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Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 821

Clever, wasn't it? :)

Hey - I'm not sure I'm a fan of this policy either. I was just saying that the reason that stuff like this happens is that there is no rational dialog about these kinds of things.

What exactly is the value of privacy, and what exactly is the value of not being killed on your way to wherever? If we assigned values to all of these things and also figured out what the actual risk reduction of the new technology is, then we'd have a pretty rational basis for a decision.

I tend to agree that this is security theater, but it is hard to say for sure without a real analysis of the impact. Personally, I could care less if somebody wants to stare at my fine physique - dealing with that is more their problem than my problem. I do realize that others might be sensitive about this, and as a result there is a need for a national dialog on these sorts of things...

Comment Absolutely yes. (Score 4, Insightful) 307

What East is really saying is, "Behold. I shall inflate stock values by making false and pointless claims." ARM already has a huge part of the embedded market in cellular phones. He is trying to make the claim that no one needs computing power, so everyone is going to switch to the cheaper ARM microcontrollers, and they will get a lot of licensing money as a result. But remember, netbooks are optimized for the net and only the net. If you want to do anything else mildly processor intensive like watching a HD video, good luck. (Even Intel's Atom processor is essentially an overclocked 486.) If you want to watch a DVD, good luck--your netbook is probably a little too small for that DVD drive!

After spending a while in Japan (and observing their net/electronic pattern usages), combined with purely anecdotal observations on communication and usage patterns of people here in the US and in my beloved 3rd world country of origin, it is fair to say most people are fine with a device that lets them e-mail and twitter and upload pictures on facebook, google for stuff, read the news and job sites, maybe run MS Office or Google Apps, and for the savvyy video conference with skype (which is how my grandma who lives in a little town up in the mountains got to see my newborn baby for the first time after getting Internet over dial-up.) Shit, even some of the Xingu people up in the Amazon have internet access now!!!! Anyways, go back to the topic...

The average electronics consumer WILL NOT use that type of device to run DVDs (there are super-cheapo portable DVDs for that) or run gcc, Mathematica or a LAMP. They don't need a super-duper CPU and the latest and greatest graphics card.

We, what we call "powerusers") certainly want a mighty gadget that can run everything we want in one device. But we do not represent the average electronic consumer.

Typical people, the average electronics consumer of 2010, whether here or Japan or south of the border, on the other hand will be happy to have an iPhone/BlackBerry, the smallest possible laptop/netbook that can do the job without much jitters and a portable DVD player (comes handy for entertaining your kids while you are busy with your laptop/netbook while having breakfast at Panera or wherever they sell breakfast with free wifi).

Warren East is re-stating the obvious (and inflating stock values), but that's his job. What we are missing here, is our ability to objectively judge the merits of his claims, not from our point of view as l33t hax0rs, but from the shoes of the average consumer - they are the ones that constitute the market (and the opportunities therein), not us.

Comment Re:Spell Checking (Score 1) 1343

That would be perfectly consistent with using a spell checker and not realising that it's suggested a grammatically-incorrect but properly spelled word.

Like my damn iPhone always wanting to correct "its" to "it's" even when the former is correct in the context. It sure is tempting me to just turn auto-correct off altogether.

Comment Re:unpossible (Score 2, Insightful) 1343

Sorry to nitpick, but the primary requirement for a PhD is to contribute something original and of value to your field, whereas lower degrees such as a Master's only require you to demonstrate a high level of skill. I like to remember that when I come across somebody with a Doctorate; taken apart from their other achievements it's not much more or less than a certificate saying that they did something original and useful at least once in their lives.

That's either damn cool or practically irrelevant depending on the situation.

Comment Re:But why? (Score 1) 497

You guys all seem irrational to me. I don't have any problems playing the games that I purchase. I think people just like get on here and post how evil game companies are so they can all feel good about ripping the developers off.

Don't like their actions? Don't play the game. Pirating it just makes it worse for everyone since it is just going to make game companies more likely to come up with new forms of DRM.

Comment Re:Doesn't matter (Score 1) 370

Image this scenario: Five million people are hired for one hour of simultaneous manual labor. Does it cost you $10, or $50,000,000?

Imagine this scenario: those Five millions people all have to change their Firefox settings, and therefore all actually work 1 hour and 2 seconds. Do you have to pay $50,000,000 or $50,027,777?

Man hours are multiplicative.

Negligible time intervals are negligible.

Submission + - CTA Warns Against Excessive Photography (

An anonymous reader writes: Tourists, put your cameras away. The CTA is declaring them a threat to our safety.

If photography is a crime then only criminals will own cameras

Comment The glory disappeared when... (Score 1) 623

The glory disappeared when we got what we thought we wanted: compilers that worked, operating systems that don't crash, source level debuggers, enough memory, enough disk, fast networking, source code control that actually works, and the ability to ssh in reliably from home.

I think that the "glory," the absence of which we bemoan in this thread, is best understood as a metaphor for the era when success in IT and its predecessor fields was mainly about being smart. If you were in what was called the data processing business in 1960, intellect was, by and large, what made you successful. That situation persisted until the mid-1980s or so (depending on where you worked), and it gradually became more important to have knowledge than intellect, and the non-technical skills (writing, teamwork, getting along with your boss, dealing with politics) became more important, too. The change was because of the drastic increases in complexity of the systems we worked with, and because the tools were so much more reliable.

In 1980, it was not an unreasonable objective to read every word of every document printed, and every line of source code, for Bell Labs UNIX. Something that could easily be done in a few months. It's not a reasonable goal, anymore, for any of the major desktop releases, and so you have to specialize, and rely on having things just work. And by and large, they do, and even people who don't specialize in technology can use computers and write Excel macros these days. They for the most part do quite well unassisted, and so the panache that came with restoring the boss's spreadsheet from a floppy disk with a bad sector isn't there anymore.

There are still good gigs out there, but they can be hard to find, and you have to make your tradeoffs among technical challenge, funding continuity, salary, management quality, coworker quality, and the extent to which the technology is strategic from a career perspective. And once in a while you still get to work around a compiler bug.

Comment Re:GPL Violation? (Score -1) 336

First off, Slashdot is opposed to copyright law, so calling for a GPL violation won't work because the GPL is a copyright license, and we're opposed to copyright licenses, remember?

Second, Google is like any other closed company. It only uses free software when it benefits them. They're greedy, selfish, and only in it to make money--just like Microsoft. It just happens that Google's business model allows them to rely on free stuff as part of their campaign to get users using their closed search engine and other closed technologies--which together make up Google's advertising platform.

Comment Re:Mission Option: It already isn't.... (Score 1) 804

"Most Americans with health insurance are part of group plans, typically through their employer, and the insurance company cannot exclude a individual that is part of the group."
its not most, and in reality people in group plans get declined services all the time.

"I have no problem assisting people that truly can't get the basics, the problem is that despite Obama, that is not the kind of legislation that Pelosi/Reid are going to send him to sign

based on... what? The proposed bills fill that pretty well and pay for themselves. Do you think Nancy will write her own bill on the back of a napkin and try to slip it in front of the President?

If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.