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Comment Re:What an understatement... (Score 4, Interesting) 266

They should stay out of the hardware business and work on the operating system for tablets, let anyone make them and encourage development of premium hardware.

That's what surface is. Surface isn't really a serious consumer product strategy. It's Microsoft making clear to the hardware makers that if they refuse to produce anything innovative or worth buying MS will do it for them.

The problem with this strategy is that MS doesn't really seem to have anything innovative to push, in large part because windows 8 is terrible (so is 8.1).

For the better part of a decade MS has been making software work for an iPad like slate device (they even had a term for it: a slate, a tablet is a convertible laptop with a rotating screen). And how many of those did we see on the market? None. MS has been burned badly by their 3rd party partners not rising to the challenge of making devices that aren't shit. If anything the market has gone the other way, to shovelling cheaper and cheaper stuff out that is in many cases junk.

Try and buy a haswell tablet right now. How many can you find? There are a couple, but they are in very few product segments. MS recognizes this problem, and sees surface as the way to address this, but isn't able to implement. Which is sort of ok, if 2 months from now they launch and awesome surface pro 2, and that forces the other vendors to do the same. Late to the market, but forcing some progress maybe. And that's what Surface is there for, it's not to really making microsoft billions directly, it's to make sure that the hardware partners make things worth buying and force them to keep pushing new technology, or they're going to look bad compared to Surface. I'm sure MS would be thrilled if Surface was the most expensive and one of the worst windows 8 devices you could buy - because that would mean windows 8 would be moving at a good pace somewhere.

Comment Re:Not a new concept (Score 1) 461

The concept is pretty simple: To lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn. To not gain weight, eat only as much as you burn. You can increase how much you burn with exercise, or you can decrease how much you eat, or both. Anything else as far as dieting is concerned is window dressing.

This gets moderated insightful? Have you people lost your minds? Visit earth much?

Okay, sale at Macy's on thermodynamic bounding boxes. Dioxans, I hear, from the thin aliens on the squishy planet Dioxan Monohydride, eliminate long term weigth gain with a single dose. There's just this tiny issue with life expectancy and expectation of quality of living.

OMG! A system with two criteria that doesn't boil down to a pocket protector inscribed with the zeroth law of thermodynamics. But, as usual, we have a class of solutions to problems with living smug with living less. Not that your average geek would notice.

Let's see here. My cellphone battery only holds a charge for 15 minutes. What should I do? The math is simple. If electrons in exceed electrons out, the phone won't run out of juice. Basic electron caloried counting. Next question? I could do this all day. What, you don't want to plug your phone in every fifteen minutes? Sucks to be you. My fat metobolism works just fine. I'm young and stupid. You should have bought a Samsung. All problems in life are solved by correct brand allegience.

The actual problem with diets is that many people have disregulated fat metabolism. This is hard to fix once it happens. All arrows point to excess consumption of simple carbohydrates, especially in liquid form, and particularly the sugar fructose. Sound familiar?

Even the people who state categorically that HFCS is exactly the same as sucrose (they live in the same thermodynamic bounding box, after all) are ignoring the possibility of HFCS interacting hormonally with the intestinal wall.

Unfortunately, Gary Taubes is an idiot. For a while it was looking like a bandwagon with my name on it. But he just wants to take the debate way to far in the opposite direction, where he pretends that net caloric balance isn't even worth discussing. There's no room for that attitude in science, Gary. Try again.

Here's the real reason your cell phone battery won't hold a charge. It's because you charge it too often. Avoid rooms with wall outlets, and your problem will go away.

Comment Re:Haswell? (Score 1) 200

I would think we'll see a surface refresh, one with a Haswell chip (and potentially a 3rd party such as nVIDIA GPU, but unlikely), and one with a Tegra SOC.

That would be what a sane person would call a Surface Pro 2, and a Surface RT 2 or 2013/2014 type thing. Given microsofts recent efforts to name things don't be surprised if it ends up being Surface Pro One, and Surface RT Compatible or some other stupid confusing assbackwards name just to make life hard for everyone.

Without a doubt a haswell Surface would be appealing for some market segments. I'm not really sure how well an (ARM) Surface RT 2 is going to go over. I don't think business was really clamouring for one, a couple of hundred dollars here or there isn't an IT priority if you can see value for the the device. It's not like top executives are walking around with Surfaces just waiting for a price drop so us peons can get one.

Comment take a look at meeeee (Score 1) 106

Just about anything that applies the special snowflake formula to the entire human species tends to win these things. We're total suckers for anything that affirms our special-snowflakeness, even if it's our epic fascination with beating the shit out of each other.

Vulcans? Too evolved. If doesn't count if you're good all the time. What matters is that once you were bad, but now you have risen. Otherwise you're just too smart for your own good and you don't really understand the shit that goes down.

Another typical science fiction plot:

Evolved race gives up on humans after 10 ms of initial observation. A billion years later, we prove them wrong. There's just no holding back special snowflakeness.

Comment jarhead Puritan pride (Score 2) 335

Incorrect. I will not die if I don't have sex, and it is not essential to me.

Why do you even bother to post? Oh I get it, you're anonymous. Because ya know, by the time this exchange of fish tails ends, the universe itself will be considered optional. Space time? Who needs it? I mean, really needs it.

I think this is a right the troops need to sign away during the recruitment process. Explicitly, not as part of an omnibus bill. Okay, just one last form: sign here to consent to being court marshalled for engaging in sexual activities with a consenting adult.

Prospective recruit: Whoa, run that one by me again. No shit? You know what, I'm going to sleep on this. See ya tomorrow ... or the next day ... or the second Tuesday after not in this lifetime ...

Whatever my morality about sex, I don't this should kept under the covers in the fine print on the application form. Shout it loud, shout it proud if you've got jarhead Puritan pride. Informed decisions before the first lock is shorn, that's the only democratic system there's any reason to protect.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 2) 520

. When I visited China, computer security didn't seem to be one of the top priorities among the computer users

Remember that China has it's own state filtering and spyware software they install and run. And woe to you who are not happy to be spied on by the government. Unlike the US, who basically get to talk a lot, the PRC government feels no legal limits to doing whatever it wants to whomever it doesn't like.

There's no point in trying to have a secure system if the government itself is mandating an insecurity and is primarily the one spying on you, and is free to throw you in jail arbitrarily for complaining about it.

Comment Re:Slashdot affected as well (Score 1) 290

/. does support Unicode (UTF-8 sucks, btw - it's a compatibility hack).

I was guessing your house wine was UTF-32 even before the last paragraph. Unfortunately it lacks compatibility with the size of existing Google datacenters, though it's nothing that couldn't be solved with more circuitry and a beefier power feed.

You absolutely can parse UTF-8 backwards: "continuation bytes all have '10' in the high-order position". How much easier does it have to get? Please inform me how your pushmepullyou parsing system is defined such that all code points are pallindromes with no loss of space efficiency.

Ken Thompson of the Plan 9 operating system group at Bell Labs then made a small but crucial modification to the encoding, making it very slightly less bit-efficient than the previous proposal but allowing it to be self-synchronizing, meaning that it was no longer necessary to read from the beginning of the string to find code point boundaries. Thompson's design was outlined on September 2, 1992, on a placemat in a New Jersey diner with Rob Pike. The following days, Pike and Thompson implemented it and updated Plan 9 to use it throughout, and then communicated their success back to X/Open.

Good grief, if Thompson and Pike are the scourge if right thinking, our species is doooooomed. However you describe it, the present state of Slashdot's Unicode handling is a disgrace to God, geek, and man.

Comment Re:Dictation versus typing (Score 1) 287

Then fixing those mistakes is even slower than fixing a typographical one.

If you're writing for the New Yorker, fixing mistakes takes weeks. But then they get into not just whether the noun itself should be in the possessive form, but whether your sentence should require a noun in the possessive form in the first place.

The kind of mistakes you're talking about are specifically keyboard level mistakes. Spelling, orthography, and missing or duplicated words.

It's a tremendous cognitive burden to type at 120 words per minutes of something you're composing on the fly while also getting all the minor details of spelling, punctuation and orthography correct (not to mention getting your homonyms correct which I can usually do at speed if there are two isolated main forms to resolve, but not for palette/pallet/palate or muddles like Seine/sine/sign/sing/singe/singer/signer/seignior/Seigneur/senior/Seniour/senorita where finger habits start seeing double).

If you're not trying to go the orthographic last mile (while neglecting the stylistic last mile) dictation is hugely faster than typing to capture the gist. With dictation, you also get a useful side channel on your emotional inflection and the pacing of your word flow. It's not the same cleaned up and transcribed.

With dictation, one is free to swoop around and really think and make connections and shift and shape and reorganize. If you sit down at a keyboard in that state, you might as well open Mind Manager and type with your mouse.

Back to the actual subject, this is a typical worthless (and breathless) press release. He's sounding the "invest now, or forever be left behind" klaxon. They might be close, or not so close, or we might never see this.

Sure, Seagate could have told people back in the 1980 that they were targeting 1 TB/platter with their fancy magnetic recording technology. But really, with where they were at at the time, there was no connection to where we're at now. It wasn't a better investment in 1980 because we hit 1 TB/platter now. So these "could do" numbers are often exceptionally worthless, even when true.

Comment Re:Hurry it up (Score 2) 103

A million college students are waiting anxiously for this tool now that some professors have started checking their essays electronically for plagarism.

This assumes that they're as stupid as we all suspect, because the next thing the administration begins to do is check whether the student's written oeuvre is self-consistent without bunkering down under a blander identity than a Milli Vanilli cover of Valium Spice.

I'm so busted.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman