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Comment Re:that would be the opposite of intelligence (Score 1) 70

That seemed poetic, but kind of pointless.

Can you use your own "intelligence" on the caustic, searing surface of Venus without billions of dollars of infrastructure? I'm guessing not. You're not as "independent of your environment" as your analogies imply.

And something that uses fewer resources over time, instead of needing to be fed more and more every day -- that may be "life", Jim, but not as we know it.

Comment Re:No, it's not time. (Score 1) 183

Two fingers for two-dimensional scrolling, horizontally as well as vertically, without any strain from fine-motor pointing.

Three fingers left or right for back and forward navigation.

In the Good Old Days of the Fingerworks keyboard, a host of other gestures for cut, copy, paste, left-button-drag/right-button-drag, double-click (without the additional strain inherent in a quick repeated motion) -- all 100% programmable, not only by what key combination they generated, but by dimensions and speed of the gesture to accommodate different hand sizes and movement patterns.

I really, really miss that keyboard.

Comment Finger. Works. (Score 4, Interesting) 183

Glad to see someone's already covered Fingerworks. I'm still sore at Apple, though, for shutting them down and sitting on so much of their gestural vocabulary. My TouchStream keyboard let my wrist RSI heal, and I still miss it (it eventually failed after a number of years). If I could buy another, with support, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I see a lot of people here complaining that "trackpads suck" and "gestures suck" and "tapping sucks", because (apparently) their trackpads suck. I'm totally happy with my Macbook Pro's trackpad, with one push-to-click surface, which I only use for dragging; taps for everything else. But, yes, using the trackpad on an HP laptop was physically painful.

Fingerworks did a remarkable job of getting gestural and zero-force input right. Apple didn't completely ruin it when they bought out the technology. It would take a lot to independently engineer a system that works as well, but if anybody has the resources to do it, it's probably Microsoft.

Comment Re:In light of recent news coverage... (Score 3, Interesting) 125

Perhaps you missed last week's reports of exploding washing machines. Entirely unrelated to the phone-battery problem, of course, but the last thing a large consumer-goods manufacturer needs is another reason for people to post dumb jokes about them on social media...

Comment "Training their own replacement"? (Score 2) 20

Well, this would certainly be new take on that popular business practice.

From a game-theory POV, I suppose this is the best move; if you're convinced AI is going to make your "profession" obsolete, position yourself at the forefront of the transition, so you can cash out on your company's success before all your peers lose their jobs.

Comment Re:FCC & EC. How is it done? (Score 1) 55

On the other hand, streaming back video would be greatly simplified. You wouldn't even need to stream it, really -- just display a solid white field. Or, for that matter, just have the user look at a white card, which will faithfully represent the drone's POV in the tiny fraction of a second before the drone, the card, and the user are vaporized.

Comment "First"? This was done in the 1990s. (Score 5, Informative) 203

Okay, this may be the world's first baby, but there are apparently 30-50 teenagers with three parents.

The girl with three biological parents

The technique was pioneered in the late 1990s, but then the US FDA said "please cut it out", and as far as we know everyone did.

So, yes, the future looks bright for this new baby, given that several dozen other beneficiaries of this technique seem to be doing quite well in their teenage years...

Submission + - SPAM: US Sues Palantir for Discrimination - Against Asians 1

jeffb (2.718) writes: The US Department of Labor is suing Palantir Technologies, a large private US big-data analysis company, for alleged racial discrimination against Asian job applicants. The lawsuit claims that Palantir hired 14 non-Asians and 11 Asians out of a pool of more than 1160 "qualified" applicants, where 85% of the applicants in that pool were Asian.

I'm sure Slashdot readers will have a number of questions about this. For example:
  • How did DoL or Palantir reliably categorize applicants as "Asian" or "non-Asian"?
  • How did DoL categorize applicants as "qualified"?
  • How do these proportions (percentage of Asian applicants, percentages hired) compare to other companies in this space?

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Yeah, I found out the hard way. (Score 1) 202


You can buy 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 from Apple for I think USD20 each.

You can download El Cap from your Purchased Items list if you've previously "purchased" it; that's what I ended up doing.

As of this moment (10:13 PDT on 22 Sep 2016, two days after Sierra's release), Apple's own page on "older versions of OS X" says, and I quote directly, "The most recent version of OS X is El Capitan (10.11)." If you click on the relevant link, though, you go to the Sierra page. 10.9 or 10.10? It's as though they never existed, at least on this page.

You can apparently download some earlier versions from Apple's developer site if you buy into their developer program. Maybe they're available at the free level, or maybe they aren't available any more at all; if I can dredge up my old developer credentials, I'll look into it.

You can also Google up a bunch of purported download links from non-Apple sites. Please feel free to use one of those if it strikes you as a good idea; none for me, thanks.

When I started using Macs, I was happy to spend hours digging around in printed documentation, Usenet postings, and MacsBug to figure out how to make something work. It was a hobby, and one I enjoyed. Today, I want to spend my time using the machines to do stuff, not trying to find corners that Apple hasn't finished sweeping clean.

Comment Yeah, I found out the hard way. (Score 1) 202

I've been trying to get around to installing 10.11 (El Capitan) on my daughter's hand-me-down early-2008 Macbook Pro. (It's been on 10.6 to support some older software.) What with family emergencies, it's taken me a while to get everything cloned onto a new SSD and ready for the upgrade.

Last night, I finally got everything put together, and went off to the App Store to pull down the El Cap upgrade.


Since Sierra was released yesterday, El Capitan no longer existed, at least as far as App Store searches were concerned.

"Well," I thought to myself, "I didn't really want to pull Sierra yet, since it's brand-new and unproven. But I guess we could give it a try."

Again, nope. Sierra quite reasonably has dropped support for this eight-plus-year-old machine. It's not an option.

So, not only can I not install the newest OS release on this machine -- I can't even get to the most recent release that IS supported on this machine. It's as though it never existed.

Fortunately, I found a workaround -- I'd "bought" El Cap for another machine, and so it was still available in my "purchased items" on my own App Store account. By using that account, I was able to pull down the full image.

I've gotta tell you, though -- finding out that I'd missed the El Cap availability by a few hours, and that as far as Apple was concerned I could rot on 10.6 forever, did NOT give me warm fuzzies about the company. I've been a Mac user for over 30 years (!), but on days like this, I find that as much embarrassing as anything else.

Comment Re:It can't come soon enough... (Score 1) 239

Ding ding ding.

And besides, even back in the days before mobile phones -- okay, I know many readers here don't believe there was ever such a time, so let's say "back in the days before LTE/4G" -- there were still plenty of deaths caused by drivers who were drunk, or dozing off, or reaching over to "turn the dial" on the "radio".

It's not natural for a human to pay undivided attention to a single task for an extended period, unless that task is directed at an immediate critical need or desire. Even if the task is directed at an immediate critical need or desire (like "not dying in a fiery crash"), it's natural for a human mind to habituate to the stress/motivation, and as a result to become less attentive.

A human is a terrible agent for controlling a high-energy, life-critical process in real time. If you need an adrenaline fix, go bungee-jumping, or take a strut through the bad part of town late at night. Don't make me and mine into NPCs in your GTA LARP.

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