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Comments

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Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

Tony Isaac It IS possible to compete against "free" (275 comments)

This article actually points it out: When the big players drop the prices to below cost, it is possible to still compete, by offering add-ons specific to certain types of customers, or better customer service, or in some other way differentiating yourselves from the big players. This applies both when the big guys are Amazon and Google, or when they are Walmart and Home Depot.

about a week ago
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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

Tony Isaac Why would they want to? (299 comments)

The government is much more interested in listening in, than stopping you from using your device.

about two weeks ago
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New NSA-Funded Code Rolls All Programming Languages Into One

Tony Isaac Jack of all trades, master of none (306 comments)

This is the problem with languages that try to be everything...they aren't really good at anything.

about three weeks ago
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Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code

Tony Isaac All software is full of bugs (150 comments)

It doesn't matter if it is Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or Linux, all software is full of bugs.

For that matter, all of everything constructed by human beings...is full of defects, or potential defects, or security vulnerabilities. Your house, for example. You have a lock on your front door, but it takes a thief just a few seconds to kick the door in. Or your car...a thief can break into it in seconds, even if you have electronic theft protection. I'd call those "security vulnerabilities."

It's the nature of all human creations, software or hardware, electronic or mechanical.

So what do we do? We improve security until it becomes "just secure enough" that we can live with the risks, and move on.

about a month ago
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Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

Tony Isaac Re:Monopoly (701 comments)

ONLY when it's somebody ELSE!

about a month and a half ago
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Nest Announces New Smart Home API

Tony Isaac Just great... (38 comments)

Now hackers can focus on ONE API to place their pop-up ads inside your house, in your picture frame, on your refrigerator door. OR I can just see shady repair shops driving by your house with a device that disables your thermostat, then send someone to your door just in the nick of time, offering to fix it!

about 2 months ago
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Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Tony Isaac Re:You make it... (519 comments)

Job insecurity is a good thing. It has a way of motivating people to do what they have to do, to keep their job. Sure, some schools will have stupid expectations of teachers, and will fire them for the wrong reasons. But there are SOME schools with leadership that is insightful and wants the best for their children. These schools will try hard to keep good teachers, and let bad ones go. The old system tied the hands of administration at these schools, meaning they had to keep the bad teachers. Tenure rules made sure that ALL schools would have to keep bad teachers, even the ones that do have good leadership. The schools that have bad leadership...the children at those schools are screwed regardless of tenure.

about 3 months ago
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'Pop-Up' Bus Service Learns Boston Riders' Rhythms, Creates Routes Accordingly

Tony Isaac Recursive algorithm (51 comments)

If these people have ever watched any TV, they will know that the ultimate algorithms are recursive algorithms. If they used those, they should be in good shape figuring out where people want to go!

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Tech Customers Forced Into Supporting Each Other?

Tony Isaac Try getting free technical support for your car! (253 comments)

Your check engine light comes on. See how much help you get calling GM! They'll tell you to take it to a dealer (which, by the way, is not part of GM).

Oh, so you got a "free" 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty? Oh yes, you paid for that, and it wasn't cheap. You just weren't allowed to opt out.

Why do we expect free technical support for computers?

about 3 months ago
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On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google

Tony Isaac Google is just giving people what they want (108 comments)

Personally, when I search Google for something, I get what I want on the first page of listings, Usually, what I want is the first or second item in the list. Google has gotten really, really good at figuring out what people want.

And it's not MetaFilter.

In this case, I think MetaFilter's problems are more related to their own inability to stay relevant, than anything Google did.

about 3 months ago
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Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.

Tony Isaac Only a few big names (154 comments)

Yes, there are crazy amounts being paid for certain lucky tech companies. SnapChat turning down $3 billion, for example. Sorry, the company simply isn't worth more than half of the S&P 500. So in the sense that some social media-related companies are being bought by the giants for huge dollar amounts, there is a bubble.

But the bubble isn't extending to the bottom of the food chain. In the 90's, anybody who could say "Java" could get six figures, and any guy with a hair-brained idea and a few programmers, could get VC money from rich guys who did random things to choose where to sink their money. It's not like that now. These days, you have to actually be able to write software, to get a good job, and you have to have a viable business, to get VC dollars.

about 3 months ago
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Fixing the Pain of Programming

Tony Isaac What pain? (294 comments)

I always thought programming was fun!

Maybe if it's painful to you, you should try a different line of work.

about 3 months ago
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Understanding an AI's Timescale

Tony Isaac Computers already deal with slow humans (189 comments)

In terms of processor cycles, it takes a LONG time to type any kind of command for the computer to execute. It doesn't mind, it just spins happily, waiting for the end of our slow key presses.

Just as we can interpret input that comes in the form of visual cues, speech, or written words, any future AI is likely to have all of these capabilities as well. And that AI, being built by humans, is going to be well-adapted to human speed. Why would we make AI that was NOT suited to interaction with humans?

about 3 months ago
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Understanding an AI's Timescale

Tony Isaac Re:Incorrect Timescale (189 comments)

Great point. Interestingly, speech recognition is also a massive undertaking for the human brain, we just don't notice, because our brains don't have just one processor, or even eight or sixteen cores, but millions of neurons processing audio data at the same time. It's going to take a while before inexpensive computers can match that kind of processing power.

about 3 months ago
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Apple To Face Lawsuit For iMessage Glitch

Tony Isaac Re:Anti-competitive (238 comments)

This assumes that Apple engineers are smart enough to do this intentionally. I suspect the problem is more due to incompetence than evil intent.

Domain registrars are another story. If you've tried lately to renew a domain name registration even with Network Solutions, the original registrar, you'll find it really, really difficult to just renew, without buying some additional service you didn't want. And once you do, good luck trying to get your money back!

about 4 months ago
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Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide

Tony Isaac "Somehow"??? (564 comments)

"Somehow" makes it sound mysterious and inexplicable. I'd be willing to bet that the truth is far less sensational. I could see a student tech assistant doing something like this on a dare, or a low-skilled admin just clicking OK one too many times, without actually reading the warning message.

about 4 months ago
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Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up

Tony Isaac Re:Different industry, but ... (232 comments)

You didn't say what industry you were describing. In every industry, experience generally leads towards higher productivity. But in software development, experience often leads to productivity that is orders of magnitude higher. A competent older software engineer can run circles around a younger worker, even if that younger worker puts in lots of hours.

about 4 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

Tony Isaac Just recognizing the reality (490 comments)

The Idaho stop law just recognizes the actual behavior of bicyclists. This is what all traffic laws are supposed to do anyway. Speed limits, for example, are in most states required to be set according to how fast motorists actually drive.

The only places I've ever seen bicyclists obey stop signs or lights, are in very busy intersections, where they would be crazy to flout the signals. But I admit, when I'm riding my bike around the neighborhood, I don't stop for any stop signs, and you probably don't either.

about 4 months ago
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How To Prevent the Next Heartbleed

Tony Isaac Re:Preventable! (231 comments)

No doubt. So why didn't YOU take steps to prevent the Heartbleed vulnerability? The same reason everybody else didn't: time. Finding bugs takes time. Sure, you can automate, but that automation also takes time. So we are caught between two desires: 1) the desire to add or improve functionality, and 2) the desire to avoid vulnerabilities. The two desires compete for the amount of time that is available, so it becomes a trade-off.

It's also an arms race. There is real financial incentive for finding vulnerabilities that can be exploited, far more incentive than there is for software authors to prevent exploitation.

Given that it's not FUN to find vulnerabilities, unless you are the guy trying to exploit it, there are always going to be vulnerabilities.

about 4 months ago
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How To Prevent the Next Heartbleed

Tony Isaac Not preventable (231 comments)

Of course, we should find ways to improve quality control in open source software. But the next Heartblee is going to happen. It's like asking, "How can we prevent crime from happening?" Sure, you can and should take measures to prevent it, but there will always be unexpected loopholes in software, that allow unwanted access.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Newsweek will go all-digital in 2013

Tony Isaac Tony Isaac writes  |  about 2 years ago

Tony Isaac writes "Newsweek has announced that it will cease print publication at the end of the year, going all-digital. The new digital edition will still be based on a subscription model. Who will be next?"
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