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Emotional Contagion Spread Through Facebook

sg3000 Re:Philip K Dick called it (127 comments)

So the "Empathy Box" from "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" is real? And now?

Ok, you just blew my mind.

I remember never quite getting the whole "empathy box" idea in the book. It seemed unlikely and quite foreign. But you're right: that's what Facebook is. People sharing their good and bad news in order to participate in some group emotion. And, just like Rick's wife was "addicted" to it, lots of people were addicted to checking Facebook (at least for a while, the interest in Facebook seems to have waned). So Philip K. Dick was prescient about that after all.

about 5 months ago

The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say

sg3000 Re:When you gag the enginers ... (373 comments)

Please explain how one gets from broken plastic clips on a vanity mirror to "rolling sarcophagus" in a way that wouldn't make any other engineer's (let along lawyer's) eyes roll

Quotes like this that make me miss the defunct Forum 2000. This sounds like a great quote from The Cube SOMAD.

I agree with the GP though. I recall a guy I used to work with who used hyperbole a lot. I recall that he once referred to a so-called "fiasco" which, upon deeper inspection, translated to him trying to schedule a conference call where he couldn't get the other people to agree on a time. Once I figured out his hyperbolic tendency, I could safely moderate the "disasters" he was warning of. I shudder to think what would happen if his emails are ever discovered for a lawsuit.

about 6 months ago

US Postal Service To Make Sunday Deliveries For Amazon

sg3000 Re:I wonder how soon people will realise (258 comments)

When the government provides everyone with a free internet connection and email address, then you can start talking about getting rid of snail mail

Plus, US mail offers greater protection than email. If you attempt to commit fraud via sending something by the US mail or intercept someone's mail, you're looking at a felony. With all the spam, I don't trust any of the email I receive from a bank, credit card, etc. So before email can completely replace regular postal mail, we'd have to see the same level of protections. Maybe the US postal service could have a service where they offer an optional digital signature that the sender can use and is legally protected from forgery.

1 year,15 days

A Plan To Fix Daylight Savings Time By Creating Two National Time Zones

sg3000 Re:employers (545 comments)

It would be easy for your employer, and for schools to simply adjust the time at which people are expected to arrive.

But, why leave it up to people's employers? There's no business benefit to "giving" people more daylight for their leisure activities, and there's no way it would be uniform since it would be subject to the whims of all the companies. Throw the schools on top, and you've got chaos. We're more than just employees; we're citizens. So it makes sense the citizens (a.k.a., "the government") to step in and declare that we're moving the clocks around. I admit I used to be more annoyed with daylight saving time when I was younger, but now that I have kids, it's great to have more daylight hours in summer evenings to enjoy things outside.

1 year,23 days

Apple Blocks Lawrence Lessig's Comment On iOS 7 Wi-Fi Glitch

sg3000 Re:Pretty common support forums policies (326 comments)

Apple is really strict about not letting people give out certain kinds of technical advice or speculation on their support forums, on the not-unreasonable basis that things posted there have Apple's tacit approval.

No kidding. I don't think the submission helps by being vague about what was being posted:

Apple is now censoring posts in their "Apple Support Communities" forums where users suggest possible responses to their loss of WiFi capabilities

Possible response? I wasn't sure what that meant, so I read Lessig's blog to get an idea of sort of "possible responses" Apple was cruelly censoring. If his post is any indication of what he posted on his forum, no one should be surprised the Apple deleted it:

I skipped all the drastic steps others seem to have taken such as putting in freezer or the one where I guy heats his wifi chip up to 300degrees which by the way seem to have worked quite well.

Heating up the WiFi chip to 300 degrees? And it worked "quite well??" No surprise at all that Apple deleted this kind of "advice" from their official support forums. Reading a suggestion like that on Lessig's blog is one thing, but when it's posted on Apple's official support forum, someone is bound to assume wrongly that Apple is approving the suggestion. No wonder that Apple deleted it. I imagine Apple will also be deleting posts that suggest to users that they boil their iPhones or microwave them because the method seemed to "work quite well."

1 year,27 days

The Battle of Hoth: Vader the Invader

sg3000 Motives (111 comments)

I think the author is missing the point about Vader's motives. The article said:

For reasons that never get explained — and can’t be justified militarily — Vader joins the Stormtrooper assault on the base. So much for his major weapon against the Rebels, and the primary reason for ordering the Walkers to invade and destroy the generator. Once Vader opts to bring down the shield and lead the invasion, he’s lost the battle.

The author assumes that Vader actually cared about winning whatever military objectives the Empire had. I don't think he did. In Episode V, Vader wanted only one thing: to get Luke Skywalker. I imagine that after the Death Star was destroyed and there was a big ceremony highlighting to everyone in the Rebel Alliance that Luke was the hero, word got to the Empire (and Vader) that someone named Skywalker was involved. Vader may have claimed that the name had no meaning for him, but it certainly did. So that's why he went down to the base. He didn't trust the stormtroopers to be able to capture Luke; he was going to do it himself.

In Episode IV, Vader seemed to be nominally to be a team player (at least he stopped choking that guy in the conference room) and willing to take orders. By the time Episode V rolled around, Vader was off the leash. All he wanted was to get Luke to turn him into his Sith Apprentice and everything else (stormtroopers, admirals, star destroyers, what have you) was just fodder. So although I enjoyed the article, I don't think Vader's tactics weren't because of poor planning or insight. If every Rebel escaped and every Imperial died, it wouldn't matter to him if he captured Luke.

It other words: it's not that I'm a bad driver. It's that I needed to get to the airport to make my flight and that now-dented car was a rental.

about 2 years ago

Running Apps From Your Car's Dashboard

sg3000 BMW Apps (171 comments)

It's a little more restricted than playing Angry Birds. BMW Apps supports a few functions:

- Reading tweets/Facebook posts (and with a flick of the iDrive, it will read the tweet out to you)

- Posting one of five/six canned tweets/Facebook status messages (e.g., "It's xx outside, and I'm driving my BMW!") - so you aren't trying to compose a message while you drive

- Web radio

- Looking at your calendar/address book

- News RSS feeds

So it has the capacity to be dangerously distracting, but BMW's implementation is limited enough that it's not. Of course, the driver could still be distracted if they're reading Facebook while they're driving, but if they're going to do that, they would do that anyway with their smartphone in their hand.

more than 2 years ago

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot

sg3000 Re:Succession plan? (1521 comments)

Well Taco, I hope that you have a good succession plan in place as Steve Jobs does at Apple. Presumably you've trained all your editors in the fine art of spelling mistakes, grammatical erros and story duplication. If so, the transition should be seamless. Jokes aside, best of luck and thanks for /. ! :)

Rob, for old time's sake, please repost your resignation as a dupe in about a week :-)

more than 3 years ago

Steve Jobs Resigns As Apple CEO

sg3000 Re:This is a sad day for the tech world (1027 comments)

Pirates of Silicon Valley kind of covers half of this, but a The Social Network style film for Steve Jobs' life story up till now would be great.

I think his life story would make a great movie. It would be fitting if Pixar made their first CG animated biography with Steve Jobs as the subject, although I'm not sure how you could get kids excited about it.

more than 3 years ago

Steve Jobs Resigns As Apple CEO

sg3000 Re:This is a sad day for the tech world (1027 comments)

Steve Jobs is the embodiment of the American Dream, there are scant few individuals on this earth than can attest to the scale of success that he has achieved.

Jobs is arguably the best business leader of our era.

He co-founded the hugely successful Apple out of the proverbial garage, got fired from his own company, went off and started NeXT, bought Pixar from George Lucas and turned it into something big. At the same time, he came back to Apple, made a huge hit with the iMac, then the iPod, then the iPhone, and now the iPad. Now Apple one of the most successful companies around. I'm not sure if any other business leader's accomplishments could beat that story.

What impresses me is, as others have said, he actually cared about the products his company made. He wanted to make a "dent in the universe" and he actually did. He didn't do it by managing to costs or other things that business schools tell people to do, but by putting products and the user experience first.

more than 3 years ago

Blizzard Reveals Diablo 3 (Real Money) Auction House

sg3000 Re:Gambling? (384 comments)

+1 Insightful

That's an interesting point. IANAL, but if I understand what Blizzard is doing (you buy a copy of the game, find something randomly which has a real cash value), reading on The Straight Dope, there is a similar issue with Pinball back in the day:

To qualify as a gambling device, a machine had to offer a "thing of value"--money, merchandise, or tokens--as a reward

Interestingly, there's another analogy: I assume that the value of the item is related to its usefulness (a powerful two-handed, with four empty sockets will be worth more on the market than an etherial dagger that can't be repaired), which when outfitted to your character will make it easier for you to fight more powerful creatures and earn better, more valuable drops. That means in other words, you can pay more money to increase the odds that you find even more valuable items. That makes it similar to the "payoff gimmicks" in the linked example where you pay more money to increase your chances of winning.

I suspect that Blizzard's lawyers are taking this into account and will impose the appropriate limitations to avoid having Diablo III (hmm... that name should draw the ire of anti-gambling religious advocates) banned under Internet gambling prohibitions. Maybe you'll be limited to buy and sell strictly ornamental items with no material effect on the game play as opposed to the set pieces introduced in the LOD expansion pack.

more than 3 years ago

For Texas Textbooks, a Victory For Evolution

sg3000 Depressing thought (626 comments)

They get out voted by the legion of dimwits bred by these creationists. It is already happening.

Here's a depressing thought: not if the "dimwits" are running things. The original poster was right; political conservatives are trying to set up their own parallel institutions to give "backing" to their own opinions.

There was an article in the Boston Globe that the Bush Administration had hired some 150 graduates of Regent law school (which was founded by Pat Robinson), which proclaims its purpose is to "provide [rightwing] Christian leadership to change the world,"

...Regent has had no better friend than the Bush administration. Graduates of the law school have been among the most influential of the more than 150 Regent University alumni hired to federal government positions since President Bush took office in 2001

It's only a matter of time before conservatives start setting up their own politically conservative science departments to match.

But it doesn't even have to wait that long. Next time we get a Republican president, we can look forward to political conservatives making scientific policy there as well. Back in 2005, a Bush administration aide (with no scientific credentials), made edits to government reports on climate change. From the New York Times article:

...In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports. The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust. ... A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, [Mr. Cooney] has no scientific training.

So, this victory is important, but the war against science isn't won or even over.

more than 3 years ago

Congress Voting To Repeal Incandescent Bulb Ban

sg3000 Re:Ban is not the answer (990 comments)

The tax code was not created as a tool for the government to use in directing people's behavior. It was created to give the government revenue to serve the people. The government was created for the people-- not the people for the government.

And in a democracy, the government *is* the people, so you have people (or at least the majority of them) collectively deciding how to direct their collective behavior. We're talking about moderately increasing the efficiency of light bulbs, not fascism.

more than 3 years ago

Congress Voting To Repeal Incandescent Bulb Ban

sg3000 Re:CFL are no savings (990 comments)

Reputable like GE, Sylvania or Phillps? I've had early failures with all those, and good luck with actually getting a replacement. In six more months I'll know if my use of them over the past three years was worth it, might be a wash. I have many CFL in the house, except for two places with dimmers (CFL dimming bulbs suck, won't go to low brightness but just off), and three of the "three-way" bulbs (CFL versions also suck and die early).

I think reputable companies will live up to their warranties. We had an early failure with a GE CFL. We sent them the receipt, and GE sent us a coupon for a new bulb in a week or two-- no muss, no fuss.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Store Artist Raided By Secret Service

sg3000 Re:He asked a security guard for permission? (376 comments)

I doubt that. You can use the webcam on them to take photos (using Photo booth, etc.), but to suggest that a customer is implicitly allowed to install software that surreptitiously photographs other customers and then displays them in public is ridiculous.

You need to learn how to read. You begin with doubting what I said, and then explain why something I didnt say is not implicit.

Sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying: I thought you were saying he had permission to install his software because Apple lets its visitors install software. Obviously you weren't saying that, so we are likely in agreement.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Store Artist Raided By Secret Service

sg3000 Re:He asked a security guard for permission? (376 comments)

The devices on display are set up explicitly so that the public will have access to (and in fact are encouraged to explore) their features, which includes the webcam on them.

This to me sounds like implicit permission to use the cameras, as well as implicit permission to install software. Any legal line this man may have crossed is beyond the act of simply using the camera, or installing software. He had implicit permission to do those two things.

I doubt that. You can use the webcam on them to take photos (using Photo booth, etc.), but to suggest that a customer is implicitly allowed to install software that surreptitiously photographs other customers and then displays them in public is ridiculous. If what you suggest were the case, then that would mean Apple is implicitly allowing people to install keyloggers or similar malware. Just because Apple didn't post a sign saying, "don't install surveillance software, malware, worms, viruses, trojan horses, etc." doesn't mean that people should assume they are allowed to do that; common sense says otherwise.

Apple is providing its store guests with computers to use for reasonable purposes. I can't think of any way that what he was doing could be considered to be reasonable. In fact, it was closer to harassment (for Apple's customers) and spying (and repeatedly, since he admits he had to repeatedly return to reinstall the software after it was erased). Thus, his newfound trouble with law enforcement.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Store Artist Raided By Secret Service

sg3000 Re:He asked a security guard for permission? (376 comments)

It sounds like he asked some rent-a-cop if he could take people's pictures, and then gained access to computers in the Apple Stores to take these pictures without the permission of someone who actually had authority to grant that permission. The article is pretty scant on details, though, and only really tells things from his side, so it's hard to tell what really happened at this point.

That's probably what he did, and I think he's trying to just cover his tracks. I think he was hoping for a "ask for forgiveness rather than for permission" situation.

He should have gone to the Apple Store manager, told them explicitly what he wants to do: "I'm going to install software on all the Macs in this store, which will randomly take photos of your customers and upload the photos to my website, which I'll then display publicly for my art project." Then when they said, "no," go find something else to do with his time.

more than 3 years ago

The Government's Gadget Habit

sg3000 Re:the government is kind of large (159 comments)

Various government labs have the need for large banks of computing nodes for supercomputing purposes, so it wouldn't surprise me if the large number of PS3s were being used for that. Another proof point: there's a wide discrepancy in the xbox numbers. If they were being used as game machines, you'd think the xbox numbers would be comparable (or even higher). When the PS3 was introduced, it at the time offered a great price to performance ratio, so research labs in different countries bought them for that purpose. The software has been out for a while and has been government certified already, so it remains a solution today.

more than 3 years ago

Alcatel-Lucent Shrinks Mobile Cell Tower To Small Cube

sg3000 Re:Disaster response (113 comments)

These require fiber backhaul to a baseband processor, so no, they're not really designed for that.

On ALU's website, they say the cube would have microwave for backhaul and could use solar or wind for power, so for those cases it could be used for that.

more than 3 years ago

Electronics In Flight — Danger Or Distraction?

sg3000 Re:What? The plane crashed? (532 comments)

What? The plane crashed? I didn't notice. I was on my Blackberry. Neither did I notice the guy sitting next to me who was hitting me so I would get out of his way. I'm going to send him a nasty text message.

Seriously though -- maybe a passenger won't miss the plane had already crashed, but that's not the only time attendants need their passengers to pay attention. If a passenger is engaged in a conversation or playing a game, they'll likely miss the attendant giving critical instructions: there's turbulence, passengers get into a crash position or something like that. Forcing people to put their distractions away during take-off and landing makes sense from a people management/safety perspective. This is coming from someone who is annoyed that I can't read a book on my iPad during takeoff-- annoyed, but I understand.

more than 3 years ago



Manjoo says Macs are cheaper than PCs

sg3000 sg3000 writes  |  about 7 years ago

sg3000 writes "Flamewar! Don your flame retardant pants because Farhad Manjoo of Salon.com has an interesting suggestion. Because Macs have a higher resale value than PCs, they're cheaper than their Windows equivalents. He compared a Mac Mini bought a year ago to an HP Pavilion, and found that the Mac Mini was cheaper when you took resale on Ebay into account. What do you think?"

Cisco buys WiMAX vendor Navini

sg3000 sg3000 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

sg3000 writes "Cisco announced that they purchased WiMAX vendor Navini. As their site says, this represents a reversal of Cisco's position on WiMAX, when back in 2004, they stated that they weren't interested in building WiMAX radio access network equipment. WiMAX has come a long way since 2004, and today's environment suggests that WiMAX is much more promising."

USA Today on early WiMAX deployments in USA

sg3000 sg3000 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

sg3000 writes "Nearly two years after the standard was ratified in December 2005, mobile WiMAX has been heating up. USA Today reports that the first users in NYC and Chicago are deploying WiMAX and are enjoying it. Surprising for a consumer-grade report, the article contrasts the licensed (WiMAX and 3G mobile) versus unlicensed (WiFi) situation well. The usual suspects are represented: Motorola, Clearwire, and Sprint are positive. AT&T says WiMAX is limited to fixed wireless deployments and mobile users would be best served with HSPA."

sg3000 sg3000 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

sg3000 writes "The NYT reports that scientists are close to cracking the science of laughter. According to one hypothesis, laughter is a natural response from people low on the social hierarchy:

Occasionally we're surprised into laughing at something funny, but most laughter has little to do with humor. It's an instinctual survival tool for social animals, not an intellectual response to wit. It's not about getting the joke. It's about getting along. ...When you're low in the status hierarchy, you need all the allies you can find, so apparently you're primed to chuckle at anything even if it doesn't do you any immediate good.
So maybe Dwight Shrute was right — smiling is a sign of submission."


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