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Comment Re: Since neither is getting elected (Score 1) 264

Rational self interest be damned.

Well, yes, voting for emotional reasons is equally valid. The outcome of emotional decisions may not be rational, but they're not invalid because of it.

Some say it's your patriotic duty to vote on behalf of your country even at the cost of your personal welfare.

Even if one votes against their personal welfare, isn't that an outcome they desire? Put another way: if I am a wealthy individual, and I vote for a way that will result in my wealth going away, then that is the outcome I want. An outcome that does not result in my wealth going away is then what I did not want.

This isn't about whether the outcome of a vote is positive or negative for a given voter. It is about understanding the consequences of the winner-take-all system that we have, and how it hamstrings third-party votes. As I stated in my original comment, third parties have and do win sometimes, but such events are rare.

There is nothing wrong at all with voting for a 3rd party. If enough people agree with that same 3rd party, they'll win, and that'll shake up the game. So it may also be considered a strategic choice. The Spoiler Effect is where a given majority of voters are concerned that their choice will not get enough support, and thus they will vote for the candidate they can stand a little more, guaranteeing that their ideal choice will not get enough support.

It reminds me a bit of playing the lottery: the given statement is 'if you buy a ticket you won't win; if you don't buy one you can't win.' Though some people do win. Similarly, 3rd parties can never win unless people do buck the Spoiler Effect and vote for them anyway.

So: Your utilitarianism is an assumption not a conclusion, and the outcome you've chosen to optimize for is also arbitrary.

The act of voting is in declaring one's preference, is it not? The outcome desired is one's voted preference. That doesn't seem arbitrary. Though this whole Brexit thing, where people voted for an outcome they apparently didn't want, is still sort of boggling.

Comment Re:Since neither is getting elected (Score 1) 264

It is absolutely true that voting for 3rd parties impacts politics. And as a voter, any individual is free to vote for whomever they want. Even before the general election, if the two parties see that a 3rd party candidate is picking up a voter base (Perot, Sanders, etc.), they'll often modify their course and try to pick up those independents. This is normal and good.

My statement as above could be simplified thus: One should consider their personal desires, and decide whether they would prefer to make a principled stand for the 3rd party of their actual preference, or a calculated stand to avoid the party they can stand the least from winning.

You can do all three of those things you mentioned, and much more effectively, by removing the spoiler effect. And this is a much more positive approach overall. It frees everyone from having to struggle with that internal dilemma, by allowing them to vote for the party or candidate they really do want, while still giving them a say in the matter if it turns out that the 3rd party never won enough votes to be a contestant.

I despair of either of the two main parties putting such a thing into play, though, since such a change would reduce their own political power.

Comment Re:Since neither is getting elected (Score 4, Informative) 264

If only people realized that voting FOR someone you agree with is less of a waste than voting AGAINST someone you don't agree with. Voting 3rd party isn't a wasted vote if you are more in line with that party that the main 2.

I would like to agree with you, but I suggest you look up the phenomenon called the Spoiler Effect.

CGP Grey has very well-done 6.5-minute video about it here, which is also worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

In summary: A 3rd party candidate is statistically more likely to be closer in ideology to one of the two major parties.

If you have primary parties A and B, and C is the 3rd party, C is probably more like B than A (for this example). If you and I vote for C because we hate A and like C better than B, our votes didn't count for B. So instead of a vote being a 49% A and 51% B vote, it may well turn out 49% A, 41% B, and 10% C. Thus the party we least liked, A, is the winner.

As long as we have first-past-the-post, winner-take-all elections, it is one's rational self-interest to vote strategically against the party they least want to win, rather than for the party they most want to win. It took me some fifteen years to come to that realization, and it is still depressing. The only way C wins is if C can either pull enough votes from A and B, or draws all of B's votes. It could and has happened, but it's extraordinarily rare. Usually A or B will adopt the the strongest primary platform of C to keep those votes for themselves.

Comment Re:He's not thinking of the big picture (Score 1) 293

This is admittedly conspiracy-minded, so your mileage may vary, but I had a thought about this particular approach that I was reminded of by your post.

Let's say Apple does create the tool, and through some hypothetical (read: impossible) means they successfully avoid leaking it. What's to stop an organization like the NSA using their own techniques to break the phones, then hinting - if exposed - that they obtained the process from Apple in some backchannel way? There's really no practical way for Apple to prove a negative in this scenario.

As this is now a matter under public scrutiny, if Apple was forced to cave, the public would know it. So now any other organization with the skill to break the security of the phones, but doesn't want to reveal that they have that ability, have some pretty deep plausible deniability. It only works if Apple creates the tool, though.

Comment Re:Microsoft App Store (Score 1) 665

Oh, I won't deny that. They're having the same app shortage with their mobile platform, too.

But Microsoft is good about not being realistic with some of their approaches. They saw the popularity of the iPod and iTunes and created the Zune, now defunct. They see Apple's app store and they want that money, too. Giving away Windows 10 for free allows them to set that foundation. Because not only is it free - as this very article states, they're actively trying to push it on everyone. That's rather novel behavior for them. We have to fight to not install this update. Apple's made OS X updates for free, but never with this kind of forced-upgrade pressure.

Microsoft's motivations always come down to money via market dominance. Given that Windows and Office are (generally speaking) their prime sources of income, when they decide to give away a full update of Windows for free... then there's another way they intend to recover that money. The app store, sparse though it may be right now, is the most reasonable conclusion I've been able to draw. After all, if their app store suddenly fills up with apps but the majority of their users are on Windows 7, that's a lot of lost sales.

Get the App store on everyone's system first, and that's a major obstacle overcome. Unlike the present vicious-circle failure of trying to push a new mobile ecosystem, there's a huge and entrenched Windows market already. Now they can promise app developers all of these extra eyeballs via Windows 10.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 5, Insightful) 665

I actually have an idea about this. This is purely opinion, but I think it's all about Microsoft's App store.

Apple is making buckets of money from their App store. Microsoft sees this, concludes it is unacceptable, and wants to get that money for itself, or at least as much of it as possible.

Now, Windows 8 and 8.1 had the App store, but 8 - while perhaps not a marketing disaster like Vista - still doesn't sit well with people. Windows 7 is well-liked, but there's no App store. Therefore: Upgrade everyone to Windows 10 for free, and wait for money to start rolling in via app purchases, in-menu advertisements, and other benefits. Maybe they can even sell telemetry data to marketing firms, depending on how much they wash it and how close they want to toe a legal line about turning over such information to third parties.

I've yet to hear any better explanation.

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 3, Informative) 210

Personal anecdote:

I live about three miles from my local airport, and I have learned that while taxi drivers will take me home from there, they outright refuse (using silent neglect) to pick me up. I called not one but two different taxi services, the first one with over an hour's notice, and neither one could get a taxi to me. The dispatcher apologized, but that was all they could do. I ended up driving to the airport myself in a rush and paying for multiple-day airport parking instead. Subsequent occasions faired no better, and I eventually stopped trying.

Regardless of how one thinks they should work, evidence so far suggests that you're only guaranteed service once you're actually sitting in the taxi.

Comment For Small Offices (Score 1) 889

One of my greatest sticking points has been Quickbooks. There are several little office shops I've helped that would be just fine using Linux for nearly everything else - Thunderbird, Firefox, and a few other odds and ends cover their general needs.

Except Quickbooks. Gnucash is just not a suitable alternative for their business accounts. I can get the Quickbooks database to run on Linux (with difficulty, sometimes), but the GUI must be not-Linux.

That'd be my vote.

Comment Re:Leak? (Score 1) 42

It certainly helps if you don't care to get the domain back!

If someone is watching a given domain to pounce it as soon as it expires, there's really nothing to be done aside from not allowing it to expire. But the proxy company could potentially do so as a matter of automation, since they already have the domain on file along with other information about it. So while you may ordinarily have a grace period of a few days before anyone notices - purely by chance, of course - you might not have it in this case.

Anyway, the question wasn't really meant to have an answer as such, because - as you pretty much point out - the answer is 'yes, they totally can, as can anyone else'. It's more an advisory phrasing of 'if you use a proxy domain service, be aware that this is something they could legally do, as they already know you and the value of the domain to you'.

Comment Re:Leak? (Score 3, Insightful) 42

I've certainly had the same thought.

There are times I actually try to find the owner of a domain, only to find them hidden behind a proxy registration. Some owners have forgotten their info to manage their proxied domains, leaving me unable to trivially verify if the site is still theirs when helping them.

There is a risk involved with having a valid address on file for domain ownership, though. Can't ignore that. I have a private domain and my information is not protected, and I have yet to be antagonized by crazed axe murderers, but it's a risk I'm choosing to take. I can say that other than a snail mail scam letter once or twice a year, all the other email crap gets filtered with the rest of my generic email spam.

If someone wants to commercialize registering domains by proxy... well, that's free enterprise. The proxy owner might find a way to claim the domain is theirs if they want to be jerks later, but contract law might cover those situations, since the actual owner is likely to have documentation indicating the proxy arrangement.

Here's another scenario... if the original owner accidentally allows the domain to expire, can the proxy site choose to register the name itself, and only sell it back to the owner at whatever price they want to ask? The registrar itself (generally) doesn't care, but the domain proxy service now knows the name was valuable enough to someone to pay for protecting it.

Anyway. I'd still prefer to leave it public, but I can understand those that are reluctant to do the same.

Comment Re:Trust (Score 1) 258

I don't trust anybody who has published a document with the title "C:\Users\Jehan-Francois Paris\Documents\ADAPT15\Case3.doc." Not even in .docx format. Tsk tsk.

Now I'm amused at the idea of the embedded filesystem path as a measure of trust of the source. I can only guess that these would be even worse:

C:\My Documents\ADAPT15\Case3.doc
C:\WINNT\Profiles\User\My Documents\ADAPT15\Case3.doc
C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\ADAPT15\Case3.doc

Any path containing 'New Folder' and/or 'Untitled.doc' would quite possibly trump any of the above.

( 'C:\Documents and Settings\Ricky\My Documents\faxes\sent faxes\case3.doc' I wouldn't even dare open. )

Comment Re:Cloud Managed? (Score 1) 36

Hey, look at that. I did read the page, but I obviously did not scroll down enough through the graphics to find that note. It'd be nice if it were also on the page describing the gateway controller itself. It wasn't even listed on the FAQ (probably because it is on the front page, of course).
I'm still not thrilled about the cloud connection option being there, but that should be easily blockable using firewall rules. Good catch!

Comment Cloud Managed? (Score 5, Interesting) 36

I've thought about home automation for a while, and seeing an opened system such as this one is an immediate temptation! ...Except for the cloud management. I noticed right away that the gateway controller 'comes with a 1 year subscription'. Sure, I get that they're a business that needs to make money, but what if I want the system without cloud support? Is that even an option? For all they're touting openness, I couldn't find that obviously posted on their site. That's a pretty big deal-breaker for me, if I cannot disable their cloud integration. So what if I can't run it from a mobile phone? I'd rather use something like SSH and write my own interface, following my own desired rules for network security. And I sure as hell don't want it reporting anything back to them, or giving them the option in any way, shape, or form of sending remote commands when I have elected to not use their service. This is my home we're talking about. Guess I'll keep thinking about rolling my own, someday.

Comment Re:Fallacy (Score 2) 937

As an American agnostic atheist, I agree with what you said. I like to be mostly right about things, and science is all about reliable knowledge. I may not always be right, but if I'm properly applying the scientific methods to things I want to understand, I'm going to end up being right more often than wrong.

There are things we do not yet know, because our understanding of Everything is incomplete. It is not a cheat or a cop-out when asked 'Is there a God?" to say "I don't know." Admitting to ignorance is important! Only when we admit we don't know something will we try to study or explain it. I'm reasonably sure that leprechauns, unicorns, the Easter Bunny and Russell's Teapot don't exist, but how can I know for sure that they do not? I can't, but until they're proven, I don't behave as though they exist. It's always the burden of the claimant to provide proof.

I've had a lot of discussions with friends who follow a faith, and I've learned that Atheist is sort of a loaded word, at least in America. In trying to reconcile this I discovered that there exist the classifications of 'strong atheists' and 'weak atheists'. The strong variety claim firm knowledge, I.E, there is no God. The weak variety, like myself, say there is no definitive evidence to prove or disprove, but as most positions require proof to accept, I'll simply act as though there is not until satisfactorily demonstrated otherwise.

To my point of view, the strong Atheist statement: 'I affirm there is no God' is, itself, a statement of faith. Proving a negative is really darned hard, and I doubt anyone making that claim has done sufficient work to accomplish that. These individuals might be anti-God, but they're not anti-faith, because they're claiming sourceless, unverifiable knowledge. Y'know, faith.

I accept evidence-based faith, where I hold as reliable due to past history and experience that I will see the sun tomorrow, and that my close friends aren't going to assault me unprovoked one day, knowing even as I say it that I could be wrong. But pure faith, accepting as true something that cannot be tested, or verified, and could be (and if there really is one correct faith, that suggests all the wrong ones were) made up? Nope, that I reject. It too easily leads to being wrong.

I generally refer to myself as an agnostic, since the general public understanding of those I talk to seems to mesh with my point of view which I'm trying to explain to them. If I use the word 'atheist', especially among people of faith, they seem to parse it as 'strong atheist', which only leads to an even longer discussion.

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