top Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later
The thing that's holding me back is what are the long term effects? The technology really hasn't been around for a long time. I'm in my early 30s; I could maybe live for another 50 years! What will be the effects when I'm in my 80s?
I've heard that people who get the surgery may need to have it redone in 10-15 years. What happens after the 3rd or 4th redo? Can one even see? Are there other potential sideeffects?
That's really the only thing holding me back. My vision, present and future, is too important to risk. Glasses get the job done just fine.
top Favorite "Go!" Phrase?
Dinotherms Connected Infracells Up Megathrusters are GO
top Yahoo! Sports Redesign Sparks Controversy, Disdain From Users
The very well written biography of Marissa Mayer that recently appeared in Business Insider was very illuminating about the current ongoings at Yahoo. Marissa appears to be a very data driven person, always looking for "proof" of display/design feature ideas and concepts, even for whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide.
Additionally, she had made a last minute change to the color scheme of the recently revamped Yahoo Mail which necessitated significant man hours at the 11th hour to implement and was detrimental to team morale and cohesion that had been painstakingly developed since her arrival.
I'm sure moving forward there will be more challenges like this that Yahoo will face. It will be interesting to assess whether they are due to the vestiges of incompetency at Yahoo as she believes, or due to her failings as a leader, because let's face it, according to the profile, this type of a UI design change would have had her hands all over it and would've needed final sign-off by her.
UI Design changes are by their very inherent nature controversial, people like things the way they're used to them. Marissa's approach was already problematic at Google, it had problems scaling as the company grew in size, but at least there were people there to manage and mitigate her. There's no-one at Yahoo like that. She is a very authoritative leader.
Disclaimer: I don't know her personally nor have I ever met her or met anyone who has met her. My impressions are all based on profiles of her like the one linked above (which I am not affiliated with but simply found interesting)
top Google Asks Government For More Transparency, Other Groups Push Back Against NSA
You know what's so scary about stuff like this? It's that it makes people afraid of what they will post and discuss. One absurd end of the spectrum is what I've heard Soviet Russia was sometimes like, people always afraid of what they said to whom.
I'm a naturalized US citizen. Due to my country of origin, I'm probably already on some watch list somewhere, despite the fact that I've never done anything remotely dangerous.
Now, I figure that give mes some points on some kind of a danger/threat scale.
This issue is something I care deeply about. Over the last few days, I've been hesitant about drawing attention to it and responding to it online/via electronic communications. I've posted on Slashdot about it, sent emails and texts to friends and relatives, posted about it on my Facebook status, submitted e-mailed letters to my congressional representatives through the EFF website, donated to the EFF and ACLU, read newspaper stories, articles, websites and commentaries, etc.
At each step, I've been afraid. What if being linked to this type of activity gives me more points on some kind of a danger scale? What if I cross a threshold? What if the government starts making my life difficult in subtle ways? Trouble flying? I am planning on marrying someone from my country of origin, what if my application to sponsor them for a greencard is denied? What if, what if?
That's the real trouble, this type of activity raises concerns and issues in people's daily lives. It creates a culture of fear. At the end of the day, I became a US citizen because I believe in the opportunity this country provides, and in the legal basis it was founded on, and the human rights it supposedly supports. I want to do whatever I can to support my country, and exercise my rights as a citizen to correct what I perceive are wrongs.
I'm really hoping that this advocacy doesn't hurt me in the future somehow. That's the real harm when government spies and tracks with a carte blanche, people who are doing nothing wrong but have much to lose are afraid.
top Google Asks Government For More Transparency, Other Groups Push Back Against NSA
One of the best comments was from John Oliver on the Daily Show. In response to Obama's defense that there is the FISA court overseeing this and that member's of congress are briefed, he said great, so it's not just one branch of government acting improperly, all 3 are! That's supposed to be better (me paraphrasing). It's not that these programs aren't illegal, it's the very fact that they aren't that's a problem! (Or aren't considered illegal by the government, many would argue they are illegal in sight of the Constitution).
I'm usually a big government, bleeding heart liberal, but not in the areas of governmental police powers (monitoring citizens, etc). Basically, if the government is helping it's citizens, I support that (healthcare, etc) but if it's looking at it's citizens to protect itself, I don't like that at all.
Here are 2 quotes that were on
/. yesterday: "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government." -Patrick Henry
"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."
top Windows 8.1 May Restore Boot-To-Desktop, Start Button
You know that all you have to do is to click the lower left hand corner of the screen to bring up the desktop, right? It took you 20 minutes to figure that out?
Sure if that's all that was different. I wanted to see how different options were controlled (control panel issues), had weird things happen when moving around the mouse (hot corners etc) and other nuisances. Even after I got to the desktop, the easy list of everything in a start menu was missing.
Again, could've learned it, could've figured it out, there are workarounds, it's not rocket science. BUT WHY? Individually each thing is minor, but the cumulative effect is damned annoying. Why would a company unnecessarily aggravate so many of their users? If you wanted a single OS for tablets and other PCs, give each the interface best suited to it.
top Windows 8.1 May Restore Boot-To-Desktop, Start Button
In the last 6 months I've bought 2 computers, a desktop and a laptop. And both times I went well out of my way to avoid Win8.
Now I consider myself at least slightly more computer savvy than the average individual, and when I went to Best Buy to play around with Windows 8 (since I'd heard it was different) the 20 minute trial I gave it was VERY FRUSTRATING. I managed to figure things out a bit, and I had no doubt with some time and internet searching I could figure the rest out, but I had no desire to!!
I didn't want to spend time figuring it out! It just pissed me off. I needed a desktop very urgently, and was planning on buying a new computer and buying a copy of Win7 online and just wiping off Win8.
(Side Note: Basic economic supply and demand, Pro Edition of Win8 cost ~$60, Home Edition of Win7 online cost ~$150. Hmmmmmm)
I got lucky because the guy working at Best Buy said they had a desktop at 25% off only because it had Win7. Looked at the tech specs, was good, just what I wanted and left happy, getting a discount to get what I wanted.
A few months later I needed a laptop (was travelling a lot). I deliberately went to the Lenovo and Dell business line sections to search since the machines for business users still have Win7 (ended up getting a ThinkPad).
Now, I paid the MS Win tax regardless both times. I wanted a Windows machine. But Win 8 so frustrated me that I went out of my way to avoid it, when it would've been simpler to just buy a machine with it. I was ready to spend more online to buy Win7 and overwrite the default installation.
I can't be the only one that's done this recently.
top Does US Owe the World an Education At Its Expense?
There is a key important point missing in this argument (didn't read TFA, might be there). And that is that most of these foreign students in STEM fields are in US grad schools, not undergrad; and the undergrads pay tuition (often at full price with no aid) anyway.
For the grad students, you could say well we won't help others become competitive by denying them admission, but who will do all the research at US universities that actually makes them so good? US universities are world renown due to the publications, IP they generate, etc. Guess what, the vast majority of the grad students who do all the work are foreign. Take them out, and very soon the US universities won't be so good.
And it's not as if the foreign students are displacing Americans. Believe you me, most grad departments and Professors would prefer Americans, but Americans in general don't want to go to Grad school for STEM fields.
about a year and a half ago
top Video Tour of the International Space Station
That was one of the coolest things I have ever seen! Thanks for sharing that Slashdot!
Some interesting observations/thoughts I had watching that (most of them centered around things I never thought about but are obvious once you think it through):
1) Never thought about it, but of course without any gravity, hair does not fall straight down, so her hair is flying in all directions giving a slightly âoecrazedâ look. 2) Very cool to see how they sleep, and the cozy little cubbies they have 3) Again never thought about it, but all the exercise equipment like bikes are not rigidly but rather loosely attached so the walls of the station, otherwise the force they exert during exercise will actually be exerted on the station itself, which would not be good, so they exert force, and the machines just kind of bounce around a bit. I wonder how that affects the quality of the exercise as you have to constantly adjust to a moving platform. 4) It was fascinating to see some of the mundane things like the bathroom shown. One could argue it is not the most PR/polished thing to show, but it was very cool to see how they have thought through everything. Again, something else that did not occur to me but is obvious in hindsight is that the waste disposal tubes have a little bit of suction in them so that the waste matter is pulled away from the person and the station. 5) The port for solid, #2 waste is really small, and she made a good point about aiming well. I shudder to think about occasions when somebody has more of a liquid #2 waste due to indigestion or other problems. 6) They have clips everywhere to clip things on to so they do not fly away. All the spare parts were tied down with rope. They also have strips of cloth or something to clamp down their feet so they do not fly around everywhere 7) She can identify the different cloud and soil types and can figure out what part of the world they are over by just those!
She is a funny, very personable and good guide. Definitely worth watching!
Some other questions I had after watching that they did no get into are how they handle dust, and other matter shed by the human body, hair, skin, etc. There is little to no bacteria there to decompose it and it will get lodged into places.
Also, what about laundry? Water tends to float around, so what about sweat, while working hard or exercising?
top Geezers Pick Stronger Passwords Than Young'uns
1) Can the older folks actually remember all their passwords? Or are they writing them down?
2) On a related note, if they only have one or two passwords to remember (email and maybe something else) that's easier than younger more tech-savvy individuals who may be trying to remember MANY MANY passwords (email 1, email 2, bank account 1, bank account 2, social media website 1, 2, 3, online forum 1, 2, brokerage 1, 2, iTunes Store, Amazon, Ebay, some app, electricity bill, wireless plan, phone plan, credit card 1, 2
,3, etc, etc, etc).
I am by no means young, I'm 31, but am part of a more tech savvy generation. I have so many passwords to remember, even after trying to keep them the same, that now I have a whole Gmail label called login info where I store my passwords for everything. Not the actual password but mnemonics that are relevant to me like
:"firsthousenum+first name first crush, no space or caps" which would be the street address (house number ) of my first house and the first name of the first girl I had a crush on, with no spaces or Capital letters. That is just an illustrative example, they're actually more obscure.
And this is after I made a concentrated effort to have categories of passwords, like all financial ones (bank, credit card, brokerage, etc) would be the same, but different systems have different requirements (letters, capitals, numbers, special characters, length) that it didn't work out, plus some force you to change passwords periodically, it's a mess.
On a different but kind of password related note, I wish that there would be a concept of a temporary password to use for accounts. For instance, I recently travelled abroad for a week, and was worried about key loggers or some other stuff getting my gmail password when I log on in hotels, cafes, other people's houses. What I would've loved is to set up a temporary Gmail password that was only valid for 1 week (in addition to my normal one) and use that while traveling. The temporary password would have limited access, I could send and read emails, but not change any account settings (like passwords, etc.) That would've been fantastic.
Instead, I changed my Gmail password to another one, but now that I'm back, Gmail won't let me change my password back to the original one (as previous passwords can't be reused). This is something new as I'd done this before while traveling.
top When I drive, I place my hands at ...
So I drive a car with a manual transmission. That means that for the most part if I'm driving long distances on the highway, and I drive about 700 miles a week, I usually have my left hand (US driver here) at the 6'oclock position, and right hand on the gearstick, or fiddling with the radio, or just resting. Sometimes when I want to rest my left arm on the door, I switch to the 8 or 9 o'clock position.
But that's during long stretches on the highway. On local roads, as well as during heavy highway traffic, I always put both hands on the wheel (unless switching gears). Also, in bad weather (rain, snow etc), both hands are on the wheel. I unconsciously tend for the 9-3 combo rather than the 10-2 or 8-4. I think that just feels like I have more control on the wheel.
No real point besides the fact that what type of road I'm on and the traffic conditions impact this. Also when I rent a car (which are all automatic transmission), I've noticed that my right hand tends to stay on top of the gear stick, even though once in D, there are no gears to change.
Interesting tangent: Going from manual to automatic, there was a mistake I made once, adn it's one you only make once. The left foot was automatically searching for the clutch, and found a pedal. Unfortunately it was the brake pedal.. The clutch is pressed usually all the way, and the brake is lightly tapped (depending on the situation). My car came to a very sharp and abrupt stop.
Learned the lesson that time. For a time afterwards, the left leg would by all the way to the left with my left arm/elbow firmly resting on it to prevent that from occuring again. As the years have gone by, I've relaxed it a but, but still live in fear of when in a risky/accident-like traffic situation in a rental car, my instincts will kick in and my left foot will slam on the brakes again.
top New York Times Hacked?
So I got the email in my Gmail account, which is how I've signed up for home delivery of the NYT. I'll foolishly admit that I was fooled, and called the number in the email and got the recorded message saying that the line was busy (maybe that was the whole point, now they've got my number too).
Anyway, I didn't want to lose the delivery, so I marked the email as unread so that I could address it later and logged out of Gmail.
After about 20/30 minutes when this story broke on
/. and other sties, I figured I'd log back into Gmail, check my email (what you don't compulsively check email?) and delete this spam. I couldn't find it in my inbox! I checked the trash thinking I may have deleted it, but it wasn't there. Then I thought to check the SPAM folder, and sure enough it was in there, still marked as unread.
Gmail updated the spam policy to classify this specific email as spam in about 20 minutes, where as it had made it into my inbox before.
Upon reflection, it's not surprising, I'm sure a lot of users marked it as SPAM in the last 20 minutes, but still was interesting for me to note. Gmail's spam filter is usually pretty good, I NEVER even look in the spam folder (even for false positives) so this was an interesting experience. I wonder if I'd left it marked as "read" and not remarked it as "unread" if it would still have been moved out from my inbox to the spam list?
top Is There an Institutional Bias Against Black Tech Entrepreneurs?
So this story is based off the CNN documentary "Black in America: Silicon Valley." I haven't seen the actual show, but CNN has been pushing it a lot the past week and showing clips from it.
One really interesting clip that I saw had an Indian who had experience with VCs and start-ups and was also a professor somewhere giving a talk to the African American entrepreneurs.
Now Asians in general, and Indians specifically I don't think are as rare in Silicon Valley and are found amongst high level executives. Additionally, this particular individual was well spoken and articulate, capable of creative thinking, didn't have a strong accent, and in other ways didn't fit the stereotype of an Indian caricature.
However the ONE thing that he said was to get a good looking white guy to be your front man when going to VCs. He said that when we wanted to get funding, he got a (admittedly very capable and accomplished) white guy to be his partner. He said that's just how things work in the Valley. The African American audience he was speaking to was very shocked by this.
The point made was that VCs look for what works. And if they see a bunch of "successful" start-up companies run by young white guys, that's what they look to fund. Plus add in the inherent bias towards good looking white guys in business who fit the common archetype (with as Dilbert says good hair).
While we're on the topic, what about women (white or otherwise)? Are VCs more likely to discount a company being led by women as they're not thought to be "techy"?
So, any thoughts form people with experience here, either for or against this argument. Do all races (not just African Americans) need Caucasian male partners to improve their chances for success.
top Netflix Kills Qwikster
This past episode of Saturday Night Live had a REALLY FUNNY sketch skewering Netflix and how fast they seem to be changing course and announcing new plans. It was unfortunately cut for time and didn't air, but is available on NBC's website:
It was the first thing I thought of when I read the Netflix email this morning. Very funny, apt and appropriate. Almost makes me respect SNL as being on the cutting edge again.
top Netflix Creates Qwikster For DVD Only Business
So I go through spurts of using Netflix. I'll have DVDs lying around for 6 months, then will go through a 3 week spurt where I watch movies and immediately return them, get the next one, etc, until life gets in the way again and the discs lie around for another 6 months.
The reason I continue to pay Netflix (and don't deactivate my account) for 6 months, during which they make money from me for no cost, is that I have a long queue, I have a HUGE library of ratings that I've put a lot of though into and which now recommends some nice movies for me.
I also like being able to see which movies in my queue are available instantly to watch.
Now, here's a few questions I have:
1) Currently my queue is about 85 deep. Only about 10-15 or so of them are available for streaming. That means the streaming selection is very limited. Is that really a good future business model?
2) Will my ratings be jointly shared across both services? I've put a lot of effort into them (it's like building a collection, same mentality) and it's one of the reasons why Netflix has gotten a monthly fee from me for months without me using any of their services. Even when I watch a movie on cable or in the theater, I now have the habit of logging into Netflix just to update my rating of that movie.
3) Will I be able to maintain a single queue of what I'd like to watch and choose the best medium of streaming/DVD based on what's available?
Frankly, if I have to maintain 2 queues and 2 rating libraries, at least one service will fast lose a customer. Right now I'm paying for the joint streaming and DVD mailing option.
top DoE Develops Flexible Glass Stronger Than Steel
That's what ran through my mind as well. And to (attempt to ) correct the poster below, I don't think that what they were getting for the BOP was transparent aluminum. That was a brand new formula, and it would take years of research to produce it. I think what they got was the normal 5 inch thick glass, and in order to compensate the vendor for it, gave them the FORMULA for transparent aluminum.
Coincidentally, ST 4 was on TV just a few days ago, and in one of life's interesting independent coincidences, I thought through that whole exchange while watching the movie. Whether they had gotten transparent aluminum, or just exchanged the formula.
Jeopardy-Playing Supercomputer Beats Humans
So my neighbor works at the IBM facility where this is taking place, but in a completely unrelated function(it's a huge complex with a lot of people). He said that everyone is taking a forced day off on Friday when they will be taping the actual show. There's only going to be a small amount of the very top IBM brass there (supposedly even the head of this facility won't be allowed in). And that this is a HUGE secrecy issue (I'm guessing so that the results aren't leaked before the broadcast date).
My neighbor works with semiconductors and so works with a lot of dangerous chemicals and stuff. According to him, they've all been told to make sure that all their hazardous materials have been safely stored, and that (I have trouble believing this) even the IBM emergency response/hazmat teams have been told that they aren't allowed onsite and not to respond to any alarms that may be issued. That's a fairly dangerous decision if true, I'm doubtful but my neighbor stands by his statement.
Anyhoo, this is a pretty big deal apparently. More so from the Jeapordy people's end I'd guess since I don't think IBM has anything related to this project that they'd be that paranoid about keeping secret.
top Verizon Will Sell iPad+MiFi Bundles, Starting Oct 28th
I have a similar opinion as the GP, but am willing to admit that I am not very imaginative and am probably missing a whole lot of uses for the IPAD.
Since you have so strongly stated that there are many other uses, could you provide some examples, so that I can evaluate myself whether or not the IPAD is a useful device (for myself and others, who may have different needs)?
top Times Paywall Blocks 90% of Traffic
I considered whether or not to reply to your message, but then decided I would so that I'm not considered a shill. Please look at my ID and comment history, I'm not a newspaper shill/employee. I was sharing my genuine experience.
However, for me, the payment isn't about internet access, but news generation. Good news requires reporters, bureaus, editors, equipment, etc. That requires money. And being a foreigner to the US, I find the quality of analytical and insightful news in the US abysmal. So it needs to be supported somehow, for the good of society in general in my opinion. And that's why I subscribe.
top Times Paywall Blocks 90% of Traffic
I'm probably a minority dwarfed by free-loading readers, but free online NYT access led me to buy a full 7-day a week subscription to the paper.
I used to (and still do) go to Google News for my daily news digest (one of many sources I'd visit). Over time, I noticed that many of the stories I was interested were from either the NY Times or the LA Times. Furthermore, I noticed that for stories I'd read on many sites linked to from Google News, the NY Times (and LA Times) versions were regularly better written and more informative in my opinion.
Due to this (and the fact that I live in the suburbs of NYC) I started to regularly read the full paper online on the NYT website. After a few months of this, I decided that I found this quality reporting valuable, and worth supporting. Furthermore, I relocated a little further away from the city and was now commuting by train instead of by car. So I then decided to by a subscription. Now I have the paper delivered every day, and they have me as a full, loyal subscriber. All because of the free online access they provided.
But for everyone of me, there are probably a lot of free-loaders.