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Comment: Two questions (Score 1) 288

by WillAffleckUW (#47950329) Attached to: Canadian Regulator Threatens To Impose New Netflix Regulation

1. Did Netflix think it could get away without offering 1/3 Canadian content in Canada in both English and French?

2. Why do they need subscriber data (unless it proves Netflix isn't addressing 1)?

It's Canada. You don't want to deal with Canadian regulators, don't do business in Canada, it's that simple (and, yes, I do have a degree in business in Canada and have run businesses and worked for them there).

Comment: Re:Non-Binding, right? -- Incorrect (Score 1) 415

by WillAffleckUW (#47947025) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

The referendum was a binding vote because it was approved by the Queen and Parliament in the confusingly titled "The Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Schedule 5) Order 2013"

For centuries, Canada was just something approved in "The British North American Act".

Not that confusing.

Canada was created in 1867, only was not considered Britain in 1947, gained independence in 1982 (yes, I know you don't know this, you're American, you probably think Canada is a state).

Comment: Re:A non-UNIX OS in a UNIX world? (Score 1) 535

by squiggleslash (#47935767) Attached to: What To Expect With Windows 9

I wish Microsoft wasn't the only one.

Part of the reason geeks love *ix is because right now the alternative is Windows, and *ix matured rather better than the odd combination of technologies (an API and application model with its roots in Windows 1.0 coupled with a nice-ish kernel with inspiration from the unholy combination of VMS and the 1980s microkernel movement) that's called Windows today.

Throughout my life I've used a variety of different platforms, though the ability to choose something different dried up in the mid-nineties as one by one the alternatives either went bankrupt or became obsolete. Some - at the time I was using them, not now - felt more comfortable, flexible, and ultimately more usable, than *ix. AmigaOS 2.04+ (especially augmented with the GCC tools) would be an example (again, NOT NOW, THEN.) Others, like VMS, were ugly, and horrendous to use or program, but they were still valuable in terms of providing wonderful ideas that, alas, we've ignored since - VMS itself had generic job queues, indexed files right in the file system, a shell that didn't blindly execute files with the same name a command you'd typed, security passed upon roles and permissions, networking built into the file system (think if you could type "cat header.html scp://otherhost/home/squiggleslash/main.html footer.html > blah.html" - that's roughly what I'm talking about), all unfortunately crippled by some clumsy design decisions and a reliance on proprietary hardware.

*ix is great, but for those who've experienced more than Unix and Windows, it's... well, it's kind of like we settled. You know that couple who knew each other at high school, and then after a 20 year absence got married at 40? And they seem OK, but you realize both are bored, and both married because they felt like they were running out of options?

That's us and *ix.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 320

by squiggleslash (#47925799) Attached to: Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

Wait, iPhones autoplay music? As in, not only did Apple push the unwanted album to phones, but they then set up the iPhone to play it at full blast whenever you were nearby, forcing you to listen to it?

If that's the case, then that has been left out of the widespread news coverage of the story, which has just concentrated on the "Being uploaded to phones that were set up to automatically download new purchases", which most of us consider a minor inconvenience, if that.

Comment: Re:Lucky them (Score 1) 156

by squiggleslash (#47925323) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

The results I get seem to be mostly people trying to come up with clever blog titles, not actually cases where someone innocently said "Well, I googled what you asked for, and Bing gave me over a gajillion results."

Indeed, I suspect there are multiple levels here. If someone tells me to "Go google something", I may use Bing in my quest to research whatever it is I've been asked to look up. OTOH, if I say "Well, I googled it, and found...", it'll generally be the case that I'm saying I actually used Google.

Comment: Re:If there was only one viable choice ... (Score 1) 156

by squiggleslash (#47925305) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

Pro-tip, which I learned recently: Google has actually a hidden (well, obscure, it's there but there's no reason you'd think it does what it does) option that means "Just give me the results using the algorithms you used back when Google was useful." Search Tools -> (All Results) : Verbatim.

No, you can't make it a default. They track that you're probably male, probably interested in tech, and that you'd be a good person to present ads for spiked leather underpants to, but they don't track that you actually want useful search engine results. Sigh.

Comment: Re:Well, if you're going to push... (Score 1) 156

by squiggleslash (#47925247) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

I'm in my forties, and I don't recall anyone ever using the term "Xerox". I've heard it used as an example of someone using a trademark generically, but not actually seen that occur in practice.

Same, BTW, goes for Kleenex. Everyone I know, since the dawn of time, has said "tissue".

Coke and Tylenol, yeah. But not Xerox or Kleenex.

Comment: Solomon has spoken... (Score 1) 186

Welp, they sure split that baby.

(No seriously. Remember, the point of Solomon's judgement was to use a decision that's bad for both sides to determine who the real winner should be in the end. Same here. I'm betting we'll see Boeing whine, delay, and run over budget while SpaceX gets down and builds some rockets, but either way, in a few years we'll see who the manned spacecraft baby really belongs to.)

Comment: "Liberal arts" is not what you think it is. (Score 1) 391

by goodmanj (#47923729) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

I'm sick of this bullshit belief that "liberal arts" refers to non-STEM majors in the humanities and social sciences, and is college in "easy mode". Quick history lesson: it's called "liberal" arts because from Roman times through the Renaissance, they were the skills that made one worthy of being a free person, as opposed to the manual skills appropriate for a slave. They included both artistic subjects like grammar, rhetoric, and logic, and scientific "arts" like astronomy and math. Of course meaning changed over the years, but today liberal arts colleges try to create well-rounded generalist thinkers, jacks of all trades and masters of at least one.

I've got a BA in physics from one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation. You might think that's a joke, but my PhD advisor at MIT didn't. I'm now a tenured professor in physics, and my college buddies do stuff like dark matter research at Livermore, software development for Google and Microsoft, etc.

Enough bragging and tech namedropping, the point is that a liberal arts education can get you an excellent technical education. Unfortunately, too many major universities offer a "liberal arts" program which *is* college easymode, intended for folks who go to college for the social scene. But getting a liberal arts at these places is like buying organic local produce from Walmart: sure, they have it, they've got everything, but it's so contrary to the philosophy of the place that you're right to be skeptical.

"Is there any place for degrees in the humanities and social sciences in tech?" Now that's a reasonable question, to which I think the answer is obviously "yes", and my friends the Latin major computer programmer and the religion major tech writer would agree. But if you think "liberal arts" can't provide a top-notch education in STEM subjects, you're not qualified to read a resume.

One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.

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