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Comment: Re:This is why they reinvent the wheel (Score 4, Insightful) 626

I emphatically disagree with your reasoning.

1. Often times, you can't appreciate the existing solution until after you tried to make something better. An awful lot of the people who love Perl love it even more after they spent some time working with Python, Ruby, PHP, or for that matter Java, C#, or Haskell. If a kid - or an old fogey like us - wants to try to make the next Perl? Go for it.

2. Some times, you genuinely do make something that's an evolutionary step forward. What if, 30 years ago, people thinking like you convinced Larry Wall that C + sed + awk was good enough? It's rare, but it does happen.

3. The whole process of trying to understand what came before and trying to do better is an excellent learning method. If I write my own text editor, even if it's awful I'll probably become a better developer.

Now, basing a business model on trumping what came before is like gambling only more stupid. I wouldn't try to get rich inventing the next Perl, the next Facebook, or the next Docker. But trying to make one for fun.... why not?

Comment: Re:Easy grammar (Score 1) 626

I read somewhere that the Hungarian language is extremely regular - i.e. once you learn the pronunciation rules, you know how to read any word in the language. But I can't find a source for that and the linguistic terminology about the language on Wikipedia makes smoke come out of my ears.

Comment: Re: Invisible hand (Score 1) 536

First: if you strip that regulatory power from Congress, how are you going to stop them from granting it back to themselves? The only way you're going to get Congress out of regulating is if the majority of voters want them out of it, and continue to want them out of it. It will never happen.

Second: in many European countries, the governments are big and have lots of power, and they aren't letting companies like Comcast, Verizon, Sprint, and so forth fuck consumers the same way it happens in the US. The problem of poor regulation is not fundamental to all governments, it's a specific problem we have that has been solved elsewhere. Our national education policy sucks - the national education policies in Finland, Japan, South Korea, and Poland don't suck. Our regulated broadband internet utilities suck - broadband utility subscribers in places like Denmark have better coverage for much less money.

Most of the people trying to tell you "big government is the problem" just don't want to pay taxes so median income levels can increase. Bad government is the problem, and that's not related to size.

Comment: Re: Invisible hand (Score 1) 536

And how would the libertarians stop Congress for amending the constitution to grant itself that power again?

It seems to me the only way to do that is to have a Congress that's really under a tight leash from the voters. And to get that, you need educated voters. And to get those, you need... a decidedly non-libertarian national education policy like the ones in Finland, Poland, Japan, or South Korea.

Comment: Re:homeowner fail (Score 1) 536

Sorry, but I would have trusted the people on the phone too. It's an expensive honest mistake. I wouldn't have thought to look for physical proof. You really went to the house and asked the seller to let you test their internet connection before making an offer?

I consider that totally separate from a normal home inspection for construction, plumbing, wiring, and so forth. Maybe it shouldn't be in the 21st century. But it didn't cross my mind.

Comment: Re: Invisible hand (Score 1) 536

Right. That's the angle of the libertarian fantasy that always puzzles me. Once you dismantle FCC, EPA, FDA, FTC, OSHA, patent law, copyright law, etc... what is going to stop Comcast, Google, Microsoft, Mosanto, Exxon, Intel, Walmart, etc... from buying enough members of Congress to put them right back together, even more favorable to the big players than they already are? I mean, if oligarchy is your goal you should be an oligarchist, not a libertarian. If free market competition is your goal then you need smarter government oversight, not less government oversight.

Comment: Re: Invisible hand (Score 1) 536

I am, of course, sorry to hear that was your experience. I bought my current house in 2002 and at the time I didn't have the foresight to weigh the benefits of having more than one broadband provider available. So my only choice has been Comcast. My service has been rock solid the entire time, the only problem I ever had was with Comcast's phone billing department - which is horrendous. Everything else - technicians, contractors, most of their support staff, and the billing staff at their closest branch office has been excellent.

But if I can convince some crazy person to buy this property (I don't know how I could manage that in good conscience....) I would move somewhere with Comcast + Verizon available, or something similar. Or maybe somewhere with Google Fiber. :)

Comment: Re: Invisible hand (Score 2) 536

My great grandfather worked in coal mines in the early 20th century. He worked for a mining company that had this policy after a cave-in: dig until you've recovered all of the mules, alive or dead. Then stop. Buried miners were ignored because they were paid by the ton and thus had zero cost to replace. His son, my grandfather, moved away from the mining town and got a job at a General Motors subsidiary and watched outrageous abuses of union protection and terribly shoddy work there.

Likewise, some contractors do rock solid, honest work and some rip you off.

You have to judge contractors or union workers on a case by case basis. There's no universal law that governs the quality of either - if there was, then one side would have won out decades ago.

You should never bet against anything in science at odds of more than about 10^12 to 1. -- Ernest Rutherford

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