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Comment Re:Smokescreen? (Score 1) 88

The Russian economy contracts 0.6% and somehow Russia is insolvent? LJL. Sorry to break it to you but the Kremlin is still sitting on $390 billion in hard currency and a mere 3% budget deficit. Russia is in a mild recession but insolvent it is not.

I don't know where this 0.6% number is coming from, but it's not an annual figure.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

http://www.nytimes.com/interac...

http://www.economist.com/news/...

Comment No...it's fundamentally something else... (Score 2) 273

For Makerbot to assume that they would revolutionize the world by selling a 3D printer at a low cost point is like someone assuming that houses will suddenly become super-cheap because they teach widespread classes on how to nail 2x4s together with a hammer and nails.

Let's start with the first problem...so Suzy Homemaker buys a 3D printer and brings it home to her family. Now what? "oh, it can make stuff." How do you define that 'stuff?' You have to design it, using 3D software...ah, whoops. Hm, bit of a learning curve there...and even if their son Bobby is plenty good with computers, you end up with a child who has the technical knowledge and adults who own the use cases...and let's face it, in almost no family is anyone good at packaging either the knowledge or the use cases so that others could make use of them. So you end up with parents who have a vague idea of what they would like but can't communicate it, and a kid who can probably figure things out but doesn't know how to teach it. (This is the "knowing how to build framing doesn't mean you have a design for a house to work from" part of the analogy.)

Then, let's look at the limitations...the material can only do certain things. You can basically make little plastic widgets. (This is the "houses have a lot more than 2x4s in them" part of the analogy.) You can't replicate a broken part very easily either...you're kind of focused down into a world where you're going to have to invent things for this to be useful. So add another necessary skill set to Suzy Homemaker's family for this whole thing to work.

I think MakerBot was a success...just not the kind of success they thought they would be. They helped put 3D printing on the map for Suzy Homemaker. People have gone into Home Depot and watched 3D printers at work, creating things...that's not a small accomplishment. The price of printing continues to come down, even for technologies that remain out of reach but are far more useful (being able to 3D print with metal is very important if you want to be real about this, because only toys are only made of plastic) and now the public is a bit better-prepared for a near future where they actually *can* print things. And now, there's an awareness that the printers are just the razor blade handles...and the designs are the razor blades. Once truly useful printing becomes accessible, there will be business activity that addresses that problem. I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes the same kind of shift that Eli Whitney created when he began the manufacture of devices that had interchangeable parts.

The moral of the story: massive shifts in society resulting from singular technologies are, in essence, Black Swan events. You cannot reliably predict them, no matter how badly you want VCs to give you money so that you can become the next Apple/Google/Microsoft/Facebook billionaires. Aim for major increments of change, and your business plans will be more viable.

Comment Re:Smokescreen? (Score 4, Insightful) 88

Or a false flag justification for their attacks.

Actually, I was thinking it was a false flag explanation to give them cover for the growing insolvency of their own financial system. Blame it on the West, and all of a sudden Putin isn't running Russia into the ground...he's mounting an intrepid defense against a global conspiracy against Russia!

Comment Nope! (Score 2) 624

A major issue is that everyone is talking about "the" problem. There is no "the" problem...there's an entire ecosystem that includes entities that are wont to do bad things, economic and social drivers that incentivize them to do these bad things, and technological functionality that empowers them to do these bad things. Social media sites and apps...in their current incarnation (including the entire ecosystem of supporting back-end processes, business arrangements, etc.)...fall into the latter. Social media is a valid place to go after the problem, even though it's not the only one; like most significant problems, what works best is a multi-pronged effort to address as much of the end-to-end chain as possible.

Comment Re:Facebook is poisoned brand with gamers (Score 5, Insightful) 116

This is dead on arrival, as Facebook is poisoned brand with gamers. They might attract casual Facebook gamers, Farmville and the like, but they already have these.

Indeed. My first thought after reading this was, "There's no way I'm going to let those privacy-rapist cunts get their hooks into any part of my life...and Steam works just fine."

Comment Re:Sociopaths gonna sociopath. What's new? (Score 1) 259

He was saying:

"Mind you don't walk into my fist, glasshole".

Seriously, this study is skewed. It only covers people who would consent to walk down the street wearing google glass.

Very true, but there's also another effect: the "observer effect." Basically, if someone is aware that their behavior is being observed and monitored, that often has an impact on the behavior itself. The 800-pound gorilla equivalent of this is the exercise in acting class where a student is made to sit down on a solitary chair facing the rest of the class...and is told to "just relax and be yourself."

I have to think that strapping a Google Glass onto someone's head and making them walk down the street is going to have an impact on their behavior...especially if they A), are very uncomfortable wearing it, or B) are very happy about wearing it. I could see how both groups would look away from people they saw as being less-privileged, for ironically different reasons. I could see how group A would feel uncomfortable displaying an item that conveys a certain "elitist piece of shit" image, while group B might embrace the image and consider themselves above the peons as a result.

Comment Re:What does this even mean ? (Score 5, Insightful) 367

That's a big "if", is currently false and will be false for hundreds of years still. This is declared intent to cause injury, making it a bit past borderline illegal. It is poorly thought through immoral marketing buzz. There is no positive angle to this "story" or even much to say except Mercedez-Benz has decided to let the interns do PR.

Actually, it's not that big an if.

Earlier this year, at a roundtable on connected car security headed up by the NHTSA, the chairman of the NHTSA stood up and cited some interesting numbers. A bit more than 32,000 people had died in vehicle-related accidents the prior year, and about 97% of those were the direct result of, and I quote, "driver error or driver choice." He went on to point out that autonomous vehicles would, if done correctly, eliminate most of those deaths. A car that will refuse to drive in certain conditions if, for example, the tire pressure is too low on one or more tires, or the brakes require more than a certain amount of force to slow the car to a certain standards...these are the less-obvious ways in which such cars are safer. Obviously, they can't drive drunk, don't commit road rage, and don't have any sense of ego about saying that they are having trouble with their eyesight. The car can be objective about its limits, its skills, and any impairment it suffers due to weather, maintenance issues, or any other potential problems. Just the degree of data logging alone that is inherent to autonomous vehicles is already producing useful information about how to prevent crashes, and that's before there are any such vehicles for sale. (And I hear it now..."Tesla sells autonomous vehicles!...but Tesla's system doesn't count, as evidenced by the fact that the maker of that system has cut ties with Tesla, basically saying "It's not supposed to be used that way!") Cars have reached the point where humans are the main source of the risk, and while the technology isn't quite ready-for-market, it's not "hundreds of years" away and it's very, very promising.

And no, what Mercedes is saying is not intent to cause injury. It's a statement about which injury to try and prevent in situations where...as this has been discussed for quite some time now...an injury is deemed inevitable. They have not said, "our cars will drive through schools for no particular reason, just to annoy Jzanu,." They have said, "our car's logic knows what's in the car, what's going on with the car, and can directly control the car. It does not know that much about the rest of the world, so we believe the odds of the best possible outcome in a situation with no good outcomes lies with letting the car preserve its own passengers."

And there is absolutely nothing illegal about that whatsoever. It's the same logic behind why paramedics don't run, ambulances slow down through intersections where they can't see past a certain distance, and a whole bunch of other situations where you have to weigh risk of one bad outcome against risk of another one.

Comment Fixed that for you... (Score 1) 370

"Melinda Gates was encouraged to use what is now a nearly 40-year-old computer and the best language that was available back then in 1980. Her kids have been exposed to much more modern stuff."

And seriously...why does this turn into a discussion over why "there's no beginner's programming language currently shipping with Macs"? The OP seems to have no opinion on what SHOULD be but certainly seems to think it's a shame that Melinda Gates doesn't do something about Apple's policies on programming languages.

Never mind that it's incredibly easy to install the dev tools needed to start working with Swift...or that many kids that I know have started experimenting with that, even going so far as to put apps on the App Store, which even generate a bit of revenue and expose them to the full end-to-end system of software development. It's not "included" as a "beginner's programming language," so let's call out Melinda Gates over it.

I know Microsoft isn't exactly considered saintly here at Slashdot, but seriously?

Comment Is the problem with the trackers? (Score 1) 160

It seems to me that 90 percent of people will gorge on Cool Ranch Doritos when given the chance, too...that doesn't mean that eating healthy is a flawed proposition.

The fundamental issue is that these trackers were put forth as a magic bullet, with the implicit promise that they will replace willpower, discipline, and self-determination. "Wear our tracker and you'll magically start exercising more and keeping fit," as the implicit promise goes. In truth, they're just another tool...like a jumprope, running shoes, a bicycle, a scale, etc. Having the tool around doesn't mean you will use it correctly. But here's what else is happening: the sales of this tool depend upon keeping the people who buy it happy. So there's a market driver towards devices that overstate activity without doing it to such a degree that you know how much it's lying to you.

Example: Fitbit's products originally were worn on the waist. This way, the activity monitors were actually accurate; they'd measure when you were moving with your whole body, not just your wrist. Now, they're all wrist-worn, and sometimes they think you're exercising when really you're sitting at a bar having two beers. An example of this being so un-subtle as to render the device clearly untrustworthy is the Nike Fuelband, which showed ridiculous amounts of activity in the above-listed scenario. The Fitbit, Withings, and other related devices have slightly better logic but they still false-positive.

So, you get overstated exercise...which makes the wearer feel good (regardless of whether they're really trying or not), but in the long term there's bound to be a bit of "Heyyy..." when clothes don't start getting looser and that number on the scale doesn't really go down much.

These devices are tools, nothing more. There are good ones and bad ones, and both kinds can be used improperly.

Comment Re:How do you know? (Score 5, Insightful) 279

Openelec's entire file system is read only. Given the difficulty of installing something to the image when you want to, the potential for it to be easily and automatically owned by is very low.

This is not a real thing...a device whose total storage capacity is read-only. Let's look at why.

One: if it's all read-only, it can't have a variable password...accounts and passwords need to be hardcoded, because there's no way to store new or changed account information.

Two: if it's at all configurable, you have the same problem: where do you store the configs?

Three: guess what else you can't have if your file system is read-only? Software updates.

Four: let's call a spade a spade here. A more accurate way to make the claim...regardless of how infeasible it would be for any device of significant functionality...is to say this: "Openelec's entire file system is meant to be read only." An innate characteristic of most security flaws is that they permit something that is not intended. It's important to not assume that intended functionality is inevitable and invulnerable. And in this case, that "read only" capability is nothing more than Linux permissions...it's not that the OS invariably is incapable of granting write permissions. In fact, all kinds of things are writing to the file system, I would bet...information about drive mounting, accounts, etc. The file system is not inherently read only.

Assuming that system behavior when used in its intended fashion is also what happens when someone breaks the rules is the root of most security failures.

And now, a citation, called "squashfs howto - make changes the read-only filesystem in OpenELEC"

https://sites.google.com/site/...

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