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Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 1) 413

by akozakie (#48899601) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Don't over-praise Logitech though, they do make mistakes. I just changed a great wired Logitech mouse (wires do break near plugs sooner or later) to a really nice wireless one (M525). It's almost great, but the click-wheel is near unusable, simply because it's tiltable. Every third click or so causes an unwanted tilt. Worst case - using a browser in windows. Usually I want to open a link in a new tab (typical for my mode of browsing) and end up going back in history for that page, with a bit of luck also opening the link, but that's not guaranteed, depends on the sequence of tilt and click. This "back" behavior seems hardcoded. Even a single checkbox in the driver to say "on tilt do NOTHING" would solve the issue.

Tiltable clickwheels are not a very good idea. Tiltable clickwheels requiring little force to tilt are simply dumb. Tiltable wheels not easily controlled from the driver's setup window are evil.

I actually have a brand new, not-so-cheap mouse, with no malfunctions at all, great sensors, good overall ergonomics... and I'm actively looking for a good replacement, just because of that wheel. Bad, bad design.

Comment: Re:Yawn ... (Score 1) 227

by akozakie (#48892407) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

Unfortunately that's limited to those who still own decades-old things. There's a limited number of those still working and they do break down eventually.

Newer stuff is designed to fail and be replaced. A lot of it fails as soon as warranty period passes, some last a few years more. Really solid stuff is rare and mostly found in niches.

So, if everything new is "smart", after a few years it will be common. And if you have something as good as the iron you mention, take good care of it - you won't find anything as good now.

Comment: Re:Yawn ... (Score 1) 227

by akozakie (#48892355) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

And if you don't want to participate? Sophisticated pricing mechanisms will allow for that. You can pay more to fund your all your personal priorities. It works for everyone.

Yeah, right. If it maximizes green energy use, the EU regulations will make sure I can't opt out. More and more they are switching away from using price incentives to direct regulation. Incandescent lightbulbs, high power vacuum cleaners, soon larger electric kettles...

Comment: Re:Huh (Score 1) 223

by akozakie (#48393891) Attached to: Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

I fully agree except for the wording of the last sentence. How is this a failed landing? Not as good as we hoped for, sure, but the lander is not damaged, the basic scientific programme was completed, data sent. Now they could perhaps do more with the additional solar energy, but the landing was not good enough to do that. Yes, it could have gone even better, much better, but sying it's a "failure" is far too negative.

Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 4, Interesting) 553

by akozakie (#48225173) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

Nah, you're wrong, thinking black-and-white. That's just a case of optimization error. They most definitely do want people with good critical thinking skills, just not too many - just enough to fill the right positions. They simply missed the golden ratio, too many people are on the "herd" education track. The positions are filled by idiots and companies lose money. They just assumed the "right" group is big enough to support their growth and they were wrong.

Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 5, Interesting) 553

by akozakie (#48225073) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

Ok... Now please explain what that huge difference you percieve is, the one that warrants the use of the words "highly doctored". Because to me this looks like just a longer version of the same thing. "Don't teach them to think, teach them to accept whatever the parents and the church want them to". Quite hard for me to find any redeeming aspect of that line. It's just a combination of catering to not-so-bright parents afraid of losing authority because of their own stupidity and to everyone in power, political, religious or any other, as dumber people are easier to control.

Comment: Re:Performance (Score 1) 283

by akozakie (#48115955) Attached to: Tesla Announces Dual Motors, 'Autopilot' For the Model S

Not surprising. Electricity is the silver bullet of the energy market - it scales, it has a lot of production options, it can power almost anything. It's the closest thing to "pure energy" you can get at the moment. Wind, solar, nuclear, coal, gas... who cares - the reciever works just as well, and the engines are very good.

The one thing I really miss is a way to transform elctricity onto kinetic energy that scales into space. The one limit of current technology I find really annoying is that it takes so much chemical fuel to get to space. That means pollution, but more importantly that means weight. Find a way to get to orbit with nothing but electricity (in orbit we already have ion drives) and we're ready to go spaceborne on macro scale.

Of course that might be a bit optimistic, as I'm assuming that electrical energy storage will continue to develop at a high rate. I wonder where the limit for that is. If electricity remains difficult to store (in kg/J terms), it's a dead end.

Comment: Re:Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Score 4, Insightful) 173

by akozakie (#47981009) Attached to: Mangalyaan Successfully Put Into Mars Orbit

Nitpicking is fun, so I'll have a go.

This is true, first missions used caveman technology compared to what is available now. 20+ years later is a completely different matter, right? That would be the 90s. Great, succesful missions like Mars Observer, Mars Polar Lander or Mars Climate Orbiter? Oh, wait...

Over 20 years of technology moving forward did not make it easy for NASA to reach Mars. 20 more would not make it that much easier for the first-timer - a bit cheaper, perhaps. This is really an impressive accomplishment.

Comment: Re:Uncompetitive? (Score 1) 312

by akozakie (#47811205) Attached to: Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

So, in other words, any law is a bad law if it is not exactly like in the US? To hell with the fact, that European countries are in general democracies? And more direct than American at that (direct election, not through electors)?

Yes, some jobs are "closed" in a way in Europe, with huge differences between countries. But, pathological examples aside (and they do exist), they are only closed in terms of setting prerequisites and perhaps taxes - very far from a cartel. In this case:
- As long as you are legally allowed to drive and do not make a profit from it, you're free to arrange cost sharing with passengers - it's eco-friendly and good for the traffic.
- If you are healthy and have extended insurance, register and you can carry passengers for profit on prenegotiated routes.
- If you are healthy, have extended insurance, probably pass an extra test, maybe something else as well (I'm not German)... In other words, if you meet all the requirements, you can register as a taxi driver. Now you can not only carry passengers for profit, but also use taxi stops, pick up chance passengers from the street, use taxi lanes, etc. No, you do not have to be related to a taxi driver, bribe someone, etc. Just meet the requirements and register.

So, what do you call a free market? One where only the price and reputation decides (remember that reputation does not scale very well)? Where first encounter with a service provider is by definition a high risk? Sorry, I actually prefer to know that if I get in a taxi with the official sign, I know that the driver is a professional, knows the city, the car is in a good condition and if anything happens anyway, the insurance will cover it well above the limits set for regular drivers. Or not, but a driver carrying the taxi sign illegaly risks a lot (at least a large fine or even jail time).

Feel free to run your country anyway you like, but please be cautious about telling others that their ways don't make sense. Most choices in like are multicriterial optimisation problems and there is no clear ordering of Pareto-optimal solutions.

Comment: Re:No you do not (Score 1) 353

by akozakie (#47625803) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

Yeah, yeah, I don't like it so it's "standard $FAV_NMY dismount".

In a healthy system society controls the government and the government controls powerful corporations. In a sick system corporations control the government, both control the society, nobody controls the corporations. Which kind of system seems closer to you?

Yes, without MS or Google's power the government couldn't have gotten involved. Obviously to you this makes all discussion moot, while I disagree. So it wouldn't get involved this time - too bad, but the alternative is worse.

It's interesting that you read an opinion on pros and cons of large-scale snooping as an anti-government rant. Shows your objectivity. Of course I had to involve the government - as I wrote previously, ability to trust it is quite crucial to assesment of the consequences of the situation described in the summary. Why would I rant about the US government? It's not mine. Won't put me in jail, unless I move to US, which is not likely (although with the level of cooperation between our governments maybe I'm a bit too optimistic about that).

I'm deeply sorry I've hurt your priceless views. Very mature of you to blow it off like that. All those great arguments you've presented, wow!

Think, disagree, try to convince me by showing why. Or think, disagree, ignore. I'm fine with both. But please, keep such empty "I disagree so shut up" to yourself. It's makes you look childish.

Comment: Re:No you do not (Score 1) 353

by akozakie (#47620643) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

One fly in your ointment: last I checked Google and Microsoft were not the ones that actually put people in jail. The government does, that's its role.

If you trust the government fully, you really don't need to worry about things like that. They will not ask the corporations to do anything wrong, like identifying your political views, applying censorship, etc. Relax, it's just the corporations doing bussiness, probably searching for marketing clues in your data with that little extra functionality, which is good. If you don't want your data searched or at least don't want targeted ads, encrypt, don't use the cloud, or simply look for a cloud service with SLA which explicitly prohibits it (remember - you trust your government, so pacta sunt servanda, especially by corporations, as the government punishes the stronger players harder).

If you have any doubt about you government, however...The tradeoff becomes much less clear. Sure, in order for law enforcement to actually work, you have to allow some snooping, searching, arrests, etc... But you have to keep it under control and cry foul whenever the power seems to grow too much or is misused. Moving the snooping to corporations makes it unsupervised - the controls in constitutions of most countries are designed to limit the government, not private companies. If you can't trust your government to not use this against the people and to hit the companies hard if they misuse the data they collect, then this is a very worrying development.

In either case, however, it is incredibly stupid to expect your files in the cloud to be 100% private, unless you actually signed an agreement that explicitely says so and provides huge penalties (and I'd still be suspicious in that case). Not free for the company to share - sure, that's a possibility, but not free to look at? Doubt it. If you want it private, keep it private. Don't put it in the cloud or at least encrypt.

Comment: Re:Why wouldn't you think they are scanning? (Score 1) 353

by akozakie (#47618189) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania


I really do not understand it. How can people (hell, it seems like MOST people) not see that using anything like a storage facility removes any expectation of privacy unless there are clear regulations about that in the agreement? In real, physical world this is so obvious. Earlier you could count on laziness and scalability problems, but hey - automation!

I believe that the problem is we simply did not have the time yet to adapt to the thought that over less than a single generation processing went from a very costly activity to cheap routine stuff. We just didn't adapt to the growth of FLOPS/$ rate. For most of our history it was ok to do whatever you like, as long as you can keep it relatively quiet and don't make enemies. In the XX century we learned that anything can get you in deep trouble, but since the hunters are only human and limited, you'd need to provoke them somehow. Low profile can save your... rear parts. When will we realize that it's no longer true? It is more or less possible to process and analyse more or less everything now. Still costly, but possible. And the only change we can expect is growing accuracy (both FP and FN reduction) and deeper analysis. A police state was never that cheap.

No, whatever you were thinking about, it's not private. More and more the only thing that is private will be your own thoughts. But I guess that will change before 2100 as well...

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.