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Comment: Re:Abject brand mismanagement (Score 1) 351

by Alioth (#47887895) Attached to: Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

Not only is does it have negative value in the phone marketing, it's confusing and disappoints people - they think because it's Windows it will have more compatibility with their PC and will run PC applications and then find "yes it's Windows but it doesn't run Windows apps". Apple didn't call the iPhone the Mac Phone for a reason (even though it reputedly runs the same OS kernel).

Microsoft would have been better off just calling it Metro instead of Windows. Or pretty much any other easy to pronounce name.

Comment: Re:COBOL - it's all about the data (Score 1) 380

by Alioth (#47878805) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

COBOL is just as disadvantaged in dealing with an SQL database. All that DATA DIVISION syntax is about reading and writing flat files, not interacting with a database engine in a separate executable. (It's a while since I've done any COBOL so perhaps matters have changed now, but COBOL was always about fixed width record flat files).

My Java code needs no changes if table formats changed (things like added columns) because I try to use the supplied classes and the JDBC properly (and also take the time to make sure the database is designed right - such as using views, so the underlying data format can be changed without requiring all the things that depend on it to change).

Comment: Re:My take on COBOL.... (Score 1) 380

by Alioth (#47878781) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

SQL didn't exist until long after COBOL was a major thing. What COBOL is good at is dealing with fixed width record format flat files, which was a common way of storing stuff when COBOL was first invented. When you have a large complex system that's been going for decades, is fully debugged, and just works there is a huge cost in rewriting it that may just not be worth it.

Comment: Re:Bikes lanes are nice (Score 1) 212

by Alioth (#47869937) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

I'm a utility cyclist, but cyclemeter tells me I sustain about 17 or 18 mph on the flat (I live in a rural area so cars are not impeding me). I commonly hit 20mph for stretches, and there are some downhill parts of my ride where I hit 35 mph. I don't wear any lycra at all either.

Comment: Re:Bikes lanes are nice (Score 1) 212

by Alioth (#47869917) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

In cities like New York and London, it's usually that the cars cannot keep up with bicycles (not the other way around). I live in a rural area, but whenever I've cycled in congested urban areas, I've often been MUCH quicker than car traffic and usually the cars are slowing me down. Car traffic in cities is slow because there are too many cars, not because of cyclists (or little duckies).

There's even an episode of Top Gear where they prove the bicycle is the fastest method of getting across London. And that's a TV programme unashamedly biased towards the car.

Comment: Re:Bikes lanes are nice (Score 1) 212

by Alioth (#47869903) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

That's a troll, right?

On the flat (and I'm not a lycra clad person either) I can easily keep up 17-18 mph all day. In a city, this is usually as fast (if not faster) than cars. In no way are cyclists doing this speed compatible with 3mph pedestrians. Cyclists belong on the road. (In fact where I live cyclists have a right to be on the road - cars do not, cars need to be licensed, car drivers need to be licensed).

Motorcyclists are also vulnerable road users. Should they be on the sidewalk too?

Comment: Re:Meanwhile in the real world... (Score 1) 427

by Alioth (#47861737) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

It's also human nature. We know we're slowly buggering things up, but it'll take a while. To fix it means a large change in the way we run our world, and it will be difficult and may cause mild discomfort in the short term. On the other hand we can simply deny it's happening and continue with the business as usual which is far easier and the path of least resistance. People don't want to feel guilty for driving an SUV either, it's easier and more consistent to deny that anything is happening rather than admitting that you're (an albeit tiny) part of the problem.

Comment: Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (Score 1) 761

by Alioth (#47860369) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

This is true but there is an underlying motive to dismissing the consensus in climate science (particularly AGW). The scientific consensus would require a significant change from business as usual. It's far easier (and you feel less guilty for doing it) to simply dismiss the consensus or try to rubbish the consensus and continue with the current business as usual, than make a meaningful change. It's just people following the path of least resistance.

Comment: Re:We really need (Score 1) 523

by Alioth (#47860347) Attached to: AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

I live on an island that can be described as entirely rural. It's about the surface area of the Houston area in the US, but with only 80,000 people and also separated by miles of water from any metropolitan area. Our population is mostly dispersed around the island. Yet everyone here can get a 50Mbit/sec connection and we have three ISPs and actual competition.

Don't apologise for your crappy ISPs and lack of competition. If we can do it, any rural area of the US could do it too - if it weren't for the ISPs campaigning to get public infrastructure and real competition banned.

Comment: Re:How would we know? (Score 1) 811

by Alioth (#47850865) Attached to: 3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

There are plenty of airlines in general with a mid-range option. For example British Airways has "World Traveller Plus" on its transatlantic routes. Basically, it's an economy seat with A LOT more legroom, plus a plug in for your laptop, plus things like real metal cutlery instead of plastic. The price varies but last time I flew it was about 25% more expensive than plain economy.

Comment: Re:Anthropometrics (Score 1) 811

by Alioth (#47850847) Attached to: 3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

I used to use a small laptop with a 12 inch screen. On a transatlantic flight the teenage girl in the seat in front reclined the seat so violently it was pure luck the screen didn't get trapped and broken. The recline mechanism really needs a damper in it to limit the speed at which it can recline (and on transatlantic flights, reclining is pretty necessary).

For domestic flights, easyJet has the best idea - their seats don't recline at all.

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182

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