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Comment: Smaller and targeted, please (Score 1) 239

by alispguru (#49030449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance?

The fastest way to shut this stuff down would be a dump of the phone call logs for:

* All members of the House and Senate
* The President, Vice President, and all Cabinet Secretaries
* The Supreme Court Justices

It would take the media about one day to map phone numbers to names of lobbyists, and a little longer to show the patterns of calls followed by votes and other actions.

A few days after that, these programs would be defunded.

Comment: iCloud has NEVER worked for Pages (Score 2) 598

by alispguru (#48738385) Attached to: Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

When a Pages document in iCloud storage is open across multiple iOS/OSX devices, Pages routinely declares it can see multiple versions and can't decide which one it should keep. One of the options it offers you is to keep both of them, leaving you to manually look at both and figure out which one is the best. This happens even without simultaneous access, and edits often get distributed randomly between versions, requiring manual cut-and-paste merging.

Apple should go to the Dropbox people, hat in hand, and say:

Yes, Steve was a dick when he talked with you years ago. We don't want to acquire you - we want to hire you to host iCloud file storage. We want a cloud back end that Just Works, and cross-platform sharing will be a plus.

I would pay for that service, in a heartbeat.

Comment: The one woman is the Barbie brand manager (Score 4, Informative) 561

by alispguru (#48427047) Attached to: "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Jean McKenzie has been Executive Vice President of Mattel since September 2012. She was named President of American Girl Jan. 1, 2013. Prior to re-joining Mattel in 2011 as Senior Vice President-Marketing, she was President and CEO of Gateway Learning Corporation and Senior Vice President for The Walt Disney Company. From 1989-1998, Ms. McKenzie served in various executive positions at Mattel working on the Barbie brand, most recently as Executive Vice President and GM of Worldwide Barbie for Mattel.

Not sure if this makes the screw-up better or worse...

Comment: Which should be split out into two agencies (Score 1) 170

by alispguru (#48320133) Attached to: NSA Director Says Agency Shares Most, But Not All, Bugs It Finds

There shouldn't be just one organization with those two jobs. There should be an open, well-funded office in, say the National Institute for Standards and Technology that searches for vulnerabilities and has a responsible disclosure policy for everything it finds.

The Government has had this problem before - there used to be one body that handled both promotion and regulation of atomic energy in the US, the US Atomic Energy Commission. In 1974 it got broken up into two agencies, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the regulator) and the Energy Research and Development Administration (the promoter).

Comment: Local voice recognition (Score 1) 253

by alispguru (#47973593) Attached to: Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

Voice recognition is the most processor intensive thing most users commonly do, and today everybody does it remotely on big servers, primarily because you need a bunch of data in RAM to do it fast.

We probably won't see this on phones until we get really low-power RAM (memristor-based, maybe).

Comment: Reason is concentration (Score 1) 521

by alispguru (#47714677) Attached to: Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

The "bad for wildlife" question basically comes down to:

* how much mass you have to move
* how much land area you have to occupy

per watt generated.

Coal and hydro lose because they both require a lot of mass (water and coal) and a lot of area (dammed waterway, mines and transport).

Nuclear and geothermal win because they both require very little mass and very little area other than the plant itself - uranium ore has at least 1000 times the energy per gram as coal.

Any kind of solar is in the middle because of the large area needed to capture relatively dilute solar energy.

Comment: Given the choices, go with Apple (Score 1) 88

Realistically, your choices are:

* Facebook and their ilk, who will sell your individually identifiable data without a second thought.

* Google, who will absolutely sell your info, probably aggregated. At least they're upfront about it.

* Apple, who views their non-release of your data as a market differentiator and thus a valuable part of their brand.

As long as people choose Apple for privacy, Apple will value privacy and not sell their data.

If at first you don't succeed, you must be a programmer.