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Comment Welcome change from Battery Breakthrough comments (Score 1) 44

I breathed a bit of relief that this wasn't another "battery breakthrough" story.

For the last 4-5 years it seems every popular news outlet is excited to announce battery breakthroughs. But for every breakthrough for instant charging for example they don't explain that the battery is 100x larger in size or 100x heavier or whatever. And similarly, when the battery holds 100x the energy, they don't explain the other downsides that impact its practical application. I mean, a capacitor "charges" quickly (and can discharge quickly), but with a number of trade-offs.

I don't know how to get folks to write a more nuanced story - this may just be because the sensational gets the headlines and clicks (even if not as accurate).

Comment Pot meet kettle (Score 4, Insightful) 431

Pot meet kettle!

What's happened is the government has changed lawful access to mean secret courts with secret warrants, mass hacking and surveillance of systems we use every day for commerce etc with zero or token oversight. This is the real zone of lawlessness.

These systems can then be used for cyberstalking some ex, data sold to an investigator for profit, used politically to smear opponents etc, and result in innocent people blocked from flying, subject to extraordinary rendition, special measures interrogation techniques (ie, torture) etc without due process. If this happened in another country we'd call it extra-judicial lawlessness and condemn it.

I think many people are supportive of lawful access. This means due process, within the court system, etc etc. Suspected of x, probable cause, warrant issued but briefly sealed, warrant executed and unsealed, ability to contest basis for warrant, knowledge of its execution and existence etc, etc. This system of due process exists for a reason - and is well articulated and well developed going back to our constitution and subsequent amendments etc.

Our economy and society wins if we can rely on these systems to handle our searches for medical conditions, our emails to loved ones, confidential business information etc etc without massive invasions of privacy. Our economy and society win if we can count on the rule of law.

Small wonder Google and Apple are resisting the secret "National Security Letter" no due process system the government has invented, or the direct hacking of their systems.

Comment Dice and some real concrete steps (Score 5, Insightful) 336

I was user 341 at Sourceforge, 14 years ago.
I always liked the idea. This is kinda sad to see happening.

But enough crying over spilt milk.

* Don't use Dice, don't hire folks using Dice.
* Move your own projects off sourceforge.
* If you need a project from sourceforge email them and ask them to avoid the download jacking by moving their project if possible
* Support other providers who play fair.
* If you use a website reputation tool, mark sf appropriately.

Comment Code should talk, and talk should walk (Score 3, Insightful) 372

I love wikipedia (and have contributed both $ and time).

There seems to have been a move on Wikipedia away from actual contributing, and towards criticizing others. This drives new folks away.

It's far too easy to slap all the labels on articles. The rate of tagging for problems seems way above the rate of fixing.

Do these sound familiar? "This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. No cleanup reason has been specified." "This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling." "This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed." "This article may need a more detailed summary" "This article may have too many section headers dividing up its content."

Perhaps they could just put a global message up. "This Wikipedia may have items that require editing. If you find such an entry, please fix it yourself."

Before long we are going to have just heavy fisted editors, and the PR flaks paid enough to deal with them and warp the articles.

Most regular people don't have the time to battle it out, but I thank everyone who tries! And I love the "welcome to wikipedia" people, keep up the good work.

Comment Excel truth (Score 1) 243

Generally, I think Sheets trails Excel by more than "Document" trails Word, but then again, I spend much more time in Excel than I do in Word.

For financial / finance use cases in particular Google "Sheets" isn't a match for Microsoft Excel. A very common formatting approach is to indent rows using narrow columns. In excel, the text overflows to the right, so you end up with an aligned / indented view of things (which you can also then make collapsible). In Sheets, this doesn't work without lots of extra clicks (merging cells etc).

I think eating your own dogfood is reasonably important if you intend the product to be a core product you offer. Not sure if Google Apps is intended to be that (search is for sure).

And if you get schools to use your product, and then prefer another product for your own jobs the optics really are pretty poor!

Comment Re:Bloat (Score 1) 126

I could never totally figure out why OpenOffice, which for years was not Java based, added Java as a dependency.

It seemed like a massive dependency for a relatively minor set of features. Plus then every computer ended up getting the Java update notifications and at one point somehow a lot of users ended up with a Yahoo toolbar or something as part of a "security update"!

No fun.

Comment Re:Pretty simple (Score 1) 228


Excellent clarifications.

The fact that Skyhook DOES ship on android phones means there is something unique about this situation with Motorola.

I didn't catch skyhook desiring to disable GLS and still use Google's marketplace vs the alternatives. Why do you think that matters to skyhook? If GLS is disabled by default as it was in your case, it seems odd they would care about it.

As always, the other side of the story will be interesting :)

Comment Pretty simple (Score 4, Interesting) 228

This is posted in the "Know your rights" section.

A couple of quick items:

- Android is released under the Apache license. So skyhook and any handset manufacturer, if they don't like the direction google is taking the platform, can do whatever they want to the software. This is the definition of open source.

- Conversely, open source doesn't mean skyhook can force a developer to do something. Lots of business who want to make money by inclusion in a project get upset when open source projects say no. See Reiser or any other open source bug tracker.

- On top of the apache licensed Android, Google provides a set of pretty popular apps (Google Apps). Most but not all manufacturers use those apps. My guess is that if you pick up these apps, then that is where google is saying you have to use their location based service. So far these apps are good enough people generally use them, but eventually Microsoft or some other big player will pay enough $$ to a manufacturer that google maps / google search etc will go away on some handsets.

- Google also offers the Android Market, another natural place of control. Many OS Distro's use marketplaces, update channels etc to monetize their platform. This also obviously creates lock-in.

- Almost every open source project doesn't let you take their brand with your changes. So if you want to make lots of changes you probably can't call your OS "Android" vs Sense or MotoBlur. This also is common to Mozilla, Redhat etc etc. Mozilla was really picky about this (see Iceweasel).

- Skyhook is suing Google for violating it's patents on doing location. This includes ""Server for Updating Location Beacon Database". Reading these patents will make you wish software patents were toned down a bit I think.

- Skyhook is itself not an open source contribution to the handset, but apparently a pretty costly proprietary app on top of the handset with big royalties and patents with no patent pledges. In other words, if someone tries to do location service and to give it away for free, prepare to be sued by Skyhook.

- Apple dropped Skyhook from the iphone 4 I believe? Be interesting to know why given they had been a customer and skyhook claims to have the best tech.

- Open source being "nice". Big business in open source seem to still plan on using the layers above to fight for $.

So some shades of grey in this :) Be interesting to see how the case evolves.

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