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Comment: Re:They couldn't wreck the movement from the outsi (Score 1) 210

by bzipitidoo (#48624759) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

Interesting that you mention Pepsi. Speaking of stuck in the 1990s, did you mean to allude to former Apple CEO John Sculley?

Yes, I've noticed that what Google is embracing with Android is the walled garden model. One little thing their search engine does, and a big reason why I'm trying to move away from them, is this redirection. Click on a link on their search results, and it doesn't send you straght to the linked material, no, it sends you to a Google URL that does a little something, then sends you on to the link. It's slow. I thought I could get away from that at DuckDuckGo, but they've been doing the same thing.

What about Google's language, Go? Anyone using that? I've been looking at webRTC, from Google, wondering if it could be used to move away from the client server model of web and Internet usage. For instance Skype (now owned by MS), requires that users connect to a central server, which does provide a little bit of service, tracking who is avaialble and who is away. But at what price?

As to being stuck in the past, I still don't trust Microsoft. Remember OOXML? That wasn't the 90s, that was 2008 when they ran their ugly campaign to cozen and bully ISO into making it a standard. Then there was the little technical problem from 2012 in which Windows 7 didn't offer users a chocie of browsers as they had promised, and for which Europe penalized MS. Now one of MS's latest stunts is this huge change in how they sell Office. You can't buy it any more, you can only lease it? If you think file format lock was bad, how about cloud dependency? Be a real shame if you let your Office 365 subscription expire, and lost access to all those documents you foolishly stored in MS's cloud. Of if you became dependent upon their services to sync and share your documents. Not to mention the little detail that sensitive info may be in their cloudy hands, ripe for data mining, seizing by law enforcement, or leaking in industrial espionage incidents.

Comment: giant sucking sounds (Score 4, Insightful) 638

by bzipitidoo (#48616695) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

A few years back there was a great deal of interest in computers doing visual processing and recognition, and I was doing a little work in this area. The interest is still there, but news about it seems to have retreated from the front page. The security industry was especially interested in facial recognition. Alongside that interest were the usual peddlers of hype and hysteria. It was difficult to sort through all the noise. When I looked into research papers, I found that the details told of all kinds of limitations. Yes, they could match faces with 90% accuracy. If the lighting was good. And was the same level in the two photographs. And the subjects were all facing the camera at the exact same angle. And the subjects hadn't grown or removed any facial hair or glasses, or even changed hair styles. And they didn't have different expressions. And the database didn't have more than a few hundred subjects. But never mind, soon we would have video cameras on every street corner, matching every passing face to enforcers' databases of millions of criminals.

Despite the noise, which might lead a cynic to think that it's all hype, facial recognition has improved over the years. It will be the same in robotics. We won't see Robot Basketball Player replace Kobe Bryant anytime soon, no Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island. But we will see more and better robotics. John Henry scored a pyrrhic victory against a steam hammer. Fighting like that to keep jobs from being taken over by robots is just as useless and futile.

We may yet see that promise of more leisure time come true at last, thanks to robotics. So far, all our labor saving advances somehow have failed to free up much leisure time. Instead, we've put that time towards doing more work. Our parents worked hard so that we can have a better life, meaning, less hardhsip and more leisure time. But it seems more leisure time doesn't automatically make for a more satisfying, better life. Asimov's combination of his Foundation and Robots books had this idea of robots doing so much for us that we became slack and unable to do much for ourselves, and at the same time very unhappy that the struggle had been removed from life to such an extent that it felt empty and meaningless, so that finally we had to abandon the robots. I don;t think that will happen either.

Comment: Re:When nearly all of your readers block ads... (Score 5, Informative) 152

by bzipitidoo (#48613775) Attached to: Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End
No, don't make the ads so obnoxious. I wouldn't block them if advertisers wouldn't pig out on my resources and force me to turn off the sound so I'm not embarrassed or distracted by some loud jingle, with blinking text, frenetic animation, and a flashing background. When ads take more than 5% of my bandwidth, RAM, and CPU, and make my browser unstable, I do something about it. If I have to reposition windows to hide obnoxiously distracting animation, I'll block it. IF it's not easy to block, I'll quit visiting the website.

Comment: Re:Riiiiight. (Score 1) 232

by bzipitidoo (#48601661) Attached to: Ford Ditches Microsoft Partnership On Sync, Goes With QNX

I suspect part of the reason for the choice of QNX has nothing to do with technical merit or niches. It's out of a religious belief in capitalism, and doubts that a "communist" effort like Linux can really be sustained. Or in other words, FUD. Microsoft has exploited this belief very well. What does Ford use internally on the desktop? Large companies as a rule are conservative, and Ford is a bit more conservative than average for a large company and an automaker. Expect it's mostly Windows. That they recently were partnered with MS practically guarantees it.

As to the niche QNX occupies, yes, Linux doesn't fit well, but there are free choices. There are other microkernel based OSes that have the advantage of being open source and free. Minix 3, for instance. Better to put resources towards making Minix 3 into a quality, realtime OS, and formally prove its correctness, than accept never being allowed to examine the QNX source code. I should think part of Ford's deal with QNX is access to the source code.

Comment: Re:Riiiiight. (Score 2) 232

by bzipitidoo (#48583211) Attached to: Ford Ditches Microsoft Partnership On Sync, Goes With QNX

Oh come on, Windows 95? The OS that couldn't even sit idle without eventually crashing? That's a real low bar.

I've heard from people who work with QNX that it has plenty of bugs. It may be secure, but it's actually not that stable.

It makes sense that QNX is overhyped and not near as good as some claim. Being proprietary and small, they simply do not have the resources to polish it and keep it polished. Linux has many huge companies paying for hundreds of talented developers to work on every part. In many cases, the best algorithms for many of the problems an OS faces, such as task scheduling, storage management, and networking, are complicated and difficult to implement well. It's no accident that there are more than a dozen good file systems for Linux, each with their points. Windows is still plodding along with NTFS and FAT. And QNX? They simply cannot keep up, even if they rip good code straight from Linux. They're going to skimp on features and choices, and what they must have will be the most dead simple method that delivers adequate performance, and spin that as a virtue because the code is smaller and therefore easier to audit and prove correct. If they discover that their design imposes a fundamental limitation, they live with it, while the Linux world can think of going for a redesign, because the resources are there. QNX could never think of doing a massive reworking of the system like the replacement of X with Wayland or Mir, or the development of btrfs.

Comment: Re:Fire all the officers? (Score 1) 514

by bzipitidoo (#48582659) Attached to: Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

Rejected for being too smart?!? What idiots! The problem is the opposite: trying to find smart people willing to do a dangerous and often tedious and boring job that nevertheless has many judgment calls that can benefit greatly from intelligent decisions.

In Lord of Light, a Hugo Award winning novel by Zelazny, a similar thing happened. At one point in the story, the leader of the oppressors has been assassinated and the rest need to pick a new leader quickly. They reject one of candidates, possibly the best one, for being too smart. He might have lead them on a more conciliatory course, made concessions, and the rest didn't want that to happen. Instead, they selected their most extreme hardliner. It proved a stupid mistake, ending tragically for them.

Comment: Re: who cares about plagiarism (Score 3, Interesting) 53

by bzipitidoo (#48576701) Attached to: Study of Massive Preprint Archive Hints At the Geography of Plagiarism

The idea of credit is just another lump on that intellectual property turd.

Let's be clear on what plagiarism is. It's deliberately and knowingly claiming authorship of the work of others. It's lying about who created a work.

Plagiarism and intellectual property need not have anything to do with each other. The people who argue that copyright prevents plagiarism are either confused, or trying to scrape up another justification to keep copyright. I think copyright should be abolished. And, that independent of whether copyright exists or not, plagiarism will still be undesirable, and that we can detect and punish those who do it. You don't see grade school students who are caught committing plagiarism being beat over the head with a copyright lawsuit, you see them punished with a failing grade, and perhaps detention.

Having said that, we don't want to get too extreme about plagiarism, start seeing it everywhere. Duplicate chess problems, in which someone honestly creates essentially the same problem that someone else did, maybe 100 years ago, are so common that there's a term for it: anticipation. Chess has been around for centuries, and it is getting harder to find original and novel concepts. Anticipation may become a problem in many other areas as they mature. George Harrison famously committed "subconcious" copyright infringement (plagiarism really) with My Sweet Lord, how should that be handled? The day will come, may already be here, when every possible short melody has been composed. What about ghostwriting, should that be accepted? We also don't want people bogged down trying to give due credit for everything. Otherwise, a research paper would have to credit the Phonecians for inventing the alphabet, lots of Greeks for various elementary mathematical concepts, the Babylonians for the base 60 time system we still use today, and maybe the Egyptians for papyrus, if the research is indeed printed on actual paper.

Comment: Re:Free Enterprise (Score 1) 184

by bzipitidoo (#48564357) Attached to: Swedish Police Raid the Pirate Bay Again

I actually think we don't have the choice to keep copyright. Copyright is so dysfunctional that it didn't work well even with the highest public support it ever enjoyed. What helped it most was that copying used to be difficult. Now what keeps copyright alive is lingering public support.

In recent decades we've seen support for copyright weaken greatly, thanks in no small part to industry actions to strengthen it. Instead of adapting to the changing situation of copying becoming far, far easier and cheaper to do, they've called for overly restrictive terms that come across as petty, mean, greedy, and not really effective at helping artists make a living, while causing a great deal of inconvenience and sometimes dramatic reduction in value to the users. They've attempted to elevate copyright to some sort of higher right that trumps all other rights. They've tried to tell the public that we can't use new technology because it harms copyright, and they've even had the gall to whine about long standing traditions such as the used book store, demanding that those places be closed. They've been forced to agree that time and format shifting are not illegal, but they begrudge it and still act as if it is immoral. They've gone on well publicized terror campaigns, abusing our legal system to bully ordinary people. They think they have the right and duty to take any action necessary to protect holy copyright. They're so extreme I would not be surprised if some would like to impose the death penalty on pirates. If that wasn't enough, they've also run propaganda campaigns, done their utmost to confuse the public, get people to accept the false proposition that copying is equivalent to stealing. Once that lie is believed, they then try to appeal to our sense of morals. But it's no longer working too well. What kind of delusional, senseless, alternate reality thinking does it take to come up with an idea like Captain Copyright? They really believed a comic superhero could win if not adults, perhaps gullible children over to a hopeless cause like that, and never expected that Captain Copyright would be an instant laughingstock that just looks plain silly and stupid? All that these desperation measures really show is that copyright is badly broken. And not just the implementation, but the concept.

Yes, I think some kind of patronage system is the leading idea to replace copyright. While in past centuries it was a system that only worked for the rich, today, patronage, like copying and many other things, can now be done by the masses.

Comment: Re:Free Enterprise (Score 2) 184

by bzipitidoo (#48560951) Attached to: Swedish Police Raid the Pirate Bay Again
Evidence is moot because copying should not be a crime, not even a civil infraction. Sharing/copying should be encouraged as a social good. Sharing of knowledge is what made our civilization, and keeps it alive. Voluntarily allow a few elite control over what may be copied and who can copy, and you weaken civilization. Perhaps not fatally, but why take that chance for something so trivial as a broken business model? There are other ways for artists to earn a living.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 368

by bzipitidoo (#48542637) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Disagree. Look how different our culture is to just 3 centuries ago, before the Industrial Revolution and the telegraph. The steam engine was in its infancy, too recently arrived to matter much at that time, and such railroads as existed used wooden rails. There used to be massive business ecosystems that revolved around horses and sailing which hung on until the 1920s and the 1850s respectively. The fastest a message or person could travel between London and NYC was 18 days, if the ship had favorable winds. Average was more like 30 days. Many people wore "homespun" -- made their own clothes at home, from threads they also spun at home, from crops they grew for that purpose. The change from horse to automobile changed NYC dramatically. No more horse manure in the streets, with the accompanying threats of typhoid fever and other diseases vastly reduced.

You could argue that human behavior has not changed much, and won't. I am not so sure of that either. We are evolving at a furious rate. But people are prejudiced against seeing many of them. We used to have duels, as depicted in the start of the Three Musketeers story, and more than stories. The mathematician Galois and politician Alexander Hamilton and his son were killed in duels. After a last surge in the wild west, that custom has faded away, and good riddance. Even so, there were a number of unwritten rules about dueling that made it less deadly, like that the duelist could purposely shoot to miss on the first shot, and somehow signal that the miss was deliberate. Then the other was supposed to also shoot to miss, and then both parties could honorably back down. War could be all out, no holds barred, until the Cold War. Now, total war could kill us all off. We've had to evolve to be less hot headed, and we have. This wasn't a recent change, this has been ongoing for centuries as weapons grew more powerful. Why was the disagreement over slavery settled through the US Civil War, rather than voting? Hotheads helped start that war. The result was a long brutal war that killed close to a million, not a few short battles delivering a knockout blow to end the dispute quickly. The hotheads at least put their lives where their minds were, and ended up dead. Evolution in action. The hotheaded tendencies also ultimately hurt the Confederate war effort. Despite being on the defensive, most Civil War battles feature Confederate assaults that killed more Confederate soldiers than Union ones. But that was the kind of fighting they wanted, manly and showy. There's the whole idea of the "southern gentleman" somehow being more manly than the men of the North. Cooler heads in the South surely realized the war was unwinnable, given the large imbalance in power between the sides, but if they were going to fight, dragging the war out was the better strategy.

Comment: Re:I have just one question for you (Score 1) 97

by bzipitidoo (#48506165) Attached to: Nature Makes All Articles Free To View

Publishers wish they had that choice. No, the choice is, will they release it, or will they be left behind when someone else releases it, legally or not? The law can't stop piracy. DRM is just fake security, it can't stop piracy either. Nothing can stop piracy.

Nor should we want piracy stopped. Sharing of knowledge is crucial to our advancement. It is these rent seeking parasites who are the real criminals. Their anti-social hostage taking of knowledge that they did not help create could result in us not discovering something crucial in time to act on it. I'm not talking about mere cures for diseases, I'm talking about knowledge that could save civilization. What if, unknown to us, a big asteroid is headed on a collision course with Earth, and we would have learned of it in time if some damned publisher hadn't locked the knowledge away? And that's only one of the most obvious dangers. More subtle dangers abound, anything from climate change to large scale chemical imbalances, atmospheric and magnetic changes that let radiation through.

Bad enough that we have propagandists of the school of Big Tobacco alive and doing well, we should not make life even easier for them. Copyright is too often misused for censorship, with DMCA takedown notices one of their favorite methods.

+ - Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering on 2012 Election 1

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Gerrymandering is the practice of establishing a political advantage for a political party by manipulating district boundaries to concentrate all your opponents votes in a few districts while keeping your party's supporters as a majority in the remaining districts. For example, in North Carolina in 2012 Republicans ended up winning nine out of 13 congressional seats even though more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans statewide. Now Jessica Jones reports that researchers at Duke are studying the mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. Mathematicians Jonathan Mattingly and Christy Vaughn created a series of district maps using the same vote totals from 2012, but with different borders. Their work was governed by two principles of redistricting: a federal rule requires each district have roughly the same population and a state rule requires congressional districts to be compact. Using those principles as a guide, they created a mathematical algorithm to randomly redraw the boundaries of the state’s 13 congressional districts. "We just used the actual vote counts from 2012 and just retabulated them under the different districtings," says Vaughn. "”If someone voted for a particular candidate in the 2012 election and one of our redrawn maps assigned where they live to a new congressional district, we assumed that they would still vote for the same political party."

The results were startling. After re-running the election 100 times with a randomly drawn nonpartisan map each time, the average simulated election result was 7 or 8 U.S. House seats for the Democrats and 5 or 6 for Republicans. The maximum number of Republican seats that emerged from any of the simulations was eight. The actual outcome of the election — four Democratic representatives and nine Republicans – did not occur in any of the simulations. "If we really want our elections to reflect the will of the people, then I think we have to put in safeguards to protect our democracy so redistrictings don't end up so biased that they essentially fix the elections before they get started," says Mattingly. But North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho is unimpressed. "I'm saying these maps aren't gerrymandered," says Rucho. "It was a matter of what the candidates actually was able to tell the voters and if the voters agreed with them. Why would you call that uncompetitive?""

Comment: Re: Lies. 100% Lies. (Score 1) 151

by bzipitidoo (#48470325) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

No, I do not agree with that defeatism. They have not won. In fact, their cause is a losing cause. And they know it. Secrecy and treaties tried as attempts to bypass legislatures are not signs of power, they're signs of weakness. Enforcement is utterly impractical. No organization has the power to force everyone to obey copyright. It only works somewhat because people are willing to obey it, thinking that doing so helps artists.

What can we do? If we do nothing, they lose. The only way copyright cartels can win is if we help them win. Don't help them. That's all you and everyone else has to do. Don't buy DVDs or CDs, or devices that play them. Don't buy devices that enforce DRM. If you want to help, we can do a bit more than that. Use your public library, and not corporate bookstores (*cough* Amazon *cough*). Help crowdfund art projects. Tell your schools to use open, libre textbooks. Tell the library and politicians you want libraries and schools to have digital options for everything, as soon as possible.

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler