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Comment Of course, they project desires unto you (Score 2) 353

it does put you into the driver's seat alright - that of a train on a single track.

Hint: the passive voice was used in the summary.

We've taken a pretty different approach in the GNOME 3 design that focuses on the desired experience and lets the interface design follow from that

Well, the experience desired by whom? Me? Well, no GNOME developer ever asked me. I bet they didn't ask you either. I think they just sat around and discussed among themselves what users should want, and then created whatever they decided people should want.


Comment But... they're scientists (Score 1) 344

The developers need a good whack will a clue stick.

No no, you see, the usability experts in the GNOME camp are *scientists*.

That means that when they pull a person into their lab and asks them to do a small piece of not-real-work and x% more succeed and do it y seconds faster, that means the interface is objectively better, and the ivory tower economic planners know what's better for you than what you do. Did I say economic? I meant UI...

And never mind that it doesn't capture an essential part of the real work people do. It's scientific and statistically significant, ZOMFG!

Comment Then what's the distinction? (Score 1) 720

Uh, using a GUI doesn't preclude you from editing text.

Isn't that like saying "A CLI is a graphical UI, because the monitor needs to be on to use it" or "A CLI can be made into a GUI by using an on-screen keyboard"?

In my mind there's a real distinction between inventing and typing textual commands, versus choosing stuff from a menu or list of choices. Links (say) is in the latter category. Yes, it's displayed on a text terminal, but it's more like a GUI in that the user chooses from a pre-specified list of commands or actions, rather than composes one of their own.

Some things are not best done by choosing from a list of pre-specified functions.

Comment Concentrated benefits, dispersed costs (Score 1) 278

These corporations are not a threat to tech innovation: Voter apathy is the threat.

I think it's the combination of voter apathy and industry benefit from retardation of progress.

That is, the benefits (of retarded progress) are concentrated in a few hands (the MPAA, RIAA, BSA perhaps, etc.), while the costs are dispersed among a large set of people (the voters and customer base).

This is the classic situation of public choice theory: the concentrated party has low transaction costs to lobbying their side, while the dispersed side has very high transaction costs to lobby their side.

In other words, it's perfectly sane and rational for the unwashed masses to not spend any effort to learn and demand what is good for them: they would have to give up things they value more (family evening, friday night bbq with the buddies, ...).

Comment You're exactly wrong (Score 1) 278

Sorry about the offensive title, but I think it's exactly the other way around

Voter apathy is [a symptom of] a legislative system that decentralizes decision making so much that elected officials are accountable only to their local constituencies and large campaign contributors and a legal system that is focused on the minutiae of rules and processes and that is all too content to lose sight of the bigger picture.

That's centralization. Power is centralized in the hands of fairly few campaign contributors.

Power is centralized in a national parliament and executive run in a way where each member is judged by his/her electors on the member's ability to do good for the few electors rather than the larger whole. If politicians want to stay in power, and only do so if they provide special favors for their voters, expect special favors.

I'm no legal expert, but I believe that just rules and predictable enforcement are valuable. And I like jury nullification, where the jury doesn't say "not guilty, he didn't do that" but rather "not guilty, the law is morally wrong".

For the legislative and executive, Fred Foldvary suggests multi-level federalism: from neighbourhood to city to county or region to state to interstate to nation to international to world, sovereign individuals should get together and solve larger social tasks in the smallest suitable group, deferring power upward only when necessary, and always retaining the right of lower levels to secede and join higher levels as they see fit (subject to payment for and/or loss of services, of course). That is: the solution to bad governance is more competition among those who govern, and rights of individuals to choose whom to be governed by.

Comment A serious take on a ment-to-be-silly point (Score 1) 490

That's it! We'll make career plans a high school requirement!

I think that's one of the least stupid education reform ideas I've heard in a long time.

The problem with western-world school systems (I know because I've experienced one and they're all equal and actually I went to a private school) is that they're compulsory.

One, that drains the motivation out of people. Many things which are fun or acceptable are a pain if they're forced (consider working and having sex). The best you can get out of people if you force their hand is begrudging compliance. That might work for factory labor, but not for intellectual development. At best you'll produce people who know a bundle of facts.

Secondly, it preempts the time of young people. Time which should be spent setting and pursuing your own goals. I think it has been said a million times in a thousand ways, but here's my take---to achieve your goals, you must first set them. Schools are an institution which obstructs the process of setting goals for oneself, working towards them and reaching them. I bet you'd have more successful people if they were put into a habit, from their youth, of setting goals for themselves and working to reach them.

You may worry about educational needs being met if kids are left to their own devices. Consider this: how come little kids ask a bajillion questions and are incredibly curious right up until the point when they're put into school?

But regarding my parent's point: if people only enter high school with a career plan, you'll know that people have a goal and that high school is (at least perceived to be) on the path towards that goal. That will probably mean you'll have more motivated students---why would you be motivated to spend time doing something which doesn't give you anything you want?

Comment Here's one to ponder (Score 1) 490

I agree with your pick of topics, and would like to add one

Consider this: people vote about once every four years (or is it two? And how about non-voters? But I digress...).

People engage in market transactions about once per day (working five days a week, buying groceries saturday and toys/clothes/tickets/... sundays).

Much policy is economic policy, in that it has an intended economic consequence (cheaper healthcare) or cost (military-industrial complex).

How come kids are taught civics and not economics? You can teach people that in the US two-party system, any non-Dem, non-Rep vote is wasted in something like five minutes. Teaching people the consequences of policies (so they can match them against intentions, both their own and those stated in campaign promises) takes a little longer. Also, economics goes a long way to explain the lobbying, corruption and two-party system in the US, once you understand how the incentives of large numbers of individuals interact.

And hey, I bet school kids would hate math a tiny little bit less if they saw how it applies to part of their world ("why do ${products young people want} cost what they cost?").

Comment That's kinda' ironic (Score 1) 161

I can understand why the title talks about Open Source---it would look weird for a "Mr. Proffitt" to talk about "Free" software.

[For the uninitiated: the FSF, and, is about software freedom and software that's free as in free speech. It tends to have a price of zero, but that's a consequence rather than a definitional requirement.]

Comment Collectives = individuals (Score 1) 591

Individual consumers (as opposed to collective market forces) have decided

What does collective market forces mean if not the aggregate (e.g. sum) of individual forces? (Likewise for decisions).

So, what you're saying is that you lament the fact that there weren't enough piracy? 'Cause if there were, that would be a collective market force, right? Or maybe you are against the state-protected temporary monopoly called copyright because it (like any other monopoly) prevents the market forces from doing their thing?

Or did you mean a political (rather than market) force, i.e. the masses should (at great transaction and information costs to each individual, more than what it is worth to most) get together and counter-lobby the politician, fighting back the "copyright industry"? Sadly, widely dispersed small interests tend to not defeat the concentrated, big interests.

TL;DR: I call your bluff. Collective just means many individuals.

Comment Note the assumption about power boundaries (Score 1) 413

Most browsers will lock down cross domain requests.

The assumption in this philosophy is that all the URLs below a particular domain are all owned by the same party.

If*html sources*js, should the js files be trusted?

The other side of the assumption, that each party is limited to one domain, causes inefficiency: if I own and and I want to source qux.js, I can't have that be --- it must be**/qux.js. But if*html wants qux.js, I must put qux.js on also. (I guess virtual hosting and sym/hardlinking comes to the rescue here, and I can stop whining about my tiny, tiny js files being stored twice OH TEH NOESES...)

Comment Warning: too much aggregation (Score 1) 173

The problem [is] that Wikipedia doesn't want the crap in the first place.

There is no "Wikipedia wants", it's not a person---that's the whole problem, people disagree about the direction wikipedia should go in.

and if the foundation is unsound, then the roof cannot be.

I cannot find any meaning to this which is relevant to what we're talking about. True, if the servers crash all day, even the best-written article is only going to be moderately useful. But bad articles don't somehow infect good articles. They don't even draw editing effort away (under my system)---the editing effort they attract couldn't be put elsewhere.

[Will be edited, most edits reduce quality, need editorial oversight]

So? What's the wrong in letting the few volunteers who want to write about some topic maintain those articles for themselves, at whatever level of quality they will bear?

lack of volunteer hours to maintain the article at the intended level of quality.

Intended by whom? And why do they get to dictate terms to others?

What my solution aimed at was giving the deletionists what they want (stars burning twice as bright but half as many), to the extent they can make people voluntarily contribute to that end, while at the same time giving the inclusionists what they want (the blooming of a thousand flowers) without detracting from the quality of the narrower core of high-quality articles the deletionists want.

I haven't seen you argue that this is unobtainable, nor why this isn't a decent compromise betweent the wishes of the people involved. I've seen you take the side of the deletionists (as I understand them), without really saying why, just asserting that it's "what wikipedia wants". Am I misunderstanding the deletionists here? If not, care to explain why the compromise is bad?

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