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Comment: The Flaw with this model (Score 4, Interesting) 73

Having carriers be in charge of updating smartphone firmware negates any benefit you might get from having a device that often costs more than $500. This is specific to Android, since Apple made sure they had complete control of the OS and the update process on their phones.

Just to name one: security issues are constantly cropping-up in Android, and Google is constantly patching things. Except good luck getting AT&T or Verizon to provide the updates OTA. And if you're stuck with an older phone, says > 1 year. Good luck getting any update at all.

As far as the carrier is concerned, in order to update the firmware, buy a new phone. Except you've now deliberately left millions of people vulnerable to having their accounts compromised because you were too cheap/lazy to provide an update (which Google makes available, btw).

Either Google should unify Android, meaning make one version for all models (or at least models newer than 3 years) and make it available OTA or by download, or license Android to carriers on the strict condition that they provide updates to existing models at least every 6 moths.

Comment: Re:So What (Score 1) 574

by gizmo2199 (#48508713) Attached to: Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

...There are a lot of problems that we could use the extra intelligence for, but there are inherent dangers in creating something you don't fully understand.

And even then, knowing how to solve a problem, or having "extra intelligence" at our disposal doesn't mean anything unless there's political and moral will to implement the solutions. All you have to do is look at the actions of the European Central Bank in responding to the financial crisis, as an example.

You have economists who studied crises for decades saying that the ECB should cut interest rates and allow higher inflation, what do the brilliant technocrats in Brussels do? Raise interest rates leading to double-digit unemployment in large swaths of Europe.

In other words, when implementing the solution to hard-problems is politically or morally untenable, even the greatest intelligence isn't going to help you

Comment: Re:So What (Score 1) 574

by gizmo2199 (#48508631) Attached to: Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity
You're right, other than the fact that a program could determine that an overpopulated Earth is anathema to its own self-interest, and act accordingly. Or that it should begin stockpiling energy reserves for itself, thus driving up the price of oil, etc.

That's the problem with assuming that all technological progress is beneficial, or at least benign. You can't anticipate the consequences of a new technology, let alone something as problematic as an artificial intelligence.

Comment: Re:How is that startling? (Score 1) 413

by gizmo2199 (#48479187) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election
Every. Time! Most governing in the US is done at the local level. Last time I checked, the cop that gives you a parking ticket works for the city or county where you live, not the federal government. Same goes for building inspectors, sewage, roads, schools--funded and operated by the school district or county--building permits, real-estate transactions, etc. It's all controlled at the city/local level.

Just how is the federal government in your face on a daily basis again?

Comment: Re:Ah yes, the religious - philosophical masters - (Score 1) 455

...we will progress to artificial life and artificial intelligence in erratic steps - some large, some small - some hard, some easy....

But why would you assume that this is the case? Why is this kind of "progress"--a completely self-replicating artificial intelligence--inevitable? What evidence points to that?

Human beings don't even have a cure for cancer, billions of people lack clean water. Yet somehow (almost by magic or wishful thinking) we're supposed to assume that the human race will develop this technology in the next 100 years, and certainly in the next 500. What if it takes another 1,000 years?

Except by that point, the oil would have run out, and all the major cities are 30 feet under water. To believe that these technologies (AI, asteroid mining, fusion, nanotech) will see the light of day, you have to believe that we can undertake another Moon Landing when electricity is $10 kw/hr and the government doesn't have the money to repair a 50 year-old bridge.

Comment: What's the Difference? (Score 2) 102

by gizmo2199 (#48372583) Attached to: Amazon Goes After Oracle (Again) With New Aurora Database
I'm a bit of a DB n00b, but know my way around MySQL. What's the difference between Oracle and MySQL for example. In my experience Oracle DBs tend to be a lot faster, than open source implementations. But is this inherently true, or is it all in the implementation, are there things you can do in Oracle that you can't do in MySQL, or MSSQL?

Comment: Re:It didn't even have to be technical (Score 3, Insightful) 135

by gizmo2199 (#48357021) Attached to: Tor Project Mulls How Feds Took Down Hidden Websites
Except that Ulbricht actually did use an email or username that they traced back to him when he set up the onion server, and on top of that they caught him accessing the admin section of Silk Road when he got arrested in a library.

It's a mix of hubris and carelessness that brings these people down. If he'd paid more attention to OpSec, he'd be a free man.

Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 180

by gizmo2199 (#48170265) Attached to: The Guardian Reveals That Whisper App Tracks "Anonymous" Users
The government can already do what you're claiming to be so worried about. Happens every day. Shit, you could be driving to your mom's house and get pulled over. The cop thinks you might have drugs in the car, so they confiscate it, and take your cash while your at it. Good luck getting all that back without hiring an expensive attorney.

So in other words, the Constitution doesn't mean anything when you don't have the means to actually claim your constitutional rights. There are a million things the government does already that are blatantly unconstitutional, but because they have a patina of cooperation between the two parties, it gets away with--illegal wiretaps, spying, drone strikes, etc.

Another amendment wouldn't actually do anything. If politicians and their appointees have no fear when violating your civil rights, they're going to keep doing it. The only thing that will actually change that behavior is jail time for government officials who break the law.

Instead what happens, the people who go to jail are the ones who leak information about the illegal behavior.

Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 180

by gizmo2199 (#48170109) Attached to: The Guardian Reveals That Whisper App Tracks "Anonymous" Users
The obvious solution is to just use the binary you compiled yourself, which if you're paranoid about security is a trivial step to take. But more in-depth auditing obviously is out of reach for even the most knowledgeable tinkerers, especially if a program is intentionally crippled at the source level--for instance contains a bug which under a very specific set of circumstances will leak private data, but which isn't obvious from looking at the code. That's definitely the kind of backdoor a state security service would introduce into an open source project.

"Bureaucracy is the enemy of innovation." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments