Beta
×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

### Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

# Comments

top

### Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality

Re:This seems different (134 comments)

It is still exactly a neutrality violation, because the packets are being treated differently. As a customer, I should not need to worry about whether wikipedia or netflix or MyUpAndComingVideoSite.com has paid the ISP bribe/extortion. Neutrality has been broken at that point.

about three weeks ago
top

### Machine Learning Used To Predict Military Suicides

Re:5% of patients? (74 comments)

Good writing eliminates ambiguity. Good reading chooses the most likely interpretation in cases of ambiguity. It is immediately obvious that good reading can alleviate the effects of bad writing, but cannot eliminate the effects, as the most likely interpretation still has some chance of being wrong.

As it is written, the sentence "More than half of the suicides were committed by just five percent of patients." is as silly as "Sixty percent of the time, works every time."

about a month ago
top

### Tech Firm Fined For Paying Imported Workers \$1.21 Per Hour

Re:\$3500 fine? (286 comments)

Let's look at the expected gain/loss. Assume that x is the probability that the company gets caught. That means there is an x probability of being down by \$3500, and a (1-x) probability of being up by \$40k. The break-even point occurs when x=0.08. That means that if this behavior is repeated over and over, we need to catch them at it at least 92% of the time for it to not be financially viable, giving these penalties.

This is the entire purpose of punitive damages. It is impossible to catch someone every single time. The punitive damages are to make it be so costly that one time that they are caught that the entire practice must stop. A \$3500 fine is an absolute joke when the stolen wages are over ten times that amount.

about 2 months ago
top

### Edward Snowden is ...

Re:Wrong by law (601 comments)

So, someone stumbling upon information is allowed, but someone seeking after that information is not? If someone believes that what the NSA does is objectionable, then the best course of action is to put a stop to it. If that means taking the job deliberately to expose it, then that is still the moral route.

about a year and a half ago
top

### UK Passes "Instagram Act"

Re:lol wut? (230 comments)

I would love to see this used as a legal basis for abandonware.

about a year and a half ago
top

### NYC Police Comm'r: Privacy Is 'Off the Table' After Boston Bombs

Re:no problem (508 comments)

Privacy vs. no privacy is a false dichotomy. In my own home, I can reasonably expect that no one will observe me. On a podium in front of a crown, I can reasonably expect that everyone will observe me. Walking down the street, I can reasonably expect that people will see me, notice me, but that I will be one of many, unrecognized other than by those who directly know me. It is this last expectation that is violated by omnipresent cameras.

about a year and a half ago
top

### Stephen Hawking Warns Against Confining Ourselves To Earth

Re: Earth isn't delicate, (414 comments)

A plague of locusts swarms outward, consuming everything in its path. A swarm of humans, on the other hand, would swarm outward, terraforming planets and increasing habitability. One leaves the area less able to support life, the other leaves the area more able to support life. The pristine state of the universe is not the best for supporting life, and so we should feel no obligation to keep it as it is.

about a year and a half ago
top

### Court: 4th Amendment Applies At Border, Password Protected Files Not Suspicious

Re:It's still smart to look clean... (194 comments)

Or, since you're already going that route, just use a one-time pad.

about 2 years ago
top

### A New Version of MS Office Every 90 Days

Re:Changing the "every other version sucks" model? (292 comments)

Still disliking screen real estate being used by uselessly large, annoyingly nested menus that change on the fly? Yup. I can use either. That doesn't mean that both are equally well-designed.

about 2 years ago
top

### Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?

Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (292 comments)

Physical distance, while providing a valid metric, is useless for gaining any understanding. Packet transmission time is not a constant, and so does not satisfy the requirement for a metric.

about 2 years ago
top

### Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?

Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (292 comments)

Not really sure what gives that impression. Neither adding nor scalar multiplication of a server location yield anything useful. I cannot think of a way to define an inner product between two servers, nor any relevant information that could be gained from it. What would be the distance between two servers? In short, a mathematical space has nothing to do with the concept of "cyberspace".

The closest mathematical structure I can see would be an unordered set whose elements are individual servers, but this is so generic of a structure as to be entirely useless.

about 2 years ago
top

### Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?

Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (292 comments)

Metaphors are there to give insight into concepts that are difficult to understand. If a metaphor provides correct understanding by giving intuition based on the metaphor, then it is a good metaphor. If a metaphor provides wrong answers when applying it, then it is wrong as a metaphor.

about 2 years ago
top

### Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?

Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (292 comments)

It isn't a lack of imagination that causes one to see cyberspace as idiotic. Rather, those who see cyberspace as a useful concept have a lack of understanding. It is an incorrect metaphor, because it implies connections that do not exist. For example, it implies that someone must be physically located somewhere in order to affect a location. It implies that a person cannot affect multiple locations at the same time. It implies that a person is capable of littering without the permission of the owner. It implies that borders can be enforced. It implies that there are neighboring areas. (My address being 1 away from yours implies that I have the house next to yours. My IP address being 1 away from yours implies that they were purchased as part of the same lot.)

I'm all for metaphors when they are accurate and increase understanding. When they are outright wrong, then the metaphors are idiotic, and should be dropped.

about 2 years ago
top

### AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad.

Re:An iPhone just to make calls? (798 comments)

I have wifi available everywhere except in transit. I have no need of a data plan whatsoever. It would be nice, however, to have my phone be more user-friendly, able to notify me of mail, and have a few games on it for passing the time.

Of course I would be doing more with it than just making calls. However, I would not be doing more on the network than making calls. The requirement of a data plan prevents that.

about 2 years ago
top

### The Scourge of Error Handling

Re:The third option (536 comments)

I would say that it is much less verbose in the case where errors need to be propagated upward. This is exactly why not every function call has a try/catch around it. Suppose I am writing a function that accepts a filename, interprets the text in the file, and then returns some modified version of the text. With error codes, I would need to explicitly check that open_file has returned a valid file handler. I can't do anything without a valid file, so I then need to propagate the error upward. On the other hand, with exceptions, I could simply not catch that exception from open_file. I can't do anything to recover, so I should let the exception propagate upward to wherever called me, and then let them deal with it.

about 2 years ago
top

### USPTO Head: Current Patent Litigation Is 'Reasonable'

Re:Can we have a little less bias in the summaries (153 comments)

While there may be two sides to every story, I do not believe that they should be presented equally. I would expect someone who insists that the time is a cube to be laughed out of any rational discussion. Equally, I would expect someone who insists that our patent system is the "envy of the world" and that increasing the prevalence of lawsuits are evidence of a well-functioning patent system to be laughed at.

about 2 years ago
top

### Apple Patents Page Turn Animation

Re:The facepalm is strong with this one. (192 comments)

The problem is that there is then no indication of which way the page has turned. If I had a physical button, I would agree. However, with touch screens being the current fad, there is ambiguity in knowing whether the machine knows which direction you have turned the page. An animation as the page turns displays this.

more than 2 years ago

# Slashdot: News for Nerds

I am here by the will of the people and I won't leave until I get my raincoat back. - a slogan of the anarchists in Richard Kadrey's "Metrophage"

Trademarks property of their respective owners. Comments owned by the poster.
Copyright © 2014 Dice. All Rights Reserved. Slashdot is a Dice Holdings, Inc. service

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?