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Comment Re:Strange Logic (Score 1) 217

Commuting the sentence to what amounts effectively to release from prison is pretty much a soft pardon. It doesn't get you the civil rights restoration that a pardon gets, and that's largely a sop to those who claim Manning was a traitor.

But really, how is serving only 7 years of a 35 year prison sentence not some kind of refutation of the government's case against Manning, especially when it results in getting out of jail?

It would be more of a statement that the government didn't approve to commute the sentence to 10 or 12 years, forcing Manning to remain imprisoned for another few years but not the rest off the sentence.

I don't really have an opinion on whether Manning should or shouldn't be in prison. The government gets up to shady shit and punishes those who tattle on it severely. If you're taking a job in the government, especially in the military and decide to tell its tales, you should expect to suffer its punishments.

Comment Re:What Backdoor? (Score 1) 114

It my impression that most criminals aren't nearly clever enough.

Maybe small-time criminals like home burglars or armed robbery people aren't clever enough, but someone capable of delivering a working e-commerce site? I'm assuming there that all the cleverness required to pull it off is built-in.

My question is -- they caught THIS guy, but how many have done the same thing and not gotten caught? There's possibly millions of e-commerce sites out there written by people with nobody looking over their shoulder and not enough resources for someone to check for something like this.

Surely this isn't the only person to give in to a moral hazard like this.

Comment Re:I call bs (Score 1) 91

I don't know for sure, but I thought they had a method for fingerprinting songs that made it (relatively) simple for them find copyrighted audio in video audio tracks.

Since each porn star has a different voice, coupled with background music or sounds, it's they'd have to fingerprint the audio from every porn movie.

Plus I always thought that porn was detected more or less by people flagging the videos as porn if they weren't detected by more obvious screening methods (ie, keywords or something in the titles).

I found a series of German TV documentaries from the late 1960s/early 1970s on YouTube about the "german youth" that had pretty explicit sex and nudity, more explicit than I had ever found in YouTube. They had been posted for years with thousands of views and I was kind of surprised they had kicked around that long.

I guess I would assume that private, unshared content on YouTube would be subjected to all the usual automated scanning plus a higher than normal level of human review since it seems like an ideal way to swap prohibited content on Google's dime.

I've also wondered if it would be possible to use video content as a means of storing data while having it survive re-encoding. Tivo used to buy time on a cable network at night and broadcast a kind of flash block pattern that was decoded into data.

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 1) 93

Well, the answer might be to try a morning cup of decaf coffee. Why? Because caffeine isn't the only active ingredient in coffee; the anti-cancer properties of coffee appear to be in the phenols which are still present in decaf. And you'd still get the stimulant benefits of caffeine because you're more sensitive, although I'd avoid even decaf after noon.

A cup of decaf coffee has between 2-10 mg of caffeine depending on the process; an ounce of dark chocolate has about 20 mg of caffeine; a twelve once coke has 34 mg of caffeine; a cup of regular coffee has 90-200 mg of caffeine.

Thanks - I was wondering about the non-caffeine ingredients. My dark chocolate intake is about .75oz/day (and I can definitely feel it) Maybe I'll try a cup of decaf on a weekend morning some time.

I'm also concerned about who defines "decaf" - especially here in Seattle, the capital of caffeine abuse ;-)

Comment Re:WTF (Score 1) 81

I'd be curious to know what the propeller-heads who study long-term valuation think of Comcast NBCUniversal.

I'm not one of those people, but I have this idea that of that combo-package, NBC has the best long-term business model, Universal second and Comcast third.

Comcast's primary value *now* is its local monopolies on broadband and cable television, and the cable part isn't an actual monopoly if you take DirectTV and Dish into account as viable competitors for most households. But long-term, doesn't the whole viability of the cable television model look shaky? Netflix, HBO Now, Prime Instant, the whole streaming thing looks like its undermining their cable business.

That leaves broadband, but who knows what that will look like in 5-10 years. 5G with high enough caps and/or more fiber rollouts could undermine that business, too.

Universal is mostly a production studio, and their future is probably decent as a content production business -- maybe not big growth, but at least competitive if managed right.

NBC still has a giant network of affiliates who actually broadcast their signal in addition to a fair amount of content that still draws eyeballs, which makes it seem to have some durability.

So at the end of the day, Verizon, with its giant cell phone network and terrestrial network seems to have much more asset value and long-term value.

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 1) 93

Researchers have been trying to take caffeine down for decades. Nobody can quite believe that something so enjoyable as coffee isn't bad for you. In fact doctors used to routinely warn their patients off coffee because of all the bad things it would do to them, but in fact when researchers tried to confirm all the things doctors knew about why coffee was bad for you, none of them turned out to be true, with narrow exceptions for certain populations (e.g., coffee doesn't cause ulcers as we used to be told, but if you have an ulcer coffee will make the symptoms worse).

What researchers found were surprising benefits, including what appears to be evidence of reduction in risks for multiple forms of cancer and even a reduction in suicide risk.

Coffee is well on its way to becoming the first evidence-backed superfood.

FWIW, I'm in one such population: Even relatively low levels of caffeine (or other stimulants) can trigger anxiety attacks. 6oz of Coke will keep me up 18 hours later. Which sucks in our high-stress world. I have to use a small number of squares of (good) dark chocolate to keep the dosage manageable.

Comment Re:AI as a marketing term (Score 1) 156

My question is that as AI is developed from machine learning or whatever it's antecedents are, at what point will we decide that we have AI?

It seems like the goal line for what we're will to accept is AI keeps getting moved forward, mostly driven by a science fiction version of AI, like HAL9000, Westworld robots or some other kind of self-aware machine consciousness.

Comment Re:FB is not entertainment (Score 1) 32

I think the big error Facebook made early on was making it too easy to post links and to share other such posts. This diluted the content from "stupid shit my friends say and do" to "clickbait social media shares" with no original content from friends.

I remember when I got started on Facebook, not a high volume of posts from people, still some semblance of decency. With alarming speed that started changing, people began putting every thought into words. On twitter if somebody is being an asshat you just unfollow, when it's a family member or a close friend it becomes awkward.

So for years I just kinda ... didn't GO to Facebook anymore. When I finally came back the feed is mostly dusty memes, dad jokes and links to things "of interest". I'm pretty sure this is FBs plan because it keeps people scrolling, reading stupid trash. Sure the crazy rantings are still there but it's really no different than Twitter or Tumblr now, just you may be related to or be close friends with some very troll-like entities.

The only place that seems focused and cordial is G+ but the population density there is so low I'm not surprised, not that I use G+, nobody does

Comment Re:FB is not entertainment (Score 1) 32

I think the big error Facebook made early on was making it too easy to post links and to share other such posts. This diluted the content from "stupid shit my friends say and do" to "clickbait social media shares" with no original content from friends.

I see people on Facebook who seem to do nothing other than re-share web links and meme photos, with zero original content added. And there's a lot of it, which is why you end up speed-scrolling your news feed, because its all clickbait and a lot of it politics, too.

I also think that politics and the ease of re-sharing has been a REALLY toxic combination for Facebook. The amount of ZOMG Trump and strident political messaging makes the content even worse.

I was flat on my back sick for 3 days and was surprised how easy it was to blow past everything in my news feed when I finally checked it out again, I thought for sure there would be enough unique self-generated content to kill some time, but it was, again, just a lot of low quality noise.

The idea of Facebook as a long-form video source platform just seems ridiculous. It's not on any STBs and even if it was, the newsfeed doesn't make for a video selection user interface. Even Netflix struggles a little with content catalog presentation.

Comment Re:battery life a braindead argument (Score 2) 290

I work as an IT contractor, and I have about 400 gigs of miscellaneous software archives that I drag around with me. About a third of it is legacy crap that I almost never need but when it does come up, it's usually critical to solving some problem.

I split the archive between a current branch and a legacy branch and keep legacy as just a symlink to a directory on a 256 GB card that stays in my Dell laptop and fortunately fits completely flush.

I agree that the speeds to SD are kind of erratic and not nearly as good or predictable in response to even a decent USB3 stick, but for what I'm using it for its more or less ideal.

Comment Re:battery life a braindead argument (Score 1) 290

A modular bottom panel is a pretty good idea. I suppose ideally the entire case would be designed around the bottom panel being swappable for a thicker one which included supplemental battery power and extra ports.

If they had a docking port on the bottom, this could almost be something a third party could deliver.

Comment Re:battery life a braindead argument (Score 2) 290

Am I the only one who finds that a SD card slot that holds an SD card is a great way to hold extra data? I keep a 256 GB one with low-use archive data in my SD card slot, symlinked into the main file system.

Frankly I wish they could put 2 or 4 of these slots into a laptop. I would use one for portable data I expected to move to other computers, one as a generic storage enhancer, and one other for my automatic image backup.

The latter I would really like, I can keep at least 5 restore points in 512GB for my system's 66% full 1 TB boot disk if I run the backup cycle daily. Create an incremental at every boot and then auto-dismount to protect it from malware or accidental overwrite.

My summary of this whole Macbook Pro issue (and I don't even own one) is that one side is arguing that "nobody" uses the missing features (SD card slots, USB ports, etc), basically arguing that because the *average* user doesn't use them, it's a waste to add them.

The other side seems comprised of the actual power users who have use cases for them and think that a product should be offered that addresses something other than the average user.

At the end of the day, the whole thing seems to boil down to millimeters and ounces of weight.

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