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Comment: Re:Already happened? (Score 1) 265

by Your.Master (#47422685) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

There's nothing greater than a semantic argument on slashdot.

Arguing whether science is a form of philosophy is like arguing whether the Game of Thrones TV show is an example of art. You don't necessarily have any disagreement about what science is (even though that's what everybody is focussing on); you have a disagreement on the definition of philosophy (which, like art, is notoriously hard to pin down).

Comment: Re:Why yes, we should blame the victim here (Score 1) 307

by Your.Master (#47421911) Attached to: Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

Look unless she took those pics with an actual non internet connected camera, she gave implicit permission to post them by taking them with an internet enabled device.

No she didn't. What a bizarre assertion.

People ARE going to Hack your shizz.

What? As far as I can tell, this wasn't hacked. And even if it was...that's the opposite of permission.

This is today; you don't leave money in an open box on front porch expecting it to remain unmolested. You don't leave your front door unlocked. You don't leave the car keys in the ignition. You don't leave your packages in plain sight at a mall. You don't take pictures of yourself naked for any reason and leave them on an unsecured device and expect it to remain there untouched.

You realize people taking advantage of all the other things you mentioned are crimes that you can pursue in courts and nobody will blame you? In fact, you realize that if somebody steals your car, even when you left the keys in the ignition, or breaks into your house through an unlocked door, and you *don't* follow up on it with the authorities, that's viewed with suspicion?

(For that matter, I don't think my parents even have a front door lock, and I know my dad leaves the keys in the car -- my mom doesn't mostly so that she can click the button to find her car in the parking lot. Not everybody lives in fear -- to be fair, lots of people live in places where the fear is warranted. And I do lock my doors, living in a more heavily populated area. And none of us would leave a package unattended in a mall).

It's not the insistence on retribution that's the problem here. It's the fact that it was directed at the wrong target. Tor didn't have anything to do with this any more than the mall had anything to do with your package, left in plain sight, being stolen. Or a privately-owned highway that they used to drive your car away, after you left the keys in the car.

Comment: Re:Why yes, we should blame the victim here (Score 1) 307

by Your.Master (#47421857) Attached to: Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

He's not saying taking pictures is repugnant. It's republishing them not only without her consent, not only *against* her express wishes, but specifically to humiliate her and make her angry.

Yes, Tor is the wrong target for punishment (though I'm unclear on whether she was seeking punitive damages from Tor, or just suing them to try to get them to help de-anonymize things).

You, however, are actively participating in the problem, by re-posting those links to slashdot. I'm not saying your hands should be chopped off or anything ridiculous, but I am saying that your behaviour is repugnant.

Comment: Re:Probable cause (Score 1) 212

I think people have different notions of what "freedom from religion" means. What you're talking about is not at all the same as what some others I've seen have talked about. The first time I encountered the "separation clause doesn't imply freedom from religion" was somebody arguing that it would not violate the US constitution to require politicians to swear that they believed in a god (without specifying further the attributes of this god), which seems like a crystal-clear violation to me.

Comment: Re:Law Enforcement has been doing this forever. (Score 4, Interesting) 212

If memory serves, the ostensible logic was that civil rights groups were pawns of International Communism(because clearly only sinister foreign influences could have given the negro the crazy idea that certain aspects of American life were less than ideal) and thus a terrifying internal threat. That, and Hoover just didn't feel alive if he wasn't wiretapping somebody.

Comment: Savings? (Score 2) 146

Even in areas where all the cabling is buried(which definitely isn't all of them) how much do you save by putting some fancy and expensive widget within a couple hundred meters of every customer's location? Aside from the joys of managing a zillion touchy network devices out on the poles in all winds and weathers, you'd better hope that there's no secondary market for such gear or people will be harvesting them faster than you can install them...

Comment: Re:I wrote about this in 1996 in BYTE (Score 1) 548

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47415295) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
While I strongly suspect that anyone who thinks that good developers can be made without also being correctly born is either terminally optimistic or a biologist who should quit talking and get his work into wider availability, there is a case to be made for the issue of building tools that allow seriously mediocre not-really-developers to solve the (effectively endless) supply of theoretically uninteresting, but too large to be manually tractable, problems that come up in all kinds of business and other situations. Ideally without setting them loose to produce brutally unmaintainable and incomprehensible messes.

It arguably fails the 'brutally unmaintainable and incomprehensible messes' criterion; but that's basically the function that has allowed either a dubiously sensible pile of Excel hacks, or a shambling Access monstrosity(often several of both) to become a vital part of offices everywhere. They are pretty dreadful; but they allow people with very, very, limited programming knowledge (and essentially zero computer science skill) to bodge through the assorted business-process data schlepping tasks that are too small or mundane to get an actual developer involved with. Not glamorous; but extremely useful and widely used. Even the humble mail merge, commonly treated as an invaluable tool by secretarial workers who explicitly claim to 'not know computers' is valued because it allows somebody without programming knowledge to perform the oh-so-frequently-useful "Iterate through this file and do something sensible with each line" function.

Making more good programmers is hard; but building tools that allow bad programmers to get some of the benefits of programming, ideally with features to keep them from hurting themselves or puking up unmaintainable messes, is a more tractable problem, and a valuable one to solve.

To go with your music analogy, normal humans are effectively excluded from composing and performing music at anything resembling a serious level; but hobby/amateur level musical activity is extremely widespread(and contemporary societies with recorded music and mass media might actually be atypically low, by historical standards, in mass participation in musical culture). Doesn't mean that kiddo's high school rock band doesn't suck, or that kiddo would know 'music theory' if it bit him in the ear; but music-making for recreational and social purposes is very accessible without much specialist knowledge.

Comment: Re:Classic 100 years from now? (Score 3, Insightful) 138

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47414547) Attached to: Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years
In terms of replay value and intricacy, 'computer games' are arguably several largely different things that all just happen to be amenable to running on computers and being sold in software boxes:

The trivial analog to simple games is (of course) those games implemented on a computer. Being the trivial case, this is mostly a wiseass cop-out; but it's worth mentioning because computer implementations have made a substantial difference in what games are considered 'solved' and how strongly. Some games are so simple that children can solve them by hand (tic-tac-toe, most notably, since people do actually play it; but it's simple enough that most players eventually solve it and lose interest); but solving checkers, or the partial solutions for chess and go, are exercises that require ingenuity and cunning; but a lot of brute force.

The slightly less trivial analog is extensions of classic games that would be impossible or impractical to fabricate as board games. Mostly 2d games adapted to 3 or more dimensions(or 3d puzzles, like Rubik's cubes adapted to 4 or more dimensions). These usually have some improvised implementation that doesn't need a computer (multiple chess/checkers boards with rules for pieces moving between them in the extra dimension, that sort of thing); but computers make them easier and less knock-over-and-abandon-in-frustration prone.

Then there are computer games that are really, in terms of playability and intricacy, basically team sports, rather than anything analogous to deterministic games of perfect information like chess, checkers, go, etc. Something like Counter-Strike is replayable much like soccer or football are (ignoring the fact that operating systems and Glide/OpenGL/DirectX tend to break backward compatibility more often than 'grass' does, so a single, specific, implementation may not remain playable in the long term without porting, though games with robust port support are in decent shape). There is strategy and teamwork; along with individual expertise in implementation, so most of the 'churn' in these games is either abandonment of older engines in favor of nicer ones, or iterative tweaking of weapons and balance. Specific 'games' in the sense of 'Program X sold under name Y' tend to come and go; but the overall dynamic is similar to regional variations, changes in equipment, occasional rule tweaks, and the like in traditional sports, except that traditional sports tend to treat variants as all being flavors of A Sport, while the trademark and SKU-focused game market tends to treat each variant as a separate game.

Then there are the 'games' that really shade into choose-your-own-adventure books with pictures, or movies with reflex tests: I enjoy these myself, and they are a perfectly valid form of entertainment; but they are about as dissimilar from classic 'games' as something called a 'game' can be. Single-player FPSes, relatively 'closed world' RPGs, that sort of thing. Hardly identical to a film(in all but the worst excesses of the early days of "Wow, we have a whole CD to fill with shitty, overcompressed FMV!" era), the tests of reflexes, RPG party management, or whatever are genuinely part of the experience; but they aren't terribly replayable because, sooner or later, you run up against the fact that there is only so much manually-generated, written, and voice-acted plot to uncover. Likely good for more than one playthrough, unless brutally linear; but each 'branch' costs so much dev and artist time that there aren't going to be too many of them.

There may also be a category for the games (the Civilization series being the most prominent example that comes to mind) that could have been implemented as board games; but would be near insanity if you had to keep track of teeny plastic wheat counters for every single square. If these are single player, they often wear out their welcome sooner or later because the AI opponents just aren't good enough (whether because there just wasn't anything in the budget for 'hire academic computer scientists to do deep analysis of the game and attempt to solve it', which there isn't, or because the game may not be solvable in any remotely computationally tractable way); but against humans these might qualify as both genuinely somewhat novel, and genuinely replayable and intricate, it will be interesting to see.

'Emergent' games (like DF), may or may not be sufficiently mature; but if they do end up standing the test of time and intricate replayability, that would be the most novel of all, since (unlike games that attempt, with varying levels of success, to make an AI do a human's job) these games tend to give the NPCs fairly limited intelligence; but enough room for the world as a whole to just go nuts in interesting ways. That has not historically been possible in games; but it is also not an imitation (however accurate or inaccurate) of a human opponent or opponents, as with 'Chess-but with someone who's always up for a game!' type computer games.

Comment: Re:Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (Score 1) 138

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47414121) Attached to: Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years
Why wouldn't it be an explanation? 'Excuse', is a slippery term because it tends to have moral connotations that can lead one into the rather subjective territory of arguing about what somebody does or doesn't have a duty to learn and why; but an 'explanation' is just an account of why something is as it is.

It might be that 'He's an autodidact' isn't the correct explanation in this case; but 'He picked it up on his own, because of his interest, which is why the result shows an idiosyncratic emphasis on what interests him to the exclusion of some accepted best practices.' certainly sounds like a reasonably well formed explanation, whether one finds it excusable or not.

Comment: Re:PeridexisErrant's DF Starter Pack - Get it! (Score 3, Funny) 138

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47413791) Attached to: Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years

And you should spend a few hours reading the wiki. I love the game, but learning to use vi is probably easier.

If you can master vi, you are possibly ready to cope with DF's interface.

At that point you can begin working with the fact that the game mechanics tend fairly strongly toward 'emergent malevolence'.

Comment: Re:This post is an advert (Score 3, Informative) 218

by mendax (#47413407) Attached to: Avast Buys 20 Used Phones, Recovers 40,000 Deleted Photos

I don't know what you're doing. I tried several times without success. was always replaced with

D'oh! I'm an idiot. It helps if the href contains an "http://" as part of the URL. Ok. No more conspiracy theories now, at least not on this issue.

Comment: This post is an advert (Score 2, Insightful) 218

by mendax (#47413005) Attached to: Avast Buys 20 Used Phones, Recovers 40,000 Deleted Photos

This article is good reading in itself but it wound up being an advert for the poster's product. I wonder how much Dice got paid to post this "story"? Is it any wonder I spend more time over at, the name of which I was going to bury in a link but couldn't because the link gets replaced with ""?

This is an unauthorized cybernetic announcement.