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Comment Re:No freedom of assembly (Score 2) 618

What the hell is gamergate and why is it relevant?

Pro-gamergate people will say that gamergate is a defense of video gamers and a campaign for professional ethics among video game journalists and the developers they cover. Anti-gamergate people will say that gamergate is a misogynistic harassment campaign that arose in response to the introduction of social justice themes among indie game developers.

The truth is neither of those things. Instead, gamergate is a cultural genocide. Journalists and developers sit in one bubble (talking up the atrocities of the other side among themselves while occasionally hacking/harrasing/doxing the other side) while players sit in their own bubble doing exactly the same sort of thing. It's a flame-fest of epic proportions and extreme duration.

The truth does include bits of what both side claim. The pro-GG side has attracted true misogynists to its ranks (and would speak misogynistically anyways, just for the lulz). And the anti-GG side has effected censorship thru their control over the media (which gives the Wikipedia article an unfortunate bias). And that's just scratching the surface.

Like any genocide, there's scorched earth, long memories, little forgiveness, and no willingness to admit to one's on culpabilities. Unlike real genocide, there's no U.N. demilitarized zone to wall the two parties off from each other so that they can each focus with getting on with their lives and contributing something meaningful to society. Hopefully it will peter out someday in the distant future. My advice: either ignore it or build a game that transcends the debate and blows everybody's socks off.

Comment Re:+1 for privacy supporters -1 for gun control (Score 1) 620

Thus, when laws said "firing a gun within a city limit is illegal," it does not always mean it is illegal in all cases because there could be other factors that are higher priority than firing a gun. One needs to consider the totality of the circumstance as well.

I think, in general, you'll find the legal system much less willing to do this then you idealize. For instance, Alabama prosecutors use an anti-abortion law to prosecute new moms for taking a Valium during pregnancy. All the time, the letter of the law is used to prosecution people beyond the intended scope and spirit of the original bill. Juries are instructed to blindly apply it, machine-like, without taking the "totality of circumstances" and reasonable common sense into account.

Regardless of how you think the law should work (and what rights people should or should not have against intruding drones), this guy would have been screwed in 99.9% of courtrooms because of the statute. (Unless there was some state-level preemption kicking in here... I'd love to read thru the case if I had time to see if there's any chance this won't be overturned in a future case.)

My point is, you might think it reasonable to shirk the law in this or that circumstance. However, prosecutors and judges have the ability to strip away reasonableness.

Comment Re:+1 for privacy supporters -1 for gun control (Score 1) 620

Or is it -1 for property rights? If the neighbor's kid kicks his ball into my yard, do I have a right to destroy it in front of him? My property (and privacy) are valuable to me, but it doesn't give me the right to exert a disproportionate response against other people's property (an intruding ball or drone).

Comment Re:"Open == Secure"? (Score 1) 214

A given piece of software either has or has not been audited. It doesn't matter if it's closed or open, it matters if it's been audited by someone who is technically proficient enough.

Close... you have to trust not only the auditor's technical proficiency, but also their intentions. With open source, you have the option--no, the power--of getting a second opinion. From someone you select and fund, instead of whomever the original vendor hired.

Closed source, commercial software is written by people who are paid to do it.

So is open source, in a surprising number of cases.

Comment Re:Go BIG, Dell, or go home to mama (Score 3, Insightful) 77

Both the XPS 13 Developer Edition and the Precision M3800 come with Linux, though it takes some searching to find (dell.com/ubuntu seems the best starting point). IIRC, you actually pay ~$70-80 less for selecting Linux.

By contrast, I wasn't able to find any similar offerings from Lenovo, Asus, HP, etc. Say what you want about Dell, but they seem to be the only big name competing for Linux in the laptop space. (There are several small players/re-branders of course, but their products are very generic since they don't have the engineering expertise.)

Comment Re:They should have been shot (Score 1) 328

There's no reason to kill them. There is plenty of reason to stop them.

Enjoy jail, and maybe a lawsuit from the family. The law only permits you to use deadly force when defending yourself (or others) from imminent death or grievous bodily harm. Even then, you better have been unable to satisfy any applicable duty to retreat, have eyewitnesses on your side, and hope the cops who show up feel instinctively friendly to you.

Don't be this idiot.

Comment Wow (Score 3) 318

Normally I just ignore all the Mozilla-haters because they're whining about stupid stuff (like Chrome-style versioning) or minor mis-steps (like Pocket) or things I find totally awesome (like Awesome Bar).

But if they go where I think they're going--banning ad-blockers--then I'm going to have to seriously re-evaluate my trust in this organization. Sorry Denelle: I'm not "content neutral". I want to maximize signal and minimize noise, especially in this overloaded information age, even if it's "just" the psychological noise of ads trying to manipulate me. I'm freaking tired of everyone thinking they can deceive me, play on my fears and doubts, tinker with my self image, and re-frame my perceptions to match their agenda... and advertisers are the worst of the lot.

Comment Re:Another stupid idea (Score 2) 327

Yeah, it reminds me somewhat of Chiat/Day's attempt to create an office-less workplace.

However, sometimes you have to iterate thru a lot of stupid ideas to find the truly brilliant ones. And you can learn stuff in failure that's useful down the road. So good on Zappos for trying, even though I don't think it will pan out so well.

Comment Re:Nail everyone? (Score 1) 618

This analysis of The Office suggests that high-level execs "setup" low-level employees to get the outcome they want while dodging responsibility for it. To illustrate, he uses the example of sending Michael to investigate Prince Paper (which Michael does by pretending to be a customer and asking for references):

On the surface, this is a routine request to do some above-board competitive analysis. But by dangling the carrot of a better job and carefully refraining from specifying how the end is to be achieved (using abstractions like “fact-finding” and “fieldwork”), Wallace knows he can get Michael to do what he really wants done: industrial espionage. He engineers execution of his real intention (obtaining an unfair and illegal advantage over Prince Paper) using a predictable “failure” pattern in the execution of his declared intention (honest competition). He knows Michael can be relied on to try foul means, while letting him pretend that he only expected fair means to be used.

The whole series is an interesting read if you're an Office fan.

Comment Re:It's pointers all the way down, jake ! (Score 1) 262

The other thing about GC is that it solves the resource deallocation problem for memory only.

That's like saying that the "walking on land" (instead of swimming 10 meters below the surface with SCUBA equipment) solves the resource problem for air only... not food or heat or shelter. Hey buddy... air is your most constant, immediate resource; you need it to do the smallest of things. Solving the air problem by walking on land frees up lots mental energy to focus on those other problems.

If you really need the speed or fine-grained memory control, then sure, use C++. But it's illogical to reject GC for solving "only" 95% of resource/corruption/security problems. Every programming effort--from building a new language to coding a DBMS to designing a website to creating a line-of-business desktop application--is ultimately an attempt to reduce complexity for someone [except maybe game programming, where you're artificially creating complexity for the user!]. GC is one of the biggest wins in the history of computer science, almost up there with concepts like subroutines and version control.

Comment Re:What instead of an exception? (Score 1) 262

That's why checked exceptions are silly. Java assumed you want to handle exceptions close to where they happen (and bad programmers do, returning null values or zeros or whatever that cause further bugs and hide the origin of the real problem).

No, 99% of the time, if method foo() calls method bar() and method bar() can't do its job properly, then method foo() also fails to do its job properly. Just cleanup/rollback if necessary and let that exception unwind the stack where a thread-level exception handler can log it and take appropriate compensating action (restarting a job loop, showing the user an error message, exiting the process, or whatever).

C# gets it right, especially with adding using() blocks and letting you attach contextual data to the exception as you unwind. D takes it a step further and lets you add scope(exit) blocks. Rust, alas, eschews exceptions and will always be plagued by panic-prone code (you think real-world programmers are going to diligently inspect each Option/Result instead of unwrap()ing it?).

Exceptions are powerful tool for writing concise, reliable code. Too bad C++ gave them a bad name.

Comment Re: Why does the FBI continue to engage in witchcr (Score 1) 262

You can make your blood pressure spike by visualizing a rattlesnake, riding in a plummeting airplane, catching your spouse cheating, or being forced onto stage in front of a huge audience... whatever you happen to fear most. Come to think of it, just knowing your career rests in the hands of a techno-witchdoctor must be pretty stressful in itself, and it's not like you have to use any imagination to summon that thought.

Comment Re: Why does the FBI continue to engage in witchcr (Score 2) 262

In the version I heard, they place a colander on his head, with some wires attaching it to the copier. The copier had an original saying "Lie" on it, and they'd push the copy button whenever they thought he was lying. Probably an urban legend, but I'm sure plenty of such tricks have been used throughout the history of law enforcement.

"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."