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Comment: They're overstating the effect (Score 3, Interesting) 212

by Godai (#48478533) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

I was a conference, GeoWeb I think it was, in 2008. It was for web-based GIS (Geographic Information Systems), basically cartography & the web. This was maybe a year or two after Google bought out Keyhole, and Michael Jones (I think it was him) from Google was there. Also, Google had just released Chrome so there was a lot of discussion about it. I wanted to pick Jones' brain about some KML eccentricities because I had just written a KML reader & writer. I had to wait behind about five other people who just wanted to talk to him because he was from Google.

One conversation though sticks out. Some guy (who seemed somewhat sycophantic for some reason) was going on & on about how Chrome was going to change the world because it was from Google, and they'd make sure it was awesome and because they could use their influence to make sure everyone used it. I remember that Jones cut him off there (sounding more than a little annoyed) and he told the guy (paraphrasing): "Google can't make anyone use anything we write. The search engine lets us put anything we create in front of their eyes at least once -- that's it. If they try it, it has to live or die on its own merits, we can't force people to try or use it."

Comment: Re:...the best photographers were older people... (Score 1) 97

by Godai (#47935265) Attached to: How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

I'm going to have to disagree with you as well :)

My brother started taking photography seriously when he was living in Japan for a year. Within a year he went from being general capable (I can take a picture and that's it) to being fairly expert. Enough that he considered briefly making a living doing photography. He credits a lot of that rapid growth to getting instant feedback. Yes, people just taking pictures willy nilly and & looking at the results by itself does not make for fast skill building. But I would suggest that for someone who is interested in the craft, it is impossible to not see that immediate feedback -- even if you still need to fire the picture up in a power editor to be 100% sure -- versus taking pictures in a black hole and not seeing the results for hours at a minimum is an incredibly faster iterative cycle.

If the same people who grew up fascinated with cameras & photography thirty years ago had the digital cameras of today when they started out, there is no doubt at all that they would have become the experts they eventually became much, much, MUCH faster.

But obviously it has to be something a person cares about and invests the time to learn. Learning about composition, aperture, exposure & white balance are all important things, but they're things you can learn about a hell of a lot faster when you can do it in the field and see theory put into practice before your very eyes.

Games

Rob Pardo Says Farewell To Blizzard 93

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the never-forget-tempest-x3 dept.
motang (1266566) writes Rob Pardo, Blizzard employee of 17 years who has worked on Warcraft and Diablo is leaving the company. "I'm looking forward to new challenges in my career, but I will always cherish the time I spent with you all and the amazing and collaborative teams at Blizzard," Pardo said. "It was both satisfying and humbling, and it made me a better developer and a better person. I look forward to playing Blizzard games as a player for many years to come. Most important, now I have plenty of time to learn how to build a competitive Hearthstone deck."

Comment: Re:"By Mistake" (Score 1) 711

by Godai (#47155961) Attached to: Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

The family sharing thing would be very nice to have as a recently married man. I have a large music library (though probably tiny to a lot of people, big to me!) that she'd like to access and it seems silly that we can't just both be able to play from it. Ditto books, movies, etc.

That said, I fully expect that over time this kind of thing will come to everyone on every platform. Microsoft kind of dipped their feet into this during the X-Box One debacle, though what they were talking about is now irrelevant given they dropped that whole aspect of their platform. Apple adding it will speed things along, and it doesn't surprise me that they're first; I imagine this will require some licensing hoop jumping and whatever else I think of Apple, they do seem to have a lot more muscle in that department.

Comment: Re:Bjarne Stroustrup (Score 1) 636

by Godai (#47154391) Attached to: Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

It's not a distraction since developers can still use Objective-C as much as they want, and will only switch to Swift if it offers significant advantages.

I'm sure that's how it will start, but they'll lose patience eventually, and probably not all that far down the road. Our Objective-C guy here is already reading up on SWIFT despite our large Objective-C codebase, not because he thinks it'll let him improve anything but because he'll need to know it when they deep six Objective-C in a couple of years. To be fair, anyone who writes Apple software should be used to that at this point, so Apple probably knows that any of their developers with an ounce of common sense will start coming up with a plan on how to move all their stuff to SWIFT over the next few years.

Bitcoin

Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks 404

Posted by Soulskill
from the back-it-with-waffles-instead dept.
SonicSpike writes: "In a recent interview, Senator Rand Paul said there's one thing he would change about Bitcoin: it should be backed by something with intrinsic value, like stocks. He said, 'I was looking more at it until that recent thing [sic]. And actually my theory, if I were setting it up, I'd make it exchangeable for stock. And then it'd have real value. And I'd have it pegged, and I'd have a basket of 10 big retailers I think it would work, but I think, because I'm sort of a believer in currency having value, if you're going to create a currency, have it backed up by — you know, Hayek used to talk about a basket of commodities? You could have a basket of stocks, and have some exchangeability, because it's hard for people like me who are a bit tangible. But you could have an average of stocks, I'm wondering if that's the next permutation.'"

Comment: Re:And how about the CRA? (Score 5, Informative) 104

by Godai (#46778929) Attached to: RCMP Arrest Canadian Teen For Heartbleed Exploit

The Montreal Gazette article covers that. They asked a computer security consultant and he said the 24-hour delay was pretty reasonable given the impact taking down the site would have on people given the timing (tax season); not so much that they waited before doing it so much as it was a reasonable time to discuss it and come to a decision. So my guess is that no one will get burned over that.

The real questions are fairly simple: when did the breach occur, and how did they know? Also, how did they know 900 SIN numbers were taken and how do they know more weren't? None of these are necessarily conspiracy-esque questions, but they're relevant. Though it sounds like the CRA may not be at liberty to say anything about some (or any) of that, having been asked by the RCMP not to while they firm up charges.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 818

by Godai (#46766507) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

I agree with you, but I think we really need something other than first-past-the-post to make it really work right. It's great that we have these parties bubbling around as you say, but it'd better if the composition of parliament looked a little more like what popular support says it should. It's a bit weird to have parties with, say, 25% popular support have less than 10% of the house, for example. Still, everytime I get annoyed with our system, I watch the Daily Show or Colbert Report and get reminded how good we actually have it.

Government

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes? 386

Posted by timothy
from the what-you're-billed-and-what-you-owe-aren't-identical dept.
April 15, 2014 isn't just a full moon: it's Tax Day in the U.S. That means most American adults have already submitted a tax return, or an extension request, to the IRS and -- except for a few lucky states -- to their state governments as well. I filed my (very simple) tax return online. After scanning the free options, since I live in a state -- Texas -- that does not collect personal income tax, I chose Tax Act's free services. That meant enduring a series of annoying upgrade plugs throughout the process, but I could live with that; I have no reason to think it was better or worse than TurboTax or any of the other e-Filing companies, but I liked Tax Act’s interface, and it seemed less skeevy in all those upgrade plugs than the others I glanced at. The actual process took an hour and 19 minutes once I sat down with the papers I needed. My financial life is pretty simple, though: I didn't buy or sell a house, didn't buy or sell stocks outside of a retirement account mutual fund, and didn't move from one state to another. How do you do your taxes? Do you have an argument for one or another of the online services, or any cautionary tales? Do you prefer to send in forms on paper? Do you hire an accountant? (And for readers outside the U.S., it's always interesting to hear how taxes work in other countries, too. Are there elements of the U.S. system you'd prefer, or that you're glad you don't need to deal with?)

Comment: Re:Copyright law and the first sale doctrine (Score 1) 490

by z4ce (#46593735) Attached to: Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

You'll find that DVD's are nearly twice as expensive as DVD's in the US. Streaming services are extremely limited and even more expensive than DVD.

Definitely agree DVDs are way more expensive there. Although, for rental it seems like both streaming and DVD rental are about $5-6AUD.

Again, I'm wondering what Australia you're talking about here. 2nd hand sales are perfectly legal, I can sell my entire DVD collection, I can even sell my Steam account, hell unlike the US grey importers operate openly and legally in Australia. I can buy a pallet of DVD's in China and sell them to Australian customers with no problems (well I have to pay tax on my sales, like all businesses). Only certain products are prohibited from resale such as even tickets (to crack down on scalpers), sensitive technologies (I.E. military tech) and perishable goods. I can put a half bottle of Vodka up on Gumtree if I wanted to, the only restriction I have is that I cant sell it to minors (the drinking age is 18 over here).

You cannot, however, rent your DVD collection in Australia. That's what I am referring to.

Comment: Copyright law and the first sale doctrine (Score 2) 490

by z4ce (#46586105) Attached to: Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

If you go to other countries where the first sale doctrine doesn't apply (like Australia) you'll find the DVD and Streaming rental prices are about the same. I think the reason you see such a discrepancy here in the USA, is that once a company buys a DVD the copyright owner can no longer control its use. With a streaming rental, it is considered distribution and they do require licensing.

Comment: Re:Great points! (Score 1) 156

by Godai (#46565647) Attached to: In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

I think you're right that perception is a big problem. It would be really, really helpful if there was some objective way to measure how rarely a news source gets stuff wrong. Kind of like a Golden Glove for news. If news organizations could compete for that instead of their version of "First post!", it could only be better.

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