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Comment: Re: Nonsense (Score 1) 800

by stevedog (#46940285) Attached to: Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?
Not necessarily true -- any piece of equipment or software that is built to be truly reliable should be able to operate in such a way that it can "fail gracefully" -- i.e., it should have fail conditions and algorithms to manage those, rather than just assuming "this is built so well that fail conditions are impossible." To do otherwise is like programming and just assuming that an exception will never be thrown, because you programmed it so well and accounted for every possible environmental variable.

Comment: Re: elections are bought (Score 5, Insightful) 465

by stevedog (#46896355) Attached to: Lessig Launches a Super PAC To End All Super PACs
Actually, the founding fathers did foresee this. The idea, per the Federalist Papers, was to maximize the involvement of special interests so that no one group would be able to gain dominance. This was one of the reasons why Washington opposed a 2-party system: he felt that it essentially consolidated everything down to a set of 2 special interests rather than a wide spread, which defeated the purpose. Presumably, though, that consolidation is the same thing that happens with super PACs vs. individual contributions, so while several founding fathers probably would've been in favor of super PACs too (given the power that comes along with them), that probably would not have included Washington, likely the most fair and certainly least power-seeking along them.

Comment: Re:It will be nice (Score 1) 182

by stevedog (#43868735) Attached to: Early Brain Response To Words Predictive For Autism
I certainly hope the DSM won't be forsaken, because if it is, then no one will have a definitive way to diagnose autism or anything else psychiatric. Using biological markers (i.e., fMRI, structural imaging studies [MRI, CT], etc.) was the original hope for DSM-5 around the time that DSM-IV-TR was completed (2000), but when the time to write DSM-5 came around, there wasn't enough data to define any such markers with any remote degree of validity.

Trust me, most of us (at least those that take insurance) don't get paid much for sitting there trying to figure out what diagnosis someone has (even though some of us, myself included, still enjoy the human side to that interaction and wish it were still present in more of medicine); for many, it would be much easier if we could do like the internists, send you to get an MRI, and get a diagnosis faxed back to us. Tons of researchers are spending tons of money to try to get us to those biomarkers. Jumping the gun and throwing out the current system without a remotely valid one to replace it, however, is not the answer.

Comment: Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (Score 1) 507

There's a good chance this won't work. If a company has a hold on your account (i.e., they have let the credit card company know they intend to make a transaction within the near future so that those funds will be reserved -- this is usually placed as soon as you rent the car), then the corresponding actual transaction will still go through even if the credit card number changes.

Comment: Re:I'm for it. (Score 0) 351

by stevedog (#43231517) Attached to: Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards
Exactly. No one intrinsically likes regulation of any kind -- we only do it because it's necessary, and by participating in the process of regulation, we have some hope of at least shaping it. DRM isn't inherently the devil. Without DRM, we would still be going to Blockbuster or, at best, waiting for our red envelopes to watch any non-pirated movies. I'm no fan of DRM by any stretch, but acting like it is absolute evil and could never result in anything good makes us just as bad as the **AAs. DRM actually can be done right... just ask Valve.

Comment: Re:upside down keypads? (Score 1) 120

by stevedog (#42848155) Attached to: John E. Karlin, Who Led the Way To All-Digit Dialing, Dies At 94
It says "Putting “1-2-3” on the pad’s top row instead of the bottom (the configuration used, then as now, on adding machines and calculators) was also born of Mr. Karlin’s group: they found it made for more accurate dialing." I think when they said "the configuration used" they were referring to "the bottom" rather than the entire preceding phrase. Admittedly though, whatever they meant, it wasn't very clear.

Comment: Re:upside down keypads? (Score 4, Interesting) 120

by stevedog (#42848125) Attached to: John E. Karlin, Who Led the Way To All-Digit Dialing, Dies At 94
Although it wasn't based on research, it actually is fairly intuitive. Given that calculators were probably most commonly used in finance initially, I would guess that the most common number used (possibly even now) would be 0. Placing that most common number at the thumb position has clear utility, similar to that of the spacebar. My guess is that that served as the anchor, with the other numbers logically flowing from there.

Obviously, all of this is coming out of my ass, but like I said, I don't think it's entirely illogical (though I also think that, for its own purpose, the phone's layout is equally logical, and emulating the calculator on a dialpad would have made the phone look ridiculous when it was released).

Comment: Re:upside down keypads? (Score 4, Informative) 120

by stevedog (#42848093) Attached to: John E. Karlin, Who Led the Way To All-Digit Dialing, Dies At 94
Apparently he did. From TFA... "The rectangular design of the keypad, the shape of its buttons and the position of the numbers — with “1-2-3” on the top row instead of the bottom, as on a calculator — all sprang from empirical research conducted or overseen by Mr. Karlin."

Comment: Re:Man, my head is reeling (Score 1) 229

by stevedog (#42683235) Attached to: Samsung Amps Up Its Multi-Window Android Upgrade
Also, I realized afterwards that my reply sounded snarky, and I apologize for that. I only meant that you needn't be so angry, since you dedicated half your post to a protest against something that hadn't happened yet. Just let the assholes be assholes; you don't even have to give them the honor of a response, let alone a preemption.

Comment: Re:Apples' response to the reprimand (Score 1) 241

by stevedog (#41847717) Attached to: UK Court of Appeal Reprimands Apple Over Mandated Samsung Statement
That's not what the order said.

From TFA:
"Within seven days of the date of this Order [18th July 2012] [Apple] shall at its own expense (a) post in a font size no smaller than Arial 11pt the notice specified in Schedule 1 to this order on the homepage of its UK website ... as specified in Schedule 1 to this Order, together with a hyperlink to the Judgment of HHJ Birss QC dated 9th July 2012, said notice and hyperlink to remain displayed on [Apple's] websites for a period of six months"

The "notice" was the apology, and was supposed to be posted on the homepage. In addition to that notice, they were supposed to include a link to the full judgment (kinda like a Source link in a blog post). The mandated link was to the judgment, not to the notice itself.

Comment: Re:That's the way the cookie crumbles (Score 1) 455

by stevedog (#41430151) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Fight Copyright Violations With DMCA?
I don't know if they can issue injunctions, but often people will represent themselves in small claims court. Especially since the opposing party would almost certainly not show up, you would have an essentially guaranteed successful case without even having to hardly argue your case. Perhaps this could get you legal action while minimizing the cost?

Comment: Re:I just block (Score 5, Insightful) 716

by stevedog (#41075997) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: To AdBlock Or Not To AdBlock?
Things of value require money, and money has to come from somewhere. Are you really saying you would prefer to pay for content directly, rather than to have an unobtrusive and moderately relevant ad that you can easily ignore?

Here on Slashdot, we have the alternative option to give our own contributions + good behavior, measured in the form of karma. That doesn't work on all sites, though, and even Slashdot would be unsustainable if no one viewed the ads; the only reason their model is sustainable is because positive-karma contributions presumably increase the value of the site, thus increasing its viewership, thus increasing the total number of ad-views enough to keep the site afloat. If everyone on the Internet adblocked, Slashdot would lose that revenue stream.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. If you don't want to be profiled by having your online behavior tracked, and you don't want to pay for the product (see outrage over NYT paywall), and you don't want to view ads... what of similar value would you prefer to give?

Comment: Re:patent office = fail (Score 1) 362

by stevedog (#40998553) Attached to: Samsung: Apple Stole the iPad's Design From Univ of Missouri Professor
The USPTO doesn't really try to determine whether or not your patent is actually valid before granting it. They just do a sanity check on it: is this idea theoretically, in a vacuum, patentable? They leave it up to the rest of the world to actually contest the patent, if for some reason (e.g., prior art, or "hey wait, I already have that patent!") the patent conflicts with something already in the real world.

In other words, if thinking is required, USPTO says "not our job."

Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.