2287 posts • joined Monday 31st May 2010 16:59 GMT
I loves them!
Also, if you want the best folding chairs for campfires and such, look up the Maxx Daddy ones. Yay for chairs bought on the internets!
I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...
Who do I think should make the world a better place? All of us, ideally. In the real world though, I think that any legitimate attempts by powerful people to actually change the world should be “peer reviewed” in a manner similar to (and perhaps by) the scientific community.
As mentioned in another comment in this thread, we are a society…and societies are composed of people of multiple disciplines. I would like to see individuals from multiple disciplines getting together to work out how to advance society far more that I would any one individual or a group of very like minded individuals have that power.
As to the assumption that these individuals’ idea of what would make the world better being different from mine own, I base this “assumption” on observing the past thirty years of the technoelite. I am a student of history, and I have paid attention to the harvests reaped from what they have sewn. My opinions tend to be very strongly divergent on the topic of their works so far having been a benefit to us all. Some have brought benefits, but sadly they have to date only very rarely brought more benefit than harm.
Why thank you very much, sir. I was honestly rather afraid my opinion on the matter would not have been well received; the individuals who make up this house, (and their theories) have a very strong cadre of believers here on El Reg. I would have though that being a nobody from a hick province disagreeing with these folks would have led to a pile of downvotes and a slew of ridicule.
I have never had the money to go to university and get myself a PhD. I have never recognised any opportunities in my life that would have led me to being a great business leader with even a fraction of the influence on of these folks have. Despite this, I feel as strongly as they claim to about my own personal ethics. I realise that my ability to change the world is exceptionally limited, but I think that if given the chance I would give it a try.
I am certain that I am no more pure or just than those others who would choose for us the shape of the future to come. I have worked my entire life to cultivate a sense of personal objectivity and yet I have to admit to still falling victim to prejudice, assumptions and unwarranted fears. That it will take me the rest of my life to pay off my mortgage (and other debts such as my student loans) is then perhaps a benefit to society. My lack of economic power serves as a restraint to my personal ambition: the only outlet I have for my ambitions to change the world is that of my writing. This at least is a method by which individuals must choose to read what I write, and then can either discard it or incorporate it into their beliefs as they see fit.
I am not certain that were I given the means to change the world I would be any more careful with that power than those who are the topic of my previous comments in this thread. I believe that the changes I wish to make in this world are positive, and would have positive outcomes…but my experience is limited. How could I possibly know the ramifications of those dreamed-of works, the repercussions upon others?
So while a positive reply from another commenter on El Reg isn’t exactly the thrill of seeing my data park built, or of steering the great ship Microsoft towards a future where she is beloved for creating great works…
…it is nonetheless a welcome boost to my fragile ego. Most especially when I was expecting a strong dose of commenter negativity.
I recognise that I may never amount to much in the grand scheme of things; but I’ll be damned if it isn’t pleasant to have my works appreciated from time to time. :D
Pandering to the masses is as dangerous as ignoring them completely. The problem with “intellectual elitism” is that the individuals that form these elite so very often begin to believe in their own intellectual infallibility.
I said nowhere in my post that “the will of the masses” was in any way superior to the vision of the few. Quite the opposite, I am terrified because the vision of /these particular few/ seems to desire to give the will of the masses unprecedented power. I am a student of history and as such I have just cause to fear the hive mind; it does not make decisions based on logic, careful consideration or any definable rational process. The hive mind emotes, and its actions follow suit. An inevitable consequence of the rise of the hive mind is a society where “conform or be marginalised” is a core belief.
Understand that I do not disparage a world guided (but not ruled) by intellectual elite. I do however decry these elite having the power to change the world without the requirement to have taken the time to understand it. You simply can not learn all there is to learn from a book. You must visit and live with other cultures to understand them; even if one of those “foreign cultures” lives at the blue collar pub instead of one’s regular academic haunts.
I myself have been formally tested consistently for a couple decades as having an IQ just a little north of 150; far less than the denizens of The House Of The Brain Trust, but supposedly significantly higher than the average. This has not granted me a special insight that makes me in any way superior to others, nor am I worthy of guiding the fate of cultures I do not understand. All that my intellect has done for me is to allow me to begin to comprehend how incredibly much exists that I will likely never have the opportunity to comprehend.
I fear any individual having power over others if they truly believe in the infallibility of their personal vision of how the world should be. Most especially if they have not experimented on a smaller scale before trying their hand at the world stage.
People are the result of both nature and nurture; the influences of their society combined with the genetic predispositions they inherited. Until the day comes where we can (and do) understand the impact of every possible combination of genes on human personality we can not possibly understand all that motivates and individual. Until the day that we can (and do) collect and sequence the DNA of every single individual we cannot understand the impacts of our works on every individual.
So what then of intellectual elites? Should they be paralysed for fear of harming one individual amongst seven billion? I would argue they should not, but neither should they be allowed to shape the world unchecked. The earth is home to many SOCIETIES; and in a society we rely on the skills, knowledge and abilities of many people from a great many different disciplines.
If any of these intellectual elite were remotely ethical, if they cared about the individuals such as myself that comprised the hoi polloi as anything of greater value than the insects they crush underfoot when walking in a forest, they would have their ideas for changing the world carefully analysed by the wider scientific community before testing them on the wild. (Sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and all other professions that belong to what I would term “the humanities.”) If these individuals feel they truly can and should change the world, then I personally believe that they have the moral and ethical duty to do so responsibly.
In my view it is incumbent upon those with greater intellects to obtain opinions not from a cadre of like minded individuals but rather to seek out those who disagree with them. To hear the arguments against their chosen vision and to incorporate into their works methods and tactics to minimise any potential damage their planned changes will reap.
The intellectual technoelite gave us the digital divide, insecure primary communications protocols that led to spam, malware and so many more things that I could give week-long lectures on the topic. They accomplished great works, but they were also consistently narrow in the scope of their vision that they failed to understand what would happen to their technologies when the larger world got hold of them.
Please take the time to read up on the history of the internet, from the development of TCP/IP and e-mail to the modern social networks and targeted advertising. Look at the assumptions that were made by the intellectual elite and the fallout that one small assumption when drafting a document can have for DECADES on the rest of the world.
The masses should not be allowed to run the world; the hive mind is as dangerous as any intellectual chaebol. I do not claim to have the solution to this conundrum, however I expect those who are justifiably significantly smarter than I should at the very lest be seeking a balance between the two. Our intellectual overlords should be guiding the masses without marginalising or alienating the very individuals of which these very masses are comprised.
Storming Normandy and bombing Germany were proportional responses. Germany was engaged in similar enterprises all over Europe and Africa. According to my analysis of history, the Allied response to Germany’s actions was largely proportionate.
As to nuking Japan, that’s entirely another story. It gets pretty squiggly because there are so many different analyses of the days surrounding that event that it’s hard to believe which are true. That said, my understanding is that even without the nukes, the war was largely over. Japan could have been contained with conventional weapons; indeed they were starting for the very first time to consider what until then they were not actually capable of considering. Their emperor was wrong; he had made a mistake. Worse yet, they were starting to consider the concept of “surrender,” though they didn’t quite have a word for it.
Was nuking Hiroshima required to end that war? I can never know for sure. The Japanese, despite their slow slide towards the idea of surrender, and growing civil unrest were fighting against generations of indoctrination into the unquestionable and absolute authority and infallibility of their ruling class. It might well have been that the only thing that would have worked was the detonation of a nuclear bomb on their soil.
THAT SAID, the use of such weapons against a civilian target as the primary site was out of bounds. It was completely unnecessary to demonstrate the destructive power the US had now attained. Furthermore, the US proceeded to blow the concept of proportional response completely out of the water by launching an attack against Nagasaki that was completely unrequired. Japan was descending into chaos even before it officially surrendered; the end of that empire was writ large with the detonation of the first weapon.
If you want to glorify War, that is your choice. I do have to ask however if you have ever fought in one, or known closely those who have seen it’s atrocities up close. I grew up on a military base; while I was unable to serve my country, I am well aware of the horrors of even conventional warfare.
Disproportionate responses must either eradicate your enemy nearly completely, (so as to leave no one behind to hate you,) or they will beget a cycle of revenge and violence that is nearly impossible to end. Look at most of the Middle East, or a thousand or so years of the various bitter rivalries in Europe or Asia.
Peace is found through negotiation, compromise, and constant vigilance and preparedness. It is not found through fear and intimidation; these only lead to animosity and an ever increasing need to watch your own back.
Lest you find a knife or two in it.
"...what's wrong with working to make the world a better place?"
Plenty. There's a level of arrogance to believing that your vision would indeed make the world as a whole a better place. Other people are not you; what changes you sew could be cause others to reap a bitter harvest. Ambitions to alter the world without through consideration of the effects can be dangerous. Improper use of power/influence can (and quite often does) result in larger negative consequences than the benefits wrought.
One example I have to offer is that of the concept that “openness outweighs privacy.” While I have not been party to this debate, indeed as a blue collar shmoe I would not likely be welcome, my initial impression is fear. This is not an instinctual reaction. Rather it is one that has grown slowly over time as I have observed the actions of various Silicon Valley corporations, and the results of those actions upon society at large.
When privacy is gone, those who control the flow of information, (those who can alter its accuracy,) wield unimaginable power for good or evil. Even if the current crop of folks in charge of these Silicon Valley corporations are “good at heart,” the next batch may well not be. These are publically traded corporations after all; there is more chance of obtaining a good quarterly profit by harming people than by helping them.
The issue with the above mentioned concept is that all their ideas rely heavily, (tragically, naively,) on trust. It requires individuals to trust one another, to trust their governments and most especially to trust in the benevolence of corporations. The unfortunate part is that history has repeatedly shown that only in exceptional circumstances is trust of any kind warranted.
Basically, the world envisioned here is one in which everyone does the “right thing” (as defined by the majority) all the time. The alternative is to be instantly found out. Being found out is to be ridiculed, ostracised and perhaps even jailed. This has implications for ingenuity, social development, and too many other related topics to delineate in an already too long comment. The world in question has the potential to either be a culture of carbon-copy automatons or perhaps more terrifyingly one where obtaining privacy to indulge in anything against the mores and norms of society becomes a black market.
Imagine a world where the prevailing social opinion of the day says “grilled meat will give you cancer, thus all of society will shun any who partake in such activities.” (See how we treat smokers in our societies today.) Individuals who wish to indulge in this socially questionable activity that has no harm to anyone but themselves now have to go to the black market to find a place where they don’t feel judged for something simple like eating a BBQed steak.
Perhaps that future culture feels that being a “geek” is negative. Finding out who is watching science fiction is easy, as there is no privacy, and these individuals are persona non grata simply for enjoying something deemed bizarre by the hive mind.
We see the thin edge of this wedge today in the UK. It is illegal to possess certain images; including those which are cartoons causing no harm to anyone. What images make it into this list of socially unacceptable items is defined entirely by whomever happens to bray the loudest and offer up the fattest calf to those who make law.
Is this the future? Entire societies run as though they were high schools? Popularity and conformity to be the only thing that matters? It seems to me this would breed an entire race of sycophants; something I cannot abide when many of the greatest discoveries of all time have come from those individuals who defied the established beliefs and practices of their day.
What’s wrong with trying to make a better world? Plenty, if the scope of your vision is too narrow. The people in that house quite literally have the power to shape the future of all societies that comprise the totality of our species for generations to come. To see the effects of their actions upon the world over the past several decades, I can only come to the conclusion that they treat this power with no real responsibility. Experimenting blithely with the denizens of this world; imposing their vision on us all.
For reasons as very briefly discussed in the example above I can only think of children playing with matches in a tinderbox. The tinder in question is you, me, and everyone else who is or may ever be.
I know it is easy to dismiss me as paranoid, a fear monger, or many other things. It is easy to look at my education and say that my opinion is irrelevant because I lack the appropriate letters behind my name. There are certainly always going to be reasons to disregard my opinion or those of anyone else who disagrees. I wish I could alter that; instead my influence is largely limited to that which the written word can convey. So that said, I will attempt to rise above my own insignificance for a brief instant to make my impassioned plea:
If you yourself are among these people or you know them personally, then as a representative of the hoi polloi I ask of you a boon:
Please sirs and madams; as you set about to make the world a better place according to your personal visions, tread carefully upon my future. It is the only one I have.
Revenge is never justified. There is a difference between REVENGE and PROPORTIONAL RESPONSE. One is offensive; aimed at hurting your enemy. The other is defensive; it's a tactical measure designed to discourage your enemy from further acts of aggression.
Revenge is a disproportionate response based in emotion that leads to nothing but a cycle of revenge. Proportional response is calculated with the goal of entering into détente and eventually a ceasefire and peace.
4Chan was not responding proportionately.
Do you work for Blizzard? And how come you aren't using your real name?
Let's keep the A.C. abilities around...I've seen plenty of posts in my time here from Anonymous Cowards that were enlightening, but couldn't have a name attached for fear of employment retribution. Heck, I’ve made a few in that context myself over the years.
It’s so ingrained around here that we even have regular commenters (like Eponymous Cowherd, etc.) who base their display names off of it. Somehow, it just wouldn’t be El Reg without it.
…and I quite like El Reg, thank you very much. :)
Pint, as I'd like to buy one for all the Anonymous Cowards on this fair site.
Cloud computing will lead to fewer overall global IT jobs. As soon as the cost of adequate bandwidth (from multiple providers in case of outage) combined with the cost of the remote IT services becomes cheaper than buying your own gear and paying your own geeks the role of the modern systems administrator is toast. Utility computing, if it really takes off, will allow a greater number of servers and networks to be overseen by a smaller number of admins.
At the very least this will cause huge downward pressure on systems administrator's wages; they will now be competing against a largely commoditised utility service. More than likely it will push all the sysadmin jobs into the large datacenters and relegate "systems administrators" firmly to the past.
This won't be happening tomorrow, but five years from now? Ten?
I am sure there will always be a need for sysadmins, but the global total number of positions will probably contract as cloud computing takes off. Time to retrain for something else.
Does not the Earth's magnetic field rotate with it? If it does, and the lines of force meet in the same places, then theoretically anything that got pulled into the Earth's magnetic field would be "funnelled" to roughly the same places each time.
If this theory was true, there should be more than one place on Earth where multiple meteorite strikes occurred in a relatively confined area. I agree it’s not hugely likely…but the basic science behind my theory seems sound. “Enemy action” I doubt.
Con job I’ll buy.
Why couldn't there be a non-alien logical explanation?
The earth has a great big magnetic shield. Many solar system bodies are largely ferrous. What is to say that there wasn't an asteroid/comet/what-have-you that at some point spend enough time in a given magnetic field (Jupiter's?) as to have the various grains of ferrous material aligned? This would then make that object a natural magnet.
If it subsequently broke up, (say due to a collision or gravitational disturbance from something large passing by,) it might well have cleared the orbit of whatever body magnetised it. If it's remains are on an inner-solar system orbit, one that interacts with Earth's on a periodic basis, what is to say that the Earth's magnetic lines of force couldn't funnel these bits of magnetic rock directly at this guy's house?
None of that is impossible, and I am not even sure it’s all that unlikely. If we had sensitive enough equipment, I’m sure we’d find the solar system littered with small-ish magnetic rocks. I am also pretty sure that the Earth’s magnetic field would cause magnetic object to preferentially fall in a given area. Narrow the conditions more, (maybe his house is built on a huge iron plate of lodestone deposit,) and it should be explainable.
The impossible or exceedingly unlikely is only so until you understand the details. It would be really interesting in this case to learn all the details.
Blasphemy! That never happens. The almighty dollar, the market and the holy spirit of competition always ensure that there is a viable economic reason to think of the long term, the customer and strategic investment instead of quietly bonuses and golden parachutes.
Your cynicism makes you a pinko/commie/liberal/[Fox News commentator's insult of the day].
Also: Damned if you aren't right on the money.
I would really like an Android-based U1. Not "released" in November and then actually available in March. I want one on the shelves in September. Enough with this "oh, yeah, we're making an android/webos/windows/whatever tablet/slate/pad/thingamawhatsit."
Announcements are worth nothing until I can saunter down to a brick and mortar and buy one. The exponential increase in vapourwear in IT has made me loose all faith I might ever had in virtually every IT company.
So I ask this of every single Android tablet “manufacturer:” Will your devices be shipping with Duke Nukem Forever?
I may have little love for Apple…but at least their stuff exists.
So long as you aren't resorting to Ad Hom attacks, I have no understanding why the mods would "block" criticism of writers. I have been criticised in the comments, and I have done more than my fair share of criticising. Heck, certain critiques of certain writers are memes around here. Name a single Lewis Page article in the past while that hasn’t had some disgruntled BAE staffer making a snide comment about how Lewis often talks up off the shelf solutions and talks down expensive BAE works.
For that matter, when was the last time you saw an Andrew O article without at least one person throwing a little pie in his face? Heck, I even had a pedant (quite rightly) throw one of my comments in this thread back at me. Criticism of authors and commenters alike has never been banned at El Reg. Quite the opposite; it is a time honoured tradition.
Two items that come to mind personally would be: purposefully inciting flame wars that are off topic and ad hominiem attacks on another poster. An Apple/anti-Apple flamewar in an Apple article is just common practice. An Apple/anti-Apple flamewar in a DARPA article about the HULC exoskeleton would probably be completely out of place. Etc.
I think that common sense really does apply. Poking the hornet’s nest a little /in context/ will not bring down Her Mighty Wrath. Going out of one’s way to bait believers in [X], or attack them personally probably will.
I am sure there are other items, but these are the two that I think are probably pretty consistent across most sites frequented by adults.
I don't know about the need/lack of need for hyperlinks, but the ability to italicise would be grand. Bold might be a little distracting if used improperly. Consider however that the ability to use italics could be added to the system without making comments look horrible yet also without requiring tiered commenters.
That said, I am personally of the belief (though I know it is controversial) that Ars Technica’s subscriptor program is the best going. You get Custom RSS feeds, forum formatting superpowers and most importantly the ability to view the site without ads. (Possible only because you paid a subscription fee.) They still maintain a free tier which is ad-funded, but frankly Ars’ Nobel Intent is completely worth the money. (As would be El Reg.)
Personally, I’d throw in a few more subscriber goodies as well. Periodic roundtable chats with the writers/editors, or maybe access to a Reg IRC channel, subscriptor only forum or what have you. Nothing that would substantially detract from the “free” side of the site, but at the same time give the subscriber-base of commenters something of a greater sense of community.
I know the whole idea of subs is hugely against a lot of people’s approach to things, but many other sites have seen the need. It also might be a moral “out” for those folks who love to read El Reg, but insist on using adblockers. (Debate done to death here http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=317 with no real resolution.)
Either way, there’s lots of approaches to enhancing and expanding forums. Why not get the Freeform Dynamics guys to put some research time into it? They are great at surveys, and most especially at analysing them. Could be what they learn from El Reg’s commenter base is of economic value enough to them as others amongst their customers might care for their own Web 2.0ification. Maybe even of enough value to get a freebie?
Just thoughts; and I would be deeply interested to see the thoughts of all the other regulars on this topic.
If they started moderating amfM for lack of intelligibility, there would be riots. Not the least of which because many of the old timers around here can read his comments just fine. The other element is that he often has something intelligent, interesting and on topic to say. Any site that bans amfM would be a site that I remove from my bookmarks as having completely lost the plot.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I do carefully consider all comments directed at me. Criticism is good, whether it comes from readers, friends, or most especially your editors. Though I am new to the whole thing I believe that, as with IT, writing is a process of lifelong learning.
That said, I don't really know why you single out the inestimable Mr Page. I haven't found anything he's written to be non-factual. I personally like the way he combines a hefty dose of pointed sarcasm, a little bit of opinion and a raft of facts into his articles. It provides and interesting read that slaps company X or governmental organisation Y around a bit with a trout. One of my favourite writers on any tech site, truth be told.
I suppose it's a matter of personal taste, though I am curious if it is his writing style you dislike, or just the opinions he espouses. Call it professional curiosity, as I am always curious to know what elements of anyone’s writing style set people off.
Ars Technica's forums are unreal. Next to Nobel Intent, they simply are that site's selling feature. (Worth the subscription without question.)
That said, their forums are completely different than El Reg's. They are after-post moderated to start (making them far faster moving) and they have several "old-style" forums that are non-article related. I think the combination of the two pulls in an almost Goon-like following to that site.
El Reg's forums are (bootnotes aside) mostly on-topic to the articles written. I find El Reg's comments in may cases tend to offer up a more in depth look at the topic in question. People with great experience hang out here and share their insights. This has been encouraged to flourish here to a greater degree than Ars entirely because of the differences. The time lag in posting comments due to moderation really throws a dampener on most flame wars. For that matter, the moderators do tend to kill a fair amount of flame wars in their infancy with a snide comment and a *kzert*.
So it’s six of one a half dozen of another. Ars’ comments threads are longer, and the fast pace sucks in a more avid or vociferous commenter base. El Reg’s forums are more sedate, and seem to contain more humour and a higher chance of having some in dept comments that don’t devolve into flame wars.
I am sure both sites will tweak their forums ad eternum in search of the perfect formula…
"Nice to see somewhere criticism isn't stifled."
No kidding. If criticism was stifled a-la-Apple/Creative/Sony/etc. around here, they'd have booted my arse out a long time ago. The mere fact that one can go from "perennial disgruntled and disagreeable thorn-in-Sarah's-side" to writing blog posts around here says that there is an overall commitment to being as open, fair and neutral as is possible.
Neutral meaning that overall, the publication contains authors willing to examine any side of any story. Neutral doesn't mean "agrees with whatever opinions Joe Random commenttard has." Editorial bias is one thing, but El Reg has been very carefully marking editorials as “comment” or blogs as, well…blogs. (Reviews are marked as reviews, etc.) This provides clear separation from actual reporting, and something I can’t applaud enough. To be able to quickly tell what should be considered objective reporting from what is simply the opinion of the author is, IMHO, absolutely critical.
As such, why would criticism not be allowed? Personally, I welcome it; criticism helps me learn to be a better writer, and fix any embarrassing mistakes I may make. I’ll admit to my mistakes; my motto is that if you can’t find at least one mistake you’ve made today, then you haven’t looked hard enough.
If only we could get the major news orgs of the world to become even close. Imagine Fox news as "impartial." The universe might collapse under that one...
I'll not speak for anyone else, but I am fairly uncompromising in my principals. They just have very little to do with anything related to technology. ;)
As to "being paid to be horrible to someone," noone at El Reg is encouraged to be nice to, or mean to anyone in particular. We are however encouraged to be sceptical of absolutely everything and everyone. I somehow don’t get the feeling you’re picked to write for El Reg is you are blatantly biased. Now, biases developing over time might be another matter entirely…but to be honest, that would take a lot of getting to know everyone involved to be positive of such a thing.
Either way, I think the hacks at El Reg strive for objectivity, inasmuch as any human is capable of it.
MY definition of expert is "someone with extensive experience in [subject]." It does not necessarily require formal education in that field, though it is the most common way to begin obtaining that experience.
In science, art or the humanities there is a requirement for practical experience in the field before expertise can be declared. You can't learn everything from a book; real experience is earned, not merely learned.
Citizendium is also made by humans, but it is far more thoroughly vetted. Again, it isn’t perfect, but I consider it much closer to an authoritative source on anything.
You are making big assumptions. I don't "trust" primary source material. I want to know what the primary source material is so that I can investigate the individuals or organisations responsible for generating it. I can then use my own judgement to determine if that source of information is valid.
Wikipedia as a whole is not valid. It is sourced largely form people who have no expertise attempting to interpret a summary of a summary of a summary of a primary paper or work of research. Not only that, but time and again it has been proven that those in the upper echelons of Wikipedia hold far too much influence. They can (and do) control certain topics; how are you to know if they are doing so to the one you are researching?
Without professional objectivity, I have no way of even beginning to establish trust in the sources of information. Let’s take a random topic: Pollution of Alberta’s lakes and rivers.
Should I trust my government’s official reports? Should I trust independent scientific bodies? Individual scientists with decades of experience? Lobbyists for the oil, mineral, forestry and agriculture industries? SnakeEater_0005 the Wikipedia contributor? Should I place my faith blindly in any of this, or should I go as close to original research as my education allows me to understand, while doing research into the backgrounds of the originators of that information and asking critical and sceptical questions?
Wikipedia doesn’t tell me anything about who is contributing the information beyond their posting history. I can’t tell who they work for, who might be paying them, what they were raised to believe, nothing. There is simply no way to make a reasoned assessment as to the conscious or unconscious biases the individuals involved with a given Wikipedia article might be, and thus there is no way to gague the validity of that information.
At least with a dictionary, encyclopedia, scientific journal or other traditional reference material I can (generally) hunt information on the author. Learn who they are, and what their credentials might be. That the information is in print has NOTHING to do with trusting it. That I can determine the biases of the authors does.
Anonymous contribution leads to nothing but massive astroturfing and social engineering. I’ll have no part of it.
The closest compromise I have ever found between “ease of use and contribution” and “actually close to reliable and /TRACABLE/ information sources” is Citizendium.
It doesn’t have (yet) the breadth of articles that Wikipedia does, but I can trace the information a little better. It’s not good enough, but it’s still better than Wikipedia.
If so, I didn't get the memo. Remember that El Reg is composed of many people, with many different views. It's what makes it such a great site. Some of us are far more sympathetic to "freetards" than others...
Also, if yiou are anti-acta...
Holycrap. You're not dead! Jubilation and excitement!
Also: Lucky barstward. "Only IT could purchase any software or any significant technology, and that would only happen after appropriate testing had been done" Pffft. That would make life easy. We get this honour sometimes, but equally as often we get handed a great big steaming pile of "we bought this, now make it work." Usually without any additional budget for new kit or interoperability gear.
Anger and frustration!
Anywho, I R the done in Vancouver. Onwards to Cowgary!
Pint, because we must both indulge upon my return to E-town.
You know, some people - rare people - can develop and cultivate a sense of objectivity about almost any subject. These special people can even apply that objectivity to themselves or topics that under normal circumstances they care a great deal about. Large chunks of science, justice and the humanities are devoted to trying to achieve this objectivity on a professional level.
Those who do achieve it, most especially those who have obtained a great deal of knowledge about one or many topics are truly experts. The hive mind is not objective. The hive mind is instinctual and moody. It has passions and flights of fancy and these cloud the judgement of the masses.
A dictionary may refer to someone as “a peculiar and dislikable person" because in truth they are. You could argue that such a statement should never be made because there is a measure of subjectivity, however even something subjective can be qualified given enough data. Objectivity is the art and science of extracting signal from the noise, and Wikipedia simply doesn’t have it.
It has its uses. It is a great starting point for any research and a treasure trove of pointless trivia. That said, it is not now and it never will be the equal of carefully studied objective information on any topic. There is a requirement for expert opinions and information, most especially if they disagree with you, me and the hive mind itself. “Because the masses believe it to be true” does not in fact make something to be true. Conversely, “that the masses believe something to be true” can be worth reporting and be important information of it’s own right.
“A peculiar and dislikable person” conveys in one very short sentence the information that, on the whole, this individual did not adhere to the social norms of their time. It also indicates that for whatever reason the majority opinion of their personality was negative. I do not see in it an absolute statement (all people find them to be disagreeable) but merely a conveyance of the general perception of society towards them.
Where Wikipedia diverges, and the hive mind’s passions and predjudices set in is at exactly these points of trying to quantify subjective information. The ability of individuals to “own” articles, popular opinion (as opposed to learned expertise and objectivity) used to determine the veracity of differing citations and quite a bit more ensure Wikipedia can never be a trusted source of information.
At best, Wikipedia is useful because other people have done the drudge work of getting links for a topic together for you. (All those citations.) Reading the source material, and travelling back through the source material’s references all the way to the original works is always the best course. Learn about the origins of the information. Was the scientist or historian who gave them truly objective? Are the links/citations pointing to utter rubbish websites with no real tracability? Was there any real expertise or professionalism, or was it aught but the partisan ramblings of someone with an axe to grind?
Give me primary source material any time.
Keep those articles coming, sir. There's always a hater or five somewhere...and I found your article very interesting. Though I admit to having questions about shingling being used on extant external drives. I don't see why they wouldn't use it...but I would wonder in what products? Most external disks seem to be repackaged desktop drives. Perhaps in dedicated media designed to replace tapes? I'd love to know!
If a certain type of external drive is shingled, then simply using a desktop drive in an external case might be faster. Or might not? (Interface limited?) Worth an experiment…
Works for you...
Do you hold your iPhone like a teacup? Two fingers daintily holding the edges with the pinky pointing out into space. Or do you hold like a phone? A brick of metal and plastic squashed into your forpaw as you get on with your day and try to get some work done.
Apple: Hold Different.
@No, I will not fix your computer
I think you have me wrong. I don't want to fundamentally change Microsoft's business model. I want to change their spending priorities such that they are actually generating enough innovation to keep their heads above the water. The game has changed around them, and they need to keep up.
Fundamentally, the idea of making good software and charging through the nose for it is not a bad business plan. What they need to do however is adapt to changing consumer expectations. Simplicity in licensing models is one example. Innovation and leadership in a few key categories is another critical one.
They also need to keep up with the patent cold war that has broken out. Frankly Apple is absolutely wasting them on this. Not only are they stepping up their number of patents, but the number of relevant (and sadly of overbroad) patents is huge. This is a direct business threat and needs to be met head on.
The problem is that the existing management are incapable of adapting. They have demonstrated this and thus they need to go. Most of the people at Microsoft are fine; the technology is fine, even many of the basic business approaches are fine. The issue is the speed with which the company can recognise and adapt to changing market conditions. It has become too slow and to internally confused to be useful.
The worst possible thing that can happen to a large company is that it breaks into warring fiefdoms that ultimately work against eachother instead of for the common good of the company. Microsoft is a company experiencing exactly this. They need strong leadership to bring the troops in line, and this leadership needs to be capable of making the subtle changes to both spending and product design required to keep Microsoft relevant and at the forefront of IT.
You adapt or you die.
I'd have to disagree, sir. I've taken the time to talk to the users one on one. I assure you they are (with a couple of vocally grouchy exceptions that any company or family always has to deal with,) quite happy with the new setup.