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Comment: Re: Apple ][ was a great product (Score 1) 71

by cpt kangarooski (#49745473) Attached to: In 1984, Jobs and Wozniak Talk About Apple's Earliest Days

Though there was a good reason for the original compact Macs to discourage users from opening them up -- there were exposed high voltage monitor electronics in there which could give you a hell of a zap of not properly discharged.

The later all in one Macs of the 90s were better in that regard. Their user suitable parts (motherboard, drives) all were easy to get at, but the monitors and power supplies were fully enclosed.

Comment: Re:Seems obvious now (Score 4, Interesting) 210

by Rei (#49742243) Attached to: Secret Files Reveal UK Police Feared That Trekkies Could Turn On Society

Can you imagine the dystopian dictatorship where trekkies come to power? All of the halls of power full of people walking around in spandex and fake ears and brow ridges, the fed directed to work toward the absolution of currency, the military directed to accelerate development of phasers and for all recruits to undergo "Kobayashi Maru" training.... NASA would finally get their proposed $18,5 billion dollar annual budget passed - except that the bill would have the word "annual" crossed out and the word "monthly" written in its place. National anti-bullying legislation would be passed, probably with a name like Spock's Law. And of course they'd insist on referring to the UN as the United Federation of Planets.

Comment: A brain-teaser or an honesty test? (Score 1) 468

by dpbsmith (#49740687) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

If I were asked that question, I think I'd answer it well. Not because I would be able to figure it out quickly under pressure, but because this brainteaser is very old.

When I was a kid in the 1950s I read both it and the original intended correct answer (the North Pole) in a book of brainteasers.

When I got into high school, someone who was actually smart discovered that the answer wasn't unique and that there was an infinite family of additional answers all involving points close to the South Pole, and I read about that, too. I'm not sure where; I think it was in Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American.

There must be million of people who know the answer, not because they figured it out by themselves, but because they read or heard the answer somewhere.

Of all the candidates who give Mr. Musk the correct answer, I imagine very few of them are solving it on the spot. I wonder how many of the others are honest enough to volunteer the information that they had already read the answer.

Or perhaps that's the point--perhaps it's an honesty test rather than a brain-teaser.

Comment: Re:Is anyone else bothered? (Score 2) 93

by Dutch Gun (#49739889) Attached to: Grand Theft Auto V Keeps Raking In Money

I've never enjoyed playing a bad guy in games. For whatever reason, I always want to play the hero. In Bioware games, I'll often go into a game thinking that this time I'll choose the "dark side" option as a real Darth Maul character, and I typically end up feeling bad enough that I only end up about as rogue-ish as Han Solo. It's sort of funny that I feel so guilty about treating some pixels and algorithms badly, but what can I do?

So, it's sort of a shame, because I absolutely love these sorts of huge, open world games, but I've just never really felt compelled to try out the GTA series. Red Dead Revolver, on the other hand, was awesome.

Comment: Re:In The Limit, It's the Things We Buy (Score 1) 803

by Dutch Gun (#49739747) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Pay-per-use means we have to track use, which means extra billing/administrative costs/HR involved, which means less of the money is actually going to what it is supposed to.

A great point, and one I also thought of only after I posted. An entire bureaucracy will need to be set up to install, monitor, and perform maintenance on these devices (or else it will be contracted out) at significant expense. It would be interesting to see exactly how much the overhead ends up costing per vehicle. And don't forget privacy concerns, as well as the fact that these devices will also track your use on private roads. There are so many negatives to this system, it's sort of hard to figure out why this is getting pushed through.

While per-vehicle fees are slightly less "fair" to those who drive less, you could also mitigate this by scaling by the cost of the car. Those who can afford the expensive cars can also shoulder a greater cost. This also tends to work well for commercial vehicles, which are typically much more expensive than your average car. And even so, I'd still offer slightly preferred rates to electric vehicles to get more of them out on the road. Once they're out there in greater numbers, you won't need to subsidize them.

Comment: Re: Tolls? (Score 1) 803

by Dutch Gun (#49739623) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

the private car has become a symbol of the free market

I think the car has always been more a symbol of "personal freedom" than "free markets." Besides, any notion of cars being symbols of the free market died when the government bailed out GM, leaving taxpayers on the hook for over $11 billion.

Comment: Re:Tolls? (Score 4, Insightful) 803

by Dutch Gun (#49737015) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Maybe we should just nix the idea that road infrastructure needs to be paid for with gas or vehicle taxes, and start paying for it from the general fund. I don't have kids, but I still pay a crapload of taxes to pay for funding public schools. I'd argue that someone who doesn't own a car still indirectly benefits from the road infrastructure just like I benefit indirectly from our public education system.

Besides which, are we serious or not about encouraging people to buy and use electric vehicles? Why are we still offering subsidies if we're just going to stick it to the customer another way?

Additionally, I'd love to hear how officials expect to defeat those who attempt to hack or disconnect whatever methods are used to track mileage use. People are already plenty adept at rolling back odometers, and I'm sure creative folks will also find a way to defeat any system for mileage tracking.

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340