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Comment Re:Can't Subscribe (Score 1) 134

Basically this. It's more about the sluggish speed of Google's rollouts - they give competition plenty of time to cut prices and increase speeds before Google's available, and most people won't switch if they can just stick with their existing service and get, what many consider, the same thing.

They should have been far more aggressive in getting their service in as many places as possible.

I still believe Google will make it to my city... sometime in the year 2546, if my calculations are correct.

In Nashville, Google is being blocked by Comcast and AT&T who are stonewalling on moving their cables out of the way on NES utility poles. It's not that Google doesn't want to offer service, they literally can't because they can't run their cables.

What Google underestimated was how much of a fight the entrenched monopolies would put into keeping them out. Most of my neighbors would switch to Google Fiber tomorrow, if they had the choice.

Comment Re:AI needs some improvement (Score 1) 53

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 Re: Stop it with the SJW crap!!! (Score 1) 590

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.

Comment Re:Defective by Design (Score 2, Informative) 218

Apple pay isn't on android, by definition. Unless you're talking about the competing Google Pay, which is a different competing standard.

You mean Android Pay, not Google Pay. And it's not a different, competing standard. Both Apple Pay and Android Pay use the same NFC technologies and standards.

On the name, I should point out that it's somewhat understandable that you call it "Google Pay", since Android Pay is a successor to Google Wallet, which was Google's original NFC payment solution, released in 2011 (long before Apple Pay). The Google Wallet approach was a little different, though. Because of payment network limitations, Google used a "proxy card" solution, where a Google-issued credit card was what was actually used to pay at the point of sale, and Google then charged your credit card on the backend. That approach had problems both for the user, who might not get full credit from rewards cards, and for Google, who lost money on every transaction due to the difference in fees between the card-present transaction at point of sale, and the card-not-present transaction used for user's payment, but had the supreme advantage that it would work with any credit or debit card. Banks also really disliked the proxy card solution because it threatened to take too much control of the payment systems away from them. With the intermediate routing step Google could have arranged to use any payment system on the back end, and then used its clout to get the point of sale updated to a solution that didn't involve the banks, and removed the banks from the process completely. There's no evidence Google was going to do that, but the banks were afraid of it and chose to make Google's life very hard in all sorts of ways around the NFC proxy card (and its physical, plastic analogue, which Google issued for a while).

Apple waited until networks were ready to do "network tokenization", and until some more banks were ready to handle NFC transactions, both of which are required to enable the Apple Pay model where the payment is done directly against the user's card, with payment clearinghouses routing the the transaction directly to the bank that issued the credit card. Android Pay uses this same model, with the difference that if you have a credit card which was previously used with the Google Wallet proxy card solution, Google "grandfathers" your card in and continues using the proxy. This direct model fixes the disadvantages of the proxy card solution, but means that you can only use cards whose issuers have set up the necessary infrastructure. But these days, lots of them have. In particular, the big bank service providers like First Data have got everything set up so their clients who issue credit cards can do NFC. This means that nearly all small banks and credit unions can do it, and most of the big banks can do it. Some of the big banks, and many of the medium-sized banks still aren't set up.

(Note that I've intentionally left out some details, like the first version of Google Wallet using a direct, non-tokenized approach that only worked with one bank, and some of the other intermediate steps. I figured this was long enough.)

Comment Re: Does "not feeling old" mean minimalized? (Score 1) 187

Non-unlockable bootloaders are a bug.

I agree. Talk to your device manufacturer about their bug, but I don't expect them to listen to you. If you want to avoid that bug, you have to buy a device from an OEM that allows unlocking. If enough people voted with their wallets in this way OEMs *would* listen, and non-unlockable bootloaders would disappear.

Comment Re:or, maybe Google screwed up "ownership" (Score 1) 187

If Google had designed (? or something?) Android so that updating the base OS was something that could be pushed direct from Google instead of from each manufacturer's bollixed version of the system, there'd be no problem for any of us.

That may seem obvious now, but it's far from clear that Android would have succeeded the way it has if OEMs hadn't been allowed to differentiate their versions. That was (and is) something that's important to them, and they may well have decided that they wanted to do their own thing instead if Google hadn't given them the degree of control they wanted. Or maybe they'd have adopted Windows, since while it wouldn't allow them to customize it would have had the advantage of being from the then-biggest OS maker around.

It seems very likely that the ability of OEMs to customize was a core component of what made the Android ecosystem successful.

Also, keep in mind that the only way Google could really have kept OEMs from modifying Android however they like would have been to keep it closed. Personally, I'm glad that Google made the choices it did, not because I'm a Google employee working on Android (though I am), but because I've been an open source and free software advocate since before Google even existed. Android is far from perfect, and devices aren't as open as I would like, but I think the mobile software world is much better than it would have been without a F/LOSS mobile OS.

Comment Re:Outrageously short service life for updates (Score 1) 187

I still think that two years of updates is outrageous forced obsolescence that is prematurely adding electronic garbage to landfills.

FWIW, it's actually two years of upgrades and three years of security updates on Nexus devices.

I'm seriously considering going back to an iPhone on my next phone upgrade, despite all the concerns I have about them too. They at least support their hardware for around 5 years.

At least they have done so in the past. Note that they've never made any commitment to that, so they could stop.

Comment Re:Batten down the hatches - a bubble's bout to bu (Score 1) 172

The central banks of the world are conjuring money out of thin air and using it to buy stocks

Cite? I'm not aware of any central bank buying stocks. The "quantitative easing" they're doing -- AFAIK -- is all bond purchasing, which means they're not buying ownership in real businesses, they're lending money to real businesses.

Concurrently, interest rates are artificially low

That's debatable. Without the actions of the central banks, we would likely be in a deflationary cycle. Assuming interest rates naturally adjusted accordingly, they should go very low, or even negative. Some of the central banks have gone to slightly negative interest rates, but they won't go nearly as negative as would naturally occur in a deflationary cycle. Instead, they're pumping money into the economy (via QE) to avoid deflation.

Comment Re:"More Professional Than Ever" (Score 4, Interesting) 306

You are confusing contributing with leading the project.

Determining what code is written, what new features are developed, is leading the project. Not merging the contributions after ensuring the code is well written.

Linus leads from behind. After a feature is developed, he decides whether it will be allowed into the kernel. It's the same sort of decisionmaking process as in most development workflows, it just front-ends most of the work.

In most development processes, someone will decide "the product should do X", and they'll make some slides and pitch the ideas and the leaders will decide whether or not to pursue it. If they decide to pursue it then the developers will build it, debug it, test it, etc. The process is optimized around conserving a scarce resource, developer time.

In the Linux process, someone decides "Linux should do X", and so they build it, write all the code, debug it, test it... and then they'll send it to Linus, who decides whether or not to merge it. Same process, the difference is that the leader decides on the basis of fully-implemented code, rather than slideware. In the Linux model, developer time is not scarce and the process does not optimize for conserving it.

Comment Re:Impossible... (Score 1) 332

No, O visas are for people who are truly the one person in the world who knows how to do something.

O visas are for "there's 1 person in the world who can do this, and they're not American, can we bring them over please"
H1B visas are for "there's 1000 people in the world who can do this, and 995 of them are gainfully employed because they have a strong specialisation, we could do with one of the remaining 5, none of whom turn out to be American."

Comment Re:Impossible... (Score 1) 332

Finding an expert in a niche field is one thing, but this should happen incredibly rarely.

Would it?

How many people do you think have really strong understandings of compilers, low level hardware design, kernel code, and graphics, all at the same time? I'm not talking - took a vague course on it at university, I'm talking, really know these things. I'm sure there's a bunch out there, but probably not as many as the combination of AMD, nVidia, Intel, ARM and Apple need to write graphics drivers.

That's only one example, but for every single area like that, I can completely imagine that finding and hiring the right people who actually understand what they're doing well enough to write a high quality product is extremely difficult, even if you hire globally, let alone if you restrict yourself only to US citizens.

Sure, finding some guy to write some backend code for a web page - that's pretty easy, and that's exactly where H1Bs shouldn't be, but there are tons of really really really specialised jobs in computing that it's non-trivial to find people for.

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