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Comments

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On Independence for Scotland:

DutchUncle Re:Probably a bad idea, but... (192 comments)

OTOH Come to the United States, where people in more populous states and cities find that their "one person one vote" is worth a lot less in the Presidential election thanks to (1) rounding error in dividing population into congressional districts, and (2) equal representation in the Senate meaning that states with low population get huge percentage bonuses in the electoral count. The 11 most populous states get one electoral vote per 600K+ people; since the lower limit on electoral votes per state is 3, the three LEAST populous states get one electoral vote per 200K people - in other words, their individual votes count THREE TIMES AS MUCH as mine in the final electoral tally.

3 days ago
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On Independence for Scotland:

DutchUncle Re:Probably a bad idea, but... (192 comments)

Slightly OT, but: I have trouble believing in the validity of a vote in which 98% of people agree on anything more complicated than "Air is good to breathe". Either the count was invalid, or the opposition was actively prevented from voting, or the opposition was too afraid of the repercussions of voting (suggesting that it wasn't as secret as one would hope).

3 days ago
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I think next winter will be:

DutchUncle Re:New Zealand (147 comments)

*Over* a year? you mean, you have more than a year between the same season? ;-) BTW we're from the NYC area, visited NZ last February. Absolutely beautiful everywhere we looked, and also nice people everywhere we went. And lots of sheep - I'm an Icebreaker convert.

5 days ago
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Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

DutchUncle Re:It's a relationship argument about control. (320 comments)

So did you force them to get the proper cultural education? Beach Boys, Beatles, all the good stuff? And make them watch black-and-white films, like the Marx Brothers (so they'd know what Animaniacs was referencing)? :-) :-) I did. My son has since thanked me profusely. Mark Twain: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

5 days ago
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Developing the First Law of Robotics

DutchUncle Re:I, Robot from a programmers perspective (165 comments)

Or maybe NOT a malfunction, but a deliberate effort to mislead. One of the stories posited robots serving a human a poisoned drink, despite their programming, because of careful commands and incomplete information: one put poison in a container, another transferred containers, the third took the drink to the human. EXACTLY THE SAME SETUP was used in the very beginning of "Downton Abbey", when a sequence of miscommunication caused a server to (almost) carry a bowl of rat poison to the dinner table. It's also a similar setup to "which cup is poisoned and/or who drinks the wrong cup" in numerous plays and movies ("Hamlet" for a start).

5 days ago
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Developing the First Law of Robotics

DutchUncle Re:I, Robot from a programmers perspective (165 comments)

I think you missed the point of many of Asimov's stories. Edge cases are the normal situation - human beings are always on an edge case in some dimension. Any simplistic set of rules, including all the great slogans and sound bites of capitalism and marxism and socialism and every other political system, are just too simple because the real world is complex.

5 days ago
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Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

DutchUncle Re:It's a relationship argument about control. (320 comments)

Regarding the "making people listen" - this was in response to Just Some Guy's " if my kids whined ... about me giving them a copy of an album..." , and does not correlate exactly with the original Apple situation. My bad.

5 days ago
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Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

DutchUncle Re:It's a relationship argument about control. (320 comments)

Sorry, forcing a download of an entire album is *not* giving you an option that "you don't have to tune into". This is not you giving the kids an album you like, this is you strapping them to a chair to listen to it à la "Clockwork Orange". If everyone got an email saying "Click for a free download of the album!" there would be no complaints. (Mockery, perhaps, but not complaints. :-) )

about a week ago
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Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

DutchUncle It's a relationship argument about control. (320 comments)

I don't have an iProduct that got force-downloaded. Today is my anniversary (a big number). So I don't see a first-world problem; I see a relationship problem.

It's not about the album. It's about control. It's about changing the station in the car radio when someone else is driving. It's about putting up with his sports posters and her frilly pillowcases. It's about changing the address list so it's alphabetical by first name instead of last name, and rearranging the desktop to be organized horizontally instead of vertically.

I feel your pain. But I can assure you that you can get through this.

about a week ago
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Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

DutchUncle Re:Not good enough (320 comments)

I haven't bought music through iTunes yet, so I'm hardly an expert, but it seems to me that if I were to PURCHASE music through a DOWNLOAD service, I would want to "download new purchases". It seems, then, that this would be the normal and expected setting - unless perhaps one expects to purchase on cell data service and then download later on wifi? in which case it would seem the better solution would be an option in the service to only download big files while connected on wifi, but I know Apple doesn't seem to care about little things like how much you spend (after all, you bought an Apple product, you want coolness!)

about a week ago
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MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

DutchUncle Re:Implementation Fail (90 comments)

I wonder if they could DRESS UP the robot in meat? . . . . no, that's been done.

about a week ago
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MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

DutchUncle Re:Military turn on (90 comments)

Search and rescue. Getting video into dangerous places better than the current wheeled "robots" (really remote control). Video patrol of just about anyplace - constrained environment like a mall, open environment like hiking trails in a park.

But what you really want is a smarter dog, not a robot.

about a week ago
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Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

DutchUncle Re:Parole? (264 comments)

Pop-up windows are not inherently bad. Using it for a pop-up ad, though . . . I used to say (being a New Yorker) that such a person should be suspended by his ankles, one rope going to each of the twin towers. As I said, not only should justice be done, justice must be SEEN to be done. Now I suppose it would have to be some other dramatic place . . . maybe the two towers of one of the bridges?

about two weeks ago
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Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

DutchUncle Re:Parole? (264 comments)

... what do we do with the Bernie Maddoffs of the world?

This is a prime example of how our system of justice and punishment completely fails to satisfy the human need to "see justice done". We need a points system, like many states have for the drivers license, with different offenses and injuries having different point values. This way, a "non-violent" offender who has managed to damage the lives of thousands of people can be seen to be worthy of a very public execution, to demonstrate to everyone - good and bad alike - that society doesn't want this behavior, and excises it like cutting off a wart.

about two weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

DutchUncle Statistics from old mainframe days? Or military? (546 comments)

How much of that "nearly half" without a college degree is from the era when computer science degrees didn't exist? I went to a Top 10 engineering school, and we didn't have "Computer Science" or "Computer Systems" until my junior year - the closest was either a Math or EE specialization. There were already people leaving college early directly for industry, because the market was hot in both industrial and military applications. Alternatively, how many are from military training? I have worked with two people, both at the engineering level, both alumni of Air Force technical training in computer-based systems.

I concur with the many posters pointing out that a degree isn't just about coding; I keep having to fix things by people who can code, but never learned to DESIGN.

about three weeks ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

DutchUncle On "concensus" (152 comments)

"It sometimes happens in a people amongst which various opinions prevail that the balance of the several parties is lost, and one of them obtains an irresistible preponderance, overpowers all obstacles, harasses its opponents, and appropriates all the resources of society to its own purposes. The vanquished citizens despair of success and they conceal their dissatisfaction in silence and in general apathy. The nation seems to be governed by a single principle, and the prevailing party assumes the credit of having restored peace and unanimity to the country. But this apparent unanimity is merely a cloak to alarming dissensions and perpetual opposition." - Alexis de Tocqueville, published 1831

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Slashdot finds a way to keep me from bothering to check it today

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  about a year and a half ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "By making everything unreadable without lots of extra effort, Slashdot has found a way to keep me from wasting as much time today. Thanks!"
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Can you patent a steak?

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "Someone at Oklahoma State University has "discovered" a new steak. By now I would have thought that every possible part of a cow was already discovered, not to mention used for something. I can understand trademarking a name for a particular cut of meat; I can understand copyrighting the published instructions on what to cut where; but can this be novel enough for a patent?"
Link to Original Source
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No termination fee if Verizon terminates *you*.

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "Just received the following email announcement from Verizon. Nice to know that if they cut off my service, I won't have to pay extra:

"The following is an outline of an important change to the Verizon Online
Terms of Service, which is effective as of November 30, 2009. ...

1. If you are on a term plan and Verizon ceases offering service to
your location prior to the end of your term commitment, you will not
have to pay an Early Termination Fee.

Please take time to review the complete Verizon Online Terms of Service.
Thank you for being a Verizon Online customer."

To which I add: For now."

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