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Comment Re:Basic (Score 1) 414

BASIC, as defined by it's own acronym, is a language for training and instruction. A way to cut one's teeth on programming, as it were, and to allow novices to produce code to accomplish simple tasks in a time share environment. I'd say that if programming had a "play-to-learn" curriculum, BASIC would be the "toy blocks" in the toy-chest. It's definitely one of the oldest toys in the toy-chest. Here's a sobering thought - the last stable version of GW-BASIC was introduced roughly 24 years after the language's inception - and it's only been 28 years since that release, (for those of us who remember playing with it).

I'm not saying it isn't a good beginner's language, and I'm also not suggesting people have never done any productive work with it. It's a "toy language" with a serious purpose, but that purpose wasn't intended to be serious software production.

Comment Re: Now... (Score 1) 412

Err... an energy source.

That corrected, I wonder how hard it would be for a civilization that advanced to manipulate existing structures into a Dyson sphere.... I.E., collecting "nearby" debris such as asteroids, moons, or even planets, and assembling them like LEGOs to build an infrastructure of some kind around a star in some sort of grid or lattice.

Comment Nothing wrong with that. (Score 1) 337

I sense Don Norman's influence here. I agree with Cook, and I'm not really much of an Apple fan. There's nothing wrong with avoiding the, (as I see it), trap of trying to be everything to everyone. This might be an old PARC mentality, but I think that purpose driven devices with shared intelligence and data sources is a really smart way to see the future of information tech. The real hurdle is getting everyone to agree on how those devices should communicate. My Motorola 360, for example, is woefully crippled at the hands of my company iPhone 6's rather mediocre level of integration. Yes, I know that in today's mindset, expecting integration between Android and iOS devices is ludicrous, but that's kind of my point - it shouldn't be. That said, there's not nearly as much to complain about when pairing Apple devices with other Apple devices, and I'd almost be a little disappointed to see that replaced with an iMacPadPhone, just as I've always had an uncontrollable eye-twitch when it comes to the MS Surface.

Comment MBAs are so predictable (Score 1) 362

I wonder if this is where Microsoft tries to figure out how to skirt anti-trust issues and incent OEMs into locking their systems.... kick-backs, under the table finagling, etc. The real question is this - if Microsoft is so altruistic and trustworthy, why allow a system to be locked to just one OS in the first place?

Comment Re:DVD (Score 2) 251

He didn't really ask for cheap. He asked for the best chances of survival. Unless the lockbox is airtight and humidity/temperature controlled, your cheap DVD media could degrade over time.

The jury is out on how long it would take for optical media to degrade to the point of data loss, as many tests seem to yield varying results depending on the quality of the media used, but depending on the kind, (writeable vs rewriteable, etc), the general consensus seems to be that the survivability of most optical media in average room temperature and humidity is several decades, (citations obviously would be handy, but I'm not up for finding them). Archival grade optical media is your best bet if you head down this road, and it's not necessarily cheap.

Flash media may be even more volatile than optical media. Without power, minute leakages over time will lead to the loss of data, possibly within months or just a few years. (Again, citation needed.... I have the flu, so research this yourself to confirm... this is just a guideline for investigative consideration).

Tape media may still be a good bet, and probably better than magnetic HDDs. Tapes are small, store lots of data, and are pretty resilient.

I wonder how long they require/expect the data to last for? Years? Decades? Generations?

Comment Hatred of Gnome (Score 1) 267

I think Gnome 3 is the New Coke of the DE world. It wasn't so much that it was a horrible idea... taste tests seemed promising, and change is good, right? It just seems to be what happens when makers 'mess' with a product. Now that they've reintroduced Gnome 'Classic', (see where I went with the Coke thing?), people are simmering down a bit and reluctantly muttering, "Oh, well.... that's okay then, I guess. Watch it - we've got our eyes on you!"

Where it's nothing like New Coke is that the Gnome developers get to mess with the formula while they try to, (often unsuccessfully), balance needs and vision, (whose vision?). In this case, I think the vision preceded the needs department for a lot of people. I actually like the standard Gnome 3 interface, but I also see how it pissed a lot of people off... especially with earlier versions.

Comment Re:Again? (Score 1) 200

Yup. Maybe. But it also doesn't sound like Snowden is naive either, and he was willing to risk doing all of those things you mentioned and more. He still had his job when he took confidential info from the NSA, and he has taken his risk of getting 'fired' to a whole new level.

It may not have happened right away, but he must have at some point knew a cover up would have been the result, and if he was clever enough to evade the NSA with all that data, he was also clever enough to leave some insurance behind. Perhaps I'm wrong.

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