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Comment: the writing was on the wall after the first movie (Score 1) 314

by epine (#48670343) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

There were enough tells in the first movie that I decided to skip both prequel sequels. My only regret concerns the movie not made.

The problem when you have a strong emotional investment in something is that one's instinct is to give it one more chance. By the time you've watched two bad movies, you're almost pot-committed to watch the third.

It takes a special will to abandon a franchise without falling into the emotional mulligan trap, and so there's ultimately little incentive for Jackson to not do what he did.

I'm slowly learning. My loyalty function has now evolved to where it's almost vertiginous.

Comment: Re:Precious Snowflake (Score 1) 322

by epine (#48656211) Attached to: Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline

A simple spanking is not "physical violence".

No, it's aversive physical dominance. Any more hairs you would like to split, or are we done now?

Aversive: the recipient is not pleased about it.

Physical: there's a smacking sound.

Dominance: the recipient's preference in the moment doesn't count for shit.

Maybe he or she will thank you later with a greater understanding of the situation. Or maybe not.

To my mind your story could be an argument for more effective barriers. If you're going to make a barrier to enforce safety, go big or go home. Otherwise you're just conducting a first lesson in Jr Steeplechase.

Comment: Re:LOL ... w00t? (Score 1) 288

by plover (#48653563) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

The screen readers for the blind emit nonsense words when fed typographically incorrect input. Be glad you're not blind, and don't have to deal with them.

And that character on your keyboard, above the equals sign? It's the right one to use, but the author didn't use it. Instead, he made 100 typos using the wrong symbol.

Comment: it wasn't about text-to-speech (Score 2) 288

by epine (#48652889) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

From Hyphen Hate? When Amazon went to war against punctuation

A ridiculous number of people have gotten caught up in the whole âoehe used a minus sign instead of an ascii hyphen! The bastardâ controversy that has followed this thread around and has spilled over into any number of internet message boards. First of all, let me be clear. The issue was not with my use of a minus sign. The issue Amazon had was that someone had complained about hyphenation. Second, I have since gone back and checked the original file on the Kindle text-to-speech app and it renders fine. No issues. [my emph.]

These days 75% of all Slashdot posts seem to involve drilling down to get the original story straight. Tell me, when did a mass-confusion clusterfuck become the new nerd foreplay? Kindle typography, meet declining Slashdot editorial standards. You've got more in common than you think.

Comment: Re:LOL ... w00t? (Score 2) 288

by plover (#48652885) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

What's news then, is that Amazon can't deploy a simple perl script to fix common typography errors such as these.

There is nothing simple about typography, and a script such as you describe would cause more damage than it would fix. Any editor has to fully understand English, to know which word is the right choice, to understand syntax and grammar, and to know when a writer is deliberately or playfully bending the rules.

If you want to see what the state of the art in automated editing looks like, try using Word's grammar checker. If all of its advice is followed, it can make any interesting story read as blandly as an 8th grader's essay paper on the history of frogs.

Comment: Where's the ransom demands? (Score 1) 236

Does nobody remember the first few news stories that mentioned a ransom demand? I swear I read that - then the story changed to Korea + Guardians of Peace out of nowhere.

Korea's dialog and posturing almost entirely internalized. Their glorious leader is a big fan of Hollywood, has never before acted on a threat against the USA, and has put up with other movies without so much as a whimper. The threats and posturing with NK come before the action, not that we have ever seen much real action from them. Not that action accomplishes anything of any note.

And where are all the internal Sony communications about wrongful dismissal, sexual harassment and assault cover-ups, deaths on the job, and so on? These things happen in a company of Sony's size, Sony's exposure under these circumstances could be massive - who knows what skeletons are in their closet.

There's something fishy about this whole thing.

Comment: Re:Copenhagen interpretation != less complicated (Score 1) 195

by epine (#48641759) Attached to: Quantum Physics Just Got Less Complicated

Determinism = fail

With entanglement, we have an FTL coupling that can't be used to convey classical information.

Why can't we have a similarly knackered stripe of determinism, one which can't be used to shatter the illusion of free will? This would be a kind of determinism where even if you sort of know it's there, it makes no damn difference to your interpretation of local space.

Think big, grasshopper, think big.

Comment: Re:One number to breach them all (Score 4, Informative) 97

by plover (#48639961) Attached to: Staples: Breach May Have Affected 1.16 Million Customers' Cards

I can only think the reason it hasn't been fixed is because fraud makes the banks money and they love seeing stories like this.

Well, you would be very wrong. Fraud costs both the retailers and the banks money. The real problem is that issuing new chip cards would cost the banks more than the fraud. Not only are the cards about a dollar more expensive each, and they still have to be re-issued about every three years, but the systems that inject encrypted keys into them, and store the keys on their databases, are very expensive. Banks are notoriously cheap when it comes to spending money that won't make them money.

The other reason EMV hasn't rolled out across the U.S. is that millions of retailers have about 12 million old credit card terminals spread across the country, and most are owned by cheap store owners who don't like being told they have to spend money to replace them. Most retailers have been dragging their feet, not wanting to make an expensive change. But the new members of the breach-of-the-month club are mad about the insecure systems they've been forced to use, and are now championing the rapid switch to EMV instead of fighting it. The smaller retailers are also impacted now, and are no longer resisting.

The irony is that EMV readers for the small retailers are far, far cheaper than the old terminals, and the rates for using new companies like Square, Intuit, and PayPal are much lower than the typical old bank rates for the old credit card readers.

Comment: Re:I think it's about time... (Score 4, Informative) 97

by plover (#48639775) Attached to: Staples: Breach May Have Affected 1.16 Million Customers' Cards

I think it's about time we implemented some sort of single use credit card system.

That's how Chip and PIN works. Your account number is still fixed, but your authorization to spend from it (your PIN) is encrypted by the chip, and is valid only for a single transaction. There are still kinks with non-electronic transactions, but those can be solved.

Look for it to be all over the US by October of next year.

Comment: Re:Marijuana is still illegal everwhere in the US (Score 1) 480

by plover (#48633007) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Supply, demand, taxes, and regulations all combine to control the prices. If people are willing to pay X, and you're selling all your product, why would you reduce prices? All it would do is lower their profits; if they're even making any.

My guess is there are a lot of hidden factors, like big insurance costs. Most insurance policies have an exemption so they don't pay out if you're doing something illegal. This means they may have to self-insure, or find a company willing to take on the risk of a federal bust - and that likely isn't cheap. Maybe the state has a tax rate designed to keep the costs high to minimize chronic abuse. Maybe the costs of physical security are high. Likely all of the above will continue to keep prices very high.

Comment: Re:Meaningless (Score 3, Interesting) 173

by plover (#48619637) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

I'd love to be able to publish these statistics for our organization, (I'd estimate we have close to a quarter million drives in the field) but there is a big hurdle in the way: legal liability. If I was to say something negative about Western-Sea-Tachi drives, their lawyers might call our lawyers, and we could easily spend a million in court fees.

The thing I think would be interesting is that we have a completely arbitrary mix of drives, based on drive availability over the last 6 years or so. We also have a mix of different service companies who replace the drives in our workstations. Our contract is such that we don't control the brands, or even the sizes, as long as they meet or exceed our specs. As a service organization, they're responsible for picking the cheapest option for themselves. If our spec says "40 GB minimum", and they can't get anything smaller than 500GB, they'll buy those. If 1TB drives are cheaper than 500GB drives, they'll buy those. And if we're paying them $X/machine/year for service, they can do the reliability decisions on their own, so if they think some premium drives will last two years longer than stock drives, they might be able to avoid an extra service call on each machine if they spend $Y extra per drive. I expect these service organizations all have their preferred drives, but that's not data they're likely to share with their competitors on the service-contract circuit.

Comment: Re:Man, am I old ... (Score 1) 173

by plover (#48619391) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

I don't take pictures for "posterity", or for people who outlive me. I take pictures for me, and my family, for now. While I only have thousands of total pictures, (not 10,000 per month) I can still find the pictures I want on my hard drives. So when I die, if some future grandchild wants to trawl through those terabytes in the vain hopes of finding a good picture of a great-great-grandparent they never met, why should I care? What difference would that make to me, today, in how I choose to save or discard photos?

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears