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Comment Most of this will be about internal politics (Score 4, Interesting) 519

Far east Asian foreign policy is even more about playing off internal factions than it is in the West. I bet this is just a case of the Chinese making nasty noises in the hope that a) somebody will be placated, and b) Japan will know this and just play along until things die down.

The chances of nukes and bang bangs over this are very, very low. See also North Korea.

Comment Re:So, time to scrap TSA/airport security checks (Score 5, Interesting) 208

It is true that they may now start to resort to tactics that were not imaginable just a few years ago, ...

The sooner you realise that your attitude to a minuscule terrorist threat is actually the problem here, the better.

I would suggest you are suffering from a form of mental illness similar to that of obsessive compulsives who refuse to touch door handles for fear of picking up "germs". You cannot see the obvious facts for what they are: there is no significant threat from terrorism, and there never was one. The fact that you are willing to drive around in cars, or ride on the subway when a) there is a far higher risk of you dying from non-terrorist causes doing that (and pretty preventable causes too, given TSA-like funding) and b) terrorists could just as easily attack those as well, is plainly deluded when the price you pay in return for "safety" on a plane is so utterly disproportionate.

The sheer Owellian nature of what is going on in the minds of Americans like you is amazing. Land of the free? Don't make me laugh.

Comment A reasonable critique of Gates's philanthropy (Score 4, Insightful) 445

This is worth a read:

http://newint.org/features/2012/04/01/bill-gates-charitable-giving-ethics/

TL;DR

Gates's and others' philanthropy prolongs poverty by sowing as it does the seed of more inequality (in Gates's case, through the formation of health policies in the third world that make it easier for Western drug companies to open up markets for treatments there). They give away the fruit, but never the trees.

As Oscar Wilde observed of the philanthropists of his era: ‘They seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see in poverty, but their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it.’ Then and now, as Wilde said, ‘the proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible.’

This is really the question that needs to be addressed: why is poverty still possible - and why can it even get worse - after 200 years of Gates's capitalism? Surely by now if capitalism was the answer, we'd not be where we are today.

Comment Re:And a pony. (Score 1) 161

You'll get back great useful answers back like: "It should be "better", cost a dollar, have all possible features we could ever possibly use, but we only really use 5% of them, but it has to be so easy to use nobody needs training, and a pony".

Generic and conflicting requirements that are frankly useless.

As a developer, would you like to deal with this reality? If not, let a designer do it because what you regard as "useless" is part of the raw material of improvement for them - they are paid to make sense of "make it better".

I would wager there are not enough hours in the day to research and interpret user needs AND write code. Designers are there for a reason (and if they're not researching, observing and interpreting, then they are shit). Whenever developers ask me to get them more involved with the people who will use their software, I always warn them to be careful what they wish for. But they usually only turn up to the first couple of research sessions :-(

Comment Re:Mobile app observation. (Score 1) 161

Hi - I'm a designer. What you describe is a property of computer interaction called "feedback." In principle (and design principles are important), you should always try to provide feedback to any input, regardless of whether that input is "useful" to the user or not. It means the machine is paying attention. That you have observed an unexpected input is a nice discovery. If you want, you too can build an entire career on doing this - because that's what I've done, and now I'm generally too busy and wealthy to read /. any more. But this story caught my eye.

Comment Re:There is this thing called a Union (Score 4, Insightful) 665

MOD. PARENT. UP.

Really. If we were taking about nurses, or teachers, or even miners or ship builders, the urgency of this issue would be a thousand times more intense. But in the grand scheme of things? This is - I am afraid to say - JUST MUSIC. It's music. Fun if you can write a nice tune, great to listen to. But frankly, not worth our angst here. You don't make a living making nice music? My commiserations, but perhaps you should not be expecting to make one any more than I do in my profession (UI design, if you must know).

Comment The Clipboard (Score 4, Insightful) 704

Not so much software as software tool, but if you're looking for the most influential and important thing in software, the clipboard probably wins hands down. Without it, most of the web would not exist, for one thing.
It also has the distinction of being invisible - out doesn't even feed back. Nothing comes close to it for ubiquitous power and influence.

Comment Re:Innovative? New? (Score 2) 51

Yeah, but it's such a cool idea!! Like video conferencing - sooo groovy! Never mind that it's been marketed and failed over and over an over again (most recently by Apple with Facetime, but also by just about every single large tech company in the past 40 years). VCs will never tire of throwing bazillions at it.

Comment Re:Why would news outlets CARE if it's manipulated (Score 1) 86

engage in actual journalism or something, instead of echoing press releases

It's far worse than that. Almost all "news" is worthless, speculative, time-wasting trivia. Either that, or poorly-informed, badly thought out "opinion pieces". If you're bored on a weekend, try buying a "quality" newspaper, and cut out every article in it that you might honestly be able to say is important for you to know about or that contains reasoned argument supported by verifiable facts. Years of worthless "news" indoctrination makes this a tricky exercise. You might be tempted to think that knowing whether Michelle Obama has visited a school in the Bronx is important, or that a man who got drunk on board a flight to Norway is "news." No. It isn't. It's useless trivia. So friggin' what if Vladimir Putin is riding a quadbike? Why should I care? A self-important "editorial journalist" thinks family life has been eroded by video gaming because a single study funded by Families Against Video Games says it does. Are they proposing any further research on the subject to further test this hypothesis? Are they themselves an expert in the field? No? Then why the hell should I care about their personal opinion? Really - they should just fuck right off and the fact that they are even in print is an insult to anyone buying the paper.

I guarantee you that you will not be able to cut out more than five articles in any newspaper that actually answer the description of informative, actionable, relevant information about things that directly affect your life, or things that you might be able to affect should you choose.Yet we have conditioned ourselves to treat things like who wins an Olympic medal as more important than welfare reform. We're mesmerised by shit like whether Sylvester Stallone's son was a drug addict or not - as if it were something even remotely worthy of our attention. It's not - it's garbage. A total distraction. And a lot of storied that should be in the news aren't because of that.

Comment Re:Why would anyone ever want to run a Tor exit no (Score 1) 96

For the last few years, I've run one of the faster exit nodes in the UK. I think I've had two, maybe three, complaint emails forwarded by my ISP in that time. I just send them to my standard boilerplate, CC the ISP, and never hear back.

Bottom line: anyone wanting to do something really nasty won't use Tor - they'll use something much more suitable for their task, like a botnet for one thing.

Comment If Google and FB can't do it, maybe M$ can? (Score 4, Interesting) 156

I'd be more willing to pay attention to this news if the history of "targeted advertising" hadn't been so wonderfully, idiotically, shit. Perhaps a Microsoft offering like this might just achieve something worthwhile, but I'm not holding my breath. Let's see how the much-vaunted personalisation algos are these days:

I splash my personal browsing habits and general information all over the web (I don't even log out of FB most of the time) yet I have never been aware of anything other than random, pathetically irrelevant ads. As of writing, I have my Gmail open in another tab and I'm looking at an automated mail from Spotify that says "Anna just joined Spotify" - Anna is a friend of mine. Now, what do you think the mighty Google might be selecting, given that it knows lots and lots about me, and reads all my emails numbering tens of thousands? Tadaa!! "How To Declare Bankruptcy" and "Easy Web Site Builder". WFT? I'm not even self-employed, have never been in fact, and tons of my emails deal with subjects such as Apache and MySQL (I maintain a small little server for my friends). Why the hell would I want an easy web site built?

Maybe that was atypical. Let's try another. Here's one from a recruitment agent asking me about a job in user experience (I'm a designer). Google decides to show me these: "Gap Year Placements" and "Doctors in hot demand" - Huh?? I'm not a student!! I'm not a doctor!! Does Google know NOTHING about me after over five years of intensive Gmail use??

I dunno, maybe if I was a one-eyed teenage porno extra or something, I might be seeing relevant stuff in my datasphere, but right now it's just not happening.

Comment Targetted ads? Don't make me laugh (Score 1) 175

I splash my personal browsing habits and general information all over the web (I don't even log out of FB most of the time) yet I have never been aware of anything other than random, pathetically irrelevant ads. Right now, for instance, I have my Gmail open in another tab and I'm looking at a automated mail from Spotify that says "Anna just joined Spotify" - Anna is a friend of mine. Now, what Adsense do you think the mighty Google might be selecting, given that it knows lots and lots about me, and reads all my emails numbering tens of thousands? Tadaa!! "How To Declare Bankruptcy" and "Easy Web Site Builder". WFT? I'm not even self-employed, have never been in fact, and tons of my emails deal with subjects such as Apache and MySQL (I maintain a small little server for my friends). Why the hell would I want an easy web site built?

Maybe that was atypical. Let's try another. Here's one from a recruitment agent asking me about a job in user experience (I'm a designer). Google decides to show me these: "Gap Year Placements" and "Doctors in hot demand" - Huh?? I'm not a student!! I'm not a doctor!! Does Google know NOTHING about me??

If Google can't get this right (and similarly idiotic ads are shoved at me the whole time on FB too), then what hope Intel? It's also a total mystery why anyone who invests in those companies doesn't notice that a cornerstone of their supposed value - targetted ads - is in fact total, laughably dumb, shit.

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