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Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

afgam28 Re: Pope Francis - fuck your mother (894 comments)

Even if there was a choice, there's nothing wrong with choosing to be black or Asian or gay. But there is something wrong with choosing to believe a fairytale, and we should be able to make fun of that.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

afgam28 Recent but obsolete software (790 comments)

For example:

The Windows 95 startup sound - https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

The ICQ uh-oh sound - https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

RIngtones, notification sounds and alarms from old phones that we no longer use. I've found that I can still instantly recognize sounds from handsets that I haven't used in years, even old versions of Android (e.g. the default alarm clock from my Nexus S running Gingerbread).

about three weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

afgam28 Re:Never been better (598 comments)

I agree. Anyone who thinks that Apple's current software is bad clearly doesn't remember what Mac OS was like before X.

about three weeks ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

afgam28 Re:Aren't they all? (300 comments)

You're technically correct - the best kind of correct :)

about three weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

afgam28 Re:Dupe (840 comments)

Then why is my over-50-year-old dad always asking me to fix his computer?

about three weeks ago
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Box Office 2014: Moviegoing Hits Two-Decade Low

afgam28 Re:The main issue is (400 comments)

Hollywood does take risks, the problem is that the movie-going public doesn't! There were plenty of good movies last year but 11 of the 15 top movies in 2014 were remakes or sequels or superhero movies. Sadly the previous list has no correlation to the movies that audiences and critics actually enjoyed.

The problem is that people choose movies to go and see by optimizing for the size of its marketing campaign, or opening weekend gross. So they go and participate in a feedback loop that encourages Hollywood to make more and more low-risk superhero sequels. A much better way to avoid disappointment is to choose a movie that other people who have seen the movie (i.e. reviewers) actually liked, and avoid the ones that reviewers have told you are going to be shit. It sounds obvious but people don't do this.

Even here on Slashdot where we were warned that The Hobbit would be shit. But I see other posts where Slashdotters still went and watched it and are posting here that it was shit. As if that was a surprise, and it's all Hollywood's fault!

A few people here have already mentioned Rotten Tomatoes. If you're not already using it or something similar, you should. Otherwise you're probably part of the problem.

about a month ago
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FBI Monitoring Hacking Targets For Retaliation

afgam28 Re:Hooray Cyberpunk! (96 comments)

Most DDoS attacks are launched from zombie botnets, so there's a lot of collateral damage when someone does a "retaliatory" or "self-defensive" attack. It usually misses the true perpetrator's computer.

Anyway I'm not saying that DDoS is "not really that bad". My point was more that bad analogies lead to bad conclusions. It looks to me like a disgruntled employee hacked into SPE and hurt the feelings of a few celebrities who made some shitty movie, and somehow this has resulted in two nation-states getting involved. All because our leaders, the media and society don't really understand what's happening, so they've shoehorned this into a flawed mental model that they do understand: war.

about a month ago
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FBI Monitoring Hacking Targets For Retaliation

afgam28 Re:Hooray Cyberpunk! (96 comments)

Does anyone else feel that using the term "cyberwar" to describe this is an insult to anyone who has ever been through a real war? Insofar as there is a conflict between two or more parties, it is like a war. But that's the furthest that the analogy can be taken without it falling apart. Let's get some things straight: computers aren't people, DDoS attacks cause orders of magnitude less suffering than real war, and using a hyperbolic analogy leads to massive escalations of a conflict (e.g. Obama getting involved and taking an entire country offline).

I propose we replace this with a car analogy :). A bunch of people, possibly North Korean, possibly not, have gone and stolen a lot of cars and parked them in JP Morgan's car park. Now all the bankers, and their customers, can't find parking and can't get into the office. Banking and financial services have been denied. Then some guy at JP Morgan realizes that those cars all have New Jersey plates - that's where the attacks are coming from! So they go steal a bunch of other cars, drive them across the Hudson River, and use them to gridlock all the streets in Jersey City. Problem solved - there's now ample parking for Jamie Dimon's Maserati!

Except that because cars were stolen and transported interstate, the FBI now has to get involved.

about a month ago
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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

afgam28 Re: Bewitched? (222 comments)

If they're comparing her to Steve Jobs and expecting her to create Yahoo's iPod, then it may be worth pointing out that Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 and the iPod wasn't released until 2001. Two years is a long time but sometimes great products take even longer than that.

about a month ago
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Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

afgam28 Re:"Chinese"?! (150 comments)

Mandarin and Cantonese differ a lot when spoken, but have similar written forms (especially for more formal writing). Since the study looks at written languages (books and websites) it makes sense to lump the many written forms of Chinese together.

about a month and a half ago
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LA Mayor Proposes Earthquake Retrofits On Thousands of Buildings

afgam28 Another (178 comments)

There seems to be this idea that rather than regulate something, you just need to inform consumers of the risks, and then the free market will sort everything out. It sounds great in theory but doesn't seem to work well in practice. How many times have you seen a sign saying that something "contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm"? Most Californians ignore it and most people would probably ignore this list of "unsafe" buildings too.

about a month and a half ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

afgam28 Re:I disagree (257 comments)

The only time this matters is during peak times - who cares how much space a vehicle takes up when you've got plenty of extra road capacity?

about 2 months ago
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Google Chrome Will Block All NPAPI Plugins By Default In January

afgam28 Re:Why Chrome when you can use Chromium? (107 comments)

I suspect they do some, but either way you're still "the product". Or is it more about privacy (which is a totally different thing from being exploited)?

about 2 months ago
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Firefox Will Soon Offer One-Click Buttons For Your Search Engines

afgam28 Re:Huh (101 comments)

I bet it has something to do with the $5 billion they pull in every year in revenue.

about 2 months ago
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Google Chrome Will Block All NPAPI Plugins By Default In January

afgam28 Re:Why Chrome when you can use Chromium? (107 comments)

An honest question: if you don't want to be "the product" then what are you doing here? How do you think Slashdot makes its money?

about 2 months ago
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Australian Post Office Opens Mail Forwarding Warehouse In the USA

afgam28 Re:I'm not clear (142 comments)

Yep, sellers charge Australians more literally "just because they can". They sometimes make up excuses like shipping or localization, and sometimes buyers even believe them! But the reality is that Australians are willing to pay more than Americans for the same thing, so sellers take advantage of this.

A similar situation of price discrimination exists for university textbooks. US edition textbooks can cost about double the price of the "international edition" of the exact same book. This is because Americans are willng to pay more than the rest of the world for the same book.

about 3 months ago
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Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

afgam28 Re:Cloud (283 comments)

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. It's interesting that Ballmer would say this, given that Microsoft made a big effort to carbon copy AWS during his leadership.

about 3 months ago
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Preferred smartphone screen size?

afgam28 Re:Missing option (258 comments)

I feel like smartphones have replaced TVs as the consumer electronics device to be smug about not owning. With apologies to the Onion:

CHAPEL HILL, NC–Area resident Jonathan Green does not own a smartphone, a fact he repeatedly points out to friends, family, and coworkers–as well as to his mailman, neighborhood convenience-store clerks, and the man who cleans the hallways in his apartment building.

"I, personally, would rather spend my time doing something useful than play with my smartphone," Green told a random woman Monday at the Suds 'N' Duds Laundromat, noticing the other customers' gigantic phablets. "I don't even own one."

According to Melinda Elkins, a coworker of Green's at The Frame Job, a Chapel Hill picture-frame shop, Green steers the conversation toward smartphones whenever possible, just so he can mention not owning one.

Elkins said Green always makes sure to read technology news sites like Slashdot and Hacker News, "just so he can point out all the devices and apps he's never heard of."

"Last week, on some website, there was an article about Instagram," Elkins said, "and Jonathan announced, 'I have absolutely no idea what this app is. Insta-what? Am I supposed to have heard of this? I'm sorry, but I haven't.'"

Tony Gerela, who lives in the apartment directly below Green's and occasionally chats with the 37-year-old by the mailboxes, is well aware of his neighbor's disdain for smartphones.

"About a week after I met him, we were talking, and I said something about screen sizes being too big," Gerela said. "He asked me what I was talking about, and when I told him it was about smartphones, he just went off, saying how the last phone he owned was some device from Motorola, and even then, he would only use it to make phone calls."

Added Gerela: "Once, I made the mistake of saying I forgot to charge my battery last night, and he started in with, 'Last night? I don't know about you, but I only charge my battery twice a week!"

"I'm not an elitist," Green said. "It's just that I'd much rather create content on my desktop than stand there passively swiping away at some glass screen."

"If I need a fix of passive content consumption, I'll go watch a movie I downloaded from BitTorrent on my desktop," Green said. "I certainly wouldn't waste my time with so-called social media or, God forbid, any of the inane social apps the new tech startups pump out."

Continued Green: "People don't realize just how much time their smartphone-using habit–or, shall I say, addiction–eats up. An hour of smartphone usage a day, over the course of a month, adds up to 30 hours. That's more than an entire day! Why not spend that time living your own life, instead of broadcasting to your friends every little thing that you do? I can't begin to tell you how happy I am not to own a smartphone."

about 3 months ago
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Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

afgam28 Re:More changes I don't want ... (173 comments)

1. UI innovations are still innovative, even if the underlying technology has been around for a while.

2. There are no existing email clients that bundle semantically similar emails and extract relevant highlights. Even if you're not impressed with the ui there is still a lot of interesting machine learning behind this.

about 3 months ago

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