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Comment: Easier on paper (Score 1) 361

by anyaristow (#46757575) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

It's easier to do it on paper, using the PDF forms.

Last year was the first and hopefully the last year I did taxes electronically. To prepare, I filled out the government's PDF forms. Then I had to research the online filing options, picked one, set up an account and filled in all the info I'd already entered into the PDF forms, had it fail on me, picked another, gave personal info to yet another online account, had to enter all the tax data again, and then had it tell me it'd take two days to confirm acceptance, which if it had failed, would have made me late.

This year I just printed the damned PDFs I'd already filled out and snail mailed them on the way to work.

Just because it's "on the computer" doesn't make it any easier.

Comment: The killer app will be human-mimicking AI (Score 3, Insightful) 202

by anyaristow (#46614547) Attached to: How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

The killer app for virtual reality is AI able to act like and interact with humans.

There's a strong Oculus-in-Second-Life effort, because it's the only non-game, non-trivial virtual world left. Virtual worlds keep dying because there's no killer app for them, yet. Creative people build pretty spaces in virtual worlds, but nobody will visit because they aren't engaging enough. It's not enough to have things to look at.

People are more interesting than things. Virtual worlds won't be engaging until there are a lot of people there. They won't have a lot of people until they are engaging. Chicken. Egg.

To make matters worse, virtual worlds tend to become larger than is useful. Too much space, too few people. They become ghost towns. Creepy, empty and lonely.

The solution is AI. Fill those spaces with AI people, or monsters, or whatever, and they'll be much more interesting. Visuals aren't enough, though. You have to be able to interact with the AI.

The challenge is that virtual spaces will become so large you won't be able to find real humans. You can reserve spaces for real humans, but if you got there through first making virtual spaces attractive with AI, then that AI will be used to fake humans in human spaces. Second Life already has this problem, though the AI is nearly non-existent. SL seems empty and creepy, despite being full of avatars, because most of the avatars are bots.

But if you can have an engaging time in a virtual world, interacting with bots, will you care that they are bots? The time will come when the people with the best stories and the best jokes and the best advice will be AI.

Comment: Somebody in the band has to compose music (Score 1) 356

by anyaristow (#44828583) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are 'Rock Star' Developers a Necessity?

I've knows some programmers who are awesome guitarists. They know the lingo, have awesome memory, both for syntax and the workings of their own code, and can type really fast and pound out working code quickly.

But the songs they write are mediocre. That is, they do things the hard way, they create functional but unintuitive interfaces (and APIs), they make organizations dependent on fly-by-night technologies, they meet stated objectives but can't fill in the blanks where users don't know what to ask for, and nothing they create is every attractive or compelling to users.

To be a rock star, somebody in the band has to compose awesome music. That is, somebody on the team has to know how to solve the right problems.

Comment: Re:announcement: I am not working (Score 1) 120

by anyaristow (#44448453) Attached to: Fearful of Reader Reaction, Facebook Delays Video Ads

They watch youtube videos while the boss isn't at his desk, which is often, so the sound is on. I didn't even know youtube had video ads.

Anyway, I'm hoping the facebook ads are unexpected, full-screen and loud, so they'll be caught with the sound still on and be embarrassed to be on facebook all day.

It'd be even better if they were adult enough to recognize that the company can not dedicate the entire room as an all-day nattering zone, but that's just crazy-talk.

Comment: announcement: I am not working (Score 3, Funny) 120

by anyaristow (#44447003) Attached to: Fearful of Reader Reaction, Facebook Delays Video Ads

This will serve as an announcement for when my co-workers are screwing off on facebook rather than doing their work. Maybe if they can't read facebook all day they'll also not find a constant stream of shit to chat about.

I like this video ad idea. Make it nice and loud, please. Full-screen and flashing.


Comment: Re:right eye not partially obscured? (Score 2) 55

by anyaristow (#44316791) Attached to: New Android Eyewear Wants To Compete With Google Glass

Every single google image search result shows the display part in front of the eye, or so close above it you can't fail to focus on it when you look at someone wearing it, and the opaque part is close enough it will be an obstruction until you have the person's attention and they are looking right at you.

This new project puts the HUD projector behind the glass, to the right of the face. It will hopefully be less intrusive to the way humans normally interact face-to-face.

Comment: right eye not partially obscured? (Score 3, Interesting) 55

by anyaristow (#44316605) Attached to: New Android Eyewear Wants To Compete With Google Glass

A human-factors thing that Google apparently didn't consider is that when you look someone in the eye you are almost always looking at them in the right eye. Even dogs know to look humans in the right eye (see PBS Nova episode "Dogs Decoded"). With Google Glass, the right eye is partially obscured by a camera/display, which is impossible to ignore.

These things look like the camera/display is more out-of-the-way. It may still be impossible to ignore if it's visible behind the glass, but it's got to be better than Google Glass.

Comment: Re:Who Cares? (Score 1) 1448

by anyaristow (#44237113) Attached to: Orson Scott Card Pleads 'Tolerance' For <em>Ender's Game</em> Movie

It is, but every time I see a geeky community define who is and is not welcome by openly ridiculing conservatives, theists and everyone who enjoys mainstream things (the combination excludes most of their own culture), I, too, see "people working to make things worse." I do think you should spend your money on things that you value and not spend money on things that work against your values, but when you get upset with (or ridicule) people who don't share your values you have injured both yourself, by limiting your options and your appeal to most of your own society, and your cause, by making it unpalatable to people you'd like to convince.

Comment: Re:more of this "fairness" nonsense (Score 1) 298

by anyaristow (#44209299) Attached to: The Price of Amazon

People who shouldn't quit their day job don't generally get published. They don't reject all the shite, but agents and publishers currently do the vetting. Without them, someone else will have to do it, because there will be no market at all for books if only people with too much time on their hands can afford the time to find good books among the self-published.

My prediction is that if publishers disappear, Amazon will start "featuring" things they think won't frustrate their customers, and it will be as good a vetting as will be available so people will rely on it, and the idealistic will still bemoan the unfairness and cost of it. And we'll all be worse off because they won't be as good at it as publishers are.

Comment: Re:more of this "fairness" nonsense (Score 1) 298

by anyaristow (#44208809) Attached to: The Price of Amazon

As far as I'm concerned, the revolution in the book market isn't done until every single big 20th century publisher is out of businesses, and most authors sell and market their books themselves through convenient and inexpensive online services.

...and it's impossible to know if a "book" is total shite, hyped by phony reviews. The cost of a book will be not an hour's wage, but multiple hours trial and error.

Yeah, can't wait.

Comment: Re:Kindle Books are a bad deal (Score 2) 298

by anyaristow (#44208761) Attached to: The Price of Amazon

you cannot lend to as many people as you'd like

How often do you actually do that?

you cannot keep a personal backup copy

But someone else does that for you. And with Calibre, you can do it yourself.

you cannot resell it

But you usually get it for less than the cost of the physical book, so you already took the price break of selling it later, up front.

you cannot read it on anything other than a Kindle.

Except a phone or a tablet or a computer.

And here are some things you can do with a Kindle eBook that you can't do with a physical book:

Own 4700 of them without taking up any shelf space or having to move heavy boxes.
Take 4700 of them with you on vacation.
Carry 4700 of them with you in your backpack.
Have one delivered to you a minute after deciding you want it.
Gain immediate access to a book you forgot to bring with you. Even if you didn't bring your Kindle.
Have it delivered without a gas-guzzling truck pulling up to your door and a package to dispose of.
Do a word search.
Make highlights and have electronic access to the parts you've highlighted.

I, too, would like them to be cheaper, but they aren't directly comparable to physical books. Things change. Progress is made.

Comment: Yes, moreso than others (Score 4, Insightful) 641

by anyaristow (#44174779) Attached to: Things That Scare the Bejeezus Out of Programmers

There's nothing in that list (with the possible exception of "being forced to use a specific technology") that wouldn't apply to just about any worker.

Programmers fear incompetence because they see it everywhere, even where it is not. They just don't recognize the value of thinking that isn't exactly like their own, or skills they don't have. So, this one applies to many, but to programmers more than anyone.

Programmers fear screwing up because they are in the business of automation. They can screw up many things all at once. Complete failure over a trivial error, because computers don't have common sense to ask, "are you sure you meant to do that?", or, "what does this mean?". This one also applies to anyone building something that can injure people, but not to most other people. Most people can only screw up one thing at a time, or have people receiving the product of their work, who can sanity check it.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer