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Comment Re:Does the submitter even read Slashdot? (Score 1) 982

This is exactly the reason for the much-cited "Don't be evil" slogan. If you have no morals, then there's a lot you get out of people without them complaining.

I'm no longer there, and it clearly doesn't *always* work, but a few years back Google had lots of engineers who constantly pushed back internally against any attempt to use data in slimy ways. You're going to be served weirdly personalized ads online, but the privacy leak shouldn't extend any further than affecting what is presented to you.

Well, and whoever else shares your browser. :-)

Comment Re:This Product Makes Sense (Score 1) 78

There's a radio ad in Beijing for one of the big phones in which a woman boasts that she hasn't lost any weight but her friends all think she has because her face looks so thin next to her giant new phone.

The phone isn't just for use, it's a fashion statement.

Perhaps that attitude extends to other Asian countries?

Comment Re:Be sure to use ECC RAM on home set-ups (Score 1) 370

What prevents ZFS's "parity, mirroring, checksums and other mechanisms to protect your data" from being applied to blocks stored in RAM as well as on disk? Sure, ECC in hardware seems "free" in performance but there is some small latency overhead as well as a huge price overhead. At the system level it may be more effective in price/performance to be able to use more standard hardware and throw a bit of software at the problem.

Comment Android Wear is getting there. (Score 1) 471

I got a Samsung Wear Live which works quite well as an accessory for my Nexus 5 phone. I'm not sure if it's worth $200 to the typical user, but some people pay much more than that for just a watch.

I think Google managed to cross some sort of threshold of usefulness with the Android Wear API, and Samsung has done a clean physical design. It functions as a good and possibly even stylish watch (albeit of the "digital watch" genre) as well as providing some extras.

The notification interface is very useful for fielding messages/emails that I receive on my phone: I can, at a glance, see whether it's worth taking out my phone to read a full message. When I'm driving, I can glance at my wrist much more safely than pulling out my phone. When I get an SMS with an access code I can again easily see it on my watch. You can also click to read more of the message on the watch, but eventually it gets silly on such a small screen.

The Google Now notifications are also a bit more useful as occasional popups on the watch than as cards on the phone's search screen; when I pull out my phone it's usually for some purpose that the Google Now cards just interfere with.

I still haven't seen special-purpose "wearable" apps that make much sense. The heart rate monitor doesn't work on this device unless I hold very still (useless when exercising). The screen is too small for navigation, although it might be useable for point-by-point directions in some cases. I have a compass app which might be convenient to have on my wrist if the magnetometer didn't need recalibration (via awkward figure 8 gyrations of my wrist) every time I think of using it. The security-related apps ("unlock my phone" when I'm holding it) are still too insecure. Several note-taking Apps have versions but I don't find them so useful without any method for input. There is of course also the voice input, but I find it pretty inaccurate so it's hard to do anything involving input on the watch.

I haven't had time to read up on the iWatch to see if they've managed to replicate the innovative "watch as a notification extension of the phone" which Google has developed.


Submission + - California Professors Unveil Proposal to Attack Asteroids With Lasers

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday's twin events with invading rocks from outer space — the close encounter with asteroid 2012 DA14, and the killer meteorite over Russia that was more than close — have brought the topic of defending mankind against killer asteroids back into the news. The Economist summarizes some of the ideas that have been bandied about, in a story that suggests Paul Simon's seventies hit "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover": Just push it aside, Clyde. Show it the nuke, Luke. Gravity tug, Doug. The new proposal is an earth orbiting, solar-powered array of laser guns called DE-STAR (Directed Energy Solar Targeting of AsteRoids) from two California-based professors, physicist Philip Lubin (UCSB) and industrial statistician Gary Hughes (Cal Polytechnic State). Lubin and Hughes say their system could be developed and deployed in a range of sizes depending on the size of the target: DE-STAR 2, about the size of the International Space Station (100 meters) could nudge comets and asteroids from their orbits, while DE-STAR 4 (100 times larger than ISS) could evaporate an asteroid 500 meters in diameter (10 times larger than 2012 DA14) in a year. Of course, this assumes that the critters could be spotted early enough for the lasers to do their work.

Submission + - Why Apple May Die

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Cromwell Schubarth writes that Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, thinks Apple, Tesla Motors, venture capitalists and most of the nation’s colleges and universities could be killed by less advanced competitors in the same way that many once dominant technology companies have been in the past. Christensen's theory of disruption centers around how dominant industry leaders will react to a newcomer: “It allows you to predict whether you will kill the incumbents or whether the incumbents will kill you.” If a newcomer thinks it can win by competing at the high end, “the incumbents will always kill you.” If they come in at the bottom of the market and offer something that at first is not as good, the legacy companies won’t feel threatened until too late, after the newcomers have gained a foothold in the market. According to Christensen Apple could be on path for a classic disruption because successful innovative products like the iPhone are usually based on proprietary technology because that is how the dominant business carves out, protects and builds its top market position. But at some point as they get better and better, they start to exceed what people actually need or are willing to pay extra for. “When that happens the people who have the proprietary architecture are pushed to the ceiling and the volume goes to the open players. So in smartphones the Android operating system has consummate modularity that now allows hundreds of people in Vietnam and China to assemble these things." As the dominant architecture becomes open and modular, the value of their proprietary design becomes commoditized itself. "It may not be as good, but almost good enough is often good enough.”"

Submission + - Certificate Authorities Unite in The Name of SSL Security (

CowboyRobot writes: ""We felt SSL needed a leader," says Jeremy Rowley, associate general counsel for DigiCert, which, along with Comodo, Entrust, GlobalSign, Go Daddy, Symantec, and Trend Micro, today officially launched the new organization. "We felt a group of CAs, rather than one CA," was a better approach, he says. The first line of business for the new Certificate Authority Security Council (CASC) is to push the adoption of online certificate status protocol (OCSP) stapling for Web server administrators, software vendors, browser makers, and end users. OCSP stapling is a method of revoking invalid or expired digital certificates. It's an enhancement to the OCSP protocol that basically eliminates the need for Web users to check OCSP responses with the CA, and is more efficient because the Web server caches the response from the CA."

Comment Re:Application load balancing (Score 1) 134

That's only true for some languages. Programs written in pure functional languages such as Haskell absolutely can be split across multiple cores by the compiler/runtime without being designed to be "multithreaded."

On the other hand, pure functional languages such as Haskell often cannot be made to effectively use a bounded set of resources (such as a finite number of cores and memory).

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Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell