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Comment: Re:Design by Fisher-Price? (Score 1) 222 222

Having taken a look at the screenshots, I can't help but think of words like "garish", "cartoonish" and "Oh, dear, it looks like Rainbow Brite puked all over the screen".

I like to call it the "Fisher Price: My First Computer" syndrome. It's a pandemic on mobile devices, and has recently jumped the species barrier to desktops. Symptoms include:

- Completely flat and simple user-interface made from a small color palette
- Simple shapes comprised of 90-degree angles
- Uninspired colors and themes made up of primary colors so as not to distract from learning exercises
- Huge buttons and other user-interface targets, designed to make it easy to use by those with undeveloped eye-hand coordination
- Utter lack of gradients, transparency, translucency, or any other hints as to Z-order, which are confusing to children that haven't developed spacial awareness
- No way to perform complex actions (even if necessary) to prevent accidentally making the computing toy inoperable

Additional symptoms can be found in this article, but if you encounter any of the above I strongly suggest you discontinue use of the affected product, and find a replacement not yet affected by this crippling illness.

Comment: Re:Why doesn't Google just stop advertising malwar (Score 1) 70 70

If so, why don't they just stop hosting malware or scam sites. There are certain keywords for legitimate services or products that are always guaranteed to give top hits in malware.

There's an old saying: "Fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me... You can't get fooled again!"

After several people in my family got bitten by advertising malware, primarily due to clicking the top Google result after searching for popular open source projects such as "firefox" or "open office" or "vlc" (I literally watched as this happened to one of them), I helped them install Firefox if they didn't have it, and AdBlock+ with an auto-updating subscription. The two more tech-savvy I showed NoScript and explained how it use it.

Since then they've had next to no problems with this kind of drive-by malware. They also really love ad-free YouTube videos and a much faster annoyance-free browsing experience.

In the (distant) past I would have felt a little bad about this kind of carte blanche blocking advertising. Not anymore. It's defensive driving for the Web, and the only smart way to use it.

Comment: Re:It has this. (Score 1) 188 188

by nmb3000 (#50005325) Attached to: iPhone 6S New Feature: Force Touch

If you mean thing like side-loading just random crap, like if I were a private detective hired by your wife, and had 60 seconds of access to your iPhone, I could sideload some serious backdoor onto your phone to enable me to monitor your texts, phone calls, email, Facebook, and so on ... I'm pretty sure no one wants someone else to be able to load that kind of crap on their phones, but if you can do it, they can do it, too.

Well hey, now -- I've seen some wobbly straw men in my time, but that one might just take the cake.

The hostility Apple fans have for those who still want computers (even hand-held ones) to be general purpose computing devices that are actually owned by their owners never ceases to amaze me.

Comment: Re:Bolt is a 20k car (Score 1) 236 236

They have dealers and showrooms and distribution already set up all over the planet. If the market takes off they are MUCH better positioned to get cars made and distributed and sold and supported than a company with basically no distribution network and no dealers.

Well, maybe. On the other hand, given how much people hate car dealerships, I'm not sure having a big network of dealerships (and forcing anyone who wants to buy your product to haggle with them) is necessarily such a big advantage anymore.

Comment: Re:Windows without a SSD isn't worth it (Score 1) 507 507

by Jeremi (#50003775) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Post-Install Windows Slowdowns Inevitable?

If you are in any way in control over your corporate purchases, never *ever* buy another laptop without a SSD.

While I'm all in favor of using SSDs, note that there is also another way to skin this cat -- install as many gigabytes of RAM as you can afford. Any additional RAM not needed by applications will be used to cache previously read data from the hard drive (and to cache updated file data that needs to be written to the hard drive), so with enough RAM (and assuming you don't reboot/power-cycle very often) you won't spend that much time waiting for your hard drive anyway, no matter how slow the drive is.

Comment: Re:Mob Programming, huh? (Score 4, Insightful) 122 122

by Jeremi (#49999157) Attached to: Mob Programming: When Is 5 Heads Really Better Than 1 (or 2)?

When I hear of group-programming styles like this, I always think of a network of modern multi-gigahertz computers, all linked together over a 1980's-style 10MB/sec Ethernet LAN.

Whatever benefit the additional CPU cycles might add is more than taken away by the low throughput and high latency of the communications medium. (What is the average throughput of a spoken conversation, anyway? Maybe 1200 baud on a good day?)

Comment: Re:The Majority Still Has Follow the Constitution (Score 5, Insightful) 1052 1052

by nmb3000 (#49997491) Attached to: Supreme Court Ruling Supports Same-Sex Marriage

And again, I reiterate what I said earlier. Where do rights come from?

You're missing the whole point of what the founding fathers and the US constitution was attempting to create.

These inalienable rights "come from" nowhere. They exist innately and the constitution was written largely to express this, and to prevent laws from being created which would stifle or try to remove them. The social construct aspect applies insofar as to how to balance things when the desires or actions of one person impact the rights of another person. They certainly don't come from a god.

Even the creation of the Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments to the Constitution) was criticized by several high-profile people of the time because they were concerned that it would be interpreted as a "list of rights", and if a specific right wasn't in that list, then the People didn't have that right. A concession was the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

One of the dissenters of the Bill of Rights was Hamilton, who said, among other things:

It has been several times truly remarked, that bills of rights are in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgments of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince. [...] Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing, and as they retain every thing, they have no need of particular reservations.

One of the biggest differences between the newly created United States versus other old-world countries was this very thing. The recognition that all people have innate and inalienable rights, not bestowed by society or god or privilege or bloodline, but simply because they are a living, thinking human being.

High ideals, perhaps, and we slipped badly sometimes (slavery probably being the biggest), but every time I see people say things "gay marriage isn't listed in the Constitution" I cringe because they have such a fundamental misunderstanding of the country they live in.

Comment: Hardly Surprising (Score 5, Insightful) 178 178

by nmb3000 (#49990577) Attached to: Average Duration of Hiring Process For Software Engineers: 35 Days

This is hardly surprising:

- It seems like an unwritten rule that the tools and websites (third-party and homegrown) that business use for hiring are horrible. I have to assume they're designed to be a gauntlet so that only the most stubborn and persistent candidates make it to the end.

- Automated tools that scan resumes looking for specific things have led to people putting all sorts of crap on their resume, just in hopes of getting a foot in the door. This leads to interviews like "So it says you have a lot of experience in SQL. Can you elaborate on that?" Candidate: "Oh, yeah, I took an online class a few years ago and I did some SELECTs!"

- Most recruiters have a clear conflict of interest and some of them take a scattergun approach that interviewers need to filter through.

- Wishy-washy managers always want to wait and put off giving an offer "in case something better comes along" (I've heard that many times in post-interview discussions).

- Internal politics when there's any kind of restriction on how many open seats will be filled leads to infighting between groups, delaying an offer because nobody knows who they'd work for yet.

I could go on and on, but suffice to say that HR at most places is filled with depressing things, but the hiring process is one of the worst.

Comment: Re:But Google Code? (Score 5, Insightful) 44 44

by nmb3000 (#49990485) Attached to: Google Tests Code Repository Service

No, Google Code was project hosting, this is (effectively) just repo hosting.

The difference between project hosting and a "service to host and edit source code repositories" is a few wiki pages for a description and documentation. They closed down Google Code claiming competition and saturation from sites like GitHub and BitBucket, but now they're starting a new service that still directly competes with those?

I can only assume the primary problem with Google Code which caused its closure was the lack of "cloud" in the name.

Comment: Re:Useless without thrust (Score 1) 102 102

by Jeremi (#49985433) Attached to: Lexus Creates a Hoverboard

Well, its nice to have levitation (although it requires a very specific environment to work), but riding a hoverboard without thrust is as much fun as wind surfing without wind.

If I recall traditional skateboarding correctly, thrust is provided by pushing one foot backwards against the ground. (whether that is more or less fun that having the board itself provide the thrust depends on what you consider fun)


France, Up In Arms Over NSA Spying, Passes New Surveillance Law 80 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-wrong? dept.
An anonymous reader writes: French President Francois Hollande held an emergency meeting with top security officials to respond to WikiLeaks documents that say the NSA eavesdropped on French presidents. The documents published in Liberation and investigative website Mediapart include material that appeared to capture current president, François Hollande; the prime minister in 2012, Jean-Marc Ayrault; and former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, talking candidly about Greece's economy and relations with Germany. The Intercept reports: "Yet also today, the lower house of France's legislature, the National Assembly, passed a sweeping surveillance law. The law provides a new framework for the country's intelligence agencies to expand their surveillance activities. Opponents of the law were quick to mock the government for vigorously protesting being surveilled by one of the country's closest allies while passing a law that gives its own intelligence services vast powers with what its opponents regard as little oversight. But for those who support the new law, the new revelations of NSA spying showed the urgent need to update the tools available to France's spies."

Comment: Re:I'm spending 60% of my monthly income on rent (Score 4, Informative) 937 937

by Jeremi (#49982627) Attached to: The Vicious Circle That Is Sending Rents Spiraling Higher

The ones that do are mostly doing it because it's a legal way to keep the riff-raff from moving in and ruining your building's NPR-listening vibe with a bunch of twangy country or loud-ass hip-hop.

That's a bit uncharitable. Landlords do credit checks because if a tenant cannot (or does not) pay his rent, the landlord stands to lose thousands of dollars. It can take months to get a non-paying tenant evicted, during which time the landlord still has to make all mortgage payments, entirely out of his own pocket. Furthermore, serving a tenant with an eviction notice is no fun for either party, and a pissed-off tenant may well cause thousands of dollars of damage to the landlord's property before he leaves -- again, money that the landlord will have to pay out of his own pocket before he can put the unit back on the market.

So yes, there are really good reasons why a landlord would want to vet a potential tenant thoroughly before giving them the keys to the property. The landlord is taking a big risk every time he/she rents out a unit.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers