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Comment Re:Why only cyber weapons (Score 1) 122 122

Once they have located an attacker, having privately owned armed drones would be very handy. if the attacker is a nation state, even more aggressive measures could be used.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership gives them the right to use "even more aggressive measures". It's called "corporate sovereignty" and it will be our undoing. Basically, it says that a corporation can sue governments for damages for any law that might conceivably cost them money.

We already have a mercenary military. Imagine the armies the Fortune 500 will put into the field, and the mischief they could create.

Comment Mishandling handles (Score 1) 87 87

I once contracted with a shop that had a process that generated garbled output data rows. It appeared to be extra stuff that didn't affect (over-write) the intended rows. The shop had added an extra processing step to filter out the garbage rows and eventually just worked around the glitch.

They had asked me to try to track it down, among other projects, because they were newbie programmers. I couldn't figure it out either because it never appeared in my intermediate trace statements. I put a trace (print) statement before every "write" in the program. None of the prints showed the garbage, yet garbage ended up in the output file. Head-scratcher galore. I was supposed to be "the expert", and thus feeling a bit deflated.

On I think the last day of my contract, I was running a test copy of the code with some changes to perform speed tests. I went to try a certain speed tweak, and I suddenly spotted the error: the file handle variable was re-used for another non-handle purpose, something like this:

fhandle = openFileForWrite(fileName);
writeToFile(fhandle, someData);
fhandle = countX + countY - 7;

The actual handle name was something like "qhand". But a regular variable, "quantity on hand" ended up "qhand" also, the same name as the file handle.

When it dawned on me what happened, I started screaming like a wildman and the others popped out of their cubicles to see what was going down. They took my coffee away :-)

As far as the link on goofy video game bugs, I remember somebody discovered that if you don't put a game cartridge in all the way, certain characters dance and spin randomly and rapidly in the sky.

It created an Internet meme, and spoofs started appearing all over, typically using stop-motion with live actors. I forgot the nickname of the meme, but I found it hilarious. It took my mind off the handle bug.

Comment Re:Get the power from source to consumer (Score 1) 360 360

About half of my power bill is the cost of generation, the other half is transmission...

He didn't say "price", he said "cost". Because "transmission costs" are how power companies raise rates. The transmission costs have not gone up, but they've raised to transmission price as an end-around local consumer groups that have gotten laws passed to limit energy cost increases.

Transmission "costs" are actually a profit center for companies that really should be regulated utilities instead of one-way piggy banks for billionaires.

Comment Fried Chicken King (Score 1) 296 296

Let me know when they make a Soylent that tastes like Harold's Fried Chicken (One Bite and We Got'Cha).

Seriously, let me know.

[By the way, if you're ever in Chicago and looking for some terrific, delicious chicken or cat fish - and I mean really really good - try Harold's. Stuff is amazing. But be careful the really hot sauce is really hot. There are a bunch of Harold's around town for your late-night post Hawks/White Sox/Bulls game enjoyment.]

Comment Re:And it all comes down to greed (Score 1) 537 537

I did: The claim is bullshit because it computes meaningless numbers ["hourly wage"] for a meaningless group of people ["all workers"].

The NELP paper is misusing that number in its own analysis, by multiplying by the nominal number of work hours to arrive at an annual full time income and then reasoning about that.

Furthermore, if the number meant what the NELP paper implies it means, it completely contradicts their argument for raising the minimum wage to $15/h: if in some sense "40% of workers" already make that much money, then $15/h is a solid, middle-class income, not a sign of poverty.

If you think the number has meaning, why don't you clearly state what that meaning is.

No matter how you slice it, rationalize it and just straight-up bullshit about it, more than 40% of the people who are working are working for less than $15/hr.

then $15/h is a solid, middle-class income, not a sign of poverty.

What part of "40% of the workers make less than $15/hr" do you not get? The "less than" part is kind of important.

The current minimum wage is less than half of your "solid, middle-class income" of $15/hr. And if you add up the incomes of everyone making minimum wage in America it comes to a little more than half as much as the bonuses that get paid out to Wall Street bankers in one year. And we're talking about full-time minimum wage workers ($7.25/hr). And by "Wall Street", they don't include investment bankers in Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, etc etc. We're only talking about the swells that do their business on a few square blocks on Manhattan island. And we're not talking about their entire incomes, but just the bonuses. So they find more money in their Christmas fucking stockings than all the full-time minimum wage workers in the United States put together. And don't forget, Wall Street bankers don't produce a goddamned thing.

Comment Hindsight and lessons. (Score 1) 242 242

I don't blame Google for trying. There are too many variables to say what will work and won't. Social networking is too big of an industry to not bother making a play for. Honda started out a successful motorbike company, and successfully pushed into automobiles even though that industry was full of established players.

However, I do blame Google for forcing their services to be or act like a social networking site, where private info magically showed up elsewhere in unexpected ways. That's just desperation and/or forceful denial in play, ticking off your user base. They forgot "Don't Be Evil". Obsession made them stupid.

I hope Google goes back to what it does well: lots of specialized little services that can OPTIONALLY share info between each other as the user sees fit.

Comment Tales of Customs (Score 1) 61 61

cut the cables between the two boards [of a TRS-80] and send them separately to avoid getting caught in customs.

Reminds me of the story of Richard Garriott's Sputnik 1. It's an actual spare probe prepared by the Soviets in the 1950's as a backup.

When Russia was having a hard time transitioning away from Soviet rule in the 90's, Soviet space stuff was being auctioned for ridiculously low prices.

Richard snapped up the spare Sputnik for a bargain, and disassembled it to get it past customs. His team unscrewed the metal sphere into two halves and presented them as "new-age salad bowls" to customs officials.

Bus error -- please leave by the rear door.