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Plantronics Helps Make Remote Workers' Lives Easier (Video)

Dhalka226 Re:WTF? (233 comments)

What can we do? Nothing. Nothing except watch Slashdot die. And given this kind of bullshit, I'm going to be chuckling and nodded my head in satisfaction.

It is exactly this kind of idiocy that has fucked up the US economy beyond repair: Let's never look beyond next quarter's financial statements. That seems like an awesome strategy to people who can't be bothered to give two shits about whether the property exists the quarter after; who only care if their wallet is slightly fatter and they can justify moving on to destroying the next property.

Tell me, oh great Slashdot editors: How do those financial statements look when nobody is left to consume your bullshit?

My search for a replacement begins today.

more than 2 years ago

NBC Apologizes For Editing Zimmerman 911 Call

Dhalka226 Re:Why so hung up on a race? (1005 comments)

I would say that following somebody around and confronting them (what, do you think Trayvon Martin stopped walking and yanked him out of his car or something?), solely because they are walking in "your" neighborhood, would fit the definition of "start[ing] the fight." Particularly if you do so with a firearm.

Much as he might like to believe otherwise, this man is not a police officer. He has no right to stop anybody for anything, and in choosing to do so he took the danger upon himself. That's exactly why the dispatcher told him he didn't need to follow the kid: Because doing so could be dangerous, either to the kid or to Zimmerman himself. Turns out it was.

If Martin was armed, then I might be able to believe some kind of self defense claim. He wasn't, and Zimmerman has made no kind of "ZOMG I thought your Skittles were a gun!" claim of a mistaken impression. For that matter, Martin was shot in the back. Precisely what kind of imminent danger are you in from somebody who is not even facing you (and who may have been on the ground at the time depending on how the stories unfolded)?

While we're at it, yeah, we have to address the race question. Have you noticed how every day, Zimmerman's father comes out and yaps to the police about how innocent his son is how many black friends he has with all sorts of details he's either inventing out of thin air or, more likely, he got from his son? If you've followed the case it's hard to miss. So with all this information Zimmerman is essentially leaking, why have we not heard a single word about the whole basis for the confrontation and the catalyst for the reaction thereafter? Why have we not heard a single word about how walking with an iced tea makes you suspicious at all, much less suspicious enough to call the police about and then stalk? It's what everyone on the planet most wants to know about this case and the only thing he doesn't have an answer for. I find that highly suspicious.

Zimmerman is a wanna-be cop tough guy who had a seventeen year old kid show him exactly how fast he craps his pants when confronted with "danger." He deserves what he got and more -- like, say, a nice prison sentence.

more than 2 years ago

PlayStation 4 'Orbis' Rumors: AMD Hardware, Hostile To Used Games

Dhalka226 Re:If any Sony Executives Are Reading (371 comments)

I've been fairly friendly to Sony, at least in terms of the Playstation, even through all of their various nonsense (which I am sure does not need to be recounted in this crowd). I owned a Playstation, Playstation 2 and Playstation 3. With no details I would probably be inclined to buy a Playstation 4.

To be honest, even the DRM thing doesn't bother me that much -- I don't like it, but I don't buy a lot of used games so I don't feel a huge effect. It's one of those things I would probably grit my teeth about but push through.

But lack of backwards compatibility is an absolute dealbreaker. I'm not throwing away my previous investments in PS1/PS2/PS3 titles, nor am I keeping multiple consoles to avoid doing so. If that's what they are going to force me to do, I might as well get an Xbox or some other system--expand the games available to me and avoid incentivizing that kind of customer-hostile behavior at the same time.

I'm not some great crusader, but everybody has their limits and this would push past mine.

more than 2 years ago

Blind Man Test Drives Google's Autonomous Car

Dhalka226 Re:In other news... (273 comments)

Reaction time is also cut considerably, as is the time it takes to physically perform whatever act is deemed the best course of action. If "slam on the breaks" is the action, the car doesn't have to lift its foot off the pedal and move it over to slam the brake -- the car's already braking.

A child running in front of a car is a recipe for disaster either way, but the kid is probably safer with the driverless.

more than 2 years ago

Parlez-vous Python?

Dhalka226 Re:Lies! (164 comments)

You are only correct if none of the computer-ignorant people the OP has come across were ever successful. If they were both ignorant about computers and successful, then success clearly does not require you not to be ignorant about computers.

Quite frankly I think the lot of you should "get more training" in choosing the right words for the situation. We all know success is difficult to define much less factor, so why are we pretending that computer skills or gregariousness or connections or what-have-you are "requirements?" All of those things can be--and have been--circumvented by extremely successful people.

Some things make success more attainable. Computer skills may or may not be in that category at this point in our society. That does not make them required.

In your case, I would highly suggest skipping the snarkiness if your own argument is not going to be perfect in turn.

more than 2 years ago

Australian Consumer Watchdog Sues Apple Over iPad Marketing

Dhalka226 Re:Does fine print supercede large print? (193 comments)

I've often wondered why we tolerate fine print that contradicts, in any way, the actual statements made. Whenever I see a commercial with some claim and an asterisk, my mind usually fills in the bottom portion (which typically shoots off the screen too fast for me to actually read) as "* not really."

In a way it's kind of fun. I think it gives a strange insight into how advertisers perceive us.

I suppose the problem is it's hard to come up with a hard-and-fast definition for a contradiction. Take some diet program for example. "Lose up to 5 pounds per week!" is actually a true statement because the "up to" saves them from the case where people don't lose anything close to five pounds, but if they wanted to add something like "with an exercise routine" to the fine print, is that a contradiction? It could be argued fairly easily that it's not the diet that's helping you lose weight, but the exercise, so did it contradict?

more than 2 years ago

Sony Taking Down PSP Titles In Response To Vita Hackers

Dhalka226 Re:This is Sony (293 comments)

Not that I am defending their actions, but I do wonder if there is something cultural going on. Is there something in particular about Japanese culture that encourages that degree of control (or perhaps "order")?

The extents to which they are willing to go seem extreme, even compared to other companies who are charter members aboard the DRM bandwagon. Is there something more to it than just "Sony = teh sux?"

more than 2 years ago

Richard Clarke: All Major U.S. Firms Hacked By China

Dhalka226 Re:You don't say... (311 comments)

Does it bother anybody else that the source in question is as bad as it is?

I looked at the source for the claim that the US has engaged in industrial espionage, which points to a 194 page report from a European commission and which the person who made the claim is clearly hoping was too long for anybody to read.

The only point relevant to the claim is this:

The United States readily admits that some of its intelligence service's activities also concern industry. This includes, for example, monitoring of the observance of economic sanctions, compliance with rules on the supply of weapons and dual use goods, developments on commodities markets and events on the international financial markets. The rapporteur's findings are that the US services are not alone in their involvement in these spheres, nor is there any serious criticism of this.

In other words, the industrial espionage they know about is something they aren't even willing to criticize.

Further along, under a big heading "Is ECHELON suitable for industrial espionage?" they go on to explain that if it finds any, it was an accident.

The strategic monitoring of international telecommunications, can produce useful information for industrial espionage purposes, but only by chance. In fact, sensitive industrial information is primarily to be found in the firms themselves, which means that industrial espionage is carried out primarily by attempting to obtain the information via employees

(their emphasis)

In other words, they took two paragraphs and three bullet points to say "no, they wouldn't bother using ECHELON for this."

It is followed by a chart of cases of industrial espionage (with no explanation as to how they arrived at any of the entries), and the only entry that may relate to ECHELON (rather than using an agent or taking photographs) is a 1994 NSA action where they intercepted calls and faxes related to how Airbus was bribing Saudi Arabian officials to win a contract. Those dastardly Americans! It's so rude to use spy on the competition when they're just trying to bribe somebody. Gosh! And yet still, I'm just supposing this entry is in any way related to ECHELON since it makes no such claim.

I am not claiming the US does not engage in this kind of behavior; they probably do, and for all I know they've been caught red-handed at it too. But this report is not proof of that, even if we were to take Wikipedia as a great source of anything to begin with.

more than 2 years ago

What Does Google Get Out of Voice?

Dhalka226 Re:A Less Cynical Possiblity (119 comments)

That was my instinct as well. They also own YouTube, which opens up some possibilities: Obviously, great video searching options but also automatic video transcripts and things like that. Once they have a transcript they can run their other algorithms over it and relate it more strongly to other sources, both video and non-video sources. If there's a G+ account to tie into, you also have all of that information.

Better search. Better recommendations. Better profiles. Better advertising placement. It's a big win for Google, and it's not like audio/video postings are going anywhere anytime soon. Now that so many people have a smartphone in their pocket, those video recordings are only getting more common.

more than 2 years ago

Why Gay Men Are Worth So Much To Facebook

Dhalka226 Re:Wait, wait, let me get this right (270 comments)

I agree that the idea is kind of silly, mostly because it's just too much damn work to attack a gay person when there are significantly easier avenues available, but it's not as simple as you make it out to be.

If your profile is wide open to the world, then yeah, it's precisely that silly. If it's restricted to friends and family, it's still available to targeted advertising and that advertising can "leak" data. Or at least that's his premise.

Public safety issue? Not really. If you want to attack some gays, just find a gay bar or a gay dating site or something. Paying money to target advertising to leak private data so you can track them down to attack is, well, an awful lot of effort. Then again I don't understand the whole homophobia thing, so I guess the entire concept is lost on me.

more than 2 years ago

Maybe the FAA Gadget Ban On Liftoff and Landing Isn't So Bad

Dhalka226 Re:His argument is overreaching (414 comments)

You know, I actually agree with you -- both about how silly the policy in general is and how ridiculous the article's reasoning for keeping it was.

But the idea that there are people who call forcing you to turn your iPad off for 15 minutes an "abusive government ban" is precisely what he's talking about. We've gone 'round the bend from any kind of well-adjusted relationship with our electronics. It has become downright obsessive.

It doesn't justify the ban itself, but his point is not completely without merit.

more than 2 years ago

US Congress Probes iOS App Developers On Privacy

Dhalka226 Re:If I got a letter (52 comments)

Yeah, I definitely think the best course of action is to refuse to help somebody who is going to pass laws of importance to you, all but guaranteeing a suboptimal-at-best law. "YOU'RE NOT PERFECT, STOP TRYING TO BE BETTER!" is a fantastic rallying cry.

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

more than 2 years ago

When Social Media Meets TV, Are the Results Worth Watching?

Dhalka226 Re:Snakes on a Plane (106 comments)

Maybe, but it's certainly not clear.

Serenity, for example, did not even break even based on worldwide box office receipts. (It was very, very close -- but still under.) It went into the black with the DVD sales, but that is still a lackluster performance.

Assuming that the TV series performed similarly--hovering around the break even mark--it's a pretty easy decision to cancel it. Ordinarily I am fine with things breaking even: For a business, as an example, breaking even means you paid all your vendors, all your employees and all your expenses; it's dangerous territory in that there is no room for expansion or regression, but a lot of good can be done by "only" breaking even.

But it's not quite the same with a TV show, because it's not just about the show itself. Rather, one has to factor in the opportunity cost of taking up the extremely finite set of (valuable) time slots that the show takes. Making $10MM on a show sounds good unless you're told you could be making $30MM by airing some other show instead.

Would it have done better? Yes. Would it have done better enough to avoid cancellation? It's an open question, certainly not "pretty obvious" one way or another. $39MM at the box office is a poor showing.

Before anybody has a fit, I actually liked Firefly and Serenity, I simply realize that my liking something doesn't mean large numbers of other people like it. In my fact liking a show typically serves as a death knell. (Sorry folks.)

more than 2 years ago

New York Times Halves Monthly Free Article Views To Ten

Dhalka226 Re:500,000 subscribers (178 comments)

500,000 subscribers would also rank them #8 in the country among print newspapers. #7, actually, if you remove the print edition of the NYT. That's not insignificant. If you add them together I believe they end up #2 or #3.

they know they will die if they don't get more subscription readers

Well, yes. When you have employees who enjoy getting a paycheck, equipment costs, hosting fees, delivery fees, printing costs, advertising costs, processing costs and more -- yeah, from time to time you need to actually bring in money. If you consistently fail to bring in more than you spend, your company will die. That you seem somehow smug or surprised by this is quite simply baffling.

Online advertising may or may not cover it. If you paid a journalist $40,000/year (which isn't unreasonable in the grand scheme of things but is not high at all), assumed no extra costs or support staff whatsoever and that he wrote 365 articles a year he would still need to make just shy of $110/article in ad revenue just to break even. Multiply that out by all the writers (and then throw in those pesky editors on top) and I think you can see where the potential problem comes from.

"Herp derp I like free stuff" is well and good; I like free stuff too. Assuming that the bills magically get paid that way is unrealistic. Maybe they're delaying the inevitable; I guess we'll find out. But I don't think them trying to find a way to survive is worthy of derision. Journalists serve an important societal function and we will all be worse off without them.

more than 2 years ago

CEO of TuCloud Dares Microsoft To Sue His New Company

Dhalka226 Re:Real smart. (109 comments)

He won't. That's the beauty of his "ballsy" statement.

He's starting a brand new business. I'm sure he's incorporating it, both because he has to incorporate it in some format and because of the legal insulation it provides. He'll pick the state that is most unfriendly to the concept of piercing the corporate veil (since courts are required to use the laws of the state the business incorporates in). He doesn't care one whit about the business or its would-be customers; he's starting it just as a slight at Microsoft and an attempt to get himself sued. He's guaranteed to capitalize it only as much as absolutely necessary to avoid accusations that he deliberately under-capitalized it.

So if he gets his wish and 1024 lawyers come pounding on the door, he goes to court. He probably loses, at which point he folds the business he never cared about and goes "oh well!"

It's not a non-zero risk, but it's about as close as one can get. He'll lose the seed money, but he's probably made the capitalization money back in free publicity from the articles anyway.

more than 2 years ago

LibreOffice 3.5.1 Released With Fixes

Dhalka226 Re:Biggest flaw remains unfixed- (128 comments)

I think it's a combination of "I don't care why they changed it, it's different and I HATE different"

Yes, people are adverse to change. That doesn't mean change is bad, but neither does it mean it is good. Rather, it puts the onus on the person suggesting the change to show why the disruption and re-learning that will need to take place is worthwhile.

If, as you say, it is a "nice UI that really isn't very different than the old UI" then why is it necessary to force people to spend any time re-learning the interface? Why take up more real estate to do so and then tell users "well if you want it back, just minimize our annoying new UI?" This isn't somebody's pet project; it's an enterprise-class software suite used by literally millions and millions of people around the world. Change for the sake of change is not helpful; it is actively counter-productive in the most literal sense of the term.

I honestly can't decide if communication is Microsoft's great failure or if they really don't have a coherent reason for the things they do. It's happening again with Windows 8. Is the UI change just the stupidest possible idea in the world, or is it the greatest thing since sliced bread and they have just been utterly failing at actually communicating why? Don't get me wrong, I see how it's beneficial to THEM to essentially be able to focus on one UI across devices, but I don't see why I should want a touch-driven UI for my computer with mouse support tacked on top instead of an operating system built for that usage--and more importantly, one I have been largely familiar with for what, 15 years?

So yeah, I'm not adverse to change but somebody needs to show me why the learning curve and lost productivity is ultimately worthwhile. I don't care if that learning curve is five seconds or five years. If they can't do that, they deserve the derision. It's not like they don't have the budget for it, so I have to assume it's because they don't have the rationale.

more than 2 years ago

UK Plan Would Use CCTV To Stop Uninsured Drivers From Refueling

Dhalka226 Re:Riiiight (691 comments)

Why is it that geeks always need something to be flawless before they find it worth consideration?

If the worst this system produces is people using gas cans, it's a victory. There will be people who will find the inconvenience enough incentive to get their insurance which is exactly the goal. Since the technology is largely already there, the database check shouldn't be a significant additional cost. (Who knows with government mandates though.)

If there is a reason to oppose this it would be the fears of Big Brother and the ability of government to know almost exactly where you are every moment you are in country. Still, with due respect to our British friends, it seems like that ship sailed a while ago. If they're (going to be) doing it, it won't require this program.

more than 2 years ago

Can $60 Games Survive?

Dhalka226 Re:Is $60 really that ridiculous? (435 comments)

Well I think you've hit the problem. $60 for a good game isn't unreasonable; I'm something like 75 hours in with MW3 and more like 120 hours in with Skyrim. Less than a dollar an hour--some significantly less--is definitely a good value.

But that hinges on it being a good game, and there's little way to tell short of your, errr, previews. Dragon Age, for example: Fantastic game; easily worth the money and more. So naturally I was ecstatic when Dragon Age 2 came out -- but then horribly, horribly disappointed in it. It's similar with the Final Fantasy games; the early ones are great, 7 is of course one of the better games ever, I enjoyed 8-10. Twelve was good-not-great, 13 (14? I get them mixed up with the MMOs mixed in) I haven't even played through one time. I'm not even far enough in to say if it's good or bad; it's just so linear that it never captured my attention. (I really need to give it a fair shake -- I'll add it to the old to do list.)

In other words, even using a successful product as a gauge for the next product in the line is unreliable.

Likewise, sometimes there are good games that still have questionable value. Syndicate (the new one), for example, was what, maybe a six hour storyline? $60/6 = $10/hr in terms of value. Even factoring in the ability to replay it later if one wishes, that's extremely borderline. I'm actually not sure I would classify it in the "good" category either, but even if it was the value wouldn't be there.

Then there's the games where there is nothing particularly wrong, and there's lots of hours to be spent with it, but it just isn't worth it. Sports games often fall into this category. The actual improvements from version to version tend to be minuscule; people who pay for them every season are paying $60 primarily for a roster update. One may play it 120 hours and look at it and go "well, $0.50/hr right?" but the value over the previous game they already had isn't nearly as great.

The problem isn't $60 for a game; the problem is $60 over and over trying to find a game worth $60. In my opinion there are far more in the "no" column than the "yes," so that's a lot of money down the tubes even factoring in surplus value from the yeses.

In my case, it makes my purchases significantly more cautious. I've said this in several discussions before, but Steam is a good example: I impulse buy games around $10; I probably have a half dozen such games that I have never even opened. $20 requires some thought but probably happens (especially if it's down to $20 from $60). $30 is where I start wondering if I really think I'm going to get value back. $60 means I need to have a lot of information in advance, usually in-depth experience with previous games in the series, and a fuck-up like DA2 kills that goodwill outright. Publishers, as a whole, would probably make more money on me by lowering their prices. Most of them are simply too happy to hope that their game will be one of the $60 payouts and gamble a more likely income at a lower price point.

more than 2 years ago

Astroturfing For Speed Cameras

Dhalka226 Re:How to disable these cameras for cheap (342 comments)

So what you're saying is that your friend is a vandal -- and too stupid to avoid admitting it to any random person who asks in a store much less avoid getting caught to begin with?

I'm not a big fan of red light cameras for a number of reasons, but damaging other peoples' property is not the right answer.

more than 2 years ago

DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Google / NSA Partnership

Dhalka226 Re:We can neither (not) deny ... (157 comments)

It sometimes confirms something, but only if the person (or agency in this case) accidentally confirming it isn't particularly clever.

Monday: "Did you steal my sandwich?" "Of course not!"
Tuesday: "Did you steal my sandwich?" "Of course not!"
Wednesday: "Did you steal my sandwich?" "I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not I may have stolen your sandwich."

That doesn't work. If you want "I can't confirm or deny" to work you have to use it consistently.

In this case it's a one-time allegation about something EPIC has little or no proof even exists. Can "give me all your secret information NOW!" be responded to with anything other than "I'm not even going to tell you if I have secret information much less give any of it to you?"

more than 2 years ago


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