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Comment: Re:Sigh. (Score 2) 102

by chad_r (#47496209) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

That sums up my impression of the state of airports that have adopted the machines wholesale. The machines are just scattered around, and there is no clear "line" to either check your bags or speak to a human. You just need to trace the ropes to find a gap, and hope that the line you started is the place where the lone counter person is looking for the next person to serve. If it's especially busy, there may be two people at the counter, but anyone else on staff will be wandering around to help people with machines (basically just pushing the buttons for them) or actively discouraging people from waiting on line instead of starting with the machines.

But the machines aren't flawless. I've never been able to get through the check-in for an international flight with an entire family. I make it through the initial steps of identifying myself and the flight, but when it comes to scanning the passports it will randomly reject one of them. It's likely because one of the family has a foreign passport. If that's the issue, why can't they just tell those cases to go directly to the counter? Three attempts at this is 10 minutes wasted (including for the staff watching over my shoulder telling me to try it again) that I could have spent waiting in line.

The problem isn't with the software, it's with a lack of care for the customer experience. It's as if the airline management never use an airport to realize ways in which the system is inefficient, confusing, or unpleasant. That's what think is the real reason for designing an avatar kiosk: throw money at software developers to magically solve the problem instead of understanding or addressing the real issues.

Comment: Re:Is it possible? (Score 4, Insightful) 212

by chad_r (#47092913) Attached to: Games That Make Players Act Like Psychopaths

How is it possible to be a psychopath in a game? This and other research are based on the premise that video games contain real violence. No game has ever contained true violence in this sense, which is why violent video gaming behavior doesn't lead to the harm that real psychopaths cause in society.

The only way to act psychopathic--doing actual harm to another human being with true apathy--in a video game would seem to be through communications between players inside the game, where feelings could be hurt. It would be hard of course to separate psychopathic communicative behavior from other common factors like immaturity, inebriation, gaming cultures, etc. That should probably be the real focus of these kinds of studies. Another interesting study might be to study actual psychopaths, pulled from corporate environments or the like, and seeing if/how they play games differently from non-psychos.

This is why murder in games as a measure of sociopathy is a red herring. The real crazies are the griefers, the ones who gain enjoyment, with no other tangible benefit, from knowing they are doing harm to real people in the form of wasted time or belittling. It's hardly limited to gaming. Look at Wikipedia. Sometimes people vandalize because they have a petty axe to grind, but other vandalism is just totally pointless, like replacing entire paragraphs with the word "penis". I would even consider some graffiti, like the Chinese teenager writing "Ding Jinhao was here" at the Luxor Temple, to be sociopathic.

Comment: KeePass + will (Score 2) 381

by chad_r (#45896687) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Protect Your Passwords From Amnesia?

I would probably give a master password and a copy of my password safe to my lawyer, along with my will and other legal paperwork that she should have just in case something should happen to me.

I was in the midst of posting something similar. I hadn't thought of encryption, but that would be a good idea.

  • 1) Stored all my passwords in KeePass Password Safe, and protected the database with a single password
  • 2) Attached the password for it, along with other important instructions (like a local password for the computer with the database), with my will. I also added a list of important contacts and bank accounts my family might not know about
  • 3) Sealed the documents in an envelope, and let my family know about the documents (or left it with them, before an overseas trip)
  • 4) Upon my timely death or loss of memory, my family will have all it needs to delete my embarrassing online photos

Comment: Re:Clemency?! (Score 2) 573

by chad_r (#45870617) Attached to: Counterpoint: Why Edward Snowden May Not Deserve Clemency

Snowden chose to take part in a war...
part of it is cold (against Russia and/or China - no shooting takes place on those fronts but there is some real struggle about shifting the power balance this or that way...
(winning is impossible anyway)...
if Snowden is let free, I will not shed any tears when the long arm of youknowwho reaches him...

Please tell me this a subtle satire in the style of 1984 and Dr. Strangelove, and that you truly don't see the World in such black and white terms. We are in a cold war with China? Really? Over "balance of power"? Is that a war you expect one side to win, or do you think "we will always be at war"?

Comment: Re:Yes, because nothing is ever your fault (Score 4, Funny) 271

by chad_r (#45793811) Attached to: Memo To Parents and Society: Teen Social Media "Addiction" Is Your Fault

We are all the product of our environment.

No, no, no! Remember the scene the "Life of Brian" where he tells the crowd "you are all individuals", and they respond in unison "we are all individuals!"

Oh, but you missed the best part. After everyone shouts "we are all individuals", a lone meek voice says "I'm not!".

Comment: Re:In the minds of the curren tech industry (Score 3, Informative) 110

by chad_r (#45728695) Attached to: Ted Nelson's Passionate Eulogy for Douglas Engelbart

The internet existed in 1984. Some of us old timers still remember when AOL opened a gate and let their users into the readnews internet community, everything started going downhill about then. :-)

Could you be misremembering the Eternal September of 1993? The name AOL didn't event exist until 1989. Usenet did exist in 1984, but it was over UUCP, and there were less than 1000 hosts.

Comment: Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (Score 1) 554

Parent is already at +5, so I'll just say that it's spot on. But to make one point,

Also just like /. tends to do, the linked news article headline is sensationalized and exists just to get people to read the story.

Sadly, this is one case where every reporting of this research is just as bad as Slashdot's. The headline has cropped up in many different forms on health-related newsfeeds, and all are basically: Vitamins don't cure cancer or stop heart attacks, therefore they are worthless, The parent comment above is the first time I've read that the researchers actually admitted some benefit.

There is something very strange about Health and Science reporting, where reporters shut off their brains so they can create the most scandalous headline to draw readers. Remember two months ago when everyone was reporting the Oreos are as addictive as cocaine? It turns out that rats prefer junk food over rice (just like drugs!), and Oreos are just what they happened to use. That was the day after the government shutdown ended, and everyone needed a break from shrill political news in favor of some mindless crap news.

Comment: MS Filght Sim (Score 1) 413

by chad_r (#45710099) Attached to: Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines
This brings back memories of an old version of MS Flight Simulator (2000?). Whenever you would choose an item from a main list (maybe it was US state), the secondary drop-down list of airports within that category was oddly slow, and exponentially related to the number of items in the list. I just chalked it up to a programming WTF, and something Microsoft never noticed during QA because they were testing on high end machines.

Comment: Re:"Available for public download" - AT&T and (Score 1) 230

by chad_r (#45412073) Attached to: Judge: No Privacy Expectations For Data On P2P Networks

I think the notion that CP somehow extinguishes a fire in a pedo, preventing harm, is groundless. It goes against common sense and 60+ years of pr0n research. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. my claim is reasonable and rooted in the common human experience. it is prima facae true.

I foresee a future in politics for you. You certainly have their understanding of logic and the scientific method.

Comment: Love it (Score 1) 204

by chad_r (#45183491) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do You Use Markdown and Pandoc?

I use it for blog postings, with the tables and footnotes plugins. I also use it when converting simple text files into e-books with Calibre, which has a built-in markdown converter. I have nothing against html, but typing an open and close tag for everything gets to be tedious when you just want to write something simple, especially for tables.

I've had to edit other people's book-length Word documents before. These tend to be a mess, because many people don't know how to use styles, so the formatting is a big mess. I copied the text in Markdown, formatted the headings as H1 and H2, wrote some simple html for the embedded images, converted the document to HTML, and imported it back into Word. It sounds like a lot of steps, but I was able to do this faster than clicking on 200 pages of the Word document to fix all the inconsistencies. It goes without saying that the person got the document back, and then messed up the formatting again, because they didn't think Word styles were a real thing.

As I recall, Cory Doctorow at a book signing mentioned he used Markdown or something similar in his writings, and then kept the documents under a version control system to be able to see the changes. This is something Markdown should excel at, much better than a wysiwyg editor.

Comment: Re:How about (Score 2) 528

by chad_r (#45020627) Attached to: California Outlaws 'Revenge Porn'
In addition to the copyright issues (which I think the parent is correct about), what about the 2257 Regulations issues? The laws in the US are pretty strict about full records being kept of the models in pornographic videos by the producers. It would seem these revenge sites are sitting ducks for child porn smackdowns.

Comment: Re:Recognize? (Score 1) 70

by chad_r (#44764497) Attached to: Computer-Designed Proteins Recognize and Bind Small Molecules

Really, proteins can recognize small biological molecules? Here I thought that proteins, like other molecules would react with other molecules in a bio-chemical reaction, but to find out that they can actually recognize other molecules is really amazing!

What a pointless, unfunny comment. I don't know what a "bio-chemical reaction" is. If you mean a chemical reaction, then no, proteins do not react that way. The composition of the protein does not change, in the way that two reacting chemicals would change their bonding or electron counts. In general, the protein is simply shaped in a way that fits the molecule better than other molecules (i.e., it recognizes the molecule), holding it in place so that other reactions can happen more favorably. Metalloenzymes come closer to your notion of a chemical reaction with a protein, but the protein part of the enzyme is still there just to position the reactant close to the catalytic center.

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce

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