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Google and Microsoft Plan Kill Switches On Smartphones

Godai Am I missing something? (137 comments)

Doesn't Google already have this? The Android Device Manager lets you remotely locate, lock or find your device. Is there something more to this 'kill switch'? Does it permanently disable the phone?

about a month ago
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Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

Godai Re:"By Mistake" (711 comments)

The family sharing thing would be very nice to have as a recently married man. I have a large music library (though probably tiny to a lot of people, big to me!) that she'd like to access and it seems silly that we can't just both be able to play from it. Ditto books, movies, etc.

That said, I fully expect that over time this kind of thing will come to everyone on every platform. Microsoft kind of dipped their feet into this during the X-Box One debacle, though what they were talking about is now irrelevant given they dropped that whole aspect of their platform. Apple adding it will speed things along, and it doesn't surprise me that they're first; I imagine this will require some licensing hoop jumping and whatever else I think of Apple, they do seem to have a lot more muscle in that department.

about 2 months ago
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Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

Godai "By Mistake" (711 comments)

Well, fortunately iOS 8 adds a bunch of things that Android has had forever, so that will help the problem!

about 2 months ago
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Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

Godai Re:Bjarne Stroustrup (636 comments)

It's not a distraction since developers can still use Objective-C as much as they want, and will only switch to Swift if it offers significant advantages.

I'm sure that's how it will start, but they'll lose patience eventually, and probably not all that far down the road. Our Objective-C guy here is already reading up on SWIFT despite our large Objective-C codebase, not because he thinks it'll let him improve anything but because he'll need to know it when they deep six Objective-C in a couple of years. To be fair, anyone who writes Apple software should be used to that at this point, so Apple probably knows that any of their developers with an ounce of common sense will start coming up with a plan on how to move all their stuff to SWIFT over the next few years.

about 2 months ago
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RCMP Arrest Canadian Teen For Heartbleed Exploit

Godai Re:And how about the CRA? (104 comments)

The Montreal Gazette article covers that. They asked a computer security consultant and he said the 24-hour delay was pretty reasonable given the impact taking down the site would have on people given the timing (tax season); not so much that they waited before doing it so much as it was a reasonable time to discuss it and come to a decision. So my guess is that no one will get burned over that.

The real questions are fairly simple: when did the breach occur, and how did they know? Also, how did they know 900 SIN numbers were taken and how do they know more weren't? None of these are necessarily conspiracy-esque questions, but they're relevant. Though it sounds like the CRA may not be at liberty to say anything about some (or any) of that, having been asked by the RCMP not to while they firm up charges.

about 3 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Godai Re:Duh (818 comments)

I agree with you, but I think we really need something other than first-past-the-post to make it really work right. It's great that we have these parties bubbling around as you say, but it'd better if the composition of parliament looked a little more like what popular support says it should. It's a bit weird to have parties with, say, 25% popular support have less than 10% of the house, for example. Still, everytime I get annoyed with our system, I watch the Daily Show or Colbert Report and get reminded how good we actually have it.

about 3 months ago
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In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

Godai Re:Great points! (156 comments)

I think you're right that perception is a big problem. It would be really, really helpful if there was some objective way to measure how rarely a news source gets stuff wrong. Kind of like a Golden Glove for news. If news organizations could compete for that instead of their version of "First post!", it could only be better.

about 4 months ago
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In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

Godai Re:What's changed though? (156 comments)

I completely agree, but you missed my follow-up point. They were already doing that more or less before the Internet era sprung on them (and to be fair, the 24-hour news channel didn't help). The problem is that those that kept doing that start losing ground to those that put the horse before the cart, as you put it. And that happened because we all tuned into the "Latest breaking something-we'll-check-later" News. I'm not saying they're blameless, but we definitely have a huge heaping share of the responsibility.

And I also agree about the obvious party affiliations, but I think a lot of that falls into "Tell people what they want to hear and they'll tune in." That isn't hurting their viewership unfortunately, it's helping. Again, that's largely on us. We should probably be tuning into news sources that offer differing opinions rather than the one we agree with, because when those guys look at the numbers, we're voting with our eyeballs that we *want* political affiliation. It's a case of "we want what isn't actually good for us."

about 4 months ago
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Turkish Finance Minister Defends Twitter Ban

Godai Re:The issue is not about compliance with the law (94 comments)

Actually, I disagree. Compliance with the law is the heart of the problem, the question is: whose law?

While I'm no fan Turkey's repressive laws, I do wonder how what Turkey is mad about differs all that much from the US or whomever complaining about pirated content being posted in countries where that's not illegal.

If country A does something we don't agree with, it's okay for technology to circumvent that. If country B does something we don't agree with, it's not okay for technology to circumvent that. The bottom line here seems to be less about technology and more: in a globally interconnected world, how do we decide what laws get applied where? So far it largely seems to be decided by the US leaning on anyone they don't agree with. You can bet if the positions were reversed, Turkey would be leaning on the US government to discipline Twitter. This works great if its something you agree with, and less so when its something you don't (maybe copyright laws). I could say we're fortunate that its the US with the Big Stick and not someone else, but maybe we only think that because we're in the West so we tend to align with our own values? And even if this works great, what happens when someone else takes possession of the Big Stick (China maybe?). Perhaps this won't be so appealing then?

about 4 months ago
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In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

Godai What's changed though? (156 comments)

I've often thought about what differentiates a blogger from a journalist. To suggest that there is no difference is demeaning to journalists -- and yes, I know there are lots of those are hardly worthy of the name, but to just flatly equate the two is unjust to the professional, fact-checking variety that is supposed to be the standard.

Before the rise of the internet, there was no platform for any old person to put their opinion in print (digital or otherwise) and reach a broad audience. Sure, you could print up pamphlets and hand them out on street corners, but wide distribution was gated by publishers. We've removed a lot of middlemen between content producers and content consumers, and a lot of that is probably good. But one of the benefits (and problems in some cases) was that some of those middlemen provided filtering. It's great that we no longer have that filtering in one aspect; it's allowed a lot of things that the 'powers that be' judged uninteresting and turned out not to be so. But it also means that a lot of pure noise that was filtered out is now crowding out the signal in some cases.

Part of the problem journalism faces is that in order to compete on speed, they're skipping steps. There was a time when a juicy story was held back while they triple-checked it. That happens less & less because time-to-print (or broadcast, etc.) has become the defining metric. When you're competing with someone who doesn't check anything they put up, you start to look pretty follow-the-leaders when you post after fact-checking.

So while some of this is definitely a problem for journalists, namely how to stay relevant in a world of instant publication, a lot of this is our fault too. If we were willing to wait a bit, preferring immediately accuracy instead of immediate attention grabbing, it would give those who want to do things right the breathing room to verify. So long as we're all grabbing click bait the second its available, we're screaming loud and clear to the conglomerates that run our news media that its far more important to be first than accurate.

about 4 months ago
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Fluke Donates Multimeters To SparkFun As Goodwill Gesture

Godai Re:Good PR Move (250 comments)

I think Sparkfun is out either way from what I understand. They're planning on giving the Fluke ones away to educational institutions, but they seem much happier about this than just flat out losing the $30k worth of meters.

about 4 months ago
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NYC's 250,000 Street Lights To Be Replaced With LEDs By 2017

Godai Re:I wish they'd do it here. (372 comments)

I think you're confusing street lights and traffic signals. Places in the snow belt have had issues with LED traffic signals getting blocked with snow, but I can't see the same thing happening with a downward facing street light.

Lord, I should hope not. If the snow's that high I think 'blocked street lights' is the least of your trouble!

about 9 months ago
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Can Nintendo Survive Gaming's Brave New World?

Godai Re:Yes, They Can (277 comments)

I agree. The WiiU has been a disappointment, but we're only just *now* seeing the first set of 1st party stuff show up. I rolled my eyes at "refusal to license out core properties such as Super Mario to other gaming platforms (or even iOS and Android)", since that's exactly why they'll survive just fine. Want the new Pokemon? Have to buy a Nintendo system. And they will!

And the new Mario game is set to show up soon, looks fantastic and should support online co-op finally. I haven't bought a WiiU yet, but that one might tip my hand so I can play Mario with my brother.

about 9 months ago
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PlanetIQ's Plan: Swap US Weather Sats For Private Ones

Godai Huh? (128 comments)

"Private capital is ready and waiting," Miglarese said last week. "But the government's culture of build-and-own-your-own satellites and the inability to commit is what's holding back these job-creating funds."

Statements like this always confuse me. Who does Miglarese think is building the satellites now? Monkeys? How does stopping making & managing your own satellites and paying someone else to do it create jobs? That sounds an awful lot like it just moves the jobs from one place to another.

Which isn't to say it might not be a better deal, but it feels like he just threw that in because he knows politicians go into Pavlovian slather if you mention "job creation".

about a year ago
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SimCity 5: How Not To Design a Single Player Game

Godai Re:Maybe try playing the game (569 comments)

I'd agree the DRM aspect was part of the conversation, and might even be why it was greenlit, but having played it a bit its pretty obvious that 'always online' was part of the core design from day one. It's not like they had a game, and later decided to make it require a connection. They may well have started with 'require a connection' as the base and then said "How can make that an advantage" though. I don't honestly see why that's a bad thing. They're pretty clear it requires the connection, so at most someone can complain that this isn't the SimCity they wanted developed (always a fair opinion).

about a year ago
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SimCity 5: How Not To Design a Single Player Game

Godai Re:Maybe try playing the game (569 comments)

The difference here is that I can play when I want, and my brother can play when he wants, and EA/Maxis hosts the game so we don't have to setup a server. I know we're all nerds here, but 99% of people don't want to run a server to play a game of SimCity with their friends.

about a year ago
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SimCity 5: How Not To Design a Single Player Game

Godai Maybe try playing the game (569 comments)

Look, this is from someone who last night made his first city about 8 times and lost it all 8 times because of the server nonsense. I was pretty annoyed.

But if we're going to lambaste someone for doing the always-online thing, maybe we shouldn't just jump to conclusions, maybe you should, learn something about i it first? Or maybe you just want to be hip & cool like everyone else and be against always-online without using any actual critical thinking. If so, bravo.

One of the cornerstone features of the game this time around is the Region play aspect. This was introduced in Sim City 4, but they've taken it to a much more interesting place in this iteration. Basically, there are about a dozen regions you can choose to play on; first, you choose one. Each region has X 'city slots'. This doesn't necessarily mean # of players, but it obviously puts a cap on X players in that region. Nothing stops you from building all X cities yourself over time. The cities have a lot of interconnection, hooked up by highway, or rail, or whatever. You can specialize one city as a college town, make another the bedroom community, etc. And, of course, you can invite people into your game (if its private, otherwise they just find it) to fill out the other cities instead -- and cooperate, fight, whatever.

That doesn't work without a server authority, so that needs always-online to work. Otherwise you'd need one person to host, and never stop. So this is logical. Plus, you can still play it by yourself if you want.

The part you can argue for the always-online component is whether they should have let you play in a local region offline. That's a reasonable question. But they didn't just 'tack always-online' on as a form of DRM (though I'm sure they were happy to have it) -- its pretty clearly a foundation of the way they expect the majority of people to play. And I think they're right -- the *only* reason I'm playing the game is so I can play with my brother. If it was a purely single player game, I'd have passed.

Now if could just get that server mess sorted out, I think this would be a fun game. From what I've seen so far, the UI is easily the best SimCity has ever had. It was pure pleasure laying out zones & drawing roads, etc. And I like their module system for expanding the utilities & other buildings.

It's not fair to say this is "how not to design a single player game". That's insipid. They've taken a single player game and made an interesting multi-player game, that if you really want to you can play by yourself. That's not the same thing.

about a year ago
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Shake-up at Apple: Forstall Out; iOS Executive Fired For Maps Debacle?

Godai Re:trust of the community???? (487 comments)

Actually, this wasn't a problem money could easily solve. The problem is, there is no such map database. The reason Google Maps is so good is because they've put a lot of time and effort into hand-crafting processing that teases out the useful data from the existing map databases they buy. There is no mythical perfect map database that has no errors or problems, but just costs a lot. Even if Apple stole away all the Maps folks from Google, it'd take them a fair bit of time to rebuild their work for Apple's data sources.

about a year and a half ago
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Apple's Secret Plan To Join iPhones With Airport Security

Godai Re:Secret HOW? Nice Headline Slashdot... (232 comments)

They claim a $50 fine? God, every time I think I understand how criminal those SOBs are, I find out they're worse than I thought! Well, them or Budget, I'm not sure who are the real bastards here (maybe both?)

And I just double-checked, it's actually $3.80:

Video Toll Charge: $0.00 per Trip (with transponder), $3.80 per Trip (no transponder)
Trip Toll Charge: $0.60 per Trip (with or without transponder)

So I guess you actually kind of pay $4.60 just for getting on, if you don't have a transponder, and $0.60 if you do.

about 2 years ago
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Apple's Secret Plan To Join iPhones With Airport Security

Godai Re:Secret HOW? Nice Headline Slashdot... (232 comments)

For the Canada example, I assume you're talking about the 407, the only toll highway in Ontario (and one of two in the country, the other being in Nova Scotia I believe). The 407 is the electronic one.

I know it's splitting hairs, but it doesn't 'fine' you, it just uses plate recognition to manage the toll. You pay something like $0.25 a kilometre (which is pretty outrageous) and you get charged $3.50 per trip for the 'video recognition' charge. You can knock that down to $0.60 if you have a transponder (yay?). Frankly, it's a sore point with more Toronto residents as the highway is largely empty because of how much it would cost to use. E.g., if you used it to cross the top of the city each way, five days a week, you'd pay something like $300 a month. Of course, that does mean it's never got traffic problems :P

about 2 years ago

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