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Comment: Don't forget mandatory insurance (Score 1) 349

by Lonewolf666 (#47422801) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

Considering the low probability of a serious reactor accident, individual utility companies might bet on not having one in their powerplants and have no insurance unless it is mandatory, like compulsory vehicle insurance.

Set the minimum coverage to something that would cover Fukujima (estimated $100B) and there is your market-based solution ;-)

Comment: It depends on the company too (Score 2) 398

by Lonewolf666 (#47402589) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

Sure there is some monkey work at the lower levels of support, especially in a "free" hotline where you don't get billed for calling. Several years ago I met a guy who did first level "support" for Microsoft, following a script from a database. But even there, I think second level should have some actual skills, as they are the ones who handle the cases that are too complex for the script monkeys.

At my current, relatively small company, the hotline (which is AFAIK costing more than peanuts to call) offers what you might find at second level support in a company that follows the above pattern. People who are familiar with the product and don't need to follow a fixed script. Some of them are actually quite good, based on years of experience.

Cases that are too hard for the hotline go to the "repair team", those are software testers who otherwise do QA on upcoming releases. I guess they are at least the equivalent of 3rd level support at a place like Microsoft. The "repair team" can talk directly to software development and ask for fixes, we trust them to distinguish bogus calls from real bugs.

Comment: Re:And here I'm hoping... (Score 1) 669

A stagnant unspending base of users damages the entire tech ecosystem. They hold back technological progress creating a tragedy of the commons when it comes to software and web services features.

Unspending users can only hold back technological progress if software vendors keep maintaining obsolete technology to please them. Which doesn't make much sense, except in the context of trying to keep meaningful competition from arising. But maybe that is exactly what Microsoft is trying to achieve, even at the expense of earning less from the well-paying customers who might embrace faster progress.

There is the following Bill Gates quote:
  "And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade." (Source:
A clear case of trying to keep competition down even among the ultimate unspending non-customers.

Comment: Re:And here I'm hoping... (Score 0) 669

That would make it the next flop. Lots of applications are still 32bit, and there is no reason to enforce a quick change here. 4 GByte are not enough for everyone, but for many users they are. Take x86 support away, and the complaints will be enormous.

It will take at least another 10 years until a Windows without x86 support is accepted.

Comment: Re:Microsoft (Score 1) 253

by Lonewolf666 (#47084461) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Tech Customers Forced Into Supporting Each Other?

In other ways too. A few years ago they started using translation software for the non-english pages of MSDN. The quality is as expected.

Fortunately, my English is pretty good so I don't need translations. Unfortunately, even if I choose English, there are annoying popups with translated text that cover up links. And if I switch off Javascript, parts of the site won't work anymore.

Comment: Re:Just like Bulldozer? (Score 1) 345

by Lonewolf666 (#47024249) Attached to: AMD Preparing To Give Intel a Run For Its Money

Depends on how much that percent of the CPU die holds the rest back in terms of complexity and maybe performance limitations (not really my area of expertise). You may be right that it does not really matter.

On the other hand, "prior to 1992" means DOS and maybe Windows 3.x software. I'm aware that there are still a few DOS-based maintenance tools for the PC around, but otherwise I don't know anyone who still works with DOS software.

I used to work for a company that was really backwards that way, until a few years ago they produced a medical device with DOS-based software as "implicit real time system" (no other thread that can steal the CPU). But even they have given up on DOS, as the technical limitations became too bothersome. The successor of that device, now on the market, uses Windows 7 with a real time extension to the OS.

Comment: Re:Just like Bulldozer? (Score 1) 345

by Lonewolf666 (#47021699) Attached to: AMD Preparing To Give Intel a Run For Its Money

By now it might be safe to ditch all 8, 16, and 32 bit backwards compatibility with the x86 family. But AMD64 compatibility is too important to ignore.

Dropping 16 bit backwards compatibility is probably OK by now, and I don't think there is such a thing as 8 bit programs on x86 at all. But 32 bit software is still widely used and backwards compatibility to it is an important feature of AMD64. AMD would be crazy to drop that in an AMD64 compatible CPU.

At the same time however, they are developing ARM-based server processors which are not x86 compatible at all. So there seems to be a market for that. There certainly is in the tablet world. I just don't see it for the desktop yet.

Comment: Re:Just like Bulldozer? (Score 1) 345

by Lonewolf666 (#47021549) Attached to: AMD Preparing To Give Intel a Run For Its Money

Well I guess Intel have the volume too, so that is another thing going for them. AMD with its lower volume may be (more strongly) forced to go with a foundry.

At the same time, progress in fabrication processes seems to slow down a bit, and cost advantages are no longer so obvious with a new generation. Maybe the gap between Intel and AMD in manufacturing will shrink due to that.

Comment: Re:Only the great Master of Paper can save AMD (Score 1) 345

by Lonewolf666 (#47021431) Attached to: AMD Preparing To Give Intel a Run For Its Money

Possible but not attractive if the time frames between upgrades was a bit longer.

Bought an Athlon X2 with DDR2 RAM in 2007.

Wanted an upgrade in 2011 and found that the price per GByte of DDR2 RAM was much higher than for DDR3 RAM. CPU and GPU needed changing anyway. 4GByte of DDR3 RAM were not more expensive than buying another 2GByte of DDR2 RAM would have cost. Some Athlons and Phenoms for socket AM2+ were still available but the socket AM3 CPUs looked considerably better.

So I settled on a Phenom II X4 on a relatively inexpensive new socket AM3 Board. Bottom line, I paid some extra for the new board but got better memory bandwidth and a more power efficient CPU out of it. The old board remained operational, as I did not rip out CPU, GPU or RAM.

I also still had a nice case from 2004 hanging around so I shelled out a bit additional money for a PSU and a new hard disk, and put the new system into the old case. Overall, I paid maybe 150 euros more than with maximum reuse of the old stuff. But that way I kept the 2007 PC usable, which is still useful from time to time :-)

This is an unauthorized cybernetic announcement.