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Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

Altrag Re:Because you think Google is any better? (218 comments)

I agree with most of your post but this one is just stupid:

Try using Google Play to get a for-pay Android app.

Obviously you need to provide payment information to purchase a for-pay product. You'll need to find a better counter-example against "demanded payment for services" than "using a paid service" I'm afraid.

There's plenty of sites that require you to give them CC info even when they're (supposedly) not charging you for anything. Often claimed to be a form of adult verification (and thus unsurprisingly mostly a tactic of adult sites) which is absolutely stupid since you can get a CC well before 18 in many jurisdictions so on top of being invasive and probably untrustworthy, it couldn't possibly even accomplish the claimed purpose.

So far, I've not seen anything like that from Google. They request way too much personal information of course and do a lot of other nasty things but up to this point I've never been asked to give them a CC number (obviously, I haven't picked up any non-free Android apps or anything.) Then again, I've never been asked for a CC by FB either so whatever.

about two weeks ago
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Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

Altrag Re:Perjury? (306 comments)

Doesn't specifically say its under the DMCA, but claiming and attempting to enforce copyright on content you don't own is definitely illegal regardless of the DMCA.

Sony and the other big companies are basically letting robots continuously break the law for them and operating under the principle that the people affected will either a) be small enough that they can't afford to mount a significant defense or b) be big enough that they'll contact Sony directly and "work things out" before getting legal entities involved (err well I'm sure lawyers would be involved but I mean the actual justice department or whoever.)

There's always a chance that they'll hit somebody who picks the third option and has both the time and money to not be in group a and the ethics and willpower to not be in group b, but that's just a risk of doing business and they'll likely just settle those few out of court when they come up and go back to business as usual.

There's of course also the fact that Youtube is a private entity and are entitled to do basically whatever the fuck they want. I'm not sure if there's any common carrier restrictions or similar applied to Youtube but even if there are, they're given pretty wide freedoms. They don't HAVE to host your content. The only illegal thing here is Sony's copyright claim on the content.. Youtube's choice to always side with Sony and screw over the little guy is perfectly legal AFAIK.

about two weeks ago
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Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

Altrag Re:Perjury? Well, fraud maybe... (306 comments)

And who's going to stop them? Its one thing to say its illegal.. its quite another to enforce that claim, even if you're technically true. That's the whole problem with the current copyright system (and much of the legal system in general) -- money makes the laws and money enforces the laws. Justice gets to sit in a corner and sulk with the rest of us.

about two weeks ago
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Blender Foundation Video Taken Down On YouTube For Copyright Violation

Altrag Re:Perjury? Well, fraud maybe... (306 comments)

Given that this is done by US companies operating under a US law, I'm pretty sure they'd give exactly zero shits if they got a false pretense claim from some other country. At the most, if it looked like it was going to get above the small claims level in that country, they'd pay a few thousand $ settlement fee (ie: basically meaningless to Sony or whoever) and continue on with business as usual.

Its basically impossible (by design) for an individual to fight copyright claims. Enough individuals getting together can sometimes do something but you need one hell of a proficient and dedicated organizer to get that done and sadly there are few people with the talent to really motivate their fellow man to get off their ass and do something about the problems in the world. Hopefully one of them will take up the cause of copyright reform some day before we're too far down the rabbit hole.

Check out http://www.ourfairdeal.org/ for one group attempting such (in their case, attempting to stop the TPP from become international SOPA which is where the media companies are trying to take it.. SOPA got rejected in the US? Just hide it in an international trade agreement and require that it overrides sovereign laws! Problem solved!)

about two weeks ago
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How Facebook and Oculus Could Be a Great Combination

Altrag Re:Rift'd (151 comments)

3D Like buttons for everyone! +1 has no chance!

Also, imagine how much more confusing they can make the wall or timeline or fluxblog or whatever the hell they call it these days when they can add a third dimension! Not only won't you be able to find anything, you'll actually be able to get lost in the mess!

about two weeks ago
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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

Altrag Re:BACK IN people BACK IN (352 comments)

1) Yes, but few people learn to drive -well-. Its a difference in scale. Anyone can learn to do (almost) anything given enough time and effort. Yet few people are willing to put that time and effort into most endeavors.

2) Maybe you've got some particularly well designed mirrors or you've come across an exactly perfect angle, but generally speaking if your mirrors are pointed toward your car, you're opening up quite a large blind spot for lane changes and merging. The downwards pointing isn't as much of an issue as the inwards pointing. Of course its a blind spot that could be mostly covered by a shoulder check but that's not always reasonable either when you're going 70 down a busy highway, depending on how good your reaction time is.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

Altrag Re:Apply to jobs (451 comments)

Embedded systems are everywhere -- every microwave, dishwasher, etc has a microcontroller that needed a program written for it by someone at some point in time.

Generally speaking though, you won't find embedded jobs in the "software industry" though because the general conception of the software industry is that it applies to desktop and/or enterprise software. Embedded systems for whatever reason tend to get lumped off to the side somewhere where people don't think to look.

Of course I have no idea how large the job market is for embedded programmers. If every microwave on the planet happens to use the same half dozen microcontrollers for example then there may not be a huge number of openings in that field even though the system itself is used a million times a year.

about a month ago
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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

Altrag Re:BACK IN people BACK IN (352 comments)

1) Which most people won't.

2) Requires adjusting the mirrors at least twice (once to park and once again for driving when leaving, taking even more time. Again, people won't do it. So you'll either have people winging it on the parking or they'll be driving around on the streets with poorly adjusted mirrors. Hell most people already don't know how to adjust their mirrors properly (and how many people take the time to bother when they drive someone else's car -- or after someone else has driven their car? They'll change the radio but won't fix their mirrors!)

I imagine the number of injuries due to pulling into a parking spot forward is a statistical blip compared to things like speeding, distracted driving, DUI, etc. There's a reason those are illegal (well, DD isn't illegal in all jurisdictions yet but regardless) while most people don't give a whole lot of craps about whether you pull into a parking spot forward or backward.

Not to suggest these things never happen of course but I'd question whether pulling in backwards would have really made much difference. If the driver isn't paying enough attention to see things in front of him, I'm not going to place bets on their noticing something to their left before slamming it into reverse.

As for paint scratching and other vehicular damage -- thanks to #1, I'm going to guess the incident rate would be significantly higher if a rule was brought in to make people back into spots.

Why do policemen and others do it? As another poster noted -- getaway speed. They're trading off (almost certainly) free time to park in order to get potentially precious seconds if they have to leave in a hurry. Most of us don't have jobs critical enough to worry about shaving off 5 or 10 seconds when we get the call.

about a month ago
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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

Altrag Re:Need a better word than Orwell (352 comments)

Is there much difference these days? The government is practically owned by private interests already and many if not most private firms aren't terribly stingy about providing their data to law enforcement.

There's a small buffer zone between government and private entities still but its not as much as one would hope. We've separated the church from the state but we're steadily replacing religious influence with corporate influence. Its only a matter of time before the MPAA starts inciting pirate burnings!

about a month ago
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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

Altrag Re:That would be so freakishly illegal ... (352 comments)

Two differences:
1) The private company isn't just picking up one or two cars -- they're picking up millions. Differences in scale is a thing in the world.

2) If you go around tracking cars as an individual, you get labeled a stalker and potentially jailed. If a company does it its a business endeavor. If you go and get a business license and list this as part of your business, you're free to go -- even if you're doing the exact same thing you would have been doing as a private citizen.

Remember, corporations have all the rights of a real person -- but they don't have a whole lot of the corresponding responsibilities. Companies get a lot of leeway that you aren't afforded as an individual, and much of that leeway just ends up being abused.

about a month ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

Altrag Re:Why single out Whole Foods? (794 comments)

We humans should have evolved to cope with the sodium levels instead of having it as a weak point.

We did. We evolved to cope with the fact that salt was relatively hard to come by prior to mass mining operations starting up a couple hundred years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_mine#History.) Salt being readily available is a fairly new phenomenon.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

Altrag Re:God (794 comments)

Just to be argumentative, Einstein's relativity allows for the argument that the Sun orbits the Earth. It's all about stating the frame of reference.

Nice catch ;). Though to be completely pedantic, this description mixes up two different actions. The appearance of the sun (and rest of the universe) orbiting the earth is due to the earth's rotation about its own axis whereas the appearance of the earth orbiting the sun ends up causing the change of seasons (and even that's only because the earth's axis is tilted with relation to its orbital plane -- if our axis was parallel or orthogonal to the orbital plane, we would have no seasons at all.)

Describing the changing of seasons with respect to the earth's local reference frame would be.. possible of course (per Einstein) but significantly more challenging than describing it using the solar reference frame.

That said, the biggest advantage of using the solar reference frame though is that it allows a very simple description of the orbits of all of the other planets. Epicycles kind of did the job (at least to the accuracy of their contemporary solar-centric measurements.. no idea if they could be adapted under GR or hold up to modern measurement accuracy.) But they're also significantly more complicated to work out.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

Altrag Re:God (794 comments)

Obviously, that means that they exist outside of that 4 dimensional spacetime

Hardly obvious, as another poster has pointed out.

What I can't accept, though, is a violation of the conservation of energy and mass.

You can accept extradimensional magical beings but you can't accept the possibility that they have the ability to exceed our known laws of physics? Not to mention the conservation laws become a lot more tangled when you start talking about invisible dimensions -- a reduction in energy in our 4 dimensions could potentially be compensated for by an increase in the 7th dimension and still conform to conservation of energy. The fact that conservation of energy so far appears to hold entirely within our visible 4 dimensions is something to ponder in itself if we accept that additional invisible dimensions exist.

Is love real?

Yes. Its a biochemical reaction. We've decided to name that reaction 'love.' It exists because its defined to exist.

Is the truth real?

As far as anyone can tell, yes. Things happen in exactly one way. Any individual person may not have the full information regarding how it happened and thus we all have our own interpretations of the 'truth', but even accepting things like the many worlds hypothesis, in any particular time line there is exactly one truth as defined to be the real physical changes that took place in the universe at the exact time in question, irregardless of who saw what. Even quantum mechanics and its inherent randomness doesn't really change the fact (you can define truth as always-past and thus all wave states have collapsed into a specific truth, or you can define truth as including the present in which case 'is in a superposition' simply becomes part of the description of the truth. In both cases, a specific definition of the truth is still available.)

here is no particle in the standard model for them

There's no particle in the standard model for water or ice cream sandwiches either. This is a pointless argument. The standard model describes only the most fundamental building blocks. Love and truth are complex interactions between countless particles. (Though to be fair, there IS a 'truth' particle in the standard model.. it just got renamed to 'top' somewhere along the way. But of course that's obviously not the type of truth we're talking about!)

As a scientist

I sincerely hope you're only an armchair scientist. Mixing up standard model particles with abstract concepts like love is a leap of logic even most crackpots wouldn't dare make.

about a month and a half ago
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The Spy In Our Living Room

Altrag Re:Power bar (148 comments)

Assuming they haven't hidden a backup battery in there somewhere!

about a month and a half ago
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The Spy In Our Living Room

Altrag Re:Only if it is connected to a network (148 comments)

Most wireless routers list all connected clients, so there's that. I'm sure somebody in the world would have noted it by now if that was the case.

I'd counter myself with "how do you know there isn't a hidden cellular receiver in there?" but by the same logic as above -- there's plenty of hardware hackers in the world and I'm sure someone would have noticed it by now were that the case. (And even if it was hidden in an otherwise-innocuous looking black blob that the hardware hackers might overlook, there are also people with cell scanners in the world.)

about a month and a half ago
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The Spy In Our Living Room

Altrag Re:BS (148 comments)

The door lock analogy has been broken with things like PRISM now verified to exist.

The analogy is now more along the lines of every door lock being built to allow a single planet-wide master key and employing millions of people to rummage through your things every couple of hours to see if you've added anything they don't like (note: not necessarily illegal!) to your list of possessions.

The problem though isn't that they're going to find something and come after you right now -- everyone's got something they should hide (whether they think so or not) and there's not enough agents in the world to nail every person out there.

The problem is that they'll find something and store it away so that IF they ever decide to come after you for any reason in the future, they'll have something on you. I mean sure the filters will be looking for absolutely blatantly obvious stuff like Googling for a bunch of bomb ingredients consecutively (needs to have a plausible justification for its existence) but for the most part, the real goal is just to dig up dirt on everyone so that nobody can ever be completely free from fear of prosecution and/or blackmail.

about a month and a half ago
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Free (Gratis) Version of Windows Could Be a Reality Soon

Altrag Re:It'll be short-lived (392 comments)

Completely different can of worms from Office thanks to the vast majority of Windows installs being either large VLA sites or OEM preinstalls. The only thing this will really affect are boxed(/digital) retail sales which I imagine aren't super high.

Office on the other hand is a pure retail product. I'm sure a large part of Office profits come from VLAs as well but without the preinstalls, retail copies aren't quite as easy to shrug off since all of your personal and small office sales are going to be retail rather than mostly OEM.

about a month and a half ago
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Free (Gratis) Version of Windows Could Be a Reality Soon

Altrag Re:A way to wipe out Android? (392 comments)

Android is a big enough name in its own right these days. There might be a potential but I'd say its small.

Other replies noted that its not in the same market but I'd disagree there -- the whole idea of forcing desktop users to deal with Metro is to push them towards Windows phones/tablets. MS may have underestimated (a lot) the negative reaction to Metro but their original purpose -- getting people to use Windows mobile versions -- is still at the forefront of their thoughts. And rightly so given the current market conditions (PC sales dropping, mobile sales skyrocketing.)

The only players who are likely to lose out significantly from this move is the fringe desktop OSes. Possibly including OSX though Apple's sales tend to be based as much on fanboyism as product quality and certainly not based on price competitiveness so they'll probably just keep on trucking as ever as well.

iOS might be in some trouble though if the tactic of desktop Metro -> mobile Metro ends up eventually working out. They're already struggling mightily against the power of Android and if MS starts making some ground in the mobile market, chances are Apple's going to take the brunt of it. There's still a big "if" regarding the tactic working though of course. MS kind of shot themselves in the foot on that one and its going to take a fairly large effort to recover before they can get back into the race.

All in all though, I expect Windows 9 to be where Microsoft really pulls all the punches. Win8 has been as big if not a bigger disaster than Vista but at the same time, Vista provided a very critical stepping stone between XP and 7 -- not so much on the consumer end but on the developer end. It gave devs a few years of dealing with UAC issues, graphics driver issues, etc on an OS that nobody really cared about before the Win7 big guns came into the spotlight.

Its entirely possible that Win8's Metro will lead to a similar overall slow revolution in time for Win9. Of course its a much more difficult battle -- its right in the face of consumers whereas UAC was mostly behind the scenes and has been pointed out many many times, Metro is optimized for touch -- not for mice. I don't think anyone's yet come up with a UI paradigm that makes Metro apps useful on the big screen but hey.. they've got a couple more years of working on it before its a real problem (or possibly before its a non-issue if the PC->mobile trend keeps on going strong.)

about a month and a half ago
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Free (Gratis) Version of Windows Could Be a Reality Soon

Altrag Re:How about selling something consumers want? (392 comments)

Hey a sale is a sale. Balance sheet rarely have a "Why?" column. In fact when you write it like that, its absolutely brilliant:

-> Sell OEM a standard license.
-> Sell customer a Pro license.
-> Probably sell them a Win7 license as well (though I'm not sure on this one maybe the upgrade is no extra charge on top of Win8 Pro? I'd be unsurprised either way.)

So 2 and maybe 3 licenses sold based on the product sucking. Most companies would love that sort of market capture.

about a month and a half ago
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Free (Gratis) Version of Windows Could Be a Reality Soon

Altrag Re:Not really (392 comments)

Its actually better than that as they will NOT be losing the largest chunk of the Windows licensing fees -- OEMs will still be paying to put pre-installed versions on every PC you buy whether you want it or not.

All this will affect is retail sales of boxed/digital copies and given how much love people have for Win8, I don't imagine that they're selling a huge number of copies through that channel anyway.

about a month and a half ago

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