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Comment: This is daft (Score 2) 120

by Peter Harris (#45385513) Attached to: Twitter's Fake Followers Watching IPO Closely

There's no need to "stop" companies using fake followers. It's just an incredibly stupid idea. 10,000 real followers indicates some proportion of those people talking to their friends about you, mentioning you on other media, possibly doing crazy fan stuff on youtube. Real followers beget more real followers. That's what viral in this context implies, (although it is a creepy and unattractive term used by creepy and unattractive people.)

10,000 or a million fake followers won't do that for you. Go ahead, throw your money away if you want to pay for imaginary people to say they like you.

Comment: That's not it (Score 1) 202

by Peter Harris (#44916887) Attached to: US Killer Robot Policy: Full Speed Ahead

At the moment, it is almost impossible to get the US government to accept accountability for accidental or reckless killing by human operators of their military hardware.

When that military hardware starts killing people according to its own decision-making criteria, suddenly some very convenient accidental massacres will happen, and it will regrettably be *nobody's fault*.

Correction: if you live in the US and can vote, it will be your fault.

Comment: Re:It's natural (Score 1) 420

by Peter Harris (#44782717) Attached to: Nokia Insider On Why It Failed and Why Apple Could Be Next

You might want to run a quick thought (or paper) experiment using the probabilities for your two example strategies.

Assuming you start at #5, and iterate 5 times. Your expected position for strategy A is then #8. For B it is #7.

Just nitpicking though.You have a valid point.

Apple did very well out of being first to make a good smartphone, And despite their fall to #2 in the smartphone market, they know their customers very well, and keep them happy, so they are unlikely to slip much further until the next big unpredictable development occurs.

The big lesson here is that open source can always out-evolve proprietary in the long run. Nokia couldn't have evolved Symbian into an iOS-beating proposition using only its internal engineers. Android had a solid Linux kernel and a huge potential developer base made up of people who weren't venturing commercial success on any particular patch, so were free to innovate without personal risk. And Google themselves are risking nothing on Android's success or failure. If other phone OSs out-compete it, people are still going to be using Google to search on them.

If Firefox OS really gets started, I expect it to outstrip Windows phones and Blackberry for the same reason.

Comment: And now it can't work ever again (Score 2) 147

by Peter Harris (#44662789) Attached to: Wikipedia Can Predict Box Office Flops

Even if it was previously a reliable model, now that it is known it will be gamed relentlessly, skewing the metrics so they don't correspond to the desired indications of success any more.

It's like a company I heard of who bought 20K facebook likes and then got the grand total of 10 downloads for their mobile app. Facebook likes are a poor indicator at the best of times; we have only about 4000 gained slowly and at great labour, for a 1M download game. But when all they indicate is that you are faking the numbers, it's about as pathetic as it would be to pay people to say they like you in real life.

All this is going to do is make it harder for the wikipedia editors and reduce the real quality of information about new movies.

Comment: Re:The problem with pirating.... (Score 1) 268

God knows MS could do with something, anything, that would fuel the market share of Windows 8. But making things difficult for app developers is not it. Nothing about this encourages sales of the OS or encourages developers to write for it.

It's not like the desktop situation, where pirated Windows installs maintain an incentive to keep people from experimenting with Linux on their commodity hardware. There are no commodity tablet devices out there without an OS. If you want a low-cost one, you get an Android device. In which case you are already using Linux, and nobody in Microsoft's traditional customer base is going to go to the trouble of jailbreaking Android to install a pirated Windows 8 even if such a thing existed.

Which doesn't rule out W8 security as a cynical ploy of some kind, but I suspect it's more satisfactorily explained by simple incompetence and laziness.

Comment: Nitpick (Score 0, Insightful) 696

by Peter Harris (#40504617) Attached to: Sale of Galaxy Nexus Banned in the US

I am in full agreement with you about the absurdity and injustice of this, but capitalism doesn't mean what you think it means.

Using ownership of one resource to leverage increased power over others is exactly what capitalism is all about: the power of capital.

It's not a political or economic philosophy - it's an economic phenomenon that isn't going to go away, because it's a direct outcome of human nature.

So to limit the damage it can do to our liberty, we really need to limit the extent to which certain classes of thing can be owned. Algorithms, abstract ideas, and other products of the human mind for example.

We've already rejected the ownership of entire human beings, so this shouldn't be too controversial, right?

Also, you possibly meant *communism* was left in the history books. Socialism is alive and well, and not particularly harmful in moderation. Letting the state take care of certain things by general consent is no bad thing as long as you have a working democracy to make sure the officials of the state don't start skipping the "general consent" part.

Comment: UNACCEPTABLE in a free country (Score 1) 94

by Peter Harris (#40444827) Attached to: Jimmy Wales Calls UK Government To Halt O'Dwyer Extradition

***
You cannot protect or increase the freedoms of your citizens if you make them subject to the laws of a less free country.
***

And yes, I think it is legitimate for the people of a democracy to expect their elected representatives to defend *and increase* the freedoms of the people.

It is also legitimate to punish them when they do not.
I will be voting for Scottish independence in 2014, not because of any economic or national pride bullshit, but because I think the UK as an institution has for a long time been a danger to and an enemy of liberty, and it has earned a constitutional death sentence.

Comment: Re:Show me vs a real DB engine (Score 1) 377

Yeah, 'cause then you could compare transactions-per-second against dollars-per-month for that and other serious databases (such as PostgreSQL) and make an informed decision. Clearly they believe that decision would go against them for a significant proportion of use cases.

Actually, even if their benchmarks came out really good, the fact that they want to tell me what I can and cannot benchmark and what information I can and cannot share with my peers rules them out.

Oh, and Fuck Oracle.

Comment: Re:Can You SHow Me (Score 1) 607

by Peter Harris (#39830691) Attached to: <em>Hobbit</em> Film Underwhelms At 48 Frames Per Second

Indeed. I call bullshit on the whole idea. British TV in the 70s would have been 25fps (shown interlaced on a 50fps display) at a resolution of 625 lines. Slightly better resolution than American TV of the same era, and better colour stability (because PAL is better than NTSC) but apart from that I don't understand the comparison, or see how it relates to film.

Personally, I prefer not to be aware of the frame rate when I'm watching something. The only times I become aware of it are when the picture blurs due to panning the camera - which I utterly hate, because it breaks my immersion in the scene.

I can't see how a higher frame rate could possibly make it worse.

I doubt that anyone complained about the frame rate who didn't know it was 48fps and that films are usually 24fps. And also, they probably mis-attributed some other thing they didn't like about it to the frame-rate, because they are poseurs who think they know about film technology but don't really.

Comment: Re:I did a LOL (Score 1) 423

by Peter Harris (#39754537) Attached to: If You Resell Your Used Games, the Terrorists Win

Yes, I did as soon as I heard the next playstation would be abandoning all backward compatibility AND preventing pre-owned games from running.

It's basic economics: I will pay what the game is worth to me. If I can't trade it in, take it to a friend's house to play, or re-sell it when I'm done with it, IT IS WORTH LESS TO ME, SO I WILL PAY LESS FOR IT.

Now, I doubt the games companies will WANT to offer the games for a much lower price, so what will inevitably happen is they will sell LESS units than they currently do. Less units sold means a lower margin and lower profits. How is this meant to benefit the games industry?

And if a new console won't play my old games, or borrowed or pre-owned games, it is just another piece of consumer crap. Do Not Want.

Comment: Re:Agreed. (Score 1) 510

by Peter Harris (#39387873) Attached to: Van Rossum: Python Not Too Slow

Most runtime errors in carelessly-written Python are not TypeError. Usually it will be AttributeError or NameError.

There are good reasons why the Python compiler doesn't reject a program just because it can't *prove* that it's valid. You can always use pylint to warn you about things you might be doing wrong, and it's pretty good at it.

This is a design choice about the tools used for developing in Python, not necessarily a problem in the language itself.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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