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Comment People In Need (Score 5, Interesting) 127

"The other more obvious risk is that such a system could take jobs away from those in need."

Social Media Nipple Checkers Local 857, like my father and his father before him.

It's hard work on the Internet nippleface but we're a proud people.

Some people might say it's false drama, lamenting the decline of an industry that only goes back a dozen years but we original "ought fourer families" as we like to call ourselves have never known any other way.

I have friends in who were Internet Radio DJs for the four hours that was a thing until smart playlists replaced them. Many of them have never found employment since.

Comment Finally! New Functionality! (Score 5, Funny) 304

I've got a few years old Samsung Smart TV.

Every month or two, I get a notice about another service being discontinued. I think I'm down to maybe three whole apps that still work on it.

Sure, these are invasive ads that weren't a part of the product I bought. But at least Samsung is finally adding in place of their constant stripping of functionality.

When you're a Smart TV owner, you take victories where you can find them.

Comment Be Careful What You Wish For (Score 5, Interesting) 207

I spent several years trying to get help for dyslexia. A lot of school counsellors assumed it was what I was dealing with.

Right up to the point one caught that what I was actually doing was self taught speed reading everything and couldn't switch the damn thing off.

You have no idea how annoying it is to know a piece of information MUST exist within a passage but no amount of rereading, trying to slow yourself down, will get you to stop skipping over it because your brain has already decided it knows what is said.

As a simple example: Bob has $10. He pays dollars in tax. What percentage does Bob pay?

It's a standard question pattern. You know damn well that there must be an amount of dollars Bob paid in tax. You know the question likely has something like TWO in there and the answer would be twenty percent. But you read it over and over and the TWO never reveals itself because your brain has already decided it knows what the passage says.

It made chunks of my degree miserable. I knew the concepts, could study faster than most others, yet kept missing key parts of often simple questions in the exams.

Once I learned what I was doing, a hell of a lot of practice has weeded most of it back out at the expense of reading slower.

So, yeah, speed reading is great. Until it isn't. And then really isn't when you can't stop it.

Comment "Correct" Is Subjective (Score 4, Insightful) 154

Having worked my way up through every level, the biggest thing I've learned is "correct" is amassively subjective concept, based on value statements people at other levels don't see.

To take a deliberately simple case:

I would have declared a manager insane for buying Office365 licenses. After all, you can buy copies outright for less.

Except, as that manager, any savings I get are dwarfed by the pain in the ass of keeping licensing info. Some idiot loses the info and you're out far more than the difference when you have to re-buy. Or you don't re-buy and you're vulnerable to huge fines. Or you have someone dot every i and cross every t and you pay more for their salary than you save. Or Office365 keeps everyone licensed and demonstrably so.

Same goes for commenting.

Earlier in my career, commenting was slow. I could understand my code just fine without it. It was clearly readable after all. What idiot manager wants less productive code after I jumped through hoops?

Now I've paid the price of countless devs who write code no one else can follow. If watched countless more declare they have to rewrite everything because the previous guy who swore his code was readable wrote something the next guy swears is not. My perspective is completely different. I'd now rather each person codes a little slower so the company moves faster overall.

Who's right? Everyone has a good perspective but each is colored by the values that they weigh in.

I know my devs often think my calls are "wrong" because they assign different values to those I do... But I also know I've been put in the position exactly because I have the perspective I do. The best I can do is try to explain and help them understand, listening when they genuinely see something I've missed.

Comment My First Death (Score 1) 363

"The first cause of death for New York City children under 13"

How many deaths do children get in New York?

First cause of death: Traffic.
Second cause of death: Silver bullets.
Third cause of death: Staking.
Fourth cause of death: Beheading.
Fifth cause of death: Kill it with fire.
Sixth cause of death: Exorcism.
Seventh cause of death: Dream Warriors.

Comment People (Score 2) 215

What other issues do Amazon, DHL, Google, and other need to solve?

People. Bored, often too intelligent for their own good, people.

How long before trolls figure out they can drive their cars close enough and in such a manner that self driving cars execute lane changes to avoid accidents and pull off the freeway? Or until someone realizes they can jam the car's sensors and the poor passenger, with no access to a steering wheel, can't convince the car to pull out of the open parking spot it's convinced it's barricaded in?

How long before an Amazon delivery drone comes in to a house that's observed to regularly get deliveries and gets a blanket tossed over it before being purloined by nerds who just got a sweet free drone to try hacking?

Wind gusts happen. You can factor in for a typical wind gust, a severe wind gust, a once in a century wind gust. You can factor in for different types of hardware failure, for power loss, etc. You can factor in for trees, for tall buildings, for cables... They're finite problem sets.

But bored people? They're infinite.

Comment If iPods/iPhones Have Taught Me Anything... (Score 4, Insightful) 174

So I'll have to rewire my house every couple of years when they change from one proprietary cable standard to another?

iPod: Firewire. Buy lots of firewire connectors.
Newer iPod/iPhone: Dock connector. Toss all of your firewire accessories and move to dock connectors.
Newer iPhones: Lightning connector. Toss all of your dock connector accessories, move to lightning.

Everyone else gets to stick with USB that doesn't carry a $10 premium per cable/device because Apple just invented another proprietary standard.

Comment Don't Assume The Worst... (Score 1) 552

Absolutely do what you can to work with the moment. But... While the doctors may be giving you bleak prognoses, from experience, they're pretty much winging it when it comes to the brain.

My wife was in a massive car accident. Shattered arm, collapsed lung, multiple breaks to her jaw, cracked eye socket, brain injuries. They induced a coma to keep her alive long enough to get her to a major hospital, called family to her bedside with a prognosis of, "IF she survives the night, it's 50:50 if she'll live." At that point, her brain stem was busy trying to retreat out of the back of her neck.

It was two weeks before they could get any response out of her, another two before she was aware. At that point, they wanted to amputate her arm and told her parents she'd never walk more than a few paces at best, would never look after herself.

Consent was given for the amputation though her mother asked the surgeon to simply do whatever he'd do for his own daughter. He spent eleven hours wiring it together and told her mother he'd most likely be back in to amputate but he'd given it a shot.

Fast forward two years, the arm survived. The girl who'd never walk more than a few paces was out of her wheelchair and starting to try to build a life on her own. In a settlement hearing (she'd bought "unlimited" coverage car insurance for the wreck she was in but there was small print saying they could modify at any time and they swapped it to $100k max five days before the accident) they acknowledged she was lucky to be walking but even the insurance lawyers, whose job was to minimize her injuries, acknowledged she'd probably never be able to return to school. No longer being able to read was a big part of that. And a huge loss to a National Merit scholarship winner, English major and librarian.

About another two years later... I'd taught her how to read again. She'd been living on her own. She returned to school. Started off barely making Cs. GPA went up every semester. She got straight As in her final semester. She now has two degrees, is a certified personal trainer and works in physical therapy. If she doesn't tell people about her injuries, they've absolutely no idea. Not bad for someone who the doctors declared would probably die, would never walk again, never look after herself and never return to school.

To message to take from this is that Traumatic Brain Injuries are absolute bitches but the medical profession has educated guesses about outcomes at best. You read up on neuroplasticity and the like and you realize they're really only just beginning to get an idea of what's possible. There are even stories of key researchers whose family members had strokes, who ignored all of the expert advice and got them back moving again by doing everything "wrong."

So days, weeks, months in... Just because the doctors tell you to prepare for the worst, don't give up. The brain does amazing things, often things they're completely clueless about it being able to do.

Comment When You Sollicit It? (Score 5, Insightful) 166

Tarantino's lawyers are arguing that it wasn't available online - until Gawker offered to pay anyone who leaked a copy.

It's not illegal to report a murder. It is illegal to say, "I'll pay $10,000 for the exclusive story for the person who kills my wife."

IANAL and I've no idea whether that analogy holds true for copyright but it's apparently the angle Tarantino's lawyers are pursuing - that it's not the linking so much as the linking to an act they solicited.

Comment Re:All the better.. (Score 5, Informative) 204

“The South Dakota fair is close and gives our kids another opportunity to present their work,” Scribner said. “I think that was some of our motivation, and it did give our kids another chance to qualify.

The school absolutely used multiple fairs to get extra chances to qualify - they outright say so. And that's exactly why the rule's in place.

They put the rule in place to stop people failing at one using other fairs as a chance to succeed at another. He failed at one then used another to succeed. The school uses the second fair for exactly that purpose. And then they're shocked when they discover there was a rule to prevent the loophole they thought they'd discovered. That's not an unintended consequence. That's the intended consequence.

Comment Re:World of Warcraft (Score 2) 400

Simcity was just a botched attempt to do what mmo do.

No. SimCity was a blatant attempt to impose DRM through the absolute lie that powerful calculations were carried out on the server.

Simple logic would tell you that it was a lie: To claim the servers offered more power than the desktop machines is to imply EA/Maxis stood up a server farm that was "more powerful" than gamers' home rigs. Even without the GPU, you've got to figure that'd be a couple of hundred dollars (let's say $200). Figure on gamers using the game at least 20% of the time during the launch month. That's $40 in server costs... For a $60 game. Yeah, sure they did that.

Same goes for Microsoft's current claim. The XboxOne comes with an 8 core processor and 500gb HDD. Three times the power of each, huh? Even cheap, non backed up storage alone, that's $60-80 in disk space. Which is illogical as 1.5TB would take forever at most people's net connection speeds. Add in another couple of hundred for the processors? For a console that'll launch at, what, $500? Consoles that are famous for running at a loss at launch and slim margins thereafter. And half the retail price goes to server AWESOMEZ?

In both cases, claims of amazing server power is an absolute lie to justify the real goal: Force users to connect to the server, attached to a single key you can track, piracy ceases to be such an issue.

And if there was any doubt about just how little processing power SimCity's servers provided, despite claims that hugely complex tasks could be offloaded, making a game like SC5 impossible without the cloud? The game keeps running, just fine, for a good twenty minutes after it loses its net connection. Cloud saves and a microscopic amount of processing to say, "this is the state of other cities in the region," is about it.

MMOs handle a huge amount of game state on the servers that has to be synchronized in real time. The difficulty of piracy is a nice side effect but a side effect nonetheless. SimCity 5 and the XBoxOne are both blatant attempts to make piracy as difficult as possible while waving the false flag of awesome server side processing.

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