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Comment: Re:Of course they are (Score 1) 256

by gstoddart (#49143387) Attached to: It's Official: NSA Spying Is Hurting the US Tech Economy

Here in the UK it varies between unwise for commercial businesses to use US data storage through against internal rules for many government organisations to straight illegal for anything that has personal information like hospitals and police.

Well, yeah ... and this has been true since the PATRIOT Act was passed.

The US is now an inherently untrustworthy nation as far as data and technology goes.

You can't say it's your right to spy on everybody and then be surprised when the rest of the world tells you to piss off.

I should think US firms would be becoming pariahs around the world -- because the only rational thing you can do is to assume that any US company which has access to your data is being forced to spy on you. Because, they pretty much are.

The amazing thing is Americans might start to act like whiny bitches who say "but that's not fair to stop buying our stuff because we're spying on you", and wouldn't understand why there is no way they can be trusted.

So, congratulations, America. You've shot yourselves in the foot. And all of a sudden no sane person outside of the US can trust you with data. Don't act all surprised.

At some point, I'm expecting some aggressive whining about trade agreements to try to force people to buy products which will spy on them as the government throws a tantrum protesting the logical outcomes of their own policy.

Having billions of dollars in exports disappear is pretty much what the US should expect.

Comment: Re:as a chef, yes. for the home cook? no. (Score 1) 70

by gstoddart (#49143157) Attached to: 3D Printers Making Inroads In Kitchens

LOL ... since when do chefs have time to hang out on Slashdot? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

More on topic, I don't see how 3D printing pasta is going to work, for example. You're going to probably end up with some slime which comes apart when you cook it.

It won't be an actual dough, it's going to be ... well, I don't know what exactly. I just don't see this retaining the properties of dough.

I can see some of the molecular wizards like Wylie Dufresne or poeople like that, doing wacky things .. but the example of ravioli just seems like this wouldn't work at all.

This sounds more like the domain of crap food made at commercial scales, than actual good food prepared by chefs.

Comment: Re:Semantic games (Score 1) 60

by gstoddart (#49143051) Attached to: OPSEC For Activists, Because Encryption Is No Guarantee

You want to play 'semantic games'?

When 'opsec' is outlawed, only outlaws will have opsec.

In other words: if you're employing opsec, you will be construed as a terrorist, and the NSA et al will use even more secret laws to fuck you over even more.

There is no scenario in this security paranoid world in which being secretive about your actions isn't red flags.

Which is precisely why these 'intelligence' outfits need to have much shorter leashes. Quite possibly suspended from trees high enough to keep their feet off the ground.

In this opsec boils down to "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear", and the fucking fascists have won. It is now illegal to make it difficult for the government to spy on you when it wishes to.

Comment: Re:"It's hard, so we won't do it" (Score 2) 264

by gstoddart (#49142359) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

and that's not even getting into the financial and executive parts of things

Yeah, and tell us, what is the track record of the financial and executive teams ability to prognosticate?

Yes, you need to be able to estimate to run the business.

But let's not pretend the average CEO, sales wanker, or marketing idiot has ANY better track record at making guesses about the future. In fact, in my experience, they're overly optimistic, not founded in anything real, and mostly pulled out of their ass of based on what Gartner tells them.

We can give you an estimate, but people have to understand that an estimate inherently carries uncertainty, and that they're equally inept over the long run of estimating the parts they're responsible for.

I've lost track of the times I've rolled by eyes when a CEO tells us what six months down the road will be ... and they have the ability waste far more money on fools errands and bad predictions.

We're not dissociated from reality ... we're the ones trying to explain reality to people who live in fantasy land.

But don't act for a minute like our estimates carry any more risk than those bullshit sales figures the idiots at the top are making.

Comment: Hmmm .... (Score 3, Interesting) 264

by gstoddart (#49141821) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

On the one hand, it's pretty much impossible to do any project planning with no estimates.

On the other hand, some things are impossible to estimate until you do them.

Years ago I worked with a manager who kept repeating that bad estimates were a project risk and we should give good estimates. We kept telling him that an estimate is, by definition, based on incomplete knowledge and before you have done the work and that if he had a time machine we could give him better estimates.

If I knew exactly how long it would take, and what unforseen things I'd be running into ... it wouldn't be a frickin' estimate, now would it?

People treat estimates like you're expected to have perfect knowledge of the future, and then build their world around those estimates.

I have seen a tremendous amount of bullshit and stupidity from people who do not understand what an estimate is, and how it's done.

I don't think you can get rid of estimates entirely ... but management needs to stop being so stupid about how they interpret them.

If we could tell you for a fact exactly how long it would take, it wouldn't be a fucking estimate.

I rank how people do estimates right up there with how some PMs want you to track your time ... once had a PM say he wanted me to account for my time in 5 minute increments. And I told him in no uncertain terms that would mean 2 out of every 5 minutes would be spent documenting what I'd done the last two minutes, and there would be an additional 1 minute of lost time in each 5 minute increment doing to context switch back to what I was working, and that effectively 60% of my time would be wasted on his stupidity.

And then I told him to piss off.

Comment: Re:Two things (Score 4, Insightful) 128

by gstoddart (#49130847) Attached to: Inventors Revolutionize Beekeeping

So, putting them in plastic containers and just churning out the honey seems like the lazy ass way of beekeeping.

Sorry, but what? Pretty much every technological advance we've ever made has been about someone being lazy.

So, tell you what, stop using the wheel, the lever, an engine, electricity, refrigeration, or pretty much anything which takes the work out for you.

Stop being such a lazy bastard and ignore all modern progress which reduces your labor.

Otherwise you're full of crap.

Comment: Re:Oh great ... (Score 1) 187

by gstoddart (#49130747) Attached to: Google Now Automatically Converts Flash Ads To HTML5

Would you rather go to a pay model?

Tell you what.

First, we'll kill all of the people who run analytics companies, and destroy all of their data.

Then we'll pass sane consumer protection laws which limit what they can collect about you, and what they can do with it.

Then we might start to talk about how to pay for the internet.

Right now on Slashdot as I type this, Google, Ooyala, Rpxnow, Scorecard research, Janrain, Double Click, Comscore ... all of these entities would be tracking me if I wasn't blocking them.

I'm not willing to accept their bullshit "by visiting this site you give us unlimited rights to track, monitor, collate, sell, and otherwise abuse your data". I have no relationship with those companies, and I get no compensation for being their "product". Which means I will block the hell out of anything which is going to help Slashdot profit from douchebags.

I have no business relationship with these analytics and advertising companies.

Take these assholes out of the equation, or don't even talk to me about how to fund the internet. I'm not funding someone's website with my personal information.

Fuck that.

The notion that some greedy corporation should feel entitled to my data is the problem. Finding ways to accommodate them is not the solution.

Comment: Re:If you want better legislation (Score 2) 344

by gstoddart (#49130127) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

As opposed to the parasites subsidizing their traditional power installation on your dime?

Because you'd have to be stupid and ill-informed to not understand that your "traditional" power companies are already getting subsidies, which mostly serve to prop up corporate profits instead of actually benefiting the population.

So either get rid of the existing subsidies, or stop pretending this is somehow different.

At least investing in renewables has long term benefits to society. Subsidizing the existing power company so they can lobby to keep solar out of the game? That's just stupid, and it's intellectually dishonest.

But, hey, that seems to be how politicians and corporations want it, and the populace seems to be oblivious to the fact that it's a game rigged in favor of incumbent corporations.

Comment: Re:Realistic (Score 2) 344

by gstoddart (#49130067) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

Here (NZ), we use a lot of hydro power. In fact the electricity company I use is 100% renewables. The benefit of hydro is you can also use it as a battery

Correspondingly, the major drawback of hydro is ... it is 100% dependent on topology which is suitable for generating hydro.

NZ has beautifully wobbly terrain from what I've seen (which, sadly, has been entirely on TV).

And for rooftop solar? Well, some of us have winters in which our roof is largely covered in snow, and in which we get short days. No sure how effective is when it's under 0.2m of snow. :-P

Not all places are suitable for all forms of renewables, unfortunately.

Though, here the biggest problem seems to be the money from the lobbyists is skewing the playing field for the existing players to be free from having to innovate or do anything differently. Because apparently propping up the business model of incumbents is more important.

Comment: Re:I don't understand the need for this. (Score 1) 98

by gstoddart (#49129477) Attached to: Amazon Files Patent For Mobile 3D Printing Delivery Trucks

Well, two obvious reasons:

1) They want to make the widgets they sell you
2) If they can't, they want a cut of the action from whoever does this.

Patents, especially stupid patents which are mostly just business models, are just rent-seeking.

Some ass at Amazon figures they get a good revenue stream if they can hoodwink the patent office into granting this.

Which further reinforces my belief that patents are mostly garbage and about entrenching corporate profits in law for no good reason.

Comment: Just don't .... (Score 4, Insightful) 679

Don't try to "pass on wisdom". Don't try to saddle her with some deep knowledge you feel the need to impart.

Tell her you love her. Tell her you're proud of her. Tell her she can be a bad ass, or any other thing she wants to. Tell her what is happening. Tell her it's something which happens, and that while it hurts it is a fact of life.

But for the love of god don't try to pass on some parental wisdom she'll be saddled with.

Please note that I'm posting anonymously because I don't want this to be about me. I'd prefer that the focus be on my daughter and how I can best help her. Thank you so much for your help.

Passing on a specific set of wisdom is about you.

You're dying; that is scary, tragic, and will be tough for her to deal with.

Leave her happy videos of you and her and the family, not a proscribed series of messages to be viewed at times in her life. I'm betting she'd rather see videos of you singing Monty Python songs than moralizing from beyond the grave.

Seriously, talk with your wife, talk with your doctor, talk with your friends, talk with your daughter ... but for the love of god don't ask Slashdot what to do here.

By all means do leave behind happy memories and videos to look back on. But don't be so mission oriented. That's just grim.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 162

by gstoddart (#49128749) Attached to: Should a Service Robot Bring an Alcoholic a Drink?

No, robots should be programmed to do their function, within the constraints of who is authorized to operate it.

If we start having robots which are trying to interpret the law ... we need to immediately destroy them, because we'll have invented robot lawyers, and the world will be ending.

How about we just don't try building robots which are smarmy assholes?

Comment: Re:"On A Truck" the New Frontier in Patents (Score 1) 98

by gstoddart (#49128491) Attached to: Amazon Files Patent For Mobile 3D Printing Delivery Trucks

No no no ... this is much more sophisticated ... this is 3D printed (which isn't patented), on a truck (which isn't patentable), using the interwebs (which apparently is patentable), and centrally dispatched.

Can't you see the sheer amount of innovation it takes to combine "with a computer", "on a truck", and "3D printed"??

Stop laughing. No, really, stop laughing ... stop it ... stop it now ... Mom, he's doing it again.

Seriously, as I said elsewhere ... this is NOT an invention. This is a business process, combining a bunch of existing technologies.

You can not win the game, and you are not allowed to stop playing. -- The Third Law Of Thermodynamics

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