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Comment Encourage curiosity, not coding (Score 4, Insightful) 570

I would rather encourage young kids to be curious and to have other aspects that may lead to programming and other technology. Pushing programming and coding itself to young girls (boys as well) may turn kids off, where if you encourage things like curiosity, those who end up programming will have done so because they are passionate about it. People who are passionate about it end up being good at it, and we need more girls (and boys) that are actually good at programming.

Comment Re:US Post Office always secure. (Score 1) 454

This is prevented by policy (which you can trust or not), but the policy is that if any voter's ballot is in question due to signature, the voter is contacted by the elections office and given an opportunity to confirm that it is or is not their signature. As a voter you can also contact the elections office and confirm that your ballot has been received (and had its signature accepted). Records (and actual images of the mailing envelope signatures) are kept for each voter. So you can get your entire voting history (if you have voted or not, not your actual votes of course...) In my elections office, three different elections officers have to agree that the signature is not a match before the ballot is set aside.

Comment Re:Bonus (Score 1) 454

Wyden's plan eliminates secret ballot so that people who vote the wrong way can be properly retaliated against.

Actually here in Oregon, the mail in ballot is still secret. You mark your optically scanable ballot (fill in the bubbles), and you put it in a provided secrecy envelope. Neither the ballot or secrecy envelope have any identifying marks on it. The secrecy envelope is put inside a mailing envelope that you sign and mail or hand deliver to a nearby drop box. When the ballots get to the elections office, your signature is checked by one elections official who marks you as voted. They then take the still sealed secrecy envelope and but it into a prefix specific box which another elections employee opens and counts (feeds into the machine) later. No one person gets to see your name and your marked ballot at the same time. Representatives of major parties and general members of the public are invited to watch the process. I have personally gone down to my local elections office and watched the process. It works as described.

Comment Re:US Post Office always secure. (Score 1) 454

In addition, the post office doesn't have to be secure. Here in Oregon when the ballots are received at the elections office (either by mail or drop off), the signature on the ballot envelope is manually checked (by an elections official) against your signature on file (when you registered to vote). If the signature doesn't match, the ballot is set aside as pending and elections office contacts the voter to ask what's up. To forge someone's ballot you would also have to forge their signature (and get it to the elections office before the real voter did.)

Comment Re:As long as they're still allowed to use data... (Score 0) 149

well if the data backs up the claims, its not sexist, or racist

I am not sure I agree. If the data says that $minority group is more violent then $non-minority, it may be statically true for a given set of statistics but we all (should) know that correlation is not causation and it may be that $minority group on average lives in a more dangerous place. Higher insurance rates for $minority group members would be racist, but charging higher rates for people (with out regard to race) living in a dangerous place would not be racist.

The trick of course is to be careful about allowing a company to use location as a proxy for race or other minority status.

Comment The way I would handle any important system (Score 5, Insightful) 405

I will apply all the patches that the vendor supplies in an automated way where possible and where not, as soon as is practical. While it is true that a vendor could screw up a patch, it is also true that my hard drive could die, malware could get on my system, an other hardware or software problem could corrupt my data, or I could just screw up and delete data myself.

To protect myself from any of these occurrences, I keep regular backups. I take these backups at a frequency similar to the amount of data I am willing to lose in the event of any failure (including "evil" actions on behalf of my OS vendor.) For me the frequency of backups is generally daily.

Note that I use the term OS vendor instead of Microsoft here, this because I run several computers with several operating systems (Microsoft, Linux(s), others) and I have had them all screw up a patch.

Since I have chosen not to write or personally review the source code for all the software I use (because I don't have that kind of time), I choose to outsource that work to several vendors, one of which is Microsoft. Yes, there are risks to running software from Microsoft (or any other vendor), Microsoft may not have my best interests in mind. However their software meets my needs and I have made the calculation that the value the software provides outweighs the risks.

Comment Re:That's about $100 Million per day in lost reven (Score 1) 239

You would think they would have a backup for the backup power. But like someone earlier said, this outage sounds suspicious.

Or if you are down for 2 days ($200 million), and the cost of having a fully redundant system is more than $200 million (equipment, people, process, ...), from a business sense, it may make more sense to just accept an occasional outage.

Comment It is our fault (Score 1) 234

It is our fault because we (the TV purchasing public) continue to buy. If we refused to purchase things that were overly complicated, manufacturers would create simpler products.

As a side note, I don't personally think TVs are too complicated. That being said, without regard to if they are or are not overly complicated, the quality and complexity of products in the marketplace is ultimately the consumers fault.

Comment Personal premium numbers (Score 3, Interesting) 120

Make it so that the person placing the call potentially pays to call me. I get to set the price. I agree to split that price with the phone company. The phone company agrees to play an automated message to the original caller informing them of the price and giving the caller the option to to complete the call or not. When my phone actually rings I get the option to press a key to waive the charge. Fun and entertainment ensue.

Comment Re:Unforseen? (Score 1) 108

What is the potential of AR?

I agree that the cases you listed are not too exciting. The one case that I have seen that is pretty exciting and useful is text translation. Nokia has (had?) a pretty slick translation application where you could point your phone at some text and it would translate it on the fly, in place. Works great when pointing it at a menu or something where you want to see the translation alongside pictures and other positionally useful information. It would translate and overlay the translations it could do, and left the rest of the image as is.

Comment Re:Should be worried about gunfire (Score 4, Insightful) 96

Cripes, it's an open carry state, with an open carry believers, for a candidate that encouraged his followers to beat up protestors.

If some one doesn't take a shot at them, then they will take a shot at the protestors.

I would offer odds, 2:1 that someone attending the convention or a protesting against the convention will end up trying to shoot someone

I would be more worried about those unlawfully carrying than those who are legally open carrying or those who are legally carrying concealed (with a permit). My guess is that most folks who are open carrying are doing so to promote / exercise their rights and are being responsible about it. The last thing folks emphasizing their rights want to do is perform an action (shoot someone in this case) that has the effect of generating negative public opinion.

Comment Re:Autonomous cars? (Score 4, Interesting) 56

All cars should have black boxes.

I think that all if not most new cars do have data recorders (black boxes), the question is: What should these data recorders record, and who should have access to the recordings? There is a wide possible spectrum. I would tend to agree with you if we required storage of the last few minutes of mechanical parameters likely to indicate the cause of a crash and make this data only accessible via a court order. I would tend not to agree with you if the data recorders stored months of mechanical data, computer logs, GPS history of where the car has been, video and audio of the drivers actions and or if this data was routinely uploaded to the cloud with no restrictions on access or monetization.

Comment Re:Backups (Score 1) 465

And since so many people didn't seem to get this, after you test the parachute, you can't use it until you've repacked it, at which point it needs to be tested again.

The parachute description is all true, you can't truly test a packed parachute without using it, repacking it, and then not knowing for sure that the last pack job was good. However you can test the process. If you pack it yourself or pay a professional to do it for you, and it passes a test, you can have reasonable assurance that if you follow the exact same *process* again (pack it again yourself, or have the same professional do it for you again), you will have a usable parachute.

In the backup case, while arguably in this example is not as life critical, the guy should have validated the *process*. He should have either had the skills to make and restore a backup, or he should have tested the process by having the vendor demonstrate that they could restore a backup on his behalf. If he had done this at least once, he has a legitimate complaint that his data is gone. If he had never attempted a restore (on his own, or by asking Google to do it for him), I wouldn't consider his complaint legitimate.

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