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Comment Re:Does it affect functionality at all? (Score 1) 575

Most of us work in situations where data is either privileged from a business perspective or legally protected. Even if actual private data is not being collected, patterns and routines can steal lead to actionable leaks. In as much as we expect to remain competitive and work within the law, potentially this does effect functionality.

Comment Re:not very Apple-like to give your OS to all OEMs (Score 1) 180

The reason one uses iPhone is that you use the Apple stack of services. The reason one uses Android is that one uses the Google stack of services. Apple you pay for storage. Google scans your email to sell ads. Google has not updated the office application in years. On an iOS you have office applications from Apple, from MS, from several vendors. Not to mention a pretty good exchange client. You can buy music from anywhere to play on either device. If you are dumb enough to buy copy protected music, that is a personal problem. Video is still locked in, but again, if you buy video that is locked into a device, that again is a personal problem. There is no real reason, other than the preferred supplier of services, to choose one type of phone over the other. However, we do remember that the Nexus One was a failure and those who bought one were left in the lurch, which is one thing Google does. It really has not competency at end user support. In fact, most people don't buy an Android phone, they buy a Samsung, if they can afford one. In fact Apple and Samsung are the only firms making money off phones, and have 40% of the market. Most of the 60% of the market is buying an Android phone because it is free or nearly free, and don't really care who makes it because the don't have the money to pay for a phone or services. Which can work for Google because they are an advertising and marketing company, and the should be able to monetize end user data. Which is to say if they make a Nexus which is free, they could knock out most of the competition. But if they want to pay real money for a phone that is simply going to be used to mine my data, then they can go screw themselves.

Comment Re:Tiny? (Score 2) 165

The tolerance on Legos are really good. I have done activities where kids have practice mechanical drawing by measuring and modeling Legos, and I could often could not measure a difference between block using a really good caliper. This tolerance is very believable. From what I can tell, a normal $5,000 3d printer has a resolution of 100 to 1000 times this. I would think that a 3d printer with a 50 micron resolution would provide acceptable parts, but that may be getting to $10k. I know there are some sub 1 micron printers, which is what is needed, but that is 100K. Legos are awesome, and I just am annoyed that they mostly come in pre packaged promotional units and 500 pieces to play with are not so common.

Comment Depends on what you mean by bright (Score 1) 238

I did learn to program around 10 or 11, but i really needed a physical model until I was around 13, and did not do any independent programming until I was 14. The thing with math and programming is that it is algorithmic, and rules that are enforced must more loosely in life are enforced rather more precisely. This is difficult to get across to a kid who is still focused on testing boundaries rather than accepting limits. For example recently I had a kid tell me that the computer was broken because he could not set a password when in fact the problem was that he was testing limits and refusing to comply with the clearly stated password policy. He had not yet learned that computers are algorithmic. I think for most ten years old learning to do math and code is the goal. Just remember that doing math is not necessarily symbols manipulation and coding is not necessarily typing on a computer. This was a benefit of my education. Computer time was expensive enough that we had to have an algorithm before we coded. So buy toys where math happens. For instance a scale where equations are balanced. A robot where things have to be specified and calculated, where the right wheel is held still for a left turn.

Comment employees? (Score 1) 85

I know that this tracking and data analysis is only used to verify customer complaints, but I wonder why a complaint against a contract worker needs to be verified? If I am an employee, then there the firm that employs me not only has real costs associated with me but also has laws they need to comply with before terminating me. However, with a contract worker there are fewer costs and no laws preventing with termination. If we believe in the Uber model, driver should be terminated as quickly as possible so that the driving pool is as constantly good as possible. After all, one cited issue with the traditional cab industry is that it encourages bad drivers because incumbent practices protect bad drivers. That Uber now seems to think of drivers as employees to be protected shows a fast evolution to the cab model.

As an employee, there is strict time enforcement, there are rules on paperwork, and even behavior. As a contract worker, I was never micromanaged. No one every bugged my computer, or demanded detailed records. If I was not getting work done then the contract was terminated. It was that simple. If I am a contract worker being treated as an employee would not seem to be very fair and counterproductive.

Comment Re:Wonder when "open source" will hit vehicles (Score 1) 279

As soon as it hits cell phones. As much as we want to advocate the open source nature of Android, it has not really lead to open source phones. While there are many benefits of open source, and Android has many of them, when the software hits the hardware, it tends to fall apart. That is because most of us are not going to take the time to manually apply patches and fix source code even if we have the skill, even if we have the access.

For phones it is often a matter of insuring that the airwaves are used in accordance to regulations. In the case of large machinery and the like,it is safety. Now, the safety argument is going to be overused by the manufacturers who want to maximize profits, but that does not mean they become irrelevant.

What is clear is that copyright and the DMCA are a very clumsy way to make sure that machinery remains in compliance with safety codes. We need another way. But I will add this. If I have a job working on a tractor trying to earn money to feed my family, I want that tractor to be safe, and if it is not, I don't want the reason for my death to be the farmer who thought he could muck around the source code.

Comment Re:We know there are questions we can't answer. (Score 1) 225

from the point of view of epistemology, the answer to your question is something we can, eventually, figure out and agree that the answer is valid within a specific known domain of mathematics. We have well defined words, processes, and can calculate the answer brute force given enough resource, or maybe through some tricks if we are clever enough. This question is different, and I would say ill posed. It would be like asking an ancient Greek if fire could be taken out of wood so it would not burn, or asking newton if there was a limit to how fast things can travel, or the modern cosmologist why, if we developed quantum mechanics and relativity to avoid infinities, they are so comfortable with infinities in their science. The question is not if we can get to within 10^{-100}, which we are relatively certain we cannot, I religious terms god has moved from the mountains, to the heavens, to the infinitesimal after the big bang. The question is what will be our next formulation of cosmology that will allow us to know what we now consider unknowable.

Comment Re:And in the real world (Score 1) 50

Also, at 73% accurate for 'touch log' events, it will only capture an average of 2.92 characters of a four digit pin. It is absolutely a fascinating technology, and these technologies do improve over time. What is more interesting is the keyboard accuracy. At 59% it might be possible for a user to leak significant information. Language includes a lot of redundant information, and assuming a touch typist you are only dealing with half of the characters which can reduce the error. I assume that knowing the language one could fill in missing data.

Comment Re:politically bad idea (Score -1, Troll) 343

It depends who is being survilled. Many will be ok with violating the rights of muslims, but what about the Christians in N and S Carolina who are much more likely to kill cops and be terrorist than the rest of country? Should we bug all the evangelical churches if it meant that a few cops and several civilians will be saved?

Comment cost and benifit (Score 4, Insightful) 74

I don't know if it is possible to have a MS Windows running on the internet without a anti virus software. So the question is not which AV software has vulnerabilities, as all software has this issue, but which provides significantly more protection than risk. Or if there is better way to protect MS Windows machines than AV software.

Comment Re:Kids need to understand information not coding (Score 1) 145

The summary mostly seems to talk about collaboration and problems solving skills. There may be some good things here. Having children place blocks in a certain order so a problem is solved is a good thing, as long as it is concrete. For instance places abstracts steps in order so a task is complete would be a waste of time, but placing a track so a truck could get between two points, or places clothes in an order for dressing would really help kids learn the skills they need. I do find the collaboration aspect troubling, mostly because kids this age are associative in play, and many will not have reached cooperative play. By first grade, many of the students should have cooperative play, but what seems to be required is that each student draw, for example, part of a elephant and then put it together. This might be a task that advanced students can accomplish, but would not be a task that would allow all students to learn the skills needed for 2030.

Comment Re:They had a warrant... (Score 2) 138

It did not seem to be a fishing expedition where everyone who passed by was targeted. This seemed to be good police work and shows we don't need to violate civil rights in order to protect the innocent. Creating an account on something like this is pretty much intent to commit a crime. And is no different than working on any other marginal website. When you go to a web site there are all sorts of crap that can be put onto your computer. It is why we have to run so protected now. Any website can be a vector to take over and destroy a computer. It is so common it hardly seems like it is breaking the law. So the authorities are held up to higher standard than the criminals, which is good.

Comment Latex and Our Choice (Score 3, Interesting) 148

First, it annoys me to now end to have to read a 'science' book published in a word processor. It looks ugly and unprofessional and incompetent. It is just my opinion, and I am not going to embarrass anyone by showing examples, but suffice it to say 25 years ago when MS Words was cool we did not know any better, but now if you are doing a science book, do it in LaTex. It will make updates easier.

Two, look at the Push Pop press technology which published Al Gore's Incontinent Truth, now called Our Choice. Aside from the politics, the technology in the book is everything the post asked for. I am pretty sure it publishes the book as an APP, but as mentioned an ebook is an extremely limited format, especially on a kindle.

Comment Re:How 'bout price (Score 2) 93

It is hard to say. The Surface 4 with the Intel M is $900 and the base x2 is $800. X2 includes a keyboard, but in on MS Windows 10 Home, not pro. I don't know why MS is still selling a defective version of windows. Don't they have enough problems?

Like any MS Windows based product, it is really hard to say if it is a better value. It is cheaper, but that is because it has a screen with less resolution, it is heavier, and has a cheaper processor. So no one would expect to pay more for it. Given it's defects, it may be less of a value than a Surface. Unless you are in love with MS Windows, I don't even know if it is a better value than an iPad pro, since the iPad is lighter, run MS Office, has a cell connection so you are always connected, and the top of the line machine is the same price as the top of the line X2, if you add a third party keyboard to the iPad.

I will say that if the tablet market is to really take off, we need more machines like the X2. What makes the MS Windows market function is that there are a lot of different machines at different price points. We will have to see if Ms Windows can take over all price points for tablets, or if MS is going to be relegated to mid price machines, as it largely is for laptops and PCs. I thinarket it already dominated by Android, and I don't see anyone challenging that. Ms is in a pickle because they just $1 billion for surface, and the iPad pro is projected to be twice that.

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