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Comment: Question for someone with Legal? (Score 1) 130

If you do not sign an agreement when hired, is it legal for Microsoft to bar employment after termination? While it's surely possible that MS makes many sign such an agreement at hire time, for those that don't I'd be contacting a Lawyer for a class action lawsuit.

Comment: Specifically... (Score 3, Insightful) 130

Specifically, states like California are now trying to reclassify temporary employees as permanent in order to collect additional tax revenue. This happened with Apple before, and they also now have a 6 month rule. See also:

Microsoft is particularly sensitive to the issue, given that it was a lawsuit against them that triggered the whole idea:

So this has nothing to do with the laid off employees (unless they are laying off contractors first, which is pretty common, if they can).

Comment: Secure pairing is hard (Score 3, Informative) 116

by Animats (#47503637) Attached to: The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

This is a general problem with devices that are "paired". How do you securely establish the initial connection, when neither side knows anything about the other?

The secure solutions involve some shared secret between the two devices. This requires a secure transmission path between the devices, such as typing in a generated key (like a WPA2 key) or physically carrying a crypto key carrier to each device (this is how serious cryptosystems work).

Semi-secure systems involve things like creating a short period of temporary vulnerability (as with Bluetooth pairing). There's a scheme for sharing between cellphones where you bump the phones together, and they both sense the deceleration at close to the same time.

Comment: Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (Score 1) 53

by s.petry (#47502613) Attached to: China Has More People Going Online With a Mobile Device Than a PC

*Sigh* nothing like selective reading. You simply extrapolated on something I mentioned so that I was not writing a thesis, and pretended that I did not mention it. Remember that the cost of a PC is not just in capital, but a support structure

Most apartments in China are not the variety you are mentioning that are former Government apartments.

Comment: "...vindication of Gov. Jerry Brown's..." (Score 1) 156

by tlambert (#47502049) Attached to: California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

"...vindication of Gov. Jerry Brown's..."

Great reason right there to not pick California.

How's that high speed rail construction project that was voted down by Californians 3 times with a large enough margin that it's a pretty clear shout of "Hell No!" each of the times it was vote on, that Jerry Brown is going ahead with anyway, working out?

Is it still taking place in a corridor where land is cheap because there's no place to get on or off the damn thing that has any significant population that would constitute the target ridership?

Is it still taking place in an era with no water to support future development potential, because all that water is being shipped down to Los Angeles, which is too lazy to build actual catchement, and just runs all their water off into the ocean, and is too lazy/cheap to build desalination plants powered by the waste heat from Diablo Canyon (which they'd prefer to have shut down, even though it's a zero carbon emission power plant)?

The man is a freaking public policy nightmare spendthrift, not to mention that Texas has no income tax; what moron would build a factory in California? Elon was just being nice when he didn't categorically rule it out when asked.

Comment: Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (Score 4, Informative) 53

by s.petry (#47500929) Attached to: China Has More People Going Online With a Mobile Device Than a PC

Partial truth, but nobody has mentioned the most obvious reason for this to be true in China. Money! PCs in the US and Europe are pretty cheap, but not in China. Remember that the cost of a PC is not just in capital, but a support structure. Houses in China are rare, apartments dominate the landscape so the few that can afford them may not have a place to put them. Remember that these are not large apartments. If you have very little disposable income, you are going to purchase _either_ a phone phone or a PC. Not both. You also need to pay for support for the hardware, operating system, and purchase applications (rare in China I agree, but the Government there does have some rules it can choose to enforce). This is why computer boutiques are common in all over Asia, not just China. PCs are expensive, phones are cheap.

I agreed in part because phones are the future landscape for Internet use by consumers. In fact that "future" is already prevalent. In business, absolutely not with current technology. Anyone actually working in IT today requires fast processing and multiple displays. Tablets are not powerful enough for a developer today, which pushes phones further out. If phones are ever developed enough to take over business space, they won't be considered phones any longer. Angry birds works fine on a Phone, running a large mysql query and working with the data not so much (let alone trying to compile a client that does this, or running a mysql server for more than a few clients).

Comment: Seriuosly? (Score 1) 189

by sirwired (#47500479) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

I wasn't talking about small-press-run reference works, or college textbooks. I, and everybody else in the whole debate, is referring to general-interest fiction and non-fiction works.

That said... why, nearly 30 years after the last time it was edited (or even typeset), does K&R cost $50? For that kind of money, they could at least typeset the thing using technology more recent than what was available in the mid-80's!

Comment: I believe this is how capitalism works (Score 1) 189

by sirwired (#47499871) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

If publishers choose to charge more than I'm willing to pay for a book, that's their business. And if I choose to not buy said book, that's my business.

Clearly I am advocating for the collapse of civilization as we know it, suggesting that authors get paid more at the same time readers get to pay less.

Comment: Irrelevant. (Score 1) 741

by jcr (#47497465) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

The minimum wage affects those who are unable to earn some arbitrarily-set cutoff price. Growth of any jobs that pay that much or more is entirely beside the point.

Statists like to pretend that they're helping the poor with law that says "here you go, you get to earn at least this much!", but what these statues really do is say is "UNLESS you can earn this much, no job for you!"


Comment: Re:What a fatuous, nebulous piece of crap??? (Score 1) 161

by steveha (#47496033) Attached to: Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

If licensed like DOS, it would have every bit as many compatibility problems.

Oh, not as bad, at least at first. The companies licensing MacOS would have had to make suitable hardware, and Apple could have held their feet to the fire to get compatibility and quality.

In those days, there was so much pent-up demand for Mac laptops that there were companies that would buy a Mac, crack it open and pull out the ROMs, build a laptop with the ROMs, and provide some sort of docking station so the original Mac would not be useless. This was about the most expensive way to make a laptop ever, but it was the only legal way to do it. Apple took forever to release a laptop product, and when they did, it was not what the customers wanted (heavy due to the lead-acid battery for one thing). Third-party Macs could have cost significantly more than generic "beige box" PCs and customers would have paid happily.

The thing is, Apple was charging crazy money for Macs. If Apple had adopted the Microsoft model, they would have had to accept lower margins on each Mac, and made it up on volume. Third-party Macs would have cost less than Apple official Macs but still would have sold a lot and buried the DOS-on-x86 PC. Apple was marking up Macs by about 100%... They were successfully getting a 50% margin on each Mac. Nobody else got away with that kind of markup, before or since.

It was great for Apple while it worked. But eventually Windows got to the point where it was kind of usable. And a Compaq running Windows would cost less than half what Apple was getting for a Mac. Hastings's Law: Adequate and cheaper tends to win against better but more expensive. Windows sales took off and Apple nearly died.

What saved Apple was the PowerBook, a laptop that really was what customers wanted. And a string of other successful products. And now Apple is doing very well. But IMHO, Apple could have had success like Microsoft in the 1990's had they adopted the Microsoft strategy of licensing to everyone and making a small profit on a huge volume; instead they nearly went out of business.

Even now, Apple isn't getting anything close to 50% margins on Macs. Those days are over.

Comment: This is a job for QNX (Score 1) 156

by Animats (#47495443) Attached to: Linux Needs Resource Management For Complex Workloads

Consider trying QNX, the message-passing real time OS, for this. This is a message passing problem, and Linux doesn't do message passing well. QNX has a scheduler optimized for message passing. You should be able to handle the UDP front end and fan-out without any problems. You can give the front-end process a higher priority than the other processes, which should let you get all the UDP packets into the fan-out program without losing any. That's what real-time OSs are for.

Trying to do anything high-performance with CPython's threads is hopeless. Watch this presentation on performance issues with Python's Global Interpreter Lock, Python has an internal scheduler, and it behaves very badly under load.

So each Python process should be single-thread. Have as many as you need, set up to get work via MsgReceive and reply by MsgReply. Don't set them up as "resource managers".

Python under QNX is being used by the robotics community, where real-time matters for some things, but not others.

QNX - great technology, marketing operation from hell.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (1) Gee, I wish we hadn't backed down on 'noalias'.