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Comment "Sources?" (Score 1) 36

Did this sentence..

Eighty-four percent of Americans with online access through three sources -- home broadband, smartphone and tablet computer -- say they like having so much information available.

..strike anyone else as a weirdly alien concept of what the word "source" means? It's so incomprehensible, that I can't even say for sure that it's wrong!

Comment Re:Sad (Score 1) 121

Well, I dunno. It seems like blaming Fitbit for Pebble's financial failure.

Let's take a consequentialist view of matters. If the rule is you have to buy the whole business and continue to operate it, even though it's losing money, Pebble goes out of business and it's customers and debt holders suffer. If you can sell of just the good bits without the obligation to continue running the failing as before, the customers suffer but the debt holders get some relief. Which approach is better?

Comment Re:Bluetooth Headphones (Score 1) 307

Plus Bluetooth on Android (may be true of iOS too, no idea) is fairly bug ridden and crappy. I've seen three relatively recent Android phones that crash if they try to connect to our minivan's BT system. Googling for "bluetooth share has stopped" (the error message the phones give) show this is a common problem and has been for some years. Looks like the 4.x series was the last version of Android that had remotely stable Bluetooth support.

You'd think, at the very least, Samsung would hold off until Google can put out a half way stable Bluetooth stack.

Comment Re:Fitbit is next (Score 1) 121


Who on their right mind is going to spend hundreds of dollars for some minor functionality?

Back in the 1980s, I remember thinking "If only there was a way to have my girlfriend (at the time) send me her pulse so I could feel her love on my own wrist in real-time. Of course the technology wasn't there, and wouldn't be for some time, so I had to settle for her bloody heart in a jar and 25 years in a psychiatric hospital.

Comment Re:Yeah (Score 1) 70

Yep. I have a friend who worked for a now-defunct ad placement firm. They hired people specifically for the purpose of figuring out ways around ad blockers. Of course that was dumb, because for people who are determined not to be tracked and force-fed ads, that simply makes them more determined to find ways to block things.

Comment Re:There are Ads on YouTube? (Score 1) 70

I recently went to renew my /. subscription because it has been some time since I last had. They are no longer offering subscriptions, not sure if it's temporary or not. One of the nice things with it was the option to turn off ads. I still run uMatrix and uBlock Origin on the site but still wanted to support them.

So it seems like they may be going straight for an ad & tracker supported model.

Comment Re:127 Mill Maintenance robot vs 4 Billion AF1 (Score 2) 35

Well, it's actually $3.75 billion. And it's not one, but two aircraft, so that's 1.875 billion apiece. That's to ensure the executive branch can function in a military crisis while one of the planes is being service.

Deduct 375 million apiece for the airframe, and we're talking 1.5 billion dollars in customization for each aircraft, including aerial refueling capabilities, which on a two-off job is a craft job; no economies of scale. Add defense and countermeasure capabilities that Air Force is extremely close-lipped about. Is there a actual escape pod on Air Force One like in the movie? Well probably not, but I'm sure the idea was at least contemplated. However it's pretty certain that if someone locks onto AF1 with a targeting radar the aircraft will have options that a stock 747-8 doesn't.

Next outfit each one so it can function as a replacement for the West Wing and the Situation Room for up to two months -- that's a deducible requirement based on the known fact that the aircraft stores 2000 meals for 100 people. That means three-of-a-kind electronics and communications systems (one for each airframe and one for the actual White House).

Is 3.75 billion too much for that? Probably. But it's hard to think of any weapon development program since WW2 that is less extravagant.

By that standard 127 million for an orbital repair robot is an almost inconceivable bargain, even if you factor in a 5x cost overrun.

Comment Re:meh, totally predictable plot lines (Score 1) 69

Yeah, I forgot a lot of good ones. Sharks, eels, piranhas, snakes, volcanoes, rising water on sinking ships, asteroids, robots, machines on the blink, doomsday devices, heat, cold, incompetent technicians, ghosts, time travellers, parties unknown, mad scientists, angry scientists, monsters created by mad/angry scientists, radiation monsters, diseases, ... It's kind of fun to think through the list.

And then there's the *real* villians: bad actors, bad directors, bad screenplays, bad ideas, ruining good books, bad soundtracks, theatres that set the sound too loud, people that talk during the movie, people that use electronics during the movie, people that talk to their electronics during the movie, spoilers, overpriced tickets, overpriced snacks, commercials, product placement deals, cameos by overrated actors, actors that are in too many movies, sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots, retcons.

Comment Re: Yeah but... (Score 1) 183

That's why DVR users aren't thieves - in the end, the programming they like gets cancelled, so in the end they just hurt themselves in the long run.

That assumes they would have watched the same shows with ads. I can honestly say that I wouldn't, because in 2001 I canceled my cable completely because I found US TV unwatchable because of the ads. It wasn't until four or five years later that I "came back", and that was a combination of my soon-to-be wife wanting TV, and me requiring we have a DVR as part of the package.

What we're actually seeing now, as a result of the effect the DVR has had on the industry and the opportunities the Internet provides, is a massive, unprecedented, move to subscription TV. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, are all producing their own TV programming, with quality as good as the broadcast networks, and networks like HBO are broadening the ways in which their content can be obtained. Meanwhile even the broadcast networks are finding people buy their shows if they put each episode up on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, etc, immediately after broadcasting them.

Did we screw ourselves? Nah. I think we're getting what we asked for. And for the most part, we're getting what we wanted as a result.

Comment Re: What I want to know is who keeps telling Tom H (Score 5, Insightful) 69

... the Circle alwaus seemed...

I know from context that you meant to write "always", but my mind interpreted that word as "walrus" ;)

liberal fascism

Now how does that work?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

Fascism /fæzm/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4] ...

One common definition of the term focuses on three concepts: the fascist negations of anti-liberalism, anti-communism and anti-conservatism; nationalist authoritarian goals of creating a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; and a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth and charismatic leadership.[25][26][27] According to many scholars, fascism—especially once in power—has historically attacked communism, conservatism and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the far right.[28]

Roger Griffin describes fascism as "a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultranationalism".[29] Griffin describes the ideology as having three core components: "(i) the rebirth myth, (ii) populist ultra-nationalism and (iii) the myth of decadence".[30] Fascism is "a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism" built on a complex range of theoretical and cultural influences. He distinguishes an inter-war period in which it manifested itself in elite-led but populist "armed party" politics opposing socialism and liberalism and promising radical politics to rescue the nation from decadence.[31] ...

Some scholars consider fascism to be right-wing because of its social conservatism and authoritarian means of opposing egalitarianism.[42][43] Roderick Stackelberg places fascism—including Nazism, which he says is "a radical variant of fascism"—on the political right, explaining that, "The more a person deems absolute equality among all people to be a desirable condition, the further left he or she will be on the ideological spectrum. The more a person considers inequality to be unavoidable or even desirable, the further to the right he or she will be."[44]

Italian Fascism gravitated to the right in the early 1920s.[45][46] A major element of fascist ideology that has been deemed to be far-right is its stated goal to promote the right of a supposedly superior people to dominate, while purging society of supposedly inferior elements.[47]

Benito Mussolini in 1919 described fascism as a movement that would strike "against the backwardness of the right and the destructiveness of the left".[48][49] Later, the Italian Fascists described their ideology as right-wing in the political program The Doctrine of Fascism, stating: "We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right,' a fascist century."[50][51] Mussolini stated that fascism's position on the political spectrum was not a serious issue to fascists...

Fascism is what we today call the "alt-right" - right-populism. The greatest enemy of fascism is those who prefer, support and embrace diversity - what the alt-right calls "cucks". Fascists seek a return to the "good old days", some sort of lost "days of glory", where "traditional" values reigned, while simultaneously rejecting the globalism and the focus on the upper classes that are embraced by many other right-wing movements. Because of the populism aspects, they can sometimes find common ground with left-populists on measures against globalism and support for the working class - while simultaneously despising them as "cucks" who are ruining society by embracing ((( insert list of "problematic" social groups here ))).

Comment Re:Let me guess... (Score 0) 69

Google's an easy target; this is hardly the first time. Anyone here seen Ex Machina? Plot summary: "Sergey Brin's home pet project is to put Google's neural nets into robots, what could go wrong?". They don't call him Sergey Brin and they don't call the company Google, but they don't exactly hide their basis either.

Comment Re:meh, totally predictable plot lines (Score 3, Insightful) 69

If it's from Hollywood, post 1968, then:

1. The villain will be a US military agency, a US spy agency, a corporation/CEO, a gun company, a non-renewable energy company.

Wow, I must have misunderstood the plot on all those post-1968 movies where I thought the baddies were commies, nazis, drug lords, foreign terrorists, domestic terrorists, anarchists, poor people trying to get rich quick, rich people trying to get richer quick, crazy people trying to do incomprehensible things for incomprehensible reasons, wayward do-gooders, megalomoniacal supercrooks, pirates, pirate hunters, aliens, alien hunters, vampires, vampire hunters, zombies, orcs, dragons, ghosts, etc.

If you don't like the simulation you're living in, you can always rejoin us here in reality.

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