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Comment Re:Too secure for insecure? (Score 1) 480

If you're a Ron Paul supporter voting for Trump, I fear that "confused" is rather an understatement of your mental state.

I think not so much "confused" as "shallow". I can see a very surface correspondence between Paul and Trump: They both like to buck the establishment. The fact that the do so in very different ways and for very different reasons requires looking past the top millimeter of each. I suppose a vote for Obama (in his first presidential campaign) could fit as well if the same incredibly shallow analysis just focused on the "Hope and Change" slogan.

Comment Google does something like this (Score 1) 171

Google does something like this, on a selective basis.

I think it started as something done only for special cases, but I know a few people who arranged it. One woman I know works three days per week instead of five, for 60% of her normal salary. She has also taken a large chunk of her 18-week maternity leave and uses it one day per week, so she actually works two days per week but gets paid for three, until the maternity leave runs out. Her husband has arranged a similar structure with his employer (not Google), working three days per week so one of them is always home with the kids. She's a fairly special case, though, because she's a freakishly brilliant software engineer who any smart company would bend over backwards to accommodate.

However, it's now been expanded to be made generally available to full-time employees. It requires management approval, but the descriptions I've seen make it clear that management is expected to agree unless there are specific reasons why it can't work. Salary, bonuses and stock are pro-rated based on the percentage of a normal schedule that is worked. Most commonly, people work 60% or 80% schedules (i.e. three or four days per week instead of five). Other benefits, such as health care, etc., are not pro-rated, but either provided or not, depending on the percentage of normal hours worked.

I could see myself going to a 60% work week in a few years, having a four-day weekend every week in exchange for a 40% pay cut.

Comment Re:Yep. (Score 1) 166

One part of your experience that rings false to me is the level of support required for Windows machines vs Macs. My experience is narrower than yours, because I'm a programmer not an IT support guy, but I do get used as an IT support guy by friends and family because, you know, I "do computers". With that caveat, my experience is that the single biggest thing I can do to reduce my support burden is to get them to trade in their Windows laptop for something else. The very best alternative is a Chromebook, then a Macbook. Installing Ubuntu instead of Windows is also a good support-reducer, but not as many have gone that route.

As far as mobile devices go, I do more Android support than iOS support, but I think that's mostly because all of my immediate family, and most of my extended family, uses Android. Plus the Apple users are a little less likely to come to me for help because they know I'm an Android guy (because I work on Android system development).

Comment Re:Insufficiently Realistic (Score 1) 297

Until the dolls literally spray genuine, authentic baby shit and vomit on you in the middle of the night, they are going to be inadequate to the task of dissuading girls from wanting to make babies.

If you can't actually fill them with a truly realistic substitute for unwanted infant fluids, they're worthless.

I don't think that has anything to do with it.

I've raised four kids (youngest is now 15, oldest is 23), and the bad parts of having children, and babies, really have nothing to do with the icky body fluids. I've changed more than a few "blowout" diapers, and even had a couple of kids puke into my mouth and that's really not the bad/difficult part of having and raising children. The bad/difficult part is the commitment required. Kids require very close to 24/7 effort for years, and a lower level of focus and attention for decades. They're financially expensive, emotionally and physically demanding and they require you to be able to deal with your life so you can also deal with theirs.

On the surface, caring for a robo-baby for a few months should be a reasonable approximation of that. Where it falls down is not the lack of body fluids, I think, but the knowledge that (a) it's only a grade, not a life and (b) it is only a few months. (a) means that if you screw it up, it's not so terrible, and (b) means that you know there's an end in sight. Both of those probably significantly reduce the impact.

The schools in my area do something similar, but they don't use a robot, they use a bag of flour. That's not as good in that it won't rat them out for failing to care for it, but it may have another advantage (besides the low cost): It's not cute. I wonder if the robo-babies don't backfire because they get girls thinking about how cool it would be to have a cute little baby all their own.

Comment Re:WTF are they proposing to improve exactly? (Score 3, Informative) 92

When they talk about the "user experience" they mean someone who is buying ads, not the person who is posting "Look what Hillary Trump said last night" every day. Think in terms of Facebook's customers.

Knowing who is talking to whom is an important part of Facebook's marketing. Look at how Facebook targets and consider item #19 in that article. It's not just about who you are, it's about who you know. Whether you think this is a good idea for Facebook or not, it is what they do.

User A and user B are friends in real life, use Whatsapp, and have Facebook accounts -- but they're not "friends" on Facebook (maybe they only use Facebook for work, or something like that). (Or maybe they don't have Facebook accounts, but Facebook has profiles on them gathered by "like" buttons, and has some way to deliver ads to at least one of them.) They communicate with each other using Whatsapp. This lets Facebook connect the two profiles, even though within Facebook alone, they are unconnected. The result: Now user A can see shopping ads for user B's upcoming birthday.

The advertiser has a good products experience.

Comment Re:How about making it available! and stop hiding (Score 1) 203

I'm in an alleged Google Fiber City and I can't get it!

Lived just outside of Provo's fiber boundaries. When Google announced their acquisition of the network I was thrilled that I might finally get on it. Nope, no fiber for me, still out of range. I requested more information ever few months and was told time and again I'd be notified when it comes to my area ... up until I moved late last year.

Moved to Austin, supposedly another Google Fiber city. The areas they've covered in the city are the most dense, and also most expensive, places. If you want to live somewhere affordable there is no Google Fiber. While internet access was one aspect of house-hunting, it was not a primary factor, so no Google Fiber for me yet.

in both cities it seems to be the last mile that is their problem. As expected.

Comment Re:Yes, Because Optical Media Is Durable (Score 5, Insightful) 355

I like the fact that once I have my CDs and DVDs they can't take-back the rights when I have physical media, and I don't have to worry about losing my media when I have a hard disk failure.

In practice this is also true for Blu-Ray. If I remember what I read back when the Blu-ray standard was first released there was apparently a mechanism to invalidate Blu-ray discs, but I don't think it's been applied in-practice and you'd have to have a network-connected player that the vendor is still providing updates to for that to happen anyway.

Comment Re:AI needs some improvement (Score 1) 54

I just won a game of Tic-Tac-Toe for the first time ever.

Since it's trivial to write an algorithm that plays optimally and since a player using an optimal strategy will never lose, Google clearly did not try to create an "AI" whose focus is winning. Instead, they appear to have created an algorithm that is a fairly decent novice player. Which, actually is a good deal harder than optimal play.

Well, maybe not. It wouldn't be too difficult to take an optimal play implementation and randomly cause it to choose a bad move. For example, if it's playing X you could have it select a move at random, rather than always taking a corner. And at each subsequent move you could give it a smallish chance of making a bad move. That approach might simulate a decent novice well enough.

Perhaps a better approach would be to use machine learning and have it learn from novice games, or even from well-played games, but leave it incompletely trained. That might make it more "human-like".

Comment How are these articles picked? (Score 4, Informative) 166

If you told me I had to read an entire random article off Softpedia's news page, I'd be disappointed and sad. But if I had to, there's at least 3 more interesting articles than this one (I just checked) right now. If you told me "it has to be one that will generate some cheap fanboy rage", I guess this one would be closer to the top and maybe I might check it out.

But once I did I'd see it was complete nonsense garbage and start shopping for a new one. It's unreadable - I have no idea what they're even claiming in half their sentences - but at very least it's clear their conclusion is way out of step with the data they're reasoning from.

I still read Slashdot out of some weird old habit, but the interesting finds are getting few and far between. It has become an anti-aggregator, finding the least interesting, poorest-written articles on sites that I wouldn't bother going to.

Comment Re: Stop it with the SJW crap!!! (Score 1) 676

My belief is that there's an overwhelming consensus amongst scientists who are experts in this field that man-made climate change is real and worth taking action to mitigate.

My belief is that whether or not the warming is man-made is almost completely irrelevant. It's clear that the planet is warming, and it's clear that this is going to make our lives more difficult, meaning it's going to consume huge amounts of labor and resources to adapt. Therefore, we should absolutely be taking action to mitigate the change, as long that action consumes less labor and resources than would be required to adapt to the change (which argues for pretty aggressive action, since adaptation is going to really costly, e.g. relocating a large portion of the human population).

The source of the warming is only relevant because it may point us towards some possible mitigation strategies. We should not, however, focus only on ameliorating the causes. Other, more direct, climate manipulation strategies should be seriously investigated.

Comment Re:Good at desensitizing too! (Score 2) 82

Very effective at making operators forget that they are training to kill other human beings, make it easier to unthinkingly shoot when told regardless of right/wrong.

I don't think video games are particularly effective at changing the way people think about real combat, when there are real people downrange.

What does work well is what has always worked well... tribalism and intentional dehumanization, which includes calling the enemy "hun", "jerry", "jap", "slope", "slant", "gook", "raghead", "tango", "target", etc., and attributing subhuman and evil characteristics to them.

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