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Comment Not all of us do. (Score 1) 79

Why do americans put the metal genre under the "rock" tag?

Not all of us do, and in fact, I'm very glad to meet someone else who agrees with me that this is an important distinction.

Metal is its own genre, composed by its own standards. It emerged from rock (specifically, prog rock, soundtracks to horror films, loud hard rock and early punk combined) but it is not rock.

If you're up for some analytical historical data, would you read The Heavy Metal F.A.Q.?

Comment Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (Score 5, Insightful) 124

I must respectfully disagree with Schnier on this one.

A cyber Cold War doesn't come about without another Cold War having occurred first.

In this case, Cold War II is playing out between NATO, the Russians the Chinese.

Just like Cold War I, this one is rooted in a practical geopolitical concern: who will be the ruling superpower for the next century?

Expect a Cold War II, if you're lucky. If not, expect WWIII, which will probably be more limited than the last two but still devastating.

Comment Food for thought regarding standardization. (Score 3, Interesting) 302

If we all had two image/sound/video formats (lossy and non-lossy), one time format, one type of graphics card and CPU, one file format or data transmission format, one (spoken) language (which we'll all move to eventually given enough centuries), or (horror) one OS or programming language, software would be much more exciting to write, knowing it will stand the test of time.

I get dreamy thinking about this. It would simply everything. However, I have one thought of caution.

Standardization creates a single point of failure.

Allowing solutions to exist simultaneously, and develop independently, allows there to be no single point of failure and for multiple solutions to be tried at once.

I think there's a reason nature (insert name of deity or deities if you'd prefer; I'm agnosticism agnostic!) chose to go with natural selection. While less efficient on the surface, it works in every situation and eventually, produces a time-tested quality result.

Just food for thought, not a contrarian argument.

Comment He side-steps the issue, confronts a bigger one. (Score 4, Insightful) 302

This was the core of his rant:

The combination of Canonical and community is what makes that amazing. There are lots of pure community distro's. And wow, they are full of politics, spite, frustration, venality and disappointment. Why? Because people are people, and work is hard, and collaboration is even harder. That's nothing to do with Canonical, and everything to do with life.

He's side-stepping the issue in that the point is that Canonical wields more power than the average contributor, and thus is in more of an authoritarian relationship.

However, he's hit on a bigger point, which is that in any collaborative software project, someone needs to be the silverback who forces everyone else to focus, or people do only what they want to do and blow off the unfun stuff.

Unfortunately, unfun stuff includes refinements to code to make sure it works well, drivers, documentation, gnarly bug fixes, and the like.

Comment No new taxes -- you clowns waste the money. (Score 1, Insightful) 439

I don't think our problem is a lack of revenue; it's bad spending.

First, government is massively inefficient at every level thanks to the "government job" mentality and the tendency to over-hire bureaucrats.

Second, many government programs are pure pork barrel designed to appease certain special interest groups or make cronies rich.

Finally, government is a self-justifying agenda. In order to justify its cost, it needs to constant invent new mission creep in order to give a "legitimate" need for increased and continuing funding.

Let's do this like we would do in a private business, and get out the red pen and go over the books and cut the fat, not tax people even more. Even if this is a tiny tax, the mental outlook on which we embark with it is a bad precedent and will only get worse.

Privacy

Submission + - Texas proposes one of nation's "most sweeping" mobile privacy laws (arstechnica.com)

hessian writes: "Privacy experts say that a pair of new mobile privacy bills recently introduced in Texas are among the “most sweeping” ever seen. And they say the proposed legislation offers better protection than a related privacy bill introduced this week in Congress.

If passed, the new bills would establish a well-defined, probable-cause-driven warrant requirement for all location information. That's not just data from GPS, but potentially pen register, tap and trace, and tower location data as well. Such data would be disclosed to law enforcement "if there is probable cause to believe the records disclosing location information will provide evidence in a criminal investigation.""

Comment Shades of the Napster case (Score 1) 175

It's one thing to run the equivalent of an open anonymous FTP site, but once you have an inkling that most users are doing illegal stuff with it, there's a responsibility imposed on you to do something effective about it.

If you don't, the law assumes you're a bad guy.

While I see their point, this blows. Megaupload was the best way to swap all kinds of files. I mainly miss it for the ability to send huge amounts of non-confidential data to clients and friends, and to legally share things like video and audio creations with others.

The problem is that there's no solution for this situation. If you set up an anonymous ftp server, those who need one will most commonly be sharing controversial stuff. Everyone else just publishes the normal way.

Thus, in with those whose use justifies the service existing, there are many whose use will be seen as the purpose. Ultimately, it's a loss for the users.

Businesses

Submission + - How H-1B Visas Are Screwing Tech Workers (motherjones.com)

hessian writes: "To be sure, America's tech economy has long depended on foreign-born workers. "Immigrants have founded 40 percent of companies in the tech sector that were financed by venture capital and went on to become public in the U.S., among them Yahoo, eBay, Intel, and Google," writes Laszlo Bock, Google's senior VP of "people operations," which, along with other tech giants such as HP and Microsoft, strongly supports a big increase in H-1B visas. "In 2012, these companies employed roughly 560,000 workers and generated $63 billion in sales."

But in reality, most of today's H-1B workers don't stick around to become the next Albert Einstein or Sergey Brin. ComputerWorld revealed last week that the top 10 users of H-1B visas last year were all offshore outsourcing firms such as Tata and Infosys. Together these firms hired nearly half of all H-1B workers, and less than 3 percent of them applied to become permanent residents. "The H-1B worker learns the job and then rotates back to the home country and takes the work with him," explains Ron Hira, an immigration expert who teaches at the Rochester Institute of Technology. None other than India's former commerce secretary once dubbed the H-1B the "outsourcing visa.""

Comment Oh no, he's rich. But we're looking at that wrong. (Score 5, Insightful) 812

Guess what happens when the victim isn't rich?

We never hear about it, and the agent seizes his boat and profits.

Corruption is a very real threat!

So what if this guy is rich? The point is that if they'll do it to rich people, they'll do it to anyone, except little people have no ability to retaliate.

Businesses

Journal Journal: AdSense for shilling

I hear a lot on /. about how many users are Apple Zealots or Microsoft Shills.

My question is simple: how do I monetize this?

That is, if I decide to be a shill, how do I get paid? Can I get an AdSense tag for my .sig file?

Or is there another way to sell this labor?

Comment Liability is backward-looking (Score 4, Informative) 130

No doctor wants to be on the stand in a courtroom and get asked:

"So, if you'd just done this one easy surgery, the dear deceased might be with us today?"

Inevitably, it ends up looking like the doctor wanted to "save money" by avoiding a $100 test or $500 surgery and that's what killed poor dearly departed.

Also, an order has suppressed evidence that the dearly departed was 500 lbs and smoked 4 packs a day while eating nothing but cheesburgers with bacon.

That kills the cost curve. So does the paperwork, which has hospitals hiring more paper-pushers than doctors and nurses. All of this stuff is backward looking, designed to avoid that one moment in trial where it sounds to 12 half-awake people that maybe the rich evil doctor just didn't care enough.

Comment Liberal outlook more useful for social situations. (Score 1) 758

Liberals tend to seek out novelty and uncertainty, while conservatives exhibit strong changes in attitude to threatening situations.

Novelty-seeking is more useful in social situations, while threat-awareness is more useful when you don't trust social situations and believe the underlying sociological dynamics will be more determinative.

Comment Underlying structure versus pretty pictures. (Score 5, Insightful) 320

I suffered through the VRML list back in the day when people first wanted to make 3D cyberspace.

There's a conflict: you either model 3D functional worlds, or the underlying structure, or you create a language which can draw things in 3D.

The problem with the latter is that it's not stand alone, but requires people to come up with an intersection of code, resources and aesthetics.

What people actually need is the former, which is the ability to create functional 3D models and describe them in a language like HTML, and have the browser itself create an interactive world from that.

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I consider a new device or technology to have been culturally accepted when it has been used to commit a murder. -- M. Gallaher

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