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Comment ...without logging in... (Score 1) 170

You'll be able to ask it to make a note, play music, set a reminder, and lots more without ever logging in

I do not understand this trend. Under Android, there is also a lot of functionality available without logging in (for example, turning on a hotspot). Worse, there is no way to block access to this functionality.

If I wanted my phone unsecured, I could leave off the passcode. If I have a passcode, it means that I don't want some random dude able to do anything. At the very least, such access should be customizable.

Comment Only applies to domestic providers... (Score 1) 282

This power, if applied, would be imposed upon domestic CSPs [Communication Service Providers]

All this will do is ensure that anyone with a clue uses services based outside the UK. There will be no UK service providers providing encryption, because no one will trust them.

Politicians being idiots...but I repeat myself...

Comment Re:The gambling isn't the problem... (Score 1) 32

You're right: gambling addicts have a genuine problem. But, again, it's not a problem with gambling per se, but a problem of addiction. Not everyone who like beer is an alcoholic, and not everyone who enjoys betting is a gambling addict.

For those who do have a problem, driving the industry underground tends to worsen the situation. Prohibition was a failure, the "war on drugs" is a disaster. Better to legalize the activity, so that addicts can come for help without automatically being criminals.

All of which still leaves us with the question of how to deal with scams and cheating. While one would like to hang scammers out to dry, it's very difficult to catch them, much less prosecute them. Ideas?

Comment The gambling isn't the problem... (Score 1) 32

Lots of people like to place the odd bet. That's not the problem. The problem with gambling are the scams, and this is nothing unique to online activites.

Consider sports - let's take the specific example of tennis. The players at the very top can live off of their winnings and their sponsors. Then comes a long list of hundreds of players who are up-and-coming, or down-and-going, or just wannabes. They need to travel to tournaments, they need to pay a coach, they need good equipment, and train too much to work a normal job. This is where the betting - and the scams - happen. A match comes up between two no-name players. Some goon comes up to the one with the better ranking and says: "I'll pay you $10k to make sure you lose the second set". Then the betting house hypes the game, and start taking bets. After the better player wins the first set, the odds for the second player get long. The betting house pushes betting on the next set - knowing that the lower-ranked player is going to win, this is where they rake in the dough.

This kind of stuff is almost impossible to detect, much less prove. It's no different in the realm of electronic games and e-sports: there are gambling sites that specifically focus on this area..

Should one even try to squash this? There's something wrong with writing unenforceable laws, after all. Maybe we just just let suckers lose their money.

If we do want to try to keep gambling sites honest, we need some way to detect cheating and scams. But how?

Comment Art is best as a hobby (Score 1) 153

Tell your niece that art makes a great hobby and a lousy profession.

For 99.99% of the musicians out there, that's reality. There are literally billions of people in the world who play a musical instrument, or sing, or dance. Hundreds of millions who do so competently. Tens of millions good enough to perform publicly. Of those, how many can actually make a living at it? I know far more people who have a garage band, or do the occasional gig for beer money. I think they enjoy it more as well, because there's no pressure to sell, sell, sell - they can do their music for enjoyment.

Far better to find a career that will actually earn a living, and enjoy your music on the side. If lightning strikes, one can always shift the balance later.

Comment What is fluency? (Score 1) 331

What is fluent? I haven't quite been programming for 300 years (only 40), but during that time I have certainly been fluent in at least eight languages. Some similar (Pascal/RatFor, C++/Java), others fairly different (Prolog, Lisp). The thing is, there are two aspects to fluency, and the second one is problematic:

- The syntax and semantics of the language. This is only difficult if you're learning a new paradigm. Once you know a particular paradigm, learning a new language in that paradigm is relatively easy.

- The built-in libraries, plus whatever external frameworks you need. This is essential knowledge, if you are going to be effective and productive on a particular project. At the same time, this is problematic, because there are zillions of frameworks, and they are continually changing.

I have always thought that job postings that require a particular language, or a particular framework, are stupid. A good programmer with a broad background can learn what they need in a few weeks (caveat: see the note above about new paradigms). A bad programmer, well, they're useless even if they have experience in some specific technology. Heck, this doesn't even make sense for entry-level positions: New programmers, fresh out of school, are going to require serious training and mentoring anyway, before you can trust them on business-critical systems.

Comment If you believe the FBI, I have this bridge... (Score 0) 289

He's in federal prison, facing federal charges that could put him away for decades. A guy in a suit visits, and says,

"we could drop some of those charges, or we could pile them on, your choice. Would you like to state for the record that you never hacked Hillary's email?"

The fix is in. This is just a bit of decoration.

Comment Laws are for little people (Score 5, Insightful) 1010

The FBI, Comey elaborated, had found no example of a prior prosecution ever having been brought in a classified-information case that did not involve intentional mishandling of material, “vast quantities” of mishandled information, evidence of disloyalty to the United States, or efforts to obstruct justice." ... Comey also said that investigators had used forensic analysis to uncover “thousands” of work-related emails that were not among the group Clinton turned over to the State Department

Deliberately setting up your own personal server is not “intentional”, more than 100 emails is not “vast quantities”, and thousands of emails that were required to be turned over, but were not, is not “obstruction of justice”. Nope, no sign of any crime, nothing to see here, move along...

Under Barack Obama, a very brief search for people prosecuted for mishandling classified information brings up James Hitselberger, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, John Kiriakou, Shamai Leibowitz, Bradley Manning, Jeffrey Sterling - and, of course, Edward Snowden, if only they could get their hands on him. Most view themselves as whistleblowers. Hillary, on the other hand, is just corrupt. So that's different, I suppose.

Comment Follow-up - here's the second one (Score 1) 144

The LinkedIn page for Cheryl Ann Fillekes, which only includes her education. Here is her professional experience from a different site. She is also suing Google for not hiring her as a programmer.

Her entire educational trajectory is in fields related to geophysics, but apparently she learned programming on the side. Her professional experience does sound interesting. Google contacted her four times for interviews, but decided each time not to hire her.

Comment Agism? Or just out-of-date? (Score 1) 144

Even if it's true, how do you prove something like this? Younger programmers will, on average, have different qualifications. Younger programmers are less interested, on average, in quality of life issues.

"Heath applied for a job in 2011, when he was 60, and was denied employment even though he said he was perfectly qualified for the software engineering position and was deemed 'a great candidate' by a recruiter."

I'm sure agism exists - heck, it may even have been a factor in this case. But: what a recruiter tells you, or what you think of your own qualifications means exactly zip. Sounds to me more like someone is looking for a get-rich-quick retirement package, not least because this suit is based on a job application from 5 years ago (in 2011).

It seems likely that this is Robert Heath's LinkedIn page. I can't be sure, but I doubt there are too many people with that name, living in Florida, who are older Software Engineers. If his information is up-to-date (or at least was up-to-date in 2011), he is working with Java 5 (Java 6 was released in 2006, and we are now looking at Java 9). He apparently maintained the backend of web sites that import information in XML, and then present this information using standard web technologies. Nothing wrong with any of that, but nothing special about it either.

Comment Eliminate: WoD + mandatory sentencing (Score 2) 213

Or, of course, the US could overhaul it's ridiculous justice system. Start by eliminating the "War on Drugs". MJ should be legal. People addicted to hard drugs need help, not jail. If they could get their fixes under controlled conditions, you would the dealers and smugglers out of business, and the addicts themselves wouldn't need to steal to finance their habits. This would do more to eliminate crime than any thing else.

Second, stop trying to be "tough on crime". Mandatory, multi-year sentences for first-time offenders, for non-violent crimes. Everything is a felony, and far too many things are federal felonies. Just as an example: attempt to get some Marijuana across the Mexican border, any amount at all - even if it's your first offense, the minimum sentence is 10 years.

Then one could go after all of the other low-hanging fruit: other stuff that shouldn't be illegal. Lying to a federal officer (Martha Stewart).
Improperly packed lobster tails. Taking home an Indian arrowhead you find at a public camping ground. Picking up a feather you found on the ground. And on, and on...

Really, it's no wonder the jails are overcrowded.

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