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Huh, that's an interesting way to feel! I wish I remember what AIM felt like better; I was so young when I used it that any chance I had to IM people was exciting. I was probably an absolute pain in the ass.

D'you think this could be — at least in part — because Facebook is an always-on environment for a lot of people? They're not explicitly on to chat, so there's more of an unstated barrier to beginning a conversation.

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Somebody got aggressive after being detained for hours on end and having their flight cancelled, at expense? Holy shit! Pack your bags, men: we found ourselves a terrorist.

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When you say aggressive, make sure to specify that you mean some blogger paraphrased an anonymous unsourced person claiming a month after the fact that the guy was aggressive with no supporting evidence.

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We need better design in the world in general. I'd hate to think only one company gets to be the designer-of-good-and-popular-things at a time.

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The government is not a monolithic entity. The evils of intrusive surveillance doesn't make, say, social programs, or economic regulation, evil just because they're other large government programs. Libertarianism is great if you're already wealthy; it's... problematic... if you're starting off from a position of relatively little power.

> I prefer my sci-fi writers to be dedicated libertarians. So maybe, if you aren't, don't publicize it.

This is astonishingly condescending of you.

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I'm not insisting we throw out the state because of PRISM.

It seems like you basically agree with my question of CSTROSS.

The last bit, was just me letting him know, putting his politics in front of his art means some won't make it to his art.

I like keanu reeves bc he doesn't let me know what he thinks. I'm weird that way.

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And putting politics "in front of his art" will probably convince some of the, you know, thousands of people who read his blog posts on Hacker News and elsewhere, that maybe his books are worth picking up and buying.

Regardless, what you said was pretty rude.

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> that maybe his books are worth picking up and buying.

They are, no matter what your politics. It's good stuff.

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> putting his politics in front of his art means some won't make it to his art.

And a lot of artists are 100% ok with that. Mr Stross seems to be among them. Last time I heard that sentiment expressed was recently - a folk band who mentioned that they just weren't interested in playing a paying gig for a British National Party member.

To me it feels like personal integrity. But then I'm in broad agreement with Mr Stross' political views (and the folk band too) so it's not much of a challenge. I wouldn't want to be a fan of a far-right artist anyway.

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> I'm weird that way.

Dick. You are a dick. Just letting you know.

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Marco's not attempting to communicate clearly in the sense of "push data down foobarbazqux's infohole." He's trying to communicate clearly in the sense of "grab foobar's attention, state his perspective provocatively, and attempt to not only reach an audience but make them think and talk."

Clearly he's succeeded, from the conversation going on in this post. Marco is occasionally pretty obnoxious, and his ideas are frequently not always well thought-out, but I like writers who attempt to be not only clear, but compelling.

Paul Graham has plenty of terrible essay names, and plenty of terrible essays at that. One of the things that frustrates me about him as a writer is that on occasion he attempts to strike an "objective" tone while offering a skewed and entirely subjective perspective. Besides, conveying pure abstract information should not be the point of an essay. Tone, emotion, purpose, and construction should all be deliberate. Otherwise you get Mashable—ultraspecific titles geared to ultraspecific articles which are so drained of anything beyond pure bullet-point content that you could train a machine to read and interpret it. It's such a waste.

It takes you two seconds to click on a link and look at it, ten seconds tops to decide if you're going to gain something by reading it. If you're clicking on so many links per day that twelve seconds here and there is putting a dent in your productivity/well-being, then there is a worse problem here than ambiguously-titled essays, and ironically, it's a problem that you'll start to solve by seeking more challenging pieces of writing to tackle to distract yourself from the constant useless information mill that the Internet so readily provides.

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To be honest, I only clicked on Fertile Ground out of a yearning for self-punishment. I knew exactly what kind of article to expect from a title like that, it's just that I like to complain when it happens that I get what I want and I also don't like what I want. The sense of superiority makes me feel a bit better, kind of like those cranky old guys that think most everyone else is an idiot. The main difference with PG seems to be that I have to read 5000 words before arriving at that all-too-familiar sinking feeling. Well, I hope I've contributed to the overall cynicism levels around here, and I wish you an absolutely rotten day.

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> It's not a huge sacrifice to voluntarily use the best product in a category. The number of Apple employees who want to use a non-iphone device is probably less than two percent.

You know, I am a huge Apple fan, but I don't like this argument. It suggests there are no valid reasons to prefer Android or even Windows to iOS, when in fact both Android's and Windows's designs offer a number of features that iOS lacks. While I don't think either come within spitting distance of iOS's build quality, there are plenty of reasons to want to use them anyway.

Particularly since Apple is a company which hires plenty of programmers, I imagine there'd be plenty of users who want to use an open-source phone OS. Unless they're all jailbreaking their iPhones, which would be pretty amusing actually.

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Unless they're all jailbreaking their iPhones

A lot of Apple employees (cupertino engineering department people, not retail flees or nongineers) walk around with engineering builds on their phones with less handcuffed lockdown. There are clever builds running around in China factories for device bring-up and testing too, but I haven't seen any of those leaked.

there are no valid reasons to prefer Android or even Windows to iOS

I agree. (yay selective quoting!)

But honestly, Windows Mobile (is that what they call it now? Does it have another eight brand identifiers tacked on?) doesn't have enough install base. Everybody in the Sane World™ has an iOS-first and sometimes iOS-only mobile app approach.

As for Android (which is kinda meaningless. It's like saying "Linux" when you're talking about a Linksys router or the entirety of AWS), the rampant security failures, hacks, crapmalware, and the feeling of "it requires as much attention as maintaining a laptop" by people I know puts it right of the running. Maybe it's perfect for somebody who needs a hobby (a lot of people enjoy riding and maintaining motorcycles on the weekend too), but I need my things to work, work well, keep working, and unobtrusively get out of my way after being used.

All that being said, Apple is dead. Apple has no defense against the awesome creepiness of Google Spyware (Now) and that'll drive the future. They can't fight forever. Apple and Google will have to make up eventually. The only saving grace we have is Google is such crap at marketing things, they called their personal assistant "Now" instead of giving it a name and personality people can relate to. People enjoy thinking "Siri" is an actual person. Google doesn't get that. (Hey Google, I'm available to fix all your shit and complete your instrumentality plans. Give me a call.)

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Explain how Google Now is any more spyware than what goes on with browser tracking throughout the industry. That's no excuse for spyware, but there's little warrant in singling out Google here. In fact, Google Now seems to really just be the use of the data that's been tracked (by all parties discussed in this subcomment thread) for years into a package that's user facing and easier to digest.

And let's not fool ourselves that Apple isn't tracking in such a "spyware" fashion just the same.

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Explain how Google Now is any more spyware than what goes on with browser tracking throughout the industry.

To me, Google Now is that thing reading all your email behind the scenes, parsing mostly unstructured text to form a coherent narrative of your life, then prompting you based on what it discovered. It's disturbingly useful and beyond creepy.

The only way Apple can compete with Google Now is if they start to copy all your mail from iOS/OS X Mail.app back to Apple for analysis. They'll probably have an API for "Send this chunk of unstructured data to the users's Apple Action Item processor" for external applications too.

I'd completely forgotten about the insane browser search tracking google now thing. That's another quintillion times creepy.

(Note: it's only creepy because Cloud Cloud Cloud. You're giving up control of your life to Cloud all Praise Cloud. No, you can't have the data. No, you can't run it on your own. No, you can't be private. Cloud Cloud Cloud.)

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Obviously as someone that has never used Google Now, you wouldn't know this... but it acts on search data, not gmail data.

Its a normal app with normal settings (enter stocks you want to follow, enter sports teams, etc..) that takes some cues from what you search for once you've set up Google now.

Why the hell would Google want to display all the OLD data it has on you in an application called 'Now'?

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I'm sure it uses email data. A friend emailed me flight information and it showed up on my tablet. They didn't use any of my computers to search on that flight (never mind that I have search history disabled).

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This is silly logic.

If you were really treating women equally to men, you wouldn't follow a "what's good for one is good for the other" policy. You'd accept that the norms and behaviors of each gender should be held in equal regard, and adapt your own behavior to the person or group of people you're talking with. Acknowledging, in other words, that women have as much right to be in the workplace as men, rather than treating their actions as somehow foreign or alien to the "acceptable" male norms.

I mean, your simple and straightforward logic is the logic that four-year-old boys use when they want to punch girls on the playground and don't feel like being courteous.

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This is very non-silly logic. Why should I care about your chromosome configuration or sexual identification? It is not my business, and I expect you to respect that. Hence it is absolutely obvious to treat men and women equally and not adapt one’s greetings procedures to the gender of the other person.

After all, punching girls is exactly as appropriate as punching guys.

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If you think that treating genders equally has nothing to do with accepting variations in social norms, then you're missing pretty much the whole purpose of the "treat women equally to men" thing.

Gender inequality is almost wholly a social problem, not a biological one. And

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> Gender inequality is almost wholly a social problem, not a biological one.

Yes. A problem where people find it appropriate for women to hug men but not for men to hug women. A problem where people find it appropriate for women to hug women but not for men to hug men. A problem where people find it appropriate to expect men to hug women. A problem where people find it appropriate for boys punching boys but not for boys punching girls.

You can hardly get any more gender-unequal than that.

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I don't see gender-neutrality as terrible for the workplace, even if I am a hugger by default.

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Some people are just huggers. As a fan of hugs I approve of people who get down to hugging quickly, though I understand why non-huggers would be squicked out by that.

If that wigs you out, I have a particular friend group for whom kissing becomes a thing almost immediately after they've met you. The first time it happens it can be absurdly disorienting.

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I love how you're framing people as "huggers" or "non-huggers". Similar to the good old "technical" and "non-technical".

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Bad comparison because hugger vs non-hugger is a preference, not a range of understanding.

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What Twitter is awful at – awful – is ensuring you see content from people who don't update frequently. RSS is valuable not for following content gluttons like Hacker News, but for following blogs by people who update only once every three months, or even more rarely.

News gluttonry never needed RSS anyway – generally you only need one source of neverending news as-is. RSS is for more selective reading, and its advantage lies in how it gives equal weight to people who don't publish often as it gives to people who post 50 new entries a day.

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So True. It makes me wish there was a list of high quality people who post rarely.... Or an aggregated twitter feed for slow posters.

Now that I think about it, it would be awesome if Google released stats from Google Reader since they are killing it anyways. It could probably be used to identify high-quality, but slow updaters, among other things....

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Of course you can. Don't be daft.

There are plenty of advantages to relative sizing, and in general it's a good policy, but there are many excellently-designed web sites whose sizes are absolute – just as there are many shit designs that're responsive as hell.

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Eveytime I open a website with absolute sizes I want to cry. Most of my monitors have either crappy or too big resolutions.

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