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Comment Re:Post the 8 words Slashdot! (Score 4, Insightful) 40

No, I doubt it. These people aren't necessarily suicidal, and often have perfect eyesight and hearing, but no motor control. This man just got hope for the first time since whatever happened to him, leaving him in this state.

This is a truly beautiful, and humane use for computing. Please don't be so negative, this is an outstanding achievement, on a par with the fact that ancient humans would pre-chew food for members of the tribe with no teeth. It shows we naturally care about each other, and support each other.

Submission + - Phone Bot to Target Windows Support Scammers

Trailrunner7 writes: he man who developed a bot that frustrates and annoys robocallers is planning to take on the infamous Windows support scam callers head-on.

Roger Anderson last year debuted his Jolly Roger bot, a system that intercepts robocalls and puts the caller into a never-ending loop of pre-recorded phrases designed to waste their time. Anderson built the system as a way to protect his own landlines from annoying telemarketers and it worked so well that he later expanded it into a service for both consumers and businesses. Users can send telemarketing calls to the Jolly Roger bot and listen in while it chats inanely with the caller.

Now, Anderson is targeting the huge business that is the Windows fake support scam. This one takes a variety of forms, often with a pre-recorded message informing the victim that technicians have detected that his computer has a virus and that he will be connected to a Windows support specialist to help fix it. The callers have no affiliation with Microsoft and no way of detecting any malware on a target’s machine. It’s just a scare tactic to intimidate victims into paying a fee to remove the nonexistent malware, and sometimes the scammers get victims to install other unwanted apps on their PCs, as well.

Anderson plans to turn the tables on these scammers and unleash his bots on their call centers.

Comment Re: I don't see the problem. (Score 1) 660

You should be more concerned with being a good role model. Nationalism is only a force for good when its interests happen to align with the preservation or advancement of civilization. Using it as justification to marginalize a group of underpaid, exploited fellow nerds is foolish, and will not be viewed kindly by history. It also won't give anyone back their jobs; those will just leave with the companies that created them, along with the GDP.

Comment Re:Rebellion (Score 1) 489

The ribbon really isn't the same thing as a flat look. The two are totally independent of one another. Take a look at this screenshot, for example: Windows 7 with visual styles turned off—no doubt familiar to anyone who's managed a recent Windows Server or used RDP. It's still full of the newfangled conveniences you loathe, despite being cast in traditional 90s bezels.

This is the point where the holier-than-thou crowd says you should know all the hotkey combinations for everything if you want to be efficient. Those never changed, creating a nightmare for anyone who wants to learn them in the post-ribbon Word.

Comment Re:OK, help me out... (Score 5, Interesting) 834

The H-1B visa was a mistake. Even in Canada, employers have to go through a lengthy Labour Market Impact Assessment process before they can hire a temporary foreign worker, and some companies have had their privileges to do so revoked because they misrepresented their case and made it look like Canadians weren't available to do the job. We also have tighter salary laws. Extreme sub-market wages hurt everyone in the end—including the company, which ends up with damaged morale, weakened culture, and subpar work caused by inadequate training.

Comment Re:Rebellion (Score 1) 489

Almost all of the biggest offenders were iOS apps, so if you never had an iPhone you were spared the vast majority of incidents where skeuomorphism caused problems. Ideally, you're right, skeuomorphism should be helpful, but many designers used it to create the illusion of quality by borrowing images and textures from physical objects that they perceived as being valuable. Here is a thorough breakdown of the nausea of the era.

Comment Re:Rebellion (Score 3, Informative) 489

It's a little sharper than that—the current generation of interface designs was a direct reaction to the previous decade's tradition of absurd skeuomorphism. The moment Steve Jobs died, Apple did an about-face and started following Microsoft's Win8/Modern/Metro UI lead. It may look like a step backward to those who from the Windows 2000 and Gnome 2 era, since there's a loss of visual cues, but the flatness of current interfaces is way better than what the classics became in the post-Windows XP era: bloated, overdesigned, pseudo-real-objects cluttered with mismatched shadows and conflicting perspective angles. You couldn't tell what was a button there, either! At least now there's a consistency and a return to the actual use of design guidelines.

That said, there are still a lot of cases where literacy in idioms dominates: for example, the largely inexplicable convention of swiping sideways on a list to reveal 'delete' or 'edit' buttons in mobile apps. That's probably where you and the UX designers run into the most difficulty. But two decades ago, every "how-to-use-a-computer" class targeted at seniors started with how to operate a mouse—so, as I think you've already recognized, it's important to try to take these things with a grain of salt, and recognize that no one is completely objective when it comes to understanding the culture of computer operation.

Submission + - User Trust Fail: Google Chrome and the Tech Support Scams (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: It’s not Google’s fault that these criminals exist. However, given Google’s excellent record at detection and blocking of malware, it is beyond puzzling why Google’s Chrome browser is so ineffective at blocking or even warning about these horrific tech support scams when they hit a user’s browser.

These scam pages should not require massive AI power for Google to target.

And critically, it’s difficult to understand why Chrome still permits most of these crooked pages to completely lock up the user’s browser — often making it impossible for the user to close the related tab or browser through any means that most users could reasonably be expected to know about.

Submission + - County's Claims That Its Social Workers Didn't Know Lying In Court was Wrong (ocweekly.com)

schwit1 writes: Using taxpayer funds, government officials in Orange County have spent the last 16 years arguing the most absurd legal proposition in the entire nation: How could social workers have known it was wrong to lie, falsify records and hide exculpatory evidence in 2000 so that a judge would forcibly take two young daughters from their mother for six-and-a-half years?

From the you-can't-make-up-this-crap file, county officials are paying Lynberg & Watkins, a private Southern California law firm specializing in defending cops in excessive force lawsuits, untold sums to claim the social workers couldn't have "clearly" known that dishonesty wasn't acceptable in court and, as a back up, even if they did know, they should enjoy immunity for their misdeeds because they were government employees.

Submission + - What is the most useful nerd watch today?

students writes: For about 20 years I have used Casio Databank 150 watches. They were handy because they kept track of my schedule and the current time. They were very cheap. They require very little maintenance, since the battery lasts more than a year and the bands last even longer. Since they were waterproof, I do not even have to take them off (or remember where I put them!). They were completely immune to malicious software, surveillance, and advertising. However, their waterproof gaskets have worn out so they no longer work for me. Casio no longer makes them or any comparable product (their website is out of date). I don't want a watch that duplicates the function of my cell phone or computer. What is the best choice now?

Comment Re: Just sayin' (Score 0) 48

No, they use FUD, brand name recognition, and bundling, and charge obnoxiously inflated rates. Quite a few less-savvy customers end up badly gouged. My landlord is one of them. He's stuck with a ridiculously overpriced DSL package from Bell because of Fibe TV—and his location, deep in the heart of metropolitan Toronto, is mysteriously not eligible for the actual fibre-optic-to-the-pole service promised in marketing material. If you actually read the entire article, you'll see mention of lobbyist groups trying to get the CRTC to change their practices of trusting incumbents to actually keep their prices competitive due to competition.

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