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Comment Re:"lying ONLY 22 light-years from Earth"...! (Score 1) 203

Still, if we ever manage to get our act together well enough to actually build something like a generation ship, 22 light years away is pretty close, relatively speaking.

Voyager has been underway for 36 years and is less than 0.002 light years from earth so it's 10,000+ generations away unless we can go much, much faster. And the concept of generation ships is exactly the opposite, they're massive constructions big enough to sustain a civilization that move very slowly between stars. If we send "humans" I expect it'll be frozen embryos or electronic DNA sequences to be reconstructed on site on a massive rocket ship that'll still take hundreds of years. A light year sounds so short until you realize that if you've traveled 7.5 times around the world you've gone one light second. Only 31,556,925 more to go in order to make a light year.

Comment Re:"Nearby star" (Score 1) 203

Yes, it should also be noted that we've put no humans on the moon but NASA, ESA, Japan, India, China have all had missions to the moon since and Russia is also planning new missions after they stopped the Luna program in 1976. Mostly what we lack is a compelling reason to send people, it's been done and even repeated a few times so it's a bit like after the first 10 people had been on Mount Everest there's not really much to be proven that we could climb it again. I'd say go straight for Mars, break some new ground not just revisit the old ones.

Comment Re:Expectations lowered by all the crap out there (Score 2) 279

Whatever, if they were complaining about things like what the Wii was to the XB360 and PS3 that'd be one thing but when you get quotes like

Sadly, it's also presently an ungainly mess of a consumer product that requires more work than it's worth to get the most out of it.

The controller sounds nice on paper, but it's sadly close to being outright junk. The touchpad is the worst touchpad I've ever used.

That is real hardware and software usability issues, not just lack of eye candy. It's an entertainment device, if it's more annoying and frustrating than entertaining it'll be a $99 paperweight.

Comment Re:"lying ONLY 22 light-years from Earth"...! (Score 3, Interesting) 203

Yeah, but 11 years ago getting from NY to London in less than 4 hours was an everyday thing (if pricier than other flights). Now it's unheard of.

Yes but it was sort of like the pony express shutting down their rush service because the telegraph arrived, maybe that sucks if you wanted to send a package but for the 95% that wanted to send a letter the telegraph was faster and better. Not every aspect of every old service is going to be preserved by the new ones, there will always be some regressions in the overall picture. Even though we're making incremental improvements I doubt we'll see any revolutionary changes in things like jet propulsion, internal combustion, gas turbines and whatnot - it's just minor tweaks to squeeze more efficiency out of it.

The overwhelming number of changes I expect is for things to get smaller, smarter and for more and more things to go electronically rather than physically and applying brute force. Maybe you get another 5 mph on the interstate but the main difference is an AI that drives itself. My dream of "real technological development" would be things like having nanobots to destroy bacteria, viruses, toxins, cancer cells, cure genetic diseases and prevent aging on the cell level. In the future maybe we all have personal assistants like only the rich have today, only they're robotic. It couldn't be done today because to have servants somebody would have to be the servants, but we could all have a robot the way we all have cell phones.

I'm not going to bash the system we have today, I can go down to the grocery store and buy a finished meal, pop it in the microwave and put the dishes in the dishwasher but it certainly could be taken to the next level where I just tell a robot I'd like spaghetti bolognese today and it'd shop, cook like a professional chef, serve and clear the tables when I'm done. Having a washing machine and a dryer is also rather relaxed, but again being able to throw dirty clothes in the bin and have them sorted, washed, dried, ironed if applicable and put back in the closest by themselves would be even better. Roombas and electronic lawn mowers are just a shadow of what robot housekeepers and gardeners could be. In short, even if I don't see flying cars on the horizon I see plenty things that could make life in 2013 seem rather primitive compared to 100 years from now.

Comment Re:Stupid Question of the day! (Score 2) 203

A probe would probably be meant for observation, not communication since it's so much easier to just boost the signal if there's someone answering at the other end. I think we'd already know if there was a probe in orbit, if it's in transit or just doing a fly-by it'd be a silent black speck of dust we'd have no chance of detecting.

Comment Re:Why does the cynic in me. . . (Score 1) 116

Rights to one self take presidence over someone else. You have the right to speak, I have the right to not listen.

But you've never had the right to control what people say about you to others. If that was the case we'd be casually breaking the law all the time every time we mentioned somebody else.

Cant really prevent someoen from them posting "check out this picture of me and X, Y and Z!" however, so the same problem will still exist, just not as easy to find (yet...)

And here's really the issue, tagging is more formal but in principle it's the same thing so to you want to make that posting illegal? Just saying it too?

No, I own my own memories and have the right to talk about them to others. If I see you cheating on your wife then I don't need your permission to tell her, if I saw an anti-porn priest go to a strip club where he thought no one would recognize him I don't need his permission to call him out on his hypocrisy. It is a very important part of free speech to be able to talk about somebody against their will. Do you think all the "birthers" should be put in jail for questioning Obama's heritage without his permission? Don't be silly. You can ask people not to tag and not to post photos, but I don't think you with force of law can demand that they don't.

Comment Re:Hello (Score 1) 162

But now, stupid Canonical had to decide to fragment things with Mir, which does mostly the same thing as Wayland but in an incompatible manner, so who knows what's going to happen.

All projects that have tried to replace X so far has failed miserably, so I'd say the odds are against both of them. If Ubuntu can do it as quickly and easily as they think then more power to them, but I'm not holding my breath. The Wayland people are mostly seasoned X.org developers, I think they know better how complicated it really is. Either way I'm curious to see what Android AIOs will do to the market, give it a big screen, keyboard and mouse then what happens? I'm not so sure X or Wayland or Mir is a requirement to winning the desktop, at least it didn't look that way for smartphones/tablets.

Comment Re:License war commencing... (Score 1) 457

Of course since the kernel is under GPLv2 and not GPLv3 they can restrict it to run only binaries signed by Sony. Any significant code they can put in blobs like AMD and nVidia do with their proprietary drivers. They'd have to show you the changes yes, but it wouldn't run anywhere but an emulator - which is probably what they're most worried about since this is now rather standard PC hardware.

Comment Re:Do you need a clearance? (Score 1) 358

ABOVE Top Secret?

It's the last common tier, either you have a TS clearance or you don't. However there is still information that you need additional clearance for (not just a need to know), but the process is specific to the information and clearance to one doesn't give you clearance for anything else. There's no "ultra top secret" for everything, it's more like rooms on the TS floor with an extra set of locks.

Comment Re:Ulterior motives? (Score 1) 81

Maybe that person decides the free plan isn't enough speed and becomes a paying customer.

Possibly, but I think it's more likely a new person moving in becomes a paying customer. If the house isn't hooked up you start looking for potential providers and what they'll charge but if you're already getting Internet from Google and it's a simple and instant upgrade then surely that's what you'd go for. And every person they get hooked up is one less potential customer for other ISPs, making it much harder for them to reach critical mass so as a barrier to competition it seems like a cheap insurance. If you have a customer relationship with them it's easier to make special offers, they can for example give them a free unlimited speed weekend to get them hooked. It's a lot cheaper to dig up ditches to all the houses once than to do it one by one as they want to sign up, they probably don't need much of a "hit rate" to make it pay off.

Comment Re:For years... (Score 1) 305

Southwest found that personal intent, ethics and attitude were bigger drivers of success than technical expertise.

How many of those are measurable, how much do you learn in the interview, how much do people tell the truth and how easily are the answers manipulated? The greatest reason interviews are so difficult is that people lie, well the smart people do anyway. For example, the real reason you're changing job is probably that there's something you don't like about the old one, either it's the work assignments, the boss, the colleagues, the pay and benefits, the lack of career progress or options, the commute or any one of a million things your new employer doesn't want to hear. Even when it's nothing negative like you're moving to town with your GF and need new work, that's not what they want to hear it's why you want to work at their company. And the bullshit only gets worse if it's between being out of a job and having a job.

Sometimes I wish I'd had the balls to do a real honest job interview, the answer to that would probably go something along the lines of "Well honestly I'd heard the company name in the passing but I don't know anything about it or what working here would be like, only that you're asking for a set of skills that mostly match mine. Why would I like to work here?" Even if I'm lukewarm to work there I'm going to pretend I highly motivated. Even if I'm in a sullen mood I'm going to pretend to have a positive attitude. As for ethics I do feel I act with integrity, but it's a form of courtship and you put your best foot forward and be on your best behavior. What it's like to live with someone in day to day life probably has very little to do with how it was on the first date, same applies to job interviews. And psychopaths are reportedly very charming on the surface.

Comment Re:And so (Score 4, Informative) 157

Nah, Orwell wasn't even close. He might have been close to predicting STASI in East Germany, but this would have been far, far into science fiction. In his story they might have had telescreens but it was always humans watching humans. Huge segments of the population were informers, everybody was aware the Party had eyes and ears everywhere. Ask yourself, how many of the US/UK population knew these programs even existed? I'm guessing thousands out of hundreds of millions. And if the power that be take one lesson away from this it's not going to be the one you want, it's that humans are a liability. They suffer from a conscience and believing in the constitution, also called espionage and treason. Which is why more of this is going to be automated with fewer in the "need to know".

I'm quite sure China has just the same kind of systems - if not better - to track dissidents, you say something bad about the regime on any media flags start going up around you. The computers will do what their masters instruct with utter dedication. The only good news for now is that you still need human thugs to do the dirty work of throwing people in jail, but we're making progress towards changing that. We already have bomb disposal robots, I'm guessing a team of SWAT robots isn't that far behind. And if it comes to actual civil war more and more weapons are "smart weapons" that won't work for the rebels, did a tank operator defect to the enemy? Throw the kill switch. The deck is getting more and more stacked against any insurrection against any regime for any reason.

Comment Re:Sad loss. (Score 1) 98

And higher machine specs, sure today you laugh at it but as I remember OS/2 required double as much RAM as Windows 3.1 to run well (I think 4MB and 8MB, but don't quote me on that), I used both but for the time the OS stole way too many resources on boot. This was still a time where if you ran anything "demanding" it usually ran barebones in DOS and fiddling with XMS, EMS to give it more than 1MB of memory. Not to mention OS/2 was the personification of the "unpersonal" office computer in a time where we were mostly using it for fun and tinkering, IBMs only real understanding of the personal computer was that one person was using it. Particularly that Microsoft bet big on DirectX was a huge boon for Windows 95+, it's something IBM would never do.

Comment Re:Annoyed fanboy? (Score 1) 419

But if you don't buy a $600 iPhone but choose a $100 phone instead, Apple doesn't care whether that $100 phone is a Nokia feature phone or a cheap Android phone.

When the market was an expensive smartphone or no smartphone - particularly none with traction and apps, many chose Apple. My iPhone (4, so three years old) is the first phone I own that had apps and it's not going to be my last, but I'm going to take a long hard look if I need to pay for a new iPhone or a cheaper Android phone will do the trick, Android is an alternative where a Nokia feature phone wouldn't be. I don't regret buying it just like I don't regret buying all the expensive computer gear I've bought over the years, new technology is expensive but it doesn't mean I need to stay on the bleeding edge. Particularly since my next one would be coming out of my own pocket.

Developers don't care about market share, they care about the number of people who are willing to pay for software.

True, as well they should but a lot of companies have also lost sight of where they're going to make money in the future because they're too busy staring at the money they make right now. All those people who are starting out with Android today who might get more advanced and/or more affluent in the future, are they just going to dump their Android phones and the apps they know and go Apple? Some will but many won't, a Nokia feature phone would be a dead end but even a cheap Android phone isn't. With the number of potential future customers on Android now I'd never dare to not develop for Android as well, even though iPhone might be the cash cow right now. YMMV.

Comment Re:Optical media sucks... (Score 1) 182

If they really could do a petabyte I'd settle for 10x redundancy and 100TB, that should probably work fine and be very useful all the other issues notwithstanding. Because the main reason they're not very useful is capacity, you've got 4TB HDDs for bulk storage and cheap 32-64GB memory sticks for transfers so what good is optical media? A BluRay is probably fine to get a 50GB movie to people who don't have a fast Internet connection, but I haven't burned a CD/DVD in ages, it never seems like the best tool for any job.

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