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Comment What's the plan here? (Score 2) 181

So Verizon bought AOL, and now they're buying Yahoo. What's next? Are they going to buy Compuserve, Prodigy, Lycos, or Excite?

But really, what's the plan here? I find it a little frightening that Verizon's strategy seems to be to acquire whatever large content sources they can get their hands on. They (and Comcast) have given some indications that they'd like to leverage their control over infrastructure to push their own content and services.

Comment Here's a thought... (Score 1) 120

Say I'm being unreasonable, but here's my immediate reaction: infrastructure providers, whether they're fiber or cellular, should just provide the infrastructure. Voice service should be decoupled from the physical infrastructure. It should be competitive VoIP products based on open standards. The expectation should be that I can get a phone on Verizon's network, but my phone service might be through services like Google Hangouts or Skype, but that Google Hangouts and Skype can talk to each other the same way that Gmail can send email to Office 365. Same with video calls and messenger apps, frankly.

If you start from that viewpoint, then it's not about forcing Verizon to filter calls. All the questions boil down to "What should these open standards look like?" and "How do we get people to agree to use these standards?" If you have a set of good, secure standards, then you should have better luck verifying the identity of the source of the messages, and thereby identifying abusers. You'll still have some of the same problems we have in filtering spam, but (a) if you're building these standards from the ground up with modern knowledge, we can do better than what we've done with email; and (b) if you don't like your spam filtering, you can easily switch to a different provider that does a better job, and providing a good spam filter becomes a competitive edge.

Of course, this isn't going to happen. Everyone wants to lock their users into walled gardens. Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are all trying to strong-arm users into using their services rather than giving them a free choice to use the best provider. If the web were being designed today, it would all look like the early AOL, with everyone walled into the garden that they signed up for, completely unable to access content or services unless they are offered by their ISP. It's absurd.

Comment Re: Doing Trump's work for him (Score 1, Troll) 453

The only difference is that democrats want a safety net that they can't afford, whereas Republicans simply want their roads, their military, and their Medicare and want to live tax-free, apparently paying for the programs with manna from the sky.

So Democrats want a safety net they can't afford while Republicans want tax breaks they can't afford. Meanwhile a lot of the Republicans also want to have our government run as a theocracy, having our laws based on morals gleaned from their experience handling snakes and speaking in tongues.

Comment Re:Pokemon Go to rake in nearly $13 Billion (Score 1) 79

These games always disturb me a bit-- the "free" games that let you buy some sort of credits. I haven't played the game, so I'm wondering what you can get with "PokéCoins".

Because it seems to me that a game where you buy credits would fall into one of two groups. Either (a) the game developer intentionally included some game mechanic that is unpleasant, that most people would not want to spend time on, and is selling the credits as a method for bypassing that mechanic; or (b) the game developer intentionally made some portions of the game impossible without additional assistance, and then sells you credits as that necessary assistance.

Now I'm not going to buy those credits, which means that in scenario A, the developer has made a boring/annoying game. In scenario B, the developer has made an incomplete game. What's the deal here?

Comment Re:PC gaming is not hard (Score 1) 729

I honestly feel like $1000 is going overboard.

Well here's the thing, later on you say:

So every 18 to 36 months you spend $200 for a new card, and can likely sell your old one for a bit of cash. And every 4.5 to 6 years you buy a new mobo,CPU, and probably RAM for $250.

So if you spent $200 every 18 months, that's about $650 over 5 years, let's say. Plus $250 every 4.5 to 6 years. So let's just say $900 every 5 years. If you want to (or have to) buy a new hard drive over the span of those 5 years-- let's say your hard drive fails, or you decide to upgrade to a flash drive-- suddenly that gets bumped up to $1000 or more. It's basically the same thing.

Comment PC gaming is not hard (Score 5, Informative) 729

The author of the article claims that for one to build a gaming PC, they need an "unreasonable" amount of disposable income, and also have an unreasonable amount of time to "research, shop around, and assemble parts" for their computer.

Or they could just buy a pre-made gaming PC. You might be able to save a few dollars by putting one together yourself, but if you're worried about all the time and effort spent, and having "sausage fingers" that can't seat a motherboard, buying an already-assembled system is an option.

It's not necessarily that expensive, even-- the Alienware Alpha, for example, starts at $500. It's not the most powerful system ever, but it'll play an awful lot of PC games.

The author adds that a person looking into making one such gear also needs to always have to keep investing time and money in as long as they want to stay at the cutting edge or recommended specifications range for new PC games.

Well yes, if you want to stay on the cutting edge, you need to spend money to stay there. Not necessarily time, since there are companies who will build you a pretty cutting-edge system for a price. But money, yes, you have to spend money to stay on the cutting edge. However, you don't need to stay on the cutting edge. You can buy a $1000 system and play games on it for several years. Even a $1000 gaming rig will play most mainstream games at medium or high graphics settings, at playable frame rates. It might not play the most demanding games on "ultra high" at 100fps, but honestly, you can do it. My pattern for the past couple decades has been to buy a $1000 system every 5 years, updating the video card to whatever I can get for $200 halfway through the lifecycle. I haven't really had trouble playing games.

Comment A huge problem (Score 2, Insightful) 609

There's one huge reason why ruling your society based on "science" is a bad idea: What you will generally find is that, whatever method you use to govern, it will eventually fall under the sway and corruption of the rich and powerful. Attempting to merge science and politics won't result in politics being ruled by scientists, but in science being run by politicians.

Of course, there are other more specific problems, one being that "scientists" are often not as detached and rational as they believe themselves to be. What constitutes sufficient evidence is itself under constant debate. There are difficulties with the question of whether science can determine morality... And more. Every vague or uncertain point and every place where there's wiggle-room will become a tool of people seeking political power.

And why do you think "creationism" is a thing, after all? You try to marry science and politics, and politicians will exploit ignorance and uncertainty to make their positions sound "scientific" to those who don't know better. Neil deGrasse Tyson wants more of that? He should stick to physics, and stay out of fields he doesn't understand.

Comment Re:So find an unreasonable one (Score 1) 1010

3. Can someone be President if they are not cleared to see 90% of what crosses their desk?

I'm no expert, but I'd imagine being president trumps the idea of "not having security clearance". Otherwise, some government bureaucrat could just deny candidates clearance and thereby exclude them from being elected into office.

Comment Re:Develop a far deeper understanding (Score 1) 110

Don't assume that expertise means caring what's best for society. It just means you know what's best for you.

It's more complicated than that, even. Sometimes expertise works against you by limiting your perspective. If you're an expert developer, it might predispose you to building applications that make sense to developers and are useful for developers, while having a very hard time making applications that make sense to regular people. You see a app that most people would find simple, elegant, and frustration-free, and you get annoyed at the lack of features (features that most people would find extraneous and confusing). And it's not that you're wrong. You're an expert. But your expertise acts like blinders, making it harder to see things that aren't within your narrow focus.

It's wonderful to have the benefit of expert advice, and when put in a position to make important decisions on a certain subject, you should try to attain some level of expertise on that subject. However, there are times when a pair of fresh eyes can help to inform the experts.

Comment Yup (Score 5, Informative) 140

I noticed this a few months back. I noticed that I was getting a lot more friend suggestions of people that I didn't know, which was the first thing that made me curious. Facebook had always been suggesting that I friend people when I had mutual friends with that person, but suddenly it was suggesting that I friend people that I didn't recognize, and with whom I shared no mutual friends. So I started paying a bit more attention.

Then I noticed that, among the random strangers, there were a few people that I did know but did not have any mutual Facebook friends and hadn't checked in at the same locations or anything else. That was my first tip-off that Facebook was trying to do something clever to link up friends, so I scanned the suggestions again looking for a possible pattern. Then I noticed that some of the strangers looked familiar. It took me a second to place them, but they were people who lived in the same apartment building or worked in the same office building. In some cases, it was people who lived in a nearby apartment building and got coffee from the same place that I did.

They're definitely using location data to match people up. My only question is whether it's tracking your location all the time, only when the app is open, or only when you post.

Comment Hardware aside (Score 1) 138

So I think the obvious answer here would be something like "fancier and faster hardware". That's the the traditional kind of difference between the "normal" and "pro" version of laptops (e.g. the Macbook Pro ran the same stuff as the Macbook, but was faster hardware in a nicer case).

But it seems to me that the more interesting ideas would not be about a "Chromebook Pro" but a "ChromeOS Pro". Could they, for example, take the best parts of ChromeOS, Android, and Linux desktop distributions to build a real competitor to Windows and macOS? Could they achieve a better balance of appeasing both basic users and power users? Could they get 3rd party vendor support? -- not just for things like Adobe CC or Microsoft Office to run natively, but for things like 3rd party RMM providers. Could they make it so you have the easy option to use the OS while opting out of Google's apps and services, using Dropbox as your basis for storage, for example? Or could there be an easy way for administrators to have all the data stored on internal file servers? Could you substitute another SSO for the Google sign-in?

Maybe Chrome can already do some of these things. I've only played with it a little, and don't know if there are non-obvious fancy things you can do. But you get the idea.

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