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Comment: Constitutional Amendment (Score 1) 239

by RandCraw (#49024735) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance?

The 4th and 5th amendments are not enough to assure personal freedom from search in the digital & wireless age. Only an amendment to the constitution that spells out this freedom can prevent it's continued abuse.

We must decide how much freedom we want to give up in order for law enforcement to investigate / prevent terrorism. We could draw a line between the enforcement agencies, preventing trickle down of personal info that is unrelated to terrorism. Or we could outlaw the gathering of this info entirely. But only a definitive constitutional amendment can compel all authorities and future presidential administrations to stay within boundaries that are sufficiently clearly marked to prevent routine abuses.

Comment: Mercury and Atomic Browser (Score 4, Informative) 223

by RandCraw (#48982273) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Gaining Control of My Mobile Browser?

Both browsers are cheap and will block most ads. I've used Atomic for the past several years as my primary browser on my iPhone 4 and 5s, iPad 3, and iPad Mini retina, and it has worked very well on all. The browser is very configurable and makes much better use of small real estate than Safari. It's very rare that Atomic has let me down or that I have to fall back to using Safari or Chrome (maybe twice a year?).

I've used Mercury less than Atomic, but only because Atomic has worked well. The little I have used Mercury, I've had no complaints.

Alas there's precious little company support or user community for Atomic. If Mercury turns out to be better for this, I might be willing to switch.

Comment: Re:Anyone else concerned? (Score 1) 164

by RandCraw (#48814979) Attached to: Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor

Yes, absolutely I'm concerned. The radiologist got it wrong in assessing the tumor to have grown. That's so important to a cancer patient as to be an unpardonable sin.

But given the hodgepodge of modern medical testing, it's not terribly surprising. Clinical CT or MR images often have low resolution or voxels that are anisotropic (usually, longer head-to-toe than side-to-side). When comparing two images with differing resolutions, voxel shapes, or subject poses, two images can be difficult to compare.

That said, recommending surgery based on a mistaken read of an image is something I would *definitely* be concerned about. But that's why we get second opinions.

Comment: Caches, threading, SIMD/GPUs, and floating point (Score 1) 180

by RandCraw (#48811797) Attached to: The Legacy of CPU Features Since 1980s

I haven't seen the article or video. But for 99% of developers, I'd say the only CPU-level changes since the 8086 that matter are caches, support for threading and SIMD, and the rise of external GPUs.

Out-of-order scheduling, branch prediction, VM infrastructure like TLBs, and even multiple cores don't alter the programmer's API significantly. (To the developer/compiler, multicore primitives appear no different than a threading library. The CPU still guarantees microinstruction execution order.)

Some of the compiler optimization switches have become more complex, and perhaps a few coding idioms are now deprecated/encouraged so that compilers better understand what you intend (so you don't make their job unnecessarily harder).

But overall, almost all developer techniques don't benefit from changes to CPU microarchitecture after 1990, aside from caches, SIMD, and GPUs.

And of course, ever since the 80486 (1989), all CPUs support floating point instructions.

Comment: Re:Streisand Effect and Mohammad cartoons (Score 2) 512

by RandCraw (#48769953) Attached to: Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack

If there had been a major outcry from Muslims, how would you know? Are you attuned to their media?

Do you imagine most Muslims belong to sopme sort of large collective whose spokesman appears before media outlets to make official pronouncements? AFAIK, they don't. Aside from Catholics and the Pope, neither do Christians.

What's more, do you imagine that Muslims speak with one voice on most issues? When's the last time Christians agreed on anything?

I know a few muslims in the US. They tend not to be that outspoken about their beliefs, probably out of fear of intolerance. Like yours.

('Archangel Michael'? Really? How old are you?)

Comment: Re:Tim Cook is an MBA (Score 5, Interesting) 598

by RandCraw (#48739569) Attached to: Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

There's a wonderful article "The Case Against Credentialism" by James Fallows in the The Atlantic (1985) which reads as if it were written today: http://www.theatlantic.com/edu...

It assesses professional degrees like MBAs as being inherently worth next to nothing, essentially serving a broken agenda in which our highly credentialed leaders know everything about form but nothing about function. Maybe virtual expertise is enough to govern a virtual world?

Too bad the US political parties didn't read this prior to the 2000 election. Maybe the would have fielded worthier candidates (and staff), and the US could have saved about a million lives and a few trillion bucks). Such is the cost of driving under the influence, I guess.

Comment: Re: Well duh (Score 1) 420

by RandCraw (#48706491) Attached to: The Open Office Is Destroying the Workplace

A bullpen makes a lot of sense to me. If coworkers doing exactly the kind of work I do were colocated, we'd all learn quickly what forms of interaction were productive and preferred, so we could avoid getting on each others' nerves. I used to work in a suite containing only team members. We all preferred it greatly to our present cubicle farm.

The principal problem with open offices are the disturbances arising from non-team members, especially the rude few who won't consider the harm their noise inflicts on neighbors.

Comment: AI has no agency; they just sits and thinks (Score 1) 417

by RandCraw (#48566077) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

Etzioni's point is a good one. To date, all AI apps have been designed to passively sit and do nothing until given a specific task. Only then do they act. For Hawking to be proved right, AIs must take the initiative, to choose their own goals. That's a horse of an entirely different color.

Of course, there's no reason why AI agents could not become more autonomous, eventually. Future task specs might become more vague while AIs are likely to become more multipurpose. Given enough time, I'm sure we'll have mobile robots able to do more than sweep floors in a random pattern. But Commander Data is a long way from an iRobot Roomba or Rethink's Baxter, both of which are dumber than my phone.

In the real world, autonomous robots are not going to arise for decades. And when they do, if they drive on the same streets or share the same office spaces, they too will have to obey the same rules of conduct as the rest of us. You won't get special privileges just because your brain is made of silicon.

Comment: Revisionism of history (Score 2) 193

by RandCraw (#48474553) Attached to: Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

Editing the historical record sounds awfully like hiding your past. Why isn't this like pretending the Holocaust or Stalins purges just never happened? Wouldn't IBM like to assert (without contradiction) that it never assisted the Nazis in the Death Camps?

This is an initiative only a corporate tool could love.

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