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Comment: War zones, 3rd world, disaster struck regions... (Score 4, Insightful) 418

by gwstuff (#47679691) Attached to: Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

Ask someone, anyone, who has been to a region in which people fight to survive, and has to the smallest extent, even by simply talking to those people, shared their experiences. Unfailingly, the person will tell you that the experience changed his or her perspective, and that since then he is better, larger, more generous.

If you starve for a few days for the lack of food, a spoonful of plain, white, unsalted rice will taste better than the richest gourmet meal. My memory of the bowl of rice I had after 4 days of hunger is a calming, delicious memory. It was not the relief of having got food - but my whole body rejoicing from the taste of the soft, wholesome, starchy taste filling up in my mouth - a taste that I had not recognized until then.

We in the west are shielded from the harsh realities of life, little do we know that we are not exempt of them, we only ignore them, until one day it becomes impossible to do so. But if you have to face such realities then the perverse suffering caused by banalities - Internet connection going down, personal relationship problems simply dither away into insignificance.

I think it would be beneficial to society as a whole if every education included such encounters which teach people that life cannot be compared to the boom and splat of video games.

Comment: The mind is a dangerous thing (Score 1) 246

by gwstuff (#47590165) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Personnel As Ostriches?

Just for fun, answer this question and quickly move on to reading the rest of my post. Explanation at the end.

"HOW MANY animals of EACH KIND did Moses take on the Ark?"

The mind is a dangerous thing when presented with incomplete information -- it just extrapolates it, sometimes even substituting the incomplete original version with the extrapolated raw version. You might *think* you saw something noteworthy, but it was only your mind showing you a rabbit on the moon.

This is one of the chief values of privacy - to be able to keep information that was meant for your perspective, and is not ready to show to the outside world, to yourself.

So I would say ask yourself this question: Is there any ambiguity in your mind about your anticipation of the needless loss of life or property based on what you have seen. If there is, then the benefit of doubt goes to the person you spied on. Consider what you saw as an aberration... mangled data that cannot be trusted.

As for that question - Did you answer two? It was Noah, not Moses who gathered animals on an Ark.

Comment: Um... good for whom in the US? (Score 3, Insightful) 111

by gwstuff (#47578563) Attached to: French Provider Free Could Buy US Branch of T-Mobile

Do you mean the US shareholders of T-Mobile? The CEOs? The Execs?

You couldn't possibly mean good for the US consumer... or did you? It's a bit awkward this. You must excuse me, you see we in the US have never really had any experience with that sort of thing - a company doing something that's good for the consumer... wow, I wonder how that feels like. Is that like when a Comcast sales rep signs you up for a promotion that actually costs you money in the long run, but gives you a refund when you spend hours on the phone, in effect being all nice and not ripping you off?

Comment: Re:Weakest Russia ever (Score 1) 582

by gwstuff (#47546813) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Yes, also, the "BRICS" countries - Brazil, China and South Africa (Russia being the 'S'), which occupy 5 places in the top 10 GDPs spot, and two in the top 10 armed nations spots are not participating in the sanctions. In fact, BRICS cooperation has been growing - they recently established their own "IMF" equivalent.

Comment: Re:Revisionist history. (Score 1) 282

Right... and to be honest, Elop was the nail in a coffin that Nokia seemed to have already been slipping into. They lost faith when Android and iPhone happened. They should have jumped into the Android market and kicked Samsung's ass - something they had been doing for about 2 decades - and aimed to become the market leaders again by 2020 - a spot reserved for whichever handset maker rules Android at that time.

When I worked for Nokia in 2002 (I interned there - best time of my life, best company ever to work for, best people to work with) - the seeds of doubt had already started setting in. There was a strong feeling in the company - especially in Nokia Networks that the company was good at making hardware but not software, and software would define the future. And so Nokia had to get its act together. This was not true - the software was OK. But in particular, people seemed to be intimidated by Microsoft, which according to them was all but poised to take over the future.

Around that time there was also a slew of foreign hires in the upper echelons - it was like the company was trying to reinvent itself even though it was really as good as any company could ever get. People cared about each other, they cared about building their best stuff - because they genuinely cared about the company and couldn't bear to see the Nokia brand stamped on anything less than perfect.

Yes, I have rose-tinted glasses, and lament what happened - but you would find this thinking in a lot of people who worked in Nokia in that era. It's partially because I feel like it was more than a company - there was a solidarity among people you don't see a lot in the world nowadays.

And that depresses me even more about people such as Stephen Elop. People like that - and others who got in and unhinged the company are like Wall Street scavengers who couldn't care less about anything human, creativity, the quest to find excellence - if they had to shred people's lives and spirits to mint a few extra coins they would do it without a hint of compunction.

Comment: Stephen Elop... (Score 4, Insightful) 282

...seems to be a great reason not to work for MS. He and Microsoft took one of the finest companies in the world, turned it inside out, and devoured it like a panic-stricken predator conscious that the end of the path it was on was in sight. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the acquisition of Nokia only bought time. When you rip open the goose that lays the golden eggs, it stops working.

Comment: Re:Yeah, students will use bandwidth (Score 2) 285

by gwstuff (#47504195) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

While your point is valid, unfortunately, it is not amenable to the capitalist way of thinking in which value is determined by demand and supply, rather than based on the social good brought about. So unless teachers refuse to pay at current wage rates en mass, the system isn't going to give them raises.

If so, then the only way to make that happen is to appeal to the better judgement of CEOs and entertainers and ask them to write a check every year to the institution that helped them get where they are.

Fortunately, it's going to be easy because CEOs an entertainers are modest, reasonable people who will admit the role teachers and schools played in their success, rather than taking a conceited stand like "I'm a self-made man/woman."

Comment: The nail has been hit on the head (Score 1) 171

by gwstuff (#47464051) Attached to: Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

A very fine article reflecting on what indie developers such as myself have been feeling in recent times. This was my favorite excerpt:

"If you attend an iOS/Mac dev meetup and hang around long enough, you’ll start to hear the whispers and the nervous laughter. There are people making merry in the midst of plenty, but each of them occasionally steps away to the edge of the room, straining to listen over the music, trying to hear the barbarians at the gates. There’s something wrong with the world, Neo."


"I really hope that I’m wrong about this, and that we haven’t entered the Second Sundering of indie software, the likes of which we haven’t seen since “shareware” was the word on everyone’s lips. I really do hope I’m mistaken."


Comment: Re:Um, here's a glaring fact (Score 2) 123

by gwstuff (#47445859) Attached to: Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing

Totally... BS. You're using a counterexample that is a complete outlier in every way. It's like saying dropping out of college is a good thing, look at Bill Gates, Steve Jobs...

Academic publishing would be a much fairer process of reviews would be truly double blind, and if there were a severe penalty for breaking the rules. In the absence of that, people win Nobel prizes and will continue to do so. But that's because those people are outliers, not because the system is sane.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955