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Comment Re:Adapt GitHub To Other Uses (Score 1) 140

Yeah, there's definitely some work to do, especially considering a lot of word processors use binary or complicated xml formatting to store documents. I think that it would be a lot easier to build a system if it used something like HTML and CSS to store the document. Maybe that's what we need to get people to stop using MS Word. A word processor that actually makes collaboration easier.

People aren't going to move over to OpenOffice if the only selling points are "it's open source/open standards" and "it's free". People have no problem paying for MS Word, because they need it for business. You have the give them a real productivity reason to switch. Making collaboration easier might be what sways people.

Comment Re:GPLv3 - the kiss of death (Score 3, Insightful) 293

The GPL says nothing about users of the software. It only has restrictions as far as how the source must be handled when distributing the software. If you're just using the software, there's nothing in the GPL that has any effect on you. If you make modifications to the source code, and want to distribute those modifications (as compiled binaries or as source code) then you need to start adhering to the GPL. This means it doesn't really apply to most users, because most of them lack the skills necessary to make any modifications to the source code. The best they could do is pay somebody else to make the modifications they need.

Comment Adapt GitHub To Other Uses (Score 4, Insightful) 140

I think the next logical step is to adapt GitHub to do change management on other kinds of documents, not just source code files. It would probably help out a lot of students for them to learn how to manage all their essays and other assignments with a change management system. Working on group projects would be a lot easier if it was easier to share files and merge changes with people working on the same project.

Working with a big MS Word document with a group of people using the "track changes" feature is a lot more painful than sharing a software project between a bunch of developers. But it shouldn't be. There is a huge need for people in other fields to be able to collaborate on a document, and see how it has changed over time.

Just imagine if all the bills that were written were entered into a source control system with hourly commits before they were voted for in Congress. I would be much nicer if people were able to easily see what changed as the bill approached the floor for voting. It would be a lot harder to slip things in at the last moment.

Comment Re:Dead on Arrival (Score 1) 170

I agree. Also, if people will shell out $700 for the iPhone, there will be plenty of buyers for a VR headset. Even just for watching movies it would probably be a better experience than trying to watch movies on a small monitor. The games don't have to be lifelike to be fun.

Comment Re:OK, what's with this ridiculous meme? (Score 1) 146

But transmitting power over long distances incurs power losses. Part of the big push towards renewable power is that you can make generation more localized, because individual generators are easier to set up. If you have to start transmitting that power over long distances, you're going to end up with huge inefficiencies.

I think we could help out of power generation system a lot by building standardized nuclear generators. Much the way we link up a lot of solar panels or wind turbines to generate power, we should use similar methods to build standardized nuclear generators. It would be much easier to ensure safety if they were all using the same design, and it would be much cheaper to deploy. Areas could buy generators that fit the capacity they require.

The reason that wind and solar generation is becoming so popular is because we have the generators pretty much figured out. Installation is pretty simple. If you want to build a nuclear plant, coal plant, gas plant, or hydroelectric dam, it's going to be 10+ years before you pass all the regulatory hurtles and get the thing built. And it never costs what you originally estimated, because you design a new plant every time and run into unexpected problems. If you could just order a bunch of standardized generators, link them up to the grid, you could increase capacity much better. I realize it would be a little more complicated in practice, but there has to be a more efficient way of building power stations than our current methods.

Comment Re:3D printing is like photo printing (Score 1) 101

I lost one I my bike. They aren't functional so I haven't gotten around to replacing it yet. I only have 2400 level shifters though, so I really don't need to show off to anybody what my groupset is. Not that they had anything printed on them in the first place.

Comment 3D printing is like photo printing (Score 4, Insightful) 101

To me, 3D printing is very similar to photo printing. Most people don't print enough that it makes sense to have their own printer at home. Just like there are some people who are really into photography, and own their own photo printers, or even their own dark room, there are enthusiasts who really want to build their own stuff that would really get a use out of a 3D printer. But the majority of people who just want to print off a new battery cover for their remote control, or knob for the clothes dryer would be much better off just going down to the local Walmart or Costco and getting them to print out the object, just like they currently do with photos.

I'm not going to spend $200+ on a photo printer when I could easily get better prints by going down to Walmart and getting pictures for 10 cents a piece. Similarly, I'm not going to spend $500 on a 3D printer when I could go down to Staples, Home Depot, Walmart, Costco, or whoever is providing the service and get access to a much higher quality 3D printer. Even my local library has a 3D printer I can use for the cost of the consumables.

Comment Re:Society as a whole moves like an oiltanker (Score 1) 133

A certain proportion of the population seems to be unable to control themselves. Whether it be tobacco, sugar, alcohol, fat or some other substance that isn't good for you in large quantities. This is where they make their money. The majority alcohol is bought by heavy drinkers. I would imagine that the same is true for products like Coke. I know some people who drink 6 cans a day of Coke. I'll buy a 12 pack and it will last me a couple months. You aren't going to convince the people who are consuming massive amounts of this stuff to all of a sudden stop consuming it. Maybe a few people will see the light, but a lot of people will never stop. I think the only way is to get people before they start. It's going to take generations of change for the problem to go away.

Comment Re:Should've taken Google's $6B offer (Score 1) 107

The way I see it they had an awesome idea and ended up killing their own business by being too greedy. The barber example is perfect. Why not have the same barber sell 20 coupons every month for 2 years instead of selling 400 coupons in a single month, and not be able to fulfill them. The barber would be more able to actually meet the demand, and would be a repeat customer of Groupon, and would probably result in a few more repeat customers for the barber. They pushed businesses to sell more coupons than they could possibly deal with, which resulted in both Groupon and the business looking bad. The majority of stuff I see on Groupon now stuff like online courses that don't really have much in the way of increased costs for the extra business.

Comment Re:Going to Mars is a bad idea (Score 3, Interesting) 683

What really cemented my belief that going to Mars is impossible with current technology is this article. The biggest thing to me is just how much supplies you need to sustain yourself for the trip. 3 million pounds worth of supplies. That's 60 shuttle launches worth of supplies. Sure there's rockets that can lift more than the shuttle could, but even with those heavy lifter rockets, you're probably looking at around 30 launches just to get the gear into space. Then there's the problem of being stuck in a tin can for 9-12 months, and still being in good enough shape to do something useful once you get there.

If you want to come back, the minimum stay is 3-4 months while you wait for the planets to line up again. And there is no turn around option like with the Apollo missions. Once you are on your way, there's no way to bail out and come back quickly in the event of an emergency.

Comment Re:sunk costs are NO excuse (Score 2) 320

The Germans had a similar problem in World War II from what I remember. They built some extremely advanced and expensive tanks, but they couldn't build a lot of them. Along come the Russians with thousands of cheap, light tanks, and they basically run circles around the Germans. The US also had the Liberty Ship which they could build very fast. It didn't matter that the Germans were sinking a lot of ships with their u-boats, because the Americans just deployed more boats than the Germans could deal with.

Nonsense. Space is blue and birds fly through it. -- Heisenberg