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Comment Re:I'm not sure it is (Score 5, Insightful) 442

To be honest, I don't think he's exactly wrong to say that unbreakable encryption is a public safety issue. It's an issue. It's an issue we can debate and think about and talk about. If encryption is unbreakable, then it makes it harder for law enforcement to do certain things that they might validly want to do.

On the other hand, if people can't encrypt their data (or that encryption is breakable), then it creates an entirely different set of problems. People can't safeguard their data or protect their systems. It increases the vulnerability of our infrastructure. It increases the chances that criminals and terrorists can gain access to important and private information.

There are going to be real valid problems either way. There should be open discussions about what all of those problems are, and how we can mitigate them. But ultimately, I don't think breakable encryption (or backdoored encryption) is a viable long-term option, even if we were willing to live in a police state. The ability to break or circumvent encryption will inevitably fall into the hands of criminals.

Comment Re:Red-State Favoritism? (Score 1) 317

Given the fact that he's a giant elderly toddler, I don't doubt it. However, this might be the one instance where I'd be ok with letting it slide. If the government wants to do any kind of economic stimulus, building and repairing infrastructure is probably the best thing it can do (assuming the infrastructure is needed and not just a boondoggle).

Building decent internet infrastructure might be one of the best options, as far as building infrastructure goes. The modern economy runs on computers and internet. Even if you're not doing anything specifically technological, the increased access to information, communication, and collaboration provides increased opportunity and efficiency. (That's an oversimplification, but true enough) Having access to the Internet is also vital for education, in order to get students prepared to work in this economy.

There are other good options. Overhauling the electric grid. Building out solar or wind farms. Repairing existing roads and bridges. Building a decent rail system. I'm sure others. Do it for cities, do it for more rural communities. It'll create opportunities for economic growth wherever you do it.

Comment Re:Red-State Favoritism? (Score 1) 317

Well if you want to look at the big picture, areas that have dense population tend to tilt blue. Areas that have dense populations also need more local taxes in order to deal with the increased need to regulation and infrastructure-- i.e. the 300 square miles of NYC needs more spending and upkeep than 300 square miles in the middle of nowhere.

But also, that 300 square miles around NYC produces a disproportionate amount of economic activity and tax revenue. The 300 square miles in the middle of nowhere contributes almost nothing to American economy, at least not in any direct way. That 300 square miles is probably getting subsidized with more tax money than it's generating.

Comment Re:$$S (Score 2) 313

but they will use their excuse that it was to save battery life and money for the customer.

That's not quite what they said. They said as the battery got older and didn't work as well, a surge of activity could cause the phone to draw more power than the battery could deliver, which caused the phone to turn itself off. They already had functionality to throttle the CPU in order to save battery life, so they adjusted the way that functionality worked to prevent the phones from crashing.

Comment Re: I tried this ... (Score 1) 160

I think LordKronos was pointing out that the login page seemed to disallow you from trying to log into that account via a dynamic update to the web page (You went to log in and the text box updated with an X). Hopefully they actually did something more substantive to block the login, rather than simply inserting a script that blocks using that login-- the reason being that an attacker could block the script from running.

That's a bunch of speculation, and hopefully WD isn't that stupid.

Comment They're right... (Score 1) 230

"Well, it depends on what you like," the salesman said, somewhat coyly.

Honestly, I don't see why this is anything about the correct answer. Which phone you should buy *does* depend on what you like. You want a small iPhone? The iPhone SE is for you. You want a cheap iPhone? Again, the iPhone SE. You want one of those giant iPhones? The iPhone 8 Plus is a good choice. You want a solid Android phone? Maybe the Google Pixel 2 is a good option?

The iPhone X is a good option if you're looking for Apple's bleeding-edge phone, and have no qualms paying a premium for it. Apple said at launch that they were calling it the iPhone X (X being the roman numeral for 10) because it was what they thought the future iPhone would look like. They marketed buying the iPhone X like if you were buying a concept car. It's cool and future-looking, but expensive and maybe not thoroughly tested and thought-out. Whether that's bullshit or not, my point is that they didn't even market it as "This is the phone for everyone." They marketed it as, "This is the phone for the people who want the latest coolest thing. Otherwise, get one of our normal phones."

Comment Re:iPhones drove smartphones to the masses... then (Score 1) 230

Cases are a necessity because these devices are designed to be fragile

I don't know if that's fair. Shortly after the first iPhone was released, it became evident that people kept cracking the screen, and people started buying cases. People buy cases for pretty much every smart phone, not just Apple's. But people still like their phones to be as thin and light as possible, so that's what Apple provides.

unfortunately every handset OEM is convinced they must follow Apple's lead.

It kind of works both ways. I think one of the worst design decisions that Apple's made with the iPhone is to go big. In my personal view, the iPhone SE is still the "right size" for a phone to be, but Apple saw that big Android phones were selling, so they had to mimic it.

Comment Re:Why even bother with deadlines? (Score 1) 123

Well again, I think I still wouldn't call it a failure just because the deadline is missed. I think you can label it a failure if the outcome is bad. If you're talking specifically about software development, if the release is a buggy piece of crap, that's a failure.

So if your manager sets the goal to implement a bunch of new features by a certain arbitrary, but they instead implement those feature later than that deadline, and then it's all good and everything works great, that doesn't seem like a failure to me. If, instead, they drop some of the proposed features for that release, but still release a substantial high-quality update by the deadline, that also doesn't seem like a failure to me. Sometimes you might include some aspirational goals that you don't expect to reach anyway, but as long as you get done the things that actually need to get done, by the time they need to get done, that's a success.

However, if management insists on reaching arbitrary goals by arbitrary deadlines, and the result is a bunch of overworked developers pushing out buggy updates with crappy half-finished features, then that's a failure. That's bad management.

In disciplines like Operations Research the rule is to never fill the work queue greater than 75% [1]. Otherwise if anything goes wrong you're hosed.

I guess my point here would be, if you fill it to 100%, or even 120%, but everything is properly prioritized and you're ok with only that 75% getting completed, then what's the difference?

I might give someone 20 tasks to do before a set deadline with the understanding that they'll only complete around 7 of them. Why? Because I could be wrong. Maybe he can do 10. Or 15. There's no reason for anyone to run out of things to do. I could be wrong in the other direction, and he only completes 5. The important thing is to prioritize, and to know which tasks actually have to be completed. It might be that we really only need those 5 tasks completed before the deadline and we're fine. Or it could be that we needed him to complete 6 tasks, in which case, we'll have to push the deadline back. And that might be fine as long as that deadline is arbitrary. It's still not a failure, and doesn't necessarily need an analysis of what went wrong, because nothing really went wrong.

If I'm giving 20 tasks and a deadline that only allows 7 tasks to be completed, and I still expect all 20 to be complete, that's when there's a problem. If only 7 tasks got completed when you really needed 20 by the deadline, and the deadline wasn't arbitrary, then that's a failure that requires analysis.

Comment Re:Why even bother with deadlines? (Score 1) 123

Yes, I agree that your plan should have wiggle room. I think that's what you mean. I've always padded my estimates for timelines and budgets, and I try to underplay what I expect to be able to deliver. Not to be dishonest or get away with anything, but more like operating on the Scotty Principle.(definition, source, source)

But basically, I'll take the amount of time that I think something will take. Then I double it. Then I pad it some more. And then, even then, I expect that I'm not actually going to meet my deadline. I run the whole project on the expectation that things will go far worse then expected, even when I'm planning for everything to go wrong, and then I plan ahead for what sacrifices I can live with.

One of the glib ways I've described my whole process is, "I don't make plans. I make contingency plans." That is, I don't spend too much time trying to figure out how things will work if everything goes according to plan. I put my effort into figuring out all the various ways things could go wrong, what I should prioritize in case of a disaster, and various ways I can delivery my highest priorities in the worst-case scenario. Over the years, I've found that it's a much more effective way to think about projects.

Comment Re:Why even bother with deadlines? (Score 1) 123

I understand that, but I would say that, in that sense, almost every project will "fail". Even if everyone does everything right, it's rare that a project will deliver everything it set out to, on time and within budget. It's not even really the fault of the person who developed the plan or managed the project, but just the fact that things rarely go according to plan. The only way to make sure you don't "fail" is to set meager goals to achieve within extremely unambitious deadlines and over-inflated budget.

In that context, I don't think that it's necessarily good to think of it as "failure". If you have a long list of deliverables and you cut a bunch to meet a deadline, but the deadline matters and you get the features you actually need, that's at least a partial success. Maybe it's a total success, if the requirements you started out with had a bunch of unnecessary and unrealistic fluff. Or if you miss an arbitrary deadline that didn't really matter and produce all your deliverables shortly after, that could be a total success too.

Not all deadlines, deliverables, and budgets are created equal. The way I see it is, part of being a good project manager is assessing which things really matter, and then prioritizing those things. If the deadline is extremely important and you get all the deliverables you really needed by that deadline, then yes, you "made the deadline" even if you didn't produce every aspirational deliverable you set out to produce. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Comment Re:Why even bother with deadlines? (Score 1) 123

Yeah, I have a sort of theory of project management that dictates that deadlines can't be taken in isolation. They're actually a part of a triumvirate of priorities: the deadline, the budget, and the required deliverables.

When you're starting a project, you should have a deadline, a budget, and a list of what is to be delivered. However, you should expect by default that not all of them will be met. So then you have to know, which ones can you sacrifice, and how much can you sacrifice them?

For example, let's say you discover that you're not going to be able to meet your deadline. Really, that's not the right way to think about it, in terms of "not meeting your deadline". You might possibly be able to meet your deadline if you throw more resources at it (expand your budget). You can certainly meet your deadline if you cut back on your deliverables (i.e. just deliver whatever you have). So given those options, would you prefer to go over budget to make the deadline, make the deadline by shipping whatever you have, or not deliver on the deadline?

And there's not a real "correct answer". It depends on the project. Sometimes you can't sacrifice one to meet the others. Often, a project will require that you break all three: You'll go over budget, past the deadline, and you won't meet your design specs. However, you have to decide how much you can break which ones. For any project, there's some dollar amount budget that you just can't afford to go over, and some deadline that you can't go past.

The whole thing is way more complicated than what I'm portraying here, but my basic concept here is in line with the quote, "No plan survives first contact with the enemy." You should have a plan with a deadline, budget, and deliverables, but understand that things aren't going to go according to plan. The real question is, when things go sideways, what are you willing to settle for? What parts of the plan are you willing to give up? In some ways, the answer to that question is more important than the actual plan you came up with in the first place.

Comment Re:Is that a problem? (Score 5, Insightful) 179

Why is it bad that the people always favor things that they would like?

I think the point that "Registered Coward" was trying to make is that you have a bunch of "anti-federalists" who claim to object to actions by the Federal government on principle, but who will then happily endorse Federal action when it's in favor of their own pet politics. Basically, he's accusing people of hypocrisy.

Like you have people who are pro-gun, who don't like the idea of the Federal government doing any gun control because it's "Federal overreach". They want gun regulations, if there are any, to be set by the state. They argue that it makes more sense because the culture around guns and the need for a gun in Wyoming may be very different than in Washington D.C., so the people in Washington shouldn't make rules for Wyoming. Ok. Fair enough. I wouldn't necessarily say that's the end of the discussion, but it's a valid point.

But then those same people will propose a Federal law mandating that a gun permit from any state should be honored in all states. Basically, if Wyoming allows any random idiot without training to carry a concealed weapon, they want the Federal government to intervene and tell every other state to allow those same idiots to carry a concealed weapon. It's still the Federal government trying to override the state's decisions on gun control, but when the Federal government is overriding the states in a way they like, they're fine with it. Ergo, the objection to "Federal overreach" is not based on any principle. It's really just that they don't like what the federal government is doing, so they're making up fake "principles" for rhetorical purposes.

Not that there aren't genuine libertarians and anti-federalists, but a lot of the "libertarians" aren't libertarians, and the "anti-federalists" aren't opposed to federal action. A lot of them are a bunch of crybabies who are making up nonsense because they aren't getting their way.

Comment Re:States' Rights (Score 1) 179

Good! If the citizens of California and New York feel these rules are necessary and important they should be able to dictate such rules as they see fit.

That's nice in theory, and it may be what needs to happen if the Federal government abdicates its responsibilities. BUT there's also a problem with this setup: Instead of having one Federal law to abide by, any company whose operations cross state lines will need to juggle different regulations for each state. They need to parse the laws in each state, change their rules and processes in each state, and possibly contend with different lawsuits/penalties in each state.

That sort of thing costs a bunch of money and creates a bunch of inefficiencies. It makes it harder to run a business.

Comment Re:They're close (Score 1) 294

Google has nowhere near that level of stranglehold

Yeah, there are a couple of major differences. First, isn't Chrome open source? At least most of it? It's hard to argue that Chrome is ensuring vendor lock-in to the extent that the source code is available to be forked. But also, Chrome isn't really able to leverage such a dominant OS to force the browser on people. There's Android and ChromeOS, but neither really give Google the level of control over the computer market that Microsoft had back in the day. Web developers are generally not going to create websites that won't work in Firefox and Safari.

Comment Re:Bona fide documentary film makers (Score 1) 107

Documentaries or films are speech, not a campaign contribution.

Well it seems that was part of the dispute: How do you distinguish between a documentary film with a political slant and a campaign commercial pretending to be a documentary?

The answer seems to be: You can't. Not really.

None of that changes that Citizens United doesn't produce bona fide documentaries. They produce campaign advertisements disguised as documentaries. It's sort of like how late-night infomercials sometimes pretend to be talk shows. They're ads.

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