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Comment Re:Probably not (Score 1) 59

Your smart phone already listens to everything you say, in case you might say some key word that it needs to react to.

No. No, my phone does not. Does anyone actually run down their battery and keep their phone unlocked and vulnerable to keep some voice-activated app always running?

Newer TVs and other electronic devices are becoming more voice activated.

A pointless gimmick that's a usability fail.

Comment Pick and RPL (Score 1) 427

There was a time when about 75% of all of the HMOs in America ran their company on an application written in Pick. And then the "traditional" insurance companies were allowed to buy all of the real HMOs and slowly turn them into complicated variants of 80/20 major-medical with a few tacked-on things mandated by state and federal law, and thus were able to throw away the Pick systems that they didn't understand, which ran very well a business model they didn't want to use, despite that model being much more profitable than the model they didn't want to let go of.

There was also a lot of small and mid-scale manufacturers running Pick and an application written in RPL ("Real-time Processing Language), which was a stack-based langauge based on RPN. There were stacks numbered 0-9, and if you needed more, you had to either clear a stack, or pop off all of its contents into a file and then read it back when you needed it. The individual instructions were only somewhat less terse than assembly commands, because the program and interpreter had to load into memory to run, and every bit counted when you only had 125k in your DEC LSI system.

Comment Re:Well, you *can't* trust open-source code (Score 1) 157


On the other hand, many (most?) people are taught or learn programming in the same way or much the same way

Citation needed.

When I was a lad we started programming in BASIC (not "Visual Basic, I mean 10 PRINT "HELLO WORLD" 20 GOTO 10) and moved on to Pascal in high school. The standard language of instruction in universities has gone from C to C++ to Java; most folks today probably pick up Javascript or PHP as their first language.

Comment Re:Get Self-Employed (Score 1) 268

That is a false comparison. Most people I know who work in radio do so because they are drawn to something about it, whether it's the music or the other people or simply working in a studio with all of the equipment. So making whatever sacrifices about working conditions or pay tends to be an informed and willing choice. I suspect few, if any, people working in Amazons warehouses are doing so because they love working in a warehouse.

Employment, being a contractual situation (because SCOTUS has repeatedly said so), is about a mutual, reciprocal exchange of value. If the value Amazon is attempting to extract from their employees is not reasonably commensurate with they are paying, then Amazon is deficient in holding up their side of the agreement. If the conditions under which the employees are working are unreasonably onerous or unrealistically sustainable by an average person, then Amazon is not only deficient, they are willfully so, which under contract law, puts them even more in the wrong.

Comment Re:Half the story (Score 1) 213

I believe trademarks are where corporations should be able to protect characters of a franchise that is still being actively monetized.

Absolutely not. The purpose and justification of trademark is consumer protection, to prevent counterfeit goods. It's to ensure that when you buy a pair of jeans marked "Levis", they're actually made by the Levi Strauss company. The only relationship trademark has with creative works is to disallow you from selling, say, a shoddy Superman t-shirt in a manner that would make the buyer think it was from Warner/DC.

Comment Re:Hmmm. (Score 1) 410

But where do you draw the line?

When it comes to state censorship, to silencing people by government force, there is no "line" to be drawn. It's all wrong, period.

Is it as OK for someone to have a discussion forum where they talk about all the sexual fantasies they have about children, as it is to be criticizing their government? Is it as OK to have a place where people are talking about how blacks and immigrants are awful and how they shouldn't be 'allowed' to live as well as white people, as it is to be discussing what is and isn't good about how TV shows are being written and produced? How about religious extremists promoting violence as a way of spreading their (version of their) 'faith', as opposed to discussion of whatever religious text you care to name?

Yes, yes, and yes, provided that by "OK" we mean "legally OK." I have my own personal opinions about whether various of these topics is socially acceptable, but "socially unacceptable" is not the same as "should be forcibly blocked." Why is that so hard for some some people to grasp?

That doesn't mean I have to let you hold that conversation about disgusting pedophile fantasies in my living room, or that my local bar has to let the KKK rent out their upstairs room for meetings. But on the other hand if I agree to provide a communication service and then start removing content, at best I have a broken service, a defective product.

I don't use reddit, but there seems to be a very simple solution to the problem of subreddits with content you object to: don't read them.

extremists end up being louder than everyone else because that's what extremists do.

"Extremist" is a content-free label. Abolitionists were extremists in the 1830s, and William Llyod Garrison was kind of loud. He was also right.

Comment Re:Do you think it happens only in tech? (Score 1) 273

In this case, "only" is functioning as an adverb. The adverbial phrase "only in tech" modifies the verb "happens".

A synonym here would be "exclusively": "Do you think it happens exclusively in tech?" It might be easier to see the sentence structure there, since only can function as an adjective or conjunction as well as a adverb.

Start with the basic (and uninteresting) sentence "It happens." Assume we know what "It" is. :-) We want to say something about where, when, how, or why it happens, so we need an adverb or an adverbial phrase: "It happens only in tech.".

Then we can convert it into a question: "Does it happen only in tech?" Or I could ask you about your belief about that question: "Do you think it happens only in tech?"

Comment CS should not be a core subject (Score 2) 131

CS, much like blacksmithing, is a combination of art and science; as such, while anyone can learn the basics, only a minority of people are ever going to be good at it--let alone understand it enough to be good at it from the start. To put it another way, anyone can learn to play a musical instrument, but only a minority of people can be described as being musicians. There are many CS jobs that work this way, programming, database admin, and system and network administration being the obvious examples.

CS courses in elementary and even in middle school are generally a waste of time. The amount of accretive knowledge to be gained at that early an age isn't going to put any student so far along the learning curve that doing it all again in high school would be so repetitive as to be a waste of time. So just do it at the high school level, when kids are actually at the point of making career choices and the corresponding college selections to follow those choices. And don't make every kid take the CS course, when it's obvious far from every kids will be pursuing a CS-type career.

Comment Re:My sympathy (Score 1) 43

Four out of five elderly people given CPR end up dying within days. Many of them with prolonged and intense suffering due to CPR prolonging the inevitable.

We certainly need more thought about end-of-life care, living wills, and do-not-resuscitate orders. But CPR is not the only intervention affected by that.

And in some cases CPR is given when it's not warranted, breaking ribs, collapsing lungs or otherwise causing serious and sometimes fatal damage.

Sometimes, yes, but more rarely than you might think.

If I keel over, please don't resuscitate unless there is at least a 50% chance of long-term success, and less than a 50% chance of causing long-term damage.

Dude, unless you're already in the hospital, whoever sees you go down or trips over your unconscious body does not have your medical history, nor can they predict your course of treatment.

Comment call a wahmbulance (Score 0) 272

Oh, cry me a river. Drone operators no longer have an unlimited right to invade people's privacy and endanger their safety. Sorry dude, but the airspace is common property and it's sensible to regulate its use for the common good. Either that, or we can have drone wars, where people who don't want your drones in the skies fly their own to take them down.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright