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Comment Re:And in the US (Score 1) 815

Perhaps, but man of us who work with computers (where words do have rather rigid meanings,) do so because we are not really very good at dealing with ambiguous wording.

And yet, the computer industry seems to be one of those who tend to produce conflicting uses of words (I have long maintained that to keep up with computers, you have to have the ability to keep multiple sets of conflicting vocabulary in your head, and keep them straight). You even see conflicting uses within the same company (e.g. two different lines of Burroughs minicomputers had conflicting semantics for the terms 'Cold Start' and 'Warm Start: on one line, Cold Start meant to bring the computer up from a power off condition and Warm Start was essentially what we now call a reboot; on the other line, Cold Start meant to erase the disk drive and load the operating system, and Warm Start meant to replace the operating system without erasing the disk. Failing to disambiguate this terminology properly could have disastrous results.). In the computer language arena, it's not at all uncommon for identical concepts to be expressed in different terminology in different languages, and at the same time seemingly identical terminology in different lanaguages refer to slightly different concepts. I begin to understand why Platonism developed. It almost seems like you've got an arena of rigidly defined concepts out there 'somewhere' that we can only access through terminology that is constantly changing and at times in conflict.

Comment Re:Microsoft's "Problem" (Score 1) 292

Well, given that Microsoft currently has a marketing campaign that seems to be trying to communicate "We designed our phones to be so boring that you don't pay as much attention to it as you would pay attention to other smartphones", and is trying to present this as a good thing, it's hard to dispute that Microsoft has a marketing problem. I'm just not sure that that's their only problem.

Comment Re:Wrong but right (Score 1) 391

The only morally correct way to convince someone of your position is to present the evidence (and the rationale).

Note that in general, public discourse hasn't actually engaged in this for ages. We're awash in waves of Bulverism, where the object is not to prove your position and disprove your opponent's position through rational argument, but to have your opponent's arguments dismissed on the basis of an assertion about their motives or background.

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 1352

That's the problem right there: many people believe that The Daily Show is actually a legitimate news show.

I see it as more a commentary on the 'quality' (or lack thereof) of 'legitimate' news shows.

The real problem with news today (biases aside) I see as a variant of the 'confidence in your ability to listen well undermines your ability to listen well' meme. When listening, you are going to misunderstand some things. If you accept that, you'll be on the lookout for it and be ready to acknowledge your mistakes and correct your misunderstanding. Confidence that you won't misunderstand just means that you won't be on the lookout for it and will be less likely to acknowledge and correct your mistake.

I think something similar to the latter is going on with a lot of news reporting today, compounded by marketing and legal justifications for not admitting your mistakes (admitting mistakes undermines the marketing department's portrayal of your news organizations as 'reliable' and 'dependable', and the lawyers seem to have this idea that if you don't admit to error, you'll be less likely to be sued - probably self-defeating, as it will push people who would have accepted an honest apology into suing 'just to put them in their place').


Submission + - Canada To Mandate ISP Deep Packet Inspection (

An anonymous reader writes: The Canadian government has proposed new legislation that would require ISPs to install deep-packet inspection capabilities. The proposal includes a laundry list of surveillance requirements, police review of ISP employees and technologies, and the mandated disclosure of a broad range of subscriber information without any court oversight.

Comment Re:Bet the HAM guys are gonna love this (Score 2, Interesting) 135

With the power levels being used, interference to ham operation isn't likely to be a problem. What's likely to be more of a problem is - how RFI-susceptible are the receivers going to be? They appear to be targeting the upper short-wave and lower VHF region (10-40Mhz). These receivers need to be pretty sensitive to pick up the low-level signals being sent by the sensors. If a neighbor (or the occupant) fires up a legal-limit ham transmitter (or a CB with an illegal amplifier), will they be selective enough to remain operational in the presence of that strong signal? The devices they built run in the 27Mhz area. I wonder if they've tested how they work if a nearby CB transmitter is operating, or if a a ham transmitter is operating on 10 meters?

Comment Re:On the other hand... (Score 1) 159

Agreed. The real issue isn't profit in itself, it's are those pursuing profit willing to allow what they do for profit to be limited by appropriate morals and ethics? The profit motive is good in a context where other influences keep people from crossing moral and ethical lines in the pursuit of profit. Make the profit motive the 'only' good, and it can't help but turn corrupt, as there's nothing to limit what's done for profit. The problem isn't the profit motive itself, it's the lack of belief in sufficient moral and ethical codes with enough authority to keep people from going over the lines.

The ironic thing is that there are two groups that tend to conflate the profit motive and greed, and they're on the opposite ends of the economic political spectrum. The economic far left conflates them because they erroneously see the profit motive as an intrinsic evil, and the economic far right conflates them because they erroneously see the profit motive as an independent and non-overrideable good.

G. K. Chesterton nailed it when he observed that when a moral scheme (he actually said religious scheme) is shattered, the problem isn't only that the vices are let loose, the problem is even more that the virtues are let loose and run around independently, and a virtue separated from the other virtues that balance it wreaks havoc, not good.

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