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Comment: Re:Oh, it's on SyFy? (Score 1) 167

by lpevey (#46643791) Attached to: Wil Wheaton Announces New TV Show

...but he's got a certain cachet among the midrange nerdies who grew up on ST:tNG.

Yeah, he certainly still has cred with me. Also, one thing is for sure: Wil Wheaton is a huge Borderlands 2 fan. Who else picked up on that based on the language and phrasings he used? Yeah, the guy is definitely a true geek. Love him.

Comment: Re:I've always wondered that about antihistamines (Score 1) 351

by lpevey (#46038495) Attached to: Fighting the Flu May Hurt Those Around You

Not necessarily. I developed allergies as a teenager. To this day, when I return to the area of the country where I lived at the time, I get immediate and severe hay fever. When I return to the Northeast, where I've lived since I graduated from college, I have no issues, even in Spring.

Comment: Re:Memorization, or attention to detail? (Score 1) 123

by lpevey (#45940859) Attached to: Experiment Shows Caffeine Boosts Long Term Memory

I'm also dubious about the idea that any one, simple chemical can ever make you smarter in any general way without adverse consequences. Evolution has a lot of time to scope out all simple neurochemical effects, so beware studies that suggest they've found a "smart pill".

I think this is a very wise statement. In this case, caffeine is known to increase levels of stress hormones. Many studies have shown that memories during times of stress tend to be more vivid and enduring. (The extreme of this is PTSD.) So the study results are not at all surprising to me. I think more work would have to be done to tease out whether there is any independent effect.

Comment: Re:Ovbiously (Score 1) 33

by lpevey (#45747143) Attached to: Web Surfing Improves Motor Skills

Yes, but these were migrant works, presumably with little previous experience writing or typing or mouse-clicking or doing other things that require much in the way of fine motor skills versus gross motor skills.

I would imagine there is a point of diminishing marginal returns that most of us here passed a long, long time ago. :)

Comment: Re:Yes and no ... (Score 1) 71

by lpevey (#44472573) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Cyber Insurance. Solution Or Snake Oil?

There is a good bit of focus on the financial, but only because that is what buyers of insurance tend to want--protection from financial loss. There are some buyers who are also concerned about reputation damage from crisis situations, and there are insurance policies for that as well. Crisis coverage is generally added as a feature of a Directors & Officers Liability policy rather than a specialized cyber policy. It is a coverage that provides access to specialized PR services.

On the question about real world examples from the OP, there are a number of real world examples available. One place to get them is the AIG Cyber iPad app. I'm sure there are other stats available from other companies, too. The data is out there.

This is a fast-growing area of insurance. It used to be that IT administrators weren't excited about the idea of insurance because they thought it might make it look like they were admitting incompetence, i.e., proactively covering their own ass. But these days, everyone realizes that security is much more complicated than that, and every layer of protection helps.

Comment: Re:Need a control. (Score 4, Insightful) 327

This comment is not really insightful. A lot of people even use electric heating pads underneath seed trays specifically to generate heat. I agree the experiment would have been even more impressive with controls wrt certain variables (including heat--why not), but it is extremely, extremely unlikely that, as the poster put it, "they can also get warm enough to prevent a seed grom growing."

Comment: Re:don't get the cart before the horse (Score 2) 230

by lpevey (#42466083) Attached to: Who Would Actually Build an Ubuntu Smartphone?

You have a different opinion, and I won't try to convince you. I myself had the same opinion for many years. My only point was that, in response to the original question of "who will buy this?" I think it was always a pretty small niche, and now even smaller with long-time users like me throwing in the towel.

My view:

- With Windows, I can install pretty much any application I want.
- With Apple, I am completely at the company's mercy.
- With Ubuntu, it is sort of in between. I can install whatever I want that's available to me, which isn't as much as with Windows because of the barriers to developing for Linux. Those barriers are real. I they weren't, any commercial developer looking to make money (i.e., all of them) would port their apps to Linux. All of the apps you cited don't change the fact that the majority of commercial apps that end users actually want to buy are not ported to Linux. There are good reasons for that. The community does not make it easy.

Comment: Re:don't get the cart before the horse (Score 2) 230

by lpevey (#42465419) Attached to: Who Would Actually Build an Ubuntu Smartphone?

My argument was not that Ubuntu is more open than Apple. However, I do think that from a user's perspective it is less open than Windows or Android. That it why I said Ubuntu is not the choice for someone looking to escape Apple's closed ecosystem.

I understand your argument: You can install whatever app you want on Ubuntu. Technically, this is true. In practice, no. The apps most people want are not available on Ubuntu, and probably never will be.

The vast majority of people who have stuck with windows on the desktop and never switched cite one major reason: Availability of applications. This is especially evident with games but also true of many other types of apps. It is pretty easy to get gimp, mplayer, vlc, xbmc, etc., running on Windows, but not so easy to get closed applications ported to linux. Large parts of the community actively discourage it. There is no support for developers who might want to sell an application, because making a living by selling software is somehow inherently bad. I call this "closed." I wholeheartedly support the idea of an open-source OS, but only if the developers of that OS understand that it needs to be able to run a wide spectrum of software. Right now, commercial developers have little incentive to port anything to linux unless they fork a whole distribution that they can control. Otherwise, the community will just break the software with every update.

One reason people have so much vitriol toward Windows 8 is that they sense they will lose something very valuable if Win 8 is widely adopted. Win 8 moves MS a step closer to a closed system, and it makes people realize that Windows 7 is the most open-architecture OS we have right now. No, it is not open source or free software. But it is the most open.

Comment: Re:don't get the cart before the horse (Score 3, Insightful) 230

by lpevey (#42464165) Attached to: Who Would Actually Build an Ubuntu Smartphone?

The thing is, a year or two ago, I would have bought one. Until recently, I ran Ubuntu as my primary desktop since Dapper (before that, I was a RedHat person), so you would think I would be part of the primary target group. But, if my own feelings are in any way indicative, this is going to be a very tough sell. Even I gave up hope for Ubuntu (and linux) after numerous annoyances and bugs...things were getting worse each year, not better.

- The Ubuntu One annoyance started it for me.
- The Gnome 3 fiasco. "We just don't care what our users think. If we build it, they will come. Oh, wait, don't leave... Come back!" Nope, we're gone.
- The Unity fiasco. Worse than Windows 8. Really. (OK, I'll be honest: I haven't used Windows 8. It could be just as bad. But it's bad.)
- The Amazon search fiasco. Wow. Privacy, anyone?
- The ongoing hostility toward anything closed being available on linux (because god forbid we users actually have a choice).

Given the last two items, why would a nerd who is protesting Apple's closed system ever want to choose Ubuntu?

Nerds like to tinker. We pride ourselves on it. But we also pride ourselves on using the best tool for the job. That is no longer Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is completely misreading their market.

My switch: I have been using Win 7 for about 6 months now, and I love it. There are also smaller smaller things that I didn't even notice were wrong until I switched: When transferring large files on my network with NFS, I always got random Nautilus crashes from time to time. I just assumed it was my router or something, and never really had time to look into it. I lived with it. No such issues with Windows 7 shares. Dragging and dropping large folders from one computer to another has never been easier for me. I could kick myself for being so stubborn that I didn't switch sooner.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.