Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Comment Re:Looking forwards (Score 1) 181

"don't see a meaningful difference between steroid-use and nutritionally-balanced breakfasts"

There is. A balanced diet doesn't provide abnormal body mass.

It can also be somewhat quantified with statistical analysis of MLB.

What's "normal"? To me it doesn't matter if the chemicals going into your body are stirred up at a Kellog's cereal plant or a Dow lab. Why it's okay to drink specially engineered shakes but not to shoot up HGH I simply don't know.

Comment Re:Looking forwards (Score 1) 181

My issue with this stuff is it's all so arbitrary.

You mean it seems arbitrary to you.

However, like many people, it may be that you think when somebody makes a decision you don't agree with, or don't properly understand that it must be arbitrary.

This may not be the case.

Don't tell me what I mean. I meant what I said. Unless you can demonstrate that I'm wrong, simply saying "you don't know stuff" isn't a meaningful rebuttal.

Comment Re:Looking forwards (Score 5, Interesting) 181

I find it hard to decide whether banning human assistive technology in sport is a good thing.

My issue with this stuff is it's all so arbitrary. Hockey players aren't forced to use sticks improvised from re-used household materials. Tennis rackets aren't reduced to whatever hardcover books the players can find laying around. Swimmers aren't required to don industry-standard street-wear.

No. Organized sports allow their participants and technology to optimize... until suddenly they don't.

The argument is usually "we want a level playing field", but that's still rubbish. Somali kids don't have access to the carbon-fiber gear kids in the US have. Even access to health-care and nutrition isn't balanced world-wide. When athletes are required to be raised from infants on the borderline-sufficient foods that some people live on, then we can call things "fair". Until then, I don't see a meaningful difference between steroid-use and nutritionally-balanced breakfasts, between cutting-edge broom-heads and custom-fit swimsuits.

These gentleman's agreements are bunk, making the very idea of sports competitions a joke. These are not the best of the best, they're the best of what they feel like allowing - for now.

Comment Re:.NET 5 is just what we need. (Score 1) 158

You really have that many problems with that? I never even notice that there are .NET updates.

I wouldn't necessarily say "problem", Anecdotal Coward. I'd reserve "problem" for things that prevent function and require resolution. This is an annoyance, requiring nothing more than the investment of time.

The annoyance stems from that in the SMB market, where there are a lot of factors that interfere with best-practices (meaning I understand how to do things right but sometimes can't), I can't always (successfully) arrange for server patching every month, and I can't always arrange for automatic patching. As such, we have several machines ranging from Windows Pro machines acting as P2P file sharing "servers" on tiny four-user networks to small servers that have odd uptime schedule requirements that preclude use of WSUS for patch management. Point is, I've got machines that for various reasons I need to patch manually, say every three months. It's annoying to see a list of around 40 patches, and six of them are .NET, and I know that the other 34 will apply in under 60 seconds each, while those six will each kill off five minutes of my life.

Sure, I can often alt-tab out and do something else at the same time. Doesn't change that it's annoying. It's just annoying in the same sense that the Adobe-Reader-of-the-week is annoying when it requires local admin rights to install. If you can't justify centralized patch management software, or can't use Group Policy to publish them, it's annoying.

Comment Re:.NET 5 is just what we need. (Score 1) 158

I'd be interested in learning more about the compatibility problems you're having with real apps and .net framework versions.

We know that there are ocassionally compat issues because we have large customers we work with to try and mitigate them.

Typically it's an issue with installers, not necessarily products themselves. When installing various utilities, especially products that haven't been - or needed to be - updated in a while, I've encountered installers that simply won't proceed until a legacy .NET framework is installed. They're not checking for higher versions, they're not checking for equivalent versions, they're checking for precisely the version they were written for. Sometimes you can ignore that and proceed. Sometimes you can't.

I admit I don't have specific examples of product vendors and names to provide you. I honestly haven't bothered to keep track over the last decade. I do however know that I've prepped many a server and had to install up to three different frameworks to satisfy installers so I could get everything from anti-spam tools to disk-space monitoring tools to random things like (but not necessarily identical to) MAPI exploration tools to install.

Last comment on this, there's clearly a reason why installing framework 4.5 doesn't remote everything older.

Comment .NET 5 is just what we need. (Score 3, Informative) 158

Now we can have/need the .NET 3, 4, 4.5 and 5 runtimes all on the same machine, meaning monthly patches will take another half-hour.

I get it. .NET runtimes recompile and optimize for the environment they're installed on and that's a Good Thing, but as someone who supports a lot of small & medium business who can't justify WSUS or similar, .NET is - by far - the thing I dread seeing not yet applied to a customer's machine. One new runtime a decade would be just fine by me.

Yes, there's supposed to be a certain degree of backwards-compatibility, but in practice that degree is "not enough that installing Product X doesn't frequently force you to install runtime Y".

Comment Re:stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 305

If my doctor doesn't already know whether X is right for me, then I need to get a new doctor.

Agreed. On top of that what bothers me is the sales hook:

"Do you have symptoms that include being nervous when in complicated social situations?"

"Does your skin sometimes itch?"

"Do you experience shortness of breath after running marathons?"

They frequently describe circumstances that are so vague they apply to pretty much every self-diagnosing hypocondriac on the planet. Might as well ask "are you a fool with money you need to be parted from?" Up here in Canada, direct-to-proto-patient marketing is illegal. Strangely we're not all dying because we haven't heard of some med. Also, our meds are typically cheaper than in the US.

Comment Re:Biggest problem is malware (Score 1) 398

The biggest problem with ads is malware.

Personally, I think the biggest problem isn't malware. It's that on average advertising works.

The industry exists specifically and solely to manipulate buyer perception. While yes, sometimes advertising connects a buyer with a product at just the right time, more often advertising is about selling you stuff you don't know you need in quantities you don't know you want. Witness the American drug advertisements. "Does your skin feel things? Do you sometimes have the sense that gravity exists? Do you have symptoms that suggest you are a human being? Well, go ask your doctor if Ambitrexo is right for you. If your doctor says 'no', ask another doctor. Ambitrexo may cause dizziness, nausea, anal bleeding, spontaneous limb loss, blindness, or gender inversion. Do not take Ambitrexo if you are pregnant, know anyone who is pregnant, or if you live within 50 miles of a pizzeria."

I will happily live in a world without innocent "FYI our product exists" ads if that's what it takes to get rid of "on sale now, limit X per customer". That limit X statement is literally designed to perform successful psychological manipulation to encourage you to buy more of the product than you wanted. It's called the Availability Heuristic. Advertising uses a large number of psychological manipulations and that's what I think is the real problem.

Comment Re:Dirty move by Lenovo (Score 2) 134

I realize that most business models are usually wiped/imaged anyway, but this is more disgusting behavior by Lenovo. Stuff like this will keep me from buying and recommending their products.

I know it's cool to get outraged, and I'm certainly not comfortable with spying in general, but I actually read the article and it's kind of weird.

It's repeatedly iterated that the feedback tool gathers information on Lenovo's own software only. Lenovo business machines don't ship with much. There's a more flexible power-manager, a tool that checks if your hardware is falling part (does memory tests, hard drive SMART tests etc periodically), and a tool that makes it easy to download updated drivers and BIOS. There's typically not much that has what you'd think of as "data".

Sure, it's valuable to Lenovo to know how many people disable the scheduled hardware tests, or opt to remove the bundled AV software immediately upon install. It's valuable to them to know how often people use their System Update to keep up-to-date, and how often all of this stuff simply doesn't work. Even knowing the average user's preference in power management settings is useful.

While it's entirely possible that this is also gathering things it shouldn't, by and large this all seems a case of "should not care".

Comment Re:Buy an island (Score 1) 842

I've been around here for a while (check my UID). I remember back in the 90's when they explained this - and it never made sense to me then, nor does it make sense to me now.

Reddit proved that editing/deleting posts doesn't have those kinds of issues.

Even if you accept that argument, getting around it by instituting some sort of versioning for posts - ("This post was edited. Click here to see previous versions.") can eliminate that.

The easier change would be for you to get over the aversion to having something you wrote somewhere being permanently wrong. The horror.

Honestly I'm impressed you came back and admitted to having made a mistake. I'd far rather have the high opinion of you I currently do than have none because your original post was edited to remove the inaccuracy.

Comment Re:Hovered over property for only 22 seconds .. (Score 1) 664

How do you judge the intent of a drone flying over your property?

I grant that's non-trivial. But there is a way to at least reasonably guess. The only prerequisite is being human.

What is the intent behind the quadrocopter that's currently over my property?
A} Its owner intends to irradiate me and kill me with an experimental weapon system.
B} Its owner is hoping that I take my pants off so they can film my genitals and blackmail me.
C} Its owner is hoping that I work on some secret invention in plain sight so they can steal it.
D} Its owner is a random neighbor who is flying his new toy for random fun and it has NOTHING to do with me.

Did you guess D? Because ninety nine times out of a hundred, if the drone's operator is a human being, that's the correct answer. I mean, yeah, maybe they're going to get some footage of you picking your nose or scratching your balls or something silly but people being people, these things aren't being bought by-and-large for nefarious reasons. Because there aren't that many truly nefarious ones.

I see a drone flying over, I take it out. Period.

Why? What - in short - does it matter to you? I don't mean in this in the sense of police stopping you and searching your car without cause and "if you don't have anything to hide, it's okay" but rather in the sense of "where is the harm?" Note, I'm not talking about prolonged, patterned, or heavily repeated traffic that signals something specific... I'm talking about the once-in-a-while zip over your property line.

There's something I just can't grasp about this degree of territorial behaviour.

The asshole flying the drone can then present is case to the local judge and explain why I have his drone in my yard.

Wow. Just to be clear, if your neighbor's seven-year-old is gifted a drone and flies it over your property a few times, getting it somewhere interesting or just generally goofing around, that kid is inherently an asshole? I mean, I grant that respect for another person's property (physical and land) is a good thing, but I'm a bit taken aback by the intolerance of what most likely is the equivalent of "oh, darn, my ball just fell in Mr. Wilson's yard... I'll just climb the fence and go get it."

Comment Re:Hovered over property for only 22 seconds .. (Score 1) 664

So what, nobody should have the right to fly a spying machine over your house.

Meh. Maybe something's wrong with me, but personally I think intent matters. As it happens, nobody does have the right to fly a spying machine over my/your house.

It's just like my lawn. I mean, yeah, those kids legally better get off my damned law, but I'm a curmudgeon if I yell at them and a psycho if I start breaking their crap because they stepped over the property line. HOWEVER, when the intent is abuse, I'm on your side; if the kids in the area decide it's time to start playing soccer in my yard without my permission, or generally start loitering without permission, then I'd not be a curmudgeon for asking them to move on.

In this case, if the drone pilot really only flew over once or twice and really only hovered for 22 seconds, well 22 seconds is... "crap, my girlfriend just texted me... gotta reply or she'll think I don't love her any more". Point is it's really hard to judge intent from where WE sit, with nothing but news stories to go by. Maybe the drone pilot was a perv. Maybe the property-owner is a psycho. Probably the truth is somewhere in between.

Comment If you don't have riveting hero(s).... (Score 5, Insightful) 168

If you don't have riveting hero(s), you darned well better have an awesome presentation.

Iron Man is kind of interesting. Batman's cool. Spiderman even, and many of the X-Men. The general public will usually risk those.

But when you start getting into "WHO?" territory, like Guardians of the Galaxy or the upcoming Deadpool, you need an incredible presentation to draw attention. GotG had that. Deadpool looks like it's going to be great. Point is, the further you stray from well-known characters into comic culture, you need a movie so cool that people who don't care about the characters will find it interesting. I still only know GotG as "Starlord, Groot, the funny raccoon, green Zoe Saldana and some red guy. But I'd pay to watch a sequel in a heartbeat.

I don't see F4 having that... zing.

Comment Re:Major change? No. (Score 4, Insightful) 270

The total change from the Windows 3.1 Start button to the subsequent Start buttons was making the Start menu a 2-column menu, putting the contents of the former Programs menu in the left pane and putting the rest of the Start menu items in the right pane. That's it. Oh, and making the initial view not show all the Programs items but only a subset, with an extra item at the bottom to show everything in the same form as it was under the Programs menu.

As for Win3.1 being complicated, every secretary I knew managed to get a handle on it within a few days so it couldn't have been that complicated. The only people I know of who couldn't figure out Win3.1 are the ones who to this day need repeated reminders of how to get to anything that's not directly on their desktop, so methinks the problem doesn't lie in Windows.

Um. You know that Windows 3.1 didn't actually have a Start Button, right?

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas