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Comment Normal people have no way to know that (Score 4, Insightful) 392

Normal people don't know what applications are or how to install them. They click blindly, like newborn infants, until Microsoft Word appears, and then they express whatever it is in them that drove them to this extreme. Outlook is a gateway into a magical world of 576,442 unread emails and 500,333 unsent drafts. The "fix it" button on the front of the machine usually works, but sometimes doesn't. Their grandson tells them to stop hitting that button, but he's into voodoo and something called Mimecraft, so what does he know?

Comment Electric is Evolution. Driverless is Revolution (Score 5, Insightful) 904

The move to electric is a natural evolution, and will have a significant impact. The economies of scale in terms of pollution mitigation at power plants will utterly dwarf anything cars have ever been able to do themselves, transmission losses nonwithstanding.

Even if they only displace urban drivers (fewer per-trip miles, more population density facilitating more charging stations), the impact will be transformative. Watch the AQI loop around New York, and you can see air pollution rising and falling along the commuter roads into the City in lock step with the morning commute. I can't even imagine a New York with 50-80% fewer gas-powered cars on the road.

But that's still just evolution. Electric is just a natural step.

Driverless cars are the revolution. Electric makes existing car use patterns better. Driverless makes an entirely new paradigm. It may eliminate mass car ownership. It might eliminate parking lots. It might eliminate light rail in suburban areas. Taxis. Deliveries. Shipping. Police reponses.

Electric makes things better in well-projected ways. Driverless changes everything forever in ways we can't yet even imagine.

Comment MMORPGs aren't any of those things anymore (Score 1) 75

Massively Multiplayer
Role Playing Game

That's the initialism (it's not an acronym unless you pronounce it like a word.. Mumorpuguh?). But those words aren't what we should be talking about. The magic is in MASSIVE gaming experiences. MMOs fell far short of being anything more than the logical extension of MUDs and their kin. We keep building out and optimizing in a line forward from those expectations.

At the same time, that polish means we increasingly cast off the quirky, unique, or memorable experiences that the older MMOs did provide (even if they did so mostly by accident).

Here's a lecture from some years ago on the subject:

I still stand by everything I said then.

Comment Investing in a good PC pays off (Score 1) 558

I built my current rig in 2009, investing heavily in forward-compatibility for upgrades. The investment payed out more than I could ever have imagined.

In 2009, the PC was:

Intel Core i7-920 (2.97GHz)
6GB RAM (six DIMM slots, three used)
32GB SSD (for the OS)
512GB HD (files and stuff)
Current-gen video card @ ~$250 price point

Now, in 2015, all I've done is:

1. Add two larger SSDs
2. Upgrade the video card - currently a GTX770
3. Double the RAM (hell yeah six DIMMs)

The rig is perfectly capable of editing 4k video, playing most games just fine, rendering, and doing basically everything I need. Only now, probably at the end of the year, will I even consider a new rig. The motherboard's lack of USB3.0, the memory speed, the old PCIx standards, etc..., are finally reaching their limits.

I plan in 2015 to build a computer that I will use at least until 2022.

Comment Re:NYC DOES have some nice biking, but more needed (Score 1) 100

What? Have you ever even been to New York?

The High Line isn't for biking. The bike paths are open and don't get caught in traffic even during heavy commute times. The shore paths are mostly complete, and on the west side it goes from top to bottom with fully bike-friendly wide paved paths.

There are massive bike path networks along the parkways in the Bronx. There are long divided bike paths going as far out as the Rockaways and Flushing.

I bike from Queens to downtown Manhattan every day for my commute. It's about 7.5 miles, and I have easily five different ways that consist almost entirely of safe, clear bike paths.

Comment Gerrymandering (Score 5, Insightful) 609

These trends are not new. The sole reason there is a Republican majority in the House of Representatives is the massive gerrymandering that took place in the last decades. Democrats have consistently won the "popular" vote for the house, but districts are tactically set to favor Republicans almost across the board.

The districts are this way because while Millennials do indeed skew heavily liberal/Democrat/progressive, they tend to NOT get involved in state and local politics. Republican governors and state legislatures used the last gasps of the dying generation to secure powerful gerrymandered districts ensuring the GOP holds onto the house, at least until the next census.

An interesting side effect, however, is that these artificial superdistricts are such that the Republican is practically guaranteed to win it in the general election. Thus, far-right tea party nonsense candidates can appeal to their local base without much fear of throwing the actual election over to the Democrats. The safer these districts are for Republicans, the further right, racist, sexist, and old they'll skew for the foreseeable future.

Until young people get active in local and state politics, then it literally is a game of just waiting for the current old set in those places to die of old age.

Comment Nope. That's not what happened here... (Score 4, Insightful) 160

And, none of those reasons are why region locking was added to Steam.

Further, it's not region locking like you described and railed against. All Steam did is wall off a handful of regions where the local currencies are extremely volatile, and even then ONLY for accounts gifting games to one another between the rest of the world and these tiny regions.

Your butthurt is misguided here. Let the strawman go.

Comment Sue Them or Give Up (Score 3, Insightful) 159

There is no technological solution. (The phone system as a whole is just so old).

There is no human solution. (The other company will not bother).

You have three options.

1. Wait until it stops and ignore it
2. Change your phone number
3. Sue Level 3 for damages (and file a police report)

In my professional (but not legal: I am not a lawyer) opinion, there is no way to resolve this sort of problem other than suing the closest legitimate business that links you to the perpetrators. Whoever is furthest downstream to the bad guys is your only target, and suing them is probably the only option. Maybe just to get a C&D, maybe punitively just in hopes of getting them to clean up their act. A police report on its own will have zero effect: the police just don't care about IT crimes on this scale.

Sue them, and as part of it file a police report. Don't even bother with any other options at this point: they are not likely to work.

(Again, not a lawyer, just an IT professional).

Comment "Counterfeit detector pens" don't exist (Score 4, Informative) 160

cash can be checked for legitimacy with a counterfeit detector pen

"Counterfeit detector pens" don't exist. They're just iodine: they have no special detection properties whatsoever.

"Counterfeit pens are fairly accurate and save a lot of time, but they aren't foolproof. For instance, if the counterfeit is printed on paper with a low starch content, the pen won't detect it. If someone managed to steal a roll of unused currency paper and printed it themselves, the pen wouldn't detect it. If someone washed a $1 bill until the ink was gone and re-printed it as a $100 bill, the pen wouldn't detect it. All the pen really detects is whether the paper is made from wood pulp or an alternate, less starchy fiber."

Comment As a long-time Glass user, he's a bit off (Score 5, Interesting) 166

I can easily see how he could have these problems. His use case is ridiculous.

I can't imagine a sane human being putting on Google Glass and thinking "hey, I'll watch video or read web pages on this thing!" That's almost the opposite of a normal use case. I can't imagine looking at the screen for more than a few seconds at a time.

The value of glass:

1. Non-distracting notifications of emergent information

I don't take my phone out of my pocket every time it buzzes. I don't constantly read twitter every time I happened to pull it out to see what that buzz was. Instead, I just live my life. If I'm walking somewhere, and glass buzzes, I can, at my leisure, cock my head slightly to turn on the display and read the message. If there's a short followup, I speak it into Glass. If there's a long one, I, at my leisure, deal with it later on my phone.

2. Navigation

I'll be honest. For driving, or especially biking/touring, the turn-by-turn is worth the current price of admission even if that is the SOLE use. Trying to mount a phone on a motorcycle/bicycle, let alone pull a phone out of one's pocket while biking, is laughable. The navigation is amazing to behold the first time you use it. For a frequent biker/traveler, it's already indispensable/

3. Candid photos

I have a large collection of interesting shots of my life now. The photos are indeed at an "angle" much of the time. Who cares? If I want to take a picture, I use my phone, or a real camera. I use Glass solely to catch, again, emergent moments. Something interesting happens, and I snap a photo discretely and immediately. For that use case, I defy a regular camera or smartphone to be deployed and used quickly enough without similar "angle" or "shot framing" issues.


Glass is primarily a notification tool coupled with a navigator and a quick-draw smartphone.

I'm not saying Glass is perfect. Far from it. It has a long way to go. But this guy appears to be trying to use it in the least imaginative and least useful ways possible. He's doing the equivalent of complaining that he cant edit 4k video on his phone, or that he can't easily make toast with his flamethrower.

Comment Re:I don't understand big cities - off topic (Score 5, Insightful) 427

You have to truck in everything and truck out everything,

The suburbs also have to truck everything in and out: it's not like local farmland and local factories provide even a tiny percentage of the goods and foodstuffs used there.

Rural areas also have to truck most things in and out, for mostly the same reasons. The way the world economy is structured, pretty-much EVERYTHING is trucked in and out from somewhere else. It's a myth that non-urban areas somehow are less reliant on the "outside" than urban areas.

More to the point, there is a massive economy of scale in cities. New brings in goods in bulk, which then require minimal internal redistribution compared to, say, strip malls in suburbia.

All of that aside, cities are where basically all jobs are. Why would anyone start a company that requires skilled workers in a place with a small talent pool? How many coders or engineers live in any rural town, or even within a day's commute of one? How many live within walking distance of a building in New York?

Look at the job listings in any small town, and then look at the job listings in New York or Boston or San Fran. There's nothing to do in exchange for money in small towns and rural places for most of us. There's no career path at all.

Hell, there's also just NOTHING TO DO. We live in New York because we can walk to one of two dozen brunch places on Sunday morning. We can see opera, musical theatre, the symphony, an off-broadway play, slam poetry, a puppet show, or basically anything we want any day of the week. Want to play an obscure German board game? Thousands of people live basically next do and also want to do so. How many people would be interested in that kind of game in a town of 2000 people?

Comment Turkey already blocks individual IMEIs (Score 5, Informative) 97

Vetting individual IMEIs is neither practical nor legal, as you can't stop someone from using a government approved, legally imported phone from using it on all networks.

You're wrong. It's both feasible and, in many countries, legal.

Turkey already does this. If you use a foreign phone of any kind with a Turkish SIM, your individual IMEI will be blocked in 24-48 hours. The only way around that is to pay a significant fee to the government, register your phone/IMEI, and then wait a week or so for the registration to take effect. Note that you can't register AFTER the phone is blocked. If you let it get blocked, you're basically screwed.

Turkey does this to prevent the importation of phones that didn't pay local taxes, and also to ensure that all users of phones/data are registered and tracked within the country.

And it should be the law: If you use the word `paradigm' without knowing what the dictionary says it means, you go to jail. No exceptions. -- David Jones