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Comment Re:Asimov was prescient (Score 2) 265

Asimov wrote fiction. Autonomous systems that kill are a threat to a small subset of humanity until they run out of ammo/fuel/energy/goals. Maybe if these autonomous systems are self-replicating, self-programming, and can manufacture their own fuel and ammunition, then they might pose a threat. All of humanity? Unlikely. As the most vicious predator on the planet atop the food chain, humanity is pretty good at eliminating threats. There won't even be any ethical constraints to worry about, so I suspect that rogue "advanced robot weapons" would not last very long.

Comment Re:Yes, Because Optical Media Is Durable (Score 2) 385

I have music disks that I purchased in the mid 80's near the dawn of the CD era that still play fine. I buy used CDs from Goodwill that aren't quite that old, but I've yet to find one that doesn't play due to deterioration. Same with the public library. The only thing that seems to affect playability is scratches or actual damage to the data layer.

I'd call that pretty durable.

Comment Re:The way I would handle any important system (Score 4, Insightful) 405

Yes, there are risks to running software from Microsoft (or any other vendor), Microsoft may not have my best interests in mind. However their software meets my needs and I have made the calculation that the value the software provides outweighs the risks.

I think what you're missing is that your calculation is rapidly becoming inaccurate. In the past, Microsoft had to make sure that their software met your (the customer's) needs or they would lose that customer. Their best interest was to prioritize the best interests of their customer base, because they would then keep buying Windows-based computers which is where the revenue came from. Now that the market has shifted, they are placing their interests before that of the customer, and the value of the OS is thus diminished. What people are talking about is not the status quo you refer to that has been true for a few decades, rather it's the status quo that seems to be coming which looks much different. It's one in which you are not the customer to which the software needs to provide value, you are the product. The software will be providing value to the actual customers of Microsoft, which are likely those who want to advertise to you, sell to you and monitor you.

Comment Re:As transparent as their customers demand (Score 1) 93

This brings to thought several things:

1. It's a "sun roof" so keeping it clear in the winter isn't exactly a common use case.

2. The area covered by the sun roof relative to the rest of the roof is relatively small. Putting heating wires in the glass only won't do much good, since there will still be snow on the rest of the roof. You still have to clear the rest manually, often to comply with local laws about clearing vehicles of snow before driving.

3. You don't really need to see out the top of the vehicle to drive safely, so it's an added expense for dubious benefit.

4. Clearing snow off a vehicle isn't a bad thing to do, so really the problem to be solved is how to do that for the entire top of the car, not just the sun roof. But that's a lot harder and more prone to problems than the back window.

Comment Re:media companies are inflexible (Score 1) 111

The old media companies are infamous for their inflexibility, so this comes as no surprise. The only way to break them is to actually start taking sizable portions of their market by producing well received content but when you get to that point, you might as well tell them to fuck off because you don't actually need them anymore.

That seems to describe the conclusion that Netflix came to. Amazon as well. Maybe to a lesser degree some of the larger movie channels like HBO, Showtime, AMC. The latter were earlier to produce their own content, I think, but couldn't go very far with it because they still have to rely on the cable companies to deliver the content, so that limits their potential subscriber base and revenue. They can't sink too much into their own programming, because the cable companies still control the purse strings, so the best they can do is negotiate a higher rate for carrying their channels. If subscribership increases, the cable companies still benefit the most. Netflix and Amazon, on the other hand, don't have their hands tied to the same degree - the only real dependency on cable is the network connection. Any increase in subscribership means a real and substantial increase in revenue. Their efforts in producing quality original content has paid off, and seems to have been worth the investment, and if they continue to be successful, they will eventually build up a catalog that includes a large proportion of what people want to watch, and the content from the old media companies will have to compete with the reality that most of the people are on one of these services and won't watch their stuff unless it's available there.

Comment The hyperbole is strong with this one (Score 1) 367

I won't argue that the iPhone is a successful product - clearly it is. The uncritical leap from reasonable statements about its success as a product to the "so much more" and "enabler of change" bugs me a bit. The blatant worship makes me question the entire article and leads me to believe that the reality is somewhat less profound. And that's too bad, because it takes away from the deserved praise that the iPhone and Apple should receive for their success. I've heard of "damning with faint praise". Now I've actually seen "damning with overenthusiastic praise" in action. As always, the middle path is the place to walk.

Comment Re:Unrelated Crap (Score 1) 285

No. It's irrelevant and doesn't belong. I didn't really notice this until today, but now that I have, I find it quite bothersome. I don't know if it's just being clever or a form of interstitial advertising. I don't know where the /. summaries are re-posted on the net, but I could see these unrelated references being an attempt to draw people to /. by other means if they aren't interested in the topic presented by the main body of the summary.

If I had to articulate why it's bothersome, it's because it violates one of the fundamental principles of clear communication that was taught to me repeatedly during my formative years: every word, sentence, paragraph and punctuation mark should be relevant to the self-contained bit of information you are trying to communicate. If not relevant, it doesn't belong.

Comment Re:"CV of failures" (Score 4, Informative) 51

It's called a "shadow CV". Haushofer is hardly the first to post one.

For example, from 2012:

That is prominently noted in the second paragraph of Haushofer's CV. He cites a 2010 Nature paper by Melanie I. Stefan as a source of inspiration and provides 4 examples of similar works (see the CV for that - I'm not doing all your work for you - LOL).

Comment Re:Another reason people aren't upgrading smartpho (Score 1) 183

Verizon's trying to side step this with their payment plan scheme. You don't pay full price up front, just the sales tax. Then you pay monthly installments with the option to pay off the device at any time (after an initial grace period). The net result is the same as subsidies except the cost of the phone is more transparent.

I haven't looked at the statistics to see if this is working, but given the number of people that lease automobiles and get a new one every few years or so, I can see people doing the same for phones.

Comment Re:Linus filled a void (Score 4, Insightful) 273

Linus was incredibly lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

How many men could have been at the same place and time, and simply fail the job? (True for Linus Torvalds, also Bill Gates, etc...)


I used to think the "right place at the right time" argument had some merit. It's probably still true a little bit, but only as an opportunity for Linus. It was when I saw how rapidly git was developed and became reliable and usable that I realized it was no fluke. Either Linus was incredibly lucky to be in the right place at the right time *twice*, or the "luck" argument is nonsense.

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