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Comment Re:Umm...no, they're not (Score 1) 183

Certainly the settings should be controlled from a single control panel application or something like that. However, I can see how it would be helpful (think when you first fire up a new application) for it point out new things. However, it should not nag and it should only be displayed once. Also, if you go into the central settings panel and turn everything fully off you should never even see the first prompt.

Comment Re:Saturated with Phablets (Score 1) 132

The comedy Phablet market is saturated, but no-one is making small, quality phones apart from Sony.

I agree. I would really like a small 4"-4.5" display-class in the $200-$250 range. As someone who does not consume media on my phone, I find it infuriating that it is so difficult for companies to even consider that there are people out there who would buy phones like this. The only non-Apple device I have been able to find that even comes close to my requirements is the Sony Xperia compact phones, but at twice the price I would be willing to pay. The iPhone SE is even more expensive, as I recall.

I suppose I could buy something a couple or three years old, but then I want something that works on the newly acquired segments of spectrum in the US to ensure I have good coverage everywhere for voice, text, and wi-fi hotspot/tethering data. That seriously limits the possibilities.

Comment Umm...no, they're not (Score 3, Interesting) 183

but the company is finally proving that it's taking things seriously

Not quite. Proof that they are taking things seriously would be disabling all the telemetry, phoning home, adware, crapware, etc., and making it strictly opt-in.

For example, the first time you hit the start menu, it can show you a balloon: "Would you like to see customized content here? This would require sending blah-blah-blah to Microsoft." Then two clearly labeled buttons. One for "yes, phone home and show me ads" and another for "no, and don't show me this ever again." They could something similar in other places where they think there might be a benefit to the users.

Microsoft is launching what it calls a (web-based) privacy dashboard, which lets you configure anything and everything about information that might be sent to back to the mothership. You can turn all tracking off...

If it is on by default and the user has to log in to a Microsoft website to control/configure it, then Microsoft is demonstrating that they are willing to do only the bare minimum to appease the critics. How much do you want to bet that in order to even access the dashboard the user will have to have a Live account (giving MS even more of their personal information). The screenshot in the article doesn't look web-based to me, so perhaps a Live account won't be required, but either way the big problem is that they opt you in (likely against your will) and only if you are sufficiently determined can you opt out.

Taking things seriously, indeed!

Comment Re:Not sure about the rest, but... (Score 2) 114

if a GG windshield means fewer "sand pits" (which I find annoying when driving into the sun) over the years, I'm in.

My three year old car has nearly a dozen nicks and chips just on the hood, front spoiler, and leading edge of the roof panel. I would love to see a GG-like film that can be used to coat every painted/moulded surface on the vehicle. I am also tired of the chips taken out of my door by idiots in parking lots who can't be courteous enough to be careful when opening their doors to or to remind their kids to be careful. I can't believe that in 2016 we don't have automotive paints or other films that can stand up to serious abuse.

Comment No props for the Burn Notice reference? (Score 3, Interesting) 258

I am surprised that nobody has brought it up yet, but Chuck Finley is the alter ego/favorite assumed persona of Sam Axe (played by Bruce Campbell) from Burn Notice. I can't believe that they haven't received props yet for the cool reference. Heck, I am inclined to give them a pass just for the originality of that.

Comment Re:SLAM DUNK THE RUSSIANS DID IT! (Score 1) 821

One is embarrassing but arguably did the American public a service. The other not only subverted democracy and could even be said to have effected regeme change, de-legitimising the government and weakening it.

I am seriously having a hard time figuring out which statement applies to which.

Snowden leak/asylum:

  • Embarrassing: check (all the TLAs' secrets got out and Russia looks like it values openness and freedom more than the US)
  • Public service: check (people found out about things that affected them)
  • Subverted democracy: check (there was a process in place that Snowden chose to ignore)
  • Effected regime change: unknown
  • De-ligitimized/weakened government: check (the government has been dealing with political/diplomatic fallout and it has caused a real strain on certain international relationships)

DNC "hack":

  • Embarrassing: check (the DNC looks like it can't even keep its email secure)
  • Public service: check (people found out about things that affected them)
  • Subverted democracy: check (if by Democracy one means "the party elites get to make choices and people are supposed to go along")
  • Effected regime change: unknown, but doubtful
  • De-ligitimized/weakened government: check (the government appears to have lots its mind over something that is not really and should not be the government's concern, I mean what retaliatory actions were taken in the wake of the Sony email hack, which is just likely to have been perpetrated/organized by a national government?)

Comment Re:Please, No Exponential Algorithms! (Score 1) 218

You make a good point, but the specific example which you cite is a result of poor architecture. That is to say, part of the architect's (or lead developer's if there is no designated architect) responsibility on a project is to identify those parts of the code which need special attention.

Of course, with the Windows XP bug we don't know if it was implemented by a junior developer or a senior developer. In any event, you are right that code intended for very wide use should be handled more carefully.

I look at it from the perspective of volume of code written. That is, most code is written for internal applications of some sort or another. I would not want developers on an internal project spending time optimizing algorithms at the start of implementation, unless the section of code has been identified as requiring that level of development up front.

Comment Considering is different from doing something (Score 5, Interesting) 218

Considering Big-O is different than doing something about it. In my experience, for most applications, you are way more likely to be bound by network speed, local I/O, or something else entirely out of your control. That said, it is OK to look at something and say, "gee, if I take path A, it will be O(n^3) but if I take path B it will be O(n log n), so I should go with B since I it will only add 10% to my implementation time and will prevent it from being a bottleneck later on."

What I tend to try and resist quite strongly is the urge to re-implement working code because it looks inefficient to me. For that I need concrete evidence that the code is inefficient (e.g., profiler output, reliable report from users/developers accompanied by data to back it up, etc.) and a solid idea of how to change it to make it better. Otherwise, it is simply not work the risk of breaking working code that isn't causing a problem.

The other thing I try to avoid is spending lots of time up front on the algorithms when I don't even know where the bottlenecks will actually be.

Remember: "early optimization is the root of all evil."

Comment Would that not be where she lives? (Score 1) 511

The co-founder and head of development at games firm Giant Spacekat hasn't announced which district she wants to represent in the U.S. House of Representatives to prevent alerting her potential opponent while she prepares.

Would that district not happen to be the one where she lives? I thought it was the law in every state that you had have residence in the constituency if you run for elected office in that constituency? Or, does she intend to carpetbag, like Clinton did when she moved to New York?

Comment Re:..and this is effective, how, exactly? (Score 2) 121

Any way I look at this, it's pointless and stupid. All it'll really do is victimize innocent immigrants, who are being considered guilty until proven innocent (which won't happen; YOU try proving a negative!), and have law enforcement chasing ghosts while the real bad guys go about their business. Nice job, Washington.

On this you are wrong. Here is something I already posted further up in the discussion. I repost it here because it directly addresses your statement:

Right now, if someone tries to enter the US and they are allowed to enter, discovery of a social media presence that indicates they may pose a terror threat is not necessarily grounds for deportation or removal. Thought-crime is not a crime in the US.

However, if the government requires you to disclose your social media presence as a condition of entry (remember, immigration can refuse entry to anyone based on one or more of a very diverse set of criteria available to them) and you don't, then you have lied and most likely falsified immigration paperwork. If they discover a social media presence that is you sharing pictures of your kids with your friends, it is likely that nobody will care. However, if they discover a social media presence that indicates you may pose a terror threat, they can deport or remove you prior to you committing an act of terrorism, because you have already committed one or more crimes: entering the country under false pretext, lying to immigration officials, falsifying immigration paperwork, etc.

There is a perfectly reasonable and rational explanation and a clear way in which this sort of thing can be used. Now, whether you agree that the reason is legitimate, or even good is another thing altogether.

Comment Re:Confused (Score 5, Interesting) 121

Actually, it is different than that. Right now, if someone tries to enter the US and they are allowed to enter, discovery of a social media presence that indicates they may pose a terror threat is not necessarily grounds for deportation or removal. Thought-crime is not a crime in the US.

However, if the government requires you to disclose your social media presence as a condition of entry (remember, immigration can refuse entry to anyone based on one or more of a very diverse set of criteria available to them) and you don't, then you have lied and most likely falsified immigration paperwork. If they discover a social media presence that is you sharing pictures of your kids with your friends, it is likely that nobody will care. However, if they discover a social media presence that indicates you may pose a terror threat, they can deport or remove you prior to you committing an act of terrorism, because you have already committed one or more crimes: entering the country under false pretext, lying to immigration officials, falsifying immigration paperwork, etc.

What you say may also be true, but the reality is that the government rarely thinks that far ahead.

This assumes, of course, that we don't collectively lose our minds when the government tries to enforce actual laws.

Comment Re:How about not auto-restarting my computer? (Score 3, Insightful) 254

I am a developer, but I work almost exclusively in Linux. I do have to test on Windows, but it is not my primary environment by any stretch.

That said, I am really curious how developers handle this sort of thing with the automatic reboots and forced updates. To me, the biggest thing is that as a developer I feel like configuration control is a big thing. If I decide to update my development or build systems, I have to make absolutely certain that I know what versions of libraries (including core OS components) I am using before and after the upgrade so that if something mysteriously breaks, I can figure out the origin of the breakage and revert the update/change. On Linux this is nearly trivial. It sounds like that is now impossible with Windows 10. I don't know how a developer would be able to work under those conditions without losing his or her mind.

Also, what do people in safety critical fields do? I mean if you are one of those fields using Windows (which I understand from colleagues that there are an alarming number of such fields, like industrial process control, satellite operations, aerospace/aviation, etc.), do you just throw up your hands and give up to being stuck on some outdated platform?

Comment Re:Politics vs. Reality (Score 1) 87

I had a similar thought to "regulate all you want," only I was thinking more along the lines of "if security of networked devices is so important, why have we not had similar regulation for the last 20-30+ years?" I mean, we've all seen the movie Sneakers. I know it was a bit fanciful, but the very first time someone decided to connect a power plant, bank, or air traffic control tower to any sort of external network, the world changed. The problem is I don't think that the general public understood just how dramatic that change was until only very recently, decades later. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this is a combination of "quick, the horses got out, close the barn" and "that ship has already sailed."

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