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Comment Re:Not a new idea (Score 1) 388

Actually, there's a better place for this. New Hampshire has a range of mountains known as the Presidential Range. Mount Washington is probably the best known of these. There are several peaks in this range that don't have names associated with Presidents (or patriots like Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin).

Two interesting facts about Julian May's Galactic Milieu science fiction books from the 80s/90s: (1) In the first, published in 1987, a character wonders why one of the peaks in the Presidential Range was named Mount Clinton. And (2), A prominent snow-bound planet settled by North Americans is called Denali.

Comment Re:Advertisers, worry about security? Get real (Score 1) 259

Keyword is mouth. Not internet. I may be old fashioned, but I still talk (open my mouth, words come out) with relatives and friends, people I can (usually) trust.

I for one don't have a ready and willing pool of friends and relations who are experts in every category of product and service. And when I help others, it still usually requires research, research that eats time and makes use of ad-supported sources.

Comment Re:Advertisers, worry about security? Get real (Score 1) 259

The old, trusted word of mouth. The best advertising invented.

WOM is great, but it's (a), limited, though the Internet has greatly expanded our sources of WOM (but usually via ad-supported websites), and (b), anecdotal—professionals have the time and resources to better check products out, as well as to pool, format, and summarise individual consumer opinions to make them more digestible.

And why would you need someone else help you buy? Are you so stupid that you don't know what you need? Do you need help when deciding what food/clothes/housing/car you buy?

Yes, no man is an island. Other people know more than me about some things, so I make smarter choices with their help. I don't want my only advice to come from those with a stake in the outcome, which is what advertising is.

Comment Re:Advertisers, worry about security? Get real (Score 1) 259

If media placements are a bad form of advertising, what's a good way to help us buy? There's demand-driven advertising, like company websites, but you still have to deal with spin. And there's the professional purchasing assistance media you mention, but how do you fund it if not by interrupting the facts with spin, or by putting spin into some of the content? Subscriptions & micro-payments — who'll pay? Affiliate sales— turns the media into vendors.

Comment Re:That NYT article in full (Score 1) 480

Don't leave out that the business is booming

But is this mostly due to a simple increased awareness of the company from the publicity that came from the salary stunt/innovation, or because potential customers are being attracted by a policy they approve of, or due to better motivated employees, or because were they growing anyway?

Comment Re:Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 1) 359

Yes, regarding the problem of selling free software, I'd specifically ask RMS:

Would you support a licence that allowed free redistribution of modified or unmodified source and build systems, but removed the freedom to run (Freedom 0) for non-development uses? The license would specify a default distribution of a use-fee up the chain of fork parents, though a differing split could be negotiated. For example, would you have had trouble with that non-free printer driver back in the 80s if you had been able to tinker and spread your version, even though you and others had to pay to use it, with perhaps some of this money flowing to you for your improvements.

Comment Re:Flawed statistics are flawed (Score 1) 114

Spam mail isn't down. Legitimate (for varying definitions of legitimate) mail is up.

The opposite could also be true: As the young move from email to social apps, spammers have quickly followed. Just like how spam disappeared from USENET faster than legitimate posts as USENET began to die. I'd like to see evidence that pointed to the correct reason.

I get about 15000 spam emails a month.

Comment Re:And who is at the bottom? (Score 2) 432

If government imposed artificial scarcity and price controls is such great idea for taxis, then why shouldn't the same model be good for other areas of the economy? Why shouldn't there be a "grocery store medallion" to limit the number of stores, jack up prices, and prevent them from having to compete? How about programmers? Should there be a "programmer medallion" to limit the number of people allowed to write code?

I suppose the difference is that taxi driving is relatively unskilled (especially if there's no route-knowledge test — less important now that there's sat nav). Supply constraints aim to give these unskilled people an adequate full-time job and wage, which may be more socially desirable than open-slather combined with welfare support. But the unintended consequences have concentrated the power and profits in pimp-like medallion owners, who sub-contract to the drivers. Perhaps the solution is an Uber-like system combined with quotas.

Comment Re:GPL and copyright (Score 1) 189

The trouble with that is, when given the option of paying or not, the vast majority of users will choose "not," at least given a wide enough target audience (some niches may be filled with more generous people of course..)

I agree that it's hard to sell application software to individuals. But it's much easier to sell application software to businesses (including software that helps make individuals money), and to sell system software (components and tools). Business have both the money and a desire to preserve their reputation, so most will go legit even if the software's open, especially if support comes with the purchase.

So there's no reason why this sort of software shouldn't be open, particularly as such customers are the ones who are most interested in tinkering. I doubt RMS would have started GNU/FSF if that printer driver had been open source but not free of charge.

Comment Re:GPL and copyright (Score 2) 189

It's the best part of twenty years since I wrote any software where we cared about copyright. Everything I've written since then has been useless without our hardware, and that's where we make the money.

You're lucky that you've got closed hardware to act as a dongle for your software. But does this mean people who want to earn a living writing software for open hardware are SOL? I think such people should be able to put a (fixed, non donation) price on use of their work, but at the same time keep the software open so that users can tinker.

Comment Re:Idiots (Score 1) 221

Because of predicable data rates, you wouldn't of course need Tx buffer exhaustion interrupts. You can just do a countdown on timer interrupts. Same for receipt of the header. So the only special thing you'd need would be either an interrupt or a poll for receipt of the first byte.

Comment Re:Idiots (Score 1) 221

Thanks for those interesting details on how big routers work. Looks like they're optimized for throughput not latency. Though if as you say normal link loadings mean that many packets need to be buffered, pipelining packets isn't going to improve latencies.

But I don't think there's any reason x86 severs, which make up many of the nodes at both ends of a path, couldn't be set up to reliably pipeline packets. A 1500 byte packet on a 1Gbps link is received in 12us, a 20 byte header in 160ns. To reduce latency the processor needs to work out the packet's destination within this interval, which is about 30k instructions. This shouldn't have to touch RAM, because I'm sure the routing tables of all but the most connected hubs can fit in the 25-45MB L3 caches of current Intel server CPUs.

The sequence would be: get interrupted when a header arrives, work out the destination link, initiate a DMA to that link that contains the new header followed by whatever part of the packet has been received up to then, set up interrupts for when the Tx buffer is nearly exhausted, and on each of these DMA whatever else has been received up to that time.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.