Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 341

Adam Smith wrote about free markets. Capitalism is something above and beyond a free market, first written about by Marx, who argued it was an inevitable consequence of free market and used that to criticize free markets.

You're arguing terminology over substance. Modern economists acknowledge that it was Smith who pretty solidly defined what we call "capitalism" as a socioeconomic structure. He didn't use the WORD "capitalism", but he defined everything we currently call free-market capitalism today.

Marx called it "captitalism". But we already knew what it was. Big fucking deal.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 341

Why didn't you just write "You're wrong, fuckface"? - It's much clearer yet equally vacuous.

I didn't write that because the argument I did make has demonstrable history and facts on its side. I'm not in the habit of making vacuous comments, although we are all well aware your opinion has frequently been otherwise.

I don't claim to be perfect. I've made mistakes here and admitted them when they've been pointed out to me. But unless I made a recognizable blunder, I won't admit to being wrong unless someone actually shows that I am. Insults don't quite make it over that line.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 4, Interesting) 341

If we're going to define capitalism as what was laid out by Adam Smith in On the Wealth of Nations (generally considered to be the founding document of capitalism), it certainly didn't praise corporate greed. Adam Smith takes a lot of time to bash on corporations, and how they need to be regulated. Not just that they need to be regulated, but exactly the manner in which they need to be.

Agreed. If we're discussing "Adam Smith free-market capitalism", Smith laid out the need for a solid body of antitrust law way back then. He recognized that free markets could lead toward monopoly, but wrote that this is where the government's role started: to enforce antitrust laws, which keep everybody on the same level playing field.

Since the government has hardly been enforcing the antitrust idea AT ALL, much less well, the logical conclusion is that this situation is not Adam Smith free-market capitalism. Which is what most people mean when they say "capitalism", regardless of technical details.

But it's very obvious that over the last couple of decades, government has thrown much of the antitrust baby out with the other regulatory bathwater, as it were. Not very long ago at all, a merger like Comcast and TWC would have been just laughed at, and never considered at all. For very good reasons.

BUT... I also want to say that GP here still missed the point. The person I was replying to implied that the problem was capitalism. My reply was that the very same problem (and I'll say here: even worse) occurs in other systems. Therefore the root problem can't be capitalism, per se. It must be something else. The obvious "something else" is cronyism. GP essentially just said "bullshit" while making no argument of his own.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 341

Actually, it has to do with Franchise agreements between _______ cable and the local municipalities, which is NOT Capitalism, but some bad version of utility.

That's certainly part of the problem.

I'm all for free market. But unfortunately, we haven't had a competitive market for broadband on ANY level, not just the local level, for some time now. It might have started out locally, but that was a long time ago. The time to fix the local problem was then.

Now it's a problem throughout the country, with a small handful of companies controlling 80% of the United States. That's not a local problem anymore.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 341

It's monopoly capitalism. Not all capitalism is free-market capitalism. Technically they aren't lying.

No, I stick by what I said above. GP blamed the problem on capitalism. But the very same problem occurs in other socioeconomic systems. Therefore it isn't caused by capitalism. The situation may be a variant of capitalism, but that's a different argument.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 5, Insightful) 341

fuck capitalism.

It has nothing to do with capitalism. It has everything to do with unregulated corporate greed. They are NOT the same things. The same kind of greed was seen very prominently in countries that called themselves Socialist and even Communist. So don't blame "capitalism" for it. It's cronyism, plain and simple.

And this is almost laughably wrong:

The rules, which have not yet been released, are opposed by cable and telephone companies that fear it will curb Internet growth and stifle payback on network investment.

I call BS. They don't "fear" it will do anything of the kind. What they fear is that it will put a stop to their monopolistic control, and monopolistic prices, and end their ability to pocket tax money given them for infrastructure.

I mean this literally: you can hardly believe a word they say anymore.

Comment: Re: nice, now for the real fight (Score 1) 612

by Jane Q. Public (#49150361) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

That reading would seem to permit the Feds to override any and all State laws against political subdivisions doing anything.


The Constitution very clearly gives Congress the authority to regulate interstate commerce. And it is pretty much indisputable that the Internet involves interstate commerce.

I, for one, think Congress has tried to stretch the "interstate commerce" excuse way too far, in order to regulate many things that are not directly involved with interstate commerce. Like growing marijuana.

But the internet is not one of those things.

Comment: Re:So live underground (Score 2) 128

by Jane Q. Public (#49150237) Attached to: Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected

This is no different that what submariners experience - with no natural light, they move to an 18 hour day (6 on 12 off). Contrast this to driving across the ocean in a ship and traversing the various time zone.

Also, experiments done decades ago, in caves with no day-night cycle, led to longer awake cycles much like those. So I really don't see what the problem is here.

Naturally, it takes time to adjust. Shift-work studies have shown that it takes the body AT LEAST 30 days to fully adjust to a new schedule, some people as long as 60. Interrupt it before then and you end up with problems.

Comment: Re:About time... (Score 2) 147

by Jane Q. Public (#49149989) Attached to: Invented-Here Syndrome

Yep, you see this all the time in the iOS development community too. People coding my sticking together 100 slightly incompatible 3rd party libraries, and writing a bunch of glue code. Then hitting problems and responding to help solving them with "we can't do that, we're required to do it this way because the 3rd party library does it that way".

Exactly. I don't mind including a good tool that does its job well and leaves everything else alone. But I've run across at least 2 very sad "syndromes" that add-ons sometimes cause:

The first syndrome is represented by libraries that take over everything and unnecessarily restrict your otherwise legitimate actions, because they ASSUME everything will be done with or through them. 2 great examples come to mind from the Ruby world: Formtastic, and Devise.

I dumped Formtastic because it insisted on generating its own <ul> for the form, and <li> tags for all the elements, which prevented you from laying out your forms your own way. Trying to wrap elements in named or classed <div>s so you could do your own layout resulted in invalid HTML. Maybe Formtastic has improved since then, I don't know. I discussed this problem with the author, and his response was "Why would you want to do that?" Which just illustrates my point.

Devise is way too intrusive and makes too many assumptions. Besides being based around unproven Bcrypt (which has never been fully security audited), it tries to force you to do everything else its way, too. It may be "customizable", but in my experience that's far more trouble than it's worth. My opinion is that most people who use Devise do so because they don't understand how to do it themselves.

The second syndrome is "copy and paste development". This irritates me to no end. "Why don't we just use X? It already does that." "Well, because it's like shooting an ant with a cannon. A cannon that also wants to wash your dishes."

The right tool for the right job. Often, especially for small jobs, it's vastly preferable to roll your own tools, and do it your way.

Comment: Serial Cable (Score 1) 439

by Jane Q. Public (#49143559) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem
The Laplink idea was copied by Microsoft. If it has one of the more recent versions of XP, you can use a serial link.

You did not say how recent the destination machine is. If it has a serial port and XP or 98, you can just use a null modem cable. If it's a newer machine, you will have to use a null modem cable AND a serial-to-usb cable or adapter on the newer end. Further, if you are on Windows 7 or later, you will have to install Virtual PC and then XP mode (both free from Microsoft), so you can run a virtual XP window.

Then start up serial networking and transfer your data. One machine is 'host' and the other is 'client'.

Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 1) 337

by Jane Q. Public (#49143253) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

Then something changes and blows the estimates out of the water. But the MBA's think since only one line in the spec changed, the schedule should stay the same.

And that's when you re-negotiate, or quit.

From my experience, it's easy to make bad estimates because bad estimates are easy to make. If it's a big project, take your worst possible guess, and multiply by 1.5.

One of the biggest reasons bad estimates are so easy to make, is that the stakeholders "forget" to include too many of the details. And even, sometimes, some of the big essential features. It's debatable how many of these things are really "forgotten", versus not known or just intentionally left out to lower the estimate.

Therefore, I go about it this way:

I write out clearly what the specs are. Often this is just a repeat of the stakeholder's own specs. I estimate each major "feature" in the specs.

My standard contract states that this is only an estimate, based on the written scope of work just described. If at any point it looks like the work will take more than 10% over the estimate, it is time to examine why and the terms must be re-negotiated.

If any significant changes or additions are made to the scope of work, the terms must be re-negotiated.

These stipulations make sure everybody is talking, and if anything goes over estimate, everybody knows why. It also makes sure that if they add more work, I get more money.

I have a third stipulation I put in every contract: single point of contact. The stakeholder(s) must appoint one person, and one person only, who is to give me instructions and discuss the specifications. Nobody else, even the CEO, is allowed to do that.

I insist on these. So far, I have not had anybody turn me down because they thought the terms were unreasonable. That last clause keeps me from getting caught between conflicting instructions from different people. Other than that one, these are SOP for many engineering contracts. I just borrowed from those.

Comment: Re: nice, now for the real fight (Score 4, Interesting) 612

by Jane Q. Public (#49142867) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

Unfortunately, regulating greed doesn't work. You have to fix the problem. You have to have a society of people that aren't greedy. Good luck with that!

It worked pretty well with telephones for 40-50 years. Granted, significant corruption was leaking in toward the end, but for a very long time the ill effects of monolithic monopoly were kept at bay, while we kept the advantages (i.e., world's best interoperability, reasonable rates for their day).

During that time, in some countries in Europe which allowed competition in the market, you couldn't call the neighbor on one side because he was using a different phone company, and even the respective voltages were not compatible. And you couldn't call the other neighbor on the other side, because she was on yet a different company. And there were 3 times as many wires on the poles.

You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred. -- Superchicken