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Comment Re: Sure you can. (Score 1) 204 204

There is no car, there are Escorts and Fusions and Cavaliers and all sorts of versions of cars; way too confusing for your average customer.

And yet we buy them, because they all basically do the same thing.

Its really quite astounding to me that people think the unified iPhone / Windows approach to computing is better than the everyone-pick-what-suits-you method like vehicles, houses, etc.

Comment Re:Casino Noise (Score 1) 113 113

All legitimate government is a mutual insurance company.

One may ask what it is legitimate for a government to insure and that is a good question but if one posits "capitalism" and does not start with property rights, what does the government insure and what is the basis for underwriting hence charging insurance premiums?

The insurance premium one pays on a property right is going to be actuarially calculated based on multiple factors, one of which is the value of the property. This is the case with _all_ property insurance. That ends up looking a lot like a flat tax on the liquidation value of net assets.

Comment We have no idea what "superintelligent" means. (Score 2) 74 74

When faced with a tricky question, one think you have to ask yourself is 'Does this question actually make any sense?' For example you could ask "Can anything get colder than absolute zero?" and the simplistic answer is "no"; but it might be better to say the question itself makes no sense, like asking "What is north of the North Pole"?

I think when we're talking about "superintelligence" it's a linguistic construct that sounds to us like it makes sense, but I don't think we have any precise idea of what we're talking about. What *exactly* do we mean when we say "superintelligent computer" -- if computers today are not already there? After all, they already work on bigger problems than we can. But as Geist notes there are diminishing returns on many problems which are inherently intractable; so there is no physical possibility of "God-like intelligence" as a result of simply making computers merely bigger and faster. In any case it's hard to conjure an existential threat out of computers that can, say, determine that two very large regular expressions match exactly the same input.

Someone who has an IQ of 150 is not 1.5x times as smart as an average person with an IQ of 100. General intelligence doesn't work that way. In fact I think IQ is a pretty unreliable way to rank people by "smartness" when you're well away from the mean -- say over 160 (i.e. four standard deviations) or so. Yes you can rank people in that range by *score*, but that ranking is meaningless. And without a meaningful way to rank two set members by some property, it makes no sense to talk about "increasing" that property.

We can imagine building an AI which is intelligent in the same way people are. Let's say it has an IQ of 100. We fiddle with it and the IQ goes up to 160. That's a clear success, so we fiddle with it some more and the IQ score goes up to 200. That's a more dubious result. Beyond that we make changes, but since we're talking about a machine built to handle questions that are beyond our grasp, we don't know whether we're making actually the machine smarter or just messing it up. This is still true if we leave the changes up to the computer itself.

So the whole issue is just "begging the question"; it's badly framed because we don't know what "God-like" or "super-" intelligence *is*. Here's I think a better framing: will we become dependent upon systems whose complexity has grown to the point where we can neither understand nor control them in any meaningful way? I think this describes the concerns about "superintelligent" computers without recourse to words we don't know the meaning of. And I think it's a real concern. In a sense we've been here before as a species. Empires need information processing to function, so before computers humanity developed bureaucracies, which are a kind of human operated information processing machine. And eventually the administration of a large empire have always lost coherence, leading to the empire falling apart. The only difference is that a complex AI system could continue to run well after human society collapsed.

Comment BitLocker is Ultimate-only and Ultimate is gone (Score 1) 185 185

Windows Professional didn't start to include BitLocker until Windows 8. You need Windows 7 Ultimate for that, and that was withdrawn from inclusion with PCs along with Windows 7 Home Premium. Is Anytime Upgrade from Windows 7 Professional to Windows 7 Ultimate still in operation?

Comment #NotAllCops know what they're talking about (Score 1) 143 143

And sometimes you get law enforcement officers who appear to have forgotten the rules of the road. Today I was in the right half of the through lane of a city street without a bike lane, with a right-turn-only lane (we drive on the right in the United States) to my right. A cop in a cop car pulled up beside me at a red light and told me I shouldn't be on the road because I'm blocking traffic. When I asked for clarification, he told me I ought to be farther to the right or on the sidewalk, and then he drove off. As far as I can tell, the first is illegal because the lane to the right is a turn-only lane, and the second is dangerous because it might cause me to plow into a pedestrian. Was this an attempted entrapment or just what the French call les incompetents?

Comment Intelligence is Dangerous (Score 2) 74 74

Just look at how dangerous "natural" intelligence is and all the problems and disasters it has caused when it goes wrong - either through making mistakes or through mental disorders. Why should the artificial version be different? The question is will the benefits outweigh the downsides? Clearly for "natural" intelligence the answer is a resounding yes and I expect this will also be the case for the artificial version too.

Comment Is apt-get also an "app store"? (Score 2) 204 204

things i do want:
[...]
Removal of all phone home code

For that, you're probably going to have to switch to GNU/Linux. Phone home code was introduced in Windows XP.

Removal of the "app store"

Do package repositories on GNU/Linux distributions count as an "app store" to you?

Comment Did you try suspend? (Score 1) 204 204

That's really annoying if I'm shutting down to go away for a while

That's what suspend is for.

or because of storm activity

That's what your computer's battery is for. Put it in suspend and disconnect the charger from the mains.

Just put a RED WARNING security patch update icon on the task bar or something.

I've seen people ignore six-month-old red warning icons.

Comment Re:Installer allows you to customize your settings (Score 1) 204 204

Yup so far, in windows 10. There are 2 folowup settings that I've felt the the need to after turning everything off in the customize privacy screen.

1) Turn off messages about smart screen. (You can turn off smart screen during install, windows evidently thinks this is a security risk, so it's an alert in action center. So you effectively turn off smart screen, and then follow up by turning off messages about smart screen being off. Not a huge deal... since smart screen *is* a legitimate A/V feature. And some non-tech people probably should have it on; despite the privacy implication. Its a standard feature of all modern A/V software. So its not omgz ms is evil.

2) Turn off forwarding windows search to bing. Again, another easy to access setting, but an extra step.

I prefer windows updates on for my personal desktops so I don't worry about that. The risk of a bad update screwing me over has proven to be less than the risk of not having them. In my opinion.

There is some rumbling about some telemetry features that can only be turned off with enterprise. I'd like to know more about that.

Comment "Have ID ready" (Score 1) 368 368

Legitimate businesses can get a lot more failures to conduct business, since customers would not always have the card ID ready at hand.

That can be handled with an awareness campaign analogous to the We Card program, building an expectation among citizens that if you're going to subscribe to porn, you're going to need to have handy a means of age verification.

just asking the question above does not create a bunch of opportunity for credit card fraud.

But it does create a bunch of opportunity for the government to shut down your business on grounds of not taking legally sufficient precautions against underage access. It's a balancing act of liability for credit card fraud vs. liability for fines for noncompliance.

Comment Re:my experience (Score 1) 204 204

You can turn off the nags about smart screen in Action center. (simplest way to get there is to click the flag in the system tray.) but its also via control panels.

The option is literally called "turn of messages about smart screen".

Nagging about the cloud? I setup a local account, the only time i see messages at all about 'their cloud' is when i add new "metro" apps -- which i don't do much. (Same as windows 8.0/8.1).

Comment End of preinstalled Windows 7: October 2014 (Score 1) 185 185

I hope that what you're missing is the businesses that supply professional laptops will continue to offer them with Windows 7 and no junkware for the foreseeable future.

I don't see how they can continue to do that lawfully. From Windows lifecycle fact sheet: "End of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled [...] Windows 7 [...] October 31, 2014"

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