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Comment Re:To what end? (Score 2) 23

Especially since the source of most of these infections are - third-party app "stores" which offer pirated versions of software found on the official repositories - are not likely to obey the law about registering either.

This has nothing to do with stopping malware. This has everything to do with the Chinese government controlling the flow of information to their people from Western countries and companies.

Comment Re:Emergency response (Score 1) 140

At intersections they can just keep going at speed, passing each other after a short negotiation and small speed adjustment to create and time the right gaps in the flow of traffic, with the traffic lights turned off.

Thank God the only things that use intersections are cars, and none of those pesky pedestrians or bicyclists, which we wisely exterminated in the Great Purge of 2021.

Comment I don't get it... but maybe I'm not supposed to (Score 5, Insightful) 116

I don't really see the point of the Switch, for either Nintendo or its customers.

It wants to be a home-console system, except without the power to match the PS4 or XBox360, and without the huge line-up of games.

It also wants to be a portable, except without the convenient "drop-in-your-pocket" size, the ruggedness or (comparative) cheapness (enough that you can give it to your 10-year old without worrying if he'll break or lose it) of the DS line.

It wants to be a tablet, except without all the extra non-gaming features (email, Facebook, chat, web, even word processing) that modern tablets offer.

And while its controllers are "neat", they look - and early reports confirm, feel - terrible to play with over long periods of time.

Frankly, I think Nintendo would have been just as well to release a slightly updated version of the Wii and the 3DS and call it a day. Combining both lines into one jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none just doesn't seem to be a winning move. Nintendo seems to be sacrificing both lines - despite their claims that it is not a replacement for the DS - on the altar of the Switch.

Then again, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not anywhere near Nintendo's target market; I'm not ten years old . The requirements and likes of those markets are about as far from mine as you can probably get. The Wii and its games were amazingly popular with the pre-teen crowd and arguably the Switch is exactly what the kids want. But as a parent, I'd dread giving my kids a $300 portable device that looks as if it would snap in half if dropped (say what you want about the controls and graphics of the DS line, those things could take a beating).

Comment Re:is uber smart or stupid? (Score 5, Interesting) 92

I'm no expert in these things, but the best explanation I've seen for Uber's recent activities is that the company is over-valued for a taxi service (sorry, "ride-sharing service"), they KNOW they are over-valued, and are trying to justify that value by entering into other business areas. They are trying to position themselves not just as a transport company but instead as a tech start-up because once saner heads start looking at what their core business is, their price will drop like a stone. A taxi companies is not worth $20 billion, but a tech company that is developing its own auto-driving vehicles? The sky is the limit!

Comment Re:One party rule (Score 1) 2837

Which is fine. However, ObamaCare never billed itself as the be-all-end-all solution. It is a starting place, it was compromised to hell just to scrape into law.

This is my major complaint with the Affordable Care Act. It was indeed sold to the populace as just a stepping stone to something better (with the end goal, I think, of ultimately achieving something like the socialized medical systems found in European nation, once American could swallow such a "bitter" pill). The problem is that, once established, it became a government bureaucracy with the added disadvantage of being a money trough for the insurance companies; this created two huge stumbling blocks to ever changing or improving the system. The insurance companies like the ACA - it's basically free money because people are now legally obligated to get insurance - and so have no desire to change to a less profitable (e.g., socialized) model that cuts them out of the loop. The bureaucracy keeps the system from moving forward - or backwards - just from sheer inertia. So ultimately we-the-people end up with a terrible system that - while born of good ideals - is unlikely to improve.

Personally, I'd like to see the ACA scrapped just to clear the path for a truly reformed and workable medical system. I just don't feel the ACA itself is salvagable.

Comment Re:One party rule (Score 1) 2837

I've contemplated that - should Trump prove to be as unmanageable a president as he was a candidate - that the best bet for the Republicans is to find something to get him impeached (I get the impression that might not be so hard) and then have Pence as their spokesperson. It would be a sour pill to swallow (yet another Republican president impeached!) and cause some momentary unpopularity, but it would probably let the Republicans push through their agenda more readily. Right now Trump has almost as many enemies in the Republican party as he does across the aisle and it seems like he'd be almost as much an obstruction to the Republicans as the Democrats).

Not only would getting Trump out of office give the Republicans a firmer grip on the government, but it would win the Republican party points with the Democrats (which, again, would give the Republicans an even firmer grip on the government because now the Democrats owe them a favor). Properly managed, I think Pence would be a good president for the Republicans and might - after the upswell of disappointment following a Trump impeachment - bring the party into even more prominence (whether that is good or bad for the nation is an entirely different argument).

It could even be done without losing too many points among Trump supporters (the "drain the swamp" segment of the electorate) if they could portray Trump as a scheming villain who never truly represented their ideals. Unfortunately, the past two years indicate that the Republican party might not have the finesse to do so (any moreso than the Democrats). Unabashed and unsophisticated as he might come across, Trump is a brutally effective demagogue and has a good handle on how to attract people to his cause. The established parties have yet to show they can effectively oppose such a compelling personality, regardless of how unattractive his message or personality may be.

Comment Re:And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 5, Insightful) 2837

I hope you aren't "getting shit" for voting for Jill Stein due to accusations that you "cost Hillary Clinton the election". Looking at the numbers, I don't see one instance in any state race where the outcome would have been any different had the independents not run. That is, even if all the people who voted for Jill Stein voted for Hillary Clinton, it still wouldn't have given her enough votes to win in the states where she lost to Trump (and similarly, none of the states where Trump lost might have been won had he gotten support from Gary Johnson voters). So if somebody is accusing you of costing Hillary Clinton they have absolutely no standing besides sour grapes.

Similarly, I despise people who accuse anyone of voting Independent as having "thrown their vote away". Elections are not a popularity contest and just because "your guy" doesn't win does not make your vote wasted. Voting is how citizens say, "this is the direction I want the country to go". If enough people vote for a third-party candidate, it can cost the major parties their victory, and in future elections the major parties will be forced to change to win back those third-party supporters. Unfortunately, voters have become extremely short-sighted, and cannot see beyond the immediate election (largely due to indoctrination by the major parties, who would prefer to minimalize third parties so they don't have to change). Catchy campaign slogans aside, voting third party really is the only way to force the major parties to alter their ways.

Personally, I find this one of the most disappointing things about the election, because - Trump's rhetoric aside - this was less a victory for the average citizen and more just a sign that things will continue to be the same (Trump is not going to "drain the swamp; he just filled it with Republicans who now control the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and most of the governors; they have no reason to significantly change tactics). I was really hoping that the independent candidates could make a decent showing this year - 4% of the vote would have been nice - to threaten both the Democrats and Republicans party enough to induce change. Unfortunately, the status quo has been maintained.

Of course, the most terrifying thing is that the Republicans have such a strong grip on the country. I say this not because I necessarily disagree (or for that matter, agree) with their policies; I just am extremely wary of any one power-block having, well, so much power. I would have felt the same had Hillary Clinton won and the Democrats gained control of Congress too. Ideally I would like the Congress controlled by one party (well, the House by one party and the Senate deadlocked), and the Presidency by the other party under the principle that the government that governs least governs best. I do not generally subscribe to the Libertarian philosophy of tiny government, but I do believe that any time one power block has such a sure grip on things, they fast track their policies and swift action like that is never good for the nation. Deadlocked government forces change to a crawl and requires compromise to get anything done, which is the ideal.

So, the short of it is, good for you for voting for a third party if you believe that the major party candidates did not adequately represent you. Don't let anyone tell you that you were wrong to do so.

Comment Re:You don't own your computer anymore (Score 5, Insightful) 322

Except these days most people /are/ paying for Windows 10, either by purchasing it from retail (a tiny minority) or as a hidden cost included in the price of their new PCs (everybody else). While OEMs usually receive a large discount from Microsoft, Microsoft isn't giving Windows10 away for free to them either. I read that only about 30% of Windows 10 users are those who received the free upgrade; the larger majority purchased the new OS when they bought a new computer.

So it's ingenuous to claim that adverts are acceptable because Windows10 is free, because for most people it was not.

Comment Patent it and make some real cash (Score 3, Insightful) 156

Am I the only one who thinks that anyone who can make a device that pulls "2,000 liters of water a day from the atmosphere, using completely renewable energy, for at most 2 cents a liter" would be far, far better to patent the machine and then sell it themselves? The device they are describing would be so miraculous - not to mention useful - that the $2 million prize would be small change to what the inventors would get if they commercialized it.

I mean, I'm all for encouraging scientists and don't think that science should only be about making money, but for what they are describing, they really ought to be offering a /real/ prize rather than what would be comparative pocket-change to the device's actual value.

I mean, I read that the cost of desalinization in California costs ~$10,000 per person (and that's just for the cost of the building plant, not the power or the distribution); to desalinate enough water for the whole state would cost close to $400 billion dollars. A machine that could create water for 5 people (2000 liters is a little more than 500 gallons; Americans use about 100 gallons of water a day) for $40 a day would have municipalities breaking down the inventor's door. XPrize really should offer remuneration that reflects the importance and value of the invention.

Comment Content vs Eyeballs (Score 1) 40

I'm not familiar with the website in question and know nothing about it besides the description given to it in the Slashdot summary. But assuming it is even marginally accurate, I stand in saddened awe that a site which actually produces moderately interesting content ("recommendations for electronics and other gadgets that are both obsessively researched and simply presented") is purchased for a mere $30 million while something like Facebook or Twitter - which are blank slates filled with user-created nonsense - go for billions of dollars. We as a culture really need to look into our priorities...

Comment Re:2.3M? -- That'll teach them! (Score 1) 116

See, I disagree. I think the $2.3million dollar fine is appropriate for the crime, especially since it's basically also a warning that if the company keeps doing that sort of thing they're liable to receive even stiffer penalties. But I'd not really be comfortable with the government grabbing billions of dollars to stuff into their own coffers

What /isn't/ okay is that Comcast gets to keep its ill-gotten gains. I mean, if I stole something, I wouldn't just get a penalty (fine, jail-time, community service, whatever); I'd have to give up my illegally gained loot as well. So ideally, the fine should also include an order to return the fraudulently billed fees to the customers it bilked, at Comcast's cost and within a specified time period.

However, I'm not sure that such an order is within the FCC's mandate or power; it probably would require a court order.

Comment Re:Acronym collisions! (Score 1) 134

Ooh, is this the moaning about the theater experience thread? I want in on that!

Aside from the disadvantages mentioned above, theaters lack a lot of the amenities of watching a movie at home. Like a big comfy couch to slouch into (or fall asleep on), or being able to pause the movie at will if I want to go to the bathroom or get a drink, or being able to turn on the subtitles so I can actually /hear/ what the characters are saying during a big action scene. And I like being able to simply switching to a different movie if the one I've picked isn't living up to the hype or doesn't suit my current mood.

Having full control of the air conditioning is nice too; theaters are always too cold or too hot. Oh, and they almost always are too damn loud too. And don't get me started on the $10 popcorn...

Honestly, the theater experience is so sub-par that I'm always surprised to learn people still go to them. Get a big screen setup, and watch at home. If you want a social experience, invite a few friends over and then go out to dinner together afterwards.

Comment Oh no! (Score 1) 169

This is horrible! Now hackers will have access to all my spam!

Seriously, the only reason I even have/use the Yahoo email address is for websites that are so scummy I don't want to associate them with the /HOTMAIL/ account. Every now and then I take a peek and I don't think that account gets any email that /isn't/ virus-laden. Even if I wanted to use it, its interface is so ugly (with a stunning /purple/ color scheme) that my eyes were bleeding after just a few minutes. It's the cesspool of freemail providers.

Comment A shot across Verizon's bow... (Score 4, Funny) 50

This is a shot across Verizon's bow by Comcast, warning them the two will soon be in direct competition. Not for wireless service - I'm sure they'll both divvy up the country to ensure they each maintain their near-monopolies. Rather, Comcast executives were becoming worryingly upset by the comparisons between the two companies on who was providing the worst customer service. Comcast is getting into wireless telephony solely so they can show up those second-tier Verizon agents about how to /really/ screw over cell-phone customers. Because nobody fucks over customers like Comcast.

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"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]