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Comment: Re:economy bullshit argument (Score 1) 164

by Tom (#47572799) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

Nice rant, but like all hyperboles, it left reality far behind in the second sentence.

I've used DOS originally, then some Windows and hated it pretty much from the start, so I switched to Linux as soon as I heard about it, I think it was 1997 or so. Do you know why I've been a Mac users for about 10 years now? Because it simply works. I don't have to spend half of my time on just maintaining the system and searching for obscure failure cases. I love my iMac and my iPhone because they allow me to focus almost all of my time on actually doing the work that I want to do.

To most people in this world, computers are a tool. Just like cars. Most people who own a car use it to get from A to B. Some people own cars so they can tinker with them on the weekend and replace parts just because they can - but they are a tiny minority.

I love that I could get a system running from scratch, compile my own kernel and base tools and so on. I've done it and it was a great experience. At the same time, I'm very happy that I don't actually have to do it. I'm tired of tinkering with the machine, I have actual work I want to get done. I have places A and B that I want to get to.

Comment: Re:economy bullshit argument (Score 1) 164

by Tom (#47572779) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

that Apple has banned some of the most profitable types of app, [...] For example alternative web browsers

Uh... because web browsers are certainly the most profitable software outside the app store. It's a real shame that all those multi-billion dollar browser makers cannot port their cash cows to iOS. Why does Apple not realize that thousands of jobs depend on the sales of web browsers?

The App Store only rewards Zynga for this behaviour.

The App Store doesn't give a fuck. Users reward Zynga by flocking to their copycat games while at the same time complaining that all games have become the same and there's no innovation anymore.

Comment: Holy crap ... (Score 2) 104

Holy crap, if that isn't the next sign of the dystopian future I don't know what is.

Private corporations getting the consulting services of the king spook of the spy agency which has tapped into the entire fucking world.

That scares the bejezzus out of me.

Because all of the secrecy of the NSA combined with the douche-baggery of corporations is straight out of a cyberpunk novel.

The surveillance state meets Wall Street. Oooh, they could privatize the NSA, that would be really profitable.

Time to stock up on Guy Fawkes masks.

Comment: Re:It's been done before... sort of (Score 1) 58

by gstoddart (#47571883) Attached to: Student Uses Oculus Rift and Kinect To Create Body Swap Illusion

Yeah, but it's not real science unless someone is wearing a shock collar...

Hmmm ... it's only science if some of the subjects can shock some of the other subjects without actually knowing who (including themselves) will get shocked.

Otherwise, I think it's just kinky adults, and the goth kids. ;-)

Comment: LOL ... (Score 1) 58

by gstoddart (#47571867) Attached to: Student Uses Oculus Rift and Kinect To Create Body Swap Illusion

those electrical stimulators mildly shock muscles to force a friend to mirror the user's movements). It's an imperfect system

LOL, what could possibly go wrong?

There's a super(hero|villain) origin story in here waiting to happen.

VR, dodgy electrical shocks, a budding young scientist, a Microsoft product ... quick, someone should sell this to Marvel. =)

Comment: it depends... (Score 1) 323

There are two kinds of people who run servers without firewalls: Nitwits and professionals.

Nitwits do it because they think they don't need a firewall and it gives them a bit more performance or whatever.

Professionals do it when they know the conditions are right to justify it and they've made a risk assessment that confirms they are right. For example you run a high-traffic server that does exactly one thing on one port and the server software is robust - a firewall wouldn't do you any good, it's just additional security in case you open a port you didn't want to or such.

Comment: economy bullshit argument (Score 1, Interesting) 164

by Tom (#47569739) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

As the economics get tighter, it becomes much harder to support the lavish treatment that developers have given apps in the past, such as full-time staffs, offices, pixel-perfect custom designs of every screen, frequent free updates, and completely different iPhone and iPad interfaces.

This is why these app developers fail where Apple succeeds. They create apps for an environment they don't get. Apple is very much about this attention to detail in everything they do, and it's a huge part of why they are successful.

The "economics get tighter" argument is a strawman. Apple users are not the kind of people who drive to a different supermarket because the tomatoes are 5 cents cheaper there.

Comment: Re:Probably going to get flamed for this (Score 4, Insightful) 393

by gstoddart (#47569235) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

Absolutely. And if only 1% of your staff is black you've got to suspect that something else is already in play...

Starting with "how many African Americans have an education in tech?".

When I went to university, I do not remember a single black person in my courses. Since then, I've known only a handful in tech.

I've known and worked with Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Sri Lankan, Nepalese, Czech, Russian, Australian, Egyptian, Pakistani, Turkish and pretty much every other nationality I can think of -- which makes for awesome company pot lucks.

And, for reasons I cannot even begin to explain, the only blacks/African Americans I've met have been what I'd call "recently African" (ie. first generation immigrants).

I have never known anybody who refused to hire a qualified black candidate. But, in my experience (which admittedly doesn't cover everything), there's simply not many applicants.

So, the question to ask is: do blacks, as a group, even go into tech? Are they self excluding from the profession? Is the education system failing to get them into it?

I don't think it's so much that people are excluding anybody, it's that you can only include people who come to the game.

Comment: Re:Have they solved liability? (Score 1) 176

by gstoddart (#47568941) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

The liability thing isn't an issue if you think about it. If the accident was caused by lack of maintenance, then its the owners fault. Otherwise its the manufactures fault.

Sure, that sounds great. It's a nice simplistic response, all neatly tied up in a bow.

But, until there is case law (or laws explicitly passed) to address this, the reality is ... you have no basis on which to make that statement.

The law is much more complex than what we here on Slashdot like to reduce it to. And until someone has passed a law, and the courts have had a chance to rule on it, I'm going on the assumption this is FAR from a resolved question.

Comment: Have they solved liability? (Score 4, Insightful) 176

by gstoddart (#47567897) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

Or is this not an issue in the UK?

Because, if it's a driverless car, I'm not taking any control or responsibility for the vehicle other than telling it my destination.

If the car can suddenly say "Oh, crap, you take over I don't know what to do" then it defeats the purpose.

If you're going to have truly driverless cars, then you need to determine who takes liability if it runs over a person. Because I'm going to be sleeping in the back seat or reading a book.

Somehow, I doubt the companies making these cars have stepped up and said they're so confident in their technology that they'll take responsibility. And someone who has disengaged themselves from the act of driving (like reading a book) can't immediately switch to being in control of the vehicle. If I have to keep tabs on it and be responsible at a moments notice, then what is the benefit at all?

Every time this comes up, it just seems like nobody has actually addressed this yet.

You want a driverless car? Make sure I can crawl into the backseat after a night at the pub and not have to worry about it. Until then, this is really advanced cruise control, but you still need to be aware the whole time.

Comment: Re:whoosh! (Score 1) 306

by gstoddart (#47567631) Attached to: Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

Oh, in that case, HTML5 +CSS3 qualifies. The more you know.

No, really. If you can implement a Turing Machine in HTML5 and CSS3 (and I mean a real one, not something which mimics it but actually doesn't do the computations) -- then what you would have would be a programming language.

I have no idea if you actually can or not with those technologies, but Turing Completensss is the measure.

If it aint Turing Complete, it's not really a programming language (or a computer).

That definition is decades old.

Comment: Re:Repeat after me... (Score 1) 306

by gstoddart (#47567549) Attached to: Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

The ML in HTML is for markup language. I think you splitting hairs if you think programming language does not include markup langauge.

If you could implement a Turing machine in it, it's a programming language. If you can't, it isn't.

SGML, the precursor to HTML and eventually XML, was written by a lawyer to allow people to mark up documents for printing and layout.

HTML most certainly is NOT a programming language in and of itself.

There are variables, no control flow, no logical operators, and nothing which is actually programming in it. It's had a bunch of other things grafted onto it (Javascript, DOM, Ajax etc) which give you the ability to program against the HTML.

But HTML is not, and never has been, a programming language.

Could they extend it to make it a programming language? Sure they could. Is it currently a programming language? Nope, it isn't.

Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced. - John Keats