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Comment s/Have/Have Not/g (Score 3, Insightful) 103

Please, for the love of the children, can we STOP innovating on curly braces already.

And here I was all pumped up about the Erlang to Elixir upgrade path, repeated for Go, which suffers from the same weird Erlang-like conservatism that isn't suitable for all needs (such as most projects by corporations employing fewer than 20,000 technologists).

Conservatism has its uses, but it's no silver bullet, nor can removing braces make it so.

Comment Re:Anti-Hillary is not Pro-Trump (Score 1) 796

How did my choice between "if" and "not unless" turn into "not if"? I'm going to generously account this one as an error between first coffee and keyboard, like a quarterback who forgets himself on the first play of the game and inserts "y'all" into his snap cadence, and then immediately collides with his running back.

Comment Re:Anti-Hillary is not Pro-Trump (Score 1) 796

In the end it will not make that vast a difference in Trump or Clinton wins, two arms springing from the same body politic.

Well, not if we equate "vast" to the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and even then with our fingers crossed.

In domestic relationships (excluding domestics), you need to maintain a ratio of five positive comments to every negative comment. Fly in the ointment: some of those positive comments need to be about the other person.

Is this rule any different in international relations? Does the fly in the ointment somehow squirm less?

Stay tuned to an exciting meme generator near you.

Comment Re:Last resort (Score 1) 294

A line needs to be drawn somewhere. I doubt that it's possible to create a society where no one ever gets screwed (even to death), but it would be far worse if we didn't try to draw a line and enforce it.

Read it again. Nowhere in the article does it advocate for the line not being drawn.

Civil disobedience is where you choose to cross the line nevertheless, knowing full well you might ultimately bear the full force of criminal-code sanctions.

If you draw attention to a stink pile by doing so, and society determines that the stink pile is effectively breaking far more serious laws (e.g. systematic torture of children) while throwing their prestige and authority around to suppress the normal mechanisms of recourse through the courts (gag orders, parentectomies, threatening to black-list staff who spill the beans) then it would be an unusually cold judge to sentence the unlawful whistle blower to maximum term (suspended sentence on reduced charges seems to be the standard "well, don't do it again"). But if you deliberately broke the law, a soft outcome is more a courtesy of the court than a public obligation of forgiveness.

I've only ever met one physician where I felt that a story like this was remotely possible. Unfortunately, he cleared that bar by a wide margin. He was quick to judgment, he was opinionated, he felt he was personally defending society from the depredations of leeches and slackers (perhaps due to that copy of Atlas Shrugged he kept under his pillow he suffered from chronic neck pain that adversely affected his bedside manner). Furthermore, he was powerful (director of his own institution at a major research hospital), and I sensed he was willing to wield that power to brook no dissent.

When faced with such an individual , the courts are an imperfect instrument.

Sometimes life presses you into such an unbearable corner that the equation "do the crime, do the time" comes up "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" with no lines of civic order blurred anywhere.

Military combatants routinely make the ultimate sacrifice in war. So too do civilian combatants sometimes make the penultimate sacrifice in the name of social justice (the penultimate sacrifice being life behind bars among a population of violent sex offenders, to whose unlawful depredations on your person society turns a winking blind eye—so I guess I must now concede that "yes, Dorothy, there are blurred lines at play in our system of justice after all").

Comment uninstaller unrunnable in safe mode (Score 5, Interesting) 386

I will never tire of telling this story until the day I die, or the neo-millennials go "huh" when you mention BSODs or 404s.

Back around 2003 (the last time I volunteered to "help" somebody with their Windows system), I was recruited by my sister to help a friend of hers install a printer driver for her new HP printer.

I thought, "surely this won't be too hard".

So I went to the right website, downloaded the correct driver, and clicked "install". Whirr, whirr. Time to reboot. Oh, shit, BSOD! Reboot again. BSOD.

"Oh well, I guess I'll have to uninstall that POS printer driver."

Boot into safe mode. No problem. Click on HP-provided utility to uninstall broken driver. Dialogue box comes up: "uninstaller can not run in low resolution". Program terminated. I forget the resolution required, but it wasn't available in safe mode. Piss around with the video mode in safe mode for fifteen minutes. No dice.

Start reading the internet about how to manually uninstall broken HP printer driver. God knows what files I deleted or what scary reg-edits were required, but I eventually got rid of the damn thing. Computer now boots normally again, but the printer still doesn't work.

I go to the HP support page to file a bug report, through an HP supplied URL. Many, many, many required fields. Gave them a piece of my mind in the comment box. Click submit. Result comes back: "404 not found". This is HP's own support website, as found in ancillary tools packed with the broken driver. It found the form for me to fill out, but couldn't find the server after I finished filling it out. Submission lost.

HP forever since has resided in my colossal fuck-up bucket. I know people who purchase their expensive HA kit and swear by the organization, but on the consumer side, I can only swear at this organization.

Despite this, I did buy a networked wide-body inkjet from HP subsequently at a huge discount from a going-out-of-business sale, and it hasn't been terrible, but I only replace the ink when I know I'm doing a lot of printing for a few months.

I don't know any company that's fallen further or faster in consumer esteem (once upon a time, a time I still recall, HP calculators represented the pinnacle of consumer esteem) except perhaps for the Hudson's Bay Company, but to comprehend that story you have to know what it once owned: a list of assets many nation states would envy. They spun off oil companies, railroads, real estate. What did they keep? Zellers.

I keep telling my wife that the insurance business has the rare business model of litigating its own customers (just try to collect ...)

But just now I realize that the ink jet market is not so far behind as all that.

Comment Hey, can I swipe your seven? (Score 1) 167

Given that you do not seem to have figured out that gloves with silver threads suffice to unlock an iPhone 7 i'd guess that you live all alone on an island in the tropics?

Ah, yes. The once-common glove, now the new Tamagotchi.

Celebrities in Gloves

In our courageous new world, instead of offering to light some starlet's cigarette, the power move is to walk up say, "hey, can I swipe your seven?"

"You, bet, buster. I was waiting for a real man to come along and recognize that not all haute couture comes with a silver lining."

"Not to worry, I'm sure Versace will buff up on Michael Faraday, just as soon as someone in the company (outside the accounting department) finally passes Math 11."

Comment Re:what a load of shit (Score 1) 233

Study can be summarized as "X percent of people with no experience with new technology have strong opinions researchers inexplicably value."

Three spacious floors and two subbasements below the replication crisis, there's research by randomly asking around.

People out there are worried about the competence of their airline pilots (most of the time supplemented with a living, breathing, fully qualified hot spare), supported by their highly instrumented cockpits, supported by their nearest air traffic control tower, supported by the entire air traffic control grid, supported by red phones to every major aircraft manufacturer, all of which are probably manned 24/7 with qualified aerospace engineers, who are in turn supported by a hundred thousand other employees (of which not an insignificant fraction have MIT-branded palladium slide rules), supported by an aviation database with detailed information and root cause analysis of every aviation disaster since Hollywood first popularized Donald Knuth's impressively spastic polyphase merge sort, as seen in the Six Million Dollar Man backdrop working its magic on giant arrays of spinning tape.

And yet these same people will go on a 2000 km road trip traversing two-lane or four-lane undivided highways, while thousands of members of the general public—the freaking general public—whizz past them at 250 km/h relative velocity (all of three meters away at closest approach), many of them towing trailers for the first time in their life.

Welcome to a clue gradient that would give Escher vertigo.

Comment Re:You mean new apps right? (Score 1) 151

In other words we have the apps we like... which is kind of why this article makes me roll my eyes.

There's this thing in economics called rational ignorance.

The upside of finding another app with positive utility is less than the downside of having to wade through hundreds of apps whose security policy comes nowhere close to my personal threshold of acceptability.

The search friction is immense, because Android doesn't allow me to hard code my own "acceptable security" profile, restricting the apps that it shows me to only those apps (at least, not the last time I tried). It would be a short list based on what I've observed in prior dumpster dives.

Want to access my personal contacts in exchange for turning my camera flash into a flashlight? Go fuck yourself.

The utility I'm losing because of my posture of rational ignorance is definitely non-zero, by deliberate Android design. Make it easy for users to impose their own personal security profile, and users will actually start doing it, even the lazy ones who might otherwise fire and forget.

Because the granularity of my control is so outrageously coarse, I have my GPS disabled, I have my data service disabled, I have location services disabled, I have Bluetooth disabled (despite owning a Pebble watch), and 90% of the time I have my Wi-Fi disabled. And I have software installed to warn me when any of my apps try to update. Even Google Play now has to ask permission. If I had a mechanical slide switch like I do on my T500 laptop, I'd also have my microphone and camera electrically disabled when not in active use (the switch on the T500 only controls a few radios).

In a world where the Mozilla phone was viable (never did I suspect this for a second), I'd have switched already.

Android has a user security experience—for a user technical enough to know the difference—of a combination payday loan / taco stand / ripoff currency exchange parked over a filthy storm drain piped through rotting, pre-coup infrastructure into a Zika-infested marshland.

Comment Re:he has his own wikipedia page (Score 1) 139

Surprisingly he's not dead yet

It always shocks me how many people choose to publicly indulge their innermost vigilante compulsion in response to any report of a pedophilic compulsion. But then, I'm from Canada (exactly the same number of vigilante wannabees, but far more easily shocked when wannabees self-actualize).

There's this meme that suicidal ideation is just a mouldering hair shirt until you begin to fantasize an actual, concrete plan.

After Tony learns of the soccer coach's affair with his student, he contemplates murdering him in retaliation. After a visit with Dr. Melfi, who asks him why he would assume the burden of righting wrongs in society, and after hearing Artie's plea for legal justice, Tony calls off the hit and the coach is arrested by the police. After this, Tony arrives home after a night of drinking on Xanax and confesses to Carmela (as well as to an eavesdropping Meadow) "I didn't hurt nobody."

Tough confession. There it was for the taking, wet work with a halo on top, and all I got was this empty bottle of pills.

Comment dragon breath (Score 1) 387

No hope in hell for an Obama pardon with Clinton running less than 10 full points ahead in the polls, and even then Obama would worry about sacrificing the windfall down-ticket trickle-down to the senate and the house.

Considering that it would take a sex tape involving Donald and something (or someone) unthinkable to reduce his polling numbers below his hardcore 30%, I wish Edward all the best.

Comment Re:Just the beginning (Score 1) 395

If it's a choice between giving up their phones and tolerating intrusive daily ads that are derived from spying on you, most people will pick the phone without hesitation.

Most of us go with the flow 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time we're lectured about what "most people" do. To which I answer "yes, indeed, most of us go with the flow 90% of the time, now get out of my way, jerkface, because right bloody now is the other 10%".

There is, of course, a lunatic fringe minority who make a point 100% of the time to always do what most people do, to whom I say "you're really weird, you know that, don't you?"

Comment Re:GMOs (Score 1) 526

I think what this latest scandal proves is our science industry is no more trustworthy than our politicians as they are just as easily (and cheaply) bribed.

Beginning that sentence with "I think" is a red herring. You're evidently not interesting in thinking in any capacity whatsoever. Or perhaps you really do "think" that the entirety of our "science industry" consists of dietary population studies?

Furthermore, I've got some absolutely horrible news for you. If you possess a pair of Joo Janta 200s, don them now!


Some of our politicians are more trustworthy than others, and you can sometimes even tell them apart ahead of time, if you invest the requisite time and energy, and ponder the sound-bite tea leaves carefully.

Also, some of our scientists are less trustworthy than others, and you can sometimes even tell them apart ahead of time, if you invest the requisite time and energy, and ponder the doorstop literature with half a clue.

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Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. - Voltaire