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Comment Re: Choice (Score 1) 263

... the options you complain about already exist.

Well, I fired up a new Chrome window and went to maps.google.com. I then looked around for the options/settings/whatever controls. I didn't find them. I googled "google maps settings options controls" (without the quote), which gave 2.76 million hits. The first few looked encouraging, so I looked at them. They all failed to enlighten me on the topic. One did find "Search options", which has a rather sketchy set of checkable items dealing with google searches. There were several that showed me javascript that I could use to control some options, but attempts to learn how to enter the JS into my copy of google maps didn't turn up anything that worked.

So how might we find the controls that will re-enable the missing city/road names that TFA is talking about? (Yes, I tried adding "city road names" to the list, but it didn't turn up much more than complaints about what's now missing. ;-)

It seems that google has not only dialed such things down; it has also hidden the controls so that we don't have to worry our pretty little heads about such arcane things that we can't possibly understand.

And yeah, I expect that if I had only guessed the right keywords, I'd have found exactly what I wanted. Too bad there's no way to ask google what are the right keywords to find something. ;-)

Comment Re:My Favorite (Score 1) 263

They have made the amazing discovery that if you make text smaller, you can fit more of it on a small screen. This is more efficient, and I'm sure whoever came up with this got highly praised.

If that's true, then how do you explain the way they've cut way back on the number of street and town names on their maps? You'd expect they'd use the small text size to enable labelling of more things, not fewer.

Methinks it's just a classical case of Dumbing Down, which seems to happen to most successful companies as their management shifts into the usual "sell to the maximum number of people, especially the half of the population who can't read" mode.

Comment Re:Why not? (Score 1) 254

So how do we know that he didn't do all the things people are suggesting, cease-and-desist letter, negotiating, etc.? It well could be that he tried to deal reasonably with them, hoping they'd hire him for more work, but they seem to have thumbed their noses at him. We might be reading about the final stage of dealing with a recalcitrant corporate culture, as far as we know. Anyone know more about what might have passed between his discovery of the rather extensive violation of the contract and this lawsuit? There is a somewhat sketchy mention of some sort of negotiation, but TFA doesn't seem to really say much about it.

Comment Re:Open source satellite software? (Score 3, Interesting) 101

It was probably running Linux, first mistake.

Nah; it was probably running ITRON. It may well have included a POSIX library, but that wouldn't qualify it as a version of linux, even if some linux code is included there.

I haven't actually bothered to dig up the info, but that's what anyone acquainted with how such things are done in Japan would guess for a situation with serious RT requirements. Maybe it'd be interesting to investigate, to get an idea whether the OS and system libraries might have had anything to do with the failures.

Comment Re: Buy Low, Sell High (Score 2) 127

If he secretly convinced a bunch of other people to sell without announcing that it was a group decision, just so he could bottom the price and rebuy himself ... thats illegal as shit.

That's not really a very good metaphor. Shit is quite legal in the US and most of the world. The plant nurseries hereabouts are now in full Spring-planting mode, and that includes selling sacks of cattle manure, both raw (dried and ground to a coarse sand) and composted (with the consistency of topsoil). It's fully legal, and good stuff for your garden.

So maybe we should find a more accurate X to use in phrases like "... as X", something that is at least somewhat illegal. ;-)

Comment Re:Did you expect a different result? ~nt~ (Score 1) 321

If you look into the history of the concept of a "corporation", you'll find that it was developed for exactly this purpose. The idea is that if it's illegal for a person to do something, you can create a corporation consisting of several people, together they do the thing that would be illegal for any of them to do, and if there's a legal challenge, they can just say "Hey, I didn't do it; the corporation did." The legal system can punish the corporation if so desired, but the corporation doesn't pass the punishment along to its employees. This is referred to as "limited liability", and it's the primary reason that corporations were invented. It insulates the corporation's owners from legal liability.

Comment Re:Did you expect a different result? ~nt~ (Score 1) 321

... The "Office of Foreign Assets Control" is bound to return the guy's money, if they have it. "Unreasonable ... seizure" is prohibited by the US constitution (amendment #4). It might not happen soon, but unless a court orders otherwise, they can't keep the money. 'Detaining' someone's property can be a problem. I can see it, clearly. Why can't you?

Probably because Venmo is handled by a private corporation (and a flock of banks), and the US Constitution is generally considered by the legal system to apply only to the US government. Corporations can legally do lots of things that the government can't, such as enforce religions, ban unacceptable speech, etc., etc.

There are laws again theft that do apply to corporations, and Venmo may be charged under such laws. But corporations commit thefts like this all the time, and they often get away with it.

(Actually, if Venmo were a government agency, they'd probably drag the suspected terrorist off to a holding cell for a bit of "enhanced interrogation". So maybe the victim should be glad they're only stealing his money. ;-)

Comment Re:Interesting, but.. (Score 1) 381

"Never mind" is two words.

C'mon; everyone accepts "nevertheless" and "nevermore" as single words; "nevermind" is an obvious next entry in that particular list.

Of course, the peevers have to object to anything they didn't learn by 5th grade, including some things that have been part of the language for centuries. (Lately, people have been objecting to usages that date back to published works of Shakespeare. ;-)

To veer slightly in an on-topic direction, such usages might be considered simple cases of text compression to minimize the physical resources needed to communicate them. We can expect lots of compression in data sent back by the proposed probes, including text-message-style features in any textual parts of the data. And when published, we'll see the usual objections from the peevers about the probes' failure to use "standard English".

Comment Re:Solution: don't use emoji (Score 1) 111

If you can't express yourself with pure text, you are an idiot anyway."

Or a speaker of Russian, Thai, Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, Armenian or one of the many other languages that are not written with a Latin-based alphabet.

Or English or Spanish or Esperanto, which are written with a Latin-based alphabet. ;-)

There has been more than a bit of linguistic study of the effectiveness of alphabetic and other writing systems, often dealing with the differences between what can be expressed verbally an in writing. None of our writing systems come very close to matching what can be expressed verbally (though the Unicode phonetic alphabet comes close for many languages).

In one linguistics course I took in college, the prof had a nice demo of the differences between written and spoken English (which he classified as different languages rather than dialects, due to the fact that native speakers have to spend years learning the written "dialect"). He gave us some short sentences, had spoke them with different intonations, and had us discuss the meanings of the utterances. The "winner" was the sentence "They're here." The class came up with 15 readings for which all the native speakers agreed on the meaning, plus a few more that speakers of the same English dialect agreed on but which differed in the different dialects known by classmates. He explained that spoken English is in fact a highly tonal language, with a minimum of 4 tone levels (pitches) and up to 3 tones for some vowels if you want to fully represent it in writing. Length markers are also needed for both vowels and some consonants, but that's a different topic. Linguists have ways of representing such things, but common written English doesn't. And a phonetic system is needed for the phonemes, so that for instance both readings of "read" (present, past) can be distinguished.

So no, you can't use any human language's Latin-based alphabetic representation to fully express the spoken language. OTOH, there are examples in most languages where things can be expressed clearly in writing that are very difficult to communicate by speaking. Many technical subjects have clear examples of this, especially subjects with a mathematical component. In particular, software developers often prefer to communicate via email, because it's so difficult to clearly express your ideas verbally in a way that won't be misunderstood. And there are running jokes going back to pre-computer times about the communication difficulties that groups of techies have when they don't have a blackboard (or whiteboard) to write on.

Comment Re: Need more emoji (Score 1) 111


Excellent example. I read it first on a FF window on a Macbook Pro, where it looked like an o with umlaut followed by a latin capital Y. But I copied it to the "Characters" viewer, which showed me that the first characters was in fact a "LATIN SMALL LETTER ETH". Even enlarging the FF window by several bumps didn't make it look like an eth. So it in fact displayed as a visibly different character in two apps on the same screen on the same computer.

Edit after viewing the Preview: That eth character is displayed by the Preview as a capital letter A with a tilde. But the new edit panel still displays it as an eth that looks more like an o-umlaut, even at a larger font size than I like to use. So it's even more messed up by even this app (Firefox) on this screen on this computer. I wonder what it looks like on other people's screens.

The emojis currently defined by Unicode are beyond hopeless as communication aids. Now if there were only some reliable way to use the ASCII emojis without them being mapped to the little icons on the receiving end. But I guess we've moved on past the stage where emojis are useful for actual communication purposes. The flakey implementations by the major eGadget vendors have reduced them to just artsy decorations with no reliable interpretation.

The rest of the world is slowly "extending" their alphabetic writing systems to a mess that's every bit as poor at actual communication as the mess that is Chinese writing. ;-)

Comment Re:What a shame (Score 1) 251

It's quite sad that in the United States of America, of all places, this is now a legitimate and very real concern. What in the hell happened to this country?

Lessee, I seem to remember that there's a name for the logical error of thinking that the first time you notice something was the first time it ever happened. ... Maybe I should try to dig the term out again and post it here ...


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