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Comment: Re:Laziness (Score 1) 143

I think that HTML5 would make it far worse. Where do most of these bad programmers start? Where the barriers to entry are lowest-- javascript. You'd be making the problem worse, not better.

I do think that there's much improvement to be made with permissions on mobile phones. But that's a separate problem, and one a lot of the Android custom ROMs do well.

Comment: Re:Laziness (Score 5, Insightful) 143

Design guidelines are just recommendations. Frequently bad ones. A developer should design the best UI he can, not follow what Google says regardless of whether it fits. And most developer guidelines, Google and Apple both, are crap.

The problem is that the whole app movement has brought in a whole slew of crappy developers who's idea of coding is to search stack overflow or git for stuff to copy paste. They don't read it, don't understand how to use it right, and expect it to magically work. Worse half of the people writing that code fall into the same category, so its the blind reading the blind. If you pick a library off of github and assume it will work, you deserve what you get. Unfortunately your users don't.

These people have been around for a while (they used to be "web developers" and program by copy pasting big chunks of javascript). The problem is that on a phone they can do more damage. In a world where the number of quality programmers is fixed and far less than the demand for programmers, how do you fix it? Making it easier to program actually hurts, you end up with those crappy coders trying to do even more. Maybe its time to raise the barriers to entry for a while.

Comment: Re:No surprises here (Score 1) 119

by AuMatar (#47546699) Attached to: AP Computer Science Test Takers Up 8,000; Pass Rate Down 6.8%

Sure they are. My school had AP classes, but not everyone in the class takes the test- those who didn't think they would pass skipped it and save the 70 bucks. In each one the teacher suggested to a few people not to take the test because they didn't think they had the understanding to pass. In at least 1 case they talked someone into taking the test when they were borderline (I think he passed).

As for financial incentive- read the article. Google was paying teachers directly. It was going to the teachers, administrators not involved. With financial incentives I can easily see the teachers telling more/all of those tweeners to take it and see if they pass.

Comment: No surprises here (Score 2) 119

by AuMatar (#47539747) Attached to: AP Computer Science Test Takers Up 8,000; Pass Rate Down 6.8%

You tell teachers they'll be paid if more people pass a test. So they encourage more of their students to take it. Many of those aren't ready, they're just hoping they'll pass for a payout. So the pass rate goes down, as the majority of additional takers weren't capable. Yup, statistics work.

Comment: Re:call them (Score 1) 350

by AuMatar (#47534239) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

I don't have kids, but when I was one my parents were spending most weekends taking us somewhere to do something. Watching movies was not on the agenda, at least not at home (maybe the occasional trip tot he movie theater). Why would you waste prime family time on movies? You do those on the weekdays because there's fewer entertainment options and most of them are closed by the time you get home from work.

Comment: Re:Untraceable (Score 1) 152

by spikenerd (#47488137) Attached to: Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

does a $100 bill hold any "personally identifiable information" barring some trace DNA or fingerprints?

Every bill has a unique identifier on it. Every time you withdraw from an ATM, those IDs are associated with your real name. Every time you purchase something, the retailer deposits those bills right back in a bank. Occasionally, bills may be passed around privately before landing in a retailer's hands, but this actually enables data miners to determine with whom you financially associate. Cash is no panacea of privacy.

Imagine a graph in which accounts are the nodes and transactions are the edges. Cash tells the Feds who owns every node. BitCoins tell the Feds (and everyone else) about every edge. The latter information quickly loses its value when nodes are popping up willy nilly with no real names attached to them, and faster than anyone can pin names to. You just have to programmatically keep your BitCoins at a recent node, ahead of the wave of nodes that have been identified.

Comment: Re:In other words (Score 3, Insightful) 238

by spikenerd (#47465369) Attached to: Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+

Yeah, I already figured Google knows who I am and what all my aliases are anyhow.

You are absolutely right, but abandoning pseudonymity based on this reasoning reflects a common misunderstanding about how data mining works. Please don't give up so easily. You see, organizations that scrape and aggregate data from the web can only probabilistically connect all your aliases. That is, they only know with 97.3% certainty that YouTubeTrollKing7 is the same person as osu-neko, and they only know with 98.5% certainty that osu-neko is Brian Nekomori who attends Oregon State University (I made that up, by the way). That may not be the kind of privacy you would prefer, but it buys a lot of freedom, especially if everyone does it. You see, the Internet is kind of big, and man-hunts involve skewed data. (That is, most people are not the person they are looking for.) Since false-positives create big headaches for data miners, they tend to set their thresholds very high. For example, if they set their thresholds at 99.5%, those pseudonyms will not be recognized as connected to you.

So, what does this buy you? Well, it's not enough that you can go around committing crimes and expect the FBI to never find you. But, on the other hand, they're going to have a hard time achieving a conviction if they cannot find any other supporting evidence. Furthermore, people just don't seem to understand the power of exponential decay that occurs with probabilities. The more pseudonyms you use, the more the probabilistic connections among them decay into the low 90's, making it extremely cumbersome to link them all together. Imagine having to filter through the 0.01% of Internet posts that happen to falsely connect with your pseudonymns with high probability! No one wants to do that, so guess what, you have some privacy.

So, don't give up on pseudonymity. Yes, data mining is real, but no, it is not omniscient. Pseudonymity doesn't defeat it, but it makes them pay a dear price for finding you. Make them pay to know who you are. If everyone does it, the whole industry stops being so lucrative. The very reason data mining pays off so well right now is because of people who take the attitude that "it doesn't matter because they know anyway". So, stop it!

Comment: Re:@CauseBy - Re:Yes (Score 1) 381

by AuMatar (#47441117) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Unless you like carrying a smartphone in your hands all the time in crowded places, or like leaving your smartphone on the table where it can get lost or stolen, the smart watch is better. Nothing beats a watch for quickly checking something. Constantly fishing a phone out of your pocket, unlocking it, checking stuff and putting the phone back in your pocket can become extremely tedious quickly.

Can't say I've ever left mine anywhere. And I have no problem getting it out of my pockets. Meanwhile a watch is fucking uncomfortable to wear, and tends to break within a few months as you accidently bang it on things. I cried tears of joy the day I realized my new cell phone meant I'd never have to wear a watch again. I think taking it out of your pockets is a problem only about 1% of the people in the world have, everyone else seems to prefer the phone.

Comment: Re: Wrong question (Score 2) 381

by AuMatar (#47440645) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

There's a few other things in the hardware that would bring up issues:

*Battery- smaller form factor, smaller battery, less life. People complain about that already
*camera- is there any place to put a camera on there that isn't going to be blocked by write hair or inconvenient to take a picture with? Can you see the screen to see the image? is it easy to hold your arm steady enough?
*Text input- voice recognition isn't there yet, and even when it is you don't always want to be public with your messages. How do you type on one quickly?
*Is there enough physical room for everything?
*Heat- if we do all that in a watch, how hot will it get? Will it become a safety hazard or uncomfortable to wear?
*Power- even if everything works, a phone can have the same stuff and more, due to form factor. So why would you limit yourself to the watch?

Comment: Re:I already have one (Score 4, Funny) 381

by AuMatar (#47440611) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Two seconds in a year!?! That means in a mere 30 years you'll have to adjust it by a minute. In your life you'll have to adjust it 3 times! DO you know how much effort and time you'll save by buying a $10,000 high end mechanical watch? You'll only have to adjust it once- that's got to save you 2 minutes over the course of your lifetime. Isn't 10K a small price to pay for that?*

*Math void if anything heavier than a feather ever touches it, as it may break the delicate alignment of gears.

Two can Live as Cheaply as One for Half as Long. -- Howard Kandel