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Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 346 346

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 346 346

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment Re: Screws with users (Score 1) 319 319

If something changes from a right-click to a left-double-click, or from a launch button to buried in the start menu, that most definitely is a UI change. And the hazard indicator on cars I've owned has changed from a slider on the steering column, to a toggle push button on the steering column, to a single-press button in the center of the dash.

And "changing the location of something is not a UI change" is just plain wrong when talking about cars. Move the gas pedal to the steering column and you've made a far bigger change to using a car that anything Windows has done in 20 years to using a computer.

Comment Re:Faa rules for RC planes (Score 1) 1173 1173

The thing that actually does make a drone a drone is the presence of a camera and the ability to operate out of line of sight. Saying that you can't basically says you can't fly drones, which probably wouldn't work because if drones were a crime then only criminals would have drones or something like that.

(I think half the public and half the laws already confuse "drone" with "rc plane", where rc planes are now being called drones even when operated within line of sight. So the same FAA rule that banned drones would probably end up getting RC pilots arrested.)

Comment Re:I agree with the shooter (Score 1) 1173 1173

Fortunately there are laws and court rulings about this, and they define how low you can be without trespassing. The FAA considers anything above 500 feet to be navigable space, and a previous SCOTUS ruling allowed trespassing charges against a paraglider at 83 feet, so the limit is probably somewhere in that area. If he was able to shoot the drone down from the sky, it was most certainly below 83 feet. And of course airplanes and Google Earth examples are silly and meaningless.

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 1) 571 571

The tail pound from your mine leaked and now my farm land is useless. I should be able to sue the coal company for the economic value of my land and income it could have generated for my family for the next 10 generations and if the coal company goes bankrupt I should be able to collect from the share holders in proportion to the remaining liability and stock they own.

What about the share holders who sold out before the leak was discovered? What if the owner died and the money was passed on to heirs? What about the ones that moved to another country? Let's say the leaking pond contaminated your drinking water, and coincidentally two of your children have mental development disorders, which of course you can never prove came from that leak? How much cash is worth that?

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 4, Insightful) 571 571

So we think, now, 30 years after the fact, that the large amount of lead being released into the air from the automotive industry was responsible for the drastic increases in violent crime in the 1960s and 1970s.

Even supposing we hadn't banned leaded gasoline, how exactly do you think the oil and gas industry would take to new efforts to tax their products today? Do you think consumers would enjoy it? Can we ever prove 100% that this was the cause? How many years back would we need to try to retroactively collect these taxes? Can we even legally do so? Just exactly how much do value do you assign to damaging a baby or young child's brain so that you can appropriate tax gasoline for the effect?

Now take everything I just said and apply it to carbon dioxide and global climate change and see how well it's working.

When applied to the commons - primarily the environment - unregulated capitalism is an absolute failure. Attempting to apply more market forces to it only works if your goal is to hasten the revolution that swings things too far in some other direction.

Comment Re: Future Shock (Score 1) 319 319

The fashion industry would like to respectfully disagree with you.

In all seriousness, apparently some change does matter. I read about a study (on phone and too lazy to find link) where heterosexual women were asked to decide which of a group of photographs of men were more "striking" or somesuch. When the group was almost all people with beards, those without we're deemed more striking. And vice versa.

So, if everyone does something one way, being different stands out. Not everyone is creative enough to find their own own way, but they can jump on the coat tails of the actual creative innovators. Eventually the whole market moves and "change" has happened for "change's sake", but it's roots are justified in human desire to appreciate the unique and innovative.*

* a desire that is not shared by all, and often misguided, admittedly.

Comment Re:Crash Mitigation (Score 1) 549 549

From the video, it looks like the Google car did leave some space in front of it. It should have realized that the person approaching from behind was not stopping fast enough and might rear end it, and, prior to impact, applied a quick burst of gas then brake to use up some of that buffer space. That would give the approaching driver additional space to stop.

Then again, when I do that, it's because I see the panic in the eyes of the driver approaching from behind, and I can also tell that he's trying to stop and just doesn't quite have enough space. It's been successful a few times. Were I to see that the approaching driver is way too fast and, for example, looking at his phone, I would assume he wasn't going to try to stop and me eating into my buffer space would just make it more likely my car would have front-end damage, too. I'd be better served trying to drive out of the way. Fortunately I've only been in this situation twice and the driver behind me both times decided to drive into the shoulder/ditch instead of rear end me.

Comment Re:Crash Mitigation (Score 1) 549 549

As shown in the video, the Google car both stopped short (leaving space for it to move up a few feet and brake again when it realized the driver behind wouldn't stop in time, giving the driver behind more space to stop) AND wasn't the first car at the light, so even if it used up its buffer space and was still shoved, it would neither be driving nor likely get shoved into the intersection.

Comment Re: Why do I get the funny feeling that (Score 1) 265 265

- The halloween emails represent typical corporate strategy;
- MS is still a corporation;

So the burden of proof is on those who say MS has changed.

Signs of changing would include:
- Support for old systems, instead of the endless unneeded costly and toxic upgrade cycle. You cannot have volunteers like debian to better support old stuff than a billion tier corporation.
- API stability and openness, instead of pushing and retiring flavours of the month. Ask people who invested in silverlight.

- Acknowledging the billion hours, and dollars, spent just because MS thought your computer was marketshare. I think many wars have costed less to society than MS, the other corporations, and the entire system of IT based on planned obsolescence, incompatibilities, NIH syndrome.

tldr: go on trusting MS it worked so well for those before you.

How can you do 'New Math' problems with an 'Old Math' mind? -- Charles Schulz