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Comment: Re:What about Israel? (Score 1) 73

All governments spy on each other, and they have since the invention of espionage. And they all know they all spy on each other, too. They just need to exercise the good sense to not get publicly caught. Not getting caught is getting harder in the digital age, as everyone from airports, customs, trucking, retail, and city infrastructure is beefing up their security. They may suck at it, but it makes hiding invisibly that much harder.

Comment: Anything can be controlled (Score 1) 1

by plover (#48043415) Attached to: Is Windows 10 really that "business friendly?"

That's all pretty much a non-argument. Live tile content can be turned on or off by application, or live tiles can be completely disabled. So if a business wants to turn off live tiles for Twitter, they can send out a Group Policy Object to disable live tiles on the Twitter app. They could also add custom live tiles for the corporate share price, company newsletter, web server status, or whatever they want. Don't worry about them.

And as far as I'm concerned, live tiles have never been an issue with Windows 8. I turned off a few I didn't want, but that's only because I hate the distraction of blinky flashy things when I'm looking for something else. But tor the most part they're ignorable. As for the maligned start screen, it simply isn't much different from the Windows 7 start menu button, although it needs the tree-structure metaphor returned as that's how people group their apps.

No, the problems with Windows 8 were the "charms" and the "gestures". With a mouse or on a trackpad they are unintuitive, difficult to control, difficult to remember, difficult to discover, and almost impossible to activate. And that's coming from someone who loves his Surface Pro!

On a Surface or phone, Windows 8's UI is mostly harmless because the interface take place where the hands and fingers are already located. But they are an overflowing truckload of stinking horseshit on everything else. I'm unaware of any big corporate American business that ever installed it on their desktops (it crept in on a few Surface tablets and Windows phones, but no sysadmin was stupid enough to roll it out to the desktop.)

Microsoft learned several big lessons from the spanking they took on Windows 8, but the biggest is "listen to your corporate beta testers. If they tell you it's shit, IT'S SHIT. AND YOU DO NOT ROLL OUT SHIT."

The other day I had a 'softie tell me over lunch that "Windows 10 is our way of saying 'oh god, oh god, we're all so very very sorry about Windows 8 and we promise we'll never ever do it again.'" So from here on out, I think we can count on Microsoft to cater to the business and desktop users, as that's where a huge chunk of their money comes from.

Comment: Re:It's time to fine. (Score 3, Interesting) 230

by plover (#48039155) Attached to: Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

No, the reason it's hard has nothing to do with "cloud", and everything to do with "no adherence to a common data schema". If the data was forced to follow a standardized schema, and if standardized service interfaces were required for participating in the government health plan, transferring it would be dead easy. But because different systems have evolved differently over time, the schemas are different, and so transfers remain painful. And because the government funded EPIC without demanding the creation or implementation of industry standards, we crapped away all that money strictly to make one company very, very rich.

The lesson here, kids? If you've got a shot at an upcoming government contract, your best investment dollar is spent on a Congressman. Donate lots of money to his campaign, and you could easily see a 1000 X return on investment. You won't get odds like that gambling on Wall Street.

Comment: Re:Like SAS etc (Score 1) 230

by plover (#48039055) Attached to: Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

Ooo, thanks for that! I long ago realized that the only actual value SAS provides is forcing companies to get a bunch of people together to agree on a common data schema, because the rest of their software is dirt simple, and even much of that is of shitty quality. But I didn't recognize the analogy to Stone Soup, and that's perfect!

Comment: Re:I pick marketing (Score 1) 232

by plover (#48038819) Attached to: Why did Microsoft skip Windows 9?

We all recognize the "every other release of Windows sucks" pattern, but their official naming schemes have only used sequential numbers with 2, 3, 7, and 8. (95 and 98 were clearly year identifiers, and don't fit their pattern.) 3 and 7 were good, and they were odd numbers. Not sure why they went with an even number this time.

I was recently lunching with a 'softie who called this their "Oh-god-we-are-soooo-sorry-about-the-whole-Windows-8-thing-and-we-promise-never-to-do-it-again release." To me that suggests that distance from Windows 8 is their primary goal. And frankly, they need it.

Comment: Re:You know what this means (Score 1) 182

by plover (#48035219) Attached to: Breakthrough In LED Construction Increases Efficiency By 57 Percent

Why do you keep your Harmony remote charger in your bedroom? I understand if it's a dorm room or something like that, but I would simply move that crap to a different room.

The TV is in the bedroom, and we obviously keep the remote in the room where we use it. The cradle is intended as a convenient place to keep it when not in use - it's not quite like a cord you trot out and plug in nightly. And when it loses charge, it takes a long time to charge it again before it's functional. Keeping it in the cradle ensures it's always ready for use. Anyway, we coped with it in our way, which is essentially no different than coping by keeping the cradle in a different room.

My main point was not to complain about our specific problems or situation, but that their cradle was poorly designed in many ways (one of which was the overly bright LEDs). Also, valuable lessons were learned. I learned that if I'm buying electronics that will be used in the bedroom, I need to thoroughly check their nighttime luminance before buying them. And Logitech learned as well, because their Harmony 1100 has a very positive connecting charging stand, and it does not beep when cradled.

Comment: Re:Thai Tasting (Score 3, Interesting) 103

by plover (#48027197) Attached to: Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food'

I definitely agree there is value in testing the ingredients. The strength of peppers varies widely based on their growing conditions, and it would be good to avoid making a dish too hot or too bland.

I can also see using this automated taster to evaluate how a hybrid produces year over year, how the fruit of different parents crossed to produce the same hybrid compares to the original hybrid, or how the taste may vary from field to field. That's when it could be more useful to quantify the difference from the "standard".

But I think when you're hybridizing you'd still want a human doing the evaluation. It's a new thing, and quantifying taste of a new thing isn't as important as the perception of the taster.

Comment: Re:What I've learned: 90% captcha solved (Score 1) 68

by plover (#48026403) Attached to: Analyzing Silk Road 2.0

That's great but how do sites counter bots nowdays?

Bots are like any other parasite. If you have something they need, they arrive, and you have to figure out how to control them. And like controlling parasites, the most effective means is to take away their food source. So sites reduce the value of their site to spammers, black-hat SEOs, etc., by measures such as adding nofollow tags, preventing CSRF, restricting and filtering user uploaded content, and vigilant policing. And CAPTCHAs still help a lot, but as the sophistication of the bot tools is expanded, it's just another measure - not a perfect one.

There are millions of sites on the web. The idea is that if you make yourself harder to abuse than the next site, the bots might leave you alone in search of easier pickings.

Comment: Re:Statistical Literature (Score 1) 125

I'm more interested to know which major character it believes may be dead? Every character is statistically likely to be dead at some point.

Unless of course you take the 'You cannot kill what never lived' point of view.

I think you meant "What is dead can never die". Not only is it a point of view, but it's actually a prayer of the Iron Islanders in GoT.

And yes, they can be killed, too. Just not all at once, it appears.

Comment: Re:Americans are smart. (Score 2) 452

by plover (#48021999) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

Not an anti-vaxxer, not by any means, just saying there are lots of things we think absolutely must have been tested to be completely safe when it turns out that it probably isn't as great for you as you'd like to have thought. That's all.

First, nothing is "completely safe." Everything has a limit beyond which it exceeds the capacity of a human to absorb it. On top of that, no injection or vaccination is ever 100% risk free. There is risk of infection, of allergens, of tainted products, etc. And there are also the risks of adverse side effects in some measure of the population.

People don't really understand statistics. They certainly don't understand a "one in a million" chance, as evinced by the profitability of the lottery. They also don't understand the consequences that result from these decisions.

I think a lot of that comes from a pile of numbers that people can't easily relate. Consider that a vaccine may have a 1:1,000,000 chance of causing the disease it was intended to prevent or causing a debilitating side effect. It may also have a 1:100 chance of causing an inconveniencing side effect. Its primary effect is to confer a 98% level of protection against a disease. The disease has a 20% chance of causing a debilitating condition. Unvaccinated people have a 10% chance of catching the disease. Herd immunity kicks in at an 80% immunization rate, and reduces my chance of getting the disease to 5%. Even though they're all based on probabilities, they're not even using the same units of measure for display. How does a layperson put all those numbers together to make a decision whether or not to immunize their child?

The flip answer is "they don't." Too many people lack the education needed to understand the numbers, to combine them, and to compare them; so they turn to experts. But how do they trust an expert? A few people are willing to claim to be an expert to drive their personal profit or agenda, instead of to serve the truth. And some people will cherry pick their list of experts to align with their agenda. It's the latter that are the corrupting influence, and those are the ones that need to be stopped.

Comment: Re:Really, a single oint of failure? (Score 1) 221

The Mythbusters demonstrated it's plausible that driving distances less than 400 miles is faster than flying.

It's almost exactly a 400 mile journey that takes 6 hours.

And if you're hauling a month's worth of stuff, or a family, you might not want to stuff it in a single checked bag.

Comment: Re:Really, a single oint of failure? (Score 2) 221

This is an AIR traffic control problem, and is not localized to O'Hare airport. They manage all the flights over the entire region. I'm sure they will extend the operations to the surrounding regional centers to make up for the loss, but due to the sheer volume of traffic the Aurora center used to handle, the other centers will need to add a lot of extra staff to deal with it.

I suspect they are temporarily operating with local staff called in for the emergency, but that's not sustainable. They'll likely need to redistribute the Aurora staff to the other centers. It will take several hours for them to all travel to their new assignments. It takes about six hours to drive from the Aurora center to the Farmington center near Minneapolis, and that's not counting going home and packing for an extended stay.

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose