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Comment Re:Google phones cause death (Score 3, Interesting) 166

I was out in the woods one day and sitting on a hill for a while. I thought I heard some noise from my pocket, so I checked my phone. I had a voicemail from 911 saying something to the effect of "This is the third time you've called 911! Please check your damn phone!"

I checked my phone and it had two outgoing calls to 911 in the list. I was pretty horrified.

They obviously were familiar with butt dials. However, what if I was injured and unable to speak? Hopefully they could tell the difference. At least I didn't get a helicopter flying over me or something.

The ease at which the phones can dial 911 is absolutely stupid... it's absolutely Google's fault. I'm sure there are plenty of ways to make it harder to do accidentally, but still easy enough to do if you're injured/impaired.

Comment Re:Have you dug into the cameras a bit? (Score 1) 134

To expand, maybe it's a problem in that people don't know what a good solution looks like.

I have a wired Swann camera system in the office, with a dedicated DVR unit. The software for it is buggy and remarkably hard to keep working over a tunnel... but functionally (when it's working) it's really good.

Features I consider extremely useful with Swann's system:

- continuous recording, with simple calendar/timeline bar navigation for viewing.
- motion recording done right... events display as highlights on the normal timeline navigation bar.. with sensible "prev" "next" buttons to navigate across events... SEAMLESS with the playback UI (jump to an event, back up 30 seconds if you want... etc)
- you can select regions of the screen to search for localized motion events AFTER THE FACT, and it's pretty quick in marking new sets of events on the day's navigation bar

Things that suck:

- the first camera has some odd trouble with "timeouts" 100% of the time when searching for motion events using the remote software (not locally on the DVR), which happens to be our front door camera
- trying to run the remote software over a tunnel or VPN of any sort will cause "timeouts" fairly often requiring restarts of the remote software or at least enable/disables of the camera views. (Must require a minimum latency, pretty boneheaded... usually okay if you stick with viewing cameras one at a time)
- the system for locating recordings and marking some to be saved (instead of the normal rolling oldest-first deletion mechanism) is pretty crappy... resulting in a long list of autonamed files to look through... there should be an easy timeline bar-based export function from the playback UI.

Writing something on my own is tempting (twenty years ago I surely would have), but at this point the "todo" list grows at least as fast as I work through it... and I'm always choosing tasks that improve my products and contribute to my business over hobby-style tasks.

Comment Re:Have you dug into the cameras a bit? (Score 2) 134

Zoneminder is a complete POS. Sorry, that's what it is. Only an open source zealot willing to endure awful crap "for the cause" could love it.

If you're like me you'll find plenty of references to "Use Zoneminder, it's the open source solution for that", without any hint of how crappy it is. You'll even get the impression that it might be good... kind of like replacing wireless router firmware with DD-WRT, which is awesome.

Maybe, if all you want is event-specific recording, it'd be okay. I wanted continuous recording, and it totally sucks at that. I mean, REALLY sucks. I could write a new system from scratch faster than bringing that POS from the awful place it's in to where it needed to be.

I bought a couple cameras that I made sure were supported by Zoneminder and had decent proprietary software (as a backup). After screwing with it for a couple days, Zoneminder is out and they're online with the proprietary DLink stuff.

Comment Re: Difference between Warmists and Rapturists (Score 4, Insightful) 639

Well, here's the thing. You've got to take the best you've got. I'm not an expert, so I'm going to defer to those that are.

(This is not specifically to you, just a general response)

I'm reasonably scientifically literate, and I'm a fairly good problem solver. So are lots of people. The problem is, people can run through any random train of thought they want to reach some conclusion that sounds logical as hell, and still with no real background in what they're talking about, they can be wildly wrong because... big surprise... they don't actually know what they're talking about. While a lot of stuff sounds simple most things actually aren't.

So, if you don't know the background, you generally should not offer an opinion. Sure, in the west everyone thinks they're fully entitled to their opinion (maybe), and that their opinion is as valid as anyone else's (dead wrong). Seriously, you're just screwing everybody around you by taking respect in your analytical skill and offering an opinion. If a problem SEEMS simple to you, and you're wondering why the experts are so damn wrong... that's a warning sign not that there's some global conspiracy, but that you're missing some big part of the puzzle.

Really.. if there were huge holes in the science, you can bet a lot of scientists (not pundits or armchair theorists) would be screaming about it. Scientists aren't 100% going to get behind "protecting their interests" by towing a line.... if you're a scientist and you can offer credible reasons why most everyone else is full of crap, you're going to be set for life on funding from companies and organizations who REALLY want climate change to go away as a topic. The fact that the huge amount of money spent looking for problems in the science is only able to show results that are easily disputed as mistaken or cherry picking is telling. The science is looking reasonably solid to me on just that basis. At least, solid enough to be considering what can be done if it's right and doing something.

Of course the models are going to be inaccurate. A big part of the problem is the intuitive reaction for lots of otherwise quite rational people is to think "How can they know what the weather will be in 100 years when they can't even get next weekend's forecast right?"... and that becomes the core to their skepticism.

You have to actually look at the science, the feeds to the models, and the processes involved to understand there's probably something there. It's not the same type of forecasting.

To me, this is very much like saying "How can electronics possibly work if you idiots can't even predict exactly where an electron is going to be?" Guess what, you don't need to. Perfectly reasonable science can be built even if the discrete elements of that science are buried in uncertainty.

Comment Re: Difference between Warmists and Rapturists (Score 5, Insightful) 639

Hell, I'd be happy if these jokers could even manage a partial rebuttal.

Science reporting is garbage these days. Dave Jones just did a rebuttal to the "Batteriser" that a whole lot of otherwise respected media outlets are running... as he says any competent EE can tell you loads of ways the Batteriser is 99.999% marketing spin. It's still everywhere and loads of people buy that bullshit.

Explaining global warming is much more complicated than debunking the Batteriser, so if Batteriser demonstrates our current level of competence in reporting something, we've got no F-ing chance at all of getting the real story with global warming to the general public.

The fact that 95% of competent scientists in that field agree should be good enough. Marketing BS by people whose interests are affected by the results of the science apparently don't even have to try that hard to convince a lot of people the science is somehow contested.

Put it this way... I'd bet there are plenty of people that would be skeptical if 95% of competent EEs stood up to say Batteriser is trash, claiming conflicts of interest with some "establishment" or "group think".

A person is smart. People are stupid.

Comment Re:Atheists are believers (Score 2) 111

It's not that atheists are childishly attacking other points of view (as most on the receiving side like to characterize it)

They're attacking backwards and terribly counterproductive systems of thought. While a lot of people can be remarkably pragmatic when it comes to dealing with the world while carrying the baggage of religious faith (by following evidence-based reasoning most places and walling off their faith off to the side, even if they think it's their guiding light), it's not a good thing... as they still have big ass blind spots that screw stuff up. Worse, way too many people wrap their entire view of the world around faith, and don't ask for explanations because that's not how faith works.

Lots of people that don't think they're "smart enough" for math or science are just being poorly educated. If you place the things you see in the world into a big contextual web of whys and hows... then it'll be much more obvious why stuff works. A great deal of what makes a person appear "smart" is an ability to correctly put things in context and extrapolate uses and purposes from that. It's not magic, it's having a functional base of knowledge to draw from.

Faith puts "bad data" in the contextual web and prevents good contextual analysis of what you see day to day. It's very counterproductive.

The world needs to solve problems by looking at evidence and choosing what best fits the presented facts through reason. Faith massively interferes with that process. (massive inequity, climate change, the middle east, gay rights, anti-vaxxers, etc)

If your atheist and yet somehow don't understand the immense benefits to evidence-based reasoning and just go off some kind of faith of your own... then yeah your an idiot. That's almost never what's going on with your run-of-the-mill atheist... but I understand why someone who chooses faith would think so.

I'm not even "hardcore athiest", as many would define it as I'll accept anything beyond what is reasonably well known is just that... unknown. However, I don't know a single religion that doesn't have major conflicts with where our knowledge is at in the present, so they're broken. I also don't make up stories to explain the unknowable, or give the unknown any kind of magical aura. It's just not known yet, get over it.

Faith-based reasoning is the problem that's being attacked. Not "just some other point of view".

Comment Re:PCA, Patient Controlled Analgesics (Score 2) 83

It's even easier. You just shut it off and pull the drug while they're sleeping.

My dad had that happen at least once during a weeks long hospital stay. They took forever figuring out how to get him more morphine... as he'd already been prescribed and there are at least reasonable safeguards on the overprescription side.

They even had an idea who it was, as missing drugs was a problem in that ward. They didn't do anything, just said "watch out for that guy". I'm sure they eventually caught him... it's extremely likely someone like that is going to make a mistake... but he sure was hurting a lot of people along the way. The hospital sure could have tried harder to catch him.

Comment Re:Marketing genius! (Score 1) 128

I honestly cannot understand the positive comments I read on this idea.

At $5000/person or so, the number of people in harms way, and the relative likelihood of needing it... it's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.

It doesn't make sense even in rich countries.

You'd think someone intelligent enough to design and build these would realize that (although sometimes not)... they are probably just spending sucker investor money.

Comment Re:I will never understand (Score 1) 104

Let me just add that if victory meant getting expenses paid, it'd be absolutely in Competitor's interests to not tell you a thing about how they worked around your patent and force you to sue. Patent lawyers make a lot more money.

As it stands, Competitor would just say "No, we don't infringe because X"... and a non-troll would evaluate that, realize they can't win, and they'd then not give patent lawyers gobs of money to contest the point.

Comment Re:I will never understand (Score 1) 104

Well, the fuzziness of patents has something to do with that. It's easy to justifiably think your patent is infringed and be wrong.

Patent trolls, on the other hand... yeah, they should pay. Not only pay, but pay triple as punishment. Patent trolls are generally the exception... they just make the news a lot more often.

If you're a small company that comes up with something nice, patents it, shows it at a conference... then see Competitor's product (who was at the conference too) suddenly have the core of your invention in their product next year... you're going to rightfully sue for infringement.

Maybe Competitor looked at your patent, realized there was a way to work around it, and went ahead. This happens ALL THE TIME. From the outside, very possibly without knowing what they did to get around your patent, it looks like your patent was infringed.

Competitor, knowing they'll almost certainly win and be paid back... could rack up huge legal bills in the process of crushing you.

Comment Re:Remember M$'s role on SCO? (Score 3, Informative) 192

He's talking about targeted advertising, not traditional advertising.

He's saying that if you have so much information about a person that you know they're diabetic, and actually use that as a factor in deciding to show them stuff that statistically they'll go for even though you know it's proven to be harming them... that should be an actionable offense.

I think there's a better example that's less politicized: It's also like working out someone goes to a gambling support group and intentionally serving them a bunch of ads for casinos in Vegas.

That's way different than just showing ads to the public. It's even quite different from having the information somewhere else in the company and not using it in the advertising algorithms.

I actually agree with his point of view to an extent... although it should be easy to avoid doing that sort of thing. Targeted advertising algorithms that include automatic inferences might go there however and eventually need some kind of 'moral guidance' instructions of some kind.

I do not agree that having so much information that you "should" know that Vegas ad was wrong to show to the gambler but didn't use it in the decision process is wrong (the OP might). Right now we're in a glut of data but the analysis and understanding of that data is not mature. I don't think the state of the art makes that negligence. I do think we might get to the point where the algorithms are so advanced that it WOULD be wrong... much like it would be wrong for a human advertiser to go through that thought process and decide to show the ad.

Comment Re:Do It, it worked in AZ (Score 1) 886

Religious freedom doesn't trump any law not in the constitution.

What if, say, a weird religion popped up claiming:

1) their religion believes that beer is sacred and their members should be allowed to drive cars with any BAC level they want. Cars aren't in the constitution... obviously they should be allowed... right? ... right?
2) Sidewalks and lawns are just as good as roads
3) street signs and lights are for wimps and the opposite of the indended action should be taken when possible for the driver
3) hitting trees at speed and walking away unharmed should be a sport
4) cars should be blaring readings from their religious doctrine at 110dba at all times (even parked)

Go ahead, toss your hands up and say that's just the way it is.

Comment Re:I'm dying of curiousity (Score 1) 188

Yes, I'm quite curious about the lack of specifics.

It starts off with a very reasonable BusyBox violation that need to be corrected, and then veers off into claiming there's a much bigger problem without specifically stating it. It SOUNDS like they're saying VMWare's hypervisor is loaded by something that loads from the kernel and therefore it all must be GPL.

I'd like to be corrected if this is wrong.

Linus' own comment about a driver ported to Linux not falling under the GPL because the driver effort doesn't generally require Linux is simple from a general level, but not a technical one. Obviously the specific Linux driver requires Linux... you're not loading the same Linux driver on Windows. How much of the Linux-specific version of the driver can be custom just for Linux?

I'm sure the hypervisor was not from-scratch written for Linux, but existed before that. Anything that has a history before Linux should similarly be excluded.

If it's just the VMI layer that the discussion seems to indicate VMWare was close to open sourcing anyway at one point... it's hard to see what the big deal is.

Often lawyers have this awful tendency to want to 'score' as much as possible for their client to show their value... even if it's stuff that reasonably shouldn't be fought over.

Comment Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 1) 265

Oh. My. God.

If that cycle happens just a couple times... the mosquitos could be larger than the planet and their gravity would crush us all!

Stop the apocalypse! These arrogant sciencey people must be stopped at all costs!

Where'd I put my magic polished rock? I'm feeling nervous so the energy in the groundwater under my feet must not be in balance. I need to spend a few hours rubbing my magic energy tuning rock to put things right. We all have to be agents to change to make the world better, you know. *condescending look*

(Sadly, that last part isn't an exaggeration. I knew people who really thought like that)

Comment Douchebag company anyway (Score 4, Insightful) 450

They 'expire' the online features of their Quicken, etc software every few years, to force an upgrade. They have no need to do anything on their end with the online connectivity... it's all connecting directly to banks. It's crippling their software to force upgrades that add very little value (and usually add more bugs than improvements).

They also at least at one point had 'problems' connecting to network printers that they had to go out of their way to detect, just to force upgrades to higher level software.... because, you know... people with network printers must be businesses.

F--- them. There are very few people I actually despise, and the executives there certainly made the list.

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