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Comment Re:People have workflows. (exactly) (Score 2) 352

I often see people asking why so many users are willing to keep shelling out all the money it costs for products like Adobe Acrobat Pro, when free or inexpensive commercial or shareware alternatives are all over the place that would allow you to edit a PDF document and save a modified copy. Same goes for Adobe Photoshop, or even Microsoft Office.

The answer is most cases is that the familiarity makes it worthwhile. I mean, yes, in a minority of cases, you actually have users who need advanced features or functionality that's not provided by any of the alternatives. But I'd say the vast majority of the time, it's simply that someone spent years using those "name brand" products for the work they do, and switching to something else that has menu options in totally different places, and toolbars with different icons for the functions they're after doesn't seem like a good value to them.

Comment Privacy issues aside? (Score 1) 67

This is asking for headaches and issues because you're forcing all of your mail and calendar/contact data to get stored TWICE and synced properly and rapidly between both entities consistently, at all times. Twice the risk of something going wrong with 2 major points of failure in the mix.

Comment Doesn't mean much but .... (Score 1) 215

It seems like the artificial sweeteners have been implicated as potential health threats for various reasons over the years. IMO, it's very possible that at least a few of them really do have negative side effects.

I agree with the people who questioned why you'd drink diet soda anyway? It always has a weird chemical aftertaste. Yes, like most things, you can get used to it after a while. But why bother? There's nothing redeeming, health-wise, about drinking a soda -- so it has no upsides there. Seems like you may as well get used to the flavor of something else instead like tea if you're just drinking it to avoid sugar and you want something with more flavor than plain water.

I'm kind of a regular soda fan, myself. Bad habit? Sure, but I really enjoy Dr. Pepper and Mr. Pibb and several of the others. But at least I don't feel like I'm compromising flavor when I drink one -- and I know the downsides of sugary drinks. It's not a big question-mark like artificial sweetener chemicals that were often discovered and produced initially for very different purposes.

Comment Might be an unpopular opinion, but .... (Score 2, Insightful) 251

I'm just going to point out that the public schools in poor districts who supposedly "never got Internet yet" OR are supposedly in real need of reduced cost Internet broadband because they can't afford to pay the "going rate" for it are, indeed, PUBLIC schools.

When you hear about our failing school systems and those pushing to allow tax dollars to fund sending their kids to private alternatives via a voucher system of some sort -- this is a good example of why. Any government run public school that's so bad off, it still hasn't even obtained Internet access is a FAILURE. It doesn't need subsidized broadband to fix it. It need to be completely gutted and overhauled! Tax dollars pay for everything it does already. If that's not sufficient to pay its bills for things like its Internet connection, then it's not really viable.

Comment Re:$70k? (Score -1, Flamebait) 268

Oh, so $70,000 is meaningless to you?

I think savings is important wherever you can find it. The fact that Federal govt. spends such amazingly huge amounts of our money (and it *is* our money, after all -- since it comes from taxes) shouldn't mean they can ignore wasteful spending on a small scale.

I'm not exactly a Trump supporter, but things are so polarized right now, I hear nothing but negative talk about pretty much any decision the guy makes in office. In reality? I see no value in making visitor logs immediately available for anybody who decided to visit the White House? I would expect they'd have a bit tighter security than to just make that info openly available, actually. So Obama, IMO, went about that the wrong way.

Comment Lesser praised sci-fi .... (Score 2) 1219

As you as you start talking about "all times favorites", I think the well known movies like Star Wars come to mind for most of us. I agree with another poster that the first Matrix movie was also top-notch. That one bothers me though, only because the sequels derailed some of the things I liked best about the original. Basically, they took the story to different places I didn't think benefited it and I would have been happier if parts 2 and 3 were never made at all.

One of the low budget sci-fi flicks I really enjoyed, though, was "The Cube". In fact, the limited resources and "unknowns" used as actors and actresses add to the enjoyment because IMO, the whole cast did an amazing job and it's intriguing how so much suspense could be created with a backdrop that's typically just empty white rooms.

Submission + - Investigation Finds Inmates Built Computers, Hid Them In Prison Ceiling (cbs6albany.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The discovery of two working computers hidden in a ceiling at the Marion Correctional Institution prompted an investigation by the state into how inmates got access. In late July, 2015 staff at the prison discovered the computers hidden on a plywood board in the ceiling above a training room closet. The computers were also connected to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's network. Authorities say they were first tipped off to a possible problem in July, when their computer network support team got an alert that a computer "exceeded a daily internet usage threshold." When they checked the login being used, they discovered an employee's credentials were being used on days he wasn't scheduled to work. That's when they tracked down where the connection was coming from and alerted Marion Correctional Institution of a possible problem. Investigators say there was lax supervision at the prison, which gave inmates the ability to build computers from parts, get them through security checks, and hide them in the ceiling. The inmates were also able to run cabling, connecting the computers to the prison's network.

Comment Re:Boring alternative theory (Score 1) 173

I don't think that theory really explains what's happening, although it's a clever idea.
There's still just as much use for a long lead-in to talk over, today, as there ever was. Even in the world of streaming, you have a lot of streaming radio that still uses DJs talking between songs. Sirius/XM satellite radio, for example, is doing a lot of business offering a streaming version of the same stations you traditionally paid to listen to over the satellite transmissions.

Most likely, this trend just shows the importance of catching the listener's ear ASAP, so they don't click on to the next track without giving it a chance.

If you think about it, at least with rock music, there was an awful lot of it with long intros that were little more than some synthesizer chords held down or synth noises that an artist thought sounded kind of cool. It helped ensure they could fill both sides of a cassette tape or L.P. enough time so buyers felt like they got their money's worth - but that's not such a concern these days. (I believe Def Leppard's Pyromania is even an example of adding this "filler" at the end of the album ... with that long repeating sound effect after the "Don't Shoot Shotgun" song? That was done occasionally too.)

Comment Just more fiction for mental masturbation (Score 1) 131

I mean when it comes to money, it doesn't have any real meaning to a computer A.I. It does, however, mean pretty much everything to human beings directly involved in the market, in trading, and in the business of trying to generate maximum wealth.

That ensures that A.I. will never be allowed to spin out of control to create the "nightmare scenarios" one can create in their imagination.

It will only be implemented as far as it is able to assist people in performing the tasks they wish to perform manually anyway.

Submission + - Google Ruins the Assistant's Shopping List, Turns It Into a Google Express Ad (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Google Assistant, Google's voice assistant that powers the Google app on Android phones, tablets, and Google Home, has just gotten a major downgrade. In a move reminiscent of all the forced and user-hostile Google+ integrations, Google has gutted the Google Assistant's shopping list functionality in order to turn it into a big advertisement for Google's shopping site, Google Express. The shopping list has been a major feature of the Google Assistant. You can say "Add milk to my shopping list," and the Google Assistant would dutifully store this information somewhere. The shopping list used to live in Google Keep. Keep is Google's primary note-taking app, making it a natural home for the shopping list with lots of useful tools and management options. Now the shopping list lives in Google Express. Express is an online shopping site, and it has no business becoming a dedicated place to store a shopping list that probably has nothing to do with Google's online marketplace. Since Google Express is an online shopping site (and, again, has no business having a note-taking app grafted onto it), the move from Keep to Google Express means the Assistant's shopping list functionality loses the following features: Being able to reorder items with drag and drop.
Reminders; Adding images to the shopping list; Adding voice recordings to the shopping list; Real time collaboration with other users (Express has sharing, but you can't see other people as they type—you have to refresh.); Android Wear integration; Desktop keyboard shortcuts; Checkbox management: deleting all checked items, unchecking all items, hiding checkboxes. Alternatively, the move from Keep to Google Express means the Assistant shopping list gains the following features: Google Express advertising next to every list item; Google Express advertising at the bottom of the page.

Comment I never expected the U.S. would on top, but ... (Score 3, Insightful) 903

That really ignores a few basic points.

First, the U.S. is a Democratic Republic, NOT a nation with a monarchy, a dictatorship, Communist rule, or Socialism. That puts it in a rather unique position as far as having a government structure that encourages less taxation and more self-reliance. (Not interested in trying to start the whole "which is better?" debate here... but just stating facts. I'd expect these other types of governance to impose higher taxes because they focus on the people working for the greater good of the whole, with government at the center, orchestrating things. In America, government is, at least in theory, "by the people, for the people" and exists to only do the basic tasks outlined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.)

Second, taxation in America is all spread out. The list of taxes is huge, and comes at the local and state level as much as at the Federal level. I'm no expert on the subject,but I'm confident that in many nations on their survey, taxation is much more centralized. In America, I can't even pay a cellphone or land line phone bill without getting hit with a list of various "nickle and dime" taxes for my municipality, city and state, followed by the Federally imposed ones like the FUSF (money they force you to pay to subsidize cheaper telecommunications offerings for the poor).

Submission + - The Kodi development team wants to be legitimate and bring DRM to the platform. (torrentfreak.com)

pecosdave writes: The XBMC/ Kodi development team has taken a lot of heat over the years, mostly due to third party developers introducing piracy plugins to the platform, then in many cases cheap Android computers are often sold with these plugins pre-installed with the Kodi or XBMC name attached to them. The Kodi team is not happy about this, and has taken the fight to the sellers. The Kodi team is now trying to work with rights holders to introduce DRM and legitimate plugins to the platform. Is this the first step towards creating a true one-stop do it yourself Linux entertainment system?

Submission + - How Google Book Search Got Lost (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: When Google started its Book Search project nearly 15 years ago, it seemed impossibly ambitious: An upstart tech company that had just tamed and organized the vast informational jungle of the web would now extend the reach of its search box into the offline world. It was the company's first real moonshot, aspiring to make all the world's books digitally accessible—and in doing so, somehow produce a phase-shift in human awareness. But between legal battles and a slowly dwindling sense of ambition, Google Books never achieved those great heights, and today, it's settled into a quiet middle age of sourcing quotes and serving up snippets of text from the 25 million-plus tomes in its database. At Backchannel, Scott Rosenberg chronicles the project's rise and fall, writing that "Google employees maintain this is all they ever intended to achieve. Maybe so. But they sure got everyone else’s hopes up."

Submission + - SPAM: Exploit Revealed For Remote Root Access Vulnerability Affecting Many Routers

Orome1 writes: Back in January 2013, researchers from application security services firm DefenseCode unearthed a remote root access vulnerability in the default installation of some Cisco Linksys (now Belkin) routers. The flaw was actually found in Broadcom’s UPnP implementation used in popular routers, and ultimately the researchers extended the list of vulnerable routers to encompass devices manufactured by the likes of ASUS, D-Link, Zyxel, US Robotics, TP-Link, Netgear, and others. Since there were millions of vulnerable devices out there, the researchers refrained from publishing the exploit they created for the flaw, but now, four years later, they’ve released their full research again, and this time they’ve also revealed the exploit.
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