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Comment Re:Same mistakes again (Score 2) 169

so why add complexity and a bunch more points of potential failure

You nailed it.

Why add complexity and a bunch more points of potential failure which Apple is responsible for, when the user who consistently needs these features can simply clutter his or her rucksack (and packing reminder list) with unreliable knock-off port adaptors which Apple can forever disavow?

As if anyone would want Apple quality control end to end.

Comment Re:Stability? (Score 1) 126

Windows 8 and Windows 10 were successes. Linux's inability to capture anything more than maybe 3% of the desktop market after two decades of trying is the real failure here.

Of the 10% of the population who were willing to fight constant battles with DRM and game-proof their hardware, Linux on the desktop captured nearly 30% of the market.

Comment actual technical disclosure? (Score 1) 151

I was extremely snarky in another post about an MBA-level chit chat on YouTube that revealed basically nothing.

Now I've tracked down a 1.5 hour technical talk featuring Mike Cordano, Dave Tang, Janet George, Brendan Collins, and Jimmy Zhu.

Technology of the Future: Western Digital Announces MAMR for Next Generation HDDs — 12 October 2017

The first 6m30 are disposable, that's as far as I made it so far.

This was via a failure forum where Seagate employees gather to trash Seagate management. Wow, what a potent reminder of the Y2K post-bubble apocalypse.

Comment Wharton MBA fail whale (Score 1) 151

Jeff Frick interviews Brendan Collins on MAMR — 12 October 2017

15 seconds logo rotation.
30 seconds lip-gloss application.
30 seconds applied lip gloss.

At 2 m mark there's a flaccid PMR confession.

2m30 Finally, a useful question. Answer mentions head process "Damascene".

3m30 three enabling technologies for last three to four years: helium, microactuation, Damascene process.

Then, effectively "this new thing today makes things better blah blah blah track density blah blah blah linear density blah blah blah".

4m50 guest decries "host-side modifications" and notes that HARM requires wear-levelling, which introduces host-side modifications.

Then a truly inane comment from Frick, "heat is bad, isn't it, for everything in electronics?", which causes Collins to chuckle nervously, before he vigorously redirects, managing to instantly step in it himself noting "an order of magnitude heat difference".

Hmmm. HAMR runs circa 900 degrees K, so that would place MAMR around 90 degrees K (we'll exclude 9000 degrees K). If true, could require innovations involving liquid nitrogen. I think he meant "differential heat change", but he realizes he's talking to a Wharton MBA, so he kindly lays up.

6m30 MBA-style "more, more, more" masturbation. Ack! Thppt! (Bill the Cat saying "gag me with a spoon, and I mean right now".)

This is not a Wharton recruitment video.

Comment I'm feeling the shaft vibrations (Score 1) 151

The very first hard drive, the IBM 350 RAMAC, had fifty 24-inch platters. If we went back to that form factor, with this new technology you could pack over 130,000 TB into a single drive!


When you're trying to recover a spinning-rust ZFS volume, what you really care about is independent head-servos per terabyte, if you want your mean-time-to-recover to be a smaller number than your mean-time-to-cascading-failure.

Sure, you could build a viable ZFS storage system using multi-petabyte hard drives, so long as you can perform a complete drive read (semi-sequential) in under 24 hours (for a 24 PB drive, that works out to a sustained per-drive semi-sequential bandwidth of 280 GB/s).

And then you'd need a really stiff platter axle, and fluid dynamic bearings able to support a 5 kg platter assembly, spinning extremely fast, with no wobble whatsoever, unmaintained, for years and years.

On top of reports that Singleton and Jackson had many disagreements on the set, there were stories that neither of them much liked the Price screenplay, maybe because it nailed the small moments but missed the broader Shaftian strokes. (source)

Comment responsible narrative (Score 1) 211

fake russia-gate narrative is reaching absurdist proportions

Hmmm, "is reaching". Passive verb phrase anchoring your lead sentence.

As Pinker points out in more than one book, the principle advantage of the passive voice is to avoid naming the subject conducting the action.

The subject of your sentence is "fake russia-gate narrative", which in this construction effectively behaves as topic, not subject. And it's already wrong, because "-gate" is a suffix that principally denotes criminal coverup (Nixon's more serious crime). Not a single item in your list concerns any kind of cover up (though a few that might warrant a cover up).

Does your adjective "fake" then apply to your misapplication of "-gate"? Well, it could, but it probably doesn't, as most readers would sort your intent here.

If there wasn't the possibility here of criminal collusion with the Russians on the part of several tight-lipped members of the Trump family (Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner) and prominent tight-lipped officials within the Trump administration (in the first row, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Michael T. Flynn; in the second row Roger Stone, Rick Dearborn, George Papadopoulos, and Wilbur Ross; in the third row, Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer via Cambridge Analytica) this would not be a "gate" narrative whatsoever.

I use the modifier "tight-lipped" because—despite norms and procedures designed to strongly encourage or legally require full disclosure concerning interactions with foreign nationals—we had to learn about these connections the hard way in almost every case.

Who, then, is the subject engaged in spinning this "fake russia-gate narrative" willfully elided from your opening sentence?

It is nearly a universal principle of tradecraft that no narrative about anything important is allowed to exist uncorrupted. If the opposing interests don't corrupt it automatically in the normal course of events, then interests benefitting from a general climate of less clarity are sure to step into the breach.

All joint narratives are fake narratives. To discriminate the true from the false, the valid from the invalid, one has to break some eggs.

Nameless eggs, in your case.

The vast majority of responsible news reporting has operated since the beginning on the heuristic of "where there's smoke, there's fire". Usually a hunch or vague suspicion precedes discovery of a smoking gun. Maddow bends over backwards to frame "smoke" stories in language such as "what this would seem to suggest". Like the Y Combinator, a fair number of these early smoke stories graduated to attain full unicorn status—and loving it.

The main exception to this rule are the more "salacious" aspects of the Steele dossier. Short of serving a subpoena to the Kremlin, these wilder allegations from the standard-issue shit stew of raw intelligence will probably remain unconfirmed. Colbert is by far the worst offender here, leaning on the pee tapes over and over again for cheap laughs, despite this having the least prospect of demonstrated credibility. Whenever the dossier comes up, Maddow keeps repeating "and other salacious allegations" and then refuses to go there.

Next, the whole point of the Mueller investigation is to assign responsibility where responsibility belongs, despite certain cretins fervently wishing otherwise.

Non-fake narrative (subtype "gate"): a worrisome number of people in the Trump administration had ties to Russia which they systematically concealed, criminally concealed, downplayed, covered up, neglected to recall, or lied about. Once discovered, most of these ties were directly confirmed by the person responsible. Snopes verdict: 100% confirmed.

Non-fake narrative (subtype "tradecraft"): the Russians are engaged in a global disinformation strategy to undermine democratic norms and thereby weaken their democratic adversaries. Snopes verdict: Well, duh!

Tentative narrative (subtype "sometimes overblown due to sensationalism and laziness"): various members of the Trump family or administration actively welcomed, encouraged, or abetted Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election cycle. Snopes verdict: 60% proven on public evidence alone, and constantly getting warmer.

There, that was a demonstration of "responsible" narrative—my little narrative guide to the narratives—just in case you needed a quick primer.

Comment Re:It was harmful... (Score 1) 299

The Cubans are *super keen* to not piss off the Americans right now, other than a few nationalistic grumbles, because post-Fidel Cuba knows that's how it gets out of its rut, but normalizing trade with its wealthy neighbor.

Clearly, any weapon this mysterious is backed by a resolved, national consensus. That much we know.

We also know that incompetence bests malice in the post season every damn time. So my guess is that they were targetting Canadians, but got a few passports mixed up, and ended up angering the Americans completely by accident.

Why Canada? Because the Cuban national consensus is *not* super keen right now to avoid pissing off Canadians.

Comment so we meet again (Score 1) 173

Note: I wrote this without having noticed that Richard Brody was mentioned in the story submission.

For me nearly every movie with a very bad rotten tomato score (below 30%) is not worth going to the theater.

Here's my personal calibration of Tomatoes:

_5 95-100___superb
_4 90-95____great
_3 85-90____good
_2 80-85____weak
_1 60-80____meh
_0 30-60____double meh
-1 _0-30____barrel bottom

If I had to engage in a Netflix-style 1-5 rating system (triple meh), then these would be my assigned numerical scores.

Since I agree with Tomatoes about half the time, I would lump 50% of all movies with a score less than 80 on Tomatoes into my "1" bucket , which would encompass everything from beyond terrible to pleasant (but shallow) time wasters.

I have a list of 600 movies I've previously seen, and close to another 400 on deck. Around 75% of my combined lists would score 3 or better on the system above.

I know there are plenty of worthwhile movies (to my own taste) scored by Tomatoes between 40 and 70 percent. The problem is that the filtering gets way harder, and I've got no shortage of options on deck less shrouded in doubt.

Here's a piece of criticism I read recently which I thought was first rate:
The Astonishing Power of "The Master" by Richard Brody

And here's Brody elevating himself to such a high register, I can barely follow his argument:
"Frances Ha" and the Pursuit of Happiness

These are both movies I've watched recently, movies that don't settle into the mind easily, which is more likely to send me scurrying back to Tomatoes to plum various reviews than when I picked the movie in the first place.

Last night we finished The Reader, yet another movie packed with WFT? moments, though in The Reader these "moments" sometimes stretched into dreary 15-minute long siestas. I can usually tell what I really think by whether I read all the green splats or all the red tomatoes first (confirmation bias as dowsing rod FTW). For The Reader I read the splats first. Case closed.

Here's the very last review I read before landing upon this thread:
Roger Ebert on The Fountain

So after looking at the film, I checked out IMDb's "external reviews" section and discovered that, good lord, 221 reviews had been written on "The Fountain." On other sites I discovered that its Metacritic rating was 51 (out of 100) and it scored exactly the same on the Tomatometer.
Can a typical aud member be expected to do the heavy parsing that would figure all this out? I doubt it. Most movies, you like to have them all parsed before you buy the ticket. Did I have it figured out? It didn't take me long, and here was my thinking ...
That said, I will concede the film is not a great success. Too many screens of blinding lights. Too many transitions for their own sake. Abrupt changes of tone.

And yet I believe we have not seen the real film. When a $75 million production goes into turnaround and is made for $35 million, elements get eliminated. When a film telling three stories and spanning thousands of years has a running time of 96 minutes, scenes must have been cut out. There will someday be a Director's Cut of this movie, and that's the cut I want to see.

So, the gutted carcass of what might have been a challenging, engrossing film, which—for someone who is not a professional critic—probably requires one pass for all the complex parsing, and then another pass to imagine the movie it was really trying to be. That's a big investment. A second pass through The Master would probably pay more dividends. And that's why it didn't make my main queue.

Basically, I doubt Scorsese fully understands how modern audiences access the critical resources available, in the modern "it's complicated" era.

Best essay I ever read on criticism was Stanislaw Lem, on the insufficient critical selectorate, in an essay from Microworlds (1986) about how hard it is to merely notice that Philip K. Dick offers up something new and different and profound (Lem fixates on Ubik), until after an initial consensus builds.

There are, however, always a few intrepid souls among us willing to put the disturbing -1s on infinite repeat, and then stick it out until the sun dawns (or the undead rise), which they only notice because they have immersed themselves equally deep in its many rivals—at which point such a person becomes uniquely poised to notice that this cluster of films are all groping, hands outstretched, toward the same fence in their own way, but only one entirely clears the bar.

You're not going to find these highly invested rental clerks by skulking around the aggregation filters. So what? Thus it has always been.

Comment Re:Wikipedia for Dummies (Score 5, Interesting) 304

The explanations there are clear and concise, but simpler than Wikipedia.

Wolfram doesn't have the OR problem (original research).

I've added intermediate-level "translation" text to a few Wikipedia articles, and every time I do this I know I'm at risk of being reverted for OR.

QED for the Layman is a masterpiece of original explanation—and forbidden territory for Wikipedia contributors.

Second, it's very hard to avoid saying something false when interpolating between the basic and the advanced material.

When I've tried this myself, I've estimated that I was hitting around a 90% truthfulness, with the other 10% ranging from vaguely correct to outright howlers (and me not being able to discern the difference).

I consider myself a fairly severe fussbudget in matters of accuracy, which means I trust my estimate that I'm falling short. Except for the experts who wrote the expert material—some of whom are no good at any other level—I'd rate myself fairly high. And I still don't think my intermediate contributions are quite up to encyclopedic standards (and so I mostly only dive in when the article starts out in a pretty bad place).

Unlike the simple level, the intermediate level is precise enough to get yourself into real trouble, here and there, if you're not a subject expert.

The editors who contributed the advanced material, so far as I've noticed, tended to be the 2005-2007 heyday crowd making highly substantive main edits, and not necessarily sticking around for editorial maintenance, or even to assist a less expert author trying to step in and fill the expository gaps.

First and foremost, Wikipedia is process driven, not outcome driven. People need to bear that in mind, and be happy it's as good as it is.

My least favourite articles are the mathematics-heavy articles where 90% of the text is derivational, to the degree where the main points are encoded in lemmas. What I've noticed on these pages is that it's very hard to dive in in any kind of small way. You almost have to first break the existing page's back to steer the page in a different direction.

The final class of pages I've noticed are pages that were basically abandoned 75% finished in the first place. These can often be improved with a quick effort. But if you try to add too much text, you'll fail to provide enough cites (that requires real research). In my experience, one cite attached to a few added sentences usually survives.

And then if you get reverted, the page goes back to the same state, with no warning for the next fool who comes along and tries to make the same edit.

That's what I hate most. Many editors revert a contribution aimed at fixing a problem where they view the fix as problematic, with little concern that the original state was also problematic, while taking no ownership whatsoever of the pre-existing problem.

Now I don't care if 10% of my edits get reverted (be bold), but above that level it begins to feel like a giant waste of time, so I'm careful not to be so bold as to ruin my will to participate in the first place. (One sees many bitter former editors show up in these threads who didn't figure this out soon enough.)

Comment s/market tripe/market clue/g (Score 1) 635

Free country, free to exchange goods and services, and free to engage in known workplace risks for such, yadda yadda yadda.

Not even hard-core neoliberal economists believe this tripe.

There are many categories of market that capitalist democracies prohibit universally and unconditionally, such as selling your children, burial remains (but I dug them up on my property!), endangered-species penis powders (as in "made from" rather than "made for"), consumer products under a severe-hazard safety recall, and Oscar statuettes.

I added that last one just to get your bile up, but before you do, take heed that it's the only one on my short list imposed by the market itself, rather than government fiat.

Why Academy Award Winners Can't Sell Their Oscars

Seriously, raise your game. All you're managing to do is give respectable libertarians a bad reputation.

Whether sexual service constitutes a valid marketplace has been hotly contested in nearly every society known.

Clay Shirky: "Little Rice" | Talks At Google

Around 51m11 Shirky talks about duplicity on the part of the Chinese government in allowing corporate VPNs to bypass the firewall, but not personal firewalls. Somewhere else in that talk, he talks about the (large) category of activities which are "illegal, yet allowed" (until further notice—which will arrive abruptly, if it arrives at all).

Most societies "allow" the dopamine trade (sex, drugs, alcohol) but make substantial efforts to push it to the dark margins. (This compromise vastly predates neoliberal ideology, which hasn't changed a damn thing about how this part of the economy works.)

The one dopamine trade, fructose/sucrose, that historically escaped the heavy thumb, having recently been identified as such (the American metabolic syndrome epidemic is impossible not to notice in the healthcare spending balloon) has actually gone mano a mano in public debate in the way you seem to think this whole sphere operates.

Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule

What this rule amounts to is not having more than half a liter of dangerously sweet liquid show up on your receipt as a single line item (no-one is stopping anyone from ordering a six-pack of 12-ouncers, all for personal consumption; I don't even think the rules prevented McSodaCorp from offering three for the price of two).

Because homo economicus is a giant myth, the inability of McSodaCorp to list the 50-ounce portion on their display menu changes the purchasing behaviour of people who never in their wildest dreams would have purchased a 50-ounce portion (this effect is known as the framing effect). The putative "cap" doesn't stop you from arriving in the same place, supposing you were choosing on such a rational basis in the first place (which most people are not, in small affairs).

I'm legitimately torn and I see both sides. On this issue, I think either path is viable. A society might choose more nudge or less nudge, and then experience different pros and cons (please note when adding up the utilitarian total that the prematurely dead fail to exercise much big-f Freedom during the imprudently excised portion of their otherwise naturally allotted span).

Society also regulates alcohol portion size, but this rarely prevents anyone determined to do so from getting entirely slozzled. Fructose eventually kills through one of the same metabolic pathways by which excess alcohol consumption leads to fatty liver disease. Both chemicals lead to dependency loops, but only one causes people to slur their words. There's even a perspective that alcohol is ultimately less dangerous for many people, because you can only get shit-faced once per evening, rather than three BBQ-sauce and salad-dressing rich meals wedged between eight sugary snacks per day.

You see, there's no such thing as a $20 bill lying on the sidewalk (someone would have already picked it up) and there's no such thing as a bad decision, because the only acceptable metric to determine such a thing is expressed preference.

[*] Turns out all those YouTube "fail" compilations are simply failing to take into account—er, ironically falling short of overtly applauding—the wide, wonderful world of different strokes.

I don't know whether you noticed, but if your brother comes down with hemorrhagic fever, you can't bury him—and his loose piles—in your back yard, while also heaping his splattered effects in loose piles. A certain degree of personal carelessness spills over in unacceptable ways, ideology notwithstanding. (This is also part of the present discussion concerning the quasi-legality of the sex trade.)

In Canada, so far as I've known, my only government photographs are on my passport & driver's license. If I chose not to have a driver's license or a passport (and, lately, also choose to stay indoors a lot), I could have refused my consent to provide the government with any current photograph.

Try finding a young person these days who, forced into this specific ultimatum, would give up Facebook to retain his/her driver's license.

Some putative choices suck ass.

Back in the Old West, we used to enjoy a true civil society. If Wild Bill slapped you on the back as you filed into church on Sunday morning, and asked you in front of everyone if your "date" last night was a "good ride", every man with a backbone in the entire town would be loose-holstered for the entire week to come.

Under the old morality, Facebook's present behaviour would have had it pushing daisies in short, short order.

Comment Re:Remember when? (Score 1) 169

Well, it looks like security was a systemic failure at Equifax, so perhaps it's actually time to suggest that someone with a music degree wasn't qualified for the job?

Jaron Lanier

Knuth Discusses Bach, Pipe Organs, And CS

You: I'm not sure about this hire. Are we really, really, really sure he hasn't got a music degree? I smell a rat.

Now go back to your mother's cave, little boy.

Because the music degree itself is not the problem.

Comment Re:Social Engineering (Score 1) 162

Wow, congratulations on discovering social engineering!

Yeah, no. Whoosh. What we're debating here is social engineering engineering, the kind of engineering a responsible corporation engages in if they're up to speed with the former.

I'm pretty sure this is why Apple wants to include a living retina eye scanner in every phone.

Personally, if I had the option (and an iPhone), I'd set things up so my smart watch's accelerometer first had to detect my left hand performing a sinister Catholic cross before the official password dialog accepted any secure input.

Comment COBOL-grade regoliths of Jericho (Score 1) 223

I don't even get the question. Microsoft is already—to a first and second approximation—Lotus Notes 2.0.

Their primary lock on the enterprise is their proprietary document format, and its extensive integration ecosystem—the many of COBOL-grade regoliths of Jericho—extending from BASIC to Visual Basic to Visual Studio to .NET to SharePoint and beyond.

Windows 10 these days is barely more than a cash register on a busy toll bridge (with a special, express lane for native DirectX 12).

Aside from a legacy investment lock-in (self-inflicted), the four surviving reasons to run Windows 10: you don't care (it came with the damn machine), you play immersive games, you work for a tired corporation, or you exchange documents with a tired corporation.

Make no mistake, this giant pile of dusty rock is built to last. But Microsoft's active relevance is already 80% in the rear-view mirror.

The one thing I will say, though it pains me, is that I've heard it said on more than one machine learning podcast that Microsoft Research is considered among the very best and most progressive of all giant, cutting-edge research labs.

MS Office Helper Not Dead Yet — April 2001

The company has one of the leading centers for research into computational Bayesian systems at its Redmond, Washington, campus. It is also launching a Bayesian research group at its new Cambridge research center.

The company employs three of the leading researchers in the field: Jack Breese, David Heckerman and Eric Horvitz.

"They are three of the best of their generation," D'Ambrosio said. "They are clearly right at the top. They are all world-class people, not only in their theoretical capabilities but in how to inject technology into real-world products."

So we've seen this movie before.

In the mid-90s, the lab built a sophisticated Bayesian prototype called Lumiere that included a "deep" model of user confusion. Microsoft is using the software to help build a smart-help system that knows when to jump in and offer people assistance.
But thanks to time constraints, this unfinished component hasn't made its way into any version of Microsoft Office, including the soon-to-be-released Office XP.
Horvitz recommended that users should be able to control when Clippy comes forward —advice that was also ignored by the decision makers at Microsoft.

How much of this generation's cutting-edge work coming out of Microsoft Research will also be Clippified?

Stay tune for the next soul-crushing chapter.

Or perhaps their new embrace of the Linux ecosystem portends that they've finally learned from their past mistakes (someone remind me to check back again in another five years).

Comment Swear, fucking Cortana, swear. (Score 1) 180

It's ridiculous to even debate this.

If a person (or a machine) overhears a private conversation, and then later—in a completely different context—betrays any understanding of such—name one animated, 3D-chessboard villain who can't sniff betrayal off a single, misplaced syllable—what you've got is a side channel that needs to sleep with the fishes.

The only reason Cortana snoops is to later betray its gleanings though autocorrelated "suggestions".

How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on,
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber'd thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As 'Well, well, we know,' or 'We could, an if we would,'
Or 'If we list to speak,' or 'There be, an if they might,'
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me: this not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you, Swear.

Swear, fucking Cortana, swear.

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