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Comment DRM makes more free media likely, not less (Score -1, Flamebait) 348

DRM's purpose is to limit web content to those users who have the money (resources) to pay for it.

That is utter bullshit.

There will be a tone of free DRM'ed content, just as there is today.

The DRM will in fact make MORE free content likely because the people giving out the content will feel more assured that people cannot copy it. A false assurance, but that's what will happen.

It also allows for more paid content too - but it's hardly for the rich as you imply, Netflix is very cheap for example and with a proper DRM standard they could move away from Silverlight and just use browser DRM.

Video providers ALREADY use DRM in browsers today. Why are you and others thinking it's WORSE to have a standard for this instead of having the node-podge of Flash and other solutions we have today? We are you not rushing to support something that can kill both Flash and Silverlight in one fell swoop?

Comment Re:It's not "bells and whistles!!!" (Score 1) 177

Check Home Depot. You can get a talking smoke/CO detector (if you really think you need the CO) for $30. You disable it by pushing the big fat button right in the middle.


My wife cannot reach the middle button.

It doesn't help you figure out which room is triggering an alarm. So if I shut it off because of smoke in the kitchen but there's also smoke somewhere else, I'll never know...

I don't think you are grasping the advances the Nest has made in the most common interaction scenarios people have with detectors, which are plain and clear.

Comment Re:It's not "bells and whistles!!!" (Score 1) 177

Ok, yes for some reason I added the 2... just ignore that. I know it's looking for carbon monoxide.

Most people don't need the CO alarm, it's for people who regularly heat by burning stuff in their homes

As houses become more tightly sealed and more stuff becomes propane powered, it's important to have this warning. Most people have propane water heaters, many have propane stoves.

Also fire is kind of it's own alarm system, whereas CO is otherwise a lot more un-detectable, so it balances out in making just as much sense to warn about it when it's a cheap addition to sensors you already have.

And if you produce enough smoke to set off an alarm while cooking, you're doing something wrong

That's not necessarily the case. Some things may inherently put out more smoke than a vent may carry off - or in fact perhaps you ARE doing something wrong, in which case why have an alarm at all, because you obviously know the source of the smoke and just need to open a few windows.

They wouldn't already make smoke detectors with the ability to ignore smoke unless it were a useful feature, the Nest just makes it even more accessible and useful.

This thing really is a solution in search of a problem

That's where you are wrong. It doesn't NEED to search for problems, because common problems exist for countless people:

1) Which detector is triggering for (battery / smoke / whatever)?

2) How do I disable false alarms?

Those are real problems that lots of people have with the existing systems, quite frequently. And they are really annoying. Like all good problems the Nest iterates on current products to solve common problems people have with them.

I don't have a Nest thermostat myself because the kinds of issues it addresses, I don't feel like would apply well to me as I am not as habitual as most people and I also work at home a lot. But the smoke detectors are very tempting, to at least install in a few key locations (like the kitchen) and have something that's far less a pain in the ass to deal with and has really useful features (like the automatic motion nightlight).

Comment Re:Keep narrowing - a LOT (Score 1) 598

Isn't that exactly what we have now?

Not all all, because you have to make a choice of a language first. I want to be able to have students choose the other way round. We are living in a world of very deep silos.

Where would they begin?

With having small problems to solve by programming, and trying different ways to solve them. Eventually the problems get harder and they chose whichever path seems to them the easiest way to address the problem.

Comment Re:It's not "bells and whistles!!!" (Score 1) 177

I don't even own any Nest products myself.

I only posted because for two reasons:

1) I admire well-built products, from any company (if you don't you have a problem).

2) I cannot tolerate intellectual denseness that insists a closely held worldview in accurate without having any actual experience with the subject at hand (if you are doing this you have another problem).

Comment The Double-Edge Sword (Score 1) 177

Crazy idea: what if it had the bells in whistles without the backdoors?

Then it would simply not be as useful. It would not be able to be configured, or queried, by remote. It would not be able to tie into OTHER devices with different purpose (the Nest thermostat can use these to see if people are in the house and adjust temperature better as a result).

The problem is that something with "backdoors" removed is inherently less useful because it is not as connected, or does not have as many sensors. And the day to day utility of connectivity is far, far more useful than the risk that any given device may be used to monitor you in some way. In fact, I daresay that people LIKE devices monitoring them as is evident by the legion of FitBit and Nike FuelBands... A device that someone else can use to monitor me is exactly what I want, because it can also be used by me to monitor myself!

You are fighting a loosing battle but happily for you there will always be a less functional device you can use for roughly the same purpose. You can still buy simple watches, music players, phones, fire detectors.

Comment Panic Needlessly (Score 1) 358

That would impress me at all if the ACTUAL work being done to keep nuclear reactors safe was not all done by the workers actually monitoring the reactors. The government organization is in charge of the REGULATIONS around nuclear reactors. Regulations existing reactors all conform to already...

It might hamper a new nuclear reactor being built; but since there are so many other people trying to do that anyway I can't see we'll notice much of an effect.

Comment It's not "bells and whistles!!!" (Score 3, Informative) 177

Slashdot seems pathologically incapable of separation between something that is deeply functional, vs something that is not, often treating something as useless if it's simply done or polished really well.

The next protect seems like it has "a lot of bells and whistles" but all of them have a ton of practicality behind them that puts them well ahead of traditional smoke/CO2 alarms.

I have a newer smoke/CO2 detector in the house. It has some of the the features that would let a casual observer dismiss the Nest as simply marketing - my smoke alarm after all, has a voice that says if there is smoke or CO2 detected. MY smoke alarm after all, has a button that lets me dismiss an alarm if I simply have a smoky kitchen. What good is a NEST then? Why spend more?

Well I'll tell you. You get a grace period before the real alarm starts, in which you can tell it to ignore the smoke, so the whole house is not pinging with vibrant alarms. And even to dismiss the alarm, you can simply wave at it - which means people with high ceilings, or who are simply short can dismiss alarms easily instead of getting a chair or ladder.

Furthermore the Nest doesn't just say "There's Smoke", it tells you WHAT ROOM. So if candles in your bedroom start something ablaze, you'll know it even if you just dismissed an alert in the kitchen.

It also piggybacks on the usefulness of smoke alarms having hard electrical connections. Since you have a permanently powered device there already why not ALSO provide a motion activated nightlight at night to help you wander around in the dark? Or knowing if people have been in your house while you were gone.

Nest is a company that is producing really well thought out products that offer a compelling reason for spending more on something that has traditionally been kind of ugly and of limited utility.

Comment Re:Keep narrowing - a LOT (Score 1) 598

It's a proven approach that has been shown to be successful; even with very young children.

If it has shown success, why are the numbers of programmers not rising? They may learn it well, but they may also not stick with it. The only way you stick with programming is if it's inherently appealing to you personally as an activity. If someone had started me programming in Python I'd probably be a pilot or lawyer or something else less useful to humanity.

What do you have in mind as alternatives?

Just what I said - a sandbox that lets you use any approach to organizing structure/behavior (like OO, procedural, functional, whatever) and also the ability to use any language you liked (practically speaking all of the popular ones, like C or C++ or ObjC or Scheme or Lisp or Python or PHP or Perl or Ruby or... etc).

Then we would see what approach a kid took to figuring out how to perform a task, and the language they ended up using. Perhaps it's too much of a mash, I have no idea. But I think it would in the long term be better than what we are doing.

Comment Not misrepresentation (Score 1) 318

I think the author was pointing out one of the 'flaws' of capitalism; Technology and infrastructure makes offering such amenities a very cheap proposition. And yet, you wind up paying through the nose for them in certain situations; It is basically a misrepresentation of the true cost of the good or service being provided.

It's not a "misrepresentation", it's charging what the market will bear. Very obviously the real price is much lower.

Another factor not considered is that more well off travelers staying at high end hotels are very likely to have cellular connected devices already, so there's not as much of a need to even provide internet service. If you don't have to do something as often, you usually charge more because you lose scale.

Comment Re:Keep narrowing - a LOT (Score 1) 598

I would agree if most other things could be version controlled as well as code - but most things cannot be...

I could be persuaded that it's a more general skill that should be taught to everyone, not just programmers, but I don't know if people not inclined to be programmers would understand well or make effective use of version control. I suspect the answer is, they could not...

I really think it's better to live without version control while you learn programming so you can really appreciate it as one of the next intermediate steps you pick up. You have to interact with it anyway to make use of third party code so moving into it becomes natural as you become a more advanced coder.

Comment Re:Missing the reality of what kids do to insects (Score 2) 512

Is it okay to torture fish?

I don't think so but millions seem to think catch & release is fine.

Lizards? Mice? Dogs?

I'd personally rather not But I also don't see any problems eating any of those things. Do you?

I don't really see that lizards and mice warrant much care about actions taken with them, just given how they fare in nature. If we aren't doing anything crueler to them than they would otherwise experience then I am OK in the abstract with someone doing something with a creature.

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