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Comment Re:How can you tell that something is conscious? (Score 1) 291

That's assuming a specific type of machine thought. You're assuming that all machines taking the Turing Test are algorithmic constructs, which IMHO is a very bold (and incorrect) assumption. There is every possibility that a machine complex enough to exhibit consciousness could have learned English through a scheme like self-organizing maps, thus you would end up in a situation where spelling is not assured at all, and you could even find some words that have been mis-defined because of a limited training dataset.

Don't draw conclusions about future techs based on what you know of the current standard way of doing things, it's the best way to miss the boat.

Comment Re:Doh! (Score 5, Insightful) 374

Moreover, Microsoft's abandonment of support for XP is a real issue to them. If you're ever in charge of a large number of computers, you may one day understand that.

This is the part of the issue I have a real problem with. I don't like the idea that the U.S. Army is at the mercy of a private entity's marketing strategy. I want rugged long term support for my nation's military. This could be easily achieved with either an in-house or open source based solution. Relying on the release schedule of one specific private entity just to keep functioning seems to be the very definition of folly. I cannot see any reason why SELinux isn't the standard installation for military PCs. It's open, it'll be maintained as long as the Army maintains interest in it, and it's as secure as a fully functional machine gets (IMHO)...

But I digress, this isn't about what they COULD do, this is about what they ARE doing; the U.S. Army is putting itself in a compromising situation under a multinational entity. I cannot fathom how this can be justified, let alone swept aside with corporate mumbo-jumbo about "getting things done". It's the "getting things done" department of any business that releases shoddy products to meet artificial deadlines, only after the "do it right" department has had time to look things over for awhile does the product get stable (if it ever does). This isn't acceptable for something like the military where you need your product to work right, the first time, every time, for as long as it needs to.

Comment Re:Can we (Score 1) 444

I tried to give those books a fair shot, but I've almost ruined myself for fantasy fiction by playing so many good (story-wise) D&D games over the years. Likewise with the horror genre due to my many (and a few very long/detailed) World of Darkness games.

Being involved in creating stories of epic quests with world-shattering results, involving plots where prophesy is heavily intertwined with the fates of powerful and magic-armed characters in both subtle and gross ways dampens the excitement of seeing it told again, albeit slightly differently. Not having a strong personal interest in a character's performance (like the kind a player develops for a character s/he's played for years) makes everything a bit less exciting.

I'd guess the fact that I've had a part in telling stories involving Nephandi, Black Spiral Dancers and Umbral horrors taken directly from nightmares blunts the impact of most scary movies and books, as I've already "dealt" with that fictional scenario before (or something similar). Jerky monsters crawling out of a TV is child's play compared to the atrocities a "family" raised K'llasshaa Nephandus will experience before their 5th birthday, especially if the patron spirit of that band takes an interest in the child. Playing a character from THAT point of view can do more to inspire nightmares than any fictional retelling from someone else's imagination.

I guess the point of it all is, RPGs seem to have taken most of the luster out of certain types of fiction for me, so I wasn't able to finish them (the Wheel of Time books) up, I think I read the first 5 and part of 6. It just seemed kind of, I dunno, limp to me I guess.

Comment CONSPIRACY! Boogety boogety boogety... (Score 3, Interesting) 589

Ah yes, another person who thinks that someone saying any public figure not having the best intentions of God, the universe and puppies in mind is somehow the very same type of person to grab the hem of your coat as you pass, begging you to look up and see the lizards coming out of the giant eye of the pyramid or something.

People who blow off any thought of a public figure with power abusing that power are fools, not serious. History is chock full of small groups of people doing things against public interest for their own benefit. Now that we're in an age of instantaneous secure communication, all of the sudden nothing like that is going on and thinking that it might is grounds to have you mental health examined, or at least derision?

No wonder middle class is dying, it's too easily led away from noticing the people who are killing it, and all it takes is some mindless drivel and a snide remark, usually about tinfoil clothing...

Comment Re:It's already been stated... (Score 4, Insightful) 312

Or they could ask the proper author (I don't know who owns the copyright on that particular portion of OOo) for a license to do so. I betcha that someone interested enough in OOo's future to write a save/load algorithm for it would let Microsoft use it (in part or in whole) for Office. Complete compatibility between the two program suites would work heavily in OOo's favor, for reasons that seem obvious (to me) and that I won't go into to avoid creating a tl;dr situation.

Maybe if someone out there knows anyone (or is on) the OOo team drops the idea of a public offer to give Microsoft a special license to their already working code, some traction could be gained, or at least some light could be shed on the willingness of Microsoft to rectify the situation. I hope they are honestly willing to achieve cross-compatibility, but my guess is that that is likely too optimistic.

GUI

Hardware-Accelerated Graphics On SGI O2 Under NetBSD 75

Zadok_Allan writes "It's a bit late, but since many readers will remember the SGI O2 fondly, this might interest a few. The gist of the story is this: NetBSD now supports hardware accelerated graphics on the O2 both in X and in the kernel. We didn't get any help from SGI, and the documentation available doesn't go beyond a general description and a little theory of operation, which is why it took so long to figure it out. The X driver still has a few rough edges (all the acceleration frameworks pretty much expect a mappable linear framebuffer, if you don't have one — like on most SGI hardware — you'll have to jump through a lot of hoops and make sure there's no falling back to cfb and friends) but it supports XRENDER well enough to run KDE 3.5. Yes, it's usable on a 200MHz R5k O2. Not quite as snappy as any modern hardware but nowhere near as sluggish as you'd expect, and since Xsgi doesn't support any kind of XRENDER support, let alone hardware acceleration, pretty much anything using anti-aliased fonts gets a huge performance boost out of this compared to IRIX."

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