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Brought To You By the Letter R: Microsoft Acquiring Revolution Analytics

jonnyj Re:Why oh Why (103 comments)

Why good things are always acquired by douchebag companies and ruined to the ground? First Java, now this.

First, I'd repeat the observation made by many that Revolution Analystics doesn't own R; it simply provides commercial support.

As an R user in business, this seems like good news. Microsoft has been promoting R for some time as an analytic layer to sit over its databases, but people in business are a conservative bunch. I've spoken to many associates in other businesses, and the main reasons that they prefer to continue with SAS is that support, training and consultancy are far more readily available for SAS than R. 'Supported by Microsoft' is a label that may persuade some to shift, especially if it's supported by a genuine expansion of commercial R support.

yesterday
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Why Run Linux On Macs?

jonnyj Re: a better question (588 comments)

what on earth could make Linux a more useful OS than Mac OS X?

Windows i get for specialty applications like gaming and such, but Linux?

apt-get, perhaps? Linux repositories typically have a far superior range of free apps and dev tools compared with the OS X software centre and other stuff like Mac Ports. More comfortable integration of many Linux apps than their OS X ports, perhaps? A consistent user environment between apple and non-apple hardware where a user has multiple machines, perhaps?

It sounds ridiculous, but, for me, it's about the shortcut keys. I have to use Windows in work so keyboard shortcuts for navigating and selecting text (eg ctrl+shift+right) are deeply embedded in my brain. Editing text on OS X becomes a tedious chore because the shortcuts are all different. That's why I always choose Linux rather than OS X when the boot screen fires up on my home laptop.

about a week ago
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Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

jonnyj Re: Cat and mouse... (437 comments)

The movie industry don't know I exist, but everyone that I know in the UK uses Hola or equivalent to access more stuff, particularly since a huge amount of old BBC stuff was removed from the UK service a few months ago. It's a fairly safe bet that a reasonable proportion of those people will simply switch off if Hola stops working, but I doubt that many will turn to alternative ways of giving the movie studios their cash.

For most of the population, movies and old TV shows aren't that important. If they're cheap and easy to access, people will pay. If they're difficult, unreliable or expensive, most people will do something else instead.

about three weeks ago
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Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

jonnyj Re: Cat and mouse... (437 comments)

Netflix may be obligated to do this, but the media companies will see their revenues fall from my family if they push it.

I don't need the movie industry. I have my bike, my running shoes, my surfboard, my kids, my dog, my football season ticket and my church. Movies fill in my leftover time. UK Netflix has such weak content that I'll simply cancel my subscription when Hola stops working. I won't go to the cinema or buy DVDs instead. I'll just walk the dog more.

It happened with music. When I discovered Pandora, I started buying music weekly because it opened my eyes to new bands and new genres. Then Pandora got closed down in the UK. I haven't bought music for 2+ years. I can't easily find new music so I do other stuff instead.

Farewell, Hollywood.

Goo

about three weeks ago
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Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

jonnyj Re:This is not the problem (688 comments)

...very recent history is starting to show companies can make plenty of money just catering to the upper middle class...

It always was ever thus. Companies like Rolls Royce, Gucci and most of the retailers in the West End of London make money only from the affluent. The same could be said for owners of cruise liners, managers of hunting estates and wealth fund managers. In fact, most of the economy works by supplying goods and services to the rich.

On the other hand, many people make a living from the poor. Developers of social housing, discount retailers and energy companies are just a few examples of very large businesses that make a tidy living from selling stuff to people who are lower down the income scale.

about a month ago
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How Birds Lost Their Teeth

jonnyj Re:So which came first (138 comments)

They have the loss of teeth and the development of the beak, but where did the gizzard develop? They would not have been able to loose their teeth and develop a beak without one, and birds are the only animal (That I know of) that has one.

Plus gizzards are great when fried. ;)

According to Wikipedia, many reptiles including dinosaurs have/had gizzards.

about a month and a half ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

jonnyj Re:I wonder who bought him (216 comments)

The problem with your thinking is that if they start to monitor traffic, they'd have to disallow HTTPS. They'd have to disallow anonymising proxy use. They'd have to watch every packet to see if it might be used for any kind of illegal activity for any country worldwide.

Once you make an ISP responsible for policing for one law, they become responsible for any law breakage, which would essentially shutdown the internet entirely.

I send an e-mail with a joke that includes a rough drawing of Mohammed - boom - Islamic Radicals attack the ISP for allowing it to go through.

Your falacy would also have to be applied to all of the backbone operators globally, which would halt internet traffic in it's tracks.

There would be no need to watch every packet; there would simply be a need to put in place risk-based, technically achievable procedures that would have a reasonable chance of detecting activity that is against UK or international law. It's not against UK law to send a joke about Mohammed, so ISPs would have no responsibility for that. HTTPS is not easily inspectable at a packet level, so there would be no responsibility for that, either - although it might be reasonable to other matters associated with HTTPS traffic such as the end IP addresses and the volume of data transmitted. If you took the financial services model, backbone providers would be able to rely on measures taken by the consumer's ISP, so the internet would not be shut down.

You have identified no falacy[sic] in what I'm saying here.

about 2 months ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

jonnyj Re:I wonder who bought him (216 comments)

Banks are common carriers of money. Most money transmission is legitimate, but all banks are required to have systems in place to detect whether any particular transaction is associated with criminal activity. If banks do not have these systems in place, their directors are subject to personal fines and possible prison sentences. The rules are rigorously enforced by the FCA.

How is an ISP's common carrier service conceptually different from what banks do?

about 2 months ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

jonnyj Re:I wonder who bought him (216 comments)

>10% enforcement is better than 0% enforcement.

That depends entirely on the cost of enforcement...

Of course. So this becomes a question of pragmatism. If it can be demonstrated that the cost of enforcement is lower than the cost to society of the criminal activity, presumably you agree then that ISPs should be required to support law enforcement?

about 2 months ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

jonnyj Re:I wonder who bought him (216 comments)

(Which obviously means that the stated reporting limit is NOT the real reporting limit.) Can you explain, at a more basic level, why it's acceptable for banks to be reporting legal transactions to the government, when it's so much easier for a real crook to deal in cash?

Two questions, so two answers. First, reporting limits are rarely stated; if they are, they are certainly not the real reporting limits. It would be an offence under the UK's money laundering regulations for a financial institution to publish the criteria that they use to detect potential criminal activity.

Second, it's true that cash can be used to circumvent the regulations, but cash can't be used to buy most of the things that big-scale criminals want to buy. If you attempt to buy a house with cash, your lawyer will report you to the national crime agency for investigation. If you buy a luxury car with cash, the same thing will happen. If you attempt to purchase a luxury holiday with cash, your bank will likely report you.

about 2 months ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

jonnyj Re:I wonder who bought him (216 comments)

If you sat in the back of a taxi and casually wiped blood off a dripping knife, the taxi driver would probably be prosecuted as an accessory to your murder. A great deal of criminal activity on the internet is just as flagrant.

about 2 months ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

jonnyj Re:I wonder who bought him (216 comments)

Banks are required to have systems in place to prevent their payment services from being used for money laundering purposes. Haulage companies are required to have systems in place to prevent their lorries from being used by illegal immigrants. Fertiliser distributors are required to have systems in place to prevent their products from being used for bomb making. Munitions retailers are required to have systems in place to prevent their guns from being used by crazed psychopaths

If you go by your examples, it is Sony that should have systems in place to prevent their movies from being stolen, not the ISP. As the parent message said, the ISP is just like the roads the criminal may travel over to and from the bank. The city may be able to put up a few stop signs or traffic stops as needed, but ultimately, someone always finds another route around.

You don't get what I'm saying. If you make a shed-load of cash by selling dope on the streets of Britain, your bank would stand to profit if you used that cash to buy stuff with your credit card. The bank provides a money transmission service, but it has a legal obligation, enforced by prison sentences for non compliance, to seek to identify and report cash movements that appear to be related to criminal activity. As a result, your dope-selling business is likely to be busted.

ISPs provide an information transmission service. Can you explain why money transmission should be subject to laws that require criminal use of the service to be identified, while information transmission should be exempted from any such requirement?

about 2 months ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

jonnyj Re:I wonder who bought him (216 comments)

...what you and other morons like you think they should be doing is several orders of magnitude more difficult than you like to pretend it is...

Who said it was easy? I certainly didn't. It's not easy for banks to identify financial transactions that relate to criminal activity either. But they try, and, over time, get better at it. 10% enforcement is better than 0% enforcement. 20% enforcement is better than 10% enforcement. When did a cry of, 'It's too hard!' ever become a reason to give up on something? Should we stop looking for murderers who leave a scant trail of evidence, for example? Are you scared of progress?

You can make a reasonable argument for saying that intellectual property should not be protected by the criminal law. But, for as long as that legal protection exists, it's hard to escape the irresistible conclusion that it should be supported by a legal environment that's similar to other criminal activity.

about 2 months ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

jonnyj Re:I wonder who bought him (216 comments)

Because ISPs are like the roads. Are the companies that have paved the UK roads responsible for the bank job?

Did you read what I said. There was a 'knowingly' in there somewhere.

Banks are required to have systems in place to prevent their payment services from being used for money laundering purposes. Haulage companies are required to have systems in place to prevent their lorries from being used by illegal immigrants. Fertiliser distributors are required to have systems in place to prevent their products from being used for bomb making. Munitions retailers are required to have systems in place to prevent their guns from being used by crazed psychopaths.

ISPs provide a product that is widely used for criminal activity. Can you explain why they are any different from banks, haulage companies, fertiliser distributors or munitions retailers. As a hint, though, your desire to engage in the criminal activity supported by ISPs is not a good response.

about 2 months ago
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UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

jonnyj Re:I wonder who bought him (216 comments)

How typical of a politician, and ESPECIALLY one in an English-speaking nation, to insist that everyone, everywhere has to shoulder the responsibility for everything that ever goes wrong.

So the driver of a getaway vehicle has no responsibility for the bank heist committed by his mates? And the trader in stolen goods down the pub has no responsibility for the burglary carried out by his mates?

There's a widely accepted principle across the UK legal system that people who knowingly facilitate criminal activity must share responsibility for that criminal action. It's not immediately obvious why a different principle should apply to ISPs.

about 2 months ago
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Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source

jonnyj Re:Math (235 comments)

More maths: Scotland has a population density of 67 per sq km; England has 407.

It's easy to rely on renewables when you have loads of land.

about 2 months ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

jonnyj Re:I bet Amazon would love to hire more women. (496 comments)

I bet Amazon has a lot of computer-programmer hires, and would love to hire more women and to pay them computer-programmer salaries to program computers...

I like to think that Amazon couldn't care whether its programmers are female, male, black, white, straight, gay, Democrat or Republican: in any sensible world, a company simply hires the best it can find. If few women are applying, or if women are discouraged by interviews with no opportunity for a bathroom break, that's only a problem for Amazon if it's struggling to fill positions.

The original article fails to pick up on the real risk to Seattle, though, which is economic. History suggests that individual businesses rarely flourish for decades. Some time in the future, Amazon will hit on hard times; when that happens, Seattle will have a crisis. The risk is that by 2030 Seattle becomes like Detroit, the former coal mining communities in South Wales or the old mill towns in northern England.

It's not good to put all your eggs in one basket.

about 2 months ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

jonnyj Re: Lies, damned lies, statistics (551 comments)

I think the terms might have different resonances on the two sides of the Atlantic. When I mentioned a libertarian bias, I'd assumed the term would broadly also include the Democrats. I guess I misunderstood something!

My point about reading and engaging widely outside your own group still stands, though.

about 3 months ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

jonnyj Re:Lies, damned lies, statistics (551 comments)

You didn't really think this poll would have an outcome anywhere near the result of the real elections?

And therein lies a major problem with internet discussion sites like this one. Birds of an ideological feather often flock together in one happy internet roost, and very easily lose complete sight of any world view other than their own. Much as I enjoy reading the debate here and on sites that appear to reflect a similar demographic like arstechnica, I definitely feel the need to temper the libertarian bias I see here by also going to places that are more likely to articulate the importance of business, finance, politicians, the establishment and religion to national life.

It's not healthy to only read things that you agree with. If you're from the USA and you're not one of the tiny minority who hit the Republican button, I hope that you broaden your mind by also looking elsewhere for comment and debate from a right wing perspective.

about 3 months ago
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Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

jonnyj Re:Diseconomies (610 comments)

Externalities are for your enemies.

If liberals really cared about externalities, they'd count the external cost of sexual liberation and promiscuity - sexually transmitted diseases, fractured relationships, unwanted pregnancy and the like - and they'd promote government policies that sought to return to traditional morality. But they don't.

If environmentalists cared about externalities, they'd include the increased cost of housing for poor people next time they evaluated the need to preserve a nature reserve full of rare newts. But they don't.

If conservatives cared about externalities, they count the cost of pollution associated with fossil fuels. But they don't

We all have our blind spots.

about 3 months ago

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