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Comment Re:How much is an AG these days? (Score 1) 251 251

Lobbying is, essentially, a necessity. Nobody, and certainly not politician, is an expert in everything. He needs someone to inform him.

The big problem with lobbying in its current form is that this information is, to put it mildly, a wee bit lopsided. At best politicians only get a skewed and one sided point of view on a topic from a lobbyist. At worst they also get bribes in different forms.

What we'd need is a system of experts that act as advisers. That's not really easier to realize either. Because every human being has an opinion. And few have the incredible integrity to argue against their own case just to present the facts of the other side.

Comment Re:How much is an AG these days? (Score 1) 251 251

Lobbies targeting voters can far easier be countered, especially with something like the internet at our disposal. Since it's unlikely that money could do the talking in such a case (and if, at least for a change everyone would get something out of it), what's left is propaganda.

And that will at the very least ensure that things will be talked about instead of hushed up, which allows us to at least weed out the most heinous crimes like TTIP.

Comment Re:Swift (Score 1) 337 337

Swift isn't going to make it so "anybody can write apps." That is something that's been tried for decades, with things like drag-and-drop programming. SQL was originally intended for non-programmers. It doesn't work, because the difficulty of programming isn't the syntax. The difficulty of programming is logic.

While true, the danger exists that making the syntax easier will encourage more people who don't understand logic to try to write code anyway, usually with disastrous results. Maybe it's the UNIX greybeard in me, but I've always seen the complexity of language as sort of a "you must be this tall to ride" bar, limiting the amount of damage that clueless people can cause.

And it isn't just that the software that new programmers create is usually bad. It also clogs the marketplace with low-quality apps. The more bad apps people write, the harder it will be for well-written new apps to gain footing, because they'll start out with several times as many poorly written apps ahead of them in their sales ranking.

But the biggest problem with making it easier to write code is that every step down that path requires ever-increasing resources. Right now, it takes about an order of magnitude more effort to write a beginning programming guide than to write a programming guide for experienced programmers, even for a moderately complex technology. And that's if you assume that people understand basic logic, control flow, etc. If you go one step beyond that and try to make it practical for non-programmers to write code, you'll spend two or three years writing a good, solid introductory textbook. And I have yet to see any evidence suggesting that any significant percentage of those folks will be able to write decent code even after reading such a book.

The kernel is stable not just because it has to be, but also because it scares people away until they are reasonably competent at programming. The web is filled with bad code because it doesn't. IMO, apps should be more like the former than the latter. Just my $0.02.

Comment Re:No kidding. (Score 1) 253 253

Neither of those provides any mechanism for downsampling an image before uploading it. In fact, from a same-origin security model perspective, JS code isn't even supposed to be able to access the image data before uploading it, though I think they've left some holes where devs can get around that....

Comment Re:I wish I could buy GMO seeds (Score 1) 200 200

Himalayan blackberries were intentionally introduced to Oregon as a food. They are quite tasty, but they are virtually impossible to wipe out, and you may think that they are free, but you pay for them in blood -- they have the worst thorns I've ever seen. The canes are tough enough to destroy the string used by weed-wackers, and I'm pretty sure they scratch the paint on cars as you drive buy. In other words, just because they taste good doesn't make them really obnoxious. Blueberries, on the other hand, quickly get eaten by dear and birds as soon as they become ripe. Birds are actually useful for spreading seeds, but that doesn't help the blueberries I was trying to grow in my garden. Strangely, however, where the birds ate all my blueberries, the next year there were "wild" strawberry plants growing! Apparently my blueberry bushes were the birds dessert stop after the strawberry fields.

Comment Re:I wish I could buy GMO seeds (Score 1) 200 200

We've also been trying to wipe out lions, tigers, bears, and most other predators (oh, my!) for thousands of years, so that must make it ok to drive those animals into extinction by killing every last one of them now, right? Just because we've been doing something misguided for a long time, doesn't make it ok, especially now that we're much more efficient at it. That being said, many GMO modifications aren't substantially different than those achieved by hybridization and selective breed, which has itself resulted in pretty massive changes in plant and animal species over the years. Ok, so at what point does modifying a species become a bad thing? That's the problem; it's almost impossible to know in advance. We've survived for millions of years as a species precisely because we don't agree on everything, it is useful for the survival of the species to have a certain percentage of people that disagree and refuse to do the "obvious" thing, because in a small percentage of cases, the obvious thing is actually fatal. For example, Christian Scientists refuse to get blood transfusions? They don't get HIV or many other blood-borne diseases. The lunatic fringe is actually ensuring our survival as a species.

Comment Re:I found this bit quite funny (Score 1) 201 201

Am I the only one who thinks that the removal of the pop-out start menu with Windows Vista was a step in the wrong direction

It was terrible before too, if you wiggled the mouse too much and you were 7 layers deep into the heirarchy the start menu would close or flip over to another folder, and you'd have to start all over...it was usability garbage.

The replacement in vista was still tedious, but the previous incarnation was gouge-your-eyes-out-bad if you had to navigate to something that was deep.

Comment Re:No Compromises (Score 1) 147 147

https://www.google.com/wallet/ [google.com] : "An easier way to pay. Google Wallet makes it easy to pay - in stores, online or to anyone in the US with a Gmail address. It works with any debit or credit card, on every mobile carrier".

For Google Wallet, this is true. But NFC and Google Wallet are only tied together in certain Apps and for certain purchases. One of my favorite stores takes Google Wallet / NFC which would be great, except the damn store is a Faraday cage and I can't actually use it there.

Comment The Internet of Things (Score 1) 225 225

What's your position on this fad of appliances needing networking and whatnot other connections? Especially in the light of other devices (like routers) usually running something that used to be free software 'til the appliance maker got their hands onto it. It is likely that some if not many or even the majority of IoT appliances will run (allegedly) free software in one way or another, and most likely without any regard of the underlying licensing model.

Would you rather see it as a vehicle for OSS to move into everyone's home and literally become a household thing, or is it just yet another abuse of free software by makers of appliances who just like to cut corners?

Comment Re:Well, sure, but... (Score 3, Insightful) 200 200

I agree, most GMO foods are harmless, and there is no scientific evidence that they are any worse than the original. However, I also believe people have a right to their own paranoid delusions, therefore they have a right to know whether or not the food they buy contains GMO ingredients, and the federal government has a duty to endure that foods and other products are properly labeled, which in this case, would be a large, conspicuous "GMO" on the front label.

If you think the system is working, ask someone who's waiting for a prompt.