Comments

Re: Unintended consequences (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in LinkNYC discovers the social problems of free Wi-Fi on city streets on 2016-09-22 19:12 (#1VNMS)

It sounds more like they tried really hard to give everyone (who already has a device) free internet (within 10 meters of a kiosk), and expected everyone to behave in a rational, civilized, adult fashion where putting up tents and whacking off inside them is off limits in public. (What you do with that poor tent in the privacy of your home is up to you, though.) They got a rather rude awakening.

I guess what ought to surprise us all is how many people already have devices like these.

Another source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-15/building-a-smart-city-have-you-thought-about-porn-and-privacy

Re: No (Score: 3, Interesting)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Do you cover up the camera on your mobile devices on 2016-09-14 14:17 (#1TQES)

Just in time for early Christmas present ordering:

Silent Pocket Faraday Cage Sleeves - http://www.thinkgeek.com/jlsn/

"The patented Radio Frequency shield in the phone and tablet sleeves effectively blocks all wireless, cellular, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, RFID, and NFC signals in all frequencies. And there's an alternate internal side, which shields only against RFID and NFC (so you can protect yourself from hacking on those frequencies, without missing a phone call or text)."

And, I found the article I was thinking of when I posted the original question (I was the above AC). I read the Schneier on Security blurb, but here's one of the articles it linked to with more info. (The headline annoys me by assigning all the credit to Snowden, but at least they acknowledge Huang's work in the body.)

https://www.wired.com/2016/07/snowden-designs-device-warn-iphones-radio-snitches/

It looks like it requires modification - wiring things directly to the phone's circuit board via the SIM slot - and it's only a prototype. Still cool though. Especially since, "Faraday bags can still leak radio information," according to the article.

Re: I can't say I understand this 100% (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Keyless entry fobs result in rash of vehicle thefts on 2015-05-11 21:00 (#8VD2)

The idea that the key is constantly generating a signal is a little difficult to believe - receiving signals is cheap, battery-wise, but sending would surely wear that sucker out in a year or less. More likely it only 'wakes' when it detects a ping from the car that passes whatever authentication it has built in, probably with some form of RFID passive receiver. Thus the car is doing the generating, and the thieves have access to the car because it's parked on the street or in a driveway.

The scenario goes something like this. The thief pulls up to the sidewalk in getaway car and hits the button. The amplifier amplifies the signal the car is constantly sending to the key. The key responds to the amplified "Key where are you?" signal with its usual "Itsa me, the key!" signal, et voila, the car is unlocked.

Surely it wouldn't be that easy, but the evidence seems to suggest it is. There seems to be no validation beyond sign and countersign. Maybe they'll patch that up by adding more tests to the car's routine, but the key is probably always going to be a dumb device (unless they make it a smartphone app) due to battery life.

Re: Good/bad? (Score: 2, Interesting)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in The FCC has approved Net Neutrality rules and declared Broadband a Utility on 2015-03-02 16:14 (#44EZ)

I don't personally think it's bad, but I can give you their side. All the "bad" I've heard has boiled down to the following points:
  • This amounts to allowing the FCC (not Congress) to declare a tax. (As phone providers are required to tax/fee their customers to death in order to pay for "last mile" coverage, so people fear broadband providers will be forced to do the same.) The people issuing this objection are staunch anti-tax conservatives and libertarians.
    • Such a tax on Americans with broadband could be anywhere between $48 and $150+ - per year. (Gasp!)
    • Americans won't want to pay the extra $4-$12.50 per month and the broadband companies will lose all their customers. (Hysteria!)
    • Because all the customers will leave, the broadband companies will stop being "able to innovate".
  • Even if that doesn't take out the broadband companies, all the expense of abiding by the new "restrictions" - no data caps, no traffic shaping (not true), Netflix using up all the bandwidth - will bring them down in a tangle of red tape and overloaded, smoking fiber.
  • The broadband companies will have "no incentive" to keep laying fiber.
  • One of the FCC guys on the board alleges that Obama pressured Wheeler into doing this rather than letting him use his good judgement.
So there's the list. The other side has better points, in my opinion. Net Neutrality is going to do more good than it does bad in my opinion. Fingers crossed for the future.

Re: "The Desktop Panel style interface is extremely expected." (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Lunduke says the LXDE Desktop is "Nothing to write home about" on 2014-10-27 20:28 (#2TR1)

That ratpoison article was friggin' hilarious. I have no ideas about the merits of the desktop vs other Linux desktops, but the article? I cackled. Favorite line:
That cheat-sheet is about as helpful as a donkey with a semi-automatic rifle. Sure, it looks cool in a picture... but you don't want it on your desk.

Keyboards & other thoughts. (Score: 2, Interesting)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Tablets vs Chromebooks: an unexpected year on 2014-10-24 14:40 (#2TP2)

Programmer here: I wouldn't call laptop keyboards "great". Ever. Anybody ever found one that isn't terrible for programming?

Other thought: maybe people are getting Chromebooks for the hardware and installing other stuff on them.

Also, apparently Chromebooks are pretty full-featured. That last feature the article mentions almost makes me want one... and the price is killer.

The keyboard is still a sticking point for me, though. I don't think I'd be able to get much done without a separate keyboard and mouse... which sort of defeats the portability of the whole "laptop" form factor thing. Anyone seen anything that's not too painful to use? And maybe a mouse that's not a touchpad?

Awesome distro! (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Friday Distro: Redo Backup & Recovery on 2014-10-24 14:24 (#2TP1)

I'm so grabbing that. Thanks!

Re: Example (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Editable Comments on 2014-10-23 20:50 (#2TND)

Would it be possible to make edits visible all the time? Maybe a setting one could flip on and off? Or is it too computationally expensive?

Re: Let's hear it for genetic mutation (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Tetrachromatic Humans See 100 Times More Colors on 2014-10-21 16:44 (#2TJF)

100 internet points for the man who used logic plus science to make an educated guess, and got it right: sickle cell is a genetic mutation which enables the victim to get malaria and have less severe symptoms, increasing the carrier's chances of survival and messing with the parasite's life cycle. Evolution is a bitch, though. If two people with the gene have 4 kids, one of those kids will likely get the disease associated with it, sickle cell anemia, and be more vulnerable to malaria. It's a net win for people living in a malarial area, but the double-carriers still get a raw deal.

Re: SQA debarcle (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Work begins on Thirty Meter telescope despite criticism on 2014-10-16 14:13 (#2TDQ)

Maybe I'm missing it but that article is about the SKA, not the SQA, and doesn't seem to have anything controversial involved in it aside from a little trouble with an oil company possibly messing up their radio waves. The last line of the article is telling - "The largest risk to the overall project is probably its budget, which to this datehas not been committed." But you were talking about an "SQA" - maybe it's a different thing? Wikipedia is not very helpful on the acronym, though.

Re: IE6? (Score: 4, Interesting)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in POODLE: A new SSL vulnerability on 2014-10-15 18:08 (#2TCY)

2001. Yeah, 2001. Worldwide market share: 3.8%. China uses it quite a bit, though, 11.1% of their users. I wonder what this has to do with the large number of attacks I get on servers I host from Chinese IPs tossing me an IE6 user agent - I strongly suspect it's script kiddy tools tossing out a false UA. China makes up the majority of IE6 users, and honestly, I block the whole country via firewall anyway on the principle that my company doesn't do business there. I feel a bit bad doing that, but considering how much trouble I get from those IPs, it's just not worth it.

Nice post. (Score: 2)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Work begins on Thirty Meter telescope despite criticism on 2014-10-14 14:20 (#2TBS)

This is indeed news for nerds, and thanks for putting it up - I never would have heard about it from more traditional news sources.

Curious thought (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Marriott fined $600,000 by FCC for interfering with customer WiFi hotspots on 2014-10-09 17:51 (#2T6N)

More interesting than the legal ramifications: are they right about improving security? If you were a customer of theirs during the blocking you would have two options: go outside or buy wifi. Presuming they had decent security, would this not have stopped all those "suspicious_hotspot is nearby with 4 bars, do you want to use it" situations? Was the security reasoning behind this legitimate? (Obviously it's a money-grab, they could've given the wifi out for free in dozens of safe ways, but maybe their logic isn't entirely unsound.)

Then again, hotel wifi is about the most holey, vermin-infested place you can connect to the 'net. I'd be shocked if they actually had good security. Anyone ever stayed there while this was going on?

Re: Forbid personal hotspots in Marriott hotels? (Score: 5, Insightful)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Marriott fined $600,000 by FCC for interfering with customer WiFi hotspots on 2014-10-09 17:43 (#2T6K)

Theoretically, when you have a business relationship with someone, you and the business can sign a contract together containing anything that is not against criminal law. "You agree not to use your personal hotspot while you are in our hotel" is not against criminal law. The enforcement of that contract would get bad, though - they obviously can't block other service, they just got fined for that. They would have to proactively search for wifi other than their own within the building, address the person serving it, and request that they either stop or leave the building. (Technically speaking, that's quite easy. Just look for the radio waves.)

If that person had signed the agreement, they would then be liable under the agreement and could be penalized or sued or some other appropriate punishment. If the person had not signed the agreement (and keep in mind, they might not be the ones who made the travel arrangements and things would get trickier there - just because you authorize your travel agent to reserve a room for you does not mean you authorize them to sign legal agreements on your behalf), the Marriott could only evict them, and request police assistance if they refused to leave.

If the case went to court, the victim's contract lawyer would have a field day confirming whether or not the contract was actually valid - any number of factors could get it ruled invalid. If the victim was not the one who made the arrangements and did not authorize the signing; if the victim was in any way incapacitated; if the victim was presented with "oh, it's just a standard form, you have to sign it" talk by the clerk; if the Marriott failed to uphold its end of the contract in any way, including not providing the mandatory complimentary breakfast with hot oatmeal as specified in the contract; if the Marriott selectively enforced the rule (HE got away with it, why are you picking on ME?)... the list probably goes on quite a while, but IANAL.

The victim could then hit the hotel up for attorney's fees and infliction of emotional distress, and might do so anyway, regardless of whether they won or lost the suit, arguing that the agreement was egregious compared to the agreements other hotels force you to sign, and was deceptively pitched - and they very well might win. (It'd probably end up as a class action suit for all guests who had to sign the thing.) The lawyers would probably have a field day and everyone else would get shafted, as is usual for these things.

But, yeah, that would get rid of those "customer" critters Marriott would rather like to keep getting paid by, so you're right, it's only theoretical. Theory is fun!

Measurements! (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mystery of Titan's disappearing 'island' on 2014-10-02 16:41 (#2T2A)

Gotta love the measurement thoroughness in the summary! Not only do we get miles and kilometers, we also get football fields! If they ever get a volume reading on this thing, I hope they release it as "rods to the hogshead" or something like that. XD

Without a warrant... (Score: 2, Insightful)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in U.S. law enforcement officials urge Apple and Google not to encrypt smartphone data on 2014-09-30 19:39 (#2T16)

Keep in mind too that the Supreme Court decision noted above isn't much of a barrier to a curious cop. Getting a warrant means filling out an extra bit of paperwork and waking a judge up - the decision might be counted as a victory, but it isn't much of a victory. Judges tend to rubber-stamp warrants. Heck, waking a judge up at night is more likely to get a cop a rubber-stamped warrant approval - they assume the cop did it for a damn good reason.

This decision by the major smartphone OS makers is pretty much the only thing standing between normal people and police business as usual, not to mention all the malicious apps, stalking ex-spouses, and curious roommates in the world. Besides, those lovely orders compelling people to give out their passwords have to get some use, right? (Yep, the US does that, albeit not as brazenly as the UK.) This is not a settled area of US law, despite our 5th Amendment. Things are going to get interesting in the next few years. In the meantime, score one for the good guys.

How much does this actually apply in the real world? (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Fault Overrides Emotion-Driven Punishment on 2014-08-06 19:33 (#2S0)

As in, during the sentencing phase of a trial, do prosecutors reiterate the crime in the most gruesome possible way they can, trying to influence the jury to react with horror to something they already know the most intimate details of? If so, does it work? Or is this more applicable to the first time the subject hears the story?

I'd like to see followup. This is interesting stuff.

...And then I realize the story was posted two days ago. Oh well, can't hurt to ask.

Re: Higher level of user control reqd (Score: 3, Informative)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Meet the Stingray on 2014-07-28 20:29 (#2PB)

Last I looked (and I might be wrong, IANACellTowerEngineer), the software wouldn't matter. This is about the "nearest tower" being replaced with a virtually identical tower for a MITM attack. They're not only legal (for now), they're a hardware commodity. How do you think people get cell service inside a big metal office building? They put the hardware up at the location. It's even available as a rentable device - having a big event in the middle of nowhere and want cell access? Get a truck to come by and put up a mobile cell tower. The LEO version just happens to have a "oh, and also record everything that's going through this tower while you're transmitting" function, plus some software that lets them sort out the massive pile of unrelated data they've just sucked out of the air.

No, what we need is device-level end-to-end in-call encryption. Quite a few projects are working on this or have already implemented it; this is a known vulnerability that corporations and TLAs already attempt to address. (After all, if they can "sting" normal citizens, they need to make sure some foreign spy isn't doing it to them.) Encrypted phone calls are certainly possible, though expensive when I last looked into it, and were common years ago. Of course, that doesn't save you from the location triangulation problem - but then, better not to use cellphones at all if you're worried about being physically found.

Is this just now coming to people's attention somehow? Or have I missed something new about this story? This is a nice writeup, though, kudos for that. I guess it's good that the issue is getting more attention no matter what - this sort of thing needs to end.

Re: Proposed mod scheme (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Pipedot: let's make this site fly on 2014-07-16 16:28 (#2H9)

Man. I wish I'd read all this before I tossed out my answer to the poll post. This is good fodder.

Re: Nice poll - fun topic! (Score: 3, Informative)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Moderation schemes I like on 2014-07-16 13:46 (#2H5)

Thanks! I wanted something that would be useful to:
  1. Pick the experts out of the crowd and elevate their posts.
  2. Encourage civility/helpfulness/other community behaviors. (I've seen forums that would encourage flames and rudeness, so customizable ratings are important.)
  3. Make the trolls easier to flag - without automatically suppressing their speech. (Some people really believe that crazy stuff. They need to be mocked, not silenced.)
  4. Let moderate/quiet/scared people have a voice without requiring them to be vulnerable to backlash. The bad stuff is out there, and most people don't agree with it, but most people aren't going to post their disagreement - they'd rather just click a button.
  5. Something a little more nuanced. Whee "Funny Troll"!
The problems with the above system that I can see are:
  • Do you make aggregate post ratings public? That might convince some people not to post at all. (Is that good? More signal, less noise? What about the people who take pride in their Troll Level 9000?)
  • How the heck could anyone make this scalable? I guess if anyone could though, you guys could!
  • What tags do you permit? A list of tags could easily shape the discussion - people will be trying to earn specific ones, avoid others, etc - but you still have to make sure to cover "what people are going to really feel about a post", or they'll start using tags for other meanings and your measuring system will be out of whack.
    • Do you permit normal users to apply topic-specific tags to posts? So you could have users tag a post as being "about Linux" or "about free speech", whatever you choose to call those topics. That could help with catching the experts, but might subject the expert-finding system to easier gaming.
    • The absolute basic tags you'd need to apply to catch people's feelings (I think) would be something like:
      • The gut check stuff:
        • Agree
        • Disagree
        • Rude
        • Unhelpful
        • Funny
        • Serious
      • The nice stuff:
        • Polite
        • Helpful
        • Interesting
      • The factual stuff:
        • True
        • False
        • Mostly-true
        • Mostly-false
        • Half-true
        • Troll
      • I thought about including stuff like "stupid" and "hell yeah" but I figure if you're trying to encourage civility you probably shouldn't allow the silent majority to outright insult people in their tags. XD
      • There's probably stuff I'm missing here. This post is already way too huge, though.
  • How can this system encourage people to read and tag more new posts?
    • Give a "reader rating"? "You have read and tagged 900+ posts! Congratulations!"
    • Give their tags more weight? So long as you don't let the bots take over.
    • Can you rate a tagger based on how many people agree with their tags? The only thing that seems good for is determining whether someone is with the group mind or against it on certain topics.
    • Let the good ones have custom tags? I have a bad feeling about that - but I'd love to earn a tagging rep so I could tag people "whackadoodle" or "window-licker". Maybe moderators would have to approve the custom tags to keep them civil or whatever. That could get overwhelming, but they're short, right?
I think Slashdot was headed this way but stopped when it got to be "good enough". I got the "multi-tagging" idea from Pipedot, though. I noticed how once multiple people agree that a post is off-topic, it gets flagged off-topic - unless more people agree that it's funny. When moderating, I've actually fished around until I found the adjective other moderators wanted to apply so I could make it show up right away - is this post "insightful" or "interesting", oh let's click that one since the word will show up faster. When I caught myself doing that, I realized that the site must store both tags - and I thought, why not show them?

Things to look out for:
  • What if 9 bajillion people tag a controversial post 200 different things? I think you should only show the top 10 tags but then you run the risk of moderation being shouted down. Shown tags are more likely to receive metamoderation, though, so my expectation is that tags that get added quickly (or were added by the original poster) will win out, and tags that are outright wrong will be dropped quickly from the list.
  • What about people specifically posting only in certain topics, trying to raise their rank to "expert" in those topics? I... guess you end up with a very informative site then?
  • Find a way to handle a threaded conversation that is 1000+ comments gracefully - ha! Good luck! XD
See, toldja I put too much thought into this! But it is a very fun topic!

Nice poll - fun topic! (Score: 5, Interesting)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Moderation schemes I like on 2014-07-15 19:04 (#2GW)

There's an option missing, as performed by Popular Science: shut down all communication. Lack of communication is still a form of communication. It's a fringe option, though it's one I wish more news sites would look into. (I'm sick of running across people who'd like to just shoot all them immigrints what're here to steal our jobs an' vote for Obama!!!)

Here's what I'd like to see. I'm putting heavy emphasis on tagging below because it's a form of "silent speech" - it's something that the mythical Moderate Middle or Silent Reader can do without expending much effort, and thus should encourage more participation, even from people who are afraid to speak up.
  • Take the Slashdot/Reddit system of up/down tags and expand it so posts can have multiple tags.
  • Expand the number of predefined tags to cover things like "Disagree" and "Rude" - it's dumb when people use "Troll" as a synonym for "I disagree" and the tagging system should discourage that by actually including terms people will want to use - even if it doesn't give them a positive or negative value on the back end.
  • Get rid of the public +1 and -1 associated with each tag. They're still there, they're just hidden and can be changed up as you get to know the site's community.
  • By default, do not apply negative modifiers to tags like "Disagree". Just show the tag. Users can apply their own +/- filters for tags, but they've got to log in and build their filters. The default modifiers should be heavy on the positives and light on the negatives to promote discussion.
  • Allow users to vote on tags people already added instead of supplying their own. Up-voting or down-voting a tag is the same as sending in a tag for that post - you only get one vote per post. Plus, it's instant meta-moderation - a lot of people disagreeing that something is Funny means that tagger's idea of funny is off for your audience.
  • Allow users to tag their own post, but don't give that tag any + or - value. "Ohhh, they were going for Funny with that comment."
  • When people get enough highly-rated posts (whatever "enough" is) in a specific topic (judged by the tags on the topics they post in) like "law" and "engineering" and "linux", tag those users as "linux-expert" or "law-hobbyist" or whatever. They could remove or downgrade their own expertise-tags, of course.
  • Aggregate post tags and apply them to the user - "Rude", "Helpful", "Controversial", or whatever. Positive tags could serve as a form of rank; negative tags would serve as a warning. It doesn't have to be public, though. I'm of two minds on that.
  • Allow people to use the friend/foe/following stuff - they're going to anyway. Keep an eye on those friend/foe/follow networks though - anyone who +1s the same person's posts, or all posts that are about the MPAA being good guys, or whatever, needs to be examined by moderators.
  • Keep moderators around. Someone's got to boot the spammers and spank the trolls, plus humans seem to be better at spotting voting rings than machines are.
  • Make the comments part of the "story". Include them in the RSS feed, promote the ones that elaborate on the topic with more information and resources, have a "comment of the week", etc. If you want a community, hand out community status, put the community in the public eye, make the community members famous.
I put way too much thought into this and then edited it down to just the bare bones. I hope it's coherent.

Re: No astronomy buffs here? (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Venus Express to plunge further into Venus on 2014-06-12 19:00 (#231)

Astronomy fan, does that count? I too would like to hear from the hobbyist astronomers. I gotta say, I love how they manage to eke every last drop of data out of these missions - here's a dying probe, let's make sure it drops into the atmosphere so we can get a closer look before it stops transmitting. This seems to be habit with these teams, and it's encouraging to see how damn smart they all are. Gives me hope for the future!

XP! (Score: 2, Funny)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in WordStar and Old Software Too Good to Stop Using on 2014-05-14 14:19 (#1KM)

It must be said: Windows XP! :D

Okay, not for me personally, but a large portion of the Windows-using world is apparently still enamored of it.

Purdy! (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Pipedot Logo on 2014-04-07 15:22 (#10D)

I like it too. Looks very professional.

Re: Time to pick a new one (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-04 14:08 (#ZC)

I wonder who the other candidates are. Anyone have any ideas?

Re: Who would have known anyway if they hadn't complained so much? (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-04 13:55 (#ZA)

This is the first post you've made that wasn't outright insulting. Kudos! (No, seriously. I want some interesting discussion! +1!)

Correct, I don't think I could hold an opinion contrary to a legal requirement and still be in charge of supporting the legal requirement. For example... the RIAA. I could not run it. I would just... not be able to bring myself to press the button on the robo-lawsuits. I'd be a poor choice to run the RIAA or MPAA, because I just cannot take it as seriously as they do. (I just... can't. Little Johnny downloaded a song, ohnoes! Pay us a billion bucks!)

I'm trying to think of something a little more equivalent and more serious - Eich's position on gay marriage was only tangential to his corporation's main duties. It wasn't The Gay and Lesbian Love In Society he was CEO of. It's hard to find a good example without bringing religion or politics into it, though. Or classic flame wars like vi versus emacs. Sexism is a good fallback, I suppose. (The alternative was racism. It's early and I haven't had my coffee yet. Suggestions welcome.)

Let us say that I am a complete sexist - dyed in the wool chauvinist pig - and I have somehow managed not to let it render me impossible to hire - I hide it, except for my political donations to a fringe group that wants to keep women from working. I get hired as CEO of General Motors. I walk into the office every day and I see the lady who works in accounting. ...Yeah, I would personally have trouble not twitching every time she gave me a report, if I felt that strongly about it. I don't know that it would affect my conscious decisions, but it would certainly affect my unconscious decisions. I might be reluctant to be in an elevator with her. I might make an inappropriate comment or a pass. I might not invite her to my "private" birthday party where basically the whole company showed up, except the girls. When given the choice between two resumes, where one had the name "John" at the top, and the other had "Jane", and they were equivalent, I might pick John first, and rationalize that "his cover letter was better." I might, in fact, pick Jane, because I know I'm being sexist - when you catch yourself doing it, you tend to overcorrect. Sexism is subtle, it's insidious. Same with racism and homophobia. There's a reason that the first thing out of a racist's mouth is usually "Some of my best friends are..." It affects you in ways you can't predict - which just isn't good for a CEO. I might step down on the basis that I was not a good fit for the company if I knew that about myself and wanted the best for the company.

Yeah, that's limiting. Some limits are good. I shouldn't be in charge of people I want to oppress. Neither should anyone else.

Now, supposing I didn't step down. And supposing it came out in the news that I, personally, think that women are not fit for the workplace, that they should all be in the kitchen, pregnant, making me sandwiches, and that I had supported a political action committee which operated with the express purpose of suppressing women's wages and whose eventual goal was to remove their right to vote - six years ago. And I'm CEO of General Motors.

Granted, women are a bigger demographic than gay people, but bear with me here: are the people who work at GM justified in speaking up about it? Definitely - they stand to be directly oppressed by my mistakes. Are the people who work outside GM but drive GM's cars justified in speaking up about it? Yes, because they stand to receive potentially inferior cars made by the best men for the job, not the best people for the job. Are people everywhere justified in speaking up about it? I think so, even if they don't have a stake in it. It's kinda like seeing a bully push someone over in the playground. You step in or you're a coward.

Incidentally, when I did research, I discovered that people spoke up when Eich was originally made CTO at Mozilla. It's not just the "CEO" part they're objecting to. It's "being in charge of people". They chose not to take it any more. Good for them.

There is, I think, a difference between this - internet outrage over a guy who is a grownup, knew full well what he was doing, and refuses to take it back, and getting him to step down from his people-managing job - and other incidents of internet outrage that have gotten people fired for silly reasons. Damned if I can articulate very well what that difference is, though. Perhaps it's the feeling while doing it which is different: the feeling of going after someone who ought to be able to defend themselves, versus the feeling of picking on someone who was completely unprepared for the fallout of their idle, accidental comments or photos or videos. Nobody needed to pile on Rebecca Black as hard as they did. Brendan Eich, however, could stand up for himself.

Re: Disagreement (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-04 13:09 (#Z9)

Dude, I'm happy. I have a great life. Doesn't mean I can't speak up for what I feel is right. If that's trolling, then call me a troll. I'll own it.

If you have a look at Mozilla's post on the matter, you'll see that Mozilla pretty much went, "We made a mistake about that guy." The man stepped down as CEO. That doesn't mean he's not still economically doing okay. (In my experience, guys who get nominated as CEO of a major company don't live paycheck to paycheck like the rest of us.) It means he's not right to lead an inclusive, open, and diverse Mozilla. I'd be fine with him in a tech job where he doesn't work managing other people who might be gay. Being a bigot doesn't make you unemployable. It makes you "not management material". (Mind you, I wouldn't work with him in the workplace if he couldn't behave in day-to-day interactions, but that's called "being rude", not "being a bigot".)

Incidentally, I wouldn't have minded if Mr. Eich had stepped up and explained why he either doesn't feel that way anymore, or still feels that way but it's honestly not discriminatory. If you check out his post on the matter, he did not do that. He instead chose to continue holding on to whatever he believes (he's never really articulated it in public) and to step down. I'd argue that shows principles, albeit the kind that involve shooting oneself in the foot. I can respect those, even if I can't respect the beliefs which prompted them, so the whole matter is something of a wash respect-wise.

Yeah, I still feel justified for attacking a CEO verbally over his beliefs. He appears to think that a portion of the population deserves less happiness than another portion of the population. That's not really defensible. I'm sure there are still racists out there and that some of them run corporations, and if I knew who they were, I'd attack them verbally too, yes, in the hopes that they'd step down. I think basic human kindness is a mark of competence. If you can't pull that off, if you can't at least keep your intolerances under your hat, you aren't good enough to be CEO.

My nose is firmly in my business here, friend. I love Firefox. I love gay people. That guy was mucking in my business by becoming CEO of Mozilla while being anti-gay. He could've declined the position. He could've articulated something, anything that wasn't "I still feel this way but it's fine, no really, cuz I promise I won't screw up." He did not show the competence to run Mozilla. I'm happy he stepped down, both for Firefox and for gay people.

Finally:
troll trōl/
verb
gerund or present participle: trolling
1. fish by trailing a baited line along behind a boat. "we trolled for mackerel"; carefully and systematically search an area for something. "a group of companies trolling for partnership opportunities"
2. informal - submit a deliberately provocative posting to an online message board with the aim of inciting an angry response. "if people are obviously trolling then I'll delete your posts and do my best to ban you"
3. sing (something) in a happy and carefree way. "troll the ancient Yuletide carol"
4. Brit. walk; stroll. "we all trolled into town"

Once again with the highlight of the appropriate definition.

My purpose in posting this story was not to elicit an angry response. It was to elicit a reasoned, intelligent debate concerning whether or not this guy was actually good for Mozilla. I'm the angry one here. I'm the one feeding the trolls. I'm doing it because I think Pipedot needs more chatter, and because I really do feel passionately about this sort of thing. Sorry, this fails your definition. You, on the other hand... you really do seem like you'd just like to have some anger spilled your way. Why is that?

Re: Disagreement (Score: 1, Informative)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-03 21:44 (#Z1)

And yes, I just modded myself flamebait, cuz I know when I'm feeding the trolls. Whee!

Re: Disagreement (Score: 0)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-03 21:43 (#Z0)

You let me know when you catch up to the rest of us then.

Re: Disagreement (Score: 1, Insightful)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-03 21:42 (#YZ)

Eh? Are you smokin' something? Here, let's crack that first line open:

Opinion A) People who love eachother should be able to get married.
Opinion B) People who love eachother should be able to get married - EXCEPT FOR GAY PEOPLE.

Opinion A and opinion B disagree! That does not make either of them discriminatory. However, opinion B... is discrimination. I mean... textbook:

discrimination - dis·crim·i·na·tion [dih-skrim-uh-ney-shuhn]
noun
1. an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction.
2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
3. the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.
4. Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.

Highlighted the definition that's relevant to human beings for you, in case you missed it in grammar class.

Sure, anyone who holds Opinion B is discriminating, and it is a pejorative, because there's just no way that discrimination is good here. However, you're fucking up sets there: just because someone disagrees with me by holding Opinion C, not expressed above, does NOT mean they are discriminating and are thus dicks - I'd have to see Opinion C expressed in a fashion that didn't make it look like they were trying to treat a subgroup of humans differently than others.

Such opinions do exist - you could claim that the institution of marriage is baseless and that people who love eachother should instead perform ritual suicide, and as long as you argued it for ALL of those people, you would not be discriminating in the fashion described above. However, you completely failed to express such an opinion. Therefore I have not insulted you. Any insult you perceive is imagined in your own mind. You feel insulted - because... you hold Opinion C? Or maybe B? And really don't want to spend the time laying it out, but by golly you're gonna stand up to that internet bastard who said you were discriminatin'!

But hey, this site needs more discussion and debate, so I'll take you somewhat seriously and read the rest of your post too! :D

Since you asked: I believe that the leaders of every technological, spiritual, and social entity I support should agree with me, yes, and if they do not, they should be able to coherently express why they think I am wrong. I am actively policing the things I support and participate in, for example, free software projects, to make sure that they do not suddenly espouse beliefs like "Kill all Canadians" and "Oppress the third world". Don't you do the same?

You vote, don't you? If you walked into a bar and the sign over the back said, "No purple people at the bar!" and you were purple, would you patronize the place? Oh, and hey, while you were leaving, and saw another purple person coming in, you might say, "Hey, don't go in there, the owner's a bigot." Right? I mean... human behavior: see something wrong, say something. You might even, if you were particularly ballsy, ignore the bouncer and go up to the bartender and call him out. This would be the equivalent, for me, of calling that guy out.

Fortunately, it's not quite that serious (though people are sure acting like it is, considering the way they flail when challenged). The guy made a donation a few years ago. I want to know what the hell he meant by it and how he can still espouse the view (if he does). He has comments disabled and I don't have his email address. Making a fuss seems like a good way to get to him and get some info - or if not, to get to the people who hired him, and get them to interrogate him on something they may not have considered when they stuck him up for the job.

You'll note that nobody's in front of his house with pitchforks and torches, trying to deprive him of life and limb. No one's tried to make HIS marriage illegal. I have a nice, strong moral compass. I'm exercising it. It's fun, you should try it!

Or you could make stupid cracks about kicking people in the delicates. No need to elevate the discussion, we'll be fine down here in the mud, I'm sure.

Re: Different levels (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-03 21:15 (#YY)

I dunno about that wedding cake example, since that has specifically been discussed in the courts and appears to have lead to a decision that yes, you can force someone who runs a business to sell you a wedding cake. ( Court decision here - warning, it's a PDF.)

I do not shop at Hobby Lobby specifically because of their stance on women's rights. Happy to make you happy - hope that helps your faith in humanity. I also ditched the Slash, which I loved, because Beta. Some of us have principles - and I would be willing to wager that the guy you're replying to has 'em too, considering he went and built a whole new site over them.

I am still posting using Firefox because I haven't yet been satisfied on the Eich issue. I'm keeping an open eye on alternatives, but I'm giving the man a few days (okay, nine so far, though only a few since I found out about it) to say something that isn't pandering to the popular belief that equality is good while still shimmying his way around his personal beliefs that equality is bad.

As for your parting shot, though, it comes down to this: He has the right to say "Hey, those people shouldn't be able to get married to the people they love!" I have the right to say "That guy is a dick for saying that!" That's equal rights - which is more than Brendan Eich seems to want to grant some people. I'd say the protest is pretty darn equal all around.

Re: Who would have known anyway if they hadn't complained so much? (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-03 20:55 (#YX)

I'm not sure what you're saying here. Yeah, the CEO's image shouldn't contradict the company's image, that is indeed the statement we seem to be coming up with. ...Oh, I get it - you think that because people care about free software and the Mozilla community, they should keep quiet. Not rock the boat. Stay in the back of the bus. Get back in the closet.

Ahem. Sorry, got a little carried away there. The point I should make is: speaking up is what makes the world a better place. If Rosa Parks and Harvey Milk hadn't spoken up we'd be worse off than we are now.

As for Eich... people are speaking up. He needs to communicate - does he still feel that way, and can he support that view in a way that doesn't involve treating others like second-class citizens? His response has been, so far, couched in political speak which boils down to "I won't say it outright but yes, I still feel this way, and I'm not letting it affect my judgement as Mozilla's CEO." I'm not sure I see how that's possible. If I were CEO of Kitten Killing Enterprises, I'd certainly have a problem keeping my personal views on kitten-killing out of my management style.

Maybe he can do mental yoga. I'd like to hear him do it out loud, though, so I can find out whether he's crazy or smart.

Re: Disagreement (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-02 16:10 (#YG)

Re: my last: Obligatory XKCD

Re: Disagreement (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-02 15:58 (#YF)

Heh, I think the point was that by using the software, you appear to be supporting the beliefs of the Mozilla foundation and, by extension, its CEO. I support free software - but it is the antithesis of discrimination. The guy who runs Mozilla supports discrimination. That's a headscratcher for me - presumably they chose him because he epitomizes their views, and that's disturbing. Personally, I think they made a mistake. The guys at the end of this thread have it right - this could hurt Mozilla's reputation, especially since people are making a moderate fuss about it.

Mind if I restate your points, as I read them? This is what it sounds like you're saying, as far as I can tell:

1. I know there are assholes out there and I don't know who they are, but some of them probably make things I use. I might object to paying them money for stuff if I knew who they were.

2. The software's free, so it doesn't matter what the CEO thinks - because using it isn't the same as giving them money. (How does the Mozilla foundation support itself? Why do they try to get users, if users are worthless?)

3. If something is free, it should be used without restraint. (Not restrictions - restrictions are things that limit HOW you can use the software, not WHETHER you should use the software. Restraint is the thing that makes you go, "Hey wait a minute here..." when something like this comes up.) To rephrase, it sounds like you mean: free as in beer means free as in morals - if the KKK started giving out free cupcakes, it'd be OK to take one.

4. That last paragraph reads like "Even asking this question is rude. I might think it's OK to discriminate against gay people, but I can't say that because people would get offended and I'd look like a dick. Making me have to hide that opinion is mean." I don't think you meant it that way, but the air of discomfort behind it is readable.

I want to point out that the question I was trying to ask - will this harm Mozilla? Is this something we should be worrying about and trying to put a halt to? Is this bad for the community? - was not built on the assumption that you supported one viewpoint or the other beyond the basic "controversy bad, Firefox good". Yeah, personally, I'm all for equal rights, and I love Firefox and other free software, but I do not expect you to share those opinions. I do expect you to have an opinion (cuz everyone does) and - if you choose to express it - to express it in a way that makes some sense, but aside from that? Who gives a damn.

OK, sure, maybe this is a trivial topic. People are dying in thousands of unpleasant ways every day; a cure for cancer still hasn't manifested; there was a giant friggin' earthquake in Chile yesterday. But... this is news for nerds, not news for people concerned only with the gravest of SRS BSNSS - and honestly, I do think this will do Firefox's (and Mozilla's) reputation some harm. It's already done some harm to it and the harm is ongoing.

Re: Disagreement (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-02 13:11 (#Y8)

Where do you think the line ought to be? Somewhere past "an unpleasant opinion" I suppose? What about "an unpleasant opinion backed with money"? Don't forget, the guy's not just a dick, he's a dick who puts his money where his mouth is. (There's a really terrible but hilarious dirty joke to be made there...)

Or are you saying that there is no line, that you'll buy/use/promote anything from anybody if it's something you want or need?

Or... maybe I'm misunderstanding. Maybe you're saying you'd just rather not hear about this stuff, so you don't have to make the choice, even by inaction?

Re: Has to be a joke (Score: 3, Interesting)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-02 12:54 (#Y7)

What gets me is the amount of coverage it's getting, backhanded or no. This can't be good for Firefox, my very favorite browser.

Also: Javascript long ago passed into other hands than Eich's. It's a standardized and regulated language - and there really aren't any options besides it for doing the fancy client-side stuff on the web. (Okay, there are options, but we're going to pretend they don't exist. *shudder*)

A browser, on the other hand, is a choice - and via the user agent, a declaration to the world of one's opinion. IE says "I don't know enough about computers to pick another browser." Chrome says "I like it fast and I'm not concerned with privacy." Firefox says "I like my browsers like I like my coffee - (insert customization here)." It's a statement, a deliberate choice, and that makes it something you can change in response to bad stewardship.

Re: Different levels (Score: 2, Insightful)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-02 12:43 (#Y6)

Heck, I don't think bryan and I are disagreeing on anything as far as I can tell. The examples, the situations, are all different, he's right. That's on purpose. Even if this were That Other Place, and he were power-crazy mod-nuts, it doesn't really sound like he'd be on a mod-down fit. Maybe I'm misreading, though.

The closest this comes for me to anything I can compare to is honestly none of those examples - I always knew Hobby Lobby was scary somehow - it's to the one about Orson Scott Card. This guy, Eich, is someone I would normally really admire. Finding that out gave me a Card Moment: D:

That Costco link (Score: 3, Informative)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-01 18:55 (#XN)

When I wrote the original article, I was using Costco as an example of a corporation whose CEO's political/personal/religious/other views affect the way they manage the entity, not an example of a corporation which has undergone backlash for said views. The link I connected it to reflects that original example. If you want a good example of Costco backlash, though, try this one. ;)

And in other news: the editors here actually EDIT! Holy crap! I think it looks better than what I originally submitted, too. Thanks!

Now just kill the magenta and comic sans and it'll be perfect. Damn April 1st.

Another article (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Mozilla foundation's new CEO causes concern due to anti-gay-marriage views on 2014-04-01 14:45 (#XG)

Posting to add another article which chronicles the whole thing pretty effectively and readably. (What? Read the article? That's unpossible!) A choice quote:

"I worry that Mozilla is in a tough spot right now," (Mark Surman, XO of Mozilla) confided. "I worry that we do a bad job of explaining ourselves, that people are angry and don't know who we are or where we stand. And, I worry that in the time it takes to work this through and explain ourselves the things I love about Mozilla will be deeply damaged."

Clearly they are trying to address this. My question still stands, however: at what point do the CEO's views become representative of the company's? In any normal company, the answer would be either "often" or "always" - see Hobby Lobby , Chick-Fil-A , and Costco for examples of CEOs whose political, religious, and personal views affect their employees (and, arguably, their customers). Mr. Eich has stated, however, that his personal views do not apply to how he will captain Mozilla.

In the interest of disclosure: I'm torn because I'm a Firefox user - I consider it the best, most customizable browser ever - but I am also adamantly pro-gay-rights. I very much hope they fix this.

Re: Off Topic (Score: 3, Insightful)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Autism Rate Rises in US, May Begin In Utero on 2014-03-28 20:25 (#VG)

Post. Pipe. Moderate.

That's pretty much it. The community's not going to build itself, on either site - saying something, even if it's offtopic, is helping out. Heck, troll. Okay, don't go quite that far. ;)

I'm guilty of abandoning all but the last lately. I blame daylight savings time. That excuse should last till autumn, right?

Re: Beginning of something more. (Score: 3, Funny)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Cable TV subscribers down for the first time on 2014-03-21 14:54 (#R5)

Talked to the cable company. Mentioned the one reason I wouldn't mind keeping service: HBO. The lowest they could get it to was $80/month due to minimum programming requirements before you could even purchase HBO. My service is going byebye at the start of April now. Hello, Roku.

Re: Beginning of something more. (Score: 3, Informative)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Cable TV subscribers down for the first time on 2014-03-21 13:06 (#R3)

Screw it. I'm going through with it. I spent yesterday running the numbers.

I've got DirecTV and I'm paying $165/mo for expanded programming plus HBO/etc, two tuners, two televisions, and some friggin' insurance thingy that we got because there's a kid in the house. Here's my costs for replacing that with what's available online.

One time costs:
  • $99 for a Roku - unless I wait till mid-April, and then it's $50
  • $100 termination fee for the cable
  • -$165 next month for dropping the cable.
Total up front costs: $34 .

Recurring costs:
  • Already paying for Netflix - $17/mo. (I actually get and mail back DVDs. It's awesome.)
  • Already paying for Hulu Plus - $8/mo.
  • Aereo - $8/mo. Starts with a free month trial and is available in my city.
  • Amazon Prime - $99/year. Another free month trial thing.
  • Plex - free, or $4/mo if I decide to get fancy.
Total monthly charge: $45.25 , and I was already paying more than half of that already anyway.

All the shows I watch, I can get. Any shows I can't get "officially", I can toss into Plex - with subtitles, even, and no annoying "extra content" about car theft. Any shows I want to keep permanently, I can buy the DVD for with the $120 worth of "wiggle room" per month from dropping cable - and I'd have to buy 6 new releases at full price before I hit the levels I was spending before. Nobody buys that many new releases per month. Plus, once I've done that, I will own a physical fucking copy , not revokable "digital media" crap. There is literally no reason for me not to do this.

Worst part? I don't even like sports. I have no idea why I was wasting all this money before. Thanks, guys.

My cable company thinks otherwise, of course. I'll be talking to them later today, and they will no doubt give me the hard sell and desperately try to keep me. I just don't see how they can match this, though.

Beginning of something more. (Score: 2, Interesting)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Cable TV subscribers down for the first time on 2014-03-20 14:43 (#Q8)

I'm seriously thinking about cutting the cord. It's so damn expensive for what you get. Even the ability to DVR shows is not really worth it compared to Netflix and Hulu Plus - and those are the only two I've paid for. Just imagine if I squandered the $150+ per month I'm spending on cable on internet services instead.

The only things keeping me from doing it: current shows I like and the ability to find new ones at random. Still... I could really use that money. Those shows are only going to keep me from cutting the cord for so long. The day my favorites go off the air, there'll be a curious "schnick!" sound in AT&T's ears...

Re: So many conflicts (Score: 5, Interesting)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Laser Pointing at Aircraft Increasing on 2014-03-19 17:31 (#PK)

FTA: In pleading guilty, Mahaffey admitted he knew it was a crime to point the laser at an aircraft but stated he "just can't help himself from doing stupid things."

That's not the current genius talking, but another brilliant fuckwad who decided to make the shiny on something far up in the sky. He only got 21 months. The guy this post is about, with the 14 year sentence, also sounds like he might have an impulse control problem, though - the article mentions multiple previous criminal convictions. The lawyer tried a "didn't know any better" defense, but it probably didn't play well due to the previous convictions.

I'd like to see some actual data: how many of those laser strikes do result in moments of blindness? Nearly 4000 known events last year, but I don't remember any headlines like "Plane brought down because idiot shined a laser at it". I wonder if the law is not because of potential danger to the pilots, but because of a danger to the plane due to false positives. I'd be willing to bet that it's not that hard to detect laser painting, and that some planes, military for sure and possibly civilian, are equipped to do so. In an area where people have rocket launchers, being aware of laser painting is going to make you jump a mile and raise altitude fast. Having an idiot whose pointer looks like the start of a missile attack would become a bigger deal. I have no info on this, though. Anybody?

Re: My Experience (Score: 1, Insightful)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Women Avoid STEM Degrees to Get Better Grades? on 2014-03-19 15:03 (#PC)

Hey bryan, I have a request for a new mod: "Guy". Not sure whether it ought to be a +1 or a -1, though. ;)

I'd say this lady's on the mark from my own experience. I know that when the going got tough, I avoided the fuck out of the classes in question - to the point of not even bringing in projects. If I could've skipped it, or dropped it, I would have. It wasn't that I minded the challenge or disliked the material - I loved both. It was that I disliked the conflict .

The conflict was with the prof, who was irritated at having to instruct girls and seemed to dislike me in particular, though I may have been projecting; it was with the other students - the males were convinced this was awesome and got correspondingly great grades, and the females thought it was irrelevant to their chosen career of 'kindergarten teacher', and probably influenced the prof's low opinion of them; and of course the conflict was with my family as I "failed" to do well - anything below an A- was unheard of. My first B persuaded me into avoiding the class - after which I nearly failed it completely, due to avoidance. I felt like I didn't belong in that room, and the prof and other students either did nothing or went out of their way to encourage that feeling.

I had been thinking about a career in chemistry - the math appealed to me. The B in physics introduced doubt. I knew I knew the stuff, I was very good at getting my head around most of the concepts - but if I couldn't even handle the first set of midterms, what was I getting myself into? Would I even be able to take on the tougher stuff in my favorite classes? I went quickly down to a D as apathy set in, and it still bugs me to this day. If something had been done differently, would I have done better in that class? Would I have chosen to go ahead and do some serious college instead of jumping straight into IT? The biggest problem, though, was not "OMG a B", it was "Well, I'm not going to succeed at this ; I guess I'll stop trying." Maybe if I'd known to redefine "success" for that particular class, I'd have adjusted that attitude, which cost me a potential career.

Redefining success, however, requires redefining a bunch of preconceptions: my family's, the prof's (he damn well knew an "A" counted as "success", and considered "B" to be inferior, and honestly, he seemed to consider most of his students inferior!), and the other students', not just my own. When that many people are telling you something, maybe you oughtta listen to them. These attitudes don't exist in a vacuum. Somebody, somewhere, said, "A means you're good at this and should keep doing it." I hadn't gotten A's. This wasn't like gym class, either, where I could convince myself that I was mechanically inferior in some way. This was a straight up, "You're not smart enough." And being a kid, I bought it.

Maybe I really wasn't good at it, maybe I was - I have no idea whether my initial grade was sexism, a failure to communicate, or just plain being new at the concept. It certainly wasn't the math questions I had problems with. I probably lost points on essay questions, since we didn't start practical projects until later in the year. Essay question grades can be (and very likely are ) influenced by the gender of the writer and the prejudices of the reader. Half of me would love to blame that "lower" grade on something, if only on my prof's bullish stubbornness to actually reward in a standard fashion. The other half knows damn well that my reaction is what killed the potential career, not his grading. So... yeah, she's right. I should've sucked up the B and not given a damn. Unfortunately, I didn't learn to do that for two more years, and by that time I was sick of school.

Simple tweak/suggestion (Score: 3, Insightful)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Which features are the most important? on 2014-03-19 14:06 (#P8)

Put the title of the story in the title of the page, please? Right now I have 3 Pipedot tabs open, and I have no idea which one is which! I've got to switch between them to see which is the conversation I'm watching for updates on; which is the conversation I'm posting in actively, and which is the conversation for that interesting story I read earlier and haven't finished yet.

Re: One way or another (Score: 2, Insightful)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in Should companies offering online services be required to maintain them? on 2014-03-11 17:39 (#FB)

The reason they don't do this is because if they did, then the game they previously put out, which they are then making no money on (because they stopped making it, and stopped hosting it, and now have given to the fans in whatever fashion you desire) would end up competing with Latest Big Thing VII, their big block-buster premium new game of the summer. Be honest with yourself: if you had a choice between your personal #1 game from your youth, and the #1 game of its genre released today, which would you pick? For a lot of people, that answer isn't the modern one - Tetris is still good; Chrono Trigger and FFVI are amazing enough that they sell for major bucks at the reuse stores; and of the shooter genre, there are plenty of people still playing Counterstrike, Doom, and HalfLife.

Game manufacturers have a hard sell to make: first, they need to make a game as good as or better than what's still out there ; next, if they want to use the latest and greatest graphics/sound/whatever, they have to convince the gamers to upgrade , when many of them aren't in charge of their own hardware budget; and finally, they've got to make sure that what they output doesn't make it impossible for them to pull the same trick next time.

It's a tough market. Quite a few of those in it do the job well. EA is famously king of doing it shittily . It's honestly no wonder that they're looking for every single tiny scrap of advantage - they're competing on mediocrity in a race to the bottom, and the majority of their customers would leave them in a heartbeat if anyone else had the license to make games from the NFL player stats for 2015.

That said: if you're a game company and you're going out of business rather than being bought out, strategically speaking, releasing your well-loved game from server constraints is the best move you can make: it'll make competition for your enemies and maybe give you a new lease on life as people pounce on the new feature. (Heck, it might even open up a new line of business: tech support. "Sure, I can get that working for you - if you pay the fee, muahahahaha!")

Posting the source code, on the other hand, or turning it over to an awesome company like GOG, though... there's not much in it for them, if they aim to keep making games. Thank Zeus not everyone in this world is that fucking cynical, though.

Story link appears to be gone. (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org in The dawning of the age of genomic medicine, finally on 2014-03-11 17:01 (#F5)

Looks like the story link's gone down already. Maybe next time get a permalink (if there is such a thing)?
1