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Comment: Re:Not funny (Score 1) 375

by mick88 (#36342118) Attached to: Student Suspended For Posting On YouTube

Yep - you are completely correct: a lot of bad decisions are made as a result of just drawing a line in the sand. However, there would be even more bad decisions if we had no line or, worse yet many lines for many people for many things.

It would just be too complex to have individual cutoffs for all the many things you allude to (voting, criminal offenses etc.) By betting on the average, we take the simplicity is a tradeoff. There isn't a realistic way to accurately gauge exactly which individuals are fit to do what. I'm pretty sure 18 is based on some actuarial data that says "it ain't perfect but it should work in general".

Oh, and at least in the US - 18 is considered the age when you are useful enough to fight in the armed services. So we changed the voting age from 18 to 21 as well, because after after sending kids who were 18 to their death in Vietnam without giving them the right to vote out the leaders who were sending them was rightly seen as an injustice.

Programming

+ - Kinect comes to the browser-> 1

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "DepthJS is a simple idea. A browser extension for Chrome and Safari that lets you talk to Kinect using JavaScript. This makes it possible to write gestural interfaces for webpages using nothing but HTML and JavaScript — which is easy!
Looking at the video of it in action you have to think that carpal tunnel syndrome is about to be replaced by a new aliment!"

Link to Original Source

+ - Groupthink vs. no cultural idioms

Submitted by
michaelmalak
michaelmalak writes "When I showed my 7-year-old daughter the opening to Laverne & Shirley, she got a kick out of it and said, "wow, does momma know about this?" I had to explain, "of course, everyone watched the same TV shows because there were only three channels". A CNN story notes a similar thought in There will never be another Oprah with "because her program premiered in pre-Internet and largely pre-cable times. So there wasn't a whole lot else to watch." Having personally railed the past two decades against the negative effects of television, especially groupthink, I am wondering whether we are giving something up, namely cultural idioms. What better way is there for one geek to communicate to another about the other's misguided sense of risk and payoff for a proposed course of action that with "I find your lack of faith disturbing"? Overall, the negative effects of television outweigh the positive, but where is the balance point? And, more importantly, is there some way in the post-television era to both gain the benefits of cultural idioms that in some way enhance our language while avoiding groupthink?"

Comment: Re:Skype just works (Score 1) 281

Microsoft's existing Voice over IP product, Lync (and OCS before it) both work by using voice over port 443. By default, they will try to use encrypted UDP. But if UDP is blocked, it will fall back to encrypted TCP over 443. Skype works similarly and won't pose any new problems for MS that they haven't already addressed with Lync and OCS.

Comment: Re:level (Score 1) 456

by mick88 (#35914236) Attached to: Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student

The unfortunate thing is that apart from science, classes to teach basic computing skills and the computer lab, there's little reason to believe that technology is going to solve any problem that most students are likely to have.

Easily the most insightful comment in the thread... wish I had mod points.

Comment: Re:One of these words does not belong (Score 1) 61

by mick88 (#32134846) Attached to: Microsoft Shows Off Future Product Tech

The sad fact is Yankees win world series and Billy Beane's A's never do. Microsoft _is_ the Yankees (or modern-day Chelsea for our UK brethren) of technology. Lotta money and they keep winning, even if people don't like it.

Yes there have been teams on the cheap that pop up and win every so often. But when it's an open-market free-for-all (no salary caps or revenue sharing) like MLB or the English Premier League, the teams with the money win the leagues.

So Microsoft, Cisco, IBM and HP (and now Google?) will keep winning - that's what money does for you. Not romantic, kinda sucks, and makes us all a little happy when one of the big boys fail and the upstart gets a moment in the sun.

But that doesn't mean you can't be a twins fan / scunthorpe united supporter / linux nerd. Just recognize that you're in the minority and so what? Who gives a rip? Be happy.

Space

A Hyper-Velocity Impact In the Asteroid Belt? 114

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-played-that-game dept.
astroengine writes "Astronomers have spotted something rather odd in the asteroid belt. It looks like a comet, but it's got a circular orbit, similar to an asteroid. Whether it's an asteroid or a comet, it has a long, comet-like tail, suggesting something is being vented into space. Some experts think it could be a very rare comet/asteroid hybrid being heated by the sun, but there's an even more exciting possibility: It could be the first ever observation of two asteroids colliding in the asteroid belt."
Communications

FBI Violated Electronic Communications Privacy Act 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes to tell us of a report from the Washington Post which alleges that the FBI "illegally collected more than 2,000 US telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records." The report continues, "E-mails obtained by The Washington Post detail how counterterrorism officials inside FBI headquarters did not follow their own procedures that were put in place to protect civil liberties. The stream of urgent requests for phone records also overwhelmed the FBI communications analysis unit with work that ultimately was not connected to imminent threats. ... FBI officials told The Post that their own review has found that about half of the 4,400 toll records collected in emergency situations or with after-the-fact approvals were done in technical violation of the law. The searches involved only records of calls and not the content of the calls. In some cases, agents broadened their searches to gather numbers two and three degrees of separation from the original request, documents show."

Comment: Re:Little Brother for everyone! (Score 1) 119

by mick88 (#29781311) Attached to: MS's "Lifeblogging" Camera Enters Mass Production

It's funny you mention Little Brother. Gordon Bell, who is cited in TFA, has a new book out called "Total Recall" in which he talks about the future state of having us all recording / logging everything we do. He says it's not big brother you need to look out for, it really is Little Brother. We will all be each other's own paparazzi, in essence.

It is a pretty good read in general - and TFA is just one of the ways that his predictions are coming true.

Comment: Re:What IS cloud computing? (Score 1) 246

by mick88 (#29719299) Attached to: The Sidekick Failure and Cloud Culpability

I think more people should be asking your question: "what is cloud computing?". Because, in my opinion, it's easy to hide behind the name "cloud" - hell the name itself implies obfuscation and mystery.

But the real answer is that the "cloud" just is an internet-facing datacenter housing services or data. The trustworthyness (is that a word?) of the cloud is really dependent on the provider of the cloud. Some clouds are more redundant, resilient, and secure than others. That's important to consider when you're evaluating a move to the cloud. You _need_ to know where the data lives & how it's being backed up / secured. The term "cloud" implies it, but doesn't ensure it.

The cloud is like the internet - you could think of it as one giant nebulous entity, but in reality it's a bunch of independently owned & run services. just like AOL != the internet, geocities != the cloud. But there is a relationship there.

To me, this story about the "cloud failure" is like having someone's local ISP have an outage, then cry about how the Internet isn't reliable.

Comment: Re:Facebook/Myspace != cloud computing (Score 1) 250

by mick88 (#29647323) Attached to: Is Cloud Computing the Hotel California of Tech?

Even though your MS comment was humorous, the reality is that MS actually is in the cloud computing business: http://www.microsoft.com/online/default.mspx

It's becoming a huge part of MS's strategy. And as someone who works with customers to move to cloud services, I can also confirm that it is much easier to move your data to the cloud (both to MS and Google's clouds) than it is to move the data back. There are ways to move data back out, but most of what I've seen / used have been manual. For example - you can always export your Outlook data to a PST and re-import it to an Exchange mailbox. So it's possible, but not pretty.

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai

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