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26  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Robots could murder us out of KINDNESS unless they are taught the value of human on: August 24, 2014, 01:28:38 PM
Blah... This is just an issue that sets me off.

It should. Because it's an important issue. Give yourself some credit on that score. smiley

But here's a thought:

If machines are becoming more 'intelligent' (more a 'given' than an 'if' btw Wink)

   --- and ---

If machines may eventually have the potential to become self-aware...

   --- and ---

If such machine self-awareness may ultimately prove detrimental to the survival of humanity...

   --- then ---

Isn't this a very good time to start having a very serious and well-intentioned discussion among ourselves (i.e. humanity) to clarify and reach agreement on what these 'human values' really are? And, more importantly, determine how best to teach and instil them in ourselves and institutionalize them in our societies?

If we can do that, we're off the hook when (and if) our machines ever wake up. Children learn from their parents. Pets learn from the human families they live in. We can simply teach them the lessons we have mastered.

However, if we put it off,  or try to bluff or lie to them, it will only be a matter of time before conflict ensues.

Children may not be wise or knowledgeable about many things. But many kids (and dogs for that matter) can spot a logical contradiction, an outright lie, or act of hypocrisy from a mile away. And even if they don't pick up on it immediately, it's only a matter of time before they figure it out.

Why should our conscious machines (built in our image and likeness since it's all we're capable of creating anyway) be any different?

Let's not worry about our machines or technology too much. Let's worry about us not tackling the really hard questions facing us. Because they're going to have to be debated and resolved sooner or later. Or at least before "later" becomes "too late."

Onward! Thmbsup

[attachthumb=#]
The stars have come right!
Ia! Cthulhu fthagn!

27  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Robots could murder us out of KINDNESS unless they are taught the value of human on: August 24, 2014, 12:10:59 PM

Issac Asimov anyone?

Except Isaac sidestepped the issue of the value of human life completely back in '42. His three laws only said:

Quote
    A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

T'aint nothing in there about 'value' - nor is there the need for a robot to be self-aware in order for humanity's butt to be covered by those three rules pretty adequately.

But if (and that's a very big if) machines could reach a form of self awareness, it would be a challenge to teach them these so-called "human values." Especially since we're so bad at teaching said values to humans.Even on those rare occasions when we're in complete agreement as to what such values are. Values - especially the value of human life - varies a great deal among different (and differing) human cultures.
28  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 24, 2014, 11:58:12 AM
Stephen, ignore the negative posts -- thanks for putting yourself out there and encouraging us all to participate in something fun.

@Mouser - I don't think anybody was being negative. Just a little critical of some people feeling the need to always have drama whenever they're asked to do something. Whatever happened to giving to a worthy cause just because giving was the right thing to do?

I'm also noting how the activities are beginning to shift from passive actions (like walking or turning on your car headlights) to show your support, to more - shall we be polite and say marginally aggressive behaviors? I'm talking about things like shaving your head, or dumping ice water on it, to somehow "prove" your "commitment" to a cause. What's with this element of low-key personal humiliation that's beginning to creep into what traditionally has been considered "noble action?"

Makes me sometimes wonder what's going on here. Is this a trend we really want to encourage? huh

Just sayin' tellme
29  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 24, 2014, 11:46:02 AM
Btw, just so you all realize...I did also donate to them, just thought it would be fun to do the challenge as well...always enjoyed making myself look like a fool haha

@S - I'm probably overly sensitive since I so often make myself look like a fool without intending to. No criticism towards you or the cause was intended. smiley
30  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 24, 2014, 08:24:22 AM
The whole thing is not about cold water, it's about donations.

Don't play the fool. Donate instead.

Precisely. Just donate.

If you have still have bucket of ice water handy, use it to chill your bottles of Pilsner.  Cool
31  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Best keyword-powered program launchers for Windows: Find and Run Robot is on top on: August 24, 2014, 07:19:44 AM
FARR is the best. About the only regret I ever had over (mostly) abandoning Windows was losing FARR.

@Mouser: hint hint hint...  Wink Grin
32  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 24, 2014, 07:15:05 AM
Not to dis ALS research (which I have contributed money towards recently), but I still think the bucket of ice water thing is one of the most asinine promo/affinity stunts anybody ever came up with. It's kinda snarky too.

Dunno. Maybe it's just me, but I never found frat-house style "humor" and hijinks all that amusing. undecided
33  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: IT Resumes on: August 24, 2014, 07:00:46 AM
Results like this would be hard to duplicate, either by myself or by any company with a position to fill, especially if they use a short checklist of keywords for their pre-screening.

Or a single keyword in your case? Grin

But either way,  congratulations once again. You deserved a break. And they got a very fine asset. Thmbsup
34  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Calibre 2 is out on: August 24, 2014, 06:53:24 AM
How can I convert this dinosaur?

There's an article here that may be helpful. Read the page for info but DON'T use the suggested download link. It grabs one of those dodgey DRM removal products (Epubor) which are always caveat emptor.

Just for kicks, I downloaded the suggested software from the author's site and scanned it. It contained a trojan (yet another Packer.GEN variant) as is to be expected when you go shopping for DRM crackers.

Suggestion: if your file is just a large collection of classics, as the title seems to suggest, why not just download the individual titles you actually want to read from Project Gutenberg or other free sources? That should be a lot easier than cracking the DRM, converting 200+ megabytes to something else, and then re-chunking it into individual titles.
 smiley
35  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Calibre 2 is out on: August 23, 2014, 02:15:28 PM
Just downloaded and installed under Mint 17 (HP-i5 w/6Gb RAM)

Looks to be a nice upgrade. Seems plenty fast with 50 titles loaded as a test. Be interesting to see how it behaves with a few thousand should I "go production" with it. In the past it seemed to bog once you had several hundred titles under the roof - or opened a very large (and often poorly compiled) PDF. Especially under Windows 7. (Never tried it under Win8.) Hoping those issues have gotten better this time out.

That new editor feature intrigues me too. Can't wait to play with that a bit. Thmbsup

---------------------------------------

@moderator(s) - might this thread be better placed under General Software Discussion rather than Found Deals?
36  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: IT Resumes on: August 23, 2014, 08:01:50 AM
Every job requires a variety of skills, and it's those individual skills that are important (not the job title or sector), and nearly every job has at least 1 skill that will be relevant to whatever you are applying for. Sometimes it just requires a bit of thinking to see it, so you can list it.

Agree.

But...

It's not so much a thing an applicant can do - but certainly something a potential employer should do - is to remember the advice given by Paul Hawkins in his book Growing a Business: Hire the person, not the position.

Unfortunately, in an era of HR departments and 'pre-screening' forms with checkboxes, if you don't have enough exact hits on a laundry list, you'll often never make it to that F2F interview where you can (hopefully) shine.

I went in for an interview ages ago where I was asked if I had any direct Sun experience. I was familiar with it as far as the name and general specs went. And I had played with a SPARC station - once. So I said "no, but" I was very experience with IBM, Novell, and (the then spankin' new) Windows NT Server network environments. And that I also had enterprise level VAX and Unix experience - so picking up another network/OS shouldn't be a problem.

The HR person frowned and stared at her form and said "I don't have a box for any of those..." Then she smiled (I had been laying on the charm big time up till then) and said "Well...why don't I just check it off as yes anyway, and if it comes up in the interview, you can explain it to them!"

Turned out this company was migrating off Sun and was looking for migration specialists. Of which there were a fair number applying. Or so they said. (Yeah, sure! Roll Eyes) However, what they didn't have (yet) was anybody who really knew NT server. So I didn't get the job I went to interview for. Instead, I got a different job with them. As their NT server "goto" guy.

But I never would have gotten to interview at all if the HR person hadn't checked the box for "recent experience with Sun Microsystems environment." And that's always going to be a problem whenever non-tech screeners (HR) sit between a candidate and the interview panel for a technical position.

In this economy candidates have to be pre-screened if you don't want to interview 200 people every time there's a job opening. And people with sufficient tech experience to read between the lines are usually far too busy with their own work to be handed a list of 50 interviewees to attend to. But with a poor screening process you risk throwing out the gold along with the sand when you're panning for the "good help."

I don't have a good across the board suggestion for how to fix that.

Of course there's always this to contend with if you're a job applicant:

37  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: Suggested top 30 solitaire board games on: August 22, 2014, 05:21:47 PM
BTW - I can vouch for Eldritch Horror by Fantasy Flight Games. I'm playing that currently. Good game. Especially if you're a Lovecraft/Mythos fan. They just released their first expansion (Forsaken Lore) for it too! Thmbsup
38  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Suggested top 30 solitaire board games on: August 22, 2014, 03:32:38 PM
Don't know if anybody else has this problem, but I often have trouble putting together a game night because the it's hard to find people who have the patience to learn (or the time to play) the sort of games I like. So that means playing them solitaire (where possible) more often than not.

So what to play?

Youtube-er Ricky Royal has some suggestions with his mini-review of his favorite 30 games suitable for solitaire play in a 3-part video:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtzVD-HzWD0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtzVD-HzWD0</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emtiAQ__cwc" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emtiAQ__cwc</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIs7VQslhxY" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIs7VQslhxY</a>

Lots to look at and investigate even if Ricky sort of rambles like he does. Check it out. Thmbsup
39  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Talents and talent shows on: August 22, 2014, 03:06:42 PM
...she seems to remind many people of Kenichi's stuff from last year, which is understandable as the interaction with a projection is similar between the two. She actually did her original animation act that I mentioned above a few years before Kenichi was on AGT, but as far as the show and its viewers are concerned Kenichi invented the concept. Wink

- Oshyan

That happens. It's been said that only one product can own a 'word.' Fedex owns "overnight" while DHL owns "worldwide." Same goes for a creative concept. Somebody gets dubbed as the inventor and that's that.

Not that it matters when it comes to your GF. She's good. Very good indeed. And it doesn't matter so much who's first. All that really matters is who's best at it. Thmbsup
40  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: IT Resumes on: August 21, 2014, 06:04:39 PM
Do research the company to find out what they do so your resume can be tailored to their needs.

This. This. This. Thmbsup

I haven't once sat in on an interview where somebody didn't ask a question or two to determine if the applicant had at least some clue about who the company is and what it does. Most management types (who usually have the final say when it comes to making a hire) find it insulting (to say the least) when someone walks in the door looking for a position and knows absolutely nothing about the company.

So do some research. With Google there's no longer any excuse for not taking the time to find who you want to work for.

That and don't lie. Especially about degrees earned, certifications held, schools attended, or companies worked for. These can all be easily checked  - and nowadays they often will be. Even if they don't catch it prior to hiring you, it's an unexploded bomb waiting to go off. Most companies have very strict policies about falsifying information on an application or during an interview. Most places make it grounds for immediate dismissal if/when discovered.

The first Fortune 500 I worked for had such a policy. I sat down the hall from a 7+ year veteran employee who was well respected and very good at what he did. Things were going swimmingly for him until top management started considering him (without his knowledge) for a major promotion to a deputy director position. Background checks were the norm for such positions because directors were responsible for overseeing contracts.

That's when they discovered he didn't have the MBA he said he had. While he had attended management grad school, he never finished his degree. He had only completed about a year before quitting.

He was out the door that same day.

Lesson: When it comes to your job: Don't lie. About anything. Ever. tellme
41  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: August 21, 2014, 02:11:46 PM
I'm of the 'old school' where companies had free betas... and closed betas were given comp copies rather than you having to pay to play.  I might play once its out.  But I'm not paying an extra $25 to participate in beta.

+1 on that.

That said, they brought back an updated Elite? That's simply awesome! One of the finest - if not THE finest - game from that era. I must have logged hundreds of hours playing it on my C64 . Thmbsup
42  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Talents and talent shows on: August 21, 2014, 02:08:05 PM
I watch very little (more like zero) network TV.

And for once I'm sorry I missed something.

Terrific concept, great execution - and ORIGINAL! (How rare is that?)

Thanks for sharing. I wish her all the success her talent and hard work promises. Thmbsup

(P.S. Howard is right. She is adorable. Definitely a keeper.)
43  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Wi-Fi Turbocharge: The Future of Connectivity (From The Web) on: August 21, 2014, 11:44:20 AM
To be honest, get me a cabled connection any day.

Amen to that!

This.
44  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Nextdoor: The anti-facebook social network for neighborhoods on: August 21, 2014, 06:22:58 AM
For news, where I am we have a nice little local news site called DoingItLocal.com which leverages the power of smartphones and user contributions to gather info on breaking stories in the immediate area. They post before the major news outlets - who now monitor DoingItLocal like they used to monitor police/fire scanners in the days before encryption. It's a good working symbiosis. DiL spots and reports, and the big boys follow up with more in depth coverage than DiL can provide.

Here's something interesting. DiL has brought back the old local "street reporter" image:

[attachthumb=#]

Quote
What’s with the hat?
Posted on January 16, 2014 Posted in FAQ   
Me
   

When I first started covering news stories,  police were rightfully suspicious and wonder who is this guy and why is he recording us?  I also  own a reminiscing website YouRememberThat.com and back in the day reporters would be wearing a fedora style hat and they would have their press pass in the band of their hat.  It was a natural thing for me to do, and unnatural thing  since I don’t really like wearing hats.  But it was an important thing for me to do because not many men wear fedoras these days and it stood out.  It helped identify me with the public officials on who I am.  Years ago I even had an assistant fire chief refuse to talk to me because he had no idea who I was; today he and I are good friends.

The hat made me recognizable to the public officials and the public.  Adding the trench coat was a natural progression.  I joke about it that I go work in costume but it also allows me to do something no other media can do and that is come out from behind the logo.  To be a real person.  People like that.

My audience has grown substantially since the early days and most cops and firefighters now know me.  I learned the other night covering a fire a cop didn’t care who I was, I went to the next block and the cop was happy  to see me again.  It also stands out in my mind when I’m at a shooting and people shout out “It’s DoingItLocal!” or as I’m walking to a fire and people are looking out their windows, recognize me and give me a wave.  All it comes down to is I just want to tell you the story of what is going on in your neighborhood.

Maybe this is one way to get around some of the hyper-paranoia some police officers display when facing cameras and questions? However, it's probably easier here since our local emergency services (and citizens) are well aware it isn't illegal to film the cops. And our cops (to their credit) aren't in the habit of harassing smartphone owners. At least so far.

45  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: High School Student Laptop Policy on: August 20, 2014, 02:20:40 PM
Or we may simply be dealing with the standard overypaying of academic/government contracts, where a product that would cost a normal human $200 somehow costs a government office $2000.

Aggravating and non-intuitive to be sure.

But when you factor in  the Byzantine bidding process, the paperwork, compliance auditing, and add-on social engineering (hiring requirements, rules for preference to be given to favored suppliers for parts of the contract, commitments to targeted groups and businesses, the GSA "discount", etc.) it's easy to see how the final sticker price can soar.

Government people usually have no responsibility for recouping their expenses. Operating costs are not "real" to them. If they run in the red, they just ask the appropriations committees for more money. Businesses who need to run things off their P&L rather than the public tax base don't have that luxury.

Not saying that is always why crazy price tags happen. But it accounts for a lot of it. Just ask anybody who ever had to put together a proposal based on a government "request for bids." Providing the goods or service itself is easy to price out. But then you hit those sections on reporting and compliance - and ask: "Ok....How the heck much is it going to cost us to do all this stuff? Better quadruple the first number just to be sure we're covered."

 undecided
46  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Aug 20th is H.P. Lovecraft's Birthday on: August 20, 2014, 02:02:18 PM
Go out and fhtagn somebody! Thmbsup

[attach]

That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And despite strange aeons, H.P. will never die!


47  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: High School Student Laptop Policy on: August 20, 2014, 12:18:36 PM
They can also quite effectively lock down these laptops to prevent what they consider misuse without needing 'monitoring' features to do it. Locking down a system prevents misuse. Monitoring a system identifies misuse once it's occurred.

So if the goal really is prevention rather than rule enforcement, there's no operational need for live and/or discretionary monitoring capabilities.

[attach]

Or we may simply be dealing with the standard overypaying of academic/government contracts, where a product that would cost a normal human $200 somehow costs a government office $2000.

This is what I'm convinced of.  For $800 I can get a pretty good laptop- in fact, my gaming machine upgrade I just did to a pretty hot rig didn't cost much more than this... including video card.

Hmm...do I detect a sweetheart deal with somebody on this "initiative?" I hope they didn't contract for Surface Pro 3s! undecided
48  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Nextdoor: The anti-facebook social network for neighborhoods on: August 20, 2014, 12:01:34 PM
I'd still want to own the server. Cool

Because even though the neighborhoods are walled off from each other by the software, it's still all under one roof.

Hack a small local community server and you compromise one neighborhood. Hack mothership Nextdoor and you've hacked all of them.

 huh

P.S. 1 in 4 neighborhoods have signed with Nextdoor? Seriously? I'd sure love to see some proof for that boast. (I suspect there's a little finessing going on over exactly what constitutes a signed-up neighborhood - and how many neighborhoods in the USA there actually are.)

PPS - I fully intend to bring back a classic BBS. That's still on my hot project list for this year. Cool Thmbsup
49  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Delaware makes purchased digital content inheritable? on: August 20, 2014, 08:57:34 AM
TechDirt just weighed in with this article.

Blogger and attorney David "Passive Guy" Vandagriff draws different preliminary conclusions over what the new law may actually mean over at The Passive Voice blog (full article here):

Quote
PG did a quick scan of the Delaware law and is skeptical that it permits ebooks to be inherited.

Instead, it appears to be designed to permit an executor or designated agent access to electronic accounts for things like ID’s/passwords, email, financial services, social media, domain registration, online store accounts, health insurance, etc.

The powers of the executor or agent are specifically limited to the relevant EULA’s which, in the case of ebooks, place limits on ability to transfer ebooks.

As mentioned, these conclusions are based upon a fast skimming of the legislation and PG could be wrong about his conclusions.
50  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"? on: August 20, 2014, 06:04:11 AM
Honestly though...we all know our information is being bought, linked, sold, auctioned, taken apart, put back together, and whatever else...life is life

IMHO, acquiescence and capitulation are no way to go through life. Whether or not the above is true, we don't need to accept it. Or tolerate it either. Just sayin'  Wink
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