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Comment Re:As unpopular as it will be to hear... (Score 1) 144

On the surface I agree with you. In practice, I've gone the other direction and have become more pro-open-source over the years.

One example is MATLAB. I like MATLAB, and consider myself fairly good at it. People come to me to ask MATLAB questions. With that said, my company has floating licenses and these are a pain. Mathworks is very responsive in their customer service, but when you find a bug, you have to work around it or wait until they fix it. On the odd occasion where you want to actually distribute a script, you need to (maybe?) have the end-user download and install the (free as in beer) runtime separately.

I've switched the vast majority of my data analysis and other scripts to Python, and I no longer have to search for co-workers who left their copy of MATLAB open. When I find a bug, I can actually fix it myself and even return the fix to the module's project, along with any other feature that I find to be missing. When I need to distribute a script, I just make sure that I'm not using some forbidden-fruit GPL module (the ecosystem is mostly BSD) and zip the whole shebang up with one of the py-to-exe tools without consulting the frigging lawyer.

It's not all-rosy, for sure. Scientific/technical computing on Python has a higher learning curve than MATLAB. While vast help exists for Python trouble, MATLAB has all of the help concentrated in one place which makes finding solutions easier. One unexpected benefit to Python is the GUI. At first blush, MATLAB holds the high ground with its GUIDE visual GUI builder. But for anything more than a few simple controls, GUIDE is an unholy beast to work with. I've found my life much better with Python and it's wide choice of GUI frameworks. Even setting up the whole GUI with a text editor in Tkinter is worth the up-front time investment vs. the misleading initial ease of using GUIDE.

On the topic of SAS, one product that I do use of theirs is JMP. I have to admit it is faster (for me) for quick-and-dirty data analysis than using Python. I think I'd like to code up a Python application to do some of my most common JMP workflows... not try to reimplement the whole thing.

Submission + - SPAM: Quicken Bill Pay is No Longer Safe to Use 1

Bruce Perens writes: I don't usually make security calls, but when a company makes egregious and really clueless security mistakes, it's often the case that the only way to attract their attention and get the issue fixed is to publicize it. This one is with Quicken Bill Pay, a product of Metavante (not Intuit). It's from personal observation rather than an expert witness case, and the company has been unresponsive through their customer support channel.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Huh? I use these all the time. (Score 2) 263

I just select the tabs that I want to close in gang (either with shift or ctrl/cmd) and then close them either with ctrl/cmd-w or a right click. For me it would be very rare that I want to close all but a single tab.

But I admit that I'm weird. I still can't completely let go of Firefox because of Tree Style Tabs. Tabs on the top is madness! :)

Comment Abandoning Time-Worn Processes Leads to Atrophy (Score 5, Insightful) 158

Scientists determined that those people who made use of machine washing rather than hand washing had diminished hand strength and neurological motor communication necessary for fine motor control. Seamstresses who bought thread rather than using the spinning jenny were similarly impaired. But worst off were teamsters who used the internal combustion trucks rather than teams of horses and used forklifts and other mechanical devices rather than loading their vehicles by hand. Their overall body strength was much reduced.

Comment Re:I guess /. still approves this crap (Score 1) 270

We set up institutions up like this all the time when the goal is a level of detachment from popular politics or cooperation across jurisdictions. In local government, they are usually set up as "authorities", such as the entities which administer the bridges between states (e.g. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Delaware River Port Authority, etc.).

More broadly, every single corporation in the US gets its charter from a government. What we think of as "private" are actually entities that exist only at the whim of government.

At the end of the day, congress could dissolve the Fed with a single law, and that's what is important.

Comment Re:"Human Colleague"... Nope, You Just Don't Get I (Score 1) 407

Clarke did very little writing on robot brains.

Um, I'll have to assume that you weren't around for April, 1968, when the leading AI in popular culture for a long, long, time was introduced in a Kubrick and Clarke screenplay and what probably should have been attributed as a Clarke and Kubrick novel. And a key element of that screenplay was a priority conflict in the AI.

Comment Re:"Human Colleague"... Nope, You Just Don't Get I (Score 1) 407

Well, you've just given up the argument, and have basically agreed that strong AI is impossible

Not at all. Strong AI is not necessary to the argument. It is perfectly possible for an unconscious machine not considered "strong AI" to act upon Asimov's Laws. They're just rules for a program to act upon.

In addition, it is not necessary for Artificial General Intelligence to be conscious.

Mind is a phenomenon of healthy living brain and is seen no where else.

We have a lot to learn of consciousness yet. But what we have learned so far seems to indicate that consciousness is a story that the brain tells itself, and is not particularly related to how the brain actually works. Descartes self-referential attempt aside, it would be difficult for any of us to actually prove that we are conscious.

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