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Comment Re:Absolutely baffling (Score 4, Informative) 249

98% of the people who use office simply type letters and notes, maybe make a simple spreadsheet or two. Openoffice is entirely up to the task.

The issue is that 98% of people who use office exchange documents with the other 2%.

The other issue is that office 365 includes outlook, which open office does NOT match in any capacity. And the subscription includes a decent mailbox, with alll the bells and whistles - webmail/calendar/contact
  mobile sync, windows active directory integration, etc... its a hell of a lot more than 'renting a word processor'.

Comment Re: How is an iPhone not a "Chinese phone"? (Score 1) 291

So? If I by a box of lego and create a truly good model, its all made from components from elsehwere, but the model is still designed here by me; and the objective quality of that design is mostly in how I've assembled it, how complex, how well it works, how much fun it is, etc etc.

Then there is the fact that I chose to make it out of lego instead of one of the knockoffs that doesn't fit as well together.

Apple may be building their model out of the same box of components as other people have, but that doesn't mean there's nothing special about their build.

That said, while I'm not an apple fan; my issues mostly revolve around the ios lock down, and the design choices apple has made (no headphone jack...); but the phone build itself is still impressive.

Comment Re:Right to be forgotten is mostly for criminals (Score 1) 182

" it is mostly criminals, perverts and politicians who need it."

But why shouldn't criminals get it? I mean, once they've served out their sentence and are trying to get on with their lives?

Having this stuff in their record ... its never going to completely go away and it shouldn't go away.

But as a society don't we want to enable someone trying to go straight to actually succeed? How is labelling them a criminal and having their past 1 click away for the rest of their lives going to facilitate that?

"how many left wing people would like someone like Donald Trump to be able to purge his less honorable history from the Internet. Remember the settlements that his father made for not renting to black people. That would be gone. While he was elected through the electoral college, it was appropriate for the populace to know his past. The same with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The politicians want to hide their dirty past."

That's not quite how it works. It's not "gone" its just not 1-click away. Its not going to come up on google results when you type Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump; but someone doing any sort of actual investigative journalism would still be able to dig it up with some effort. And once its dug up, and reported on, it would be "current news about a current politician" -- and that isn't eligible to be de-indexed because its highly relevant political discourse.

Comment what else do you think it does? (Score 5, Insightful) 234

"does password masking do anything beyond preventing the casual shoulder-surfer?"

Erm...that is precisely ALL it has ever done?! What else do you think it does?
Frankly, most password boxes should have a 'show' password option because its user friendly -- put the user in charge of whether or not the password is visible -- they can decide the risk of exposure.

Although i do think showing it by default is a bit absurd. On the other hand, with a new router out of the box; the default password is a known quanity or on the labelling anyway... so not a lot of harm exposing it there.

Comment Re:"The car will tattle on the driver." (Score 1) 125

You want to say:
o the sensor that registers how hard the pedal is pressed down failed?
o the oil pressure sensor of the breaking oil failed?
o all 2 sensors for the ABS on all 4 wheels failed?
o the sensors for electronic lane stabilization failed? ... hve to check again how many sensors are involved in breaking ...

And/or all data transmissions to the log failed?

No. Just the first one. The rest of the sensors all correctly show that the car didn't brake, because as far as the car was concerned the driver never pressed them.

"Yes, because the most important part of the log has nothing to do with the brakes at all: acceleration sensors."

They show it driving into the wall. And coming to a rather sudden stop.

Now, for a typical current car, you are right in the sense that any sensor on the pedal is supplementing a mechanical system; but what about a brake-by-wire car where the brake pedal isn't mechanically attached, where a sensor records how much the brake pedal is depressed and relays that back to the computer.... much the same way video game steering and pedal sets work. Where if the 'brake pedal system' fails, and the brake event isn't recorded; the pedal doesn't do anything. And the rest of the car's telemetry agrees that the brakes weren't pushed.

Erm, and you really think this happens all the time????

In a typical cars brakes? No, of course not. They're primarily mechanical on most current cars. But all kinds of electronics and wiring problems do happen; especially as cars age. I had a car that started stalling -- some failure in the ignition switch itself ... the the car thought the ignition had been turned off, when it hadn't been. A friends car had some weird glitch where activating the turn signals turned off the cruise control. (some sort of partial short with the brake lights). I've heard of a cases where when flooring the accelerator, the sunroof opened. Where turning activated the horn. Where hitting a bump in the road would activate something... turn on the radio, sound the horn, flash the highbeams, open the windows, release the trunk... etc. A failing switch or loose wiring, or a short somewhere... it happens ALL THE TIME.

Is it really so hard for you to imagine a drive-by-wire system failing to correctly sense driver inputs? Or to spuriously generate driver events that didn't actually happen? Especially in an intermittent failure mode? Really?

I'd hope (and expect) drive-by-wire brakes to have more robust design and more redundancy then the sunroof controls but i can still envision occasional failures happening.

And in other areas of the car... for example, to disengage the tesla autopilot, all you have to do is push a button. If the switch is starting to go, a bump on the road could trip it. If you aren't paying attention and have an accident, then what... Musk's techs show that you explicitly disengaged the autopilot a full 30 seconds before you drove into oncoming traffic...because the disengage button was logged as pushed... therefore you must have pushed it right? Because never in the history of switches have they ever started to fail and intermittently open or close without deliberate user intervention.

Comment Re:"The car will tattle on the driver." (Score 1) 125

"There is no more "he said/she said" with a Tesla. That car will tell investigators everything."

The car won't lie, but its only as good as it's sensors and programming.

Scenario -- Car hits a concrete wall, catches fire, and partially burns out.

Driver -- car didn't stop when I hit the brakes.
Car logs - driver didn't press on the brakes.

Reality - the brakes WERE depressed; the brake pedal sensors failed and then burned in the fire); and as far as the car's logging system is concerned the brakes were not used prior to the crash.

This kind of failure happens all the time. The self-test reports its fine, but it still doesn't work. The self-test reports it's fine, but its still not sending events properly. The sensor itself is fine, but the events are getting swallowed somewhere else along the way. Or the self-test is fine at cold while idling, but get it scorching hot after a few laps and things start flaking out... add in 10 years wear and tear, humidity, rain, spray, and the ravages of time on rubber, seals, lubricants, sealants... and you really want to bet that the computer log of what happened is infallible?

Its just a new witness to the event, it's more credible than a human in many ways; some of the time; but it's not infallible.

Comment Re:This is retarded. (Score 1) 166

Arguing over the inanities of writers' drama seems like someone ordered a 55 gallon drum of nits from Costco.

I specifically said that it didn't bother me. I completely agree its a TV show.

The fact remains, the ability to auto magically dig through personal logs whenever a writer needs to existed, and more importantly, was used.

But the implications of that capability were never fully explored and integrated. It was a conceit of the setting that they had that this computer capability while somehow it didn't get abused; just like it was a conceit that an individual could own a spaceship that could roll around at the speed of light and they didn't have problems with people suiciding them into inhabited space stations and planets whenever they got depressed.

Comment Re:So here's a question: (Score 1) 166

Standard procedure when an officer went missing was to ask the computer to locate them, and when it couldn't, dump the officer's personal logs for clues about where they had run off. It did happen all the time, crew were always asking the computer when and how other crewmembers left the ship.

Yes, you remember when it happened. You don't remember when it didn't. it certainly did happen when it furthered the plot. But watch through again, and see how often they *didn't* use the computer's universal monitoring when they could have.

Geordi spent an entire episode listening to the personal logs of an officer who went AWOL. Barclay was constantly getting in trouble for abusing the holodeck and his superiors would pull up the log of every program he had used.

I don't deny it happened when it happened. I'm just saying there were a multitude of times where it DIDN'T happen where it should have. just look at episode 2 of stng season one (that's as far as I had to go to find a crazy good example)... all kinds of places where a computer that knows where everyone is at all times, and listens/records everything that happens everywhere on the ship.

I mean less than a minute in before even the opening credits an away team is exploring a ship trying to figure out what happened...no life signs... but no one thought to just ask the computer to play back everything that happened...should have done that before even boarding the ship... of course that might have prevented them contracting the virus in the first place and would have made for a pretty boring episode.

Then they confine geordie to sick bay, and he just walks out. How was that not monitored? How wasn't he immediately run down by the ship who knows where everyone is, and can hear everything everywhere... sure he took off his communicator but so what?... they have to manually search the ship? because the computer couldn't have just told him where he went - figuring out what doors he opened... , etc etc or it couldn't pick him up by voiceprint chatting with Wesley in his room... etc etc etc etc...

I'm not irritated per se, it was a TV show, and although it was decent SF... it wasn't really trying to be a completely internally consistent hard-SF projection of humanity in the future. And It wasn't trying to explore what humanity would look like if it had a computer listening to everything said... that was just a plot gimmick -- used when convenient, forgotten when not. And the show was generally exploring other themes.

Comment Re:So here's a question: (Score 2) 166

Yes, and that's exactly what happened when McCoy and Scott conspired to mutiny against Janice Lester who was impersonating Kirk at the time.

Yeah. One time. Once. On one episode. That's the flaw of star trek as a work of fiction. It would have been always happening, every episode.

The only way Picard or Kirk get away with disobeying orders is by virtue of being at the top of the chain of command and out of radio range of their superiors.

Really? How many episodes did they conspire against a superior officer on their OWN SHIP? Why didn't the ship rat them out?

And how many episodes did little Wesley or Worf or some red-shirt of the week break the rules and not get snitched on by the computer immediately?

How many times did someone go missing or rebel or whatever, without the first command being... hey computer, dump everything that officer said to anyone the last 48 hours, also what were they reading, who were they with, what's the last thing they ate and drank? If that computer were real, that would be step #1 for pretty much everything.

Comment Re:So here's a question: (Score 4, Insightful) 166

"When people speak in Star Trek, the computer is always listening. What changed in that hypothetical future's past that needs to change in our present to make wholesale gathering of our voice comms acceptable?"

Its an interesting question.
The capabilities of the star trek technology means that within a few seconds of Picard/Riker or Kirk/Spock/Scotty/etc decided to breach protocol or violate an order and discussing it anywhere on the ship... his superior officer would show up on the view screen and relieve him of duty; and teleport him to the ships brig.

Real-time spying of everyone on the ship at all times... would turn into a dystopia pretty quick.

They'd need a constitution that guaranteed them absolute privacy; and complete immunity from persecution/prosecution from such eavesdropping/electronic monitoring if it were to take place. And a system of checks and balances that had the people's faith that the audio wasn't being archived, reviewed, and misused.

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