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Comment Re:It was inevitable ... (Score 2) 146

BBM is a very widely used online service a bit like Google Talk, Twitter etc.
Since Twitter is currently valued at around 20 billion and RIM/Blackberry at 7.7 billion dollars, salvaging the BBM service is probably smart.

That said, they should have done this years ago as it was pretty obvious:
- BBM was everywhere
- it was desirable (reasonably easy and lets you reach many people easily, no per message charge)
- iPhones and Androids were starting to be everywhere too and make BBM less desirable

So this is most likely a case of too little too late. But maybe they can make Microsoft pay them to have a Windows Phone version ;-)

Comment Re:You're fine if you don't want to leave (Score 1) 314

Ageism is everywhere.
At a previous job I was perceived by our director as a youngster that's a Linux expert.
One day, the director wanted to illustrate to me how hard it was to handle older people and find new assignments for them due to the changes in technology.
The example he chose was:"Well, you know, it's not like it's going to be easy to take X and Y and have them learn Linux".
At that point I had known X and Y for about 9 years and they had been configuring the Linux boxes that shipped in a touchscreen in our product. So I could easily argue how wrong the director was. But I am not sure it helped him avoid ageism after that.

So basically the level of ageism and ridiculousness was pretty high and was coming from:
- a guy who knew the victims well
- a guy who was technical enough that he should understand that people doing one brand of Unix can easily pick up Linux
- a guy who was in charge of the victims and was in a position to understand what they actually did.

Ageism is scary. It's very tough to fight. And I am not getting any younger...

Comment Re:Lame summery (Score 2) 164

Errr, actually. Facebook says they want to enforce a real name policy.
They don't want me to join as 'glop' (which by the way is not the English word but what a funny comic book character says to mean 'OK'. He says 'Pas glop' when it's no good).
So if Facebook cares about real names, it's quite surprising that they would not react to a complaint that somebody is using somebody's name. That's definitely more detrimental to Facebook's professed goals than letting me join as 'glop'.

So I really don't think the guy is expecting anything special. Just what Facebook said they were doing.

Comment Re:Problem with egos really (Score 1) 525

I can't believe this was moderated as insightful.
The 'I see 2 different opinions, the truth is probably in the middle' fallacy is the reason why paid shills are worth the money.
You just need to create the appearance of a debate to get most people to think that the truth is in the middle.
The CNN guy redid the test and showed that the NYT guy was full of s*t.
Doesn't look like a battle of egos to me.
Doesn't look like there is much debate left.

Note that obviously there are trade offs with electric cars, but the NYT article on them is pure garbage and useless. The quotes in the summary demonstrate that the CNN guy offered some good insight on the trade offs (i.e. he said too bad there was no charging station on the New Jersey Turnpike, provides the duration of a full charge etc.)

Comment Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (Score 1) 513

You have to pay somehow.
Gmail is paid by ignoring or bearing with small boxes on the side of the email's text.
Also, there is an added risk from this that the ad matching algorithm may leak information somehow.
But basically, whatever you do in our society you are trusting a bunch of people, more or less implicitly.
Google are arguably not the worst people to trust when it comes to IT and email.

I personally have decided not to trust Microsoft back in the 90s. I might reconsider when they fire Steve Ballmer.
I sometimes feel a bit guilty about not trusting them in such a systematic manner. And then I read last week how hotmail only enabled https for the whole session back in November.
That's so incredibly wrong and untrustworthy in this day and age of 'check my email on Stacbuck's wifi' that it makes the ad reading concerns look ridiculous...

Comment Re:Immigration Is Good (Score 2) 795

Sure, immigrants are probably good and have skills and it's hard to compare people in IT.
But what matters is that the H1B program is designed to give the employers an unfair edge over immigrant employees as well as citizens.

If the H1B program was really just about skills we would simply give the people temporary green cards and make them conditional to paying enough taxes or something like that.
Then the employees would be able to switch jobs easily and would not be forced to stay with an employer they don't like just because the employer is sponsoring them for a green card (which can take 5 years I believe).
If immigrants are able to switch jobs as easily as Americans then they can get good salaries and you have a real job market. If they can't switch at will like the American employees then they are creating a bias in the job market. That's obviously not the fault of the immigrants but it's definitely a flaw of the program (that is, if you value people and/or free market).

Comment Re:A watch that down loads data optically! (Score 1) 133

Well you are kidding, but I expect that with Bluetooth 4.0 this is actually a killer app.
And there is a even a super successful kickstarter on the topic:

But yeah, I don't think you need Microsoft for that. You need standards (e.g. Bluetooth 4 is needed), component manufacturers and some good designers.

Comment Re:It's not a bad system IMO (Score 1) 223

What makes you think the bulk of the money is going to aggregators?
The only money the aggregator makes is the one from people who click on the ads on the aggregation page.
If the aggregated stories are interesting you expect people will click on the stories instead of the ads (after all it's not an Ad aggregation page...).
And then they are on the newspaper's website and if they click on ads there the aggregator doesn't make a dime.
So basically the only way the aggregator makes the bulk of the money is if the articles are shallow and uninteresting.

Note that there was a very enlightening discussion on what makes people click through on TheRegister's podcast years ago.
And basically the guy explained you get more clicks if you tell a bogus Apple or Google story than with an interesting piece with actual content.

So I would say that we get the news we deserve by clicking or not clicking and aggregators are not really the issue.

Comment Re:More to it than NTP... (Score 4, Informative) 49

GPS/Atomic clock is better than NTP. It's a system to distribute time that will have a 400ns precision (probably a couple microseconds once you reach the actual servers in the data center).
If you use NTP or message passing you can't synchronize data centers more accurately than a couple milliseconds (assuming you have paths that are quite stable between them as transit time can be corrected).
So basically GPS/Atomic clock lets you synchronize 2 systems that are far apart more precisely and without having to make them communicate.
Note that Atomic clocks protect them from GPS outages, so they can really rely on the timestamps.

Comment Privacy Burqas anyone? (Score 4, Interesting) 107

So the solution is simple. Let's all wear burqas to protect our privacy!
I believe you can also analyze people's gaits and recognize them that way. So let's all use Segways.
That would be a rather funny dystopian future, no?
Or I guess we could start making a few laws defending our right to some anonymity.

Comment Produce? (Score 0) 189

What is producing? Many patents can be implement with a couple lines of javascript or similar. So a troll would just need to have a coder write a proof of concept implementation, put it on the troll's production server. And voila, it's produced.
For easy combination of hardware and software, you can probably do something similar. Have a geek put together a prototype from a PC or tablet, some software, put it on a website for sale for 5000$. Make sure to keep a prototype that works.
I am not sure that would be really onerous to patent trolls as apparently they are getting away with 29 billion dollars every year.

Comment Re:Netflix box that also plays games (Score 1) 194

The Roku with the game remote is about 85$ or so. But it doesn't run Android unfortunately, so you need to write proprietary scripts and there is no browser etc.
Apart from not running Android, the main issue with the Roku is that it's not open and they take steps to block cool scripts and websites that allow you to access Youtube or Hulu or other normal video sites. Apparently Roku has to be cosy with content producers and middlemen and so they make sure you can't use the Roku as a cheap and convenient PC. If they did that you could access content that's free for PC users but on your TV and it would ruin the market for Hulu+, Netflix and other companies that sell subscriptions.

So I expect that a box that gives the user a lot of freedom will meet a lot of resistance from the content producers and middlemen as they try to preserve the very high revenues of the TV market.

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