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Comment Re: My experience? (Score 1) 167

I'm not a Tesla fan,[1] but it's true that they do at least make something, and they sell it, and they have assets. That's more than you can say for most Valley startups.

Whether they'll survive remains to be seen, of course. However sluggish and burdened their competitors are, they are also powerful and they have deep pockets.

[1] EVs don't meet my automotive needs, and I hate all the gadgets. And as a dedicated curmudgeon I hate anything popular, of course.

Comment Oh, Lauren, you've done it again (Score 1) 448

"Shackles"? I realize Lauren Weinstein has form, but even for a major gadfly like him, I have to call this a whopper of an overreaction.

Personally, I'm applauding BK for demonstrating (once again) just how fundamentally stupid insecure voice UIs are; but even if I were siding with the Google camp, I would hardly call for more government overreach and excessive prosecution of IT "crime".

"Internet Responsibility" cuts both ways, L.W. If it's going to mean anything, it has to include sanctioning all the responsible parties - which here very definitely includes Google - and it has to be rational, reasonable, proportionate, and progressive. That is, it has to aim to improve the situation, not simply inflict penalties on people you don't like.

Comment Re:Time for ... (Score 1) 606

Sigh. If their marketing team is at all competent, they'd love it. It would get them free press for weeks.

Some of you people really do not understand how this works. Oppositional marketing is all about creating controversy so other people circulate your name for you. It doesn't matter whether the message is positive, because the goal is to fire up your base. People who already like Burger King (presumably they're out there; BK continues to be in business) are inclined to take BK's side, and trying to associate them with something unpalatable will just cause their fans to dig in. You'd probably push BK sales up measurably.

Comment Re:I learned another lesson from the same history (Score 1) 606

Agreed. I, too, have been around for a while - professional developer since '88, and working with distributed applications and security since the early '90s. I find ewhac's arguments utterly unpersuasive. Criminal and civil penalties have done nothing to curb exploitation of IT security vulnerabilities.

Personally, I still hold out some hope that regulating manufacturers, and holding them liable, might help; but that's just an inducement to improve technological solutions (by converting security externalities into costs for the manufacturer).

Punishing BK - and as far as I can see, they did nothing ethically wrong, and the legal question is far from settled - achieves nothing in the long run. Or even in the short one.

Comment Re:And the amazing consequences... (Score 1) 606

Wikipedia vandalism

I imagine the ad agency that orchestrated this campaign anticipated this - I certainly hope they did - and counted on it. Anyone who doesn't understand counter-message marketing doesn't deserve to be in the industry today.

Seriously, read Ryan Holiday's book. Wikipedia vandalism, like other reactions, play right into BK's hands. Protest is promotion.

Comment Re: BK = BLACKLISTED (Score 1) 606

I, for one, will be laughing out loud at you.

I don't know about "laughing out loud", but there's certainly a healthy dose of schadenfreude.

When voice-activated interfaces started to get a lot of attention - say, in the mid-1990s with OS/2 Warp, or even earlier - many, many people pointed out that they were a Bad Idea. People continued to point that out, over and over and over, in the years since.

I think what BK did is a lovely thing. I applaud them for it, and I may even buy one of their burgers one of these days. The whining from folks like ewhac gets no sympathy from me.

Comment Re:32,000 (Score 1) 344

I didn't say no one should have a gun, I said that I would advise against it

From your original post:

No one *needs* a gun in the US

"I would advise against it" is rather a gloss for "[n]o one needs". For that matter, "not a large portion of the population" is a rather different thing from "no one".

The simple fact of the matter is that your original statement was wrong. It wasn't ambiguous or poorly phrased; it was factually incorrect.

I'm not a gun owner myself, despite having a home in a rural area where critters can indeed be a problem. Guns are tools, and like most tools they're dangerous, and I prefer to hold off on acquiring, much less using, dangerous tools until I decide they're justified by my circumstances. I haven't reached that point with guns yet. (Bears are rare on my side of the mountain, and I have neighbors close by.) But that doesn't prevent me from assessing the need for guns properly and avoiding insupportable generalizations.

Comment Re:Look at the Results of Our Carelessness (Score 1) 344

Also we still get in a lot of collisions, but fatalities are down thanks to seat belts, child car seats, collision testing, air bags, faster emergency response, frozen blood plasma, etc.

This is an excellent point. Fatalities are an important metric, but they are certainly not the whole story. Even injury-free collisions can cause tremendous difficulty for someone.

It's good that fatalities are down. It's bad that so many drivers are behaving foolishly. Those two facts can both be true.

Comment Re:32,000 (Score 1) 344

kids in Wyoming need to carry rifles to school to shoot grizzly bears

I don't have any evidence for that, but sure, there are plenty of people in the US who need to defend themselves from critters of various sorts. There was a case a few years back, not so terribly far from my place in New Mexico, where a woman shot a bear that had broken into her house. And it's not just bears; if there's a rabid dog wandering about the property, it's best to address that from a little distance.

So, yeah, OP doesn't know what he's talking about. While the number of people in the US with a demonstrable need for firearms is small relative to the total population, it's not negligible. And that's regardless of whether you make any allowance for defense against other human beings (an application I am dubious about myself, except in the case of people in certain lines of work).

Betsy DuVos

DeVos. I know, it would have taken precious seconds to look that the fuck up.

And what about DeVos? She's a shill for the kickback-rich charter-school system. She doesn't know dick about education, and I doubt she knows anything significant about what kids in Wyoming need. That branch of the DeVos family is good at one thing: filling their own pockets.

Fuck you stupid people.

... writes AC who can't be bothered to formulate a coherent statement or look up the correct spelling of someone's name. This is why we can't have nice arguments.

Comment Re:I find this thoroughly unsurprising (Score 1) 344

In new cars, pretty much everything above the very bottom of the line is a usability nightmare.

This is one of the reasons my most recent car is a 2015 Volvo. The infotainment system has a screen, but it's not a touchscreen, and most of the functions are manipulated using separate physical controls. I pretty much never have to look at it while driving. I don't know if Volvo has caved into the touchscreen mania - in another decade or so I may be stuck with classic cars.

The people responsible for putting touchscreen controls in cars should be deeply ashamed. Ditto idiotic all-eggs-in-one-basket physical controls like the much-hated BMW iDrive.

Re TFA, I'm surprised that 90% of drivers own a smartphone. In the US, in 2015, there were around 218M drivers and 189M smartphone owners, so presumably some of the drivers shared a smartphone and passed it on to whoever was behind the wheel.

Comment Re:Farmers usually vote Republican (Score 1) 316

The only real farming left in the US are large industrial farms.

That will come as a shock to all the family farmers near my home in Michigan, who supply much of the food my wife and I eat.

And to all the family farmers near my vacation home in New Mexico, who supply much of the food my wife and I eat on vacation.

I'm pretty sure they think they're real. And their food has a certain ... ontological robustness, shall we say. A material reliability. An utter lack of being imaginary.

Comment Re:Just offer more money (Score 1) 300

COBOL has far fewer features than any modern language

That's a rather odd claim. Even COBOL-85 has a much, much longer specification than, say, C. COBOL-2002, at 879 pages, is probably longer than the Java 6 spec plus the standard Java framework docs. The core language chapters (Language Fundamentals through Intrinsic Functions) is nearly 600 pages. There are close to 400 reserved words.

And if you take a really modern COBOL dialect, with OO features and enhanced syntax, plus the preprocessors that are commonly used ... well, it's a lot bigger. And it has most of the features of most of the major "modern" languages, functional-programming constructs being the biggest omission.

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