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Comment Re:I feel Randal's pain... (Score 1) 174

My Fiance is on iMessage [...] There are genuinely islands of people I'd lose touch with if I dropped any of those, so they clutter my phone...

So you say you are forced by your fiance to get an iPhone (otherwise, no iMessage)? Are you still sure you want to marry?

Or what would happen if you were not only technically aware but had a strong dislike of a company with as ghastly business practices as Apple?

Businesses

Google's Compute Engine Now Offers Machines With Up To 64 CPU Cores, 416GB of RAM (techcrunch.com) 74

An anonymous reader shares a TechCrunch report: Google is doubling the maximum number of CPU cores developers can use with a single virtual machine on its Compute Engine service from 32 to 64. These high-power machines are now available in beta across all of Google's standard configurations and as custom machine types, which allow you to select exactly how many cores and memory you want. If you opt to use 64 cores in Google's range of high-memory machine types, you'll also get access to 416GB of RAM. That's also twice as much memory as Compute Engine previously offered for a single machine and enough for running most memory-intensive applications, including high-end in-memory databases. Running your apps on this high-memory machine will set you back $3.7888 per hour (though you do get all of Google's usual sustained-use discounts if you run it for longer, too).
Robotics

'Robots Won't Just Take Our Jobs -- They'll Make the Rich Even Richer' (theguardian.com) 644

Robotics and artificial intelligence will continue to improve -- but without political change such as a tax, the outcome will range from bad to apocalyptic, writes technology and politics journalist Ben Tarnoff, citing experts and studies, for The Guardian. From the article, shared by six anonymous readers: Despite a steady stream of alarming headlines about clever computers gobbling up our jobs, the economic data suggests that automation isn't happening on a large scale. The bad news is that if it does, it will produce a level of inequality that will make present-day America look like an egalitarian utopia by comparison. The real threat posed by robots isn't that they will become evil and kill us all, which is what keeps Elon Musk up at night -- it's that they will amplify economic disparities to such an extreme that life will become, quite literally, unlivable for the vast majority. A robot tax may or may not be a useful policy tool for averting this scenario. But it's a good starting point for an important conversation. Mass automation presents a serious political problem -- one that demands a serious political solution. Automation isn't new. In the late 16th century, an English inventor developed a knitting machine known as the stocking frame. By hand, workers averaged 100 stitches per minute; with the stocking frame, they averaged 1,000. This is the basic pattern, repeated through centuries: as technology improves, it reduces the amount of labor required to produce a certain number of goods. So far, however, this phenomenon hasn't produced extreme unemployment. That's because automation can create jobs as well as destroy them. What's different this time is the possibility that technology will become so sophisticated that there won't be anything left for humans to do. What if your ATM could not only give you a hundred bucks, but sell you an adjustable-rate mortgage?

Comment The USA hasn't recovered from prohibition. (Score 4, Interesting) 154

The attitudes towards alcohol in the USA are quite bizarre to most of the rest of the planet but we didn't have prohibition.

When I went to the USA with the British Army, I found that although I was old enough to be an ally with a rifle, I was not old enough to have a beer at 20! I was old enough to go in harms way but not old enough for Budweiser! Your troop transport aircraft was supposed to be dry. I have heard that your naval vessels are dry.

I have heard that your prohibition was brought about by a, misnamed, temperance movement. Certainly, there are some people who can only be teetotal or drunk. In most cases, this is a matter of education. The best way is to demystify it. I remember at college, you could tell the students who had never been allowed even a glass of shandy. They were the ones who propped up bars every night. They "didn't do morning lectures"! Your country is treating you the same...

Google

Gmail Will Soon Block JavaScript File Attachments (androidpolice.com) 53

Starting February 13, 2017, Google will not allow JavaScript files to be sent as an attachment via Gmail in an effort to reduce malicious attacks. Android Police reports: Malicious emails often attach various forms of executable programs and trick users into running them. These include standard Windows executables (.exe), batch files (.bat), and even JavaScript files (.js). If you're not familiar with web development, JavaScript is a common language used when developing web applications, and JS files are often loaded as part of web pages. However, opening an unknown JS file on Windows can be dangerous, as it runs inside Windows Script Host by default. From there, the script can easily run Windows executables. While blocking .js attachments is a step in the right direction, it is unclear if any warnings will be shown when receiving emails with JS files attached. Source: G Suite Updates

Comment Re:I call BS (Score 1) 167

Those people are Arab Muslims, and if they have to flee Syria, they should flee to countries in the neighbourhood that are not totally alien to them - Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, maybe even Turkey or Iran. They would find them more culturally compatible, and in Arab countries.

Not all brown people living in hot places are Arab or Muslim. Even if a particular refugee is both, there are types of Arab and types of Muslim.

Iran has always been keen to point out that it not an Arab country. They are not the same sort of Muslim as most of their neighbours to the north or west. Look up the words "Sunni" and "Shia" and think about 16th century European Catholics & Protestants but without always the same level of tolerance.

Instead, ONE EU member country - Germany - decides to take in everyone, and in the process, sours everybody

That depends on what you mean by "everybody". If you mean the right-wing press, which we have so much of, then certainly. If however you mean all the people, or even the vast majority numerically, not so. I have talked to some Germans who were very angry about the lies published as "news" saying what was going on in their country. Basically, it wasn't. We wouldn't know though because of the garbage we hear from our papers. I saw photographs of a male only train unloading but when did we see any of the women and children train another day? I suspect that there will be some on snopes.com but not in the Sun or the Daily Wail.

What Germany did was excellent and an example to us all. They have a little more money that we do at present, but perhaps about the same amount of free space. No we are not "full up" and we weren't broke either. The UK offer to resettle perhaps 8 per week was just silly and embarrassing/shaming.

but once it also started meaning the free flow of Jihadists b/w European countries,

These are people running away from jihadists. We seem to be able to grow our own anyway. I am more worried about those and you should be too.

Comment Re:Pardon Manning and Snowden (Score 1) 384

I honestly don't get why some people view this almost as if it's a crime against humanity.

... why is it so offensive to refer to a trans person as the gender they don't identify as?

I would just see it as unnecessary and bad manners. It's like telling someone that she has a really big nose and she really ought to see a plastic surgeon or someone at the gym that they shouldn't bother since there is no way that some weed like them is going to look anything other than a total wimp.

Perhaps you do do those things. Perhaps they make you happy. Why? What difference does it make to you to call someone "she" or not tell Miss Pinocchio that she has better streamlining than an F35?

If someone wants to have long blonde hair and wear lipstick, what difference does it make that they have had an operation and the contents of their underwear have changed? They are probably not my type so I'm not going to check anyway!

Comment Re:Exponential Costs (Score 1) 94

How about patents not being renewable anyway?
They run for 17 years as they once did. For that period, the inventor has a state sanctioned and enforced monopoly.
In return for this, when the patent expires, it is made free to all. We probably shouldn't call it GPS as that is scary to the uninformable.

They only should be transferrable upon some shortening of the remaining period. 10% sounds like a good figure.

Example

In January 2020 "Bob" invents a new widget and immediately patents it - expiry january 2037

For 2 years, he sells the widget himself. Then sells it to "Peter". New expiry date July 2035. - 10% of the remaining 15 years deducted.

3 years later, Peter sells it to "Holdings Corp". 10% of the remaining 12 years is 14 months meaning expiry date now May 2034

The more changes of hands, the more is deducted. These two changes would fix most problems.

Comment Re:And yet... (Score 1) 111

Just watch, Trump's response will either to be to continue to complain about the wind farm near his golf course in Scotland

He can complain as much as he likes. I come from a very rural part of Scotland. My friends and relatives are pleased about the wind turbines and there are plenty. There probably won't be many more large ones for a while but there are plenty smaller ones going up the whole time.

They don't spoil the view and they don't pollute. Bring it on!

Comment Re:Wood burning is not clean (Score 1) 111

Moral of the story? High CO2 levels are just fine for life on earth.

Not so good for humans who increasingly want to live in vast concrete, steel and glass deserts.

Not so good for those deserts that will be flooded when the sea rises to levels not seen for millenia (or longer).

Not so good for the vast mega farms needed to support humanity as they are flattened by the stormier and unpredictable weather,

Piracy

US Government Targets Pirate Bay and Other 'Piracy Havens' (torrentfreak.com) 82

The US Government has listed some of the largest piracy websites and other copyright-infringing venues. The USTR calls on foreign countries to take action against popular piracy sites such as The Pirate Bay, which has important "symbolic value," according to the authorities. In addition, stream-ripping is mentioned as an emerging threat. TorrentFreak adds: The overview is largely based on input from industry groups including the RIAA and MPAA, who submitted their recommendations a few weeks ago. While the USTR admits that the list is not meant to reflect legal violations, the goal of the review is to motivate owners and foreign Governments to take appropriate action and reduce piracy. "The United States encourages all responsible authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and to use the information contained in the Notorious Markets List to pursue legal actions where appropriate," the USTR announced.

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