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Comment Re:So, they've reached the end of the alphabet (Score 1) 52

It should work fine with quotes (for example search for "ubuntu 18.04", including quotes) as long as there are no typos.

If people typed that out fully when they ask yes, but on an Ubuntu forum that would be extremely redundant and "18.04" triggers on everything to do with 18th of April and other junk. The nice part about the nicknames is that if I say zesty and the page contains ubuntu somewhere, you've probably come to the right place even if they're not right next to each other. They should try to keep them short and simple tho. Like:

artsy, burly, curly, dandy, earthy, frisky, gaunt, humble, innate, jolly, keen, livid, murky, narly, overt, puffy, queezy, rocky, sweet, tasty, unique, vaunty, wobbly, x... can't really think of any. But I think that's enough for another decade.

Comment Re:So, they've reached the end of the alphabet (Score 1) 52

Vista? Snow Leopard? I can understand names that are groan-worthy like GIMP, but the rest doesn't sound worse than NFL teams. Besides they have official release numbers, if you say Ubuntu 17.04 you don't have to call it "Zesty Zepus". If he should care enough to find it and ask, then "Yeah the developers have a nickname for each release, easier for the techs. For everyone else it's Ubuntu, just like Windows or OS X". If that's the excuse your boss would use it's because he doesn't like it for some other reason.

Comment Re:Not all wrecks can be avoided (Score 1) 146

Assuming you like pizza, when you say you like pizza, do you mean the lowest common denominator pizza that may have human excrement for a topping or do you mean your general perception of pizza? It's a fairly simple concept.

That analogy only works if you say that the pizza has to be better in every way, better pie, better crust, better sauce, better cheese, better ham... I expect a self-driving car to meticulously obey the rules of the road, be extremely consistent in its driving and have superior reaction time. But to analyze all aspects of the human condition and flag all signs that another driver or pedestrian may not be inclined to follow the rules better than a human sounds unlikely. But if overall it has less accidents and particularly accidents that are our fault it's still a pizza. Perhaps in total a much better pizza. To do the car analogy, if "must run on hay" is an absolute requirement then the horse and buggy wins.

Comment Re:5 years? (Score 2) 27

Somehow I'm not so concerned about this one, if you can follow the rules of the road in daytime and the sun is shining it's the same rules when it's night and raining. The rest is "just" a sensor sensitivity/noise cancellation problem that can be worked on in parallel to everything else. You can probably do a lot with combination LIDAR/optical systems to make LIDAR identify candidate surfaces then do optical do actually identify the sign. And you're looking for a predetermined number of surfaces of particular sizes, if you have identified the shape it should be possible to correlate candidates rather than try to analyze. You probably also have a lot of temporal data that could be used to enhance the search, after all traffic signs generally don't move or change. I'd be much more concerned with everything else that's out there, is it pedestrians or wild animals or a tree falling over the road that doesn't have any particularly known shape or size or color.

Comment Re:Using Javascript (Score 1) 111

obj.message = "I <3 Javascript";

My condolences. Personally I loathe code that messes with variables in far-away objects, if it's a huge program you should call obj.setMessage( "I <3 Javascript" ); I don't know how much time I've wasted trying to track down WTF just did something compared to just setting a breakpoint on or printing a debug line in "setMessage()" to see what's happening from where. Yes, setters and getters are annoying copy-pasta code but it's a wonder for sanity. Same with stored procedures and databases, if something is done from many different places route it through one procedure. Even if it's done wrong, then at least it's done consistently wrong.

Comment Re:Why not? (Score 4, Informative) 113

Hmmm - prison = food, clothing, shelter, in some cases a good gym membership and now your own tablet with internet and skype and probably easy access to porn. What's the deterrent to crime then?

The conditions in prison are rarely effective as a deterrent anyway, either people think they'll get away with it (typically theft, burglary, mugging, robbery, trafficking illegal goods, fraud, embezzlement and related crimes) or crimes of passion (rage, lust, envy mostly, often combined with being drunk or high - most violent crime, rape and murder) where they're not thinking rationally of consequences. While there are certainly repeat offenders there's also many first-time offenders that have no real concept of what doing time is like or small time criminals that confuse being off the streets for a few weeks on minimum security with being locked up for years.

And most criminals don't return or not return to prison because of how the conditions are on the inside. They return because they don't really see any alternatives to the life they have on the outside. No money, no job, no CV or work history, so it's back to stealing or peddling drugs on the street corner. Or they have impulse control or substance abuse issues that don't just disappear with time. And if prison is some horrible hellhole then you have these "nothing to lose", "never going back" people who will do anything to get away with it and fight the police until they die in a rain of bullets from a SWAT team. They need to see that there is another way, in prison and after prison. Not everyone will want to change, but you can't whip them into changing.

Getting proper apples-to-apples numbers on the effect of treating prisoners humanely is very difficult, but it generally varies from "it helps" to "it doesn't hurt", there's really very little to suggest it makes things worse. It's mostly a matter of whether it's money worth spending. Here in Norway we created what the international press called "the world's most humane maximum security prison" but mainly it's that it is built like a normal living quarters like a dorm room or hotel room. No escapes, very low tension even though it's murderers and rapists. Even gangs keep the peace inside the prison, it's like everybody is on time-out. And quite many find they like it better than the life they had.

Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 1) 203

And that is the real issue here: with the DMCA, and now with patents, these fuckers are trying to create some sort of bizarro-world where Imaginary Property is not only no longer imaginary, but somehow actually superior to the right to own actual property!

You say that as if this is something entirely new. Welcome to 1873:

Unlike the analogous first-sale doctrine in copyright, the patent exhaustion doctrine has not been codified into the patent statute, and is thus still a common law doctrine. It was first explicitly recognized by the Supreme Court in 1873 in Adams v. Burke. In that case, the patentee Adams assigned to another the right to make, use, and sell patented coffin lids only within a ten-mile radius of Boston. Burke (an undertaker), a customer of the assignee, bought the coffin lids from the manufacturer-assignee within the ten-mile radius, but later used (and effectively resold) the patented coffin lids outside of the ten-mile radius, in his trade in the course of burying a person.

Here's copyright in 1908:

The [first sale] doctrine was first recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1908 (...). In the Bobbs-Merrill case, the publisher, Bobbs-Merrill, had inserted a notice in its books that any retail sale at a price under $1.00 would constitute an infringement of its copyright.

Sadly they won the biggest battle, except for open source 99.999% of all software is licensed through an EULA not copies sold like a book so you don't have any property rights to begin with. If you wanted to really restore the consumer-manufacturer balance the first thing you should do is create a "Digital Sales Act" that basically says if it walks, talks and quacks like a duck it's a duck. Once you start invalidating most shrinkwrap and clickwrap licenses then you can start talking consumer rights.

Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 4, Interesting) 203

Is the author high, or trying to sneak in support for an invalid patent, or just plain confused? Patents affect who can make a product. Not the sale or use of the item after the initial manufactures sale.

35 U.S. Code 271 - Infringement of patent

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent.

Use is in general covered. The court has in 1992 upheld this:

The plaintiff in the case owned a patent on a medical device, which it sold to hospitals with a "single use only" notice label. The defendant purchased the used devices from hospitals, refurbished them, and resold them to hospitals. The Federal Circuit held that the single-use restriction was enforceable in accordance with the 1926 General Electric case,

But now it's not so clear:

The 2008 Supreme Court decision in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., arguably leaves unclear the extent to which patentees can avoid the exhaustion doctrine by means of so-called limited licenses (...) At least two district courts have concluded that Mallinckrodt is no longer good law after Quanta.

Can you avoid patent exhaustion by only giving a limited patent license? There is no clear answer in law, it's a common law doctrine. If they go back to the 1992 decision and say we meant that, the Quanta case was different then single use cartridges will be legal. The Quanta case was more if the product embodies all the essentials of the patent, the right is exhausted. In which case the sticker doesn't bind anyone else from reusing the cartridge.

Comment Re:Given that Venezuela's economy is tanking (Score 1) 86

because of a temporary drop in oil prices (we're a long way off from oil becoming worthless) why the heck are they doing so bad? I'm not gonna chuck if up to gov't corruption because _everywhere_ has that. Usually the rest of the world will send some aid to a country floundering like this. Heck even Greece got some. Did they piss everybody off somehow?

As I understand it the main problem is that the shortages and massive inflation means that most people spend most of their day standing in line for the scraps rather than do anything productive. And when they do get to buy some subsidized goods they overbuy and go to sell them on the black market, which means even more time is wasted on finding places to buy, places to sell and bartering. Running any kind of shop is pretty hopeless because you can't get reliable supplies or reliable customers or pay reliable wages. If you want anything done it's bribes, that again don't do anything productive.

Nobody will give a country loans without concessions and Chavez won't give any. Since the country is reduced to pretty much a giant money sink it's hard to see how anyone sane would invest in that economy. The only half functioning market is the black market, where anything is available to those who can pay but that too is running on fumes because so few still have money to buy with. Those who have money can get to do and have pretty much everything they want though, almost everything and everybody is for sale.

Comment Re:Please stop (Score 1) 246

It's a major problem in technology that really needs to be addressed if this country is going to be competitive in the future. It's unfortunate that it's so inflammatory, but it needs to be addressed.

Somehow I doubt it's particularly bad in the US tech industry compared to other countries, maybe there's more lawsuits but that's the American way. Anyway I think there's two quite different forms of sexism:

1. The belief that one sex is much better at something than the other by nature of their sex.
2. Inappropriate sexual comments/jokes/propositions that belong in locker rooms or on Tinder.

I'm pretty sure the first one is mostly dead and buried in the western world, at least I've never met anyone that has hinted to a natural order where doctors, engineers and mechanics are men and nurses, secretaries and hairdressers are women. Slight surprise yes, but no more than finding a man in a female-dominated occupation and never questioning their capability.

The second kind, well IT tends to attract people who are short on social antennas. Not that they're particularly wanted, but they don't get work in "people jobs" but as long as they can operate a computer they can do a tech job. That often means they haven't bonded on an emotional level and only think about women as objects for sex. Maybe they have experience from casual sex or prostitutes that reinforce that view.

Then there's the whole man-woman dynamic, for the most part men want sex and women relationships so the proposal is likely to be far more sexual. When a woman indicates she's attracted, most men will be flattered. When a man indicates he's attracted, many women will be insulted. Basically I think women in general are far more sensitive about unwanted sexual attention or objectification than men are.

P.S. Once me and one male, one female coworker had a conversation that started about her "cracking the whip" and it took a BSDM turn. And even though tolerances are higher here than in the US, I was wondering if this one had gone out of bounds. Then she took it to the next level with one of our other male coworkers as her leather gimp and a strap-on. I guess he should be the one suing about sexual harassment, if only he knew...

Comment Re:Top four comments (Score 1) 195

Man, you're completely wrong. The Earth doesn't have a population limit. 8 billion is no closer than 1 billion. We can all live comfortable, luxurious lives. The problems we're facing have nothing to do with resource exhaustion (aside from petroleum), but inefficiency and pollution. We can absolutely produce goods without air pollution. We have sources of essentially limitless energy. We can absolutely use nuclear reactors to ship goods - no need for bunker oil. It's a question of economics and political engagement.

Cool. Get back to me when you've convinced the world to put a potential nuclear meltdown in every town and every cargo ship and drive EVs so they can use it for charging. Back in the real world, CO2 levels keep going up, up and away as countries like China go modern. After that comes India, Brazil and the rest of the developing world. Even if the population boom has subsided we'll still hit 10 billion people, that's another 33% growth.

The people who talk about reducing emissions are smoking crack, we're likely to double the world's CO2 emissions in the next 40 years if the technology doesn't evolve. Make that quadruple if everybody decides to pollute as much as Americans, because if they can why can't we? Whatever improvements we make will only make the explosive growth slightly less explosive unless we invent a working fusion reactor or something. Say what you want about nuclear but in the public opinion it's beating a dead horse. We're shutting existing reactors down, not building new ones.

Comment Re:Poor business (Score 1) 381

Probably not. He's likely better at saying things with big words; and he's also human, and likely looks at people playing real instruments and people doing exactly the same thing with a thing shaped like a real instrument as ... well, performance art. His brain would immediately recognize the visible, physical aspect of playing the game as something he's accepted as performance art, and would build his entire appreciation of the game based on the presumption that it's leading people to engage in a non-video-game artform.

From there, attacking the game is attacking performance art. He might have actually had the impulse to attack the game based on his existing bias against video games, with the uncomfortable sensation of attacking performance art pushing back--simultaneously.

Whatever he then came up with from there is, in all likelihood, compensation for said irreconcilable conflict.

Seriously, what's the difference between Guitar Hero 4 and The Beatles: Rock Band? GH4 has a 5-button, plastic guitar; The Beatles: Rock Band has a two-octave keyboard that you can play in the same physical manner as a real instrument. Why wasn't Guitar Hero art?

Comment Re:Poor business (Score 2) 381

Uh, April 2010, "Back Then". Roger Ebert says "video games can never be art." Can never.

Let's make a new Plinkett/Bechtel type test right here. Describe artistic game expression without relying on irrelevant (to the medium) things like pretty backgrounds, models, or movie cut scenes.

Video games are mechanics affecting these things. Even Atari games move a few pixels. Those things have to be identifiable.

Xenosaga does this with cutscenes, voice acting, complex 3D graphics, orchestral music, and the like; Golden Sun did it with two-dimensional sprites and some transformations, along with text-based dialogue and some sound-effects, and music; and Adventure: Colossal Caves did it with only text. The first two have immensely complex stories and deeply-developed characters, like a Brandon Sanderson novel or a TV series such as Babylon 5; the last is largely an exploration of a descriptive and somewhat-fantastic world inside a mountain cave, with much less depth of plot and character.

The Metroid games does the same kind of thing, notably with Fusion, Other-M, and Prime; Super Metroid is said to have a strong story backing it, but doesn't express it directly via any kind of dialogue or cut-scenes, which draws some argument from people like me who say a game that doesn't demarcate plot and purpose isn't exactly conveying a story from the writer's mind to the player's. Nevertheless, even the original 8-bit game had complex level design and creative ideas of how a game is played, combining the "platformer" and "action-adventure" genres.

Video games are often a medium to tell a story (any genre), evoke an emotion (e.g. horror), or describe a place (the world in which the game occurs). Movies and books have to tell a story; static art (images) can only describe a situation at a moment (although, as with my argument about Super Metroid not demarcating plot elements, many people argue that a picture implies a timeline events leading into and out of the situation, and thus can tell a long and complex story on its own). A video game can just world-build, giving you a place to explore without explanation or purpose other than to see it; or it can create that place and then render it in a particular art style to show off the visual medium; or it can deliver a deep and immersive cinematic experience with the player in control, or at least the illusion of control. It has options.

Ebert's main argument was that video games aren't art because art is a thing you do and show others. Video games allow players to control the outcome--you can go left or right at this point--thus they have not expressed what the player will see and hear, and so aren't art. He essentially claims anything that doesn't play out exactly the same for everyone who observes it is not an artistic expression.

Comment Re:Poor business (Score 1) 381

The idea that he considered for even a moment trying to make an argument that music is not art is preposterous.

I said he probably didn't think he could get away with the argument; I didn't specify how long it took him to conclude that, or by what route. The game he conceded on is essentially performance of music.

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