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Comment Bad Idea (Score 5, Insightful) 490

Generally, the electorate isn't informed enough on issues to make good decisions. One of the reasons we have elected representatives in office for 2, 4, 6, etc. years is to provide some stability. People's views change on a whim. Watching one news special about a particular issue can swing views wildly.

This kind of direct voting would result in utter chaos. Nothing's more fickle than public opinion, and it's impossible to get anything done when changing direction at the speed of the news cycle.

Comment Re:Locality of self. (Score 5, Interesting) 269

The result is the same whether the brain is replaced a little at a time or all at once in a copy.

There's an old story about an axe that has it's handle replaced a few times. Eventually over the years it's used so much the head is replaced. And a few more handles after that. There was always a piece of the axe included when something was replaced. Is the current axe the same axe we started with? If not, at what point did it become a different axe?

As to whether an exact copy of you is actually you, I would say yes, unless you're going to argue something supernatural like a soul. It would be just the same as cloning a computer hard drive and placing it in identical hardware. From their perspective each computer is the original ...or the copy, there's no way for them to tell

You're probably thinking of a continuous point of view being the original, but human consciousness generally only exists in 16 hour spurts. When you sleep, is the 'you' that wakes up the same 'you' that went to sleep? There's certainly a gap in your consciousness which would be the same as being dead and coming back. Or the same as a copy waking up.

Comment Re:Self learning classroom learning (Score 1) 102

I mean, can you imagine a bunch of little micro-acomplishments like self-assigned gold stars on someone's resume? "In October Larry watched 8 videos on how to do something, representing a year-over-year increase of 100% for that period." I just don't see this happening.

Unfortunately I can. A generation is coming up that's been raised with XBox trophies and Steam achievements. Micro-rewards work in terms of getting people to do tasks. It originated in gaming and is pervasive in modern games, but it's quickly leaking into general usage. One example - Fitbit awards badges for walking a number of steps each day, or climbing flights of stairs. You can compete with your friends for top score each week. It's not too far a stretch to see something like Khan Academy awarding a badge for each video you watch and a bigger badge for completing a course. I don't personally like the the gamification of everything, but it's definitely coming. People will do things they otherwise wouldn't for a little bit of recognition.

Comment Re:C.H.I.P. The $9 Computer (Score 1) 508

I've never seen a modern TV not have Composite input. Most current TVs have a couple HDMI, Composite and Component inputs at the very least. Some will have optical audio, and rarely DVI or VGA now. There's tons of devices in use that only output composite.

Example 1: http://www.amazon.com/Sharp-LC-65LE654U-65-Inch-1080p-120Hz/dp/B00TTVMEKA/ref=sr_1_4?s=tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1442117676&sr=1-4&keywords=65+inch+tv

Example 2: http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-UN65H6350-65-Inch-1080p-120Hz/dp/B00I94IPXS/ref=sr_1_2?s=tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1442117781&sr=1-2&keywords=65+inch+tv

I'm sure you can find TVs without composite input, but it's still on the majority of them.

Just for fun - I was around in 1980 - very very few TVs had Composite inputs on them. They were mostly high end video equipment (studio use), security monitors or computer monitors. You were lucky if a TV had a 75 Ohm Coax connector (what cable uses). Most TVs of that era still used 300 Ohm twin-lead connectors (the ones you needed a screwdriver to connect).

Comment C.H.I.P. The $9 Computer (Score 1) 508

I would suggest looking at CHIP. It's a single board computer with built in Wi-Fi and a 1GHz ARM chip for $9. You'll need to add a keyboard. It supports composite video out on the board, so depending on what they need to do that should be enough. The Internet resources are going to be the killer though. Not everyone has access at home. Does the school provide free wifi access? If so, I'd recommend getting references / videos in a form that are easy to download and let students use them offline.

Comment Re:Wouldn't be surprised... (Score 1) 80

Indeed. I have Amazon Prime too and Amazon's great. I ship pretty much everything I can these days. I'm just saying Amazon's devices aren't something people get excited about like some other brands.

If you take Nintendo or Apple or Atari as an example, there is a fan base around them that enjoys collecting items from 30-40 years ago up to the present. Heck, there are sizable retro movements building new hardware / software for those old systems. I just don't see that happening for Amazon 20 years out, that's all.

Comment Re:Wouldn't be surprised... (Score 1) 80

In 20 years we will come full circle -- a reality TV show about finding the lost Amazon Phone stock buried in a landfill -- available on Amazon Prime Video.

Seems unlikely. The Atari 2600 was one of the best and longest selling consoles ever created and the video game crash of '83 was a major event.

The Fire Phone on the other hand... was a crappy phone that could charitably called an "also ran" with a couple gimmicky features. If anything, it would be lumped in as a weird curiosity like the Virtual Boy, but even then, Amazon doesn't have any fans around it like Nintendo or Apple that make it a collectible. Who's waiting in line for the next Kindle Fire? No one.

Comment Damn... 20 years has gone by fast (Score 5, Interesting) 284

20 years ago I was a teenager. My family wasn't rich growing up. By that point I'd owned a second hand Commodore 64 I bought for $75 through the classified ads, an IBM PC XT I bought from a consignment shop, and a 386 I built from pieces I bought second hand from a friend who was upgrading to a Pentium system. Around this time 20 years ago I was finishing up an internship I had in between my junior and senior years of high school that I had because I spent some time on BBSes and the guy thought I would enjoy learning to develop software with them. During the summer I used a 486 DX2 system with Windows 3.1. That was my fist real exposure to Windows.

There was a local trade mag for computers that they gave away free every month at news stands. I always enjoyed reading them and there were a lot of articles on Win 95. No one I knew had it or got it over the next year.

The following year when I was getting ready for college, one of the thing we had to buy was a modern computer to meet the requirements for my engineering program. It was built by a local shop and they offered DOS 6.22 / Win 3.1 or Windows 95. I remember being hesitant about 95, but decided to go for it since it was newer and I knew newer aoftware was designed for it.

That design really opened up computing to a lot of people. Having a single place to go to Start any program was a great idea. Before you had to know what directory to look in or where in Program Manager an icon was. All my non technical friends in college had no problem with it. With Windows 3.1 they would struggle and if they had to drop to DOS they were mostly lost. If you want to know what's running, it's right there on the task bar.

I've used various versions of Windows and Linux over the years, but I think the biggest legacy is the start button and task bar. They pretty much define how most people interact with the desktop. The Windows 8 UI debacle and the shift back to a start menu / having Modern apps on the task bar shows that it's how users have come to expect to interact with a desktop system.

Comment Re:Systemd can be removed completely from Debian 8 (Score 1) 442

Jessie installs systemd by default on new installs. Should one desire to install without systemd, i.e use sysvinit-core instead (old sysV5 init), it is possible to use preseed to replace systemd with sysvinit at the end of the install (This probably won't work if selecting one of the desktop environments that require systemd specific features however).

It's good information, but the last line from the link is the real problem.

Comment Re:A tough road to revoke this (Score 2) 700

I myself agree, I read L. Ron Hubbard book years ago, and came away with no hint of a religious kind on organization

That's like saying you've read the Bible and now understand any given Christian denomination or the Quran and now understand Islam. The actual religions are often quite different from the book that sprang from. In the case of Scientology, if you happen to catch the recent HBO documentary, they mention that Scientology is a repackaging of Dianetics as a religion that came about after sales of the book died down. So to say Scientology is not a religion because you once read Dianetics....that's a big leap.

Comment Re:simple (Score 1) 159

From the Windows 10 Privacy Policy

“If you open a file, we may collect information about the file, the application used to open the file, and how long it takes any use [of] it for purposes such as improving performance, or [if you] enter text, we may collect typed characters, we may collect typed characters and use them for purposes such as improving autocomplete and spell check features,”


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