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Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

real gumby Uhh...I doubt it (250 comments)

These are the same analysts who said that apple needed to make a netbook or they would die (or who each quarter predicted a netbook was coming).

Apple has placed an alternative bet: that the devices can overlap capabilites and responsibilites (e.g. via handoff, or less intensely as with iwork) but have fundamentally different jobs to do, and try to make each do its job well. I don't commute to work in a tank, but some people find tanks useful. The surface, and W8, are neiher tank nor motorbike, and really do neither job well.

Apple changes their mind (and never admits it, as with phablets!) and they also make brain damaged decisions, but there is some method to their madness. Analysts generate quotable sound bites; that is the method behind their madness.

4 days ago

How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

real gumby Re:Journalists have less time... (165 comments)

If you want evidence that current journalism is worse than previous generations, just look at the number of absurd hoaxes that get reported as fact. Back when it took a little effort to gather information, people took it more seriously.

There have always been hoaxes, small and large. I'm just saying I haven't seen any study (though I would hope such a study exists) showing if the quality has gone up or down or is unchanged. My comment (and yours) are simply anecdote.

A sense of declinism (things were better "in the old days") has been a recurring theme for millennia.

about two weeks ago

How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

real gumby Re:Journalists have less time... (165 comments)

...because they're busy doing what?

At first I read this comment as throwaway snark about listicles and the like, but then it raised for me a pretty interesting question:what evidence do we have that current reporting is less rigourous than it was in the past?.

I recently looked up the newspaper from the day after I was born and found it full of trivial stuff (except my birth announcement of course!) and articles that looked like they uncritically repeated what one source had told them. I am not sure the quality of reporting, in reality, was ever any better than now.

about two weeks ago

Piracy Police Chief Calls For State Interference To Stop Internet "Anarchy"

real gumby OK then (302 comments)

So Mr Fyfe, ban what you like within the Square Mile. That should make you popular with the banks!

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

real gumby Re:Job market does not like PhDs (479 comments)

A non-tenured adjunct lecturer became President of the USA, so there's that, too.

True but I have friends who make more consulting in engineering than that guy does. I suspect they have more fun too.

about a month ago

Willow Garage Founder Scott Hassan Aims To Build a Startup Village

real gumby Re:What's all this startup trends? (62 comments)

Some startups are still what I consider (and it sounds like you consider) classic startups. Most these days are like TV shows (essentialy the MVP is the “pilot” and then they “get picked up” — run for a little while and then fade out or get bought in an aquihire. In that they are simply a high tech version of starting a corner shop, which is still the most common kind of business around the world.

about a month and a half ago

Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

real gumby Turns out the Koch brothers were right (789 comments)

Climate change is not going to kill us all, or anyone, really.
Nuclear war will do it first.

about 1 month ago

Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

real gumby Not Data Caps (341 comments)

Nosir, these are Data Hoodies.

No wait, they’re Data Mufflers. That’s right, Data Mufflers.

Not the same thing at all. In fact we offer them free to our customers. They love them! They aren’t canceling the service (and we know they have a choice) — in fact they call and add new services!

Here’s $50,000, half for you and half for ALEC. Now go run off and get re-elected. I’m off to play golf with Obama.

about 2 months ago

South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

real gumby The school did the right thing (421 comments)

Pet dinosaurs are quite rare. In fact I’ve never seen one. So to kill it is a crime against humanity.

At least this kid had enough remorse to need to admit his crime.

I know his message was a cry for help but the school must pursue criminal action as a warning to others who might kill dinosaurs. Thank God we live in a country that takes “If you see something, say something” seriously.

about a month ago

Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

real gumby Oh Boo Hoo (267 comments)

Gosh, some advocates of a competing currency and libertarian fantasy are now cowed by competition? Say it ain’t so!

I’m rooting for some online cash to become viable, but don’t know if Bitcoin will be it (I suspect not since it has the same liquidity / shock issues as gold standards do) but let’s have a bunch of experiments and see what the market says.

about 2 months ago

Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

real gumby Re:I don't get it. (541 comments)

I think it’s because what constitutes “intellect” is so ill understood. It is uncontroversial that there is a genetic component — but what that component might be is at this point impossible to determine (since we don’t even know what the result — “intelligence” — means).

Now if we were just talking about suceptability to some disease (and as we learn more, a lot of diseases turn out to be clusters of different diseases with similar symptoms) that wouldn’t be a big deal. But even to strip the emotional/political issues out: this would be at best a premature optimization; to use genetics rather than, say, pulic schooling, as a measure of intellectual ability would be unlikely to lead to a good outcome (using a utilitarian definition of good: the smart people would be able to make stuff and help society in other ways).

about 2 months ago

FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

real gumby Re:Transparency (139 comments)

Any way you want to measure it, there's never been a more secretive administration in the US. And this from a president who promised "the most transparent administration in history".

When they said “most transparent” they were apparently talking about magnitude, not sign.

about 3 months ago

Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

real gumby Re:It's right there! (211 comments)

I was also 5 years old. I didn't really understand what the USA was but all of us were totally space mad (we would draw pictures of rockets and moon landers, but put Aussie flags on them). My parents got a TV just to see it. All of the landings were tremendously exciting. Even Apollo/Soyez was exciting.

I am sure the space program was the reason that as an older kid I thought of the US as the cool place where they just got awesome shit done. And I was quite happy to move to the States, and I live and work here now.

It's sort of sad that my kid considers the US the boring place and prefers to spend his time working in "dynamic" countries.

about 3 months ago

Robert McMillen: What Everyone Gets Wrong In the Debate Over Net Neutrality

real gumby Re:Everybody is wrong... (270 comments)

If your electric company was also a distributor for Anheuser Busch would you object if they charged more for electricity and let the voltage wander when your refrigerator was full of Stone smoked porter instead of Michelob?

Someone with a fridge full of Michelob is suffering enough already. I’d support legislation to cut ‘em a break.

about 3 months ago

X Window System Turns 30 Years Old

real gumby Re:1994-95 (204 comments)

...we had NeXt workstations. I do not remember if they used X11

NeXT machines used Display Postscript not X.

Am I old?

Not at all, though there are some younger people around.

about 4 months ago

Whom Must You Trust?

real gumby Re:Whom you trust ... ? (120 comments)

I think you misread the grammarbook entry.

All but the very end of her description is an unremarkable explanation of the accusative of “who”, which is a perfectly ordinary word.

Only at the end did she write, "This rule is compromised by an odd infatuation people have with whom”. And there she described a pretentious and incorrect usage. This is similar to people using “myself” when they mean “me” (then again, Emily Dickenson did this too).

I find it odd you would consider “whom” an unusual word. It’s certainly more common than, say, “frog”.

about 5 months ago

Silicon Valley's Love-Hate Relationship With President Obama

real gumby Re:codependent (131 comments)

Your comment is so far off base it should be modded +5, Funny.

That's great! In fact the comment has garnered an interesting assortment of Troll (WTF? I am honestly surprised) and Insightful (personally, I thought it was insightful, even if it includes the inflammatory word "fuck").

Obama seems like a really good guy and I think, in general, his heart is in the right place. But it is hard for me to imagine that anyone in the valley, or any nerd reading this News for Nerds, could consider him and especially Biden to be in the thrall of the copyright/IP cartel whose interests are almost always in opposition to innovation. Ditto on supporting the NSA in their deep infiltration of ISPs and major web companies. I think their actions add, rather than remove risk to the United States.

Or did you consider the current republican any of pro education, pro ACA (or maybe you think I'm deranged to consider it pro entrepreneur? It makes it easier for people to leave big companies for startups and keep insurance) not pro big business or pro rentier? If you think any of those things, well, let's just agree to disagree.

None of this is intended to praise the Democrats, don't get me wrong!

about 5 months ago

Silicon Valley's Love-Hate Relationship With President Obama

real gumby codependent (131 comments)

Yes, Obama shows up in the valley to collect money and then departs to fuck the valley to the benefit of the RIAA et al and the so-called security apparatus.

But clearly the Republicans would be worse, as they are the anti-business (or at least anti-entrepreneur), anti-education, anti-ACA (a very pro entrepreneurism law) and pro-big business, pro-rentier party. I am not sure any tea party or high party official could even find silicon valley on a map.

So Obama ends up by default with the bucks on a combination of lesser-of-two-evils and star-struck-close-to-greatness bases.

about 5 months ago

An MIT Dean's Defense of the Humanities

real gumby Re:I've heard this before (264 comments)

I'm not quite sure where Dean Fitzgerald is coming from with this editorial. It's not as if every accredited ABET school doesn't already teach humanities as part of its engineering curriculum. ...This strikes me as yet another in a very long series of not-so-subtle digs at STEM curriculums.

I think you miss two important points of her essay.

The first is that she is at MIT. She makes the point that MIT has already "drunk the kool aid" of the importance of the humanities and that even in a highly "STEM" institution like that, Humanities are considered crucial. In fact MIT has only 6 "schools", and Humanities is one of them on par with Engineering and Science.

But MIT can get away with setting its own standards, and that leads to her other point: that there is a strong emerging fetishism with STEM, and with degrees that train (as opposed to educate) you with "skills" that soon become irrelevant. A desire for more science and engineering graduates does seem like a good thing given where the USA is right now, and we have evidence from the sputnik scare that it probably can have a good result. But if we fetishize it at the expense of the humanities, we won't get what we want (a stronger, more dynamic society that helps everyone).

She's not advocating that, say, Bowdoin adopt MIT's requirement that humanities majors take multivariate calculus, E&M, do lab work etc. just like everyone else. But she is saying that if even one the most prestigious "STEM" schools considers the liberal arts crucial, perhaps they are. And the fact that someone from MIT is writing it, rather than someone from a liberal arts-only school, makes it a more convincing argument.

In too many humanities courses, it's not about critical thinking, it's about figuring out the personal beliefs of the professor, because in many cases your grade depends on not offending those beliefs.

There are poorly taught classes in Engineering and especially CS as well. Personally, all the thermo I took at MIT was worthless and I had to learn it all over again in my 40s.

Yes, it's hard to identify crappy liberal arts teaching, especially when some of the interesting work does challenge orthodox thinking (since of course some of the crappiest also challenge orthodoxy). But really is that all that different from an engineering class that teaches only the stuff that's easiest to teach? It can be objectively valid, yet useless in the real world.

Note: I have a course 21 (humanities) degree from MIT.

about 6 months ago

WRT54G Successor Falls Flat On Promises

real gumby OMFG compile! (113 comments)

Holy crap you have to actually compile it yourself! What is the world coming to? You mean hacking isn’t just plugging stuff together?

OK the thing has problems, that’s news. But if compiling is considered hard, well, it’s hard to see you as a nerd.

about 5 months ago


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