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Comment Re:Fortran (Score 1) 630

I am another "me, too, Fortran". I wrote my first program in September of 1969. Programs were entered on Hollerith cards, of course, and the output was a impact line printer. The workspace was 56 kilobytes. After midnight, academic work was kicked off the machine so that the accounts for a local shoe manufacturer could be run. In fullness of time, I got to use a dedicated teletype. Played a lot of Lunar Lander. In subsequent years, I moved on to HP Basic, Forth, Pascal, Perl, Java, Mathematica, Python, and as dementia slowly overtook my brain, Javascript. These days, I still do Java, Python, and Javascript. Have toyed with Swift.

Comment Contracts are not all powerful. (Score 5, Informative) 300

Just to chime in on a couple of trends I noticed in the earlier posts. First just because a vast population of hackers out there may be able to view your browser history, does not mean they will. Frankly, you are not interesting to hackers. You are interesting to advertisers, which what the Congressional Bill favors. Second, if there was an FCC privacy rule protecting you, it can not be overridden by a Terms of Service agreement. A TOS is just a contract between you and the ISP. In the hierarchy of law, that is the lowest level. If there is a local, state, federal, or Constitutional provision that protects you, that ends the story right there.

Comment Is the "Right to be Forgotten" really effective? (Score 1) 292

As I was reading the comments for this article, I was thinking to myself that it was just another is a series of such legal actions. Ultimately Google (and other public search engines) will have to maintain blacklists of information not to be to revealed, entries in the lists made upon demanded by any first party to the item. But then I looked at the upper right corner of the comments web page, and there was a advertisement for "Public Records Online". This, as most of you know, is a fee based service that pulls any and all public records for a given person. The fee-based aspect puts this service in a different category than Google. Currently no one is arguing that such fee-based services be restricted from viewing public records. Suppose the courts ruled that even a fee based search must respect the "right to be forgotten". The public records are still publicly obtainable, we have just made it less convenient. By restricting Google, you have made necessary to pay a fee. If the courts shutdown the fee-based service, we have just made it necessary to employ a investigator to hit the pavement and track down records the old fashion way. So the 'right to be forgotten" seems to be about the convenient availability of public records, not about erasing the public record. Even "sealing" court records does not help -- all major city libraries keep newspaper/magazines morgues. It becomes difficult but not impossible in such circumstances to find out anything about anybody. I understand that it is tough for some one who has successfully been rehabilitated to escape their past. But I believe we have to stop blaming the Internet for loss of privacy when frankly all that the Internet did was make the information more accessible -- it did not generate the information, it did not promote the information, it just made it more difficult to hide.

Comment Keeping up (Score 4, Informative) 242

To be honest, as an "old" programmer, I do not have any trouble keeping up. But I am not special -- anyone who makes the effort can keep up. I think that is the point of the Dice article cited in the post -- you can keep up and it is not that hard to do so. And you can change you job with the times. I have worked in my fundamental area of physics, then process engineering, then metrology, and now programming and communications. For the software portions of my work, since starting in 1969 I have used 8 languages, on 7 operating systems.Toss in a few variations for different frameworks. So long as I can read, I can keep up. As for the "dead at 35" meme expressed in the cited InfoWorld article (which the article author Neil McAllister promptly kicks to the curb), I just say "See here kid, I'll retire when I'm good and ready."

Comment You have the right not to act. (Score 5, Insightful) 1089

"Choosing not to decide is still making a choice." There are those who may wish to stay partially off the grid by not registering to vote. There are those who consider absence to be a show of protest. Let those who wish to vote do so, freely without needing anything except a state ID. Let those who do not wish to vote live in peace.

Comment Re:Apple is a wealth extraction engine (Score 1) 155

Ideally, competition based on quality to price ratio in each market niche is how business should work. But every business man on the planet would happily embrace monopoly if it is his own monopoly. Capitalism is not about competition, it is about control. Against that, John Q Citizen has to depend on civil regulations to keep product standards high, and financial practices honest, for example, minimum wage standards, lemon laws, safety and health standards. But, what would happen if the USA had a minimum wage law that said a USA company must pay at least $xx.xx/hour to any wage earner, regardless of that earner's citizenship or geographical location? We would be smoked by China corporations, that's what would happen. The best we can hope for is that a manufacturer will, despite capitalistic pressure, take some personal pride in the design of its products. Oh Wait, that is Apple.

Comment vocational training is now life long (Score 2) 246

This is not an isolated problem. All vocations either do or will require life long vocational retraining. New technologies are introduced very frequently in areas such as building construction, business systems, environmental systems, mining, agriculture, metalworking, and so on. The time has passed when you could learn to weld on the xyz welder, and thereafter be employed for life, working with only that tool and that skill. When John Henry saw the stream drill, what he should have done is to put down his hammer and say "teach me to run that stream drill". The associates degree should be just the first certification -- the student needs to be taught to pursue and obtain more certifications throughout his or her working life. Also, my feeling is that the curricula needs to involve as much "why" as "how".

Comment Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (Score 1) 665

Quite true. It is also important to distinguish a testable hypothesis, which can be promoted to an accepted theory by such tests, as opposed to a whimsical musing, for which no tests either positive or negative are possible. The Theory of Evolution started out as a hypothesis that could explain certain observations. This hypothesis was put forth by Wallace and Darwin. Decades of further investigation provided positive tests, and no negative tests. Accordingly, the hypothesis became a theory, and in fact became so well accepted, it is considered a law of nature. In comparison, there are no tests for creationism. Anybody can claim that every observable aspect of the Universe was created just a few millennia/centuries/years/days/seconds ago, with everything in place such that observations make the Universe appear to be older and appeared to be evolving. But such a claim denies its own testability. Hence it can never be promoted to accepted theory. It is just a whimsical musing, nothing more.

Comment Re:censoring hateful expression is acceptable (Score 1) 406

With respect, please note that there is a 1942 Supreme Court ruling on the matter. Quote from Justice Frank Murphy: "There are certain well-defined and limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise a Constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous and the insulting or “fighting” words – those which by their very utterances inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace." Basically, the court says that free speech is to convey ideas and opinions, but not as a psychological weapon. A better point, in the replies above, is that a blog is a privately controlled forum, for example just like the O'Reilly Factor on Fox TV. The moderator gets to decide what is acceptable and what is not. Such forums are by no means venues for free speech. So Constitutional protections have no meaning to the original question.

Comment censoring hateful expression is acceptable (Score 3, Insightful) 406

In the quoted blog, Martin Graesslin is basically asking if censoring zero-content hate speech from fanboys and trolls is a compromise on supporting full freedom of speech. It is not. In the USA, we make this differentiation. You are free to express any opinion, but may not do so with "hateful" language. "Fighting words" are forbidden in public forums. In addition, advocating illegal action is not the same as expressing an opinion. Saying something like "The bums in Congress should be removed from office, one and all" is okay, whereas "grab your gun, we march tonight" is not.

Comment Lawyers getting the busines (Score 1) 253

As the article says, this will get the lawyers plenty of business. That is likely the point, as I believe that giant corporations have lost control of their attorneys. IP ligation has become a separate business for these guys, only minimally tied to the company's best interests.

Comment implementation (Score 1) 347

I believe this would be implemented as follows. First, a patent is submitted by interested parties to a neutral standards group. If the group decides the patent covers something essential to the functionality of products across the given industry, they grant a mechanical license. This means anyone gets to use the patented idea, but must pay a fixed predetermined fee to the patent holder. I can think of some patents that I wish had been handled that way, for example back up cameras on cars -- so useful for safety, that it should be universally available to all car manufacturers. A company might even come to hope that its patent is selected for such licensing, as it becomes a standard every manufacturer will use, giving a guaranteed revenue stream to the originating company.

Comment Re:rotten (Score 4, Insightful) 136

Dirty work? Do not be so sure. The article raises the possibility that Apple did not like the Clueful app because it discloses to users that some developers are in fact evil. But then this possibility is knocked down as not being likely. So we are left with a big question as to why the Clueful app was pulled. The most likely reason is that the app fell into a technical TOS violation, something that is prohibited but in this case would have in fact been okay. Perhaps because the app sends user data back to the developer? Even if that was done for benign and beneficial use, it could still be a TOS violation. Let's not conjure up headlines. I know a lot of developers do not like the walled garden, but after the "Find and Call" incident, maybe users view the wall in a different light.

Comment a careful reading of the actual executive order (Score 5, Informative) 513

Upon a careful reading of the actual executive order, I find, in my humble opinion, that the order does none of things that are being ranted about. First, the bulk of the order are instructions to DHS to develop policies and procedures to ensure that communications will survive in the event of a national emergency. Second, it does allude to ensuring that federal needs will have priority during emergencies, a privilege the government already enjoys. Third, it carefully notes that the authority of the FCC is not being superseded by the order, and that the FCC has control over any communications channels that have been assigned to the federal government, i.e. DHS does not. Frankly, it reads as a get your act together directive, not a sweeping grab of new federal powers.

Comment Examples (Score 1) 282

Yes, many specialized photographic tasks have been and are being transformed into graphic designer tasks, with CGI. Examples include automobile advertisement photography. In the past, there were photographers based in Detroit, where the mainstay of their business was to photograph new (and usually yet to be publicly announced or shown) automobiles. To do this, they had barn-like studios, with car sized turntables and ramps. Now, this is primarily done by CGI. In fashion, sets are now CGI around the model. Sometimes, even the clothes! Remember the famous "water dress" photos of Giselle? The water dress was all CGI. The business is still "photography", drawing with light, but it is expanded well beyond capturing reality. Professions change with technology and time. While this is not in line with the cited article of the original post, wedding photography as a business is drying up because even amateurs can get decent results with modern automated cameras, and the magic "fix this" buttons in many photo editing programs. Mind you, they may not get great results, but they will get "good enough". Lower your standards, then you will not need to hide a professional photographer. The low and mid level professional photographers will lose. The high end, where the photographer does his or her own CGI will survive. Perhaps also we will see a continuing if tiny market for the high end formal sitting portrait.

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