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Comment: Re:It's more than that (Score 1) 99

by nine-times (#48232077) Attached to: The Problem With Positive Thinking

Yeah, when people start talking about how great positive thinking is, I always think, "Sure, as long as things are going well."

Your mindset is, to some degree, a prediction of the future. For that prediction to be helpful, it needs to be fairly accurate. Now many people will point out that predictions can be self-fulfilling, and a positive expectation is more likely to lead to a positive outcome. It's true. But it can also leave you unprepared for a negative outcome.

I think positivity needs to be measured, constrained, and tempered by a realistic assessment. It's useful to consider the what happens if things don't go well, and prepare for things to go very badly. Perhaps more importantly, I think it's important for us all to understand that different people just seem to have different mindsets, different approaches, and different personalities. Whatever your mindset, it can be helpful to have someone around who is very positive, because they can help to keep us all motivated and moving forward. But it's also very useful to have a pessimist around, who will point out the problems with your plans, force you to confront some uncomfortable truths, and rain on your parade a little bit.

People of all kinds can be useful and valuable, so it's important to not shit all over pessimists all the time. As if they don't have enough to worry about, without y'all treating them like they're useless.

Comment: System 76 (Score 1) 269

by westlake (#48231875) Attached to: Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'

Ok I'll bite. Show me where I can buy a Linux laptop, with a i7-4710, 1TB HDD, 8GB of RAM, and a GTX 850M.

No trouble:

Configure your Bonobo Extreme [Desktop Replacement]

Base price $1629
CPU Upgrades start at $50.

Free upgrade to NVIDIA 870M
Upgrade to 12 GB for $69.
1 TB HDDs starting at $39.
Full range of SSD primary and HDD/SSD secondary drives, optical and tertiary SSD drives.

Comment: Re:What is the significance here? (Score 2) 76

by hey! (#48231075) Attached to: Building All the Major Open-Source Web Browsers

File it under "stuff that matters".

A lot of arguments for open source are based on things which people outside the project could in principle accomplish, but in practice seldom do. So it's reassuring at least that an experienced developer can build the two most popular browsers from scratch. It means the arguments aren't hollow. I've seen closed source projects that were purchased by companies, only to find out that getting them to build on any computer but the one it was developed on is a serious engineering challenge.

That the process of building these browsers from scratch is somewhat arcane will come as no surprise to any experienced developer. But that it's not so arcane that it's impractical to figure out is good news.

Comment: Re:The US tech industry (Score 1) 219

by Half-pint HAL (#48230875) Attached to: Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

The Mac mini is supposed to be the entry-level Mac. By using a desktop CPU instead of a more expensive, low-voltage and slower laptop CPU, the Mac mini would have been cheaper and more powerful.

The Mac mini line was introduced to target the "living room PC" market that Cube etc opened up a decade ago, hence needed to be near-silent. If the same line can satisfy style-conscious* entry-level desktop users, all the better.

( * Whether you or I agree with their sense of style is irrelevant, Apple is often a style choice. )

Comment: Re:Tax and cost from a PC-vendor point of view (Score 1) 269

by westlake (#48230647) Attached to: Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'

Dell once explained why their Linux PCs weren't cheaper than similar Windows models.

"Linux is just the kernel."

I wonder sometimes what would happen if a judge took a geek and his memes at face value --- and if the end result would be a successful, marketable, consumer product.

Comment: Re:Is that unreasonable? (Score 1) 240

by hey! (#48230459) Attached to: High Speed Evolution

Is it unreasonable for the average height of a population to grow by 7" in twenty generations? I should think so. But if you changed your initial conditions somewhat, maybe less unreasonable.

There are roughly 400 genes known to influence height. Imagine we have a small, isolated population that does not interbreed with other populations -- say on an isolated island. This population's average male height is, say 175 cm for men -- roughly the same as the average American. However the population contains all the alleles neede to generate individuals approacing 7' in height. We then take our population and put them under evolutionary pressure; let's say we shoot everyone who reaches the age of 16 and is below average height. It wouldn't many generations for that population's average height to become quite tall, as "tall genes" begin to predominate.

Let's change that initial condition by stipulating that there are no "tall genes" in the initial population. It's still average height, but maybe it lacks both "tall genes" and "short genes". It would be surprising if the genetic height potential for a newborn changed very quickly, because you've got to wait for a lot of "lucky" mutations and twenty generations is not that long.

Let's go back to our successful initial conditions and change something else. This time the population has all the necessary alleles to produce super-tall people, but it interbreeds extensively with a large external population which is not subject to our culling protocol. Under these conditions the population's height increase will be slow, or non-existent depending on the rate at which individuals interbreed with populations not under pressure.

The bottom line: it depends.

Comment: Re:Prison time (Score 3, Interesting) 227

by Idarubicin (#48230205) Attached to: CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

How the fuck is this modded insightful? Even at 0? This is the type of shit that gives SJW ammunition in claiming that IT culture is hostile to women. I like to believe the words that come out of my mouth when I argue that point.

You know, I just put together now that "SJW" is intended to be an acronym for "Social Justice Warrior" (which is in turn intended to be a derogatory phrase meaning, as far as I can tell, "uppity feminist"). For some weeks now, I have been pondering what the internet has against straight (or single) Jewish women. Now it makes a lot more sense.

That the "reasonable" faction of the male IT world - that the parent poster would like to think he represents - seems to believe that the SJW caricature represents a non-trivial force that is conspiring against him is troubling. That the acronym SJW exists and is presumably widely understood in his circles is rather more revealing about (his part of) "IT culture" than he probably thinks.

Don't get me wrong, the parent poster is better than the grandparent asshole who believes all rapes are imaginary--but just being better than the anonymous trolling asshole isn't setting a high bar.

Comment: We can't stock what we can't sell. (Score 1) 269

by westlake (#48229899) Attached to: Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'

Walk into a store and buy a fully assembled name brand (Dell, HP, etc) PC, complete with warranty and guarantees, without ANY software preinstalled. You can't. Your analogy fails.

Heathkit. Radio Shack. Long dead in any recognizable form.

The PC is a mass market consumer appliance or an office machine. It sells as a kit of parts only to a handful of enthusiasts and IT pros --- who don't do their shopping at the Galleria Mall.

Comment: The elephant can forget. The geek never learns. (Score 2) 269

by westlake (#48229693) Attached to: Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'

The bare bones PC doesn't sell worth spit.

It is not and never has been and never will be a mass market consumer product.

The OEM system install was the key to making the PC a mass market product. It meant that you had a working --- tested --- configuration out of the box, appropriate for its price range and intended use.

In 2014 it is still possible for the geek to be tied up in knots by Linux audio.

Something that leaves the OSX and Windows user with his head shaking in disbelief.

Walmart --- with its enormous purchasing power --- spent about ten years trying to make the OEM Linux PC a viable alternative to Windows in the North American retail market.

The chain sold tons of crap-tastic hardware to the geek for maybe $25 less than a Windows PC with a far more muscular CPU, twice the RAM and hard disk storage. For its rural customers on dial-up, Wamart had a Linux PC without a working modem.

The point being, that by the time product reaches retail shelves, the price of the OEM system install is essentially irrelevant.

There is something distinctly fraudulent about buying a Windows PC and demanding a refund when you could have bought a Linux PC from the start.

Comment: Re:Bring back Bennett!! (Score 1) 122

by TheRaven64 (#48228577) Attached to: OwnCloud Dev Requests Removal From Ubuntu Repos Over Security Holes
Bennett has been posting these long ramblings since a very long time before Dice bought Slashdot. Unfortunately, I think that your complaints are not likely to be heard because Slashdot seems to have had a policy for a long time of not recruiting editors from people who regularly read the site...

Comment: Re:Is Microsoft a company? (Score 4, Informative) 219

by TheRaven64 (#48228563) Attached to: Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"
You might want to read some news from the last decade. Microsoft started paying dividends in 2003 and has paid them annually. When they started, investors were unhappy because it showed that they no longer thought that the best thing to do to increase value was to invest the money in the company.

2.4 statute miles of surgical tubing at Yale U. = 1 I.V.League