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Comment: Re:One man (Score 1) 156

by PopeRatzo (#48227433) Attached to: Days After Shooting, Canada Proposes New Restrictions On and Offline

A perfect chance to tighten the fences keeping the citizens in check.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but the idea that you have to keep Canadians "in check" is pretty funny. I've lived in Canada and have never met a people who were less "out of check".

I mean, what are there, about four homicides a year in Ottawa? And three of those are probably mercy killings. The other was a guy who wore a Marian Hossa jersey to an Ottawa Senators' game. Even criminals in Canada are polite.

Comment: Re: Did they make money on Surface? (Score 2) 46

I own a Surface Pro 2 and a Surface Pro 3, and use them for portable music production, live performance and field recording. They are by far the best system for such use. It's a tablet, with the touch screen (or stylus) except it can run a full version of ProTools with all the plug-ins and VSTi's you could possibly want. Full USB connectivity for audio interfaces, MIDI controllers and peripherals.

If they made a Macbook with a removable touchscreen, it would be close, but Apple seems more intent on having every pixel in the world. I remember when Apple really catered to musicians (except for their slow adoption of audio driver standards). Now, they cater to people watching cat videos. At the moment, there is no device close to the Surface Pro for this purpose. I don't believe this niche is enough to sustain the Surface Pro by itself, but I'm glad to have them right now. And I hope someone else out there is paying attention, which is why I post a comment just like this every time the Surface comes up on Slashdot.

Not that there's anything wrong with cat videos.

Comment: Re: Did they make money on Surface? (Score 2) 45

Of course he's looking for bad news. Have you read the comments for any Slashdot article that mentions the Surface or Surface Pro? A brigade of people come out who are basically upset that it even exists. It's like the Surface Pro scared their mothers when they were in the womb.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 617

For example, FedEx and UPS could not handle the volumes of packages that each handles per day without automation.

OTOH, FedEx and UPS don't look like the sort of places where you'd want to eat.

McDonalds took a 30% hit in earnings. It didn't help that they were passing out pamphlets to employees on how to apply for food stamps. I had a friend who took her kids there all the time, but even she was revolted when she heard that and they never went there again.

Comment: Re:Automation and jobs (Score 1) 617

Sadly, the likely outcome is drop in the quality of life for everyone involved.

That makes no sense.

Look at it from a macro-economic perspective: The reason we're moving to automation is because it increases efficiency, allowing us to produce more goods with fewer resources. That will increase average standard of living.

There are a couple of ways it could go wrong, of course. One is that the increased efficiency and therefore increased wealth could end up concentrated in the hands a small percentage of super-wealthy people. We've actually seen a lot of this over the last few decades, but we've seen it previously during other technology-driven economic restructurings as well, and what always happens is that competition eventually drives the margins of the super successful down and in the end the wealth ends up getting spread more broadly.

That points to the other way it could go wrong: The common man only gets his share of the increased wealth by doing something to earn it. Even though increased efficiency means there's more to go around, barring some sort of large scale government-driven redistribution, you still have to work for your share of it... which means you have to be able to do something that others who have wealth consider of sufficient value to pay you. So the other way it could go wrong is that there may simply be nothing available for such people to do.

That last is also a risk we've seen bandied about in past economic shifts, especially the shift from agricultural to industrial labor. What has happened in the past is that we've created new kinds of jobs doing previously unheard-of or even previously-frivolous things. I don't see any reason that this time should be different. I expect the transition to be painful -- and the faster it happens the more painful it will be -- but I don't think there's any end to what people want. People with resources will always want things that people without resources can supply. I don't claim to have any idea what those things will be.

It's also possible that I'm wrong, and that we'll have to take a socialistic approach to distributing the fruits of automation-driven productivity increases. I don't think so, and I think we should be careful not to move that direction too quickly, because it has huge negative impacts on productivity and we're going to need all of the productivity increases we can get, but it is possible.

Comment: Re:Remember when WSJ had a modicrum of decency? (Score 4, Insightful) 617

Now, I'm not so thick-headed as to imagine that they wouldn't come up with something like this to help franchises with wage costs, but I'm also aware that this tech is coming to all sorts of places other than Seattle where the minimum wage actually went up.

The fact is that it's going to happen regardless of where minimum wages are set, or even if there are legally-mandated minimum wages (as opposed to the market-determined real minimum wages). Anyone who thinks most unskilled jobs aren't going away is crazy. The question is at what rate this change will occur, and it seems quite clear that high minimum wages will make more automation economical sooner, pushing the rate of change.

We're edging towards a major economic restructuring driven by widespread automation. We've had automation-driven restructurings in the past, and dealt with them, and this too will be handled. But when you're talking about widespread elimination of old jobs and creation of new jobs, speed kills. Retraining, and even just adjusting to the new reality, take time, and in the meantime millions upon millions of displaced workers are a huge drain on the economy, not to mention miserable.

I think it's pretty clear that high minimum wages are a forcing function for this transition, and I don't think it's something we really want to force. Ideally, it would be better to slow it down, at least in terms of the human cost, though the most obvious mechanisms for slowing it (labor subsidies) may also dangerously distort the economy.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Bitcoin over Tor is a bad idea?->

Submitted by jd
jd (1658) writes "Researchers studying Bitcoin have determined that the level of anonymity of the cryptocurrency is low and that using Bitcoin over Tor provides an opportunity for a Man-in-the-Middle attack against Bitcoin users. (I must confess, at this point, that I can certainly see anonymity limitations helping expose what machine is linked to what Bitcoin ID, putting users at risk of exposure, but I don't see how this is a function of Tor, as the paper implies.)

It would seem worthwhile to examine both the Tor and Bitcoin protocols to establish if there is an actual threat there, as it must surely apply to any semi-anonymous protocol over Tor and Bitcoin has limited value as a cryptocurrency if all transactions have to be carried out in plain sight.

What are the opinions of other Slashdottians on this announcement? Should we be working on an entirely new cryptocurrency system? Is this a problem with Tor? Is this a case of the Scarlett Fish (aka: a red herring) or something to take seriously?"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:May I suggest (Score 1) 331

by PopeRatzo (#48211335) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

I want them to have the tools that they might realistically need

I do too. I just don't want them to have those tools be less obtrusive or noticeable.

There's already some statistics on departments that have started using wearable cams for their officers, and the drop in police use of force, and in citizens' complaints about police abuse, are quite remarkable.

If police behave better when there are eyes on them, I don't want to take ears off them.

I realize your argument is more reasonable, by the way. Just so you know I'm aware of that. I'm just still a little raw from a summer with so many examples of the negative results when local municipal police officers become Tommy Tactical. I'm not talking about SWAT teams, I'm talking about regular rank and file officers.

I live two blocks from the Chicago Police Academy - walk the dog around the campus every day - and after decades of seeing the department start to hire more professional men and women, it's disheartening to see ex-Blackwater commandos training them in urban warfare.

A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.