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Comment 'Open and honest' downvoting (Score 1) 581

Neither Alexis nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen.

Looking past the fact that those things are intrinsically connected, I can't understand why anyone is concerned about free speech on Reddit when it has yet to succeed at facilitating the "open and honest discussion" its founders apparently wanted. With its favoritist voting system turning every discussion into a popularity contest and inconsistent moderation based on feelings and biases rather than a set of unambiguous rules, Reddit has never been anything more than an echo chamber for dedicated users to be able to stifle opposing views and bully users who dare to express them.

Regardless of what content its administration decides to allow or support, or whatever policy changes they may or may not make, Reddit's users inherently oppose free speech themselves by simply using the site as intended. To suddenly rally and act like you care about free speech is unabashed hypocrisy; you should never have been using Reddit in the first place.

Comment General problem? (Score 1) 490

I've always understood that getting anyone, boys or girls, into STEM fields has been a long-standing problem. I imagine even if you had just as many female engineers as male, there would still be a shortage with subsequent demand for more. So while it's all well and good if you want to target girls specifically (and maybe they do need to be targeted differently), doing that in lieu of trying to solve the larger problem just seems like willful ignorance at best.

Comment Re:Bigger picture (Score 3, Insightful) 65

Trying to apply the usual "do it yourself" attitude is probably why accessibility is a problem in the first place, especially since we're talking about a portion of users who legitimately can't do it for themselves. Programming for accessibility takes particular expertise and paying careful attention to the requirements I mentioned before. On top of that, if different developers and communities go off and do their own thing without striving for any real standards beyond the bare minimum requirements, it would surely be a nightmare for users who do need those features to go from one program to the next.

I certainly get that developers have limits, but putting accessibility features on the same chopping block as anything else based on user percentages is very short-sighted and the kind of cold, corporate-like response one might expect from Microsoft or Apple (ironic, then, that they readily provide those features). I'd hate to be the director who has to tell a vision-impaired user she isn't important enough or that there aren't enough of her kind to waste time and resources catering to.

Comment Bigger picture (Score 2) 65

However, the adoption of Linux within workplaces can certainly be constrained by, for example, ADA requirements. The lack of proper accessibility may ultimately prevent certain businesses or organizations from implementing Linux when it would otherwise be most preferable, simply because it does not satisfy their need for compliance. I'm sure you can see the potential ripple effects from that kind of restriction and how it might impact even those developers who do take accessibility needs into consideration.

Comment Re:So Microsoft is still papering over failures. (Score 1) 190

Unless I'm misunderstanding this, it's what your IT department trusts by applying its own signature; Microsoft is providing its own list of "trusted" sources, but your organization would still have to whitelist them along with whatever else it wants. This should hypothetically give administrators an easy way to grant limited software installation privileges to users, making it easier to allow/disallow certain software by request. While it doesn't address deeper problems like signature spoofing, it should reduce the number of virus and malware-related tickets you'd otherwise see by giving users any degree of administrative autonomy as well as the number of software installation requests you'd have to deal with by completely restricting them. Any issues that do arise should be easier to route because of the narrowed list of potential sources, and being able to revoke that trust on the fly acts like a sort of panic button to prevent further propagation. Ultimately, users will feel like they win while IT has fewer headaches to deal with, at least in theory.

Comment Re:Students + Anonimity (Score 1) 234

Those are the only people who are going to use it. If a victim is too afraid to report an assailant to the university for whatever reason, why would they use this app? It's not truly anonymous. The supposed appeal of the app is that it allows you to "log" an incident without reporting it, such that your contact info only gets forwarded to the university if someone else's report "matches" the same assailant. In other words, the app is going to go, "Hey, remember that guy who raped you last month? Guess what? He raped someone else, and now the university is going to contact you to ask why you didn't report him back then. You could have prevented this!" Ironically, the target users for this app have more reason than anyone to avoid using it. Nobody wins here.

Comment Re:naff all to do with guns... (Score 1) 245

It's less the ease of which you can get around the restrictions, more the fact that the restrictions exist in the first place and the public perception that they are necessary. Do you want your neighbors fingering you as a potential psychopath ready to snap and go on a mass murdering spree just because you had the sheer audacity to feel like you can do what you want with your 3D printer?

Really, all it's going to take is one news story about some nut who shot someone and just happened to have a 3D printer in his house - even if the gun he used has no 3D printed parts, the mere association is going to be enough to induce widespread fear. The media knows that blaming video games for violence doesn't resonate with people anymore, but 3D printers being such a new and exotic technology would make it a far more effective boogeyman if they decide to do so.

Comment Re:naff all to do with guns... (Score 1) 245

It is definitely distressing that the way a large portion of the global population is being exposed to 3D printing is with this "printable gun" scare. Now instead of seeing it for the fantastic technology that it is and spending creative energy finding beneficial uses for it, a lot of people won't be able to see it as anything but a dangerous device that needs to be heavily regulated for the sake of public safety. 3D printers should be something everyone will have in their own home within a decade, not something people will need a permit to use. Don't get caught buying extended magazines for your filament, or you might be put on a watchlist.

I'm usually the one calling foul when corporations use the "regulation stifles innovation" excuse, so having the tables flipped with this situation is vexing, to say the least.

Comment Have that cake and eat it, too (Score 1) 349

Regardless of the outcome, it will continue to be socially acceptable to make fun of nerds, and The Big Bang Theory will still be America's #1 sitcom. I certainly don't participate in any "brogrammer" culture, but I can't feel sorry for it having an impact on the very people who fostered it in the first place. You may have the same right as I do to sit down and eat, but using bully tactics to win a seat at the lunch table isn't going to earn you any respect.

Comment Re:Whatever ... (Score 4, Insightful) 141

It really isn't just a "matter of time" issue. Bluetooth earpieces are still largely frowned upon in public because, despite being a convenient technology and the wide range of visual profiles available, they project a wide radius of social awkwardness. I think Google Glass simply ran into the same issue, which is to say the problem isn't so much with Google's particular implementation but with the very nature of how the technology is perceived. That challenge is far more difficult to overcome than just slimming it down or offering it in different colors until people like it.

Comment Re:Desperately Want to Believe? (Score 4, Interesting) 215

He's not saying that Half-Life is retro or that no one wants to make Half-Life 3, he's saying that no one at Valve wants to make a HL3 that is just more of the same. Valve seems to pride itself on gameplay innovations, and if they can't come up with something totally unique and creative for HL3, they aren't going to just put it out as-is.

There are several problems with that logic, though: for one, they don't come up with those types of innovations very often and rely on hiring outside talent to provide them (e.g. Portal). Second, all that innovation hunting tends to be focused on crafting new franchises (Portal, again); I don't think Valve is particularly concerned with thinking of a new gimmick specifically for the next Half-Life.

The biggest point is that I don't think most Half-Life fans care about that level of innovation quite as much as Mr. Newell and would be more than satisfied with a "retro" HL3. Part of the reason for this is because what we call HL3 is really just the end of HL2. Fans are more eager to see how the story ends than whatever new physics gimmick Valve is going to add to the game. I think there would be far greater expectations for a new Half-Life entry with a new story and new characters, but we know that's not what the theoretical next Half-Life game would be. The disconnect between fan expectations and Valve's expectations is very frustrating.

"Is it really you, Fuzz, or is it Memorex, or is it radiation sickness?" -- Sonic Disruptors comics

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