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Comment Re:Malice? (Score 4, Interesting) 451

I have seen discussions on HARP on Slashdot before - and some interesting comments relating to it that have always stuck with me.

One story was about a grandfather who worked on HARP - said he told stories of having to be taken to the dentist by armed guard and watched while he went under gas in case he started to talk. Then about 3 posts down someone basically tells the same story and ends with his grandfather telling him: "I dont know exactly what we are building, but it ain't for watching the weather, thats for sure."

So before we all go "tin foil hat alert!" this may be more than a case of 'whipping up enemies' and 'passing the buck' - this might be a little glimpse into a world we are rarely told of...

Comment Re:"The Year Of" (Score 1) 584

So everyone is assuming Apple isnt going to debut a 7" tablet in January? Or at all in 2012 and will quietly let their marketshare slip away?

The reason the 10" market was trounced by the iPad had a lot to do with the fact that manufacturers couldnt compete with the hardware Apple put together at that price point. While Amazon and Barnes and Noble have nice kit they can sell at a loss assuming they can make it back in their stores - Apple has that same revenue model PLUS actual experience and a rabid user base.

Comment Re:RIM is probably on the way out. (Score 5, Interesting) 114

I had an argument with one of the China RIM execs that got thrown off of a plane and arrested last week (boy is he a fun drunk to be around) 3 or 4 years ago. And I told him the same thing:

Me: "Yeah Blackberry is THE business solution at the moment but as an IT guy myself people are already starting to ask how they can get these new fangled iPhones into the business. There is going to be a trickle up effect that you guys sho-."

Him: "What are you an idiot! Apple has NO chance at EVER unseating us. Are you kidding me?! What the hell does a punk like you know?"

And in this manner he carried on and drank long into the night: Blackberry has NOTHING to fear, the iPhone is a toy (just look at the games), and consumers have ZERO effect on business purchases.

And every time I read another death knell for RIM I think of that jackass. If he was one of their global decision makers, and that attitude fit into their corporate culture.... They were lucky to last this long.

Comment So can someone answer this: (Score 4, Interesting) 747

How will this actually become practical?

From my understanding this breaks the HDMI cable protection, more than anything re-opening 'the analog hole' except with full digital goodness if someone hacks the firmware on a player they can then use the signal freely. Expect many more downloads from 'the usual sources' of HD content....

Will be interesting to see how the industry reacts to this. As all these machines today have upgradeable firmwares and internet connection that wont be able to totally close this break in the hardware spec itself but may cause problems for those seeking to exploit this leak. As we know these companies are more than used to harassing customers for their own interests.

I for one welcome the new freedoms that come with this. Too many devices out now based on the standard for the industry to change overnight - the cat is out of the proverbial bag.


Child Abuse Verdict Held Back By MS Word Glitch 191

An anonymous reader writes "Last week several defendants including one high-profile TV presenter were sentenced in Portugal in what has been known as the Casa Pia scandal. The judges delivered on September 3 a summary of the 2000-page verdict, which would be disclosed in full only three days later. The disclosure of the full verdict has been postponed from September 8 to a yet-to-be-announced date, allegedly because the full document was written in several MS Word files which, when merged together, retained 'computer related annotations which should not be present in any legal document.' (Google translated article.) Microsoft specialists were called in to help the judges sort out the 'text formatting glitch,' while the defendants and their lawyers eagerly wait to access the full text of the verdict."

Ray Kurzweil Responds To PZ Myers 238

On Tuesday we discussed a scathing critique of Ray Kurzweil's understanding of the brain written by PZ Myers. Reader Amara notes that Kurzweil has now responded on his blog. Quoting: "Myers, who apparently based his second-hand comments on erroneous press reports (he wasn't at my talk), [claims] that my thesis is that we will reverse-engineer the brain from the genome. This is not at all what I said in my presentation to the Singularity Summit. I explicitly said that our quest to understand the principles of operation of the brain is based on many types of studies — from detailed molecular studies of individual neurons, to scans of neural connection patterns, to studies of the function of neural clusters, and many other approaches. I did not present studying the genome as even part of the strategy for reverse-engineering the brain."

Comment Re:What a career aspiration these guys must have (Score 5, Interesting) 145

Normally I wouldnt comment on this but as I did this TODAY ill chime in..

I live and work in Beijing and these sort of opportunities come up through the grapevine fairly often - and as weird of a position that it is it somehow makes sense out here. You really have to realize how important 'face' is in China - especially when doing business.

The article is kind of dumb (and of course had been passed around the foreigner community last week to great laughs) but it isnt wrong per se. Having a 'laowai' ('old foreigner') around is good for your social standing. Today I had a client ask to take me out to dinner - which is abnormal - this guy never asks me out to dinner. When I pressed him on the reason he just said 'To introduce you to some friends.' When I arrived tonight I figured it out instantly: I was there to be the token white guy and to give this guy face. To his clients he just became that much more worldly and respectable because he keeps foreigner friends - this man obviously has some connections.

It seems odd and racist (which it is - dont get me wrong) but in a country that probably doesnt even have a word for 'multiculturalism' it works. So tonight I was 'token white friend', I made a couple of good contacts myself, I gave my boss face, and was treated to an amazing dinner where I was marvelled at for my ability to use chopsticks, speak Chinese, and drink 'Chinese white wine.'

Why the hell not? Someone has to make this country open to the outside world and different cultures - daily im doing my part. And for all the times I get harassed for being white I might as well get paid and treated for it on occasion as well.

Sorry is this is just an incoherent rant - but the aforementioned white wine is well on top of me at this point.

Comment Re:Security, not privacy (Score 3, Informative) 126

I actually find this good news as I was worried there for a minute that Facebook was actually 'getting it' finally and was going to revamp its privacy policies in wake of all of the nasty criticism and high profile people leaving the site. Projects like Diaspora* can hopefully fill in the gaps that Facebook seems oblivious to. I have heard the criticisms that Diaspora* will be only for the technically adept - but I can see companies popping up to fill in the gaps if the market arises.

"The Network Effect" makes FB place incredibly useful and of course power users can wade through everything and get some decent privacy from the service - but I long for the day when that site is clearly in a myspace-esqe death spin as normal users start fleeing for better alternatives. It is the net; everything dies, so it goes. No juggernaut (AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, Napster, Myspace....) has been able to tame it. Facebook will be no different - and all the faster with their current disregard for their userbase.

Comment So when does Canonical need to start making money? (Score 3, Insightful) 165

So if it wasnt set up to make money for the last 5 years - but that time is over - what changes will we see?

Will the growth in cloud / corporate paid users be enough to make the company and quality of the distribution grow ala Red Hat (which some would argue pushed the focus on users to the side for corporate..)?

Or will the money not be enough and will start to put the crunch on Ubuntu - and what end user ramifications would that have?

Sorry nothing but questions here...

Comment No sandboxes (Score 2, Insightful) 980

Apple is perfectly within their rights to not allow programs that will then run arbitrary code on their devices. No court would uphold this and im sure Apples lawyers have already done a preliminary job of putting together a case if this were to happen.

IANAL but it seems pretty airtight that Apple can decide arbitrarily what to run -on their own devices- especially when there are literally millions of phones/platforms that will let you do anything. Did Adobe really think Flash was going to be on top forever? Pretty shortsighted for a tech company if they did. With all the new ossum features in HTML5 why is anyone complaining that Apple is replacing a proprietary format with an open one anyways?

Comment Because US was using twitter as a weapon...? (Score 2, Interesting) 149

Among other shady things we have been up to....

China (as well as Iran and Al-Jazeera) accused the US in state newspapers of using twitter to sow discord in Iran by creating accounts and distributing false information to get people whipped up during the protests. They even linked to a few of the particularly shady accounts that dont seem to really be people on the ground but gained thousands of followers by supplying news of people being shot in the street and leaders (falsely) being arrested.

It is no wonder that Iran and China have taken steps to limit the influence that the US can have in domestic affairs by simply creating a twitter troll account.

Information warfare on the web 2.0... Interesting stuff.

Comment Comorbidity (Score 3, Insightful) 360

In the long run this will also be likely linked to Aspergers Syndrome and other dissociative / personality disorders that we are diagnosing with much greater frequency today in that it reduces peoples interactions with actual human beings (at least vs our 'un-evolved' predecessors) to the point where children are not growing up with a firm grasp of social cues in relation to body language, tone of voice, etc....

Thank Christ I was raised in a time before 4chan....

Comment Re:We are focused on symptoms and fear (Score 1) 370

I couldnt agree more.

What we have now is 'security theatre' that we are convinced 'doesn't work' because everytime we turn on the tv the news is fear mongering us into believing that the bogeyman is just waiting to pounce.

If you read about the terrorism operations that have been stopped in the last few years _many_ of them have one truly scary thing in common: they were set up by government informants that just recruited a few yokels from a local mosque by offering them money / weapons and whipping previously just hot headed people into actually doing something. The attempted 'missile' attack in NYC about 6 months ago was a perfect example. The heads of the mosque had actually complained to the police that there was some nut offering people money to join his group - but nothing was done because he was a government guy and this is exactly what they wanted to happen.

John C Dvorak made a good point (gasp!) a few weeks ago on his blog: if terrorists are so bound and determined to get a plane down in the US why havent any snuck in a shoulder fired missile over the Mexican border along with the constant flow of immigrants every night? Why hasnt someone just blown themselves up in a security line at the airport (like they do in Israel where terrorism is truly a problem) instead of a poorly hatched plan to blow up their shoes or underwear while on a plane?

Why are we letting the goverment and media convince us that our doom is imminent (the entire point of terrorism) instead of going about our lives?

I find this is the major 'problem' in our current system.

Full disclosure: I live in China where 'terrorism' doesnt exist. Even in the rare cases that something does happen (a bus was blown up before the Olympics in Beijing near my home) it doesnt make the news, it isnt given any chance to 'terrorize' the public, and gives potential terrorists no incentive to try something again. The results are pretty clear - ask any Beijinger about the terrorist problem in China and they will say: "Oh thats an American problem, we dont have that here"

And theyre right.

Comment Re:Two predictions (Score 1) 320

Wednesday Baidu went up 53 points for a 13.7% jump and today it rose 2.2% to close at a 52 week high.

So I was wrong, (repeated what my boss mentioned today without fact checking) but based on Wednesday mornings opening price it was damn near a 20% rise. And im sure that trend will continue - especially if (when) China just blocks them and gives away 35.6% of the Chinese search market....

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