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Comment: Isn't freedom itself a potential lawless zone? (Score 5, Insightful) 353

by popo (#48924269) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

The notion that liberties could be misused and potentially give way to lawbreaking behavior is never a justification for the repeal of liberty.

We are always and everywhere free to break the law. That our social contract with government grants government the ability to prosecute law breakers ex post facto, does not equate to a wholesale license to restrict a liberty prior to its potential abuse.

To jump to such a conclusion would equally justify a national curfew. After all, who knows what we might get up to after dark?

Liberty by definition, always carries with it the potential for individual abuse.

Comment: Here's my problem with this (Score 5, Interesting) 178

by popo (#48885681) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

For one, Nicotine (when smoked) passes the blood-brain barrier within seconds.

The notion that a human antibody can intercept (and neutralize) a foreign substance that quickly is highly questionable. (If not silly).

However, the half-life of nicotine is 1-2 hours, and the metabolites have a half life of up to 20 hours. So let's assume for a minute that the vaccine does have an effect on systemic nicotine 'at some point' over the course of it's metabolization. Okay, fine. But the nicotine still went 'straight upstairs' after that first puff. Which means the only effect I can conceive of here is that the smoker will need another cigarette more quickly.

Is that a good thing?

Of course, IANAD so please correct me if I've got something wrong.

Comment: Re:Google Plus Defined Itself As a Hazard (Score 5, Insightful) 209

by popo (#48872145) Attached to: Tracking Down How Many (Or How Few) People Actively Use Google+


Google+ wasn't ever *just* a social network. It was a real-name, real-identity service tied to the entire universe of Google products.

This made Google+ decidedly dangerous for a vast majority of users who enjoy anonymity as one of the principal "features" of the web.

Google had an opportunity to create a fantastic service but their extremely weird philosophical tirade to bring identity to the web, coupled with an overly aggressive "whoops, you just created a Google+ ID and revealed your identity on 5000 YouTube comments" rightfully turned off millions of users.

They deserve this failure. Pursuing products that nobody wants, by ramming them down the throats of their existing customers, is a bad idea in any business.

Comment: Not expensive for an audiophile device (Score 5, Insightful) 391

by popo (#48744537) Attached to: Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

Audiophile equipment often costs in the tens of thousands of dollars -- and there will always be a market for it.

Regarding your title: SONY clearly does not think *you* will pay $1200 for this device. But they know that *someone* will. This isn't a mass market device. It's a very niche product, well-targeted at its niche.

More importantly: It's great for publicity. After all, it's already being discussed on Slashdot.

Comment: Torvalds is half right (Score 5, Insightful) 449

by popo (#48715249) Attached to: How We'll Program 1000 Cores - and Get Linus Ranting, Again

The problem is that Linus is discussing two different things at once and so it sounds like he's making a more inflammatory point than he is.

The issue is not whether parallelism is uniformly better for all tasks. The question is, is parallelism better for some tasks. And as Torvalds points out, those tasks do exist (Graphics being an obvious one).

The nature of the workload required for most workstations is non-uniform processing of large quantities of discreet, irregular tasks. For this, parallelism (as Torvald's correctly notes) is likely not the most efficient approach. To pretend that in some magical future, our processing needs can be homogenized into tasks for which parallel computing is superior is to make a faith-based prediction on how our use of computers will evolve. I would say that the evidence is quite the opposite: That tasks will become more discrete and unique.

Some fields though: finance, science, statistics, weather, medicine, etc. are rife with computing tasks which ARE well suited to parallel computing. But how much of those tasks happens on workstations. Not much, most likely. So Linus' point is valid.

But I have to take issue of Linus tone in which he downplays "graphics" as being a rather unimportant subset of computing tasks. It's not "graphics". It's "GRAPHICS". That's not a small outlier of a task. Wait until we're all wearing ninth generation Oculus headsets... the trajectory of parallel processing requirements for graphics is already becoming clear -- and it's stratospheric. The issue is this: Our desktop processing requirements are actually slowing and as Linus points out, are probably ill-suited for increased parallelism. But our graphics requirements may be nearly infinite.

Unlike other fields of computing, we know where graphics is going 20 years from now: It's going to the "holodeck".

Keep working on parallel computing guys. Yes, we need it.


Comment: The bigger question IMHO (Score 4, Interesting) 194

by popo (#48675197) Attached to: MIT Unifies Web Development In Single, Speedy New Language

Ur/Web is a Functional Programming language like Haskell, F# and the like. The performance gains are real -- both in numbers of coders and execution, but the larger questions remain:

Do we want compiled web languages? Why exactly? Not only does this introduce a compilation layer to the development workflow, but it introduces millions of "black boxes" into a once open and readable landscape. While there may be gains in code protection, there will also likely be losses in flexibility.

And of course, is it all worth the effort?

Comment: Re:Good news! (Score 0) 227

by popo (#48670723) Attached to: Sony To Release the Interview Online Today; Apple Won't Play Ball

Long live clever marketing campaigns.

The world's top security professionals are highly doubtful that NK had anything to do with the Sony hack. Where does that leave the claims that NK threatened Sony? How verifiable are these claims?

What is the possibility that this is all part of a clever marketing campaign to get all of us to see the film.

One can't help but notice that Sony has been the recipient of some amazing free publicity. Sony said it was far too dangerous to release the film... And then announced that they'd be releasing the film anyway. How many more of us are going to see the film after this debacle? How many more of us are even aware of the film?

If it wasn't an intentional marketing campaign, should it have been? Will we see more impossible to prove allegations involving rogue states in the future?

Comment: Re:That's not what happened at all (Score 4, Informative) 222

by popo (#48633979) Attached to: Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

Well... aside from the vitriol..

We do know the following:

1) She actually did fire all of the senior management and replace them with puppets.
2) She did hire legions of publicists to promote Marissa.
3) She did spend quite a bit on acquisitions which were questionable.
4) It's not working out so well for Yahoo.

So I'm not sure what citations you're looking for. It's not exactly hearsay.

Comment: Announcing the Yune. (Score 2) 222

by popo (#48632271) Attached to: Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

Yes, Yahoo! has officially announced their music playing device called the "Yune".

It's going to come in 7 different shades of purple, and offer an interface based on Yahoo!'s homepage design -- squeezing over 270 links onto the device's homescreen.

Yahoo's CEO, Marissa Mayer apparently designed the Yune at home herself over the weekend using purple Play-Doh, and it will be officially unveiled by her in an upcoming Vogue photoshoot -- where she will be personally modeling the device along with this year's spring collection.

Most of the underlying technology for the Yune was purchased from now-defunct Palm, Inc. in a purchase rumored to be north of $720 Billion -- approved entirely by Mayer. Mayer has refused to comment on the purchase price, but promised that the investment would yield positive results sometime after her salary review with the board of directors.

The Yune will be in stores by next Christmas and as a special promotional offer to increase sales, the Yune is expected to come bundled with an iPhone.

Comment: Re:Silly me (Score 3, Insightful) 50

by popo (#48580087) Attached to: "Lax" Crossdomain Policy Puts Yahoo Mail At Risk

Nearly dead? You're talking about the most popular multimedia platform in the world. Yes, Flash sucks. I'll be the first to agree. And as much as anyone, I'd like to see HTML5 kick ass. But it's still lacking in several departments which prevent it from being widely adopted by online game developers. (Good clock / framerate control, a stellar IDE and code protection not being the least of them).

I've used several HTML5 IDE's and they blow. Coding is still fraught with browser issues and quirks. Speed is iffy at best for many important libraries. 3D transforms for example ... Don't get me started.

Relatively few developers are writing hit games in HTML5 yet. (Please note the term "relatively") Not that writing great HTML5 games can't be done. It absolutely can be done. (Save yourself the effort of cherry-picking the latest demo of what HTML5 can do. I know. I've written a few). But "potential" is not the issue. Kingdom Rush, for example is written in Flash. Not HTML5. The devs at Ironhide aren't clueless. They chose Flash for a reason, Kongregate also has Unity games and HTML5 games -- but what percent are those? Why? Because they're all dumb? No. It's because AS3 is standard across platforms, extensible and blazing fast.

HTML5 fans are absolutely on the right track (I count myself as an HTML5 fan), but IMHO most are wholly delusional about how close they are to victory, and about just how "dead" Flash really is. Slashdotters and other people "in the know" know that Flash's days are numbered. But out there in Internet-land, *hundreds of millions* of users use Flash every day. That doesn't count as "dead" by any definition. And the Flash development community is still growing,

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre