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Journal Journal: The perfection of imperfection

A friend in need asked me how I would set up and secure a network for a small private middle school/high school.

At first, I did the good geek thing and started closing every hole, making the "perfect" system to keep the kids from doing anything unauthorized.

Submission + - How to expunge Google products from your life (

concealment writes: Recently, Google announced their decision to shut down Google Reader. This latest step in opposition to an open Internet in favour of Google+ has led me to a decision of my own. It's time to expunge Google from my life, to the fullest extent practical.

It's not because Google chose to shut down a free service they were offering, or because of privacy concerns. It's because I think that Google is now working against the potential of the open Internet, and because I think that one gets a better product when one is the customer as well as the user.

Comment Adept cynicism (Score 1) 72

I think you're right, despite the waves of vast cynicism in that post.

Another way to put this is that the audience defines the product. Our inattentive public wants news-drama, not news-factuality, so any news service run as a business will quickly start with the Justin Bieber and Jodi Arias stories...

Comment The concept of "aether" returns. (Score 2) 259

The old ways are best:

This finding is relevant because it suggests the existence of a limited number of ephemeral particles per unit volume in a vacuum.

In other words, there is no nothingness; everything is something. Thus we're looking at vacuums being a variation of type of substrate of matter, not an absence of matter. Mind-blowing. Be sure to drop acid before reading this.

Comment I had high hopes for Anon. (Score 1) 72

At first, I was excited by this. A new way of looking at the world! Crowd-sourcing! etc.

Now I'm cynical. Crowd sourcing translates to witch-hunts. The ideas that Anon have adopted are the same old ones that got us in this mess in the first place.

You want news? Go to Slashdot or Hacker News.

Stoned basement-dwelling teenage life dropouts should not be determining what we think is "news"

Comment The users, of course, but with a caveat. (Score 1) 262

This is a trick question.

The users drive the software; their use defines it and their input is the most important.

However, the users are their own worst enemy. They have trouble translating the effects they want into the designs that are required in the software.

Thus I think the users need the most input, but that needs to be filtered through developers, the smart managers (1-2% on any job), and the user experience folks.

That is, if you want functional software. Users are their own worst enemy and are self-defeating; if you just want to make some bucks quickly, the marketers are the most important as they'll go flatter the users and come back with a list of buzz-words and then make sure the software has those features, even if in barely functional form. But you'll sell more product in the first cycle.

Comment Interesting (Score 1) 400

Ultimately, within a hundred years, this world is going to be absolutely miserable to live on and some really pissed off person is going to create a biological weapon and bring it all down... all because people are desperate for power over others but refuse to live by the rules they themselves create. I guess it is good that I will be dead before then. I wonder how much suffering I will see before I die. The suffering from World War 2 was apparently not enough.

I hope you elaborate.

It seems to me that despite our technology, society is directionless, people are miserable under the surface, we're not really achieving anything and discontent is spreading.

Comment We can make a horrible world. (Score 4, Insightful) 400

Our technologies and laws allow us to do lots of things.

We should perhaps ask instead, what kind of society we are making?

If we're making a miserable place that focuses on details of law-breaking more than the big factor, which is how safe/smart of a driver someone is, we're penalizing good behavior and encouraging people to live in a nit-picky miserable world.

We can make a horrible world, if we want; however, we might prefer not to.

Submission + - Tiny Chiplets: A New Level of Micro Manufacturing (

concealment writes: The technology, on display at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, is part of a new system for making electronics, one that takes advantage of a Xerox invention from the 1970s: the laser printer.

If perfected, it could lead to desktop manufacturing plants that “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices — flexible smartphones that won’t break when you sit on them; a supple, pressure-sensitive skin for a new breed of robot hands; smart-sensing medical bandages that could capture health data and then be thrown away.

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It was pity stayed his hand. "Pity I don't have any more bullets," thought Frito. -- _Bored_of_the_Rings_, a Harvard Lampoon parody of Tolkein