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Comment defining terms like Conservative (Score 1) 206

I suspect that the alleged bias was the result of the bifurcation of "conservative" policy rhetoric. There are some conservative topics that are sensible and traditional, while others are so reactionary as to be utterly baseless. It's ok to be reactionary when you feel that your culture is being dismantled, but don't expect Facebook to promote your shrieks.

Comment you missed every point (Score 1) 595

It's rather pitiful to comment on speculation about a product that won't come out for three months. You can't have a valid opinion without seeing the compromises in play.

Which, by the way, according to the speculation, are that the phone will be thinner and much more waterproof. Are you still arguing "no one asks for this"?

I realize that Slashdot is just as childishly anti-Apple as it has always been - but as Apple cements its position as the most important company in America and in technology, what does that mean for Slashdot?

Let's be adults! I know we can!

Comment I think Facebook should kill Android (Score 1) 188

I have been thinking that if Facebook dropped their support for Android, that could be the most effective way to kill the platform. It sounds like they just might agree!

If it's not obvious, the reason I think Android should be "killed" is because I observe that people really set themselves back by (trying to) use it. It doesn't seem to work as advertised and the security problems are going to come home to roost at some point.

By reducing the amount of Android phones in active use, Facebook could strengthen the economy by encouraging other developers to spend their time making great iOS (and watchOS and tvOS) apps instead of trying to make decent Android apps.

Comment Helios - encrypted, verifiable & private (Score 1) 258

There's an algorithm (or two) that leverages multi-step encryption to facilitate two (seemingly exclusive) properties.

  1. Each voter can use a receipt code to ensure that their vote was counted, and counted correctly.
  2. No one can determine which vote came from which voter (unless perhaps if they steal all 5 encryption keys).

The algorithm, developed by Dr. Andrew Neff, was first implemented by a company called VoteHere.

Now it is available for testing and vetting via an implementation at

FWIW I've posted about this system almost a dozen times over the past decade.

Comment it's a trick question because you will learn both (Score 1) 211

Both are incredibly well-designed languages with some tricky parts but a lot of smooth sailing.

Swift seems to be solid enough that it's ready for most use cases - or perhaps closer to a quarter or a third of what you need to do every world-class app out there.

If you focus your next few months on Swift you'll be fine. There are lots of good examples, courses, lessons, blogs, and clever people who can answer questions.

However you will find yourself missing out on a lot of easy wins - particularly in cases where you read some Objective-C code and want to know how to translate it into Swift for your projects.

Objective-C is easy enough to learn - if you are going to be mostly just reading it. If you are writing it, of course, there are some tough things.

Either way you absolutely cannot go wrong and you will end up knowing both very well within a year.

Comment Barbie was actually both real and responsible (Score 1) 561

I read the book via the Gizmodo blog post. I understood the critiques that they leveled at each page. At the same time I felt that a lot of the plot twists were open to interpretation. The most basic example is that her collaborators were boys. Is she supposed to only work with women? Of course not.

The virus and its aftermath are another example where they felt it was showing how inept she was but I felt otherwise. People get viruses. She did a good job at figuring out how it was spreading and acting quickly to repair all of the hard drives that had been exposed. In real life, most of the time, when you have something like that to resolve, are you going to ask a man for help? Sure, most of the time you are. This is a good lesson to teach Barbie's readers. Do it right away. Don't be "ashamed about who got the virus". This shame is only on the part of Gizmodo. Barbie didn't overreact.

The last point I'll touch on is when Barbie began her project as a designer but then ended up claiming "I guess I am an engineer". This could be painful for professionals, both men and women, to digest. However, for many young women, computer engineering is reasonably intimidating - for some reason they often think of it as something that is hard for them. Perhaps awkward sexual attitudes from male programmers are part of the struggle. Perhaps everyone is a little awkward. But for Barbie's readers, they get a little shot in the arm of "I can do this". It doesn't matter if she had to write a lot of code on the preceding page of the book. What matters is that she is encouraging people to think that they can do that if they choose to!

I'm not saying the book couldn't have been better. But I felt that the attention to details in the plot was good. Always having her thumb drive, for example - that's a great habit! Designing something before you start coding - sure! The programming team could have been half men and half women, yes. Of course. Barbie could have saved the day by doing research instead of asking for help (although that's not really good advice when you get a virus). There may also be things that I missed that will end up amounting to poor role modeling for young women. But on the whole I think there's some good stuff in here and I hope that it doesn't all get lost in the backlash.

Comment Re:Cost vs. Benefits (Score 1) 477

Repairs are indeed possible with the new computers. As for upgrades, consider that Mac laptops have excellent resale value and a great set of tools for migrating your data to another Mac.

So rather than performing an upgrade (and I'm not saying that upgrading RAM was onerous, but yeah, it sometimes was), you can get a new machine and resell your current one. Let's say you're now out $600.

If you can't accomplish $600 worth of productivity and fun by using a Retina Mac instead of a PC, keep in mind that you're also saving your eyes from strain by using the Retina display.

I know Slashdot commenters won't appreciate this advice, but I think it's worth mentioning that the high resale value is an alternative to buying an upgradable machine.

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