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Comment Re:Energy in? (Score 1) 94

Methanol is a well known starter compound for numerous synthetic pathways. I believe that in WWII it was used in Germany to power cars (though how often I don't know.)

I will agree that methanol would be a terrible jet fuel. It is not only low in energy density, it absorbs water like a sponge.

OTOH, many model aircraft used to use methanol for fuel, so it not totally unreasonable as a drone fuel.

Comment Re:Energy in? (Score 1) 94

In a different article (possibly about a different project) it was explicitly stated that the cost would currently be prohibitive, but that if oil ran out this could be a useful replacement.

I would be very surprised if the same caveat didn't apply to this project, presuming it's not the same project.

Comment Re:The one lesson developers should learn (Score 1) 38

Contracts aren't necessarily worth any more than the paper they are written on. What are your enforcement powers? How expensive is it to enforce the contract? Do you trust the party that wrote the contract to honestly tell you what it means? (Do they even know?) Etc.

Once you make yourself dependent on someone else, you are dependent on them. A contract *MAY* give you the tools to damage them somewhat if they disregard it, but that won't give you back your lost time and effort. It may well not even pay your attorney's fees.

Comment Re:FTFY (Score 1) 38

While you are technically correct, people who are not invested in a company won't follow the details of internal politics...in fact those are usually hidden even from those that do, so as a short-cut technique for figuring out how much to trust a company you attend to its externally visible actions. This does require that you treat the company as an entity, and ignore the details about who decided what...but that's usually secret anyway.

So yes, this is an invalid way to think about a company. It is, however, a useful tool. And if corporations can be ruled to be legally persons, it seems improper to castigate someone using that same shortcut in a non-detrimental to citizens way.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 555

I've generally avoided MS software because of reliability problems. MSWord is an exception, and, yes, I've had documents that wouldn't transfer between versions of MSWord. They were actually worse about it than Apple. I will admit that that was a rare event, but it happened. Eventually someone published a way to work around it, but that was after it no longer mattered to me.

Most of the problems, however, were with 3rd party proprietary file formats. Companies that went out of business, companies that discontinued a product, companies with incompatible file formats between versions, and no way to convert, etc. And it wasn't relatively rare applications like CNC, I'm talking about graphics programs designed for children to use, music score editing programs, various other things along the same line. (Sometimes the program would be picked up again a few years later, but that was a rare event, and usually by the time it had happened I'd already had to switch to something else. And at least once the new version wouldn't read the files from the old version...I didn't usually even check, so I don't really know how frequent that was.)

Open file formats have been a life-saver, and even when Linux was a pain to use (1998-200? .. varies depending on the application) they were more than enough recompense.

Comment Re:freedom (but only for those we like) (Score 1) 99

Indeed, competition would have such a high burden... they might have to ssh into a server and enter some cryptic command like "dnf install ejabberd" and hire a sysadmin for at least 4 hours to set it up. They would also have to create a website.

A more pressing problem is that you might be targeting people unwilling to pay anything, and they might be willing to consume whatever level of services you are capable of providing.

And you kids should be advised of the existence of email, email lists, and online communities using HTTP-based services. It may be that there are a whole bunch of options in active use, some of which are transmitted entirely across open channels and that have no proprietary components.

It may be that the primary distinguishing characteristic of twitter and facebook, the reason they are so popular, is that they are proprietary and therefore somehow elite! Officialish-looking. Be less credulous.

Comment Re:freedom (but only for those we like) (Score 1) 99

I'm still using ICQ. Maybe there isn't actually a shortage of services? What then? What if XMPP services can be installed out of the box on any cheap VPS? What then?

There is no need to create fake freedoms, like the right to speak for twitter because you don't have your own platform to kick people out of.

Comment Re:With the ever-looming cyberpunk future (Score 1) 263

Sorry, but the cyberpunk future is all around us right now. This doesn't make alternative currencies a good idea. Money is given value by the community that uses it. If you are a part of a community, then it makes sense to use the money that is used by that community If you aren't, then invest in something tangible. The problem is if it isn't something you use, then it's not a good investment, and if it isn't durable then it isn't a good investment. That's why real estate is so popular as an investment. But real estate comes with a high tax burden, so it's got to pay for itself at higher than the rate of taxation. Money tends to get devalued by financial manipulations both of government and of financiers. Banks pay interest at less than the rate of inflation. The stock market is chancy. Etc.

If you're young, invest in yourself. Get yourself a stronger skill set. etc. But avoid accumulating debts. Sorry to give conflicting advice, but there it is. If you learn German well enough you can get a free college education...in Germany. Possibly some other countries offer the same deal. Unfortunately, it's hard to predict what skills will continue to be valuable. Blacksmiths are doing fairly well right now, because few are being trained, and there are those who value their work...but it's easier to get trained as a welder, and specialized varieties of welding are also well compensated. You will notice that I'm mentioning professions that are already in decline, but where the number of practitioners is smaller than the demand for their skills. Rising professions tend to be targeted for automation, flooding the market by low-wage competition, etc. Plumber is probably a good choice if you can manage it, but it can be hard to get training licenses can be problematical. Etc.

Don't take authorial fantasies as a reasonable prediction of the future. They were never intended that way, only as sketches of possibilities seen from a distant vantage point, and the authors intentionally left out anything that would be boring or detract from the story they were telling. The current world *is* the early cyberpunk era. If you look at the correct pieces of it you can see that. But it's the early part...give it another 5-10 years to get well established...and it will still have most of the people living as they do now...barring, of course, civilization collapsing.

P.S.: You want to know why Trump is so popular? People look into the future and they get scared, and when they get scared they retreat to versions of the simple beliefs of their childhood. They are right to be scared, but that's the wrong answer. (None of the major candidates is offering a reasonable answer, but Bernie Sanders comes closest. Nothing that involves an economy centered around jobs is going to be a reasonable answer....only a recipe for a collapse of civilization. Notice how much effort is being put into developing various forms of robot soldiers.)

Comment Re: Surprised? (Score 1) 555

If I remember running MSWind with a virus checker, "runs like a champ" in comparison is only a relative complement.

As for systemd...most users don't seem to have trouble with it these days. In fact on checking I seem to have it installed. I don't like the idea of it, and I don't like the way it was pushed into the system, but most of the problems reported with it appear to have been developmental problems. And how certain are you that Mint doesn't have systemd? The pages I see indicate that Mint also uses systemd, unless you take steps to avoid it...probably exactly the same as Debian. And I'm not going to recommend a new user look at Slackware or Gentoo....or BlackBox.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 555

YES. I've got a MSWind95 machine that's going to stay running until it dies because I've got some data in applications that cannot be transferred. I've got an Apple Sys 10.4 that's warehoused and will never be upgraded (not that it can be any more) because it has proprietary file format data only accessible with programs that don't run on any modern system. And that's not talking about data that I've lost in the past because it just wouldn't transfer.

As soon as open source file formats and the applications that use them got good enough I switched. Since I switched mainly to Linux around 1998 I stopped losing data to proprietary file formats. This was worth putting up with Linux at that time not having an acceptable word processor. That's how bad the data loss problem was.

Comment Re:Lessons unlearned (Score 1) 265

No, more like: People with a religious objection to managing encounter problems that require managing. Some of them then resort to secular knowledge of management techniques, which causes a revolt by a faction insisting on faith-healing, which is not granted. Some of them then quit, while others lament that the pay is too good to quit. The quitting of some is seen as by external communities with a shared religion as proof that their concerns were well-founded. After all, if managing isn't evil, why are these people out of work?

Remember, the story is that github made these changes, and they're working out well. There are dissenters, but things have improved business-wise since they started making the changes.

Comment Re:cracking down on remote work?! (Score 2) 265

Not the best selling point for at a company where THE MAIN FEATURE is remote distributed development.

No, the main feature is enterprise integration of git with a zillion other tools, and running git as a service with all the hooks and everything exposed.

Git's main feature is remote distributed development. That is not a value-add by github.

And companies buying the paid services don't usually have telecommuting executives, even if they have remote developers. This about getting the leaders into the office where people have access to them. That isn't guaranteed to be bad.

Comment Re:Management structure and meritocracy (Score 1) 265

You're doing the exact things you're complaining about others doing. If it is so small... you won't mind the change. Oh, it isn't so small then? Well which is it? At least they're intellectually honest about the change they want. It is unlikely they'll get it, because digital slaves are just electronics, not people. They have very few supporters. ;) But the idea that it is OK to complain about people complaining, but not OK to complain in the first place? That is just pathetic. If they don't like the word and prefer a different word, so what? Why is that bad? If you disagree about what word to use, disagree about what word to use. In the Ruby community we had a multi-year debate about if we should say "eigenclass" or "metaclass." Few ever proposed that it is wrong to decide what word we want to use, or wrong to question the old word. What kind of idiot claims to support freedom of speech by demanding that people not speak the wrong complaints?

Did you actually check the eggplant thread? You're claiming not to know penis jokes? OK, you didn't get the troll's joke, that doesn't mean that there is some right or good in making off topic comments in people's dev threads, or some problem in project managers managing that. You claim you can't tell the difference between a penis joke and a vegetable, even when there isn't any cooking or farming context, maybe you should just agree to leave it to the people who do know?

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