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Comment: Re:The US tech industry (Score 1) 126

by theshowmecanuck (#48229653) Attached to: Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

Microsoft used to be THE company that sells software that corporations need (from OS to their office suites). Used to. Now Microsoft is a company clinging onto new versions of legacy software

I agree for the most part on your points. But for major products like Office, we see people here agreeing quite often that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And that is valid too... it is a good product even now. But sure, now they seem to be more interested in catching up and copying other companies' ideas than innovating; or even being clever and visionary enough to understand which companies have truly good new ideas and products before they buy them.

What I think is ironic in all this, is it is my understanding that Ballmer was at the helm for most of the time when this mental and innovative contraction took place. Even more interesting is that Microsoft stock went up when he finally left. My take on that is that he's not really qualified to make any judgements on other companies.

Comment: In our college? (Score 1) 283

by Sycraft-fu (#48225925) Attached to: How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor

The big ones I can think of are Cadence SPB, Ansys HFSS, Ansys Fluent, Dassault Solidworks, Dassault Abaqus, Rocscience RS3D, Agilent ADS, Bently Microstation, PTV Vision, Intel Fortran, and Xilinx ISE.

There are more, but those are the ones I can think of we use the most off the top of my head.

Comment: Even more than that (Score 2) 283

by Sycraft-fu (#48218129) Attached to: How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor

Want to know a big reason people have been getting Macs, that Apple doesn't like to admit? You can run Windows on them now. The Intel switch made it viable to run Windows on them, natively if you wanted, and good virtualization tech means it runs fast in OS-X. That lets people get their shiny status symbol, but still use the programs they need.

We've seen that at work (an Engineering college). Prior to the Intel conversion, there were almost no Mac users. The thing is engineering software just isn't written for the Mac. There is actually some stuff now, but even so the vast majority is Windows or Linux. Back in the PPC days, there was almost nothing. So we had only really two stubborn faculty that used Macs, one because he did no research and just played around, and one because he wrote his own code and was stubborn. However that was it, you just couldn't do your work on them.

Now? All kinds of faculty and students have Macs. PCs are still dominant, but we see a lot more Macs. However every one has Windows on it. Some it is all they have. Seriously, we have two guys who buy Macs, but have us install Windows on it, they don't use MacOS they just want the shiny toy. A number have bootcamp, and many have VMWare. Regardless, I've yet to see one, faculty, staff, or student, that didn't put Windows on it to be able to do the work they need to.

So that is no small part of how Intel helped Apple gain market share.

Comment: Re:No, wait, do-over! (Score 1) 95

by theshowmecanuck (#48215679) Attached to: German Publishers Capitulate, Let Google Post News Snippets
And Google gets nothing out of the relationship I hear you say. The web sites are only leaches that exist solely because of Google. As if, if Google didn't exist someone else wouldn't step in to fill the niche. Google makes money because they have a lot of sites indexed. Let them cut off whole swaths of Europe say, or North America, and another search engine will take its place. As for Amazon, sure I get cheap books. But I no longer have as many bookstores I can go to, to look at books, find something I might not have picked before, have a coffee, talk to real people. A whole bunch of my favourite bookstores have gone down in the last number of years. Everything is a trade off. And while I like Amazon for technical books, I would rather pay a higher price for a real book, if I had the opportunity to have more book stores. Unfortunately the ones that still exist are mostly big chains that only bring in what some wanker at head office sends them. Someone who probably never reads books either, never mind the genre you like.

Comment: Re:Not just women (Score 1) 543

by Theaetetus (#48213237) Attached to: The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll

... the idea of "hate crimes" still seems silly to me...something is a crime or it's not, we can't legislate hate IMO.

We don't legislate "hate". "Hate crimes" are not the criminalization of "hate", but sentencing enhancements applied based on motive or intent. And you understand that we do punish different crimes differently based on intent, right? For example, premeditated murder is usually punished more severely than heat-of-the-moment murder, which is punished more severely than accidental homicide or reckless "manslaughter", which is punished more severely than negligent manslaughter, etc. If I swing my arm without paying attention and bop you in the nose, that's bad, but it's not as bad as if I intentionally bop you in the nose... and we as a society have decided that that is not as bad as if I intentionally bop you in the nose because you're a member of a minority group I dislike.

Or, to look at it another way, if I bop you in the nose because I dislike you, that harms you, and I should be punished for that single instance of harm. But if I bop you in the nose while ranting about people of your religion/race/gender/etc., I'm doing it to terrorize or intimidate other people of that religion/race/gender/etc. - I'm physically harming you and sending a message to others like you that they should beware because I'll try to harm them in the future. Accordingly, I should be punished for that increased harm.

And remember, there has to be evidence of that intent. If I bop you on the nose because you're a member of group X, but I never say a word about that, then I'm not going to receive an enhanced sentence simply because you're X and I'm Y. It's only when I take the additional action of letting my intent be known - and as noted above, I would do that because I'm trying to intimidate other X's.

So, in short, we're not criminalizing "hate", we're criminalizing domestic terrorism. And I'm fine with that.

Comment: Also (Score 2) 289

by Sycraft-fu (#48210809) Attached to: Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?

Speed matters less with each step up. Going from a modem to broadband is amazing, going from something like 256k DSL to 20mb cable is pretty damn huge, however going from 20mbps cable to 200mbps cable is nice, but fairly minor and going from a few hundred mbps to gbps is hardly noticeable.

I have 150mbps cable at home, and get what I pay for. Games from GOG and Steam download at 18-19MB/sec. It is fun, I can download a new game in minutes... however outside that I notice little difference from the 30mbps connection I stepped up from. Streaming worked just as well before, web surfing was just as fast, etc. The extra speed matters little to none in day to day operations.

Same thing at work. I'm on a campus and we have some pretty hardcore bandwidth, as campuses often do, so much it is hard to test as the testing site usually is the limit. Downloading large stuff it is nice, though really not that much less time than at home. I don't really mind the difference between a 2-5 minute wait and a 15-20 minute wait for a program. Surfing, streaming, etc all are 100% the same, no difference at all, speed seems to be limited by waiting for all the DHTML crap on a site to render, not the data to download.

While geeks get all over excited about bigger better more when it comes to bandwidth, for normal use what matters is just to have "enough" and "enough" turns out to be not all that much. It'll grow with time, of course, higher rez streaming, larger programs, etc will demand more bandwidth but still this idea that there is the difference between uber fast Internet and just regular fast Internet is silly.

It will not create any meaningful divide.

Comment: Nah looks like an attempt to restrict speech (Score 1) 324

by Sycraft-fu (#48205311) Attached to: Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic

Even in the US such an amount wouldn't be a tax in the sense of raising revenue, but an attempt to stifle usage. That is a lot per GB, even at US income levels. As such in Hungary, this is even more restrictive, given the lower income levels. It is for sure an attempt to stifle usage, and not a legitimate revenue measure.

Comment: Re:Probably the wrong way to fight it anyway (Score 1) 57

Combining A+B and C may not be easy, but it is obvious. This is actually the main problem I see with software patents: idea C is "with a computer", and A+B is some existing invention. Newspapers - on a computer! Alarm clocks - on a computer! Bank transactions - on a computer! Sure it was hard to program them. It's still obvious. But if securing the bank transactions requires new innovations in security technology to glue the pieces together, those innovations could merit patent D. Does not and should not prevent anybody else from making their own secure bank transactions with a different security method because somebody got an A+B+C patent covering the obvious part.

Definitely, and that should be the answer to those:
"Alarm clock, on a computer!"
"That's obvious. Alarm clocks and computers both exist."

"But this was difficult because [intricate problem that's different with computer clocks] and we had to do [intricate solution]."
"Then put that in the patent claims."

Good patent examiners currently do that, but there's a bunch of terrible stuff out there.

Really not understanding your point about pharmaceuticals. How is the benzene ring different from "including a library or function in a program [which] should have an absolutely predictable result"?

Combine a program and a library and even before hitting compile, you should be able to tell exactly what the result is. Combine a benzene ring and a hydroxide compound and even if you done it at one position, move it someplace else and it could have the opposite effect. It's unpredictable.

I do agree though that pharmaceuticals are a bit different than other patent issues, but for a different reason: selling a drug requires round after round of expensive clinical trials because of the FDA. Without exclusivity, there may not be enough incentive for drug companies to pay for those trials if a generic manufacturer can reverse engineer the same drug and sell it on the cheap without paying for the trials. Maybe the FDA should have its own special exclusivity granting system so we can peel off one of the complications of patent law.

True. Pharmaceuticals don't really seem to mesh with patent law anyway - right now, a company will defend their patent application as I did above, saying that the result of any compound is absolutely unpredictable, so therefore, nothing is ever obvious in drugs... and then when they get the patent and some competitors makes a biosimilar drug, that first company will leap up and say it's just an obvious variation on the patent and is covered under the doctrine of equivalents.

Comment: Re:Not a surprise, but is it just one ingredient? (Score 1) 422

by Theaetetus (#48203335) Attached to: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

In short-- dont let me stop you if you want to look into steak and beer as potential causes of telomere shortening-- but unless theres substantive results there, Im not going to start panicking yet.

Or, as I suggested, we could actually do science and do a whole bunch of tests changing or removing one variable at a time: try cola and then try clear cola, rather than your suggested "try cola, try steak, gosh, different effects."

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

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