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Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 5, Insightful) 201

The challenge is to defeat them without killing tons of people ...

Before we try to defeat them, maybe we should think about what will replace them. The reason we have ISIS is because we defeated Saddam Hussein without thinking much about what would come next. The rationale at the time was that whatever replaced him couldn't possibly be worse. Well, that was wrong.

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 4, Interesting) 92

by MightyYar (#49160871) Attached to: Ultra-Low Power Radio Transceiver Enables Truly Wireless Earbuds

Well, you don't seem like the original poster, but I think you answered my question.

Earbuds:
1. Fit in a pocket
2. Are more than adequate for most pop music produced in the last 75 years.
3. Are more than adequate for most mobile listening environments.
4. Are more than adequate for podcasts.
5. Can passively cancel ambient noise without looking like Princess Leia.
6. Might, depending on personal preference, be more comfortable.
7. More amenable to wearing during physical activity.
8. Starting cost is around $1.

But yes, they completely suck for all purposes.

Comment: Re:Google is becoming useless (Score 1) 247

by caseih (#49160849) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

The problem the GP mentions is a real one, at least it was for me a few months back, and no it's not a malware issue. Fake answer link farm sites were completely gaming Google's search. Perhaps things have gotten better as Google tweaks their algorithms. Wish I could remember what it was I was searching for when I last encountered this frustrating problem months ago, but I remember being very frustrated.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 173

by ShanghaiBill (#49159983) Attached to: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots

Just because a pie and a basket are interchangeable before and after it doesn't address the fact that it still takes Annie ten times the resources to make a pie than it does Mike. Her efficiency doesn't magically improve because Mike is now making baskets too.

Yes, but the point isn't that she is "better off", just that she is no worse off. Mike, on the other hand, is getting filthy rich.

What would happen when Mike starts making pies and baskets is that Annie and Bill get together and open up a fair trade, organic coffee house that also sells pies and baskets that they get from Mike.

Yes, of course. In real life, automation has a much bigger comparative advantage in manufacturing than in services. So the natural path of developed economies is for most people to move from manufacturing to services.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 173

by ShanghaiBill (#49159553) Attached to: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots

I'm missing something: now that Mike's factory has changed the game, where is the market for one pie that's ten times as expensive to make as the ones Mike manufactures?

Because the game has not changed. Think of it this way:
Before: one pie is worth one basket
After: ten pies are worth ten baskets
A pie is still worth as much as a basket either way.
So Annie can trade her pie for one of Bill's baskets, or one of Mike's baskets.

Many countries have automated, at different times and at different paces. It has always resulted in disruption, because automation has comparative advantages, and people take time to shift to where they are relatively more productive. But it has also always resulted in higher wages and better living standards. There is no reason to believe that "this time is different". The argument that "this time is different because everything will be automated" doesn't hold up.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 173

by ShanghaiBill (#49159273) Attached to: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots

And how, pray tell, will the rentiers ...

Contract manufacturers are not "rentiers".

make even more money if noone can afford to buy what they make because they're unemployed?

You should read up on Comparative Advantage. Here is a simple example: Annie makes apple pies. Bill makes baskets. Each day Annie makes two pies, and Bill makes two baskets. Then they trade one pie for one basket, so they each have one of each. Then Mike, a manufacturer comes along. He can make ten pies as cheaply as Annie makes one. So Bill trades a basket to Mike for ten pies. So is Annie unemployed? Of course not. She switches to making baskets. The result is that now, each day, both Bill and Annie get one basket and ten pies. They are both better off.

Ah! But then Mike starts manufacturing baskets too! At a tenth the cost that Bill can make them. Now Bill and Annie will both be unemployed, right? Wrong. A pie is still worth one basket. So Annie can go back to making two pies a day, and trade one for a pie, and Bill can make two baskets a day and trade one for a pie. They are no worse off then at the beginning.

So automation may cause short term unemployment, as workers retrain, but it should not cause long term unemployment. If automation is comparatively better than humans at some tasks (as it certainly will be), people will be better off. If it improves productivity evenly, then people will be no worse off. This is not just theory, but also corresponds to reality. Economies with rising productivity do NOT have mass unemployment and poverty. Productivity improvements result in rising living standards. In fact, they are the ONLY thing that can raise living standards.

What is happening at Foxconn is a predictable result of China's economy maturing. The service sector is expanding. Manufacturing will also expand, but manufacturing employment will fall. Internal demand will rise, and exports will be less important. This is the same thing that happened a generation ago in developed countries.

Comment: Re:how ? (Score 2) 285

by ShanghaiBill (#49159087) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

But if you booted a different, known-good machine, then mounted the hard drive in question as a secondary drive, it seems feasible you should be able to read and verify the firmware.

No, you would be going through the processor on the HDD, that is running the supposedly compromised firmware. There would be nothing to stop it from lying to you about updating itself. Firmware malware would most likely be implemented as a stub that checks for a special key like "NSA_1234", and otherwise jumps to the "real" firmware, so there would be no way to test for its presence without knowing the key. They only way to be sure, would be to write directly to the flash via the JTAG port.

Moving the HDD to a different computer would make no difference, since the firmware is in the drive.

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