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Comment Re:In other news (Score 2) 338

So what exactly should be done, other than never going to war, ever?

Not get/stay involved in a war when there's no direct threat to your own country? Like a poster above said, US should just leave and let Afghanistan sort out its own problems.

Sure, humanitarian reasons may be a valid reason to have troops in some other country. But is that the reason US troops are there?

Comment Re:Limits of Moor's law?? (Score 2, Informative) 98

Physics? Or more specific in this case: how close atoms are arranged in typical semiconductor materials, and how few of them you need at a minimum to construct useful devices. That is: without practical issues like current leakage, isolation voltages, parasitic capacitance, etc, etc, making things not-so-useful (at best). Pro tip: try integer numbers first (or just very large numbers without counting exactly how many atoms go into your device).

But please, if you know of a way to build IC's using 1/10-atom wide structures, I'm sure the engineers at IBM, Intel etc will be interested. After all, why let physics get in the way of human-invented 'laws'.

Comment BASIC be damned! (Score 2, Funny) 78

Built-in BASIC = cool, you say? Damn you!

I've wasted countless hours in my life typing BASIC, only to achieve modest results. If only a more powerful language had been included in those machines... Say Forth, or C, or Lisp, or <insert structured-language-of-choice here>. Had any such language been built into popular machines of the day, science and technology would have advanced so much faster that every citizen on this planet would have had his/her own flying car and faster-than-light spaceship by now. But no... BASIC.

I've made many attempts to bring a logical structure into my BASIC programs. To number lines in steps of 10, in order to insert lines as needed. To reserve a range of line numbers for sub-routines. Only to find out that for programming, line numbers AREN'T NEEDED IN THE FIRST PLACE. Or editing - using a "LIST" command to show a few lines, move cursor to one, edit a copy of it elsewhere on screen, and have it inserted back in. Only to find out later that editing text is easily done full-screen. Yes... BASIC.

Then I found out about machine code. It was like being in coder's heaven, being God of the machine, but very difficult because it was like inching forward with tiny, dangerous steps on a minefield all the f**king time. Knowing that you'd still need that BASIC interpreter to get running, and that the same BASIC interpreter would often get in the way, and eat globs of precious RAM even though you weren't using it anymore. And that no assembler was built in, because there wasn't any room left in the ROM after putting BASIC in there. Grrr.... BASIC.

And let's not get started about the days of Disk Operating Systems. Cryptic commands to do even the simplest of tasks, that low-and-behold actually made a machine somewhat useful.

And to add insult to injury, it turned out that even for low-spec-machine-I-was-stuck-with-because-dad-couldn't-afford-anything-better, many of those more powerful languages were actually available! Some even for free! So manufacturers could have built them into their machines! But no.... BASIC.

Comment Re:It's A Different World Today (Score 1) 193

(..) turning the United States into a Police State is exactly what the extremists want!

Which extremists are you referring to? Those very, very, very few extremists that carry bombs around? Those countless uniformed, power-abusing idiots that bully the rest of society? Or the even more dangerous idiots higher up in the chain of command?

Comment Re:Stealing is stealing (Score 2) 128

In this context, the only thieves are those greedy bastards who think they are entitled to take money out of people's pockets, for works that were created, say 30+ years ago, which had all those years to allow creators & middlemen to profit from, and which are basically zero-cost to reproduce. Especially if end users can do the reproducing among themselves.

And you're right: at least that kind of theft should be stopped. If not by having reasonable written laws on the books, then by technical and/or economic means that bypass whatever laws are in place (or worse: regulations slipped in with trade agreements - like the one discussed here).

Personally, I've lost hope that laws (or treaties!) will be fixed. Mostly because the way they are created is broken as well, with no fix in sight. Hence the "bypass using technical and/or economic means" which imho holds more promise to fix the current situation.

Comment Re:I can assure you my face isn't one the net eith (Score 0) 134

Hey dude! Look, I can sympathize with you. But after so many years it's time to, just for once, un-barricade your mom's basement door, go outside, and get some fresh air.

Yeah I know it's scary. But we've all been there. It'll make you a man. And remember: there's girls out there. Yes, some in hot grits too. Perhaps if you have a few stiff drinks before going out there, you might even work up the courage to talk to one. If you do, you'll be our hero believe me! Once returned to the safety of your man-cave, you'll notice you have a fresh stride, that your head is upright while you pace up & down your basement. I'm sure your mom will notice.

Now come on, go do it! What you're waiting for? Who's the man? You're the man! Show 'em how bad-ass you are!

Comment Re:I was expecting homicides (Score 1) 99

Who cares, as long as the body won't ever be found again. Or until (long) after the murderer has died as well... Buried deep in a swamp is as good as any other method for that.

Not to mention people back then didn't have cars for transportation, chemicals to dissolve a body, etc, etc. And perhaps didn't even care much, like many murderers even today. So a swamp, nearby? Convenient dumping ground, regardless for what reason victims were killed.

Comment Open source vs. exploits (Score 1) 115

Open source just lowers the bar for others to both contribute to this, and to potentially take advantage of bugs.

You don't need source code to take advantage of bugs. Or even discover them. Almost always you do need source code to fix bugs, though.

So that would be a good argument (one of many!) for why someone would prefer to use open source software. But how much that helps with bug-fixing, depends very much on each project's regular maintainers ("upstream").

Comment When it comes to the RPi 2 (Score 1) 272

Sometime after it's released for the Raspberry Pi 2. And if it doesn't phone home my personal data in any way. And allows at least some control over when/what updates are installed (other than cutting the internet connection). And comes for free or nearly so. Then maybe - as one of the many OS'es to run on that board.

Other than that, I have no use for it (long time Debian Linux user here).

Comment Who wrote those annotations? And who paid for it? (Score 3, Insightful) 292

What the lawsuit focuses on are the ANNOTATIONS. The annotations are short topical summaries that briefly explain what a court said about the statute. An annotation is written by someone who works for a publisher, after reading a court case.

This case may very well hinge upon "who wrote them?". If as you say, written by someone who works for a publisher, that publisher would hold copyright (on those annotations alone!) and would be the party going to court.

But it seems it's the state going to court here. Which means it's the state believing it holds copyright here. Read: state employee(s) writing those annotations. In which case this lawsuit would be a non-starter, regardless of whether those annotations are deemed essential for understanding the law.

Or a (private) 3rd party wrote them for the state, read: "tax dollars at work to produce those annotations". Which imho is effectively the same as a state employee doing the writing.

Comment Almost there... (Score 3, Insightful) 52

Just a few words shorter, and even /. users may read the article.

Btw. since galaxies are mostly empty space, "to collide" doesn't sound right, imho. Two galaxies "mingling" might be a better description. A star from galaxy A here, a star from galaxy B there, a cloud from galaxy A over here, a few 'minor' collisions here & there, etc. Kind of like how 2 clouds of powder would 'collide'. And of course taking place over a long time span.

Comment Different ages (Score 2) 97

In 1981 the scarcity was in access to the hardware. It was truly expensive, in the same way that cars are expensive, or the deposit for the mortgage on your home is expensive.

More important: in those days, a computer (any computing device) for your personal use, was the big new thing. PC's were in their early days, extremely costly for the average person, and mostly used in businesses for accounting tasks, text processing etc. In their own home, people had perhaps the odd electronic game (a la Pong), but that was it. Nothing more interesting, programmable or versatile. So when early home computers hit the market, it was a truly new, interesting and exciting thing.

These days, babies sleep in their cribs with their older siblings playing their Xbox or PS in the background. Chances are they'll get their hands on a game controller before they hit 3 years old or so. They grow up in a world where computing devices (big and small) are everywhere. Some of those available to use, tinker with etc for any budget. So when they hit an age where coding may become interesting, how to spark that interest? That's a big barrier right there for any educational project, regardless of what's possible hardware- or software-wise. That even the smallest devices today are much more complex than far bigger machines back then, sure doesn't help.

Back in the day, a computer for yourself was interesting to almost everyone. If nothing else, to get a feel for what it is. These days: meh... would-be-coders only. Regardless of age.

Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.