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Comment Apparently (Score 1) 213

I resent that comment.

I started programming at 8 in QBASIC, I earn 6.25$ an hour and still consider myself competent. Doing Python, Actionscript, C++, C#, PHP, lua, java, little bit of assembly to crack the software that the company won't buy but I still need, arduinos, format conversion utilities, all sorts of stuff. I'm not great, hell, maybe even not good, writing an algorithm for arranging variably-sized images into a tiling mosaic took me the better part of a week. But competent? Sure.

Not sure if I want to post my employer's website or not.

Comment Re:Define personal computer (Score 1) 333

Nobody cares about openness. A lot of people care about having control over their phone. People have been busy removing simlocks since before the iPhone was on the drawing board. Today we have android xposed, ad-blocking plugins..

Android casually does what iOS is deliberately restricted from doing. This is why openness matters, not because you can get a look into the sources.

Comment Re:A couple things about TFA (Score 1) 396

It already is unprofitable, which is why instead of an open warzone like Syria you're seeing only the sporadic rocket or suicide attack. The Palestinian territories are stricken by poverty and being absorbed into Israel, fighting which would mean serious expense for any nation and risking US intervention.

For a solution now, I don't have one, I think it's too late for one at this point. As mentioned, the process of absorbing palestinian soil has begun a while ago - without any hints of cultural integration, it's all raze and pave. By trying to reestablish official borders you'd have to contend with levelling Jewish neighbourhoods.

Comment Re:A couple things about TFA (Score 1) 396

Slavery didn't disappear just because of stigmatization, but mostly because machines replaced slave labor while creating skilled worker jobs. In countries where human life is still valued below the costs machinery you do see slavery. In fact, you see still sexual slavery in first world countries, where the price is deemed acceptable.

So you have to think of ways of making violence unprofitable and making it the the suboptimal solution to problems. Increased transparency, accountability and stronger international agreements against aggression, as well as their effective enforcement would be the general direction. Either way, this is a problem that needs to be tacked systemically, operating on incentives and disincentives rather than any moral prerogative.

Comment Re:A couple things about TFA (Score 1) 396

It takes a change of attitudes and expectations in the middle east, I think, before a far fringe organization like Al-Qaeda can no longer exist on their own. For now they support not only violence but deal in slavery and opium. Convincing them violence isn't the best way to achieve their goals won't work as it's one of their signature tools.

Then again nation-states, even first world ones, do use capital punishment and start wars of aggression - the soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent US war by proxy created and defined the modus operandi of this very organization.

Ultimately Al-Qaeda gets way more attention than it deserves compared to it's actual impact. Rather than focus on this particular boogeyman I'd rather see violence be stigmatized as a tool of politics in the same way open slavery is.

Comment Re:amateurs (Score 1) 396

Was this a highly skilled attack meant to disable infrastructure?
No, obviously not.

Was this a probe attack?

But for reasons obvious, the mere chance of this being the case is extremely worrying for the government. Infrastructure sabotage is IMO an extremely effective form of asymmetric warfare in the US. Go blow up a pressure cooker and everybody will want to kill you while rallying behind the government. For a government whose legitimacy is based in large part on the ability to provide convenience and a sense of protection, those types of attacks serve to undermine faith in the government's reach and promises, are expensive to defend against, cheap to execute and create a much less negative public reaction towards the attackers, channeling some of that sentiment towards a government that is made to appear incompetent and weak.

It is, in short, a much more effective form of terrorism than casualty oriented indiscriminate violence.

Comment Re:A couple things about TFA (Score 1) 396

"I" don't have to. Remember the news story a week ago about Al-Qaeda apologizing for accidentally assaulting a hospital and mosque when their intended target was the ministry of defence of Yemen?

The ministry of defense would be a textbook legitimate target for any nation-state or organization aspiring to fulfil the role of such.

A hospital and mosque on the other hand is something a nation-state would not want to target because of PR fallout. Which is exactly what happened, hence the apology.

No need to persuade Ossama, him being dead and all. Turns out the new leadership does understand that the rules of the game have changed since the days of the soviet union and indiscriminate violence has it's price.

Of course, that still leaves them with violence as a tool, just more directed. But it would be silly to hold an international terrorist organization and synonym of "bad guy" to higher standards than the "good guys".

Comment Re:Graphics are the LEAST of BF3's problems (Score 1) 77

You're saying you can't manage squads bigger than 4 to 6 people?

That's odd. I'm not much of a BF3/4 player, though I did enjoy 2142, and I'm playing Planetside 2 a lot. Squad size is 12, though that's often not enough people to make a difference in big facilities, so to make an impact I lead platoons - 4 squads, total being 48 people. Sometimes that's not enough manpower in bigger fights, so several platoon leaders have to coordinate attacks to defeat entrenched opponents who know what they're doing. For example two squads approach from the front with tanks and shell the entrance, one squad "parachutes" into the back of the facility to destroy shield generators while the fourth squad os charged with hacking a base behind enemy lines and deploys mobile spawnpoints preparing for a pincer.

I have few problems commanding 48 people and coordinating my actions with other platoons. When things get hectic I delegate squadleaders to do specific tasks with their 12-man squads. It's challenging, but very possible. Squad cohesion is high, the occasional lone-wolf oddball who doesn't listen gets booted and there's always fresh blood waiting to fill the gap.

If 4-6 is the limit for you then maybe you're just bad at leadership - or maybe the players in general are just bad.

Comment Re:Lost forever? (Score 1) 294

I can walk into a store with a plastic bag full of stocks, swaps, derivatives, bonds and futures. Chances are I couldn't buy a bubble gum.

Those particular financial instruments are abstractions of abstractions to the n-th layer - in fact, much further away from "money" than bitcoins. And by money I understand a token of value - because it's scarce, like gold or bitcoins, or because people have decided to use it as currency - like fiat money or bitcoins.

Comment Re: Lol (Score 1) 212

So on one hand you have the local judge who is employed by the system that you, as the judge surmises, screwed over. Assuming this was a big project, chances are half of the people who decided about the funds allocation and the judge go out for whores and drinking together.

On the other side there's a foreign company with no knowledge of who's who, offering ever increasing amounts of money to various legal teams, based further and further away from the city where the process is to take place, until you're finally met with something else than a polite refusal, preceded by a day or two of deliberation.

Based on my own, admittedly limited personal experience, I wouldn't give IBM much of a chance.

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 1) 212

This is ludicrous indeed. I simply cannot comprehend how such a situation is at all possible. I write code, I read the tech specs, go do some business-y stuff when needed.

Project goes over budget? The client doesn't ever mind that, 'cause the amount was already agreed upon. If the budget was 10 million, that's what you're getting, minus tax and handling plus any possible interest for delayed payment on the client's part.

Project went over budget? Start coming up with a good way of telling your employees they'll be working unpaid overtime. Project over budget? Suck it up, the client will NOT PAY A DIME MORE. If you underestimated the scope of the project (by an order of magnitude) it may be prudent to cancel the contract and pay the agreed upon contract termination fee - usually a few times the payment upon completion.

Project goes over time though? Well lop off, say, 10% of the agreed upon sum with each month of delay, up to a neat 200% loss, after which it automatically terminates.

Of course, you may attempt to go to court - on one side is the local judge, an employee of the system you, as the judge surmises, tried to screw over, and at the opposite end is your company. The worst case scenario for the government is when they slap on some ludicrous fine and the company does some legalese sorcery, changes the name and the office - but I'm pretty sure IBM is too big for that.

So based on my experience it's very rare for the government to end up with the short end of the stick. How is this even possible? Did some secretary in Queensland just sign a contract that an IBM guy gave to her?

Comment Re:My goodness (Score 2) 417

Bah, that's old stuff. A polygraph is just bells and whistles, a theatre meant to scare the perp. But I've got good news, soon justice will prevail, we have a new toy on the horizon!

It's fMRI, which detects which areas of your brain are active in realtime. This means when the interrogation specialist shows you a picture of a woman, you don't even have to answer whether you recognize her - if you do, the specific regions of your brain light up. If you're asked a question and you're lying, you are using different parts of the brain to compose the answer than those used to recall visual data. It's not binary, it does vary slightly from person to person, but no matter how good of an actor you are, you're not going to rewire your brain.

Hell, with a little bit of resolution it will be entirely possible to pluck the password out of the communist's/terrorist's/pedophile's brain, letter by letter. Is the first letter of the password A? Is the first letter of the password B?

Best thing, you won't even have to answer anything for it to work! No talk of self-incrimination other than completely voluntarily brain activity.

Comment Re:This thought crosses my mind a lot. (Score 1) 808

People aren't held in bondage to one specific factory, they are however compelled to take up low-paying jobs because they need to pay their bills. The job market of today isn't very healthy - developed nations like the US are faking employment via public sector jobs, like the TSA or private prison industry , which contribute nothing to anything, but keep the money moving.

The main reason for the lack of low-skill jobs isn't only automatization, it's mostly globalization. Robots and AI are taking mostly the skilled worker jobs - accountants, welders, ect.

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