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Comment Re:W.C. Fields Does Politics (Score 1) 6

What could they possibly reveal about Trump that is worse than what everyone already knows about him? He's widely known to be Mafia connected, and he's made statements at Republican primary TV debates about bribing politicians.

(And add to that the fact that any "scandal" is likely to be another thing the establishment cares about and nobody else does.)

I doubt, at this point, even dead girl/live boy would do it.

Comment ...or the difference may be totally insignificant. (Score 1) 433

The marginal increase in the probability of an someone being a terrorist given that you know he's an engineer may be startling in relative terms, but in absolute terms it's insignificant.

Estimates of total active membership in terror groups worldwide is under 200,000, but let's assume there's even million active terrorists just for the sake of having round numbers and not having to quibble over where to put the decimal point. There are seven billion people in the world, so the rate of terrorist participation in the general population is 14 thousandths of a percent; let's call that p(T), and call the probability that someone is a terrorist given that they're an engineer p(T|E). Let's look at the absolute marginal difference being an engineer makes, i.e.:P(T|E) - P(T)

i. p(T) = 0.0001428
i. p(T|E) = 9 * P(T) = 0.001286
iii. P(T|E) - P(T) = 0.001143

So being an engineer increases your chance of being a terrorist by at most about 1/10 of 1% under wildly pessimistic assumptions. In fact the marginal difference is really more like 1/50 of 1%. Now it's interesting that the rates of terrorism are so much larger among engineers than other people, but it has little practical significance and being an engineer myself that's what I'm most concerned with. If you were designing a surveillance program and were picking out groups that need keeping tabs on, 1/10 % is a grasping-at-straws number

Comment David Edmundson answers your questions (Score 5, Interesting) 383

All of your questions are easily answered by reading the link provided at the top of the article:

Why does the desktop care who's booted it up?

The Init System "We don't care. It doesn't affect us."

logind Allows KDE to provide user-switching features.

Device Management Allows KDE to have access to your mouse and keyboard without root access and without random applications being able to sniff your keystrokes.

Inhibitor Locks Allows KDE to react to notifications like "the system is about to go down" and delay until a condition is met (example: delay a suspend until the lock screen is displayed and all your desktop windows are hidden behind the lock screen).

timedated and Friends Allows KDE to set time and date without root; allows KDE apps to be notified if time and date gets changed. (KDE currently runs a daemon just to watch for time and date changes, and they would like to get rid of this daemon and simplify their code.)

User Units If KDE takes advantage of the "units" in systemd, then when any part of KDE crashes or hangs, systemd will restart the misbehaving part.

that implies they won't work on *BSD at all. Right?

"Projects like [SystemBSD] bring the interfaces we need to BSD and as it gets more stable we should be able to start distributing features."

So really, choice is being taken away clear across the board. Either that or I'm missing something really big which implies systemd is not a strict dependency.

I encourage you to read the whole article and see what big things you are missing.

I don't know about you, but when I read that article I didn't think "Man those KDE guys are idiots, why would they want any of that." It all makes sense to me.

It's easier for me to believe that SystemD has some merit than to believe that all the Debian core developers are idiots, plus all the Ubuntu developers, and now all the KDE developers and for that matter the Gnome developers.

My biggest concerns with systemd are the monoculture of it all, so projects like UselessD and SystemBSD sound great to me. Force the SystemD guys to document and justify everything, and provide alternatives.

Comment "Doc" Smith's utlimate vacuum tube (Score 2) 80

About 70 years ago, E. E. "Doc" Smith wrote a series of books that are wonderful space opera: the "Lensman" series. The space battles just keep escalating throughout the series, getting more over-the-top.

My favorite plot point: they used the principles of a vacuum tube to make a device whose pieces included grids mounted in the asteroid belt, with more in other orbits closer in to the sun. In effect they turned the inner Solar System into one honking big vacuum tube, and created a weapon that could concentrate a significant fraction of the sun's output onto attacking enemy fleets. This was called the "Sunbeam". (Believe it or not, this wasn't the end of the escalation. The battles got even bigger after that.)

When you say "ultimate" vacuum tube, I think that one is pretty hard to top.

P.S. 200-word crossover fan fiction: what would have happened if the Battlestar Galactica reboot show had found Earth, and it was the Earth of the Lensman series?

When I was a teen and read those books, I just enjoyed them, but now I'm thinking that it would take a lot of trust to allow Kimball Kinnison to run around acting as judge, jury, and executioner. As readers of the books, we know that he was vetted as deeply as anyone could be by the Arisians, so he can be trusted with that kind of power; but it would be hard for the ordinary people in the world of the books to trust him that much.

Comment Re: Windows 7 (Score 1) 309

It is much more than Windows 7 which reached 100 mill after 6 months.

But early adoption is front-loaded so not as big a difference as that makes it seem, and this time they are literally giving Win10 away (and actively trying to push users into installing it, something they've been working on since well before it actually launched). So at this stage 100M might be satisfactory, but it doesn't seem to be anything special.

This is last month from one of them, where they are tied, you need subscription to see the latest where they have passed.

Safari is lost in the noise, Chrome barely over 20%, and IE8 at well over 10%? Those figures are laughable, presumably because whatever data sets they use are heavily biased. And they still don't think Edge has a significant share of the market.

Comment Re: Windows 7 (Score 1) 309

I'm not sure what you're trying to say with the share price. MSFT was trading in the high 40s for most of the middle of the year, tanked badly around the time Win10 actually launched, and has since recovered and pushed up to mid-50s. That's not particularly impressive given the scale of the launch, and certainly no ringing endorsement of the Win10 strategy from investors.

An interesting comparison is Adobe's share price, which has risen strongly over the past couple of years since the move to their subscription-based Creative Cloud offering. Notably, that share price doesn't seem to reflect actual company performance: they've traditionally been conservative in their market guidance and have still missed targets on several quarters. Two years after launching, CC was still at around half the old user base of CS (ignoring individual product sales, so this comparison actually makes CC performance look better than it is) so adoption has been far from universal. Despite all this evidence to the contrary, investors still appear to believe that the SaaS model will be dramatically more profitable in the long term. Microsoft aren't seeing the same kind of growth so far.

So, it is Slashdot anecdotal "I don't know anybody using this", against independent reports about well over 100 million users (!) already several months ago.

Is that 100 million supposed to be impressive? Because at Microsoft's scale, it doesn't seem particularly impressive to me. Win10 is somewhere around the same level as WinXP according to various stats sites I just checked. That leaves Win10 still more than 5x smaller than Win7 in market share, despite Microsoft literally giving it away and actively trying to push Win7 and Win8 users into updating.

Microsoft Edge just passed Safari (and all Linux use combined) in market share, but if you don't bother to test web sites for Safari then Edge would be in the same category right now, yes.

For what sites? For some B2C sites that actually work well on mobile devices -- which seems to be the only case where that particular comparison is useful -- I can see Safari use at close to 20x that of Edge, in the same league as Chrome. In contrast, Edge is registering just above Amazon Silk, the old Android Browser, and something I've never even heard of.

Comment Re: Windows 7 (Score 1) 309

MS share price is up and Windows 10 has largely gotten positive reception and very very rapid user uptake.

You would expect their share price to be way up this soon after the launch of their biggest project in several years. If it wasn't, heads would already have been looking loosely attached around the boardroom table.

As for positive reception... from whom? The trade press did their usual thing of waxing lyrical about the few headlines from the press release, while in many cases failing to mention the privacy or security implications at all. However, actual user studies show relatively little interest in digital assistants like Cortana. Edge is so insignificant in the analytics for every site I deal with that we're not even bothering to test with it. I literally don't know anyone, either socially or through work, who actually runs Windows 10 on anything, though I know a few people who have been actively avoiding it.

And as for "very, very rapid" user update, I don't know what figures you've seen, but the only data I saw the first few days after the Win10 launch that was confirmed by MS sources suggested rather mediocre adoption rates considering that they were literally preinstalling it on Win 7/8 machines and had been trying to nag/trick users into activating the free update for some time by then. In any case, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I think the real test will be where they stand 1-2 years after it launched, after the initial hype wave has faded, all the free updates are used up, and businesses have had time to consider their options.

Comment Re: Windows 7 (Score 1) 309

Sure, but in the last six months they enjoyed the results of an extremely aggressive marketing campaign promoting their first new OS in a couple of years and a vision for locking in customers using it. The reality will be clearer after the early adopter wave has died down and in particular after a year when any final surge of interest in the free upgrade has passed. If most people are running on Windows 10 at that point, they'll be doing well. If businesses are still showing little interest and the majority of home users are still on older versions, Nadella is going to have some tough questions to answer, because MS can ill afford another Vista/Win8 fiasco.

Comment Re:release notes should have informed users (Score 3, Interesting) 309

That's not really a low end desktop, not even today. Most desktops are still being sold with 4Gb of RAM, and when it comes to tablets, the situation is even worse.

My tests are on a Thinkpad X100e which originally came with Windows 7 and ran it fine, with 4Gb, and a HP Stream 8 which originally came with Windows 8.1. Both have, independently, had large numbers of BSoDs since the Fall Update. Responsiveness on both is pretty bad, though has improved with the FU, but still, more often than not, trying to bring up the Start menu takes more than 10 seconds (and sometimes more than a minute) on the X100e, and is a frequent occurrence on the tablet. The notifications bar usually takes so long to come up on both I usually give up on it.

(Want to see smooth and responsive? Try Windows 8.1 on a tablet. Made me never want to use an Android tablet again.)

For obvious reasons, I've not accepted by employer's offer to switch to Windows 10, nor have I upgraded my main PC. This is terrible. Yeah, I get people saying "Well, on my low end bargain basement $10,000 desktop, an 12GHz 16 core Intel i9 with 32Gb of RAM (I mean, who uses anything less these days, right?!" (I kid, but not by much...) "it works fine!" but when you have two devices in front of you that really suck thanks to the Windows 10 update, you tend to believe your own eyes.

Honestly, I still think Microsoft should have released Windows 8.11 (8.1 with a start menu) and then spent a year polishing Windows 10 until it was ready. It shows potential, but in its current form it's garbage.

Comment Re:W.C. Fields Does Politics (Score 1) 6

The more I've seen, the more I've become convinced it's a scorched earth attempt to get the Presidency. I don't think it's an attempt to split the Republican base, and I suspect you'll find he's fairly formidable against Clinton because he'll be combining the anti-immigration nonsense he is now with policies that many on the left would find appealing.

Add to this the fact that Clinton is really, really, unpopular, and...

We live in interesting times.

Comment Re:release notes should have informed users (Score 1) 309

This is another thing that's really pissing me off about Windows 10 - quite honestly, if it wasn't for the fact Windows 10 is slow and bug ridden (Fall update helped a little with the first, but made the latter much, much, worse), I'd have turned off updates completely by now. How does Microsoft expect us to trust them with automatic updates if they're not going to tell us what those updates are supposed to do?

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito