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Comment: Re:Windows 8 sucks even more than Windows (Score 1) 322

by bbsalem (#47524971) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

And less than Ubuntu Unity, if that is possible. I had resisted having anything to do with Windows 8 because Metro Sucked, and now I know that is true, having had to struggle with it today on a laptop. Thank God I didn't buy a machine with it preinstalled, I'd just nuke it along with secure boot and just use BIOS boot and boot a Linux. (I know that some Linux plays with Secure Boot.).

Windows 8 still feels like a single-process machine. I couldn't even cut and paste snippets from the browser into Idle (Python) such as I could do in any Linux system and because the OS is so slow, the pointer kept vanishing for minutes at a time, bogus. Windows 8 seems to isolate apps in their own desktops and not support clipboards between them.

So, I hope that if Windows is to be simplified that M$ has the wisdom to not use Metro as the standard. Can the end of M$ be that far off? We can hope.

Comment: CHEATING? (Score 1) 612

by bbsalem (#47517611) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

I think that people "cheat", that is do not respect the unfair advantage their using the system creates for others, when they think that either they are more deserving that the others or that the system isn't fair to begin with. By this thinking there ought to be more cheating in Latin American oligarchies by the elites there, meaing that despite the pretense to a rule of law, they tinnk themselves above the law. People who do not respect the rule of law cheat, too. The defining issue is that when people think the institutions are corrupt or inneffective, they will cheat more.

So, respect for authority and property rights, might imply less cheating, these same people respecting the rule of law and due process to pursue criminals, except that elitism might take over and an elite class might cheat because it thinks itself above the law. Trouble is, that is corrosive to the whole idea of rule of law because the unfairness of it quickly becomes obvious. The systems of the Soviet states created privileged elites, and the unfair advantage of that did much to undermine them. The same is true of elitism based on Capitalism. When the perception is that a plutocratic elite gets an unfair advantage then the same mechanism is in play and it can undermine that system, undermining both the rule of law and the authority of power.

Comment: Re:Did he just notice that? Developer Shortage? (Score 1) 528

Yeah, I don't believe there is a developer shortage, either. I think that the claim is used to undercut the cost of hiring developers. What there is a shortage of is people who can think beyond immediate short-term goals and to anticipate consequences. Time has a not-nice answer to all of us because of that. We will all pay. In the meantime be careful whom you give more and more power to and don't complain if they end up screwing you, you will have yourself to blame, largely. I am generally in favor of ways that pit the universal ways all of us have to abuse power but especially pitting business and government people against each other. The problem is not that business is opposed to government but that business and governrment is too much in cahoots.

Microsoft wouldn't have abused its power if it weren't protected by government, if anti-trust law had been enforced and if people holding the public trust hadn't sold out to them. The rest of us deserve some blame for that too by buying the myths associated with Microsoft's dominance of the market. I never thought that the OEM agreements the company had with hardware companies were ever right, and today I delight in erasing Microsoft products from used systems and replacing them with Linux. I would like to see future systems come bare and the customer gets to choose which OS to install. '

Comment: Conflict of Interest in all Federal Agemcies (Score 1) 140

If you have ever worked for an agency of government, especially at the Cabinet Level or just below, you know that they have a built-in conflict of interest. Their mission is to promote the interest of the constituants they have, the industries they regulate, and the conflict is that they are charged with, at least in theory, with regulating them. The catch is, and this is built into the Constitution itself, Congress controls the funding of them. If a powerful, well-funded business does not want a regulation imposed on it, it has many tools to fight, and more now that the Roberts Court has given them unlimited power to exert financial pressure on members of Congress to do their bidding.

Now, in the case of the FCC, they do have a legitimate function to regulate limited resources, broadcast bandwidth in this case, and so they are even more inclined to bend to the pressure of intense lobbying and money spent to garner control of a precious resource. In this area, the power of the ISPs to game access to the bandwidth by throttling connections is quite large. and that seems to render the idea of Net Neutrality moot. The public has to use its economic power to answer this if it vexed. Much of business power is based on the laziness of people. People pay a premium for convenience and give up lots of power thereby. If people start believing that the ISPs are abusing their power and being helped by the FCC, then they will be able to change this.

There is plenty of talk about going to non-IP networks, even low-power store and forward meshes that do not use regulated bandwith or the wired Internet at all. Maybe this is an answer. Remember UUCP? Is there anything to stop people from sending encrypted private data over a public wireless network to another phone?

Comment: No Geochemical signs? (Score 1) 151

by bbsalem (#47478207) Attached to: Mt. Fuji Volcano In 'Critical State' After Quakes

I glanced at the links and saw some geophysical data but no geochemical or in situ data, in particular the kinds of data used on other magmatic arc stratoform vents where there is a change in the amount and composition of gases being emitted and local geophysical signs like deformation. Connecting regional tectonics, a strain field, to the behavior of one system contained within is going to be difficult without other signs. Maybe the article is a call for Japan's geophysists to do the kind of in situ monitoring to give them some warning that an eruption might be coming.

Comment: Selfishness is a Virtue? (Score 1) 533

by bbsalem (#47478105) Attached to: Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

Paul's appeal doesn't surprise me. There has always been an undercurrent of sentiments that embraced Randian ideas, and from the beginning. At the same time as there has been an idealistic and liberal thread. There is a sense that the political spectrum is a circle and that the right and left merge at the point furthest from the pragmatic center of American Politics. There is also the sense that techies are simplistic thinkers about complex social issues, and like many engineers, have a tendency to go half cocked. So myths about individualism and the rights of entrapaneurs get embraced before one has done the thinking through to consequences and side effects, like the half baked idea of that Silicon Valley business man to break California into six states including one named Silicon Valley. Maybe he is like Emperor Norton and wants to become the monarch of Silicon Valley. Some of these guys seem shady at the outset so possibly a tendency to be doing hard time they end up being Silly Cons.

I think Silicon Valley has seen brighter days. The reality of the effects of technology not driven by greater wisdom than some half-baked business plan is about to catch up with it, and the Bright Boys will be asked to pay up-front to deal with the anticipated risk of doing business in these parts. Good, maybe they should take their schemes to Texas and let the people there who put the like of Paul and Cruz and Perry pay the consequences. Maybe all the better if it turns out that Texas and California are in different nations, too.

Comment: Re:Which industry are you in ? (Score 1) 171

by bbsalem (#47469375) Attached to: Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

I think that what you are trying to say is that you tried to invest in creative ventures but that most of what gets done, and we imply that what gets done is determined by what gets money, is driven by people who aren't creative or insightful or who think in an exceptional way. That seems to be most people most of the time. I sense in the OP the he is describing a mature market, one which has acquired the influence of the average of consumers, hence it too is not very creative, but between consumers and investors it is driven by inertia and not by itself very creative. Change occurs by shaking up this status quo. Sometimes it comes from an exceptional insight that results in changing everybody's perception, but this is rare. Sometimes it comes from a risk that emerges, such as security and spying, and data loss, these cannot be foreseen, but they can have a long-term beneficial effect. Microsoft may be in decline because of security risks after enjoying a long consensus as a standard, even though there may have always been superior products, its adoption by business based on successful marketing, may finally be over.

Comment: Ipython Notebook? (Score 1) 123

by bbsalem (#47453995) Attached to: Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing

So, I wonder how much information is shared between scientists, peer reviewed, and never submitted to a journal? If you know the ipython notebook that is a way to do what people used to do, correspond via mail. now via web-page or e-mail. You can distribute results along with the data that were used and the programs that processed it, how your data got reduced, how the images were drafted. You guys know about this. Is the paper journal and the publishing paywalls a thing of the past?

Comment: Yes, as a biomed monitor (Score 1) 381

by bbsalem (#47444095) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Have you noticed how clunky the medical profession is? You sit down at the dr. office and they put a cuff on your arm to read your blood pressure and pulse, which is about the most worthless science I can think of. If they wanted to see your BP spikes they would use a sensor that is a whole lot more unobtrusive than a sphigmometer! But the medical establishment is truly in the dark ages and this is a situation where some decent sensor engineering could make a big deal. Your dr. puts you on BP meds and he wants to know if they are working. An acclerometer could give enough info so that the variance of BP is measurable from a wearable monitor, in a watch. I am quite surprised that somebody isn't pushing the problem of calibrating a small sensor to solve this problem. If if takes a couple of sphigmometer measurements to calibrate a sensor, then fine, but it seems to me that it would be worth that.

How much useful data could be gotten about blood by using a colorimeter measurement to link the spectral response, even just extinction of light transmitted or reflected from in situ blood to indicate blood chemistry, such things as Fe, sugar, chlorestrol? I haven't heard that any doctor or engineer has tried to get such data under a control. Has Anyone? A wrist watch that can do monitoring of such things is something I would buy. I don't think of the possibility as just another mobile device, in fact because of the privacy issues I would't want the device to have more than a mini USB connection, so that I can download the data for my doctor's use alone, no buetooth, no wireless, unless I can turn it on and off. The ability to do continuous monitoring would be worth the ability to have the device. This would be more valuable to a segment of the population than any smartphone conveniences, and it would undercut the medical profession's staidness.

Comment: Missing the point. (Score 1) 608

by bbsalem (#47429263) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

I think that most comments in their thread miss the real story, and the issue of the OP does too. The real story here is that the economy has come to be reliant of an elite of engineers and developers who not only have discouraged other groups of people, but are by their very efforts making is harder for a majority of people to find rewarding roles in society by which they can support themselves according to the expectation that the job a person is paid to do or can create is valued. The digital revolution has erased many more jobs that it promised would be replaced by more creative and rewarding ones. This hasn't really happened. Instead more and more people have been marginalized, under-employed and just pushed off into poverty. Business people don't notice this because they see the efficiency gains as a short-term benefit while they don't have to deal with the longer-term effects. The income gap and the lopsided income distribution is a direct result of the application of computers to economics, whether to make a tiny group account for all the productivity in the economy or to allow for new forms of speculation and fraud in the financial sector. The other shoe has not dropped, but I think it will, and the population as a whole will begin to see the dark side of engineering and programming, not the rosy predictions made of technology boosters. It is not that we should put a stop to technology, no, only that we need to get much smarter about defining and measuring the side-effect and not listening to engineers who are very bad at predicting the future.

Much of this problem is due to old-fashioned political economics and economic theory that is like the blind man and the elephant. We let the people who see the short-term gain dictate our thinking rather than asking them to plan for five years or a decade. That is the fault of computers driving the emphasis on short-term ROI and of the tendency of people to be selfish. When the shine is off, these people with be made to pay in having a far less secure world. I would outlaw HFT and put a latency of all equities trades. I would discourage venture capital and other investment in areas where infrastructure is already stressed. I wouldn't let plutocrats move in and pressure the whole regional economy to meet the desires of elites. To simply argue that greed is OK is to invite the historical remedy which is not nice, it is what we are seeing in Central America right now, so heed the warning signs.

Comment: Not enough non-C energy sources? (Score 1) 385

It may be hard to wean economies off burning carbon under current technological conditions, and all to our peril. Without economic incentives, it will be hard to persuade people to get out of the business of producing energy that comes from burning carbon. There are a couple of reasons for this !) The Grid was planned to make use of the abundant and cheap Carbon energy resources. Don't forget that when Oil Company Ads rig the argument about renewables not being available. The grid doesn't go to places where there might be abundant renewable energy resources and the Utilities aren't going to build the grid out there if there is no incentive to do so. 2) Renewables are not yet reliably available to meet instantaneous demand for energy that relying on Carbon burning has been able to satisfy. There is no economical way to store energy for later use, so even though there might actually be a huge abundance of renewable energy out there, there is no way to store it for later use.

Nuclear, fission and fusion, has a bad rap and it might eventually have to be used to address these issues. I have seen the argument about the investment in high pressure water reactors that use U-235 and produce weapons grade products, Pu, as a side effect, the risks of using them and the counter arguments about using Th based unpressurized reactors instead. I don't have the expertise to know if the advocates for a complete change in our nuclear energy strategy are right or not, but if we have been avoiding a safer alternative for economic and political, even military reasons, that is something that needs to be examined. A safer nuclear power source with a resource that is regarded as a contaminant and is over abundant in the refining of the other rare earths that we badly need, must get consideration.

Surely if fusion ever becomes practicable and it can be done without producing radioactive wastes, that would drastically change the energy equation, as would the use of Th reactors, if they are comparatively safe. Proper use of these could reduce the need to burn Carbon.

Comment: Re:"The real problem..." he explained (Score 1) 132

by bbsalem (#47402037) Attached to: Damian Conway On Perl 6 and the Philosophy of Programming

I was around when Star Office appeared as an alternative to Microsoft Office. People said that it couldn't compete with Microsoft Office, but it did. It later became Open Office and then Libre-Office. I am sure that there are many people, whole businesses really, who insist that people use Microsoft Office and pay the fee. But it might to hard to know about how many people chose one of these opensource alternatives because of the zero cost and the high compitability with Microsoft Office. Surely, if your dependency of the details of Microsoft file formats is less rather than more, it is easier to choose the alternative.

Much of the "Inertia" is institutional. Anyone who has done tech support knows the psychology: customers will pay for a support contract just to have someone to complain to when the product doesn't work as they want it weather of not the support staff can actually do anything about it. So, corporate support of Microsoft Office is a selling point whether or not the support is effective. This is true even if community support of an open source is just as effective and the turnaround to fixing bugs is actually faster. It is quite impressive to see how the opersource alternatives have matured even when Microsoft can claim it inspired them and had a 15 year head start on them, they still brought their alternatives up to snuff faster.

Comment: Re:On this 4th of July... (Score 1) 349

by bbsalem (#47401895) Attached to: Qualcomm Takes Down 100+ GitHub Repositories With DMCA Notice

I think that Copyright is dead, not that DMCA will be ineffective, but that ultimately the small cost of distribution makes seeking legal protection not worth it. The fact that people will still pay $12 to see a movie makes all this possible, not the legal idea, and even if the media companies pursue pirates they can only get the easy targets. For that reason I immediately leave sites that have paywalls or want to charge me for something i might legitimately find for free, If I want costs to drop and the incentives to not be profits for third parties then I leave these sites. I know that if no one wanted to pay $12 to see movies that the law would not matter. People might find other reason to make movies and maybe they would make movies that had other incentives than mass appeal or profit, and the incentives to pursue pirates are economic and the law is but a tool for that.

I have noticed that in the scientific community people are using non-journal avenues to communicate and even to referee articles and "publish". It is possible to submit much more than a static text article to colleagues, You can now share the text and figures but the data and the data reduction code and graphics commands. The incentive for this is rapid turnaround of reviews but it is also a response to journal publishers who, I think, are going to go out of existence as a result. This is all caused by the cost of communications dropping with the distribution costs no longer justifying the middle man.

Comment: People don't practice reasoning and debate (Score 1) 725

by bbsalem (#47401755) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

I have seen this seeming contradiction up close and personal and it has nothing to do with knowledge or training, it has to do with untested ideas and the lack of a challenge to form consistent sets of value. That is a failing of our culture, of many cultures, and of the educational system. The propaganda in media doesn't help nor does the numbness it creates to informal fallacies. If you spent your time discovering all the flaws in reasoning that get pitched at you in a day, you would have no time for anything else. This is a side-effect of "free speech" that depends on the size of the megaphone and what it costs to use. Citizenship requires time to reason and to think and the drivers of mass media do not want individuals to take time to think.So the barrage is a kind of mind control where the intent is to flood and discourage reflection. It is no wonder that people have such unconsidered views and that there are whole sections of their opinions that are inconsistent and viral. That is how the political machines and the corprorate controllers want it. They want a population of consumers driven by impulse and who are maleiable and easily manipulated.

A couple of days ago there was a post about a study in which the test subjects would rather give themselves electric shocks than have to spend fifteen minutes alone with just their thoughts. Not only is that classical conditioning but it may reveal that many people are afraid of the thoughts that come up when they are quiet and alone. Not only is it not in the interest of the power structure that people have the time to reflect but it is also in their interest, particularly of business people that people do not have any practice debating, discovering formal logical errors, or understanding the informal fallacies. Surely logic is important for many important pursuits in society, such as in mathematics, but a tiny elite knows about formal proofs and logic and can follow that kind of reasoning. It isn't that people are unintelligent, it is that they are unpracticed and untrained and there are powerful forces in society that want them to remain that way.

I believe that Social Media is actually a case in point, and that the blog is an impediment to people using the Internet to reason if they want. Social Media is about the propaganda va;ue of marketing in business, nothing more, and the blog restricts control of the discussion by ownership of topics. It isn't that you can't hold a reasoned conversation in a blog; it is that the structure of blogs and Social Media do not help you communicate and actually gets in the way. That is intentional by the comercal interests who drive Social Media, and makes the point that the power structure in society is not at all interested in helping us communicate and reason in the way that enables our citizenship in a society that pays lip service to democratic institutions.

What would change this is to restore some of the structure in discussion groups to the web and do away with blogs. Mark Zuckerberg's "Simple" criterion is just the wrong model and shows that Facebook is about manipulating its users.

We hear "Shhh, USENET" because it has become the avenue for pirated content and porn, but in the text-only groups beginning in 1984, there were some lively debates in which it was possible to practice your reasoning, debating, and writing skills. We need to bring some of that back and the Internet is a good place to do that, too bad that opportunity is being wasted on Social Media and Blogs. USENET discussion groups and their message structure contains the tools needed to rescue public discourse in the world, despite what Zuckerberg claims, If you want a demonstration compare what is in the DejaVu archive of USENET that Google owns with Google Groups and Google+, There is no comparison, and the fact that Google preserved the archive of old USENET posts is very telling WRT the above and as compared with the communication style they have set in their products.

Slashdot has some of the things needed, but the proposed changes to the UI are a step in the other direction, while at the same time the Social Media style of story promotion is a regression. A fairly topical subject hiererarchy like in USENET newsgroup naming is actually superior to the way topics are promoted on Social Media sites. It allows for readers to reconnect with the content even when the subject lines and threads have changed, If you look at the lack of followon to most social mediis threads, this is the reason. So contextual reply and control of the topic line isn't really enough, a topic hierarchy really helps. Slashdot could improve this by allowing for users to enter the site through the major categories rather than the headlines, which are chosen by editors.

Comment: Re:it depends on what "skilled worker" means. (Score 1) 401

by bbsalem (#47400895) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say
Fuck executives and fuck people with MBAs and the accountants who feed them. Fuck them all and make them and the financial types, generally, work out in the fields picking vegetables! This class of people are useless parasites who do nothing useful. We need a Cultural Revolution for suits.

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