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Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 2) 222 222

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 222 222

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 1) 1026 1026

Except, they guy said he shot it while it was hovering IN his back yard. Not high overhead, not even high. "IN" his back yard.

Hint: also illegal to operate in close proximity to people, especially people who are on their own property, and don't want it there...)

Actually no, no it's not. Toy model aircraft aren't subject to any such law, FAA-wise. Yet, at least. If anything, we're talking about good old fashioned reckless endangerment, which has nothing to do with model aircraft in particular, but could be a charge in such a case (just like it would be if they were throwing lawn darts over the fence, or hit somebody in the head with a stray baseball).

The FAA has guidance about such matters. But flying a toy around like that has absolutely zero FAA restrictions in and of itself, with regard to people on the ground. It's likely to be a different story when such a machine is used commercially, but again, zero relevance in this case.

Comment Obligatory bash.org (Score 3, Interesting) 565 565

http://bash.org/?835030

That aside, just don't screw with things. You mention caps lock, which I don't use, but any change is likely to just screw with muscle memory and not have any practical benefit except as some symbolic gesture against caps lock. For example, see second gen X1 carbon which replaced caps lock with home and end keys.

There is also the troubling by the way mention of the right mouse button. For the love of god do not advocate screwing with the right mouse button. You don't often need it, but when you do, all the schemes that try to de-emphasize it's footprint really screw with you and again *nothing of value is gained*.

Comment Re:Third Dimension (Score 1) 1026 1026

A good starting point would be to recognize the airspace above private property as part of the property, up to the level allowed to commercial aircraft. That would mean that drones could only fly above designated land surfaces.

Except there is ample precedent for that NOT being the case. Has nothing to do with neighbors flying toy copters around, or someone flying a Cessna at 500'.

Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 1) 1026 1026

If a drone is hovering "in" your suburban back yard, then shooting it with a shotgun is wildly inappropriate, because you're shooting at an angle barely above the horizontal. We also have no idea if the guy's toy copter was hovering "over" his yard, or just near it. It's much more difficult than most people think to gauge a small quadcopter's actual position over objects on the ground. I've yet to meet anyone who hasn't personally operated a given machine for many, many hours who was ever correct about that sort of thing.

Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 0) 1026 1026

Nonsense. I've been hit in the face by #8 birdshot used by a gunner over 200 yards away. If I didn't have field glasses on, I'd have lost an eye.

We'd have to see a lot more detail about where the copter actually was, the angle at which Dad shot it, etc. My observation, as someone who flies drones of several sizes and who has also shot many things out of the air using a variety of shotguns and loads, is that there's essentially no safe way to do what this idiot did.

Separately from that: the FAA is quite clear that shooting at ANY aircraft is a crime. Big time.

Comment Re:Wrong age (Score 1) 273 273

People getting married at 16 did so under the guidance of closely kept family - something that's far less common these days. When the culture was more agrarian and infant death rates were much higher, you started hatching out babies as early as possible while everyone involved is young and resilient. We now have a much, much lower rate of multi-generational households (when that was common, that 16 year old husband was very unlikely to be the one calling the shots about the family business, farm, finances, etc). We're also expecting young people today to be tuned into a LOT more information and complexity than their counterparts from a century ago.

Comment Re:nice, but they remove your games if you update (Score 3, Informative) 57 57

The more troubling question is why an application should feel forced to do anything in the face of a platform upgrade in order to work at all. A modern Windows desktop can still run 10 year old software without a hiccup. Going back 20 years you start needing something like dosbox to use a lot of the applications, though still doable. I haven't tried firing it up in a while, but last time I tried the commercial package of quake 3 under linux, it still worked on a modern distribution. Same for linux neverwinter nights. As an application maintainer for some linux stuff, the only things that I can recall forcing my hand to change something for things to work were systemd and python changes.

Android (and to a significant, but somewhat lesser extent Apple) are not doing that good with respect to application and/or hardware compatibility into the past. It's a tiring situation for developers to have to follow an upgrade treadmill in order to cater to new system sales, just to keep the current applications workable as-is.

Comment Re:use this one neat trick (Score 3, Insightful) 337 337

Pretty much exactly that.

In my experience, people learning a little bit about programming tend to also learn to respect the fact that there's a ton of stuff they don't know. Yeah, I've run into some who think a single run through of some "Learn X in 24 Hours" book makes them a developer, but they're the minority.

What's really valuable about "everyone" being exposed to programming is that it helps them learn to think about problem solving in a usually different way. Where I work, we had our entire product management team go through a week long programming bootcamp and it's been AMAZING in improving the quality of the specs they write. They aren't under the impression that they're developers but they definitely have a better appreciation for what we do.

And, we developers went through a product bootcamp as well so that we had a better understanding of what they do and more insight into what is driving some of the things they ask for.

More knowledge and understanding is very rarely a bad thing.

Comment Re:Wrong age (Score 5, Insightful) 273 273

This. Nobody is an adult at 18. Not even close. Most people don't have their cognitive act together, and any sort of capacity for rational behavior (if they're ever going to get there) until, these days, they're the better part of 30.

But knowing to not shoot selfies of yourself being a total jackass is something that can make some sense a lot earlier than 18. If some 15 year old can know enough not to drop his pants in front of his grandmother or in front of his classroom at school, he already has what it takes to know not to do it online. He just has to be taught that. Which involves, you know, parents. Who give a damn about their kids' future.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel

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