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Comment Re:Nothing is free (Score 5, Interesting) 392

Uhm, no. Plenty of things in life are free. The reason MS is being despicable here is that they are choosing to offer free windows in exchange for installing spyware. It was wrong when people bundled spyware with freeware software installers, and it is wrong when people bundle spyware with an OS.

Just switch to Debian or another Free OS that doesn't spy on you. It may be a little less convenient, but the inconvenience pays off in a bit more safety the next time you download something.

Comment Re:Interesting, from someone other than Google. (Score 1) 275

I had the same initial reaction, but realistically I spend so much time on Android/Chrome/Google Docs/GMail/etc. already that avoiding OnHub will do nothing to stop Google knowing far too much about me.

Sure, when some guy steals my wallet, then calls me later on the phone to ask for my bank account password, I too figure that he's already got my $100 from the wallet, so what's the point of not telling him? I'm already out *some* money, it makes no difference anymore if he gets it *all*.

Comment Re:They just don't want to get sued (Score 1) 264

No, they don't want to get shut down for having an almost zero success rate.

Kaggle should do a no-fly list crime prediction competition, at least we'd get some good data about the state of the art to discuss on slashdot. As it is, the pro government astroturfers here can claim 100% accuracy and half the readership will lap it up because $TERRORISM.

Comment Re:Bullcrap (Score 1) 515

Programs that save settings/need re-installing it's all in the User\ %username%\AppData folder

As a former windows developer, I can tell you it's not even remotely like that. There are at least 5 different historical standards for where user data should go. But I'm done with all that, so if you feel it works for you, go ahead and enjoy your system. Ultimately you're better off wrestlng with a system if you are confident about understanding it.

Personally I like the simplicity of more modular systems where data and apps don't mix, I've replaced OSes for years while keeping my personal /home intact. The only speed bumps tend to be when apps I use deprecate old capabilities, and I have to figure out why an old setting I've always used now works a bit differently in that app.

Comment Re:Bullcrap (Score 2) 515

I don't know what type of software you're using, but all my preferences are stored in my home directory, in something that's called a dotfile. They're hidden files in my user area, which don't ever get touched if the system is completely replaced by a brand new install. That's different from the way windows works, as different Windows programs can store user preferences anywhere they like, and then you have to reset your preferences each time you do a clean reinstall.

Comment Re:Bullcrap (Score 4, Interesting) 515

Then you're doing it wrong. With linux, all you have to do is stick the install cd into the drive and reboot, you'll get a brand new system. The beauty of Linux is that the system is designed to cleanly separate your files from the system files, and the system partitions can be completely overwritten with a brand new system to make it work again.

Comment Re:Those making more than new minimum salary (Score 1) 480

If you're an engineer, you should return your "degree", because you're clearly not numerate (don't worry if you don't understand that word).

If someone makes $1 and they get a 40% raise, they now make $1.40. If you make $5 and you get a 25% raise, you now make $6.25. Guess who's got a higher amount? Yup, you got an extra $1.25 against the other guy's 40c. Think of all the lollipops you could have with all that extra buying power!

Comment Re:Obvious deflection. (Score 2, Interesting) 262

Because there is no good way to lay blame when damage occurs.

With a non-autonomous weapon, the person who pulls the trigger is basically responsible. If you're strolling in the park with your wife, and some guy shoots her, well, he's criminally liable. If some random autonomous robot gets hit by a cosmic ray and shoots your wife, nobody's responsible.

This is a huge issue for our society, because the rule of law and criminal deterrence is based on personal responsibility. Machines aren't persons. The death penalty for a machine is stupid (watch out, robot, if you kill someone we'll take out your batteries!). The number of ways that things can go wrong without the owner of the machine having a reasonable amount of liability is huge.

What if the autonomous weapon malfunctions in the field? Is the owner responsible for having deployed in that particular location? Is the manufacturer responsible for the bugs that occur? What if the machine is operating outside of recommended parameters? What if the machine was hacked, and the bug occurs due to a faulty communication issue, ie the message was sent to authorize targeting your wife, but then a fraction of a second later another message was sent rescinding the order, but the message was garbled or never arrived due to a netwoking delay in transit on Amazon's cloud servers? What if the machine's owner deploys thousands of vermin killing robots around the city without incident every day, but it just happened to kill your wife because she was misidentified as a rodent?

The fact is that AIs and autonomous robots have no legally useful place in society (unlike nonautonomous robots). There is almost no deterrence value in threatening an owner with fines (how much is reasonable in the rodent example?) and there is no value in destroying the offending machine (an autonomous machine is not alive, and it may be the identical model from a manufactured run of 1 million products, so what's the point of scrapping that one unit?). There is no point is blaming a random customer who bought the machine and probably has no clue at all how it operates or how to detect malfunctions. And you can bet that the manufacturing chain is full of lieability disclaimers and insurance companies will pass the buck. So what hope is there for avenging your wife? And if it goes to trial (against whom?) how long and how much cost will be spent for an uncertain outcome?

The ethical issues surrounding blame are serious, and at the risk of going slightly off topic, they are similar to the issues of terrorism. If a suicide bomber blows himself up in a crowded place, you can't pick up his pieces and stick them in jail. Nothing you can do to him has any deterrent effect, and going after his family or friends is, at best, a legal nightmare and an ethical problem. The issues surrounding autonomous machines are a bit like that, because, well, the fact that it's an *autonomous* machine means that no human being was actually pulling the trigger or directly making the choice to shoot.

Comment Re: Solution: Don't Trust Anyone (within reason) (Score 1) 82

Dear AC, you seem to be a cheapskate. You want "free labor"? Fuck off. Free software gives *anyone* the ability to pay someone who knows what he's doing to look at, and modify, the code. What more could anyone want? (except for cheapskates like you, but those people's " complaints" aren't worth addressing anyway) That's the beauty of Free: you don't *have* to trust any Google's, Microsoft's or Apples or anyone with your security, because you can choose who will do the work and what exactly the criteria will be for the investigation

Comment Re:qmail and Microsoft (Score 2) 85

Yep. Community is exactly the wrong word. These are customers, they will never be a community. In a community, there is shared ownership (hint: community has the same root as communal and communism).

The reason there are open source communities is because by making the source open, it belongs to everybody in the community. This is not so with "shared" source (aka Microsoft's "look but don't share" approach). Merely publishing source code doesn't make it open. Open means I can change it, and I can republish the full system with my changes included, and it will actually run as expected. If there are any legal impediments, or unreasonable technical gotchas, then it's not open source. And there's no community.

Comment Re: How is it (Score 3, Insightful) 176

That depends. This may be an unpopular point of view to some here, but the value of people depends on supply and demand, just like the value of goods. To lower the value of people in a country, all it takes is a large increase in population way beyond the required workforce and the available resources. Below a certain value, people will become disposable entities just like the slaves in Roman times. In some of the poorest countries around the world, this is partially happening. In the richer countries around the globe, this could also happen, either because our mix of resources and work changes too radically for our population at some point, or because the poor from other countries flee their homes in extreme numbers at some point.

We can't assume that human life will always be valued in the future like it is now.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.