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Comment Re:Yes, and no. (Score 1) 135

Free and open societies may allow some injustices to occur. But the notion that totalitarian (not fascist) societies don't is just totalitarian propaganda.

Propaganda for a type of government is silly; the people actually in charge can and will make all the difference. The larger problem is that forms of government last across generations, and what might be right for one generation (a dictatorship with a benevolent king) can be terrible the next (the benevolent king's evil son). This is equally true with democracies, republics, federations, and all other forms of government; even anarchy might do alright for a generation or two before devolving into depravity and evil.

Part of the question of what government is best is about planning for this multi-generational span, and the modern answer (constitutional republics, especially with the legislative/judicial/executive breakdown) seem to do alright. However, especially now that the world's changing, we are getting a good look at some of the flaws, and I fear a little bit for the future. Given the complexity of the system, I wonder how it could possibly be fixed without someone using nearly dictatorial powers to overcome it.

And, naturally, the people involved may have different definitions of what a "fixed" system looks like, which is part of what makes it so dangerous to involve dictatorship...

Comment Re:Yes, and no. (Score 3, Insightful) 135

That's because laws are fixed. In any scenario, if you stare at fixed defenses long enough, you can find some way to get around them. What you need is a vigilant and trustworthy justice system that punishes attempts to get around the law.

It can happen, it's just that it comes closer to fascism than most people are comfortable with. If you want to punish abuses of the law, you have to say, "Even if the law would let you get away with it, I won't." That's not how most people view a free and open society, although arguably it is necessary to maintain one.

Comment Re:SCOTUS (Score 2) 203

Protesting is inherently public. As you protest, if you break more and more laws, you get less and less support, because everyone's watching you descend into madness.

Much of what the government does is behind closed doors. If they were to continue and break more and greater laws up to and including constitutional mandates, it's still happening in private, and each act has to be reported to get the same loss of confidence and support. The government breaking its own laws ought to be viewed with the same "slippery slope" glasses as terrorism, because in the same way, it can get out of control without you ever realizing it, and then explode all at once, destroying everything that was valuable about the system.

Comment Re:Interesting questions (Score 1) 112

Our society is based on the principle of specialization of labor. Until the printing press, there was no way you could expect to know how to do something technical like ruling or manufacturing--and I mean, you had no idea at ALL; you may not even know how to read or write, you had no idea what anyone else had ever thought unless someone told you person to person--unless you had access to good teachers, who were very scarce, and controlled by people with money, or by churches. With massive numbers of textbooks that were eventually printed, the average teacher could go from terrible (pre-books) to middling. With the internet, it can get a lot better, but that's a couple decades old at this point.

Understand that every generation since before humanity was humanity has seen learning and experience as something necessarily--not artificially--reserved for the few. Because we believe so strongly in specialization of labor, it makes intuitive sense that the people with that learning and experience control the flow of power. It's only when we see it actually happening that we realize that they're human--corruptible, distractable, foolish--and we seek to find the best candidate to fill any given position.

Comment Re:Soul-crushing? (Score 4, Interesting) 276

I can't speak for the adult experience of living in a suburb, but as a child growing up there, "You have to drive to get anywhere" means "Unless you're friends with the neighbors or have a car, there is nothing to do."

I didn't get my driver's license until I was about 18, which means that if I wanted to go somewhere, I was begging friends or family for a ride. I perhaps could have gotten on my bike and rode a half hour through traffic, without sidewalks or bike lanes (I have a few times, uncomfortably; also, this was Texas, where temperatures are often 100+ in the summer) to get to a small variety of stores, but I couldn't get, for example, to the mall, or a decently interesting strip mall.

And asking parents for a ride...? They commuted an hour each day to get to their jobs and were not terribly interested in jumping in the car just to satisfy my boredom. It probably would have been easier if I'd had older friends, but I didn't.

Everywhere I wanted to be and everyone I wanted to be with I couldn't reach without begging someone and potentially making them upset. So yes, I would say it crushed my soul a bit.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 3, Insightful) 404

And, did we miss the part where the Google/Motorola Mobility deal was finalized?

The last holdout of red tape was China, and they gave it up in late May. The deal was finalized a couple days later and a Googler was made CEO. It's been fairly quiet since then--not a whole lot of headline-busting changes to Motorolla Mobility--so I'm not surprised you haven't noticed the transition. There have been some, though, especially lately.

Comment Re:When the avalanche has started (Score 2) 346

The current management team may not be the people to monetize the company.

If anything's going to kill Facebook, it will be decisions made by people who were only hired to make money. People who have no interest in what it's for, never will have interest, and are only there to monetize.

Facebook will have to be very, very careful to make sure the user experience doesn't completely vaporize in the face of money-mongers. But I think if they were planning to be that careful, they probably would not have gone public.

Comment Re:Um, New Super Mario? (Score 2) 192

There IS something capturing about the games of 1990 era. Maybe it's that computers were sufficiently advanced, but not too powerful, which set just the right artistic bounds.

I disagree; I think the reason is that in the 90s, nobody was trying to industrialize game creation, or at least they didn't figure they'd gotten it right. A lot of the shining examples from back then were people that were self-motivated, self-organized, and given some free reign by publishers. As Big Business really got into it, they took the previous profit model--industrialization--and tried to apply it; that meant several things:

* Keeping up with the Joneses - If there's another competitor in your field, you compete with them by going point-for-point on comparable metrics, rather than differentiating your product

* Labor is expendable - "There's nothing special about what we're doing; it doesn't take a skilled artisan with a decade of coding experience, nor even a talented enthusiast, just a codemonkey twisting his wrench over and over like Charlie Chaplain in Modern Times."

* Brand reputation is expendable - It may seem counter-intuitive; after all, if you churn out 100,000 jalopys and can't sell them, your auto-making business will disappear. But company leadership can always sell off whatever's left over to the competition. The skilled labor changes hands, designs change, and some other rich shmoe becomes the new CEO and makes the same decisions as the last one. All of a sudden, it's a new company! Wow! The previous reputation means nothing.

HOWEVER, this is an entirely different thing when it comes to software, because intellectual property (software names, the characters, situations, and setting, along with art and other resources) is attached to the brand. Only one person gets to make, for example, Starsiege Tribes games, and if the person currently making Tribes games is making something you don't like, sorry pal, there's no equivalent good. What's that? You've been waiting 10 years for a sequel and it's a dud? What's that? You think you could do better? Sorry, as a matter of law and intellectual property, it ain't gonna happen. Maybe you could do better, but you won't be allowed to try. That's copyright/trademark for you! Hugs and kisses, signed, the Government.

* Customers are expendable - The industrial age brought the idea of mass consumption of goods from one single source. Compare beer and soda; beer is pre-industrial and there are so many brewing traditions the world over that many places have no need to produce it industrially, because there's enough local supply. However, local supply only matters if locals will buy your product; in contrast, a global product only has to turn a profit in one of the many regions they supply, and then cut their losses everywhere else. If your bad marketing decisions make you the enemy of a locale, culture, or nation, say sayonara and kick back with profits from other areas.

* The product is expendable - As long as you create something good enough to pay back costs (and things become "good enough" quite rapidly if you advertise enough--they're only really thinking about sales), it doesn't matter that your industrial process is flawed. If your process inherently creates defects, it will show up in ever product line you create for a decade, because oh well! Management decided that we're going to move on to the next product, which means not stopping to see what we did wrong. In any serious project management there's things like Lessons Learned, internal and process reviews, etc. I don't know but I'd wager a guess that most gaming industry companies don't take their work seriously enough to study their own behavior and improve it.

* Marketing is god - Industrialization doesn't start local. You don't make a run of 10,000 cars and sell them to the 10,000 closest people. You need sales people on the ground anywhere there could be a sale, sniffing out any profitable deal. If that means greasing palms in a few places, obnoxious billboards, and overpriced TV ads, well, it's paid for on the margin of each unit sold. Who cares if your marketing budget costs as much as 500 of the cars you're selling--you'll be selling twenty times that many! And if small-time suckers can't afford it, go cry in the rain.

Anyway... the indy scene is turning the trend around a bit, but you can still see traces of it. Look at mobile games--I personally find it incredibly frustrating because so many of the products are "me too"s who think they're competing with industry on industry terms. They don't care about the product, the customer, or the brand, and I bet in those cases if they could outsource the labor and still make a profit, they wouldn't care about the labor either. The market is best served by people like Rovio, who are making a boutique product with modern distribution networks--they DO care about the product, and the brand, and I assume the customer too. Would that there were more like them.

Comment Re:Will it be practical? (Score 1) 142

Unfortunately the whole basis of OAM is directional so no go there. OAM is a fancy way to use coherent beams for spatial re-use. Its like a laser. A omni-directional laser is an oxymoron.

It's probably not possible because of distance and interference, but satellite links are highly directional as well as ubiquitous; if a technology like this could be used to increase the bandwidth of terrestrial satellite links (by which I mean a dish at your house connecting to a satellite in fixed or predictable orbit), you could get pretty incredible broadband speeds in very remote areas--including internationally.

Comment Re:7-inch? (Score 4, Interesting) 198

Smack in the middle of the market that currently B&N and Amazon hold.

I think you forget what the Nexus line of devices is. Reference platforms are made, among other reasons, so that the people behind the OS know what they're programming for. If people are already using this form factor (size, approximate resolution, pixel density, aspect ratio, etc), then a Nexus-line device standardizes that. (There is some problem with that when it comes to Android devices, but whatever, you get the point) That (in principle) helps app devs, OS devs, and yes hardware devs too.

I note that they call it the Nexus *7*, which also implies they could be making a Nexus 10, 5, 8, or other screen sizes in the future.

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