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Comment: Re:authenticity (Score 1) 50

by hey! (#46789973) Attached to: Lying Eyes: Cyborg Glasses Simulate Eye Expressions

What about acting? Or fiction? These are artificial experiences that evoke real emotional responses. Once the right buttons in your brain are pushed, most of your brain can't tell the difference between what is real and what is synthetic.

Granted, authenticity in human interactions is important, but it's overrated. Fake engagement often is a perfectly acceptable substitute. Situations where people put considerable effort into *seeming* pleasant usually *are* more pleasant than they would be if everyone felt free to paste their indifference to you right on their faces.

So this is a very interesting technology. What's disturbing about it isn't that people might be fooled into thinking the user is truly interested; it's that the user himself no longer puts any effort into creating that illusion. What if that effort is in itself something important? What if fake engagement is often the prelude to real engagement? Maybe you have to start with polite interest and work your way up to the real thing; I suspect the dumber parts of your brain can't tell the difference. If that's true, taking the user's brain out of the interaction means that interaction will automatically be trapped on a superficial level. This already happens in bureaucratic situations where employees are reduce to rules-following automatons. Take the brain out of the equation and indifference follows.

I suspect that the researchers are well aware of these issues; I believe that I discern a certain deadpan, ironic puckishness on their part. People who truly view engagement with other people as an unwelcome burden don't work on technologies that mediate between people.

Comment: Re:Nothing new - Always had tech jobs (Score 1) 206

by swillden (#46789551) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

Top two cities with the highest density of engineers are Huntsville Alabama and Palm Bay/Melbourne Florida for what should be obvious reasons.

I'm sure that's true if you're counting traditional engineering fields, meaning not including software engineers. I'm not sure it would still be true if you included software. Of course many would argue that software engineering isn't yet mature enough to be a real engineering discipline, but it definitely is a big part of "tech", which is the subject of discussion.

Comment: Re:do they have a progressive view? (Score 1) 206

by swillden (#46789411) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

I've spent about half of my life in Texas. I've lived in Houston, Dallas, and Austin. I've also lived in Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Southern California.

Every conversation about living in Texas I've had with a West Coaster: "How can you stand living in Texas. Everyone is so bigoted and prejudicial?" "Oh really, have you ever been there?" "No." "..."

And, of course, they completely miss the irony in their own statements.

Comment: Re:Security compiler? (Score 1) 157

by swillden (#46788775) Attached to: Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

Why not a security compiler? Seems some clever, creative hackers could work up something which would take raw code, subject it to some scrutiny and give output/feedback. Perhaps even a security switch to the standard compilers or even a security test suite. Shouldn't be that hard to do.

Shouldn't be too hard... in the sense that solving the Halting Problem shouldn't be too difficult. I conjecture that with an appropriate set of assumptions it's possible to use Rice's Theorem to prove that security analysis is equivalent to the Halting Problem.

Of course, static analysis can catch some vulnerabilities, and can highlight potential vulnerabilities. That's what Coverity does. But I don't think any mechanical process can defeat a creative attacker.

Comment: Inductive Fallacy (Score 1) 157

by swillden (#46788645) Attached to: Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

This analysis is based on an erroneous assumption which is derived from an inductive fallacy. Specifically, the author assumes that because one researcher who found one bug believes he could have found a second for roughly the same level of effort means that the researcher believes this process could be repeated indefinitely. I'm certain that if Kohno were asked he would deny the validity of this assumption. I'm sure he would say that his team could find a handful of similar bugs for similar level of effort, but once the pool of low-hanging fruit bugs was exhausted, the cost and difficulty would rise.

Comment: Re:I switched from sitting to standing. (Score 1) 283

by swillden (#46786967) Attached to: Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk
The desk I have is motorized. Push a button, takes about five seconds. Another option is to get a desk that is always positioned at standing level and a tall chair. That seems cheaper and more convenient but there are some downsides. One is that you have far fewer options in chairs than if you're getting normal-height chairs. Another is that changing the level of the desk is difficult, which is particularly problematic if the seating gets rearranged regularly.

Comment: Re:Switching from Mercedes to Tesla after $12K bil (Score 1) 307

by hey! (#46786709) Attached to: Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

First you bought an SUV which only an idiot would buy

My late father-in-law designed inertial guidance systems. He worked on the Apollo program and the Trident missile. And he bought a Mercedes SUV, so it's clear it isn't an SUV that only an idiot would buy. He needed a vehicle that could pull a small boat trailer but had reached an age where he wanted a vehicle that was a little easier on the tuckus than a pickup truck. As such it wasn't a bad choice for him, especially as he had the dough to pay the eye-popping maintenance costs.

I prefer small cars myself, but I've driven a few SUVs and the Mercedes wasn't a bad choice for someone who wanted a truck that drives more or less like a car and doesn't care about the cost.

Comment: Using DD-WRT (Kong latest "old" driver version) (Score 1) 92

by aussersterne (#46782987) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Router Firmware For Bandwidth Management?

on a Netgear R6300 and it has been very fast, great with signal quality, and the QoS features are working as expected.

Both the R6250 and R6300 have a dual-core 800MHz CPU, so they have the power to handle a decent QoS requirement without bogging down potential throughput too much. I'm satisfied, and it wasn't that expensive. If your situation isn't too terribly complex (many dozens of users and extensive QoS rules) then it might be a good choice.

The R7000 is even faster and supports external antennas, so I second that suggestion, but it's also twice the price of the 6250/3000, which can be found on sale from $100-$125 brand new if you're a good comparison shopper and/or patient.

Comment: Re:I switched from sitting to standing. (Score 4, Interesting) 283

by swillden (#46778589) Attached to: Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

I'd recommend a standing desk to anyone with the willpower to make it through the transition.

And I'd recommend a sit-stand desk to anyone at all. Even if you don't stand all the time (I don't), being able to spend part of your day standing will make you feel better without discomfort, in fact being able to switch back and forth is more comfortable than sitting.

Comment: Re:Information = Wealth = Power (Score 1) 98

by swillden (#46778561) Attached to: Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

Then it's not the same as mine. I've also followed the company from the beginning... and I have the benefit of the insider view.

Unless your insider view involved board meetings making top-level executive decisions, I'm not impressed.

Obviously not, but you may not realize how open the company is internally. Larry Page stands up in front of the entire company every week, for example, and takes -- and answers -- live questions. There are no negative consequences for asking hard questions, and hard questions do get asked. Sometimes the executives duck or dance around them, but not very often, and questions that aren't really answered continue getting asked until they do get answered.

In addition to that, other than things like acquisitions there are very few "top-level executive decisions" at Google. Most decisionmaking is driven from the bottom up.

You're probably still not impressed. Whatever. I'm just giving you my perspective and opinion. I would think that an intelligent insider's viewpoint would be of use to you; you're certainly free to dismiss it, whether or not that makes any sense. Time will tell, and I'm quite confident that the future will bear out my statements.

YouTube was a very obvious acquisition. What YouTube needed to survive and grow was low-cost scalability and a way to monetize the views it was getting. What Google had was massive data centers and network connectivity, plus a proven revenue model.

YouTube managed to grow to epic proportions before Google had to "save" them, as you imply. They also good have slapped ads onto their service at any time without Google buying them out.

Not according to YouTube employees who made the transition.

Comment: Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (Score 2) 283

by swillden (#46778219) Attached to: Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

...when the main problem isn't really sitting down, but being STILL in the same position hour after hour.

This is why it's not a "standing desk" but a "sit-stand desk". The idea is that you alternate between sitting and standing, changing position every hour or two.

Comment: Re:Information = Wealth = Power (Score 1) 98

by swillden (#46778179) Attached to: Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

My basis is the same as yours, except not from the inside, and not from just three years.

Then it's not the same as mine. I've also followed the company from the beginning... and I have the benefit of the insider view.

The tipping point came when they bought YouTube for an obscene amount of money (at the time). You don't spread your tendrils in such fashion throughout the industry just because you like technology.

YouTube was a very obvious acquisition. What YouTube needed to survive and grow was low-cost scalability and a way to monetize the views it was getting. What Google had was massive data centers and network connectivity, plus a proven revenue model. YouTube also needed a better search engine, and Google was interested in finding ways to index and search non-textual content. It was an ideal match, technologically.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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