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Microsoft Gearing Up To Release a Smartwatch of Its Own

gstoddart Re:from the submitter (161 comments)

Ad revenue.

SlashDice isn't about supporting anything which doesn't generate revenue for Dice.

12 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Stop PulseAudio From Changing Sound Settings?

gstoddart Re:are the debian support forums down? (279 comments)

And, can you talk to people who have Skype with them?

Or are you thinking everyone you know is going to start using some open source product to talk to you because you say so?

If they're not compatible with Skype, then they're not replacements for it.

Open Source isn't always the solution, especially when they're not compatible with the things they're supposed to replace.

2 days ago
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Warner Brothers Announces 10 New DC Comics Movies

gstoddart Re:I don't get it... (186 comments)

The people that go to them don't expect much and hence are rarely disappointed

Actually, prior to X-Men, we were regularly disappointed. Because everyone who tried to make a comic-based movie did a terrible job prior to that. There's almost not a single comic-based movie before this which treated the material well and didn't devolve into some corny parody,

Are they escapism and popcorn cinema? Absolutely they are.

But, what you can't argue with is the bottom line -- they make money. Lots and lots of money. When X-Men came out on DVD, the sales of the DVD were higher than the highest grossing films in the box office. That was the first time sales of a DVD had done that, and suddenly people stood up and took notice.

Disney bought Marvel for something like $4 billion dollars. I believe the Iron man films alone have brought in something like $4 billion dollars, and that's possibly before we hit the merchandising.

So, you may not like them (and nobody says you have to), but there's really no denying that the Marvel properties which have been turned into film since X-Men have generated huge amounts of money, have been seen by tons of people, and have even more films (and money) in the pipeline.

DC is hoping they can cash in on the action, but they may not have as many properties as people relate to, and if they don't have a "big vision" kind of deal where someone who knows the material keeps it such that the fans still watch it.

If they carve it up, do a bunch of things which don't go according to canon, or generally do a half job and expect to just roll in the money, they could be seriously disappointed.

Marvel has been smart, they know the rules and stories of their characters, and have entrusted it in the hands of people who actually know the material. Which means the people who want to see them don't find themselves halfway through a film going "no, that's not right".

Contrast this with the Spider Man series, which is a Marvel property but has been in the hands of Sony. They're on their second reboot of the damned thing. We don't want yet another Peter Parker origin story because you don't want to pay the actor. If that's all you have, just stop.

So, "pre sold to comic fans" isn't a gimme. If DC just acts all cynical and "give me the money", they might find they've made crappy films that nobody has any interest in seeing. Think Dare Devil and Electra.

The proof is in the pudding, and in the revenues. Just jumping on the comic book movie isn't a guarantee of anything.

4 days ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

gstoddart Re:iOS 8.1? Already? (352 comments)

Yeah, that's kind of my point. If you're releasing a major version a month or so before you launch new products, you'd hope you have the OS for those products squared away.

This sounds like they pushed out iOS 8, ran into problems and released iOS 8.0.1, and apparently 8.0.2, and then 8.0.3.

And now they're rolling out 8.1.

That is a lot of churn in a relatively short period of time. Which tells me I'm still going to wait a while, because I expect 8.1.1 or 8.2 to appear within a month or so.

4 days ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

gstoddart iOS 8.1? Already? (352 comments)

Wow, so it wasn't much more than a month ago they rolled out iOS 8, and then bug fixes for it, and now iOS 8.1.

That kind of thing doesn't instill a lot of confidence.

I'm curious to know how many people have been holding off on upgrading to iOS 8 to begin with. I know I looked at it for my ipod touch and sorta decided to wait a little while and let it sort itself out. I think I'm glad I did.

4 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

gstoddart Re:Let me get this right (826 comments)

No, the concern of Piketty, at least the main one is that our current system causes the return on capital investment to be proportionally greater than the growth of the economy

Of course it is.

When large corporations offshore, they have the net effect of shrinking the economy, keeping more as profits, and then paying the executives handsome bonuses.

The amount your wealth goes up is proportional to how much you're removing from the economy for your own ends.

And corporations don't give a sweet damn about the economy at large. Just their share of it.

If corporations cause the economy to grow, it's purely a side effect.

Capitalism is a big giant ponzi scheme. And the people in charge have successfully been moving more and more of the stuff into their control, while taking more and more away from the rest of us.

4 days ago
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Adobe: Click-to-Play Would Have Avoided Flood of Java Zero-days

gstoddart Re:Breakage (111 comments)

No, that's the problem of the companies who own these apps. But it's not my problem.

But making the overall internet less secure to account for the people who own these apps? Like I said, dumb.

Make the default click-to-play. If people or corporations want to override that, then they can assume the risk.

Making it insecure by default to accommodate corporations is stupid. There's already settings on my work IE that I can't change myself, so this is a solved problem. Corporations already manage those settings.

Of course, this doesn't fix the fact that Java and Flash are still security holes waiting to happen. Flash has been dangerous to run for over a decade. And since Flash isn't click to play by default, for Adobe to be saying this is a bit of a joke.

And Java? I honestly haven't seen any site outside of corporate apps which have used that in a very long time. I'm sure some still exist, but embedded Java in web pages seems to have almost gone away.

It's time to stop treating browsers as things we trust to just say "oh, sure, you've got some code for me to run? Awesome, I'll get on that!". Since everybody uses them, someone is always going to try to exploit them -- and so far Flash and Java seem to be pretty rich targets.

4 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

gstoddart Re:Let me get this right (826 comments)

A tax on consumption hits those hardest who consume the most: the middle and lower classes.

Not quite ... they consume the most relative to their income.

So, if Bill Gates buys a $50 million dollar home and a $200K car ... the amount he gets taxed relative to his net-worth is trivial.

The problem is many people view economics as saying that the goal of capitalism is to ensure as much income inequality as possible.

Because, apparently, that's the whole point.

4 days ago
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Adobe: Click-to-Play Would Have Avoided Flood of Java Zero-days

gstoddart Re:Breakage (111 comments)

Click to Play is great for the public web but it is important to remember that there is a huge darknet of private intranet sites as well. Click to play breaks a lot of Java intranet applications that assumed that the applet would load at page load time without any user interaction.

Know whose problem that is? The owners of those private intranets and applications.

Make the default click to play. If companies have stuff which is broken by that, change the setting and accept the general security risk when your users hit other websites and get hosed as a result of it.

But deciding everyone else should be less secure because it might break the internal applications of companies ... well, that's just dumb.

Of course, I've never agreed with Java and Flash on most websites ... in my experience, neither are actually used on any site I need to use or add anything of value. And both of them have historically been the source of more nuisance than benefit.

Especially since Flash seems to be primarily used for advertising, and badly implemented site navigation. I'm not sure I've even seen any embedded java in any page I've seen for years.

4 days ago
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Adobe: Click-to-Play Would Have Avoided Flood of Java Zero-days

gstoddart Re:Click-to-Play Would Improve Flash, Too (111 comments)

And you do realize that javascript is not the same as either Java or Flash in this regard, right?

As to javascript, well, by now I'm sure many of us are only allowing after we whitelisted. My browsers reject it by default and have to have it enabled.

But letting Java plugins and Flash plugins run without prompting has been a security hole for a very long time by now. it's not like people haven't known about it .. it's right up there with the stupidity of Windows doing an autorun of "hey, you put in a device, let me run the first bit of code I can see". What could possibly go wrong?

I've treated flash like a security hole since it existed ... and I have almost never found myself giving a damn about the fact that I have it disabled (or not even installed).

But letting an object hosted on a site but delivered by a 3rd party just execute arbitrary code? Hell, no. No way I'd trust that.

4 days ago
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Microsoft's JavaScript Engine Gets Two-Tiered Compilation

gstoddart Re:That's great (46 comments)

Is there anyone out there choosing to run Vista instead of Windows 7?

LOL, well, there's me, but I might be the only one. :-P

I've found upgrading Windows over the years more annoying than buying an entirely new machine, and I've been happy with my Vista machine.

Of course, I don't actually use IE, so I have no idea of what version I've got. Except for work machines, I try not to use IE.

4 days ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

gstoddart Re:Already gone (304 comments)

So, are you saying that it's OK to rape and beat your wife as long as you don't leave marks?

And absent signs of physical trauma, you won't believe it happened?

Wow. Just ... wow.

5 days ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

gstoddart Re:Already gone (304 comments)

Well, because women and men cheat for different reasons.

I know someone who eventually always seems to be drawn to chatrooms and texting people -- in no small party because he's a complete man-child (not that everyone who cheats is).

It absolutely devastated his wife, because while he wasn't always available to her emotionally or sexually, he was having 'interactions' (purely virtual AFAIK) which were both emotional and sexual with someone else. He said it put some zest back in his life, which devastated her even more.

It was just as hurtful as if he'd actually been schtuping someone. He thinks he's done nothing wrong, and completely makes the same argument as you do -- and it boils down to "if you're going to overtly flirt with strangers, or start having on-going conversations with people are aren't strangers ... sooner or later you're probably going to just go ahead and do it, and that might be a line they're not willing to accept."

It also massively undermined trust and pretty much everything else in the relationship. Because if your partner is spending all of their time wondering who you're rubbing your parts up against when you go out, the rest of it starts to deteriorate.

So, I figure your options boil down to: 1) accept that it's going to happen but stay in the dark, 2) accept that it's going to happen and be informed, 3) try to prevent it from happening, or 4) realize you're not gonna stop it and move on with your life.

And depending on the kind of person you are, there may only be 1 or 2 in that list which are even options for you.

In university I did the whole open relationship thing. It's not for everybody. I don't have a problem with people who can do it ... for me it was a lot of work, and very draining, and wasn't what I wanted longer term.

It was fun, because I was in my 20s, and who wouldn't have liked a couple of different flavors? Would I do it now? I don't think so, but you never know.

Me, I think people started screwing around within 6 months of the first people getting married (at most). Men seem to have an evolutionary imperative to cat about as much as they can.

So either we need to fix evolution, or we need to better understand what we think marriage is for and what it means.

5 days ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

gstoddart Re:Telling quote (304 comments)

I appreciate your fidelity and trying to do the right thing, but statistics simply aren't on your side.

What are we up to now? 50% of all marriages end in divorce? It's going to happen regardless.

Many argue that monogamy isn't a natural state for humans. I certainly think it's one which takes a lot of effort and isn't for everybody.

For many people, the mistake was in the decision to get married in the first place. I've lost count of the number of people who while they were getting married there were already clues that they'd be miserable and/or it wouldn't last.

The relationship was already dysfunctional or toxic and doomed to fail. But who is going to be the one to tell the bride and groom that??

When I see TV ads for websites which are pretty blatant about the fact that you're there to have an affair, it's pretty evident there's a market for it.

I agree the technology arms race around cheating is a little creepy.

But just think, if your wife can easily do the things in the summary ... the government can do MUCH MUCH more. So, it's hard not to be in favor of any tool which tries to make it harder to track what you do.

5 days ago
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Millions of Voiceprints Quietly Being Harvested

gstoddart Re:Nuance ... (86 comments)

LOL ... no, I'm saying BOFH-ize it; pay attention. :-P

Dilbert is quietly optimistic in the face of crushing evidence to the contrary and in defiance of common sense.

BOFH is actively malicious in the knowledge that being optimistic is for suckers who don't create their own fate. ;-)

One leads to soul crushing disappointment. The other can be quite lucrative.

5 days ago
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First Demonstration of Artificial Intelligence On a Quantum Computer

gstoddart Re:There is no "working AI" at this time (98 comments)

I'm more inclined to think it is more akin to calculating trajectories than it is AI.

There's no 'intelligence', there's fancy pattern recognition.

I have no idea of the formal definition of AI, but to me without some form of abstract decision making and actually applying it to something, it's just clever automation.

Vending machines have been able to identify what kind of coin you put in for decades. That doesn't make them 'intelligent'.

Is it a more sophisticated form of input that a keyboard? Sure. But, to me at least, a machine which goes 'ping' when its inputs has been satisfied isn't any form of 'intelligence'.

Now, show it a 5 and tell me what it does. If it says "error" or "6", then I'm afraid I'm going to say I disagree it's 'AI'.

5 days ago
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Millions of Voiceprints Quietly Being Harvested

gstoddart Re:Nuance ... (86 comments)

Every few years, management makes me order it and when I tell them they have to train it, they want ME to train it and then hand it back to them.

LOL, so do it!!

Lock yourself in the server room, and spend the next few days reading gibberish into the microphone while doing an impersonation of your boss. Claim some overtime for it.

Occasionally run up to them with a voice recorder and say "quick, I need you to say this so I can train the speech stuff". Gather enough snippets to be able to stitch together conversations ... "Miss Moneypenny, this is the boss, I need you to give that IT guy a huge raise. Oh, and my wife is away this weekend, so come by around 6pm, show up naked and bring a friend! Daddy's been a bad boy!"

Bonus points if you can hack the dictionary to replace every 3rd noun and every 4th verb with something dirty.

Go all BOFH on it. Management will still end up with useless voice recognition, but in the mean time your opportunities for fun and profit are not to be ignored.

By the time there's a working system, you'll be retired on a beach somewhere able to phone in withdrawals from the CEOs offshore account.

Get on with it man!!

5 days ago
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First Demonstration of Artificial Intelligence On a Quantum Computer

gstoddart Re:There is no "working AI" at this time (98 comments)

Kind of what I was thinking. I had an ex who was doing machine learning 20 years ago.

Training neural nets and the like to recognize patterns was seen as a step to machine learning, and a way to apply it to specific problems.

But identifying the difference between a '6' and a '9'? I agree that this is 'AI' as much as me heating something in the microwave makes me a chef.

This isn't 'AI' as far as I'm concerned. It's neat, it's cool. But it aint AI.

5 days ago
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If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?

gstoddart If you don't own it ... (150 comments)

If you don't own and maintain your own machines, you will forever be at the mercy of the people who do. Your downtime, your critical windows, your business continuity, your backups ... do you really want these things controlled by someone else?

Many of us have always looked at the cloud and thought "what a terrible idea". What are the chances that, unless you actually test it, your fail over to another provider will actually work?

If Amazon is losing $2 billion/year, it's hard not to think other people are thinking the same thing. And they're only going to keep losing that much money for so long before someone says "enough".

The cloud isn't magical, and it isn't immune to economics.

And if all of your business critical data is in the cloud and you haven't made plans to keep it going -- well, that sounds pretty irresponsible and reckless.

5 days ago

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