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Comment: Re:Python for learning? Good choice. (Score 1) 411

by Kjella (#47413153) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

I'll disagree on that. We use white space to communicate our programs' block structure to other humans. Why should we use a different syntax to tell the compiler the same information?

IMHO it's far easier to logically get it right with braces and pretty-print it for proper indentation than fiddling around with whitespace.

Comment: Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 1) 526

by Kjella (#47409439) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

That's revisionist history, ludicrously so. Marx never foresaw anything of the sort. He believed firmly in the labor theory of value, and as such all economic power derived from human labor, not from mechanical power. Communism was about combating the concentration of economic power in the hands of a few people who owned the means of production, at the expense of the masses who provided the labor (and hence the real value).

It is not very hard to re-frame Marx in terms of the knowledge worker, where the owner of the means of production like the [e-tail site/online bank/search engine/social networking site] exploits the individual developers who produce the system but alone are insignificant and replaceable leading to a race to the bottom where providing the labor is greatly underpaid while stock owners and other capital holders make off with the profits. That does of course not exclude the possibility that capital owners will pay off unique individuals and start-ups that threaten to shift the competitive landscape or compete with the existing companies, but more of a global mutual interest among all companies to depress wages.

Even in the absence of formal collusion it's not hard to reach a form of unwritten understanding in direct and transparent competition of substitute goods. For example on the way to work there are two gas stations quite literally across the road from each other, if one drops the price of course the other will follow. So what makes them profit most, both high or both low prices? Now apply the same to store clerk wages, of course neither has an interest in raising the general wages. It is really the same when you see Google/Apple/Microsoft/whatever involved in anti-poaching agreements, surely they could just poach back but it'd raise the wage costs for everyone so better if they don't.

I do agree though that he thought the actual value lay with the labor, not the machinery but I guess you can equally apply this to software, doesn't really all value of the code stem from the one who developed it? Granted, he got paid for it but whether that pay is fair is another matter. Remember, Marx never claimed the workers were forced to work anywhere at gun point. What he said was that all the choices were bad ones and workers were exploited no matter who they worked for. It's not like market economists dispute that companies would lower labor costs if they could either, they just refuse to do something about it. If the supply and demand don't add up to a wage you're comfortable with do something else.

Of course we won't run out of jobs as such, but when there's more people wanting jobs than there are jobs, real wages start trending downwards as workers undercut each other. The relative wealth between those with capital and those who work for a living diverges and it becomes harder and harder to join them as their holdings increase faster than any savings you can make. As long as human labor remains essential to the function of society, we can still unite and strike for higher wages though. If we're no longer essential and the system runs on robotics, software and a few scabs until we go back to work, well then we're in deep shit.

Comment: Re:C++ wins the day again. (Score 2) 87

by Kjella (#47406191) Attached to: KDE Releases Frameworks 5

KDE and Qt are synonymous with C++. They prove that C++ is the best language around

LOL, the only reason C++ is tolerable is Qt and only if you avoid screwing with resources yourself and let QObjects handle the mess, it's still full of leftover ugly from the 70s that neither Java, C# nor Swift choose to handle the same way. The problem is that creating a good language, a good compiler and a comprehensive system library (practically a must today IMO) is a huge job and without a big company like Sun/Oracle (Java), Microsoft (C#) or Apple (Swift) backing it you'll never get off the ground.

Comment: Re:That's How I Know I Got Old (Score 1) 340

by Mister Transistor (#47382331) Attached to: On 4th of July:

There is one place better than on the ground. In the air, at about 1000 feet or so! I was lucky enough to get a reservation at the John Hancock tower restaurant on the 95th floor some years back.

This was in Chicago on July 3rd (when Chicago sets theirs off) and they are sent up from the water on barges just off the shoreline at Grant Park, near Navy Pier. They go up 600-800 feet to detonate typically, so you are nearly on eye-level or slightly above with the explosions! They are only a few blocks away so they are really BIG! Unfortunately, the windows are so thick on the big buildings, there is little to no sound to go with them, but they do pipe in the simulcast music of the CSO playing the 1812 Overture in sync.

THAT was the best way I ever saw fireworks!

Comment: Re:Time For Decentralized DNS (Score 1) 495

by kasperd (#47361987) Attached to: Microsoft Takes Down Domains

Using blockchain technology for decentralized consensus.

If you are thinking about using bitcoin style proof of work, then I'd say that is a poor choice. It is an extreme waste of processing power, and it is not even needed for DNS. The purpose of the proof of work is to prevent double spending. But if you tried to perform a double-spending like action on a DNS system build on similar principles, the only damage you'd cause would be to your own domain.

But by all means, let's get data and hosting decoupled. DNSSEC provides the ability to validate records, wherever you got them from. But it still has the centralized authority. I'd rather see that once a zone hand over authority over a subdomain to a different public key, then a signature with that key has to be used to hand authority back or transfer it to a new key.

Comment: Re:Can bitcoins be blacklisted? (Score 1) 88

by kasperd (#47361373) Attached to: Winners of First Seized Silk Road Bitcoin Auction Remain Anonymous

it it possible or even practical to identify a bitcoin as having been a "direct descendant" of a coin involved in a given transaction and/or as a coin that has been "co-mingled" with such a coin?

Definitely. That is easy to do. However since each transaction can have multiple inputs and outputs, the set of descendants is likely to grow over time, until eventually most bitcoins are descendants of that transaction.

it may make it practical to for major players and for that matter anyone who uses BC to "locally blacklist" seized bitcoins.

If there isn't any consensus in the "community", then such a blacklist is unlikely to have any effect.

If some miners decide to blacklist transactions involving certain coins, then other miners are just going to pick them up. If only a minority of miners are in on the blacklisting, then this is going to cause a fork in the blockchain. Other miners have to decide, which fork they are going to bet their resources on. If there isn't consensus on what to blacklist, there could be so many forks blacklisting different subsets, that each fork is going to become irrelevant leaving only the chain with no blacklisting as viable.

Even if you could manage to get a majority of miners to agree on exactly what should be blacklisted, it is of questionable value to the miners to attempt blacklisting. It could be seen as introducing a dangerous precedence for introducing blacklists. This would introduce a new and even more unpredictable danger to anybody owning bitcoins.

Traders could decide to blacklist certain bitcoins. This would mean you would refuse to accept blacklisted coins. But if you are selling goods for bitcoins, then you'd have to announce in advance, which coins you consider blacklisted, otherwise you'd have disputes where the buyer of goods says they have paid, but seller of goods says the received bitcoins are no-good. And as receiver of bitcoins you'd also have to decide how diluted the blacklisted bitcoins would have to be, before you'd accept them. And in all, there'd have to be consensus about both the set of blacklisted bitcoins and the dilution threshold. Otherwise nobody will know, if the bitcoins they are accepting are good or not, and without such knowledge blacklisting wouldn't have the intended effect, instead you'd just be rejecting arbitrary payments, you might as well flip a coin and say no-thanks to a certain payment.

I think the only consensus that has a real chance of being reached is that bitcoins are not blacklisted.

Comment: Whatever (Score 2) 359

I was an Emacs dude for a long time and still use it. Then I tried RubyMine, and eventually upgraded to IDEA. The IDE features are sometimes handy. I also use vi very regularly for quick edits of small scripts.

I would no more stick to one editor than I would stick to one programming language. Right tool for the job is the key.

Comment: Re:Socialism is not working (Score 5, Interesting) 710

by Kjella (#47311503) Attached to: Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

This country is losing it. Don't know if you realize it my fellow citizens, but you are getting your ass kicked in the world. Socialism is not working.

That's because whenever you try something socialist-ish it's implemented as corporate welfare. Instead of taxing the corporations and helping the people you're bailing out the corporations and handing the bill to the people. Your version of Robin Hood would involve trying to get a trickle-down effect by handing the sheriff of Nottingham more money so he could hire more tax collectors and guards. Or to use a car analogy it's like stabbing the tires and pouring sugar in the gas tank, then comparing it to a horse.

Comment: Re:work life balance is a myth (Score 5, Insightful) 710

by Kjella (#47311305) Attached to: Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

The intersection between stuff I'd love to do and the stuff people would pay me to do = Ø, particularly if I got paid to do it. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with my job (37.5 hour work week, decent pay with overtime, 5 weeks vacation, interesting and meaningful work) but I don't love it and it's not something I'd do without the paycheck. If you can't really think of anything else to do than work, you must have a very gimped imagination. I'm sorry.

"Be *excellent* to each other." -- Bill, or Ted, in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure