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Comment Could be the end for me (Score 3, Interesting) 275

I've been a Msft user since the earliest versions of MS-DOS, which means that I've put up with a lot of crap but kept on as things slowly improved. I have been burned by a number of updates over the years, so I install them manually after checking them out one by one. It's a pain, and some destructive stuff has slipped through from time to time, but I could always uninstall or fall back to a restore point if necessary. It would be nice if I could just trust Msft not to screw up my machine, but sadly, they haven't earned that trust. The choices are rather grim, as I don't want to forego security updates. I'm hoping there will be a large enough outcry that they back off before I have to move to another platform.

Comment Re:Inflation, anyone? (Score 2) 1052

Not more in absolute terms, but more as a percentage of income. Most of the rich do not spend all of their income; all of the poor do. So if the VAT is, say, 10%, the poor are paying a 10% tax on their income, while most of the rich are paying less (in VAT). That's why I claim it's a regressive tax.

Comment Re:Inflation, anyone? (Score 4, Interesting) 1052

Financing UBI with VAT is still regressive and a flat tax would have to exclude UBI or it would simply be idiotic. A more rational approach would impose new taxes on capital itself, not income. The long-term trend is that labor will have ever decreasing importance in the creation of wealth as robotics and AI become more productive and widespread. The creation of wealth will largely be a function of capital alone, directed by a tiny minority of the world's population. While UBI may offer some short-term efficiencies compared to current disjointed redistribution programs, its main advantage is that it addresses the long-term problem.

Comment Brilliant troll (Score 2) 663

It has become increasingly hard to distinguish satire from reality. I've read various versions about the origin of this petition, but I tend to believe it started as a provocation and (like Donald Trump) has become real.

If they don't allow guns, he Reds are gonna have some 'splainin to do to the faithful. Let's see:

Cruz: I agree that everyone should carry a gun, and in Texas, we're going to make it mandatory, unless you're Mexican of course. But the Secret Service won't allow it at the convention. Elect me and we'll make sure nobody has to take orders from Washington ever again. Only from Jesus, amen.

Trump: My gun is bigger than your gun. (pulls out gold .357 magnum, tries to shoot Cruz, but hits Cruz's wife instead). Hey, Ted, don't say I never did you no favors, OK? Now can we get on with the inauguration?

If they do allow guns, they're even crazier than they appear.

Comment Smalltalk (Score 1) 414

A great language for introducing yourself to the object paradigm, but not widely used for real-world applications. I imagine most people will choose BASIC, ignoring the real-world history of its impact.

Comment Re:Fine (Score 2) 720

Well, not exactly. MSFT's "ecosystem" used to give end users more choices than Apple's walled garden. In my personal experience, it appears that MSFT has decided to limit the choices and start imposing their corporate will. I'm on Win7 Pro. I have now uninstalled KB3035583 three or four times. I had my Windows update preferences set to download but let me decide, but several months ago, it stopped letting me decide and just installed what it wanted at boot time. Now I have changed my preferences to let me know when there are updates and let me download and install when I want. Somehow, I doubt that it's going to do what I want. I have no opinion about Win10, but in the past I have always migrated to new operating systems at the same time as I bought a new machine. Win7 works just fine for me at the moment, so why should I run the risk that some of my older applications are going to break by installing a new OS? More than that--the last two times I bought a new machine, I went out of my way to install an older, more stable OS: XP when Vista was about a year old, and Win7 when Win8 was already predominant in new sales. I spared myself lots of grief that way. I may decide I want Win10 someday, but if Msft chooses to shove it down my throat, I will (reluctantly, as long time Windows user) tell them where they can shove it.

Comment Re:Why they haven't taken them down (Score 2) 320

Taking them down seems like a futile approach, as they'll only reappear with a different identity. Clever trolling would be more effective--poison the well instead. Problem is, to be effective requires considerable language skills and cultural expertise, which one wouldn't necessarily expect from a hacker community.

Comment Re:Locality of self. (Score 1) 269

Yes, I believe you've hit upon the key problem with all this. Leaving aside all the daunting difficulty is making a true copy, the result would only benefit your survivors, not you. Now that's no small accomplishment, but it most certainly falls short of immortality.

Another element that is frequently overlooked is that our brains are embedded in our bodies. Proprioception depends on all the real-time feedback from the stuff that's outside the brain. So without simulating the rest of us as well, the uploaded copy might have consciousness but it wouldn't feel or act like we do in the slightest. Even your survivors wouldn't be fooled for long.

Comment Re:They made the disclosure (Score 1) 229

They sent me a heads up email with a link to the new policy. So they're being up front about it. That said, I don't care for it. I've used their free version for probably close to 10 years, but I'll be looking for a replacement soon. Avast? Microsoft Essentials? Dunno. In all that time, I think AVG gave me one false positive and once it failed to warn me of something that I could immediately see was suspicious. Not a single true positive, IIRC. My sense is that the threats these days are much more sophisticated than the AV software supposedly keeping us safe. AV software has become like the life vests under the seat in airplanes. There's a remote chance that it will save you some day, but that's about it. Safe practices in browsing and email are probably orders of magnitude more important.

Comment Comments from a former MUMPS programmer (Score 4, Informative) 166

I used MUMPS (and MIIS) extensively while working in healthcare in the 80s and 90s. It was an efficient programming and database environment for mini-computers which combined a hierarchical database and interpreted language with sparse arrays and extensive pattern-matching capabilities baked in. It was widely used in hospitals for clinical operations and that legacy is still present in healthcare. The language itself would scare the shit out of anybody using modern technologies (self-modifying code, anyone?), but used with discipline it ran many applications that were literally a matter of life or death for patients. Some variants (MIIS, DEC) were also stand-alone operating systems running on the bare metal. It gave you lots of bang for the buck, even if the code itself looked like a printer test. There used to be a small but active community of vendors and users. Today, there is one large player, Epic Systems, which dominates the applications market, especially in the electronic medical records area. They use Intersystems MUMPS (now known as M) as the underlying language; it has an extensive application building environment on top of the basic language to provide relational, Web and object-oriented abstractions. You can build applications in this environment without ever touching MUMPS code, though commercial applications will generally drop down into MUMPS for special purpose routines.

Comment Re: Google (Score 3, Informative) 269

Well, maybe. What I know is that I don't see much spam even in my spam folder, which does suggest that Gmail may be blowing a lot of stuff away before I have any chance to see it. OTOH, I don't ever recall a case of learning later that something legitimate had been deleted instead of put into my spam folder, and the number of false positives there is tiny. My overall impression is that their filtering system is very effective. I haven't seen a true spam message in my inbox for years and don't even think of it as a problem anymore.

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