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Comment Re:Oh, bullshit (Score 5, Informative) 470

That article explains a lot.

So, VW hired a top engineer away from Daimler to revamp the VW line. He brought in clean-diesel technology ("BlueTec") licensed from Daimler, but the engineers at VW hated the idea of licensing technology from a rival, because they said they could do just as good with the turbocharged direct injection designs that they'd been working on for years. Nevertheless, VW went through with an engine design with the licensed BlueTec, made a prototype engine... and then the CEO got pushed out, the chief engineer got pushed out a month later, and the new CEO put the engineers who'd opposed licensing outside technology in charge of making a new VW clean-diesel engine and cancelled the license from Daimler. So, they had essentially doubled down on the bet that they could do just as good on efficiency and NOx emissions without licensing the Daimler BlueTec, And right as they did that, the new CEO announced ambitious targets for selling clean diesels in the US.

The story is beginning to make a bit more sense now.

Comment How it went down (Score 1) 470

More likely:
Manager: "Hey, you promised a year ago that you could hit both NOx and MPG targets by Oct. 1. It's September already. How close are you to done?"
Engineers: "We promised what? You're sure? We said it would be a software fix? Really? OK, software guys- what's the hold up?"
Software engineers: "The guy who promised that left to join Facebook a year ago."
Manager: "Tough. Will you have the problem solved by Friday, or do I have to ask headquarters for another week?"
Software engineers: "This is a tough problem. I'm not sure it can even be done, but even if it can, it will take a year to do it right."
Manager: "I don't care about doing it right. Bash something together to make it pass the damn tests. Just do it."
Software: "It's really hard...
Manager: "OK, you have until Monday. Or you're all fired."
Software: "Uh, you said anything? As long as it makes the problem go away?"
Manager: "I'm giving you carte blanche. Don't worry about documentation, total quality, all that ISO s@#!t, I'll cover for you. Just make it pass the test."
Software: "Anything, huh? OK, we're on it."

Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 2) 345

For example, I have had a couple of occasions of fraud on my account - they both happened when the "accounts got out" (massive breach of the credit union's credit card file). The first racked up three charges for $900.00 in Japan The next was a flight in India (in rupees) that came to well over $1,000 plus the foreign currency conversion fee. However, I have had the same card processor block the card and deny the purchases when I made two orders in the same day. The "fraud detection" is completely broken.

Isn't it likely that they blocked the new egg purchases because the account was hacked and previous purchases that day were fraudulent?

Closing the barn door after the horse got out-- but there may have been other horses in the barn that could get out.

Comment Re:Plausible speculation ... Dyslexia at work? (Score 1) 366

The Apple Developer Terms and Conditions DOES prohibit the release of Trade Secrets regarding "Pre-Release Materials", so yes, it is a de facto NDA, which iFixit clearly violated.

Congratulations-- this is the 23rd post in the thread responding to the comment "What NDA?" ...but the first one which has actually provided a link to answer the question, instead of just repeating the assertion.

Comment Plausible speculation, Nevertheless, speculation (Score 1, Troll) 366

Did you read the article? iFixit admits this:

Just where exactly in the quoted text does the phrase "NDA" occur?

Oh-- it doesn't.

iFixit knew that Apple would not be happy with them disassembling it but did it anyway.

"not happy" is not a synonym for "signed a NDA."

Reasonable speculation. Plausible. Fits the known facts. Very likely it's even correct.

Still: this is a speculation.

Comment What NDA? Who mentioned a NDA? (Score 1, Flamebait) 366

They very publicly break the NDA for personal profit and expect no action? They're lucky the actions by Apple weren't more sever honestly.

But was the NDA valid?

Ah, that's slashdot for you.

One poster speculates that they signed a NDA (phrasing it as a statement, not a speculation) and that they violated the hypothetical terms of the hypothetical NDA that they hypothetically agreed to. Another poster speculates on whether the hypothetical NDA, whose hypothetical terms we don't actually know, was valid.

To quote Twain, "There is something fascinating about slashdot. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."

Comment Stars [Re:Let's face it...] (Score 3, Informative) 260

One anecdote that is related indirectly to the topic is the ignorance of the nature of stars. Someone in my family didn't know that stars are like our sun but much further away. There was no malice or contradiction of beliefs and they took it as a VERY awesome fact, but that sort of gap in knowledge combined with religious fervor can, and does, lead to the outright denial of even the possibility of life elsewhere.


The first person to clearly state the hypothesis that stars are other suns like ours, but much farther away, was Giordano Bruno-- who also said that since they're like the sun, they undoubtedly also have planets with life. A pretty far-thinking hypothesis, considering that Copernicus' work saying that the Earth circled the sun (instead of vice versa) was still newly published when he asserted it.

Of course, he was burned at the stake for it.

Comment Re:Endgame (Score 1) 142

So what's the endgame of all this spying? Is it to turn America into a totalitarian police state?

The endgame of this particular spying seems to be that they decided not to, for reasons that seem quite good to me.

"Any proposed solution almost certainly would quickly become a focal point for attacks. Rather than sparking more discussion, government-proposed technical approaches would almost certainly be perceived as proposals to introduce 'backdoors' or vulnerabilities in technology products and services and increase tensions rather [than] build cooperation."

Comment Solar Power on Mars (Score 1) 684

So you do confirm that tiny solar panels on a tiny rover can generate about 140 watts for up to four hours per Martian day. That gives us the data (known solar panel type, surface area, power generated) to know how many and how big the solar panels would need to be for a Mars base.

The Mars Exploration Rovers were powered by 1.3 m^2 of solar cells.
If you want more power, make larger solar arrays.

Solar power works on Mars. That really should not be controversial; we've been doing it since Pathfinder. If you want an alternative power source, use a nuclear reactor.

Or use both; your choice.

Comment Re:No one is asking YOU (Score 1) 684

We don't even have the practical technology to make our own deserts places people can live,

Well... Las Vegas

let alone the airless lifeless desert which is Mars. Talk to me about a cloud city on Venus though... that is a hot idea.


Understanding is always the understanding of a smaller problem in relation to a bigger problem. -- P.D. Ouspensky