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Comment Re:The only assistant that's good (Score 1) 159

That would be Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who voiced all of the computers in all of the various Star Trek shows and films, except the most recent ones. I met her at a fan run SF convention, Con*Cept, in Montreal, and she was a really nice person. I do think that we have enough of her speaking as the computer along with her other spoken roles to have a fairly complete vocabulary for a voice assistant. I am sure many others in addition to myself would like to have this on their phone, house assistant, car, GPS, etc.

As the saying goes:


Comment Vegatative Patients? (Score 1) 288

So... If vegetative patients are at a lowered state, and these psychoactive drugs can elevate mental state, has anyone done a study giving these drugs to someone in a vegetative state / coma to see if it can bring them out of it, even temporarily?

I'm certain there are all sorts of ethical concerns there (medical experiments on someone who's incapable of consent, etc.), but what if this could help some of those patients regain function?

Comment Re:It is in the nature of the business! (Score 5, Insightful) 166

Yes, they stand on that mountain, but they are still building it! As for your comparison with nuclear, health, etc...sorry, the tolerances there are much greater than for space. Certification for use in the medical or nuclear fields is much easier than getting something space rated!

And most times when a "think tank" comes out with "proof" that some agency has too much bureaucracy, it is a prelude to justify budget cuts. It's just another piece of the propaganda war. :-(

Comment It is in the nature of the business! (Score 4, Insightful) 166

Going into space is an incredibly front loaded type enterprise. They aren't opening a a dollar store, they are sending people in to one of the most hostile environments known to man. They say "Measure twice, cut once", but when you have the lives of people in your hands, you measure tens of thousands of times to make sure the final cutting won't accidentally kill them! And before you go and say Blue Origin and SpaceX are doing it so much cheaper, yes, but that is because they are standing on a mountain of research & technology courtesy NASA. R&D done by NASA has given us billions and billions of dollars in spin-off technologies over the years, and I am sure if you charted it out, your return on investment is pretty good.

Comment Re: Has the dark web shrunk 85%? (Score 1) 107

If you believe that TOR is not compromised, then you should read this excerpt from this article in WIRED magazine...there are similar stories from many other outlets as well.

"The Feds Would Rather Drop a Child Porn Case Than Give Up a Tor Exploit

The Department of Justice filed a motion in Washington State federal court on Friday to dismiss its indictment against a child porn site. It wasn’t for lack of evidence; it was because the FBI didn’t want to disclose details of a hacking tool to the defense as part of discovery. Evidence in United States v. Jay Michaud hinged at least in part on information federal investigators had gathered by exploiting a vulnerability in the Tor anonymity network.

“Because the government remains unwilling to disclose certain discovery related to the FBI’s deployment of a ‘Network Investigative Technique’ (‘NIT’) as part of its investigation into the Playpen child pornography site, the government has no choice but to seek dismissal of the indictment,” federal prosecutor Annette Hayes wrote in the court filing on Friday. She noted that the DoJ’s work to resist disclosing the NIT was part of “an effort to balance the many competing interests that are at play when sensitive law enforcement technology becomes the subject of a request for criminal discovery.”

In other words, the feds are letting an alleged child pornographer free so that officials can potentially catch other dark-web using criminals in the future."


Comment This has nothing to do with the original article! (Score 1) 116

The former Conservative government decided that for the second largest country by area, it would be a good idea to centralize all Information Technology services, and called it Shared Services Canada (SSC). This is wrong in so many ways...first of all, having all IT services centralized means that you have a single point of failure. Add to that, SSC may have their own priorities that may leave you sitting for weeks and months waiting for installation, configuration and implementation all sorts of IT technologies. It used to be that each department of the Government of Canada could set up their internal services, as long as they conformed to a set of guidelines, and the equipment was bought from government approved vendors who had standing offers with the government.

Now, SSC has become one of the worst BOFH, and everyone suffers.

Comment They're still trying? (Score 0) 224

Seriously, I thought this project was dead a long time ago. Or maybe I was using a recent version, and it just *felt* dead, because it was SO FAR BEHIND. Don't get me wrong, I think free options are great, and I got through most of college using OpenOffice. At the time (early 2000s), it was pretty much feature-equivalent to MS Office. Then MS Office got better, and OpenOffice just sort of... didn't. If LibreOffice is still actually under development, maybe I'll give it a shot on one of my Linux systems. Modernizing the UI is a good step, as last time I used it it still LOOKED like a product from 2000.

Submission + - Old DOS games inspires visual artist's work (wordpress.com)

farrellj writes: For all you old DOS Gaming fans!

Here is what the artist has to say about the micro-paintings:
"The 90s were the golden age of graphic adventures for LucasArts, Westwood Studios, Sierra and many more. These were games written by playful geeks for geeks – entertainment for the emergent technocracy that was daring, quirky and intelligent.

To commemorate early PC gaming heroes and heroines, I’ve created this series of tiny paintings of some of my favourite DOS games."

Check it out here:

Comment Around 1985 I started running a BBS (Score 1) 181

It was running Fido, and was part of Fidonet, 163/5, before there were zone numbers! I named it after one of my favourite songs, Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel. Our hub for Ottawa was run by a guy named, I kid you not, Al Hacker! He had to pull out his wallet and show us his driver's license at the first Sysop gathering we had! l I started carrying "Echos", which were sort of like Newsgroups on Usenet, and I remember when the nodelist of Fidonet BBSs broke 1,000!

I also met some truly wonderful people, and a few cranks...but it was a formative experience, and later lead to a career doing Unix and Linux.

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"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982