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Comment: Re:Pinto (Score 1) 216

by mcrbids (#49566571) Attached to: The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues

Nope. Poor breaking behaviour doesn't cause crashes, people not keeping a safe distance causes crashes.

Nope. What causes crashes is hunks of metal ramming into other hunks of metal. It would be complicated except that it's not. We choose to ascribe "cause" to other events that precede the ramming behavior, but it's really arbitrary.

For example, it's widely understood that driving cars is *dangerous* and yet we don't ascribe standard risk factors for *driving at all*.

Skiing is inherently dangerous. In order to use a ski slope, I have to acknowledge this risk. Why aren't car manufacturers covered with a similar legal conract?

Comment: Re:So, Microsoft is a social leech! (Score 1) 103

by mcrbids (#49553419) Attached to: Microsoft Increases Android Patent Licensing Reach

Except in this case, the patent is for the use of VFAT, which is a very specific file system format that even Microsoft doesn't use much anymore, but is commonly understood by their systems.

There is no reason, for example, why Microsoft couldn't implement an open file system like EXT4 or UFS and update all their operating systems to recognize it, except that it would mitigate the value of their VFAT patents. So they don't bother.

I remember reading that they make more money on their patents from Android vendors than they make *gross* from their Windows Mobile sales.

Comment: Not just IOS (Score 2) 474

by mcrbids (#49553317) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Stable Smartphones These Days?

I have a Moto Razr Maxx HD, now working on its 3rd year. It's been basically perfect. I reboot it perhaps once every few months, and half of those reboots are due to an OTA OS upgrade.

With it's amazing battery life, and durable, sturdy case, it's a phone that feels like a "partner" that doesn't leave me hanging and even when I'm really putting the screws to it, (EG: on trips) it's "just there" for me.

It is no longer a "flagship" phone, it's not the fastest phone, and it doesn't have the biggest/brightest screen any more, but it's still a very, very good balance for a phone that I probably won't be replacing until it actually dies.

My only honest complaint is that its bluetooth reception seems weak. I use $20 wired headphones as a result.

Comment: Re:Dell, HP, Panasonic (Score 5, Informative) 417

by mcrbids (#49540887) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says

How is Dell a laugh?

I write this on a gorgeous Dell Precision M3800 that has it all: powerful i7 processor, space for lots of RAM (16 GB), dual SSD bays, gorgeous 4K screen, and all in a lightweight, svelte case that rivals a Macbook Air in appearance and feel.

Oh, did I mention Linux compatibility? Ubuntu is officially supported. (My fave distro, Fedora runs without issue - literally load and forget)

Not sure what you're looking for in a PC manufacturer, but for Slashbots, isn't this pretty much it?

Comment: Re:Specced too low, weird form factor (Score 1) 174

by mcrbids (#49530083) Attached to: Intel 'Compute Stick' PC-Over-HDMI Dongle Launched, Tested

Honestly, the 'compute stick' makes zero sense for a TV-mounted device. It is far better to just go with a chrome cast stick or an AppleTV for airplay and using a pad or cell in your hand to control it if you want to throw a display up on the TV. Otherwise you will be fumbling around with a horrible remote or you have to throw together a bluetooth keyboard (etc...) and it just won't be a fun or convenient experience.

I have such a stick on my TV, and it works great! It's *not* an ideal general computing device, but it is pretty much ideal for a Smart TV thingie.

As far as input devices, we use either a bluetooth Logitech keyboard/touchpad device, or a "flying mouse" remote. Both work rather well. If you haven't one, you should check out a "flying mouse" remote on Amazon for under $20 and work by waving your hand. It's really easy and rather intuitive once you get past a 1 minute introduction. Oh, and it contains a full QWERTY keyboard too.

Comment: Found in small town, CA? (Score 1) 81

by mcrbids (#49517161) Attached to: Baltimore Police Used Stingrays For Phone Tracking Over 25,000 Times

So, I went to the local Social Security office in smallsville, CA. While waiting, I used my phone, and noticed that (Verizon) I was getting a 1x signal.

There are *no* 1x signal towers in my local area, it's all 100% digital. There aren't even any 3G towers that I know of. And when I left, within a few hundred feet, I resumed seeing 4G signal,like normal.

Stingray much?

Comment: Desalinization sucks (Score 1) 672

by mcrbids (#49511907) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Desalinization is expensive. It's energy intensive, they're ugly as sin, it results in bad-tasting water, it pollutes the oceans with saline, the resulting water still needs to be pumped hundreds of miles to be used, etc. etc.

It's a raw deal and it's stupid to mention it. Please don't.

Comment: Reality: Stock Options (Score 2) 482

by mcrbids (#49487233) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

Moves like this aren't philanthropic. It's a common tactic for a vested CEO to cut their salary to just $1. But because they are vested (EG: stock options, partial ownership, etc) they make out just fine.

As a company owner, I could cut my salary to just $1 and it probably wouldn't affect my true annual gross income at all, since unpaid salary just becomes profit.

Comment: How to monopolize (Score 1) 247

by mcrbids (#49479299) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

Step 1: Offer a compelling product.

Step 2: Offer it in a cheaper *and* more open way that the competition.

Step 3: Repeat step 2 over and over while network effects kick in. As trust and network effects continue to escalate, you become the "default choice".

Step 4: Only go here when you want to be evil. Stop offering such a good price. Don't be as open as you used to be. Structure your prices around keeping competition out rather than simply being "better". Hire lobbyists and start offering regulatory officials vacations in order to provide "an environment conducive to product education".

Google is now just sticking its toe in the water for Step 4. Microsoft charged into Step 4 as early as they could.

Comment: Re: Easy grammar (Score 1) 626

Irregular verbs exist because English is a hack job of a language mashed together from several sources.

Silent letters don't exist to disambiguate homonyms, EG: lead. They exist because the words came from different sources. Compare the derivations of right and rite.

I'd wager that a properly constructed language (if adopted) would probably mutate fairly slowly, about as fast as normal language does.

Comment: Re:Probably Xamarin (Score 1) 96

I think it will be helpful to everybody if they can get .Net code to compile for iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux. It will make cross platform development so much easier.

Except that it'll only be cross-platform for as long as Microsoft wants it to be. What will happen to non-Microsoft platforms if, say five years from now, they decide to say, "Sorry, we're done supporting other platforms." Will software companies that have been using VS all that time re-write their (possibly entire) code base in another language that's actually cross-platform? Not likely.

This is just another round of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

"Ada is PL/I trying to be Smalltalk. -- Codoso diBlini