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Comment Re:Succession plan? (Score 5, Funny) 1521

Well Taco, I hope that you have a good succession plan in place as Steve Jobs does at Apple. Presumably you've trained all your editors in the fine art of spelling mistakes, grammatical erros and story duplication. If so, the transition should be seamless. Jokes aside, best of luck and thanks for /. ! :)

Rob, for old time's sake, please repost your resignation as a dupe in about a week :-)

Comment Re:This is a sad day for the tech world (Score 1) 1027

Pirates of Silicon Valley kind of covers half of this, but a The Social Network style film for Steve Jobs' life story up till now would be great.

I think his life story would make a great movie. It would be fitting if Pixar made their first CG animated biography with Steve Jobs as the subject, although I'm not sure how you could get kids excited about it.

Comment Re:This is a sad day for the tech world (Score 5, Insightful) 1027

Steve Jobs is the embodiment of the American Dream, there are scant few individuals on this earth than can attest to the scale of success that he has achieved.

Jobs is arguably the best business leader of our era.

He co-founded the hugely successful Apple out of the proverbial garage, got fired from his own company, went off and started NeXT, bought Pixar from George Lucas and turned it into something big. At the same time, he came back to Apple, made a huge hit with the iMac, then the iPod, then the iPhone, and now the iPad. Now Apple one of the most successful companies around. I'm not sure if any other business leader's accomplishments could beat that story.

What impresses me is, as others have said, he actually cared about the products his company made. He wanted to make a "dent in the universe" and he actually did. He didn't do it by managing to costs or other things that business schools tell people to do, but by putting products and the user experience first.

Comment Re:Gambling? (Score 1) 384

+1 Insightful

That's an interesting point. IANAL, but if I understand what Blizzard is doing (you buy a copy of the game, find something randomly which has a real cash value), reading on The Straight Dope, there is a similar issue with Pinball back in the day:

To qualify as a gambling device, a machine had to offer a "thing of value"--money, merchandise, or tokens--as a reward

Interestingly, there's another analogy: I assume that the value of the item is related to its usefulness (a powerful two-handed, with four empty sockets will be worth more on the market than an etherial dagger that can't be repaired), which when outfitted to your character will make it easier for you to fight more powerful creatures and earn better, more valuable drops. That means in other words, you can pay more money to increase the odds that you find even more valuable items. That makes it similar to the "payoff gimmicks" in the linked example where you pay more money to increase your chances of winning.

I suspect that Blizzard's lawyers are taking this into account and will impose the appropriate limitations to avoid having Diablo III (hmm... that name should draw the ire of anti-gambling religious advocates) banned under Internet gambling prohibitions. Maybe you'll be limited to buy and sell strictly ornamental items with no material effect on the game play as opposed to the set pieces introduced in the LOD expansion pack.

Comment Depressing thought (Score 1) 626

They get out voted by the legion of dimwits bred by these creationists. It is already happening.

Here's a depressing thought: not if the "dimwits" are running things. The original poster was right; political conservatives are trying to set up their own parallel institutions to give "backing" to their own opinions.

There was an article in the Boston Globe that the Bush Administration had hired some 150 graduates of Regent law school (which was founded by Pat Robinson), which proclaims its purpose is to "provide [rightwing] Christian leadership to change the world,"

...Regent has had no better friend than the Bush administration. Graduates of the law school have been among the most influential of the more than 150 Regent University alumni hired to federal government positions since President Bush took office in 2001

It's only a matter of time before conservatives start setting up their own politically conservative science departments to match.

But it doesn't even have to wait that long. Next time we get a Republican president, we can look forward to political conservatives making scientific policy there as well. Back in 2005, a Bush administration aide (with no scientific credentials), made edits to government reports on climate change. From the New York Times article:

...In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports. The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust. ... A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, [Mr. Cooney] has no scientific training.

So, this victory is important, but the war against science isn't won or even over.

Comment Re:Ban is not the answer (Score 1) 990

The tax code was not created as a tool for the government to use in directing people's behavior. It was created to give the government revenue to serve the people. The government was created for the people-- not the people for the government.

And in a democracy, the government *is* the people, so you have people (or at least the majority of them) collectively deciding how to direct their collective behavior. We're talking about moderately increasing the efficiency of light bulbs, not fascism.

Comment Re:CFL are no savings (Score 1) 990

Reputable like GE, Sylvania or Phillps? I've had early failures with all those, and good luck with actually getting a replacement. In six more months I'll know if my use of them over the past three years was worth it, might be a wash. I have many CFL in the house, except for two places with dimmers (CFL dimming bulbs suck, won't go to low brightness but just off), and three of the "three-way" bulbs (CFL versions also suck and die early).

I think reputable companies will live up to their warranties. We had an early failure with a GE CFL. We sent them the receipt, and GE sent us a coupon for a new bulb in a week or two-- no muss, no fuss.

Comment Re:He asked a security guard for permission? (Score 1) 376

I doubt that. You can use the webcam on them to take photos (using Photo booth, etc.), but to suggest that a customer is implicitly allowed to install software that surreptitiously photographs other customers and then displays them in public is ridiculous.

You need to learn how to read. You begin with doubting what I said, and then explain why something I didnt say is not implicit.

Sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying: I thought you were saying he had permission to install his software because Apple lets its visitors install software. Obviously you weren't saying that, so we are likely in agreement.

Comment Re:He asked a security guard for permission? (Score 2) 376

The devices on display are set up explicitly so that the public will have access to (and in fact are encouraged to explore) their features, which includes the webcam on them.

This to me sounds like implicit permission to use the cameras, as well as implicit permission to install software. Any legal line this man may have crossed is beyond the act of simply using the camera, or installing software. He had implicit permission to do those two things.

I doubt that. You can use the webcam on them to take photos (using Photo booth, etc.), but to suggest that a customer is implicitly allowed to install software that surreptitiously photographs other customers and then displays them in public is ridiculous. If what you suggest were the case, then that would mean Apple is implicitly allowing people to install keyloggers or similar malware. Just because Apple didn't post a sign saying, "don't install surveillance software, malware, worms, viruses, trojan horses, etc." doesn't mean that people should assume they are allowed to do that; common sense says otherwise.

Apple is providing its store guests with computers to use for reasonable purposes. I can't think of any way that what he was doing could be considered to be reasonable. In fact, it was closer to harassment (for Apple's customers) and spying (and repeatedly, since he admits he had to repeatedly return to reinstall the software after it was erased). Thus, his newfound trouble with law enforcement.

Comment Re:He asked a security guard for permission? (Score 4, Insightful) 376

It sounds like he asked some rent-a-cop if he could take people's pictures, and then gained access to computers in the Apple Stores to take these pictures without the permission of someone who actually had authority to grant that permission. The article is pretty scant on details, though, and only really tells things from his side, so it's hard to tell what really happened at this point.

That's probably what he did, and I think he's trying to just cover his tracks. I think he was hoping for a "ask for forgiveness rather than for permission" situation.

He should have gone to the Apple Store manager, told them explicitly what he wants to do: "I'm going to install software on all the Macs in this store, which will randomly take photos of your customers and upload the photos to my website, which I'll then display publicly for my art project." Then when they said, "no," go find something else to do with his time.

Comment Re:the government is kind of large (Score 2) 159

Various government labs have the need for large banks of computing nodes for supercomputing purposes, so it wouldn't surprise me if the large number of PS3s were being used for that. Another proof point: there's a wide discrepancy in the xbox numbers. If they were being used as game machines, you'd think the xbox numbers would be comparable (or even higher). When the PS3 was introduced, it at the time offered a great price to performance ratio, so research labs in different countries bought them for that purpose. The software has been out for a while and has been government certified already, so it remains a solution today.

Comment Re:What? The plane crashed? (Score 2) 532

What? The plane crashed? I didn't notice. I was on my Blackberry. Neither did I notice the guy sitting next to me who was hitting me so I would get out of his way. I'm going to send him a nasty text message.

Seriously though -- maybe a passenger won't miss the plane had already crashed, but that's not the only time attendants need their passengers to pay attention. If a passenger is engaged in a conversation or playing a game, they'll likely miss the attendant giving critical instructions: there's turbulence, passengers get into a crash position or something like that. Forcing people to put their distractions away during take-off and landing makes sense from a people management/safety perspective. This is coming from someone who is annoyed that I can't read a book on my iPad during takeoff-- annoyed, but I understand.

Comment Re:Hold your Horses there SharpieMarker (Score 2) 1128

Isn't it a little early to call something like this "the most extreme and influential crowdsourcing"?

I agree. I have no idea why this is on Slashdot. It's not technology news. It's not even news at all.

Back in 2008, Rush Limbaugh tried something similar he called "Operation Chaos", where he encouraged his listeners to switch parties and vote in the Democratic Primary to get Hillary Clinton to win and later to keep her in to lengthen the Primary. The idea was that whoever eventually won would emerge weaker and would lose to McCain. Also, Republicans believed that there were more registered Democrats because of Operation Chaos, and when the election actually happened, they would be revealed as actually Republicans and McCain would win.

As we all know, it didn't work. Obama beat McCain handily. So if Rush Limbaugh, who has millions of listeners couldn't pull this off, how can an unknown website do this?

Moreover, I think it's misleading to suggest that "Democrats" are doing this. I expected to see a link to or to at least a high traffic Democratic Party website, such as But no, this site has so little traffic that it doesn't even have an Alexa ranking In fact, searching for sites that link to this domain reveal not even Democratic sources, but Republicans ( is the #2 domain in results), so clearly this isn't catching on with Democrats. Whois is masked, so we don't know who actually owns the domain, but it's just as likely to be a Republican astroturfing organization.

So, how did this end up on Slashdot? Was this some sort of paid placement situation or attempt by the domain owner to drive more traffic to the site? Some lame idea of saying that "both sides 'do it' and engage in these types of silly games? Somebody has compromising photos of CmdrTaco? I guess we'll never know.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 4, Insightful) 229

> I don't think it's a matter of saying "We're better than they are" as it is a matter of saying "before you accuse us of not
> testing, take a good look at our investment in testing facilities".

I agree. They're trying to show what goes into this kind of testing. Engineers and technology people aren't going to be surprised by Apple's facilities (though it's cool to see the photos of the anechoic chambers), since other major mobile phone manufacturers will have similar facilities.

Apple's trying to show some of the ways that they control conditions while they're testing. Sitting in a Starbucks holding the phone in weird ways and watching the bars change isn't a good way to measure a problem since there is zero control of the fading conditions. The fact that they had a bug in their signal strength algorithm is bad, but one can't complain the problem happened because they weren't testing.

I think there's been a huge overreaction to the issue. However, what did Apple expect? One could argue there was a huge overreaction when the iPhone/iPad was announced (albeit, positive in those cases). This antenna thing just reminds Apple that the knife cuts both ways.

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