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Comment Re:wait... what? (Score 3, Interesting) 73

If MS is creating a competitive product and expanding market share, good for them! That is big news for them. As you so correctly noted, this is just what is expected from every other company on Earth, but so novel and exciting to see Microsoft trying to do it.

This really could be a stroke of genius on the part of MS. A CRM tool is only as good as the information that goes into it. If everybody on the team is not disciplined in putting good information into the tool, then garbage-in-garbage-out. The genius that I see here is this is a CRM that leverages a platform where the customer wants to put into it as much work-related information about themselves as they can. My LinkedIn network isn't that big and I see a constant stream of things where people are patting themselves on the back for some new job, certification, or other such thing. From a sales perspective, each of those events represents a potential opportunity to engage, or a lead. It would be the equivalent of each time a mention something cool I did at work it was via an email to every salesperson with whom I had come into contact.

If executed properly, this could be a rather significant development in the CRM space. This is especially valuable because as a salesperson, everything depends on timing and the LinkedIn activity feed is nothing but a stream of potential cues: "I see that John just took a new position at his company. Now is a good time to connect back up with him and see if there is anything I can offer to help him in his new role." That is not the sort of insight you typically get form a CRM system.

Comment Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof (Score 5, Insightful) 249

... created a new fast charging solid-state battery that can operate in extreme temperatures and store five to ten times as much energy as current standard lithium-ion batteries.

The first thing that comes to mind is extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

I would be more worried about the folks who aren"t skeptical. Hopefully the cold fusion debacle (and others, that is just the most prominent in my mind) has taught us something about the value of scientifically reproducing phenomena. In particular, the community should be diligent regarding those phenomena that seem to defy the known laws of physics or go beyond the known boundaries. Those are most likely to a) be incorrect, subject to some sort of falsification, etc.; or, b) represent a revolutionary change in some area of science.

Comment I am curious if people think this is good or bad (Score 5, Interesting) 164

So, I am the submitter of the story, and I was really curious about was whether others think this is a good or bad thing. (Since I didn't submit it as an Ask Slashdot I didn't think I should go with questions in the story summary). I will reserve my own thoughts on whether this is good or bad as I am interested in what others have to say on the matter.

Is it good that Airbnb will be allowed to operate statewide, with protection of their innovative approach to the market being enshrined in law?

Alternately, is this an overreach on the part of the part of the state government?

I have to imagine that Airbnb is pleased by a developments like this since it keeps them from having to fight different local regulations in lots of different small jurisdictions.

Submission + - Indiana Lawmakers Consider Prohibiting Local Airbnb Bans (usnews.com)

El Cubano writes: US News and World Report is running an AP story regarding legislation being considered in Indiana. The proposed legislation would prohibit local government in the state from banning Airbnb rentals by their residents. There are exceptions for home owner associations (which will still be allowed to ban rentals in their communities) and 180 per year cap.

It is interesting to see something like this being considered at the state level. Supporters say that they are trying to prevent knee-jerk regulations and to protect an innovative emerging market. At the same time, local authorities are upset that they will no longer have the option to make the determination for themselves.

Comment Re:Stick to the important stuff (Score 1) 266

Did you miss where I said this: There are already standards for aviation safety and airworthiness.

The FAA certifies commercial aircraft to the proper standards that allow safe evacuation in an emergency. If there is a problem in that process, then let's fix the FAA so that they do it right. The proposed legislation sort of says "we know better than the FAA." Like someone else in this discussion said: "US Lawmakers Solicit Campaign Donations From Airlines".

Part of the FAA's job is to employ aviation safety experts to figure things out like appropriate minimum seat dimensions and separation. In any event, if legislators want to do something like this, then they should at least be honest and not say it is a safety issue.

Comment Re:Stick to the important stuff (Score 0) 266

They've passed such repeals six times while Obama was President [anncoulter.com] â" and could be relied on to veto it. Now that Trump is eager to sign it as soon as it hits his desk, they've become "thoughtful" seeing "nuances"...

This just infuriates me. It is part of the reason why people don't have any faith in the two major US political parties. It is sort of like how people will eagerly issue wedding invites to relatives they have no desire to see when they are confident that the invite will be refused. The Republicans now obviously have the same lack of spine as during the last 6 years of the Obama administration. During the Obama administration they quickly rolled over on every debt ceiling increase and budget increase requested. They sent unworkable legislation that they knew Obama would veto (not just Obamacare repeal bills). They were clearly posturing/grandstanding.

I can't help but feel that the way they are behaving now is an effort by the establishment types to subvert Trump because they don't like him. Funny enough, I think that they are likely to more damage than the Democrats that also don't like Trump.

Meanwhile, regulating the seat-sizes?.. Seriously?

Seriously, this is not an issue of public health and safety. It is an issue of comfort. There are already standards for aviation safety and airworthiness. The government has no business considering this.

--
After eight years of being racist, dissent is patriotic once again.

Yeah, I got whiplash from last 16 years. Rewind to the Bush administration and dissent was patriotic, at least according to the media. It was hysterically funny to see the diehard Democrats who tried to pass themselves off as being all about civil liberties oppose renewal of the PATRIOT Act under Bush, but not really a peep out of those same people when Obama pushed for the same exact renewal of powers as Bush had.

Comment How is this different than the economics of decoys (Score 3, Insightful) 318

So, how is this different than the economics of decoys?

I understand that the objectives are different, but dropping a very expensive GPS-guided bomb to destroy what ends up being a $10,000 tank or aircraft decoy is sort of the same problem from an economic perspective. I mean, the same things that come into play there (i.e., how can tell what is a real threat to me and what is not) are also in play in the drone scenario. If they fire off a multi-million dollar munition at every little thing that twitched then any army would eventually run into problems. Plus, one of the main things which a battlefield commander is supposed to do is figure out what the real threats are and filter out the things that aren't real threats (a really difficult problem in most circumstances).

I guess I don't see what is special about this particular scenario. This problem has existed for decades.

Comment Re:The federal government must be made to choose (Score 1) 70

(with key exceptions for the identity of human sources; for example, their disclosure may be only to the judge hearing the case, etc.).

This denies the defendant's right to face their accuser and prevents the defense from cross examining. There are very limited exceptions to this, such as dying declarations, but they should be few and far between, and event then the witness's identity isn't concealed.

Yeah, I realize I left a key piece of that. I was referring to certain human sources, something which would have to be severely limited and done with careful oversight. I was thinking of instances like people whose relationship to the case could result in their life being threatened if their identity is revealed. I know that there is witness protection, but I assume that is not the appropriate solution in every case. I was just trying to make room for the possibility. A real legal expert would need to figure this out, and I am no such person.

Comment Re:Good or not? (Score 4, Insightful) 301

Without having commercials to teach you that companies consider you a never-ending open wallet

You must not watch very many recent movies or television shows. They movies/shows have become the commercials: product placement.

In same cases, the movies have essentially become mildly entertaining infomercials for kids (e.g,. the Lego movies). In other cases, the movie is a way to get kids to want the inevitable avalanche of associated merchandise. Kids didn't need commercials to know that they wanted the Frozen lunch box or the Cars backpack. To quote the wise Yogurt, "merchandising, it's all in the merchandising" (you will have to imagine the funny accent).

Comment The federal government must be made to choose (Score 2) 70

To me, there is definitely solid reason to classify intelligence sources and methods. However, I think that we have to continue to resist the blurring of lines between foreign intelligence and law enforcement. Certainly law enforcement gathers intelligence (really, they gather information) as part of the investigative process. Our standard for evidence should allow for two possible choices on the part of the government:

  • 1. The operation or activity in which the classified source/method was employed was a foreign intelligence concern. In such cases, classification should be allowed to prevent disclosure because the intelligence apparatus will undoubtedly strive to exploit it for as long as possible. This brings with it all the legal restrictions regarding employment against a US person (yes, that part of the system has problems that need to be fixed, but that is a different issue).
  • 2. The operation or activity in which the source/method was employed was a law enforcement concern. In such cases, the evidence should only be legally considered admissible if the source/method was disclosed (with key exceptions for the identity of human sources; for example, their disclosure may be only to the judge hearing the case, etc.). Think of it as the evidence's chain of custody is broken without the disclosure of the source/method.

Foreign intelligence is used to make strategic, operational, and tactical military decisions as well as national policy decisions, while information gathered in the course of a law enforcement investigation could be used to support criminal prosecution.

This way the spooks and feds get to argue to higher authority (probably the AG, DNI, and National Security Council) which is more important: continued use for foreign intelligence or disclosure to support criminal prosecution. That way the decision makers get to earn their keep and everything stays on the up and up.

Comment clang is a better target (Score 4, Interesting) 159

If I were going to switch to anything other than gcc (or support anything in addition to it), I would first go for clang and then maybe icc. I can't imagine what value vc++ would add over those.

gcc's warning/error messages are pretty awful and I really like that clangs almost always point me precisely to where the problem is, as opposed to where the problem finally made the compiler lose its mind. Does vcc++ improve on clang in that respect? If it does, I could supporting it as a build target for automated builds to get the nice diagnostics (I do this now for a project with clang), but I can't imagine it would be worthwhile for something that gets deployed.

icc is nice if you are on Intel hardware and want the sooper-dooper extra special optimizations, but that is about it.

Comment This is actually not difficult, just blame Trump (Score 5, Insightful) 295

While it could be difficult to divorce the move Friday from the Trump administration's broader immigration crackdown

It is actually not difficult at all. The default position since Trump got elected has been to blame him. This despite the fact that it makes people who are otherwise legitimate, respectable public figures seem like raving lunatics. They seem like lunatics because this is their mindless reaction to anything they think they can associate with Trump, including things (like the Yemen raid) which were planned and prepared during the Obama administration.

For example. I just saw an article how SXSW is now facing a public backlash over an immigration-related clause in this contracts for performers. People are just skewering them, calling for boycotts, etc. They are lamenting how SXSW is part of the immigration problem and awful their support for Trump's immigration policies is. The clause has been there for four years.

Here is some more from the Wikipedia article on Deportation and removal from the United States:

In the 105 years between 1892 and 1997, the United States deported 2.1 million people.[2]

Between 1997 and 2001, during the Presidency of Bill Clinton, about 870,000 people were deported from the United States.[3]

Between 2001 and 2008, during the Presidency of George W. Bush, about 2 million people were deported from the United States.

Between 2009 and 2016, during the Presidency of Barack Obama, about 3.2 million people were deported from the United States.[4]

As you read that, remember that during one of his State of the Union Addresses Clinton specifically called for greater enforcement of immigration laws, and got a bipartisan standing ovation at that comment.

Also, just a couple of years ago immigrant rights groups were calling Obama "deporter-in-chief". I wonder why that was. I seem to recall Bush being branded a racist immigrant hater and immigrants came out in droves to vote for Obama. Twice. The single biggest deception in modern politics was Obama pulling a fast one on the entire immigrant population of the US. Twice.

Absolutely none of that matters now. Since Trump got elected, we can just project everything on to him, even if it makes the people doing so look like raving lunatics.

Seriously, he has been in office a whopping 6 weeks. Keep this up and in a few months nobody will be listening (c.f., The Boy Who Cried Wolf). Think about that: nobody will be listening.

Comment Re:This happens with every change in administratio (Score 1) 251

Did I miss some sarcasm in that post? Or are you serious?

If you are serious, then you clearly are not reading the news. There is no effective oversight of the intelligence community by Congress. Just look at what happened with the CIA torture report, or Clapper lying to Congress and suffering no consequences for his lies. Read or listen carefully to what Senator Wyden is saying about the intelligence community: if he expresses concern that something may be happening, then it is.

First, I specifically said the following, right after where you cut off my quote: Are there abuses? Definitely, just like with anything else. However, they are about as common as instances of actual voter fraud.

Second, I have said this before and I will say this again: the government (at all levels, from local to federal, including military, policy, intelligence, etc.) is a representation of the society from which it is drawn. To think that intelligence (or military, or police for that matter) harbors nothing but miscreants and malcontents who wish to flout the law for their own personal gain and pleasure is an insult not just to them, but to every American.

Now, with that out of the way, the intelligence community is huge. The overwhelming majority of people who work in the intelligence community are good stand up people who respect the law and want to do a good job. Just like with police. Do we see instances of people abusing their power? Yes, it happens with police and it happens with the intelligence community as well. However, every time that people point to a single incidence or something like that and then use it to characterize the entire community of intelligence or law enforcement, all it does is make those people feel like they are being attacked. That is not actually a good thing. If you think it is, go talk to the people in neighborhoods that the police now avoid because they feel like they don't have the support of the community. Ask them if they think it is a good thing.

Absolutely, if something is being done against the law, the perpetrators need to be dealt with. In fact, when you look at law enforcement and intelligence, the special power which they have over their fellow citizens means that any violation should be dealt with very harshly. That serves to both underscore the extreme gravity of the positions of trust they discharge and to discourage others from going astray.

So, please do everyone a favor and help deal with the specific problems as they are identified. Please don't look at one incident and translate that into "they're all criminals."

Comment This happens with every change in administration (Score 5, Interesting) 251

The "same" thing happened when Obama was elected. Bush had significantly expanded many intelligence programs and there lots of folks in the intelligence community who feared that Obama's campaign focus on closing Guantanamo and pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan along with his focus on transparency and civil liberties meant that he would gut the entire community and all of its big programs.

They were wrong. It wasn't long before morale rebounded when people figured out Obama wasn't going to drastically shake things up.

Now, I think Trump, given his personality and what he has done so far, is more likely to shake things up then Obama was, but in the end this will end up being something that we point to the next time the administration changes and there is a story about people in the intelligence community fearing changes suffer a morale slump and start thinking about leaving.

Heck, the intelligence community loses way more people to the private sector because of things like "I can keep my phone with me at my desk," "I can talk about my work in public", and "I don't have to deal with the insanity that is government bureaucracy" way more than "the president might ask me to do something I find objectionable."

The truth is that the intelligence has a very robust oversight apparatus and you don't have to look very hard to see that congress actually like holding the intelligence community accountable. Are there abuses? Definitely, just like with anything else. However, they are about as common as instances of actual voter fraud. In addition to that, if Trump gets the defense budget increases he is seeking, that will translate directly into increased funding for the intelligence community, which will likely improve morale overall.

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