1650 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 14:47 GMT
Just one feature
I want a desk phone that can detect when nobody is at the desk, and won't ring ... incessantly ... until someone else gets up, disconnects the call and either unplugs the phone from it's socket (without telling the desk's absent occupant - anger ensues) or sticks it in a drawer.
Buy a book
Going on courses is a bore. You sit in a class with other people who are not important to the day-to-day running of their employers. The instruction will always proceed at the pace of the slowest attendee (if you think otherwise, that person is you). At the end you get a binder, a certificate and a week's worth of email and backlogged work to catch up on.
You also never get to use the stuff the course was about. Or you forget it all until the boss comes by, 6 months later, and says "you went on the XYZ course, get this done by tomorrow .... please".
If all you want is some time away from the office (and lots of courses are held in London and the pricey ones are in the run up to christmas) then that's great - and we all love the company paying for a little jolly now and then. But if you want a new skill, then you need to learn it, practice it and understand it - a few days listening to someone drone on won't do it.
The best way to get training is to have a project that requires your intended skill. Do some (book based, web based, whatever you prefer) research. Read the Idiot's guide - not hard to find: the internet is full of them (idiots, that is) and start DOING it. You'll not only learn faster, but you'll get practical knowledge - or experience, as it's called on CVs - and something useful at the end of the time. It's also far more enjoyable than sitting around listening to lecturers. The only downside is that you don't get a certificate - and you still have to catch up on all that email.
Re: But what can it do?
> With a free OS... but since it's not costing you anything,
Well the cost is in one's time, even for a home user. There is a measurable "cost" in terms of the hours taken to to a major software install - even if no money changes hands. This still has to be justified, unless software installs & upgrades are your hobby. For those of us who see OS's and applications merely as the means to an end - getting stuff done - upgrading is an annoyance and a risk that needs to hold out the promise of some significant benefits for the time it takes - time that could be spent on doing something we like.
But what can it do?
Having the latest versions of utilites is nice. If you're a hobbyist, that confers bragging rights within your group of nerdy friends who are still running last month's version.
Having the latest and greatest kernel can be a good thing, too. If you happen to need support for new hardware (and most kernel relases these days are for bug-fixes, hardware support and minor tweaks that nobody notices). It can also be a bad thing, when bugs creep in, or if poorly thought out changes cause more hassle than they're worth. However, ultimately an O/S is a bit like the engine in your car - it does its stuff unseen and if you do need to get involved with it, that's probably a sign that it's failing.
So, as with any new release of Linux, Windows, Android and any other software release that comes along (not just the O/S, but the apps too) the big question for people who just want to get stuff done is always:
What will this let me do, that I couldn't do before?
Maybe new user-level functionality, old stuff that's significantly (i.e. not less than 100%) faster, with all major bugs fixed, better integrated, documented properly or downright novel stuff that nobody has thought of before. When I see a release that answers these questions, rather than just listing out: this app has been updated to version 10.4 and that utility is now version 3.66 and this other one has had a major upgrade to 0.2 THEN is the time to take note. So long as releases just come with lists of version numbers, I'll continue to assume they are intended for the geeks.
No excuses now
So much for the "I've GOT to drink this beer, it's nearly at its best before date". Now, with beer that has a shelf live measured in years, or decades, how will a chap justify pulling the tab (or opening the bottle) on that extra can - while getting the hairy eyeball from a disapproving partner.
On course for UK - Oz in 30 minutes
and a 6 hour wait at the airport
Scanned ID? haven't they heard of photoshop?
So what's to stop you just grabbing any old driving licence and changing the name to the name of the new FB account you just created?
There's no verification of any of these documents, and all it does is instil a false sense of security into anyone who thinks that people who provide these (extra) forms of identity are for real.
At least someone still loves them
> journalists ... consider them "high value"
Even if you do have to take things extremely out of context to get there.
> women are not choosing to enter the tech sector
Yes, they're not CHOOSING it. They have the option to enter the tech sector, some: not all, choose not to. In the past women have successfully infiltrated (if that's the right word) previous male-dominated professions, like: well, all of them - doctors, lawyers, advertising, acting, TV ... and the list could go on, and on, and on.
So there is no lack of abillity to break into a predominantly male line of work. The fact that there is little long-term change in women's numbers in IT can only be due to their lack of willingness to qualify for and take up IT jobs - compared to what they've achieved in most other walks of life. The simplest conclusion is that they prefer NOT to work in IT.
Now if you want a sector that badly needs gender-equality for the sake of all the members of society who pass through it in their formative years, lets see a similar campaign to get men (back) into teaching.
From the article:
> Or rather, I have to make do with just €6 for the week
But you're absolutely right. I wonder is anyone's going to wait until Sunday evening to tell Lester ...
Re: Do they not have street markets over in Spain?
If Lester's markets are anything like the ones I've been to in Spanish towns, the meat is not covered and unrefrigerated on display, of an unknown age and origin. I'd prefer to go vegetarian. Though the veggies will only be what's in season, so not a lot of choice at this time of year.
A quick tot-up at the calorie counter gives the following:
1kg rice (raw) ~ 4,000
800 gm loaf ~ 2,100
1kg chickpeas (dry) 3,700
12 fried eggs ~ 1,000
Bones - reckon on 200gm of fat @ 8cal/gm = 1,600
semi skimmed milk (iltr) ~ 600 - shoulda gone for full-fat!
and ignoring the teabags & spices as being insignificant.
That gives a total calorie intake of about 13,000 for the week, or 1,850 / day. So you might even lose a bit of weight - though I doubt that was part of the plan. Now, about those greens ...
Free for all!
So let's see if I've got this right.
Once a work has become "orphaned" then this new british law will allow anyone and everyone to copy it, modify it, sell it or give it away. You can "orphan" a work by removing any meta data the image contains and doing a cursory search in a single registry to see if the piccy is listed there.
However, if you <err ... > come by an already orphaned work on a website - maybe a photo-sharing for the sake of argument, then you can do whatever you wish with it. And if it just happens to be similar to, but sufficiently different from, a famous original such that your registry search would come up negative, well, that's too bad.
Now, I can't see how the "britishness" of this law comes about. Will the ability to claim a picture only apply if it was "found" on a UK website, or can it be "found" anywhere so long as the finder was in Britain at the time (in reality, or virtually) - or what? And does it offer any protection at all if someone in another country appears on the scene and claims ownership of the image and sues your ass off in another country, of their choosing?
Finally, what is a movie, if not a series of images (none of which individually contains ownership material) all strung together in a particular order? .... I really can't see this Act doing anything except muddying the waters and giving the BIG GUYS more power, while not treating the little guys in the same way.
Instead of asking for patient consent ...
Just ask them for their FB account id. If it's possible to pull personal info from that, assume the individual has no interest in personal security. If they refuse to hand over the account details, don't have one or ask "What's Facebook?" then button 'em up, tight.
At the worst, it might give some people a well-needed lesson in personal security.
Eric Pode got it right
> He had an itch and needed a scratch.
One of The Burkiss Way's more memorable passages had Mr Croydon being asked:
"Are you feeling up to it?" which brought the reply
"Naaahh, I was only scratching my leg"
Just goes to show: the internet is a GOOD thing
Here we have a bunch of couch-surfers, complete with their biases, assumptions and prejudices fingering the wrong guy for all the wrong reasons. Luckily for him, they were only sitting at home thinking they were getting involved in something real. If this had been a pre-internet lynch-mob there could well have been a hanging. Instead the pitchforks and nooses of Ye Olde West (and East) were not in evidence and the target of this uninformed hysteria is still with us.
However I bet his lawyers are rubbing their hands with glee.
So does the hosting country get a "pass"?
> New statistics contained in [ the american company ] Verizon’s ...
Or is there actually an espionage gap? One that represents as big a threat as the missile gap, the bomber gap or the mineshaft gap ( 'pollies to Dr. Strangelove for that last one ). If so, what is the United States of Merkins going to do to close the gap. One must assume a rapid deployment of hackers on their part to catch up.
Unless there is no gap and the USA-ian hackers just don't get caught, or have a blind eye turned (or maybe even hacked the survey?).
Re: Can we check one thing?
> You feel that hypocrisy is the worst of all possible offenses, and to have engaged in it in the past makes someone ineligible from ever pointing out the deficiencies of another?
I don't think hypocrisy is like having the flu. You get it for a week or two and after that you're cured: a "moment of madness" if you will. I believe it is more an intrinsic part of one's personality (or not). Now, I can accept that people can and occasionally do, change - but acts of contrition after being caught don't cut it - they just reinforce the initial impression.
It might not even be a bad attribute for a politician, if used properly. For example in negotiating with other governments it would be nice if our politicians were better liars, frauds and con-artists than the other guy's were. It's just when they do it (and so badly) to the people who pay them, that it annoys me.
Can we check one thing?
When MPs start criticising others, or companies, for dubious tax affairs - or claiming things they shouldn't ought to it's always worth looking back to inspect their records of honesty, apropos expense claims.
Maybe she's not the best person to cast the first stone
Come clean on funny money
> The average attack caused a Blighty SMB between £35,000 and £65,000 worth of damage
Now, we all know that doesn't mean that the SMBs in question had to get thirty five grand of cash out of their respective wads and spend that money on goods or services outside the company.
No. All it means is they got some of their staff to do a few hours of work at some notional internal cross-charge hourly rate and a whole lot more managers to spend time in meetings, each at a vastly higher notional hourly rate. Now some of those people might, just, have got a bit of overtime or a meal allowance - but in most cases (of personal experience) they were just told to stop what they were working on: projects, facebook updates, chatting to colleagues, long lunches, going home on time - and to sort out whatever breach had been detected.
The reason that large company's breaches cost more was in large part because they had more staff that they could apply to the problem. Work expands to fill the number of departments that can charge for their time.
What would be interesting to know, but will never ever be revealed, is how much actual cash flowed out of a company for each problem that they had to fix. I would suspect that in most cases the real monetary cost was very small indeed.
Who let the data out?
> ... data to be secured between just the device and a home hub
So all this stuff will be routed through the home's internet connection. That makes it a trivial task to simply block it going out at all. It does seem that until someone (a vested interest no doubt, but vested in what, precisely?) can answer the question: why should I give away all this information about my household? there's nothing in it for me to let this data go back to where ever it is being sent.
Sure, I can see that there is a possibility, but only a possibility, that I could get a discount on my utilities bill if I allow smart reading of the various meters - or more likely a penalty if I don't. But after that: who cares?
What do I gain if a lightbulb tells someone "Hello, I've just been switched on" or if the kettle squeaks up "this is the third cup of tea this hour!".
Just because something becomes possible, that doesn't mean that it will be adopted. Unless I can see a real, tangible benefit TO ME for all this data that would counterbalance the disadvantage it would put me at , I can't see why I should let it pass.
It's not a tax ...
... if you don't have to pay it - it's a donation.
Maybe the people who should be most apologetic about this whole sorry state of affairs are the UK's politicians. The thing they should be apologetic about is their inability to draft water-tight tax laws. Why, after all the years that this has been dragging on, haven't they got off their arses and DONE SOMETHING to close the loopholes?
Stovepipes kill progress
One place I worked had a team for every possible discipline. All of whom wanted to be involved in approving every decision, as there was inevitably some aspect that would affect their "patch".
So, to do something as simple as extend a database table needed buy-in from the database team: fair enough. However the server guys could veto the decision, as the databases ran on their servers. Similarly the storage peeps had to be persuaded - as they looked after the spinning stuff and would have to allocate space. Same for the network: as all the data traffic flowed through their wires, so an potential increase needed to be assessed, modelled and impact-analysed. Add in the people who did the backups and service / continuity people and even the smallest change needed the approval of half a dozen or more teams. None of whom were looking at the big picture - merely how they could leverage the situation to get more budget, headcount or cross-charge.
As a consequence nothing ever got done. Nobody could ever agree and there was always someone else to point the finger at if a problem arose. Everyone quickly learned that trying to do pre-emptive maintenance was futile and the simplest way to get things done was to wait until some part of the operation failed, then raise an emergency change to get it working again.
Sadly this state of affairs arose because of all the problems that the earlier "free for all" organisation had suffered. Some consultants had come in, seen the opportunity and suggested ISO, or BS, or ITIL or whatever other faddy re-organisation would earn them the highest fees. The basic problem was that they were only shuffling the same people around. The people who neither wanted to do any work, nor were interested in what went on outside their little fiefdom, or had any loyalty to the IT department as a whole.
The truth was that any set of processes (or none at all) could have worked, if only the individuals charged with running the operation were motivated, skilled and truly a team. In the end the problem was solved by outsourcing the whole mess, so everybody lost. But at least no individual was to blame.
Is your money where your mouth is?
> Bitcoin is the greatest thing since sliced bread
So, the only question that remains is: how many have you got (and would you take an assignment that paid in BCs)?
A person who extols the virtues of any virtual currency but hasn't got any, themself, has no credibility on that topic.
Bubbles are at best ephemeral, fragile things that disappear as soon as you look at them. Virtual bubbles from virtual trading in virtual goods? Even more so. If the whole mess disappeared tomorrow, at least the BC holders wouldn't have lost anything - since they never had anything to start with.
Celebrity self interest
> cheap camera-toting aircraft can be used by anyone from terrorists to quarrelling neighbours:
I think his major, probably only, reason for getting upset is that the paparazzi will start flying drones over his property and start invading his privacy. He obviously has no interest in anybody else's privacy, but when it comes "home" it's a different matter entirely.
Though to be fair, it's only a short journey from loading a camera onto a drone and flying it over his heavily guarded and impenetrable walls, to loading a gun onto the same ...
That's what happens when you leave development up to governments
So the basic rocket used in the 1940s is little different from the ones in use today - 50+ years later. Quel suprise!
Government agencies have little reason to pursue developments - they're expensive, they don't always work and even if you do make a thingy work better, all you get is a pat on the back and a memo of thanks.
Compare that with the (commercially driven) aircraft industry. Coming out of WW1, in 1918 aircraft were still made from wood, with 1 or 2 piston engines and room for one or two "lucky" drivers (though some of the "latest" bombers could carry 6 people). And they were about as reliable as Windows 3.1 However there were lots of civil aviation companies - all competing for government contracts and commercial uptake. Hence, 50 years and a few more wars later we had Jumbo jets.
The great thing is that in a day or two, whatever these guys say will be lost and forgotten, probably for ever. If pure, blind, random chance happens to do them a turn and this prognostication (one of how many?) happens to have a grain of truth in it, they will be blowing their own
strumpets and telling the world what masters of forecasting they are. However, if it turns out they are completely and irredeemably wrong the story will get buried and never mentioned again.
The trick is to make as many forecasts as possible and just play the odds.
Now, if they were to have a significant amount of their own, personal, money riding on the outcome of this statement, then I might be persuaded to take it a bit more seriously.
Air force ... cyber-weapons ... huh?
Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but I'm a little confused about the armed farces.
The army I get: shoot people on land
Navy: same idea - shoot people at sea
Airforce - bomb the crap out of people from a nice, safe distance
So where does the american air force feature in goofin' around on the internet? You'd think that if someone wanted to keep critical assets away from (foreign) baddies, simply unplugging them from the web would be simple, effective and extremely sensible. I can only presume that since the fly-boys haven't got very many targets these days, they've been expanding their sphere of influence in order to preserve their enormous
Enough of the cheap, plasticky tat. A real computer is too heavy to lift. Although there's a Cray in the list, nothing beats a Thinking Machines Corp. product for sheer cool.
(Except maybe, watching a StorageTek tape robot doing its thing at full whack.)
Where lawyers go to die - or at least smell bad
> n the last 19 years 1,710,000 students studied Law though in the same period there were only ever 66,500 job vacancies ever available.
And the rest are to found polluting the internet with their own personal views of what's legal or illegal (or worse: right and wrong, though the two have no connection whatsoever). Based on no experience at all.
It's probably a good thing, though. This country really doesn't need 90,000 new lawyers every year - though with so many excessively legal-jargon qualified, even if not all of them graduate, is it really any wonder that this country is becoming so litigious?
Investing is gambling is risk
> Quite simply, they made loans to people who said they had a great plan
So they were unable (or unwilling, given the "cooooore! look how much those other guys are raking in!" factor) to correctly assess the risk associated with their loans. That's hardly different from a punter consistently reckoning horses have odds of 4 - 1 of winning and therefore betting his/her entire pension on them if the bookie is offering 5 -1.
Now, the basic problem was that unless the bank made those bets, and won, they couldn't support a share price that was comparable to the financial sector - so the people at the top would get the chop. It turned out that HBOS was just plain unlucky with who they gambled on - though given their actions: it wasn't really luck, at all. The whole process will repeat, sooner or later, unless the quest for short-term payback is limited and possibly regulated. Without someone telling the bankers (as a whole) that their gambling is reckless and has to be brought under control, it's inevitable that someone will succumb to the "bargain" odds on offer and get it wrong.
Crush? or a light fondling.
Some numbers from the article:
> PCs sold in 2013 ... 315 million units
> Tablet shipments ...197 million units
So even if all those tablet shipments turn into sales - and they include the $50 cheap
crap devices, the market for PCs still looks pretty dam' good - though obviously in decline, as you'd expect for a saturated product where most sales are replacements, rather than new users.
If only someone would invent a "search engine"
> human middle managers have a harder time than their bosses and their underlings.
The researcher would have found dozens of studies, on actual people, that have been done over the past 50 years that all reached the same conclusion. And she wouldn't have had to watch 600 hours of monkey poo - just a couple of minutes in front of what might (in the future, if anyone ever develops it) be called "Google" could have saved her from wasting her life away.
Tax revenue for free
The americans have been doing this sort of thing (imposing enormous fines on foreign companies) for some time. It seems only fair that "we" get in on the act, too.
These fines are actually a nice little earner and since they don't hurt any nationals from the countries doing the regulating they provide some free money to the various exchequers. Whether or not this amounts to (illegal) trade sanctions is debatable, but if they can do it to us, why shouldn't we regulate back? It sure beats the hell out of taxing your own voters.
Don't do house calls
My response to these annoyances is to tell the individual in question to "bring it over and I'll have a look". You are then at liberty to leave any computer that does actually turn up (the prospect of having to do something, themselves, seems to deter most people) in a dark corner for several weeks. If the owner does summon up the courage to enquire, just mumble something about "cross wiring the Southend bus" or somesuch and tell them you'll be in touch.
The problem with going round to their house to fix a problem is
(a) it puts you under pressure to do something immediately
(b) you're away from your tools, favourite debugger, reference sources and possibly even a viable internet connection
(c) unless you do manage to randomly fix it, it's difficult to get away when you've had enough
(d) it takes no effort on the part of the ask-er - always a bad position to be in.
The other advantage of leaving someone-else's kit to fester while you're "fixing" it, is that you could build up a stockpile. So when yet another freeloader cheefully asks for hundreds of pounds of your time (at professional rates) for nowt (or worse, in exchange for a bottle of undrinkable wine, that they were probably given on the cheap), just point to the pile and remind them that you've already got Fred from No. 6's to do first and then you promised the kids from across the street that you'd sort out their video drivers ...
Alternatively, you could just hand them your lawnmower and suggest that while you're fixing their PC, they could make themselves useful with the jobs you were about to do, before they interrupted you.
On the bright side ...
If the government hadn't "forced up" the price of energy, then we'd have more money in our pockets. But then we'd probably go and spend it all on things like .... well, you know: food, and beer and fags. So a competent
liar politician could argue that by forcing people to shell out to keep warm, they've actually helped to IMPROVE our health, lower our weight and keep our livers in good order.
Gawd bless 'em
> MPs had ended three centuries of freedom from political interference of the published word
Alternatively: newspaper owners gave up 300 years of responsible reporting and professionalism.
Saying that something is "in the public interest" is an easy and lazy defence that can be applied to pretty much any newspaper article. It's also completely unprovable - and attributing increased sales is the worst possible rationalisation for "public interest".
What's happened to newspapers is what happens every day in thousands of households across the land: where exasperated parents say to their misbehaving toddlers "if you won't play nicely, we're taking your toys away". The press brought this sorry state of affairs on themselves. Maybe they thought they were "too big to
fail regulate" - it looks like their arrogance was called.
Re: (Still) fixing the wrong problem
> iRobot also makes military robots.
But at least there'll be a nice clean battlefield after their robots have killed / bombed / strafed the crap out of every living thing on or near it. (So long as there aren't any stairs).
Hopefully their revision control software won't get the robo-butler and military versions mixed up.
(Still) fixing the wrong problem
If you want to differentiate a packet of bog rolls from a packet of crisps why not just read the bar code (that's what it's there for, after all)? If you're a vacuum cleaner I'd far prefer your developers spent time on getting you to climb stairs, and to be able to get the cobwebs off the ceiling, than teaching you to identify 57 varieties of chair.
The only thing a vacuum cleaner needs to know about objects in its path is not WHAT they are, but their properties: movable/immovable, fragile or prone to injury - and then to take a limited set of actions depending on those properties (and erring on the side of caution, natch).
Look out for ice
Just make sure that your magnets don't get dewed up during the ascent. The dew could freeze the magnets together, so that the pull-apart force is no longer defined by the strength / size of the magnets, but by the amount of ice holding them together.
Not much new
> has Parliament just voted to regulate internet speech?
No, it's always been regulated. You have NEVER been able to say anything you please, online (just like in real life). You can't tell lies about people, you can't make false claims for things you sell, or have bought and reviewed. You can't make hateful statements and you can't incite naughtyness. In short - anything that you can't say in print (already) has always been restricted on the internet - even if enforcement has been on the non-existent side of inconsistent and spotty.
However if this new set of rules actually gets ENFORCED, in the way the old set never was then I really, really hope it will finally put an end to most of the innuendo, bitchiness, snide comments and general nastiness that passes for tabloid journalism: either in print or online.
Re: Oh FFS.
> it's quite hard to avoid buying stuff that's advertised on TV
I've never had the slightest inclination to buy any of the crap that's advertised on TV. Although I imagine that for women the situation is different - as most of the adverts are for their sort of "stuff".
The new injection moulding
In the 50's and 60's there was a large increase in the availabilty of cheap tat from the far east. This came about from cheap injection moulding technology, that became affordable and allowed manu's to fill the world with little plasticky things, often with rough edges that would break after a short time.
Obviously the technology improved - as did the ability of people who designed stuff for IM manufacture. So today there is less tat and more high-quality IM produced stuff around. To the point where nobody cares, or knows, what the process was that created all the stuff they surround themselves with.
3D printing is similar. As it's still in the novelty stage, the attribute "3D printed" is often promoted more than the actual thing that was produced. Whether or not you consider the stuff to be cheap (or expensive) plasticky tat is up to the reader. However the technology still has a way to go before it matures to the point where nobody, except the maker, cares how their new "thing" was produced.
The one thing I can see that stands in the way of 3D printing is the speed of production. It still seems to be a slow, rasterised, process. Adding one thin layer after another. While the low speed of the "printer" lends itself to making high-precision parts, it's pretty hopeless at making them by the million. Until the process can match the speed of other manufacturing processes, it will always be a high-cost, niche technique. Great for one-offs, but useless for making a billion keyboard key-caps a year.
In other news ...
... workers commute durations have been found to average less than 10 minutes - providing they live within 5km of their work and don't travel in peak times.
Apart from OFCOM coming up with meaningless, unrealistic drivel (as usual), what exactly is their point?
Are they trying to imply that somehow their "regulation" powers have had something to do with this? Are they really saying that internet speeds are something they simply don't understand - or know how to measure properly? Maybe the subtext is that even with them not doing a single dam' thing to (ever) make anything better, that it's still possible to fudge the figures to make it appear that they've done some good?
Why do they keep wasting our time ...
Online advertising's greatest flaw
... is that advertisers can actually MEASURE it's efficacy.
With good, old-fashioned advertising there was little, if any, way of telling how well a particular advertisement was working. Sure, occasionally one advertisement would go stratospheric and everyone would win an award (even if sales didn't twitch) - but the main reason for mainstream advertising was that YOU had to do it because everybody else was, too.
With the 'net that's all changed. The old saying that: "half of all advertising money is wasted - but nobody knows which half" is no longer true - either in degree or analysis. We now know that most advertising money is wasted, either by targeting the wrong (or none) audience, preaching to the converted or being too expensive for the returns it produces.
So, given that anyone with their finger on the pulse of their advertising budget can see where it's gurgling down the plug 'ole (to mix a few metaphors), it's a wonder that anyone still bothers with it. Until you look back at the alternatives.
Re: Anything we can do
> I don't think you can draw any statistical inference from one data point.
Maybe not, but you can build a whole internet full of conjecture on it.
Anything we can do
(on average) half the aliens can do better. It's reasonable to assume that humanity is nothing special so far as speed of development goes. So it's a reasonable guess, based on zero evidence, that half the aliens out there are more advanced than we are.
So if we can detect alien light, there must be lots of sentient races that can do the same, and have developed the tech. to tell them more about all the other alien races their SETI programmes have marked out.
On that basis, where the hell are they? Sure some will have a prime-directive sort of philosophy and not want to "pollute" us. Some will have seen our TV and decided we're (a) doomed, (b) best left well alone (c) in fear of their sanity. Yet some must have some inking of curiosity and at least started to say "Hi There!" - or "Don't you know there are laws against squirting radio waves everywhere".
However, if humanity really is the most advanced, or only, technological race in this part of the galaxy, then it doesn't say much for evolution.
2001 still does it for me
By far the best of the bunch. Though when someone (so long as it isn't Spielberg) gets round to filming Neuromancer or possibly The Shockwave Rider they could give it a run for its money.
Good call leaving out The Matrix IMHO. Far too many self-indulgent SFX getting in the way of the story.
Looks like they've found their beta tester
Let's see if the system really doesn't have any problems. Who'd bet their benefits on it?
Fixing the wrong problem
> will not work with a severed hand
If a baddie is in a position to hack a hand off someone who's bank account they wanted to raid, they would also be able to say to the victim "either we hack off both your hands (to be sure we have the correct one) or you come with us."
Given that choice I can see the victim ALWAYS choosing to do the deed with hands still intact. So the possibility, cheesy films notwithstanding, of the machine ever being offered a dead 'un is just not a real-life situation.
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