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Comment Re:Philip K Dick called it (Score 3, Interesting) 127

So the "Empathy Box" from "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" is real? And now?

Ok, you just blew my mind.

I remember never quite getting the whole "empathy box" idea in the book. It seemed unlikely and quite foreign. But you're right: that's what Facebook is. People sharing their good and bad news in order to participate in some group emotion. And, just like Rick's wife was "addicted" to it, lots of people were addicted to checking Facebook (at least for a while, the interest in Facebook seems to have waned). So Philip K. Dick was prescient about that after all.

Comment Re:When you gag the enginers ... (Score 1) 373

Please explain how one gets from broken plastic clips on a vanity mirror to "rolling sarcophagus" in a way that wouldn't make any other engineer's (let along lawyer's) eyes roll

Quotes like this that make me miss the defunct Forum 2000. This sounds like a great quote from The Cube SOMAD.

I agree with the GP though. I recall a guy I used to work with who used hyperbole a lot. I recall that he once referred to a so-called "fiasco" which, upon deeper inspection, translated to him trying to schedule a conference call where he couldn't get the other people to agree on a time. Once I figured out his hyperbolic tendency, I could safely moderate the "disasters" he was warning of. I shudder to think what would happen if his emails are ever discovered for a lawsuit.

Comment Re:I wonder how soon people will realise (Score 1) 258

When the government provides everyone with a free internet connection and email address, then you can start talking about getting rid of snail mail

Plus, US mail offers greater protection than email. If you attempt to commit fraud via sending something by the US mail or intercept someone's mail, you're looking at a felony. With all the spam, I don't trust any of the email I receive from a bank, credit card, etc. So before email can completely replace regular postal mail, we'd have to see the same level of protections. Maybe the US postal service could have a service where they offer an optional digital signature that the sender can use and is legally protected from forgery.

Comment Re:employers (Score 1) 545

It would be easy for your employer, and for schools to simply adjust the time at which people are expected to arrive.

But, why leave it up to people's employers? There's no business benefit to "giving" people more daylight for their leisure activities, and there's no way it would be uniform since it would be subject to the whims of all the companies. Throw the schools on top, and you've got chaos. We're more than just employees; we're citizens. So it makes sense the citizens (a.k.a., "the government") to step in and declare that we're moving the clocks around. I admit I used to be more annoyed with daylight saving time when I was younger, but now that I have kids, it's great to have more daylight hours in summer evenings to enjoy things outside.

Comment Re:Pretty common support forums policies (Score 2) 326

Apple is really strict about not letting people give out certain kinds of technical advice or speculation on their support forums, on the not-unreasonable basis that things posted there have Apple's tacit approval.

No kidding. I don't think the submission helps by being vague about what was being posted:

Apple is now censoring posts in their "Apple Support Communities" forums where users suggest possible responses to their loss of WiFi capabilities

Possible response? I wasn't sure what that meant, so I read Lessig's blog to get an idea of sort of "possible responses" Apple was cruelly censoring. If his post is any indication of what he posted on his forum, no one should be surprised the Apple deleted it:

I skipped all the drastic steps others seem to have taken such as putting in freezer or the one where I guy heats his wifi chip up to 300degrees which by the way seem to have worked quite well.

Heating up the WiFi chip to 300 degrees? And it worked "quite well??" No surprise at all that Apple deleted this kind of "advice" from their official support forums. Reading a suggestion like that on Lessig's blog is one thing, but when it's posted on Apple's official support forum, someone is bound to assume wrongly that Apple is approving the suggestion. No wonder that Apple deleted it. I imagine Apple will also be deleting posts that suggest to users that they boil their iPhones or microwave them because the method seemed to "work quite well."

Comment Motives (Score 2) 111

I think the author is missing the point about Vader's motives. The article said:

For reasons that never get explained — and can’t be justified militarily — Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base. So much for his major weapon against the Rebels, and the primary reason for ordering the Walkers to invade and destroy the generator. Once Vader opts to bring down the shield and lead the invasion, he’s lost the battle.

The author assumes that Vader actually cared about winning whatever military objectives the Empire had. I don't think he did. In Episode V, Vader wanted only one thing: to get Luke Skywalker. I imagine that after the Death Star was destroyed and there was a big ceremony highlighting to everyone in the Rebel Alliance that Luke was the hero, word got to the Empire (and Vader) that someone named Skywalker was involved. Vader may have claimed that the name had no meaning for him, but it certainly did. So that's why he went down to the base. He didn't trust the stormtroopers to be able to capture Luke; he was going to do it himself.

In Episode IV, Vader seemed to be nominally to be a team player (at least he stopped choking that guy in the conference room) and willing to take orders. By the time Episode V rolled around, Vader was off the leash. All he wanted was to get Luke to turn him into his Sith Apprentice and everything else (stormtroopers, admirals, star destroyers, what have you) was just fodder. So although I enjoyed the article, I don't think Vader's tactics weren't because of poor planning or insight. If every Rebel escaped and every Imperial died, it wouldn't matter to him if he captured Luke.

It other words: it's not that I'm a bad driver. It's that I needed to get to the airport to make my flight and that now-dented car was a rental.

Comment BMW Apps (Score 3, Insightful) 171

It's a little more restricted than playing Angry Birds. BMW Apps supports a few functions:

- Reading tweets/Facebook posts (and with a flick of the iDrive, it will read the tweet out to you)

- Posting one of five/six canned tweets/Facebook status messages (e.g., "It's xx outside, and I'm driving my BMW!") - so you aren't trying to compose a message while you drive

- Web radio

- Looking at your calendar/address book

- News RSS feeds

So it has the capacity to be dangerously distracting, but BMW's implementation is limited enough that it's not. Of course, the driver could still be distracted if they're reading Facebook while they're driving, but if they're going to do that, they would do that anyway with their smartphone in their hand.

Comment Re:Succession plan? (Score 5, Funny) 1521

Well Taco, I hope that you have a good succession plan in place as Steve Jobs does at Apple. Presumably you've trained all your editors in the fine art of spelling mistakes, grammatical erros and story duplication. If so, the transition should be seamless. Jokes aside, best of luck and thanks for /. ! :)

Rob, for old time's sake, please repost your resignation as a dupe in about a week :-)

Comment Re:This is a sad day for the tech world (Score 1) 1027

Pirates of Silicon Valley kind of covers half of this, but a The Social Network style film for Steve Jobs' life story up till now would be great.

I think his life story would make a great movie. It would be fitting if Pixar made their first CG animated biography with Steve Jobs as the subject, although I'm not sure how you could get kids excited about it.

Comment Re:This is a sad day for the tech world (Score 5, Insightful) 1027

Steve Jobs is the embodiment of the American Dream, there are scant few individuals on this earth than can attest to the scale of success that he has achieved.

Jobs is arguably the best business leader of our era.

He co-founded the hugely successful Apple out of the proverbial garage, got fired from his own company, went off and started NeXT, bought Pixar from George Lucas and turned it into something big. At the same time, he came back to Apple, made a huge hit with the iMac, then the iPod, then the iPhone, and now the iPad. Now Apple one of the most successful companies around. I'm not sure if any other business leader's accomplishments could beat that story.

What impresses me is, as others have said, he actually cared about the products his company made. He wanted to make a "dent in the universe" and he actually did. He didn't do it by managing to costs or other things that business schools tell people to do, but by putting products and the user experience first.

Comment Re:Gambling? (Score 1) 384

+1 Insightful

That's an interesting point. IANAL, but if I understand what Blizzard is doing (you buy a copy of the game, find something randomly which has a real cash value), reading on The Straight Dope, there is a similar issue with Pinball back in the day:

To qualify as a gambling device, a machine had to offer a "thing of value"--money, merchandise, or tokens--as a reward

Interestingly, there's another analogy: I assume that the value of the item is related to its usefulness (a powerful two-handed, with four empty sockets will be worth more on the market than an etherial dagger that can't be repaired), which when outfitted to your character will make it easier for you to fight more powerful creatures and earn better, more valuable drops. That means in other words, you can pay more money to increase the odds that you find even more valuable items. That makes it similar to the "payoff gimmicks" in the linked example where you pay more money to increase your chances of winning.

I suspect that Blizzard's lawyers are taking this into account and will impose the appropriate limitations to avoid having Diablo III (hmm... that name should draw the ire of anti-gambling religious advocates) banned under Internet gambling prohibitions. Maybe you'll be limited to buy and sell strictly ornamental items with no material effect on the game play as opposed to the set pieces introduced in the LOD expansion pack.

Comment Depressing thought (Score 1) 626

They get out voted by the legion of dimwits bred by these creationists. It is already happening.

Here's a depressing thought: not if the "dimwits" are running things. The original poster was right; political conservatives are trying to set up their own parallel institutions to give "backing" to their own opinions.

There was an article in the Boston Globe that the Bush Administration had hired some 150 graduates of Regent law school (which was founded by Pat Robinson), which proclaims its purpose is to "provide [rightwing] Christian leadership to change the world,"

...Regent has had no better friend than the Bush administration. Graduates of the law school have been among the most influential of the more than 150 Regent University alumni hired to federal government positions since President Bush took office in 2001

It's only a matter of time before conservatives start setting up their own politically conservative science departments to match.

But it doesn't even have to wait that long. Next time we get a Republican president, we can look forward to political conservatives making scientific policy there as well. Back in 2005, a Bush administration aide (with no scientific credentials), made edits to government reports on climate change. From the New York Times article:

...In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports. The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust. ... A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, [Mr. Cooney] has no scientific training.

So, this victory is important, but the war against science isn't won or even over.

Comment Re:Ban is not the answer (Score 1) 990

The tax code was not created as a tool for the government to use in directing people's behavior. It was created to give the government revenue to serve the people. The government was created for the people-- not the people for the government.

And in a democracy, the government *is* the people, so you have people (or at least the majority of them) collectively deciding how to direct their collective behavior. We're talking about moderately increasing the efficiency of light bulbs, not fascism.

Comment Re:CFL are no savings (Score 1) 990

Reputable like GE, Sylvania or Phillps? I've had early failures with all those, and good luck with actually getting a replacement. In six more months I'll know if my use of them over the past three years was worth it, might be a wash. I have many CFL in the house, except for two places with dimmers (CFL dimming bulbs suck, won't go to low brightness but just off), and three of the "three-way" bulbs (CFL versions also suck and die early).

I think reputable companies will live up to their warranties. We had an early failure with a GE CFL. We sent them the receipt, and GE sent us a coupon for a new bulb in a week or two-- no muss, no fuss.

Comment Re:He asked a security guard for permission? (Score 1) 376

I doubt that. You can use the webcam on them to take photos (using Photo booth, etc.), but to suggest that a customer is implicitly allowed to install software that surreptitiously photographs other customers and then displays them in public is ridiculous.

You need to learn how to read. You begin with doubting what I said, and then explain why something I didnt say is not implicit.

Sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying: I thought you were saying he had permission to install his software because Apple lets its visitors install software. Obviously you weren't saying that, so we are likely in agreement.

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