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Comment YouTube is filled with ads... (Score 4, Informative) 301

YouTube videos are smothered in ads and kids experience them all the time. Netflix shows are also rife with subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) product placements. Live action shows feature massive luxury homes, Macbooks everywhere, fancy cars and shiny mobile phones. All that stuff acts to normalize expectations. It is brilliant and very effective marketing.

Comment Re:Who is Jonathan Coulton? (Score 1) 88

Seriously, are we all supposed to know about him? A short summary about who he is, and why his opinion is relevant for us couldn't have hurt.

The summary pretty well sums things up: "In a new article on GeekWire, Jonathan Coulton explains why he left a comfortable software development job in 2005 to launch a career as an online singer-songwriter."

Comment She's an ad exec. Of course she loves video (Score 2) 244

Prior to joining Facebook, Nicola Mendelsohn had an illustrious career in advertising. I suspect that her vision of Facebook is one in which video ads are seamlessly weaved throughout the content you actually care about.

The trouble is that Videobook would dramatically lose information density and become almost unusable as a result.

Comment It would be good if this system didn't work. (Score 1) 267

The best possible outcome for humanity would be that the launch systems for nuclear arsenals don't actually work. The United States currently has a strategic nuclear stockpile of approximately 547 Mt. Detonating those warheads in our atmosphere would simply end civilization, with no winners and no future. Well, unless you're an ambitious young cockroach with your eyes set on world domination.

Nuclear stockpiles are as sensible as boarding a jetliner with an M2 flamethrower, just in case there happens to be a terrorist on board who needs to be subdued.

Comment Let's look at a few great reasons to stay quiet... (Score 5, Interesting) 301

Let's look at a few good reasons to stay silent if you're an Apple competitor.

1. Apple's competitors are based in South Korea and China. They're going to have a much harder time arguing privacy with the US government.
2. Apple has lots of money and excellent legal counsel. They'll put up a better fight than their competitors possibly could.
3. Staying silent won't piss off any American lobby groups, and it probably won't piss off the American general public.
4. This could be a PR nightmare if someone mis-words something. You don't want to accidentally paint yourself as pro-terrorist.
5. There's no obvious win here. If the corporations win and privacy remains paramount, eventually someone is going to do something awful that involves encrypted communication. At that point, the corporations look bad. If the government wins, things could devolve into 1984 if the wrong people ascend to power.

Comment Pagers shared in work group for emergency contact (Score 5, Insightful) 307

One of my friends carries a pager when he's on call for work (a municipality, and he'd most likely be contacted about a toxic spill). He just clips it to his belt and forgets about it.

The pager has several advantages over a phone. The most critical is that it's a shared device that gets passed between the on-call staff. That means there's no risk of someone forgetting their phone at home, running out of battery or having an incorrect number listed on the staff contact form. Emergency Services has a single contact number that should always work.

Comment Contact bylaw enforcement. (Score 4, Informative) 388

Document the noise and contact your local bylaw officers. Present them with a clear explanation of what's happening. Video will help. In most jurisdictions, there are restrictions on outside noise that lasts longer than a certain duration and that occurs after a certain cutoff time at night.

This is not a problem you should attempt to resolve by wrapping your house in 3 feet of bubble wrap and duct tape.

Comment Re:i know i wasn't supposed to read TFA, but... (Score 5, Insightful) 131

Why in the hell are schools requiring students to use Chromebooks? We're making people do business and give their personal deals to advertisers now? What's next, requiring Facebook?

Schools standardize on a single platform to make support simpler and to make sure that tools are available on every machine in the classroom. Typically, that means a computer cart loaded with several dozen laptops of some kind. Chromebooks have a distinct advantage for cash-strapped school boards in that they cost about $200 each, compared to five times as much for a cart filled with Macbook Airs. Chromebooks boot in well under 10 seconds, have batteries that will last a full school day, don't require complicated software installation and are immune to common PC viruses and trojans. Kids can use Sheets, Slides and Docs to create and edit school work without the school board having to pay significant licensing fees for an office suite. They save schools a fortune.

At the end of the day, Microsoft and Apple also track and data mine their users. The core problem isn't that the Big Bad Google is data mining school kids, it's that everyone is doing it. And that needs to stop.

Comment Re:alternately: (Score 2, Interesting) 492

Google pays their technical staff extremely well. The problem is that Bay Area housing prices are astronomical, and it's pretty hard to get ahead when you're paying out several thousand dollars of after-tax money every month just to rent a room in a shared house.

I suspect that this guy will only be able to live this way for a year or so - either Google will step in and ask him to move his truck (especially if others get similar ideas) or he'll grow tired of his spartan living arrangements once he's paid off his student loans and will return to more standard living arrangements.

It seems, however, that there's a business opportunity for someone who offers micro-apartments with shared common spaces (like some college dorm designs, where four or five people have extremely compact private bedrooms but there's a shared den/kitchen/bathroom. Figure out a way to squeeze it into the size of a moderately sized standard apartment and offer it at a reasonable rate.

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