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Comment: Bedouin nomads (Score 2) 280

by thisisauniqueid (#46325293) Attached to: Who's On WhatsApp, and Why?
I just got back from traveling through Bedouin country in Jordan, and several Bedouin men who live miles from civilization without wired electricity and whose extent of knowledge of technology is how to drive their truck and charge their feature phone from solar panels separately told me that they use WhatsApp to communicate with other Bedouin families and friends. The cost savings over SMS is key, but the brilliance of WhatsApp was the decision even in this day and age to implement Symbian and J2ME clients.

Comment: This is ridiculous (Score 4, Insightful) 732

by thisisauniqueid (#45949439) Attached to: If I Had a Hammer
This is ridiculous. The capabilities of man + machine will always be greater than the capabilities of a machine by itself, so we're not going to run out of intellectual jobs just because machines can do smarter things. Machines, including computers, are just power tools for the brain. (And I say this even as a full-time AI researcher with a PhD in the field, developing new AI algorithms for my day job at a major tech company.)

Comment: The real problem with the laws (Score 1) 153

by thisisauniqueid (#45756107) Attached to: How Asimov's Three Laws Ran Out of Steam
The real problem with Asimov's Laws is that for them to be followed, they must be understood, and we are so far from being able to build any system capable of genuinely understanding anything that it is not realistic to believe we can impute laws with social nuance to an algorithm anytime in the immediate predictable future. Mounting guns on robots that run computer vision algorithms to detect and kill humans, however, is last decade's technology. (Disclaimer: I am an AI and NLP researcher at Google.)

Comment: Re:Classic... (Score 1) 85

by thisisauniqueid (#45756035) Attached to: Kdenlive Developer Jean-Baptiste Mardelle Has Been Found

An open source project stuck in "refactoring hell". Seems to have happened to Inkscape too. Such a waste.

Heavily refactoring projects of this size rarely brings any benefit for the users, it's just technical masturbation. If you're lucky, you will after a few years end up with a project that does the same things as before, most likely it will have acquired some bugs as icing on the cake.

That's why when we don't like code, we should start reimplementing it from scratch immediately.

Comment: They deserve the $10M (Score 1) 464

by thisisauniqueid (#45751121) Attached to: Reuters: RSA Weakened Encryption For $10M From NSA
Since there are only about three people in the world that could actually tell you whether one set of elliptic curve constants are inherently more secure than another set, I'd say they deserve the $10M, probably a lot more. (Whether or not what they did is ethical is a totally different issue. It clearly was not ethical to betray the whole world's trust like that, especially for a company where half their core business is verifying trust.)

Comment: Re:What about contributers? (Score 4, Insightful) 133

PS granted, Steve is a very good hacker and a generally all-around good guy, the only thing I'm pointing out is that, at least at that point, he wasn't about the Utopian ideal of sharing around the wealth with the commoners that work in the fields. But maybe not being a communist is a good thing, or he may not have landed the most recent round of funding.

Comment: Re:What about contributers? (Score 4, Interesting) 133

What do people that have contributed to the code base get? Who is getting money for this? I don't understand how you can go from an opensource project to a for-profit project.

They get nada. I implemented one of the features that caused CM to explode in popularity very early on, and cyanogen did very well out of donations from it, but I never saw a cent of it. I gently raised the issue one day, and he made it pretty clear that he had no intention of divvying up the wealth. Granted, he has put a heckofalot more time total into hacking on CM than I have, but actually, I would have spent a lot more time hacking on it if it weren't for that experience. That was the last code I wrote for CM.

Comment: Re:Couldn't get past the first sentence (Score 1) 174

by thisisauniqueid (#45637169) Attached to: How a Bitcoin Transaction Actually Works
In other countries (such as New Zealand, where I grew up), passive voice is the preferred grammatical construction, because speaking passively is considered less confrontational. We were taught to write in passive voice in school. We weren't even taught it explicitly; the *teachers* all used it too. Nobody thought it was bad form. Having said that, now that I live in the US, and now that my passive voice constructions have been corrected enough times by self-knighted grammarians, I actually far prefer active voice, and I do see a problem with passive voice. I have no idea if that is just a learned response, or if there's something inherently inferior about passive voice.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

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