday destination. There are also families with two cars, they could have one gasoline car for long trips and one electric car for short distance travel.

Someone I know made a long holiday trip with a limited range electric car by spreading the travel out over a few days. It allows for some sight seeing along the way and it is less stressful than a long trip on a single day. It's a different way of travelling but it's not inferior if you're not in a hurry. It does require more planning, but with the internet at your fingertips that is easier than ever before.

In any case, the question is not whether the electric car will be the best choice for everyone. The question is how many people will pick an electric car and how that will affect the availability of infrastructure for both electric and gas.

Comment Re:GitHub TOS (Score 2) 312

Article G7 of the GitHub ToS reads:

We may, but have no obligation to, remove Content and Accounts containing Content that we determine in our sole discretion are unlawful, offensive, threatening, libelous, defamatory, pornographic, obscene or otherwise objectionable or violates any party's intellectual property or these Terms of Service.

GitHub could decide to remove the project as "offensive" or "objectionable", which are pretty generic words.

However, the code itself is entirely neutral: it just requests API access via OAuth. It is the potential use by web sites that could be undesired. I think shutting down the GitHub project would be shooting the messenger.

For me personally, the most shocking aspect of this news is that 23andMe has an API for third parties to access your DNA profile.

Comment Re:Somebody had to write it (Score 1) 312

A sensible government would create its own authentication infrastructure instead of relying on an external platform. Unfortunately, the UK government hasn't displayed a lot of sense lately when it comes to privacy.

As someone without a Facebook account, I know it can be problematic when people and other companies just assume you'll have no problem giving up privacy for a little convenience. I think though that a genetic profile is considered more private to many people than their chats and photos, so they'll be less likely to hand it over just as easily. For example the sharing of electronic medical data is something that generated a lot of resistance here in the Netherlands.

In any case, trying to stop this at the technology level is a lost cause, since it is just too easy to write the code. If you'd want to stop it with regulation, you'd have to do it at the policy level: forbid sites to use it. But looking at ineffective half-measures like the EU cookie directive, I have more confidence in end users rejecting genetic access control than in legislation blocking it.

Comment Modern tech for outdated concept? (Score 2) 312

The correlation between genes and culture is becoming weaker in the modern world. People have far more interaction than before with people from other backgrounds since travel is easier, many people live in large cities and people communicate online. Therefore, to guard access to an online community based on genetics seems like the wrong solution, since a superficial genetic profile will not predict how well an individual will fit into a community.

Comment Re:Somebody had to write it (Score 4, Insightful) 312

I think the author, using the "offensive-computing" nick, knew very well that this would trigger a discussion and that's probably the reason this project was created in the first place.

For this to work, there are two required components: code and data. The code has already been created and if it hadn't been, implementing OAUTH and using a REST API is within the scope of many developers' skills. So the route to avoiding abuse of this technology is by restricting access to the data. Simply put, don't give any web site access to your genetic data.

Comment Re:Can finally make that multi-million$ game on Li (Score 4, Informative) 57

releasing on Linux as an additional platform can be worth it if the extra effort to support Linux is small enough.

Why? So you can spend a fortune porting it, only to be hit with:

If the engine already supports Linux, porting the game won't cost a fortune.

a) the fact that most Linux users are cheapskates and rarely pay for software

The sales stats from the Humble Bundles suggest that Linux users do in fact pay for games.

b) the complaints that it only works on X and Y distros, as opposed to the thousands of others

Games typically ship with their own versions of all the libraries they need, so they don't depend on the way a distro packages libraries. In any case, this is something that would be handled in the engine, so it's not a burden for the game developer.

c) the stupid-ass Stallman hippies who complain that it isn't open-source

Any game developer that can't deal with people complaining won't stay sane long...
Besides, real Stallman followers don't use the term "open source" ;)

Comment Re:I love this story. (Score 1) 361

Maybe if you explain what you think 'alternative rock' is, I may be able to identify with some of your taste.

In the 90's 'alternative rock' was the term used for several genres that were not quite mainstream but still had a large following (*). The most recognisable would be grunge with bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, but also rock bands with a somewhat similar sound like Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. Compared to 80's rock, 'alternative rock' was more minimal and less polished.

(*) The cynical description would be music marketed to the masses that desperately didn't want to be part of the masses. But that's more of a reflection on teenagers and marketing than on the music itself.

Comment Re:Philosophy (Score 1) 152

The more I think about the article, the less sense it makes.

Data accuracy and completeness are of course important issues, but if you're going to add measures to improve data quality, that should be done when acquiring and processing the data, not when presenting it. So an app sounds like the wrong place to start worrying about the integrity of the data.

Doing statistics properly is not easy: it's not an intuitive subject and it requires a good mathematical background, a lot of care and some common sense. Here at least the article has a concrete proposal: a review and sign off process. Whether that actually helps depends on the quality of the review: does the reviewer master statistics and is there enough time budgetted to do a thorough review?

I have some doubts about painting data presentation as an ethical issue. While I completely agree that clarity is more important than prettyness, overly flashy presentation is far from the only reason why data might be misinterpreted. Perhaps the app developer doesn't understand the domain well enough; hands-on testing with end users would help in that case. Perhaps the end user doesn't understand the data or the processes the data comes from well enough to be able to interpret it accurately no matter how the app presents it. Perhaps the data is so complex that it is not possible to present it accurately in an app format.

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall