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Comment: Re:Ya, but... (Score 1, Insightful) 281

by steelfood (#47919037) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

I question the very premise itself.

Only a few liberal arts degrees require critical thinking skills and even then, it's up to the individual to cultivate that over the course of study. It's easy to BS through even a graduate liberal arts class. Hell, the whole point of liberal arts study is to make something up, and then defend it afterwards.

You can't BS through STEM (though medical researchers seem to do that quite a bit).


... tech CEOs want employees with liberal arts degrees, because those graduates have superior BS skills.


Comment: Re:Lucky them (Score 2) 125

by steelfood (#47913467) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

Actually, when people say googling, they really do mean "look it up using Google." They don't mean "look it up using DuckDuckGo" or "look it up using Yelp" or "look it up using" or "look it up using Wolfram Alpha."

When Google no longer dominates generic web search (as opposed to specialized internet search like Yelp) and there are other comparable players, only then would there be a case for genericization. Until then, when you say googling, people think search using Google. That's actually fairly specific (unusually so even) in terms of word meaning.

Comment: Re:The big question is 'why' ? (Score 2) 317

by steelfood (#47911321) Attached to: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

That's a foolish waste of $2.5B. At least with Nokia, Microsoft weakened them significantly before outright buying them out. With Nokia, the hardware development was what's valuable. That's why they're getting rid of the brand, and why Elop switched to Windows Phone so easily.

With Minecraft, the brand itself is the only real valuable thing. The code itself isn't worth terribly much, considering it wasn't too well-written, and the game itself is not hard to clone (Minecraft itself is a clone of a game). The few Minecraft-only mobs (creeper, enderman, etc.) are really the only bits of the game worth money, and even then, the mobs are much more valuable as brands than as code.

The ecosystem (mods, modpacks, texture packs, etc.) taken as a whole is worth a ton more. But Microsoft doesn't have a very good track record of managing their communities, so I imagine they'll eventually squander that. Hell, I'm pretty certain most mod devs are already thinking of where to move their stuff next.

Throwing devs at the mod API and getting it out the door (after what, 3 years?) might help with the exodus, but that'd be a stopgap measure. People probably won't leave limbo until Minecraft 2 comes out, and at that time, we'll finally know what direction Microsoft's going to take the game. But by then, most mod devs are probably going to be long gone.

Anyway, to your point, Minecraft wasn't really competing with Microsoft. Yes, its ability to run natively on Mac and Linux is a bit of a thorn, but the fact that it runs on Windows as well makes it less so. The lack of a version for Windows Phone (and Metro) was also annoying, but it's really one very, very small drop in the bucket of problems with that whole mess. There's a version for XBox, so it's not like Microsoft was missing out on anything there. Microsoft isn't going to pay $2.5B to make an incidental (at best) competitor go away. They have to have plans for the purchase, bigger plans than just bringing it to Windows 8 and Phone.

What those are, and whether they'll be any good, well, time will tell.

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 317

by steelfood (#47911123) Attached to: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

Notch recently paid his employees a ton of money, so I imagine there's not as much cash on hand as you'd think. There might be tangible assets (servers, etc.) and intellectual assets (software, Minecraft brand, licensing deals, etc.), but $2.5B is a bit much for just that. Since they just launched Realms, they might have ~$500M cash set aside to keep it afloat, but that's really a stretch considering how cheap hardware is becoming.

Microsoft has been known to overpay for useless junk (they've had hits too), so there's precedence already. I wouldn't say Minecraft is useless junk, especially if they can do a Minecraft 2 exclusive for XBox and Windows Phone, but to think that they'd recoup the $2.5B easily would be foolish. Microsoft would be smart to treat this as a 10-, 20-year thing like The Sims and just continue building out the brand over that time while using it to promote their other products. But Microsoft's done some dumb (and some really, really dumb) moves over the past 3-5 years, so this might just be wishful thinking on my part.

10 bucks says the devs are going to add a new mob in the next version called Clippy.

Comment: Re:Brilliant! (Score 2) 351

by steelfood (#47885313) Attached to: Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

I can:

D. Making overpriced acquisitions that go nowhere, and then writing the purchase off as a loss.
E. Squandering potential opportunities via mismanagement and half-assed commitment.
F. Spending a ton of money on marketing to make people think their shit is actually gold.

Comment: Re:Yes it is a lot of money (Score 1) 404

I did notice the "powered by Microsoft Surface" hood over the review booth, but that explains why they keep panning to it whenever there's a challenge.

I'm not sure how much that's going to change Surface sales though. I imagine few if any people really notice these things, and the ones who do probably use iPads or some Android tablet already.

NFL "experiences" might be interesting, but as EA has a monopoly on NFL video games (and I'm sure other companies have monopolies in other areas), it's probably not as big of a promotion as you'd think. Unless Microsoft could live stream all games to an NFL app exclusive to the Surface, it'd be pointless. And I'm doubtful about that one since the NFL has tons of other agreements in place.

Comment: Re:Please can (Score 2) 275

by steelfood (#47876455) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

This is a big problem in terms of legibility. Sometimes, it's easy to tell that you're starting your post in the middle of a sentence, but sometimes, it's impossible. I would say it's worse than posting in ALL CAPS, and around as bad as not having punctuation and paragraph breaks (depending on the length of the text).

If only there was a -1 unintelligibility mod option. Posts that start in the subject and continue in the body, among the other aforementioned transgressions, would slot perfectly in.

Comment: Re:hmmmm (Score 3, Interesting) 275

by steelfood (#47876387) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

You're right that businesses should respond to negative reviews and customer complaints. However, the burden is rather high on small businesses to be constantly doing this. And hiring an outside firm to do it doesn't guarantee satisfactory results all the time either.

Since Google's being forced to delist web pages (DMCA and all), Yelp and other such directory sites probably should be forced to have a delist procedure as well. In fact, I would think that a lot of issues with fake reviews and fake updates and such would be solved if many of these things were opt-in (in the same way that Craig's List or eBay or Amazon Marketplace or Google Shopping is opt-in). At the very least, there should be an ability to opt-out.

I mean, it's one thing to complain when the system you took part in is working against you, but it's something else to be forced into the system that without your active involvement is being gamed against you.

People forget that consumer protection is not just about protecting the consumer directly, but also about preventing unfair business practices to maintain a competitive landscape (this falls in the same vein as price collusion, except it's one bad actor instead of multiple bad actors).

Comment: Re:Safe choice? The CST-100 has never flown (Score 4, Insightful) 123

by steelfood (#47875757) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

Boeing's safe because you know where your money is going and you'll probably see it again come next campaign donation season.

SpaceX is exciting because you only think you know where it's going, when it fact it might actually go back to spaceflight R&D.

Comment: Re:its the fundamentals most drivers suck at. (Score 1) 363

by steelfood (#47875427) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

Since this is Long Island, you forgot the women putting on makeup and the guys doing their hair while going 75.

The new touch screen center consoles don't help either (and the steering wheel buttons don't really have all of the functionality of even a non-touch screen system). Yeah, I get it, backup camera and all that. But there's no reason every piece of functionality has to be through the screen.

But the really dangerous people are not the ones who are texting or distracted in gridlock. The really dangerous ones are the guys racing down the LIE at 90 MPH weaving between lanes and cutting cars off while everyone else can only go 55-60 due to light traffic. And they're definitely racing because there's usually two or three of them at a time. The distracted drivers just end up rear-ending someone as a result of these people (assuming they themselves don't flip over first). Not that the distracted drivers aren't at fault, but they're not the only ones that caused the accident.

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson