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Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Kelbear Re:...like dash cams. (358 comments)

I keep seeing this complaint, but it doesn't make sense. Are people assuming that for every 1 police officer, they will hire 1 video reviewer to watch that officer for his entire shift? That's silly.

Any real-world application, would be local recording on the device. When an incident is reported, the police officer logs the time of his response just like he/she already does all the time. He/she turns in his camera, and any video corresponding to the officer's incident report is then archived and tagged to that incident. You don't need to save 12 hours of video per officer. You just need the time of the incident which will be very brief indeed. If you want more manual control of the evidence. Let the officer pick the video times he wants to log, submit it to evidence dept., evidence dept. fast-forwards through the video to simply verify the officer selected the right times to capture the incident (if not, kick it back to the officer to reselect his times and resubmit to the evidence dept.).

The result is 1) The officer is the only one picking out the video to archive, and no personal/private information will be submitted without the officer's consent. 2) Someone who isn't the officer is ALSO explicitly responsible for ensuring that a video of the incident was submitted to evidence that day. 3) You don't have 4 hours of video recording an officer just filling out paperwork.

3 days ago
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NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

Kelbear Re:In other news... (216 comments)

This is spot on. I have thin, cheap, builder-grade (i.e garbage) windows that were original to the home's construction in 1986. They leak heat like crazy but it'll cost $20k to replace them. Meaning I'd have to live here about a decade to make that cost back in energy savings. But I've also picked up a new job where relocating for 2-3 years is a strong prerequisite for advancement. The major outlays in energy efficiency that would make a big difference for me are incredibly wasteful from a financial perspective. I would love to get my windows replaced, improve wall insulation, get solar panels, solar water heating, the works...if it meant I could save money in the long run. But because I can't take any of that with me, or recover a decent portion back in the home's sale price, I'm never going to do any of those things until I move into a permanent home. Even when I think I'm settling in for the long term, life can be unpredictable, and I'll always have some uncertainty as to how long I'll live in a home before I'll want or need to move. Just last night I was reading in the local paper that a company is attempting to assert right-of-way to build an oil pipeline straight through my suburban NJ township to pipe oil to NYC, which will further impact my home value. Not something I had been planning on happening 4 years ago, but something I might have to move to escape from.

5 days ago
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NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

Kelbear Re:In other news... (216 comments)

You started off pretty well with a reasoned and comprehensible response on the topic of what the future's energy generation profile might have to look like. ....Then you went waaaay off topic and into paranoid-insane areas and crash-landed into talking about Noah's ark and space space stations. Don't you hear how crazy that sounds? I mean, at least it was interesting, but joking aside, maybe get that checked out or something.

5 days ago
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The 2014 Hugo Awards

Kelbear Re:Informative winners list (180 comments)

I really liked Europa Report and I recommend it to sci-fi fans. But the criticisms against that movie were well placed, and Best Dramatic Presentation? If anything, the movie was intentionally downplaying the inherent drama of their predicament in order to keep the movie grounded in a more documentary format. Sci-fi fans should definitely check out Europa Report, but I don't think it would have won here.

about two weeks ago
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Twitter Reports 23 Million Users Are Actually Bots

Kelbear Re:Hmm? (84 comments)

I'm seeing a lot of incorrect responses to you. The SEC isn't directly involved here at all.

For the time being, the SEC is merely the hosting site. Twitter voluntarily disclosed this factoid on it's own. All public companies in the US must file quarterly reports (a.k.a 10-Q) to the public, and all of those are filed on the SEC's site for investors (or aggregators) to access. Twitter decided to disclose this fact in it's latest report because it's important information for investors to have (and they don't want to get sued for withholding material information from investors if this somehow leaks out).

If Twitter is suspected to be withholding material information or puts out incorrect information, THEN the SEC might start to get directly involved.

about three weeks ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

Kelbear Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (246 comments)

I like the advice I heard from an economist on a Freakonomics podcast when asked by a teenager what economics can teach us about romance(specifically with regard to asking a girl out to prom).

The economist starts off by admitting he doesn't know anything more than anyone else on romance. But he suggested that many people suffer from "loss aversion", a tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... ). The young man was afraid of rejection, which might sting briefly, but will likely have minimal negative impact and likely no long term impact. But if she says yes, he'd have a date to prom and a memory of prom he can look back on for years. The guy was just focused on the possibility of rejection.

Unfortunately, "Reduce your loss aversion" isn't as catchy as "YOLO" or "Carpe Diem". But it's more practical life advice for many people.

about three weeks ago
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Valve Discloses Source 2 Engine In Recent DOTA 2 Update

Kelbear Re:HL3? (97 comments)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/da...

"If and when Valve ever makes Half-Life 3, you wonâ(TM)t have to get Steam to play it. In an interview with IGN, Valve says that it wouldnâ(TM)t dream of using its software division to make exclusive games for the Steam OS, because that just isnâ(TM)t the way Valve looks at the world.

âoeYou wonâ(TM)t see an exclusive killer app for SteamOS from us. Weâ(TM)re not going to be doing that kind of thing,â Valveâ(TM)s Greg Comer told IGN."

"...âoeBecause if it can run in both places, we donâ(TM)t like to create those artificial barriers to accessing content. We believe that, in maybe five years from now, folks will find it a quite antiquated notion that you should assume that when you change devices or platforms, that you lose all of your other games and friends. Weâ(TM)re hoping to unify, to get Steam to be as platform- and context-agnostic as possible. You shouldnâ(TM)t have to shed that every generation, or even slightly shed it.â"

about three weeks ago
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Satya Nadella At Six Months: Grading Microsoft's New CEO

Kelbear Re:"mobile first" strategy (151 comments)

Well, let's look at it more closely. If he'd announced a massive general layoff at all levels due to falling profitability, I'd agree that it's a sign the company has one foot in the grave.

But really, a little more than 2/3rds of the layoffs are redundant positions taken on in a recent acquisition. Layoffs are always sure to follow in large acquisitions like this. The remaining third is targeted at MS itself to reduce the layers of management that they've accumulated (i.e further reducing redundancies)

MS was also heavily panned as a company from a financial perspective for piled on bureaucracy, redtape, and piling resources into dead-ends. Under that light, wouldn't it make sense for MS to reduce bureaucracy, red tape, and dead weight?

Really, at this point, the only thing this CEO is known for is announcing a restructuring of MS that has been called for, for some time now.

If he had fired core personnel from the profitable branches of the business, then he'd be hurting the company in the long term for short-term savings. But in THIS case, he's getting rid of redundancies that are hurting the company in the short-term AND in the long-term.

Today, MS is seen as simply a dividend stock with strong profits but little growth to look forward to. But they have a considerable cash balance and they're increasing cash flow from the layoffs. Cash allows a company to try things, and to change things, and so long as they've got the cash for it, there's still the possibility for them to put the cash into a successful venture. 6 months in, it's too early to determine whether this new CEO has found such a venture, it's also too early to write him off.

In the meantime, I hope these employees will get decent severance, and hopefully an even better job elsewhere at a company that needs their skills. There's no sugarcoating it, there is an immense human cost to putting 18,000 people out of work, that will likely affect many more lives than just the 18,000 employees.

about a month ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

Kelbear Re:Disengenous (306 comments)

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money...

According to some of the people interviewed for this NPR piece, some authors are indeed making more through Amazon. So despite Amazon making what appears to be an inordinate margin for simple digital distribution, it might still be better deal for authors than going through traditional publishers who take a larger margin, and spend significantly more overhead to support the older physical distribution model.

about 1 month ago
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Nuclear Missile Command Drops Grades From Tests To Discourage Cheating

Kelbear Re:"unrealistic expectations of the Air Force" ? (122 comments)

Who are you talking to?

The summary states that 90% will continue to remain the minimum requirement for success, as it was before.

  The "unrealistic expectation" was making promotion decisions based solely on the difference between 93% vs 95% on the test score. A 90% was the equivalent of a "D". The problem was that to be promoted, the expectation was to hit that 2% difference (which may very well be a single question on the test) and that would mean the difference between being promoted or not being promoted (which means a host of different responsibilities). It's nice to have a firm metric you can point to in order to justify the decision that was made.

The problem is that the single question out of many, was the deciding factor between 2 candidates to take on a multitude of increased responsibilities, their qualification for which may not be accurately gauged by a single question out of many on a graded exam. For comparison, let's say you have 2 programmers take a test, programmer A gets 93%, and programmer B gets 95%. They both clearly have a very strong grasp of the requisite knowledge, which would you promote? The 95%? Well what if programmer B has excellent book-retention, but is lazy and disorganized in his personal and professional life? Maybe he has poor leadership skills over the people that he/she oversees? The idea of promotion based on a tiny difference in already-strong test scores starts to fall apart.

about a month ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Kelbear Re:Lies and statistics... (570 comments)

This is exactly what I'm going through. We're overdue on a medical bill from the hospital for my 21month old son's birth. In addition to my wife's insurance coverage through her employer, I'd purchased additional 100% coverage for her through my employer.

So, she's got primary insurance and secondary insurance. But the hospital doesn't care. The correct way to bill is to send it to the primary insurer, receive a statement identifying the remaining amount, then send the remaining amount to the secondary insurer, then receive a statement identifying the remaining amount, then send the remaining amount to the patient (which in our case, should never be more than the co-pay as we'd purchased 100% in-network coverage). 1) Primary, 2) Secondary, 3) Patient.

80% of the bills we'd received had been sent after going through just the primary insurance. You can't just pay the bill and claim from your secondary insurance (we'd tried that). Because sometimes the hospital bills you, and then claims from your secondary insurance simultaneously, and then the check from the secondary insurance could go to the hospital, and the hospital gets double-paid by both the patient and the secondary insurance, and god help you trying to explain to the hospital why they need to send you a check. Every bill required multiple follow-up calls to explain to different agents at hospital how to claim from a secondary insurer. My son was born 10/27/12. We're still dealing with the medical bills from his birth.

about a month ago
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Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

Kelbear Re: surpising (168 comments)

Well here's a counterpoint view:
http://seekingalpha.com/articl...

It has a lot of charts and modeling that I don't understand, but at a high-level view, this analyst pins the lack of profitability to Amazon's revenues growing in less profitable business ventures while growing relatively slower in the more profitable business lines. In 2002, 78.8% of revenues were from Media, 19% EGM, and 2.2% Other. In 2014, it's 29.6% Media, 64.8% EGM, and 5.5% Other. Media has much bigger profit margins than EGM(electronics and general merchandise), and the company's weight has shifted heavily behind EGM. AWS has good profit margins, and will grow quickly as it's a relatively new and blossoming business arm, but it's unlikely to grow to the kind of size that would shift Amazon's sales mix away from EGM. Under this guy's reasoning, this means we can expect Amazon's profit margins to continue to bump along the bottom tied to the low margins on EGM, and can't foreseeably create the kind of high margins on EGM that would justify it's high share price, since it's an extremely price sensitive business. It makes this stock questionable in the long-term.

Nevertheless, I still bought shares today because it's a 10% discount off of one earnings report that doesn't show some kind of underlying catastrophe. They'll probably rebound to some degree within a year. And hey, I don't have that author's powers of analysis, but maybe Amazon's shotgun strategy of trying to find new ways to grow their business will find a winner (This latest phone isn't going to be it, but maybe something else will be).

about a month ago
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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

Kelbear There's no mobile presence to unify with. (322 comments)

Unifying the underlying architecture to enable different platforms to talk to each other, while allowing for different UIs for each platform, is a good idea.

But it's pointless, because MS has no mobile presence worth speaking of. Android and iOS are what people use and have already bought into that environment with their data and apps. Just like you can't push people off windows because their customers are already entrenched in windows as their desktop OS, MS won't be pushing anybody off their mobile devices onto a windows-based mobile device. Maybe MS might even develop a few attractive feature for windows phones, but it'll still lack apps, and lack a customer-base needed to drive app development, and ultimately, it's doomed to fail. If they were going to pull this off successfully, it would have had to have taken place years ago.

Now, if they want to unify desktop and mobile, they need to build in Android and iOS support, because that's where people are.. Otherwise, this whole endeavor is pointless.

about a month ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Kelbear Re:Pft (962 comments)

This is a pretty key mistake in the summary.

This article is not about harassment of women in the game industry. It's about harassment of women when they go on the internet.

Gaming isn't even relevant to the article or the issue. On the internet there are people will want to hurt you with whatever information they can get about you. Show that you're _____, you're going to get insulted for _____. Go on the internet, show that you're black, you're going to get called a nigger. Go on the internet, show that you're female, state an opinion, you're going to get called a cunt. Show that you're anything but a medium-built, white male, you're going to get called something unpleasant relating to those differences. If you ARE a medium-built white male, you'll still get called unpleasant things, but they won't be related to your differences because you're considered normal in at least that regard. Bottom Line: the more you get noticed, the more disgusting messages you'll get. If you decide gaming is the source of this problem, you'd be missing the root cause: People are shitty when they're anonymous. I sure wish people weren't like that, but changing the primal behavior of humankind when they're freed from consequence is what we're really talking about here. Not gamers being somehow better or worse than any other constituents of the internet.

I thought the article might have been interesting if it was exposing some unusual treatment they get in person when they're working at their job in the games industry. Instead, it's about them going on the internet making public statements and being upset at the shitty people on the internet. It's sad, but it's also not a surprise, and the conclusions drawn in the article are woefully misplaced.

about a month ago
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

Kelbear Was this a smart move? (300 comments)

I wonder how this will affect Microsoft's stock price? If you cut a lot of heads you might lose some productivity and the quality of your product might drop. But it seems like everybody already hates what Microsoft is selling, but they have to buy it anyway. In that kind of situation, lowering their costs to expand their profit for no change in revenue doesn't seem like a bad idea. This is, of course, assuming those layoffs aren't coming out of key R&D departments (though the company is already seen as primarily a dividend stock with limited growth prospects). They've got a ton of cash and steady profits, this certainly isn't a move forced by necessity.

The article suggests that the cuts are primarily hitting ex-Nokia employees that serve redundant functions with the pre-existing MS departments, as well as marketing and engineering. Should they have been kept on? He did mention his future focus would be in mobile. Anyway, I hope these people land on their feet, maybe in a better job and in a better work environment. A lot of people's lives get upended when big layoffs hit, more than just the employees laid off.

about a month and a half ago
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FCC Public Comment Period For Net Neutrality Ends Tomorrow, July 15

Kelbear Re:Don't forget to comment (69 comments)

That's a very important point to make, people give up on writing to their politicians because they always get canned responses, but those canned responses (at least in NJ) are relevant to the point of my letters, which meant that a staffer read the letter, understood my position, and had to pull up the relevant response template.

In the process of doing so, the staffer adds my position to the politician's mail summary to get a sense of where their voter base stands (as only a few voters bother to even write). This doesn't necessarily mean the politician will do what I want, but in their own self-interest they'll weigh the cost of votes from going against their base, against the lobbyist's campaign contribution buying access to substitute votes, thus their mental calculation is still impacted by my letter.

about a month and a half ago
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Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Kelbear Re:Cashless can't happen, here is why ... (753 comments)

Would Google Wallet or amazon payments work for personal sales? They charge you the transaction fee if you use a credit card as your method of payment, but to send money via debit payment it's free. The seller just needs to provide an e-mail address. When you get the e-mail confirmation, you let the person walk off with the goods. I'm sure slashdotters will have security concerns about providing an e-mail address to a stranger, but it's not terribly different from the risks of physical mugging

These kinds of transactions require e-mail addresses, bank accounts, and smart phones, so obviously there will be people who won't have the prerequisites, but perhaps a few decades from now they'll be commonplace enough to suffice. More likely, I think physical cash will just continue to circulate albeit at a much slower rate to facilitate these kinds of niche transactions even after digital payment becomes the norm.

about a month and a half ago
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Watch Dogs Graphics and Gameplay: PC Vs. Xbox One, With Surprising Results

Kelbear Re:Really bad game to use for this comparison. (210 comments)

There's a significant issue specific to Titanfall, where the mouse sensitivity is linked to your framerate. If you experience slowdown within the game, a movement of the hand that normally moves the crosshairs 15degrees, may only move it 10 degrees.

It's like trying to aim with someone else's hand on a second mouse fighting back against your crosshairs. That kind of unpredictable mouse sensitivity variation also hits at the most inopportune times since a framerate drop is often concurrent with increased activity in the game.

Most games, even if you drop from 60 fps to 30fps, a hand motion that moves the crosshairs 15 degrees, will still move the crosshairs the same 15 degrees.

about 2 months ago
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Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative

Kelbear Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (78 comments)

Buzz did an AMA yesterday on reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/c...

He elaborated a bit on why he thinks NASA should target Mars, and the short version is that NASA is spread thin with a tiny fraction of the budget it once had to venture to the moon. NASA needs a passion project on which they can fire on all cylinders and do something big. We can visit an asteroid, and few will raise an eyebrow. If we go to Mars, it'll be a landmark achievement that the world will make note of. It's a dream that can focus and revitalize the space program, whereas the asteroid visitation is simply aiming too low as the overarching goal for NASA.

about 2 months ago
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College Offers Athletic Scholarships To Gamers

Kelbear Re:$19,000 — half the cost tuition and room (102 comments)

I think international enrollment may very well start to be a thing.

But I would point out that in Europe, there's people crossing countries on a daily basis just commuting to work, while in the US, there are families who haven't left the country except for brief vacations, or not at all. Living in the US is all they know, and all they want, and the parents are already twisted up inside about having their kids leave home, to consider sending them halfway around the world adds to their stress.

For many years college has been seen as the indispensable class gateway to access the middle-class life. No introductory price could be high enough to offset the prosperity the graduates would see on in their career. This vision changed VERY suddenly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...

The cost of college grew at a lightning pace since the time the parents had gone to college, the kids had never dealt in financial matters, and the intangible debts accrued were a problem for the future when the kids would already be enjoying a successful career that would allow them to pay it down...except that with the recent financial crisis and recent-graduate employment rates falling off a cliff as recently laid-off middle-age workers are taking up entry-level positions, the young graduates found themselves with significant debt but without the middle-class career path they'd counted on to help pay down that debt. I think that international enrollment will indeed grow in response to this problem unless something else is done to address it. It's just that this problem had hit so suddenly that the culture of choosing colleges hasn't shifted quickly enough to keep up. Colleges transformed from a gold mines to minefields in a short time span. We're seeing the opinions shifting now though.

It's important to bear in mind that the massive spike in tuition is at least, a progressive pricing structure (though it has its flaws and gaps). US colleges defend their pricing by saying that the ridiculously high tuition is the list price that gets charged to the more affluent families, and that inflated price helps allow for tuition discounts to the less affluent families to get into the college.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money...

There is some nuance to that pricing structure. TL;DR, if a student goes to a reputable STEM college to major in STEM, then that high tuition is funding the salaries of famous professors and their projects that make your STEM college reputable (and your degree as well). If a student goes to that college to major in art history, they're probably going to get a very bad deal out of it.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: Why do mobile versions of websites suck?

Kelbear Kelbear writes  |  about 8 months ago

Kelbear (870538) writes "As user traffic over mobile devices grows in leaps and bounds, it's surprising to me as a layman that so many companies still have crippled and broken mobile pages in late 2013. There must be justifiable reasons for this, so: Fellow Slashdotters, can you please share the obstacles you've seen in your own companies that have delayed or defeated efforts to develop competent mobile sites? Are the issues in obtaining or maintaining compatibility driven by platform owners like Apple and Google?"

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