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Submission + - 9 Lies Programmers Tell Themselves

snydeq writes: Confidence in our power over machines also makes us guilty of hoping to bend reality to our code, writes Peter Wayner, in a discussion of nine lies programmers tell themselves about their code. 'Of course, many problems stem from assumptions we programmers make that simply aren’t correct. They’re usually sort of true some of the time, but that’s not the same as being true all of the time. As Mark Twain supposedly said, "It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so."'

Comment Re:Shark Tank (Score 1) 44

It is interesting how you think. I'm pretty sure that most legal precedent is based upon a certain set of inherent/inalienable rights. In fact, the entire argument you are putting forward is based on the fact that you believe that you have a right to privacy. Ok. Where did that right come from?

To think that rights are "granted" by a organization or entity above you is the definition of being a subject ("you have the freedoms that they say you have"). To think that I have rights without any sort of government/organization influence is being a citizen ("you have freedom, other than the limitations on that freedom that they have instilled).

So which is more "free": 1) providing the framework to barter information for the use of a good or service, for which either party can choose to not take part in or 2) force one private entity to provide goods and services without compensation to another private entity through the use of the legal system.

But in truth, this discussion really is rather pointless.... the majority of people really do not care at all, and are perfectly fine with letting the "world" know that they like golf, kittens, and game of thrones. If that was not the case, then DuckDuckGo would be the top search engine. Are you angry that the "internet corps" are using the income generated by this "invasion of privacy" to facilitate the infrastructure of your blog? You do realize that is Google right, and they know that you like Kayaking because you wrote it on their servers?

Comment Re:Big Bang Theory ripoff (Score 1) 44

Around 2008 "" ( tried this. From the archived page: is the first true visual search engine, where the contents of photos are used to search and retrieve similar items.
We believe that there are literally millions of items that are difficult to describe via text-based search and where individual tastes are all over the map -- think of your favorite pair of earrings or shoes and what an ordeal it can be to find something new but in a similar style.
We created to solve the challenge of finding "the perfect you" for a broad range of aesthetic and soft goods. utilizes our Likeness Technology to create a digital signature that describes the photo's contents and enables a more accurate search for similar looking items and products. Our initial launch focuses on handbags, jewelry, shoes, and watches - allowing users to search and purchase items from thousands of leading and boutique brands. We will very quickly add clothing and a number of other aesthetically oriented product categories. Key features of include:

  • Likeness Search - the ability to search by image instead of text;
  • Like Detail - finds items that have a specific feature you like (such as a buckle, straps, bezel, etc);
  • Like Color - find color variants of the item you desire;
  • Like Celebrity - find clothing, shoes and accessories similar to those worn by your favorite celebrities;
  • Like Upload - the ability to upload your own photo of your favorite item and find the same or similar products, coming soon.
  • To learn more about and the great ways to use the product make sure to visit our blog . Happy shopping!

Google owns the domain now and it just goes straight to their shopping landing page.

Comment Re:Shark Tank (Score 1) 44

Wouldn't "creating an account" be a pretty good indication that you are "agreeing to be tracked"? If you don't agree to be tracked, then you don't get an account.

Its their playground, if they want to only allow registered users, then ok.. they only allow registered users. It is annoying that I can't look at some family photos because I don't want a Facebook account, but it is, their playground.

There is no inherent right to go to a website.

It would be much "worse" if they didn't force an account, but then tracked all those "anonymous users" onto any website that has a "pin-it" social button in order to "improve the experience" and display things that you are "interested in" based on the sites that you visit.

Comment Re:Inequality (Score 1) 381

It will be hard to drive the cost down to that level. I'm not saying that it won't "EVER" happen, but not in the near or medium term.

Vehicle cost: $2000 (Decent car, paid with Tax refund, expected to last 3 years, so $55/month cost over the life of the car)
Insurance (SafeAuto or the like): $50/month
Gas (lets go with expensive currently $3.25/gal and lets say 20mpg) so $.17 / mile
Daily Commute 25mi each way so 50 mi.
Monthly miles driven, 1200 or so.

So... we have monthly: $204 (gas) + $50 (insurance) + $55 (car cost) = $309 for 1200 miles which gives us about $.25 / mile costs.

Now that doesn't cover things like oil changes and new tires and stuff like that, but when you are on the razors edge... those things "slip"

When do you think Uber will be down to $.25 / mile?

Comment Inequality (Score 2) 381

Another aspect of the "self driving car" discussion that I don't hear often is how it will cause inequality to increase. Driving into work I past at least 5 cars that are "for-sale by owner" that are under $2000. When, if ever, will the price point for an autonomous vehicle or even a pure electric now be down to the point where those with very limited income can afford one? I remember when the whole "cash for clunkers" promotion happened early in the Obama administration. That destroyed the market for inexpensive vehicles for several years.

While this may not be a huge issue for those in urban settings, where there is at least an attempt at public transportation, it absolutely puts the freedom of movement that the automobile provided for the lower income population in rural settings. The town I live in is a 25 minute drive to the closest grocery store, and at 6 miles away from the nearest pharmacy, and doesn't even "show up" to services like Uber. Without cars, people would not be able to maintain their lives, and would have to move to urban centers, which would then compound the issues that already exist.

Comment Re:Google doesn't support old versions? (Score 2) 629

Exactly. Google seems to act like their Android ecosystem vs. iOS ecosystem is analogous to the PC vs. Mac world of the 90s/00s. To some point it is, however, with PCs, the customer actually OWNED their device. They could install, repair, reinstall, update, whatever they would like, Now with carriers dictating what you are "allowed" to do with your hardware that entire philosophy is broken. For example, I had a Sony Xperia phone. Sony actually did provide updates to the Android version that could be installed and ran on the hardware. However, ATT decided that they didn't like that and prevented it from being deployed so I had to be stuck with the "old" firmware.

I shudder to think about what the technology world would be like now if the current "mobile device" business model was applied to the general PC market in the 90s.

Comment Sid Meier is a time traveler (Score 4, Insightful) 379

I get to break this out again:

        As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.
                Commissioner Pravin Lal, "U.N. Declaration of Rights"
                Accompanies the Secret Project "The Planetary Datalinks"

Comment Re:The End-Users most of the time don't really car (Score 1) 96

I absolutely agree with your statement here:

Open source is not about being free, it is mostly about the sharing of information with the goal of making it better and aiding everyone.

I think the phrase "open source" has gotten overly politicized over the years and for many people is approaching the level of an "-ism." I think the shift to calling it "community driven" software (or the like) better represents the meaning and intent of most projects. Things start to go awry when the that goal gets pushed to the side in the favor of some "agenda" that has little to do with the purpose of the project itself (examples like monkeying around with license agreements come to mind) or when egos and "religious zealotry" get in the way of community communication.

Comment The End-Users most of the time don't really care (Score 4, Insightful) 96

From the End-User standpoint, really the only thing that they care about is that there is a "full featured" product that is free (as in beer) and they won't have to deal with marked-up license fees. Most of the time, if a company goes to a potential client and, for example, says they are going to use an Open Source CMS system, the client basically thinks "Great! My project will be cheaper because I won't have to pay additional license fees."

In all reality, I would venture that the VAST majority of open source projects in the wild that are being used VERY RARELY have that source code looked at by anyone other than the developers that are building the system or those looking to exploit it.

For most people who are more concerned with using a system than how it is built, "Open Source" just means they have to use Google for documentation instead of calling the vendor or reading a manual.

Submission + - GlaxoSmithKline "Accidentally" Released 45 Lts of Live Polio Virus (

ferespo writes: Belgium – As reported to ECDC by Belgian authorities, on 2 September 2014, following a human error, 45 litres of concentrated live polio virus solution were released into the environment by the pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in Rixensart city, Belgium. The liquid was conducted directly to a water-treatment plant (Rosieres) and released after treatment in river Lasne affluent of river Dyle which is affluent of the Escaut/Scheldt river. Belgium’s High Council of Public Health conducted a risk assessment that concluded that the risk of infection for the population exposed to the contaminated water is extremely low due to the high level of dilution and the high vaccination coverage (95%) in Belgium. (Official ECDC press release

Submission + - RIM Releases Reason for Blackberry Outage

An anonymous reader writes: According to BBC News, RIM has announced that the cause of this week's network failure for the Blackberry wireless e-mail device was an insufficiently tested software upgrade. Blackberry said in a statement that the failure was trigged by "the introduction of a new, non-critical system routine" designed to increase the system's e-mail holding space. The network disruption comes as RIM faces a formal probe by the US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission, over its stock options.

Submission + - OpenOffice Could Soon Become Network-enabled

An anonymous reader writes: has picked up a message from the OpenOffice Dev mailing list in which a new company is introducing the GravityZoo OpenOffice porting project with the aim of bringing it to the Internet. GravityZoo is a networked computing platform that looks very interesting. "When is "GravityZood", it will become a suite of productivity applications that are always available, online, via a broad range of devices. It will be possible to share and collaborate in real-time, to switch from one device (e.g. a PC) to another (Mobile) device. There will also be no need to save data, because everything you produce is saved automatically on the network. There is no need to download, install or update, the latest version is just available and accessible from any GravityZoo enabled client.

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