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Comment: What now? (Score 4, Insightful) 114

by gstoddart (#47911895) Attached to: The FCC Net Neutrality Comment Deadline Has Arrived: What Now?

My guess, the FCC chair will do whatever his former employers tell him to do so that he can guarantee when he's done pretending to be the regulator he can go back to his cushy lobbying job.

Does anybody really believe they're going to do anything not endorsed by the cable, wireless and content cartels?

Having that guy in there is pretty much the definition of regulatory capture.

Comment: Re:A good slice of luck. (Score 5, Insightful) 35

by gstoddart (#47909375) Attached to: European Space Agency Picks Site For First Comet Landing In November

However, "a good slice of luck" doesn't belong at news about arguably the recent highest engineering achievements of humanity.

Why not? It's an honest assessment of the task at hand.

According to TFA:

Esa says it will be a one-shot opportunity. Events will be taking place so far away that real-time radio control will be impossible.

Instead, the process will have to be fully automated with the final commands uploaded to Rosetta and Philae several days in advance.

So, basically you plan as much as possible, do everything you can ... and then when it happens, you're in the dark, and it either will or won't have worked. But you'll have had to send everything a few days in advance, and you'll be sitting and hoping when it really happens.

I think it's at least honest and open about the real challenges. Because when you have to rely on the automated stuff working 100% perfectly, and you have no chance to correct anything, you still are coming down to luck.

Would you rather they acted like there was no luck involved in this?

This isn't parallel parking your car. This, as you say, is some of the most complex engineering around. And the people doing it are under no illusions that they have it completely under control.

I have no problem with them pointing out how just how hard this is. If it works, they're rock stars. If it fails, then they've at least been up-front about the limitations of what they're able to do.

Comment: Re:A good slice of luck. (Score 3, Insightful) 35

by gstoddart (#47909271) Attached to: European Space Agency Picks Site For First Comet Landing In November

I think it's a recognition that what they're doing is incredibly hard, and you can plan all you want, but there's still going to be stuff which isn't within your control.

We're talking about setting something down on a spinning body which is really far away, and which there is likely a very long delay in any of your controls.

As much as we like to think space stuff is pretty commonplace, it's not exactly a small undertaking to try to do this.

I'm betting the people who oversee this know damned well the risks, and are trying to manage the public perception of it ... because if it goes wrong you're going to get tons of people saying "Yarg! I could have done better".

Comment: Every time a patent gets invalidated (Score 4, Insightful) 108

by gstoddart (#47892545) Attached to: Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court

Every time a patent gets invalidated ... a developer gets their wings. :-P

There may be some things which truly are inventions, but so many software patents come down to "a system and methodology for doing something which has been done in the real world for decades, but on a computer". And then someone comes along and patents the exact same thing on a tablet. And on a cell phone. And soon, on an iWatch.

There's no net-new invention, just an implementation of something which has been seen before.

Comment: Re:nice (Score 1) 35

by gstoddart (#47892267) Attached to: HP Buys Cloud Provider, Gets Marten Mickos To Head Its Cloud Division

Since HP is apparently paying every tech news site include Slashdot not to mention their recent court ruling, I'll just leave this here:

Dude, what are you talking about?

It was on the frigging front page this morning, ZDNet, and a bunch of other places have covered it.

If you're gonna claim some kind of conspiracy theory, at least go with one that's plausible.

Comment: LOL ... (Score 4, Funny) 35

by gstoddart (#47892137) Attached to: HP Buys Cloud Provider, Gets Marten Mickos To Head Its Cloud Division

Maybe he can show HP how to do URLs instead of the gibberish ones they've been using for years.

Because I get the distinct impression that the URLs like "" are caused by HP not really knowing how to do it.

Seriously, what the heck is h20565.www2????

Either this is a technology failure, or HP has been trying very hard to ensure that nobody could possibly find their documentation.

Comment: Re:How about (Score 1) 208

by gstoddart (#47892057) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

There's a strong chance these people are staffing a call centre that is hired by the true scammers and are following a script

Have you heard these calls before? Have you seen transcripts?

There is no conceivable way you could be doing that scam without knowing you're lying. They're asking for access to your computer, and showing you stuff they'd be able to see on their own computer. If any of these people believe they're doing magical cold-call tech support, they're so incredibly stupid as to deserve contempt.

There are some things, like the idiots I get calling to clean my ducts, who could possibly not know it's purely a scam ... but I still have no sympathy for them. I don't have sympathy for so called "legitimate" cold callers either -- because I've had several charities who despite being told to stop calling simply call back the next day.

For the people doing this specific computer tech support scam, by the time someone has taught you how to do it, you can't not know it's a scam.

Comment: Re:Nature (Score 2, Informative) 113

by gstoddart (#47891857) Attached to: Liquid Sponges Extract Hydrogen From Water

Call me a cynic, but wouldn't nature of done

Call me a cynic, but shouldn't you have learned the difference between "of" and "have" by now?

The contraction " 've" (should've) is not the same as "of", and never has been.

*sigh* My grade school English teacher would be laughing at me right now. Now get off my damned lawn!!

Comment: Re:Well, not surprising ... (Score 1) 210

OK, fair enough ... it's not charity though, and it's not an investment.

It's, what ... a no-strings attached one time gift with no expectation of return other than you'd like to see the idea come to fruition?

It has to be something more than "give me some free money". Yes, you may not make an ROI on it. But there has to be some controls on it.

Because other wise it would become a cesspool of people with stupid ideas they'll never implement to see if some idiot will throw money their way.

Comment: Well, not surprising ... (Score 1) 210

Because if you didn't have to show you'd done anything, people would just say "give me a zillion dollars to make something awesome", and then simply not make anything.

It's not charity, it's an investment. And if you have nothing to invest in, you get no money.

Is the expectation people should just get free money from Kick Starter because they can craft a couple of good paragraphs? Because, if so, I know where I'd be heading.

Having a prototype at least (in theory) demonstrates you've actually got something real and the ability to deliver on it.

So, yeah, no prototype == no money sounds reasonable, unless you want to have a separate section for things which are entirely vaporware but otherwise sound cool.

But who the hell is going to hand over huge sums of money to someone who hasn't yet done anything?

Comment: Re:How about (Score 4, Insightful) 208

by gstoddart (#47890953) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

You're using a western mindset.

He's some impoverished guy in India desperate to make a few rupees from someone who, in his eyes, is very wealthy.

Well, that's NMFP ... he knows damned well that what he's doing is illegal, and would have no sympathy for me if I fell victim. He is certainly aware of the fact that he's not offering me a useful service. You couldn't possibly train someone to do that scam without explaining it to them.

So, he may well have convinced himself that there's no harm if he scams us a little.

But, I don't actually give a crap about his feelings.

If what he's doing is so noble and justified, call someone in India, see if they are interested.

From me, he gets a big "fuck off".

If he's expecting me to say "oh, gee, the poor cute little Indian is just trying to make a buck", he's sadly mistaken, and should expect the kind of animosity he gets.

Comment: Re:What is wrong with people? (Score 2) 208

by gstoddart (#47889893) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

I'm always surprised by how people can be scared into using this service.

Sadly, not everybody has a good working knowledge of computers, and don't have enough street-smarts to spot the clues of a scam.

Lots of older people who really don't know much about their computer, and are completely unaware this is an ongoing scam fall prey to it. They just think it's a nice person offering to solve a problem for them.

It's like any other form of spam or scam ... you only need a very small percentage of people to fall for it to be profitable. Especially since when you answer the phone it takes a few seconds for the auto-dialer to connect you with the guy on the other end. Because they're not calling you, a computer calls a zillion numbers, and then connects people who answer to the next available scammer.

So, if you know some older people who have computers, sit down with them and explain that the world (including the internet and the telephone) is full of lying, greedy bastards who are out to get you. It's like "stranger danger", but for adults.

Not everybody is as cynical and paranoid as people who work in IT. But you need to get them enough of both to not be victims.

I am continuously grateful that when my parents decided to get a computer I sat them down and had "the talk" (*) ... because they subsequently became people who could spot a scam on the phone from a mile away, and learned the kinds of things not to do on their computer.

(*) OK, I had to discretely have a separate talk with my father lest the lure of b00b1es caused him additional computer/wife problems. ;-)

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