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Comment Thoughts From an Iowan (Score 1) 71

I've been alive as long as the Iowa Caucus has been a thing so I have some insight into this:

- As my grandfather puts it "It isn't about voting for the winner but killing the crazies" where if he was alive today he might change that stance. Seeing someone like Huntsman, a reasonable and very respectable Republican, come in last by the last field of crazies like Santorum and Gingrich is sad. In any event, Iowa and New Hampshire aren't necessarily about picking winners but weeding out the weaker candidates.

- Part of the magic of the Iowa Caucus is that it is so low tech (which is why I am skeptical of Microsoft's efforts). It doesn't take much money or a very large organization to have at least a start at campaign which is just not feasible in super large states. On the other side, someone could step out of the office to get lunch and meet a candidate heading to the same place maybe to campaign or maybe to get a bite to eat. You don't necessarily believe everything they say but actually getting up close and personal to candidates and gauge their response to questions is always interesting.

- The issue mentioned happened with the Republican side where they do a "straightforward" ballot which can be error prone where adding a little tech to the may or may not help. The Democrat use a more formulaic process where it often takes multiple counts to get the result (details on Wikipedia for those who are curious). Personally I find the Democratic process more fun and interesting than just the Republican straight ballot because it feels a lot more like "a process of selection" than "a show up and vote".

And to those that wonder about the entire thing I can only say: With this Constitutional process, it has to start somewhere. I believe that having smaller places "go first" balances out the handful of gigantic states that have sway over outcome. With that in mind using Iowa (Midwest), New Hampshire (North East), Nevada (West), and South Carolina (South East) are a sampling of the US on the whole. It could be argued another set of states would be better where I'd love to see further suggestions on reform but the idea that states like Florida need more influence is kind of wonky.

Comment Re:TV vs Film (Score 2) 187

"Man of Steel" represents how WB has been managing mismanaging their stuff for movies which makes me dread what they are going to do for this next one.

The big issue with "Man of Steel" was that it was so joyless and unfun. Clark's dad is way more concerned about making Clark mopey and conflicted instead of recognizing how great it is to save lives. Throwing down downtown Metropolis without recognition about how destructive or dangerous that was. Then when he retreats he mopes about worried about how people will see him while the planet is effectively enslaved. At the end of the movie made me wish I was watching a movie about "Jor'el The Intergalactic Freedom Fighter" instead.

Forget Marvel's stuff. I don't want to watch 10 movies with Batman brooding about Superman brooding about Wonder Woman brooding about what Lex Luthor is planning.

Comment Re:of course (Score 4, Informative) 300

I don't doubt that if you are a large company the licensing fees are very reasonable but for a small scale company that has to make purchases ad-hoc, MS Licensing is a struggle and costs a lot. I have been at multiple smaller companies with an ops budget so tight, development could not afford to buy more cals of Windows Server let alone the multiple you need because of the (artificial) configuration requirements. This requires the annoying situation where you setup multiple machines but do not activate them that will ultimately lock up when time expires requiring a full wipe and install.

This "small scale side" of the market been Microsoft's weakness for awhile and where Linux shines. Maybe there is a program or small scale license level that allows for these but they don't advertise it well enough for me to know let alone a scrounging CEO acting like a CTO.

Comment Re:Politics (Score 1) 139

First I must point out: Shows like "Wait Wait..." are entertainment and never present themselves or any of their guests as news or analysis or anything of the like. They don't need to be objective about anything they comment on.

Secondly: The conservatives make it pretty easy to make fun of them. They can write up a funny joke about a liberal going basaltic because no one is paying attention to global warming or they can write up a funny joke about a conservative who wants to stone to death sinners. I am not a professional writer or comedian but it is easy to spot which one would be more "fertile material".

That said, I do think there is a legitimate complaint about funding going into a general fund and being distributed to shows they don't appreciate. One can be a conservative and really love the news coverage NPR does but hate that any part of the funding they hand over goes to "Wait Wait..." To solve that would require changing how funding works with NPR.

Comment Deficit Spending In The Guise of Job Creation (Score 2) 182

Texas has this issue too where Perry runs around to "over regulated liberal states", dishes up big tax breaks for them to put a plant in Texas, and ignores the costs while claiming all of the unrealized future benefits! Going to California and cutting a tax break to a small company of the tune of $50 million is a boon to that company but it makes no sense to the market or the state because they will never "create" $50 million in revenue for the state.

This behavior is stuff that creates bubbles and is just government deficit spending under the guise of "job creation". But that isn't their concern today is it because when the time comes that the business fails or overloaded infrastructure needs upgrades and expansions they won't have to deal with the raising taxes or a bond because they'll be long gone.

Comment Giving "The Bully" Another Tool (Score 3, Interesting) 183

It is all well and good to give users com controls to their com features but trying to enforce a reputation system like this is just another tool for bad guys to behave like bad guys. If a group of 4 bullies wants to make someone's day miserable, they form up and join a game and focus on one player using all tools available where a reputation system like this is just the thing they need: One player getting 4 warnings is more serious than 4 different players getting warnings from one player.

What they and successful systems do instead is establish a "trust relation". If you are matched in a team with some complete stranger, then neither of you have "trust" and neither should do "trusted" actions with each other. If you form a party, you automatically trust them more than a stranger and access more "trusted" features. If another player is in your "friends" list and formed a party with you then you have a high level of "trust" with that player and should be allowed a lot of "trusted" features with them.

There does need to be moderation tools and they should be as automatic as possible but "reputation" systems seem to be built upon a flawed premise that complete strangers can judge each other fairly when it turns out there is little reason to trust what either have them have to say about the other.

Comment Microsoft Is Correct But Missed The Point (Score 2) 860

Microsoft is completely correct that if they are on the hook for stability and security of Microsoft products then they need to kill off software they can no longer sustain or maintain. Microsoft should be free and clear to "end of life" both Windows XP and Office 2003. What the problem is that their "replacement" for the products seem dubious.

We know what the problems are with Windows 8 where you can find the issues all over the Internet with simple searches. Since /. loves the car analogy: Windows 8 is a replace for Windows XP like scooter is a replacement for a 2001 sedan. Or more exactly, it is like trading in your quirky but workable 2001 sedan for a new 2014 model but find the car manufacturer thought scooters were the superior are the future so they completely rearranged the inside around one big scooter seat, a Y steering stick instead of a wheel, and threw out a bunch of nice features normally found in cars under the guise "it was too complex for people". And after all of that the dealer perks up and says, "But don't believe the hate....the Bluetooth integration works great!" Lots of things work really well in Windows 8 but the major interface features do not.

As for Office 2003, many places have already "dealt with it" where they are sticking with it or moved onto simple alternatives. If one is still using Office 2003 then they didn't need the "cutting edge features" of modern Office where Google Docs is easily more than enough for them. Convince this "bottom segment" of the market to upgrade is a lost cause for Microsoft. These customers feel like they don't need the new features and complexity and not at the price they are asking.

Comment Regional Crisis (Score 3, Insightful) 491

There is not a national STEM problem but there are places with very local and very acute problems with finding enough people for the work available. For multiple reasons and factors most of those STEM style jobs left for elsewhere but the need for scientists and engineers didn't from places like Idaho and Tennessee.

I fully expect you can't walk through a crowed mall in Seattle or San Fransisco without bumping into someone who is STEM educated. I also fully expect that there are people who would do anything for another lab scientist or engineer on staff in a company located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Comment You Missed The Problem (Re:A Couple of Thoughts) (Score 1) 320

You clearly don't see the problem.

Lets say you are a new guy (or girl) who has only heard of "Dota 2" from the guys at work who won't stop talking about it so you want to watch a few games to see for yourself. You need to install the client which isn't that hard (as difficult as anything else on Steam) but it is not stupidly trivial either. You can try the default settings but that is a "your mileage may vary" situation where one might have to tweak the graphical settings to get a smooth running display. Now that you have system setup what game do you watch. As you astutely point out there is a big fat WATCH button at the top but the problem is that it is a giant list of games of public games which are of varying quality but ultimately not that important matches. Tournaments are on the other tab and those are better quality matches and often have commentary attached but they (often) require buying a ticket which may be a shock to someone new.

Finding out what is going on the next episode of "Survivor" is easy. Finding out when the next game for the Boston Celtics is easy. Finding out when the next game Na'vi is going to play is difficult. Where is "corey" from Zephyr right now? You have to follow their FB page and follow reddit.com and even follow a few players to figure out the right time to be online to start watching. All of that makes it hard if not impossible for anyone who wants to be casual about following games because by the time they see this stuff pop up in a new feed or whatever it is too late.

The point is that for a new guy, they are given no clues on what to watch or when to watch or even why they should bother to pay money to watch. Forget the gender thing, the only people who are watching competitive MOBA games know exactly what they are doing and the neophytes are left out. No one should be shocked that random men or women aren't interested because its convoluted to follow and sustain interest.

Comment A Couple of Thoughts (Score 1) 320

1. "It Is The Tools (Stupid)." And by that I mean "the tools" I mean the software used to watch and participate. None of this is exactly "user friendly" or easily discoverable. I don't play "League of Legends" but I do play "Dota 2" a lot and you have to actively follow reddit.com/r/Dota2 and know where to look for the information on the software let alone matches. It is difficult if not impossible to even use social "share" mechanism. And even using the hooks offered from Twitch.tv into FB/G+/Twitter just means your "regular" page becomes a spammy mess.

This isn't about "dumbing down" or "making it easy for girls". If you want casual players to participate by simply watching a match that can be a chore even for hard core gamers because they haven't followed "the scene".

2. I am suspicious of the data because a lot of the metrics that float around for "Dota 2" don't even collect "gender". Dotabuff.com catalogs a huge volume of stats on all matches played where it can tell you things win/loss of any particular hero, item popularity, stats for some players (that enable public posting), and a bunch of other tidbits but for all of the data and stat tracking it has it can't answer a simple question: How many matches where played by women? There are 530,000,000~ matches stored and yet there is no evidence supporting it either way. Using one survey at one event (is this even a major?) is the definition of "inconclusive".

Comment Sorry For The Blunt Language... (Score 2) 389

But suggesting that Win 8 Metro is "designed to be the anti-thesis [of power user desktop]" seems like big time BS. All you need to do is look at the lock/login screen: Only a power user would have the inclination to start taping and pushing and dragging things around trying to figure out how to activate the login process. A less experience user would just click around aimlessly looking for a button missed or can't see wondering what the next step is.

The best interfaces seem to have simple expressions with simple feedback that extend into powerful combination. Win 8 Metro fails at this pretty badly because so many things are never explained or demonstrated or even suggested let alone expressed cleanly or completely. What does putting the pointer in the corner do? Why does click-drag direction-release count as a swipe only in the shell? Expecting a new or neophyte user to figure this out with the intuitive help of Windows 8 is kind of fanciful.

Comment Can't Find It (Score 1) 183

I don't mean that I doubt the quality or the content but I just looked for iTunes and Amazon and didn't see it. I see a lot of music with "Cosmos" in it. I see a few TV shows like "The Universe" and a good Nova special on "The Fabric of the Cosmos" but no "Cosmos" to buy and download as the episodes air. I guess I won't watch it or I'll end up watching "by other means" if I really get motivated. Or I'll wait for it to pop up on Netflix...if it shows up there and isn't throttled to hell.

I love watching shows and content like this. Too bad I no longer love watching any sort of TV.

Comment Re:Oh for crying out loud (Score 2) 325

To apply "Junk Mail Filtering" requires scanning the contents. Even doing the basic things like checking DKIM and SPF to just do basic validation requires reading and extracting data from the message and storing it for metrics/heuristics is an important thing all modern email systems do now. And this ignores even the fundamentals of delivering the message.

This is not black and white situation. Email systems need to read email messages to make the system work but they also need to read the email to do ads.

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