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Comment Re:Answers actually quite revealing (Score -1, Flamebait) 920

That you have an Office for Faith-Based Partnerships is telling. Church and State are hardly separate when they are in a partnership.

There's more to it than that. This asshat is a minister. He got a fucking minister to respond from the fucking white house to a petition for increased separation of church and state.

Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation - context matters.

He's quoting Obama here. Frankly, I would think Obama would agree that there is a difference between a mention in public and the mandatory pledge of allegiance requiring children to pledge allegiance to one nation under God.

Reading the rest of it is just getting creepier by the minute:

These phrases represent the important role religion plays in American public life...

The role religion plays in American life is that America is considered to be one nation under God? I mean, that pretty much directly contradicts the other Obama quote he mentions:

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.

Right. As such, why the fuck would you have us pledge allegiance to the Christian God (or, if you like, the Jewish God) while ignoring the rights of children of other faiths or of no faith to not pledge to a being they don't believe in?

We're proud of that heritage...

The heritage of the McCarthy era? Are you sure?

Holy shit. This guy -- either Joshua DuBois, or Obama if he agrees with this shit -- needs to be out on his ass tomorrow. Those are not the words of a free country. Those are the words of a theocracy, complete with this doublespeak:

Our nation's Bill of Rights guarantees not only that the government cannot establish an official religion, but also guarantees citizens' rights to practice the religion of their choosing or no religion at all.

Except, of course, when swearing in to testify, when paying with cash, or when going to school. Then, you're free to practice any monotheistic religion that happens to be compatible with "One nation under God," or "In God we trust."

If he actually believes the first part of his letter, he needs to read some history, and then he needs to go talk to Obama about how "E Pluribus Unum" would be a better and more traditional national motto to put on our currency, and how we really shouldn't have a pledge of allegiance in the first place.

Comment Re:Real SWF - HTML5 Converter (Score 1) 123

Macromedia/Adobe got/gets designers, and too many people don't realise that.

Even assuming this is entirely correct, Adobe is planning to produce authoring tools for HTML5 directly. As for existing content...

You may not be interested in it, but there are some gems buried in NewGrounds along with all the crap.

NewGrounds is hardly the reason Flash won't die. If it was just Newgrounds, well, hey, there are some gems buried in platform-specific native game binaries -- and not all of these are Windows, mind you, there are some real gems which ran on Mac OS 9. It's an issue, but it's not a point against moving forward to a viable replacement -- especially something like HTML, which is going to be a hello f a lot more future-proof than Flash.

Flash will die, and this kind of creative content will die with it until a new challenger appears; or more likely, Flash will just refuse to dies, and the geek elite just won't understand why.

So, of this, option one is a lot more likely. Flash refuses to die right now largely because of video, and it's being steadily replaced there. There are a few niche places where Flash can still do things HTML5 can't -- right now, audio strikes me as most likely, and even that is being addressed -- but it will eventually die.

In the mean time...

None of the other solutions are accessible to designer types the way Flash is.

If you're more than a one-man Newgrounds operation, it doesn't actually matter that much. You know what designers are good at? Designing. There's a reason Flash has a reputation for being slow and buggy as hell, a constant CPU drain, etc. Some of this is Flash's own fault, I'm sure, and I can back this up by comparing YouTube's performance with Flash versus any native player on the same video file. Most of it is enabling designers to attempt to program, with similar results to enabling executives to attempt to program in Excel.

The same tools will eventually come to HTML5, and I'm alright with that. Please don't take this as an elitist stance of, "Leave programming to the professionals." All I'm saying is that if the existing stuff isn't accessible to you, some of that is because it's overly complex, but a lot of it is because you aren't a programmer. There's no reason you couldn't be, and many designers do make that leap (or simply team up with a programmer). But you do have to invest some time in learning something about how computers actually think.

To put it another way, I don't think I would be taken seriously if I attempted to do serious design work with MS Paint. There are tools which let me easily throw together a comic, but I don't think this compares with this or this. These aren't the best examples of either, but honestly, if the ragecomics went up in smoke, I really couldn't care. That's kind of how I feel about Flash, especially when it's used by designers.

If you're neither willing to learn some real programming or work with a real programmer, then I'm not sure I will miss the loss of your content. If you are willing to do either, then I have to imagine that Flash vs HTML5 isn't a huge issue.

Comment Re:Stallman and FOSS (Score 1) 1452

And let's put emotions aside.


Well, not entirely. I've noticed your signature for awhile, and I agree wholeheartedly with that! Planning to do something like that the next time I build a website myself.

There are no absolutes when it comes to good and bad, it is all dependent on your point of view.

Maybe. I agree, but a moral objectivist would disagree.

However, a battered wife *is* a bad thing, and by this I mean that it is universally recognized as being a bad thing.

Well, not universally, but...

I am talking about western culture (say, north america and western Europe) which is the only culture I really know.

Mostly. There are certainly subcultures who disagree, but I would agree with your premise, and I'd even apply it beyond that -- while it is not recognized by most islamic countries as a bad thing, I would argue that it is still a bad thing there.

So, a battered wife could be made to believe she deserves what she gets. This is for me nothing else than a form of indoctrination, much like you can make people believe it's a good idea to hijack a plane and crash it into a tower. I don't know how it works...

As an armchair psychologist, I'd guess Stockholm syndrome at least, probably coupled with low self-esteem. Even when they get out of these relationships, these women will internalize the abuse to the point that they will subconsciously seek out abusers, and end up in another abusive relationship. At least, that's my best guess as to why battered wives tend to go from one abusive relationship to the next, while there are many women who will never be abused at all.

Note that I'm not trying to place the blame with the victim here. I'm only pointing out that this cycle exists, and that if she wants to break the cycle, it's not enough to divorce the abuser, or even to jail him. (Of course, the ideal solution is for the abuser to stop abusing...)

Buying a phone with a walled-garden type app store *is not* considered to be a bad thing by most people.

I think the point you continue to miss here is that the analogy is not that it is bad for a person to buy a phone. To stretch the analogy further, that would be blaming the victim. It is not the wife's fault she got hurt, even if she "should've known" that the husband was going to hurt her.

Your point is a good one, but you probably want to word it like this:

Selling a phone with a walled-garden type app store *is not* considered to be a bad thing by most people.

Still, that's a weaker point, because I do consider it to be a bad thing, and I'm not the only one. I can also offer an actual argument for this, and I think it's a good argument. I certainly wouldn't argue that it should be a legal matter -- Apple should be allowed to sell iPhones -- I just think they are morally wrong to do so.

One reason I think this is that it is Apple's goal -- they've made no secret of this -- to expand this model everywhere they can. Macs now include an App Store, though they also allow (for now) traditional apps to be installed by third parties. The iPad was an entry into the tablet space, which was previously occupied mostly by machines running a full desktop version of Windows.

And because they do so well with this model, others follow suit. The next version of desktop Windows will include a mode with an exclusive app store. It's really looking like, in the very near future, general-purpose computers on which I can download an app from anywhere (or program my own) will be expensive hobbyist items, and the computers everyone uses every day will only be able to run approved apps.

And even by explaining to people what exactly happens into the App Store (namely the approval process and the mandatory status of said process in order to get into the store), you'll realize that many people find that as being an *interesting* thing. Something of value.

Try also explaining to them that such apps are often heavily censored -- that there are legitimate apps and games that people have wanted to use, which Apple has blocked, or which phone manufacturers have blocked. That the approval process is fundamentally broken, even for apps that do meet approval. That an app may have a serious bug or security vulnerability, and you might bother the developer for months without a real response, and the poor developer patched it five minutes after you told them about it, but it has to get through Apple's approval process before it gets to you.

That a developer might spend months or years of their life developing an app, only to have it rejected because Apple changed the rules, and it's not an easy fix for them, because Apple has decided that they may not use the same programming language! They have no option but to rewrite it from the ground up in an approved language, assuming Apple doesn't change the approved list again.

I'm not making this up. All of these things have happened, though Apple has eased back on some of them.

Finally, explain to them that there exist devices which have an app store with an approval process, but which allow you to, occasionally, bypass that process. Devices which give them choice. Most people like that idea, though of course, they'll care more about whether it runs Angry Birds...

And I'm not making this up, either. I've actually explained all of the above to non-technical people, and very few of them have told me that they still think the App Store is a good thing. The most memorable one was, in fact, likely trolling me.

Indeed, I consider the walled-garden app store a service with added value over the Google app store where anyone with a PC and 30 minutes to waste can write a piece of crap and get it into the store.

That is a problem, but it's a solvable problem. Having an app store be properly curated is not a bad thing. Having it be mandatory, is.

So in my view, this is why you fail in your analogy, because you're trying to generalize the fact that Apple's walled garden is a bad thing - by comparing it to something universally bad -, when it is not.

I think the good point hiding in here is that the wife in question is someone we would pretty much universally classify as a victim, and the action as a personal harm. My objections to the App Store are less about what it does to individual people (such as developers) and more about what it does, or is attempting to do, to the software world as a whole.

So, I still maintain that the App Store is universally bad, but it is not that sort of direct, personal harm.

And you're right, it is disputed. If it wasn't disputed, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But when I describe an action as wrong, I don't think that whether it actually is or is not wrong is determined by what most people think.

The problem is that the relation to your phone is not abusive. At least, it's not perceived to be an abusive relationship by an overwhelming majority of the people out there.

This is where I suppose I was taking poetic license with the analogy. A phone restricts you, and an abusive husband causes real harm to you. I think the disconnect is less the difference between the restrictions and the real harm, but that most people don't even see the restrictions for what they are, in that they don't see what a phone could be. In that way, they strike me as similar to (warning: inappropriate analogy ahead) women in countries ruled by Shariah law, who don't see what a free life could look like.

But... whoops... now I've compared an oligarchy of cell phone manufacturers to a theocratic totalitarian government. Maybe I should be BadAnalogyGuy.

I think we understand each other a bit better now, and I think I'm probably done with this conversation (partly because, if we're keeping score, you won!) -- so, maybe we can find some common ground in the browser wars? I just launched this list because I couldn't find anything similar (and then immediately found something similar)...

Comment New name... (Score 2) 270


But yes, this is the appropriate response. There apparently is a community who is willing to continue distributing patches. Growl is also useless without applications which use it -- I can't exactly see anyone paying for a notification service without apps, nor can I see an app developer deliberately requiring a proprietary notification service if an open one is available.

Comment Re:Bitcoin (Score 1) 709

As would I, but it sounds like you're conceding the central point: If your bank gives you back exactly as much currency as you put in, it's not the bank's fault if the currency changes value. And since all currencies change value, it's not that Bitcoin is somehow less of a currency than others because of this.

It's just that Bitcoin is currently a hell of a lot more volatile, and there are good reasons for that. Which also suggests that it'd be a terrible place to put your life savings right now.

Comment Re:Bitcoin (Score 1) 709

The cash stays still, but it's losing value due to inflation. Just as if you transfer everything to Bitcoins, and stuff that in your laptop, it stays still. (If your house burns down, or your laptop hard drive crashes, you lose everything, but that's why banks exist -- and there's no reason a bank for Bitcoins couldn't be created.)

It's not strictly a zero-sum game, of course, but what do you think causes inflation? Who is it who's making money from it? If you aren't earning at least the inflation rate in interest, your inaction is making someone else wealthy.

If you determine the value of everything based on the dollar, you're not really being fair to any other currency, including Bitcoin. The value of a dollar, or a bitcoin, is what you can buy with it.

Comment Re:Stallman and FOSS (Score 1) 1452

Since words can't harm others what refrains you from "deliberately go out of my way to say the most offensive thing possible"?

Because that'd make me a bit of an asshole, and because I actually do want to have a conversation.

Put another way, I could walk up to random people on the street, whisper "Remember when the narwhal bacons" in their ear, and walk away. Does that hurt anyone? Even if words could hurt them, no. At worst, it's mildly irritating. But I still wouldn't do it.

It is not fun?

Seriously? How did you get from my claim that words can't hurt people to the assumption that I'm a hedonist?

Well, destroying my iPhone does no harm to anyone (assuming I didn't break it by hitting someone with it). That is because it is an object, and not a human. The damage done is only mechanics and by buying another phone I can replace it 100%. Slapping my wife will hurt her. Not physically (it might though), but emotionally....

So you'd say it's possible to hurt someone emotionally. Surely destroying my phone would hurt me emotionally?

And frankly, if you've got an iPhone and it has no data on it worth recovering, you're either doing it very wrong or very right. I wonder which it is...

So, your analogy is basically saying it's comparable to be locked in to a marriage with a violent husband and to be locked in an iPhone.

I'm saying it's analogous. This is not a hard concept.

You are basically trying to relate the relationship between two human beings with the relationship to your phone?

Quite successfully, apparently...

But you OWN your phone,

Dingdingdingding! For all the bullshit you've been spewing about "how dare I compare these things that are incomparable" without telling me why they're incomparable, you finally made a good point.

Yes, I do own my phone, and I can therefore treat it however I want. But does that mean that my phone manufacturer should be able to treat me however they want? If your answer is "yes, you bought the phone," then that takes us right back to "yes, you married the bastard."

you can part with it anytime you want with NO impact whatsoever to anyone but yourself...

Well, and anyone who actually wants to get in touch with me.

And don't talk to me about contacts list and such, it is a technicality

So, I made a valid point, and it's a "technicality"? How so?

there are numerous ways to back them up anyways.

If I have them backed up already, sure. And that battered wife, she could've developed better self-esteem and worked on some self-defense classes, and thrown some money in a savings fund.

If you're talking about after I've decided I need a new phone, then the point stands. There are a significant number of people who I communicate with mostly via text message. A new phone implies transferring the contact list over, and learning all the quirks of using the new phone. Imagine trying to talk on Novacaine, but for a month. It implies syncing calendars, and learning to use the new one, making sure my alarm clock is set up... Pretty much every aspect of my life is going to be interrupted with "Oh, how do I do that with this phone again?" until I learn it as well as I know my current phone.

Just like, with a divorcee, pretty much every aspect of my life would be "Oh, how do I do that without this person again?" Or, "How do I do that? This person always did it..."

Getting out of a marriage is not harder, it's completely different. It's not parting with property!! How can you not see that?

That's true, it's not parting with property. That's a difference. I wonder what the significance is, though? Because that's all you've said of substance...

The ramifications and implications are just ... there. It's not that there's more of them, it's just that trowing your phone away has no implications whatsoever...

Of course it does. anyone else but yourself.

The implications are mostly to myself, sure, but anyone else who's actually close enough to me that they'd be affected by me divorcing, is also probably affected in some minor way if I were to switch to a new phone. And again, if I "threw it out" wholesale, that'd be a huge impact to myself and to everyone I know.

So, to sum up: My phone is property, while an abusive husband is not property. That's the one difference you've found. Everything else you've mentioned is, again, a matter of degree. I mean, read this again:

Getting out of a marriage is not harder, it's completely different.... How can you not see that?

It is completely different as an experience. But the reason that experience is different is all about degree.

I don't really see how this is not valid. I mean, feeling the pain of childbirth is a completely different experience than stubbing your toe. But it's still physical pain, and the difference is mostly a matter of degree -- in fact, while there are some qualitative differences, most of why the pain of childbirth is a thing at all is because it's such a higher degree of pain.

You also made a point that I can destroy my phone completely and replace it with an identical copy, while there's no identical copy of the wife (or abusive husband) -- and you seem to be suggesting that I'm comparing breaking a phone to hitting a wife, which isn't the case at all. But this point wasn't really relevant to anything. I wasn't comparing destroying an iphone with shooting a spouse, or hitting an iphone with hitting a spouse. I was comparing being in an abusive relationship with a spouse to being in an abusive contract with a phone.

This is why I keep wanting to give up on you. Even when you do try, half your ranting isn't actually about anything I said or implied.

Comment Re:Stallman and FOSS (Score 1) 1452

That's not what I said.

I said the difference between buying a locked-down smartphone and marrying an abusive husband seems to be one of degree, at least to the point where it makes a good analogy.

I mean, I wrote you a detailed reply, and rather than even try to tell me where I'm wrong, you've basically asserted "If you don't agree with me, you're crazy!" That's the least logical thing I've heard all week, and I've spent the past several days debating a travelling preacher, so the bar isn't exactly high.

And to top it all off, in your one-line dismissal of my thousand-word argument, you still strawman me. Bravo.

Comment Re:Stallman and FOSS (Score 1) 1452

- Wedding is a real life lifetime commitment. It has implications in every aspect of your life.
- Buying a phone is buying a fucking toy you can throw away whenever you please.

That's a decent response, but that's also entirely a matter of attitudes. For example:

Wedding is a commitment for a long time. It's not necessarily a lifetime -- even ignoring divorce, there are places where weddings are (at least legally) contracts which occasionally come up for renewal, say, every 5 years or so. And it does have implications in most of your life, but that depends on your relationship. For example, if the wife was an avid painter before the marriage, her work might be influenced by her marriage, but it's not like her ability to paint is entirely contingent on that marriage.

In fact, some people think that the key to a healthy marriage, especially after retirement age, is to have parts of your life it doesn't affect as much -- to have hobbies which don't involve your spouse.

And some people, sadly, marry for the wrong reasons. To some women, a man is a fucking toy she can throw away whenever she pleases.

Now, consider a phone.

I don't know about you, but my phone -- it's not even a smartphone -- already affects nearly every aspect of my life, in all kinds of subtle ways. I recently managed to get myself locked into a room, late at night, with no way to get out and go home -- there were people to call, even before I managed to brute-force my own way out. I will find out, on a moment's notice, when my friends are about to do something I'd be interested in, wherever I am -- we can be far more spontaneous this way. I never have to worry about getting lost -- worst case, I call someone, but I usually have a map or two, and more modern phones have GPS. I'm significantly safer just walking across town at night, knowing 911 is a call away, and potential attackers know that too. Or I'll be in an interesting discussion, and someone will say "Hey, you should read this book," and I have somewhere I can save the title -- pencil and paper would work, if I always brought it, and if I wouldn't lose the scrap of paper later. I'm about to start learning a language, and being able to pull out my phone and some earbuds anywhere and listen to a lesson will be incredibly useful.

Now, if your point is that I could throw away my phone and get another one whenever I please, that might be valid. A newer, better phone would probably improve on all of the above. But I couldn't simply throw it away, and even that upgrade is going to be tricky. I have a large contact list that needs to be transferred, I'd need to set up an account somewhere for the new phone, I have tons of photos and podcasts on the memory card that I'd want transferred somewhere.

And there's the contract -- the new phone would have to be able to play nice with my current network, or I'd have to break up with it and pick a new network, and I might not be able to keep my phone number, which would be very disruptive. Or I could pay a fair amount extra to buy a phone without the contract, but I still need some sort of contract to connect it to, otherwise it really is a toy -- so yes, there is a commitment, if only temporary.

And perhaps I'm foolish, but I don't think I'm the only one who gets a little bit attached to their phone -- it's been with me every moment of every day, the screen has a tragically beautiful webbing of cracks, I've upgraded it a bit and learned every quirk of it...

So... both of these things are describing a long-term commitment measured in years (at least), both can affect every aspect of your life, both involve some sort of attachment (perhaps emotional), both can be tricky to get out of (divorce vs contract termination), and both impose certain restrictions while you're in that relationship. And yes, an abusive husband is analogous to some of the things cell companies do -- changing the rules on you while you're already committed (but you should've known going in, hey, he had a reputation), restricting your freedom (Don't you dare talk to that guy / download that porn app!), and is the sort of behavior that generally ought not be tolerated -- yet their wives defend them.

The difference is massive amounts of severity -- for example, divorce is usually going to be much more painful, both emotionally and financially, than terminating a contract. Physical and emotional abuse from that situation is still going to be worse than even what's felt by the developer who sees months or years of work go down the drain because Apple won't approve it, and even that is worse than what the user feels when they can't do something like tether. (Except I think they can, now?)

It's still not a difference in kind, though.

How old are you? 15?

I could take offense at the fact that my writing somehow doesn't read as at least a bit more mature, or at least better written or better informed, than a 15-year-old...

But honestly, I think I'm more offended by the fact that you would tell a 15-year-old to "Go die someplace where it won't disturb anyone please." Hell, at 15, I was feeling suicidal, and you might've just pushed me over the edge. You'd write that 15-year-old off as a human being, tell them to "go die," rather than make the slightest attempt to talk to them and find out what's going on in their life. I mean, not that every school shooting is preventable, but people like you are the reason the preventable ones happen.

Also worth mentioning: You wrote two comments, only one of which had any substance, and the formula was still one line complaining about how I'll "bash you" if you don't actually respond, two lines actually responding, one line essentially saying "Do you see it now? But it's hurtful, you insensitive 15-year-old!" Your signal-to-noise ratio is dropping to the point where it's almost not worth it to respond.

Comment Re:Stallman and FOSS (Score 1) 1452

Instead of talking nonsense for the mere pleasure of doing it, you should consider the harm your words can do to another human being.

They really can't. Words are just words. You're the one who gives them power.

Who cares about other's feelings?

Of course I care about others' feelings. Just because you could have a thicker skin (or ignore me altogether) doesn't mean I deliberately go out of my way to say the most offensive thing possible.

I think some context is in order, though -- in philosophical discussions, when we talk about morality, hyperbole is common. For example, a frequent hypothetical is, "What would you do if someone held a gun to your head and ordered you to rape a child? Ok, what if they told you that if you don't do it, they're going to kill the child?" To read the literature, it almost seems like philosophers really like guns.

So, even if my analogy is inaccurate, it's still hyperbole. Judging by your reply, it looks like the difference is still one of scale. It's like the difference between, say, stealing $5 and stealing someone's home -- yes, one's trivial and one's catastrophic, but they're still analogous.

Moving on to that...

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