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Comment Re: Good! (Score 2) 365

'Reagan' is just a shortcut for 'Supply-side economics'. Reagan happened to be the politician that pushed it through the first time. Of course, it was always a think-tank generated pile of crap intended to put a gloss of 'economic science' on a political movement to end progressive taxation. The theory behind the Laffer curve couldn't be disproved on its face, except by trying it. But now that it's been tried and tried again, it's been proven that lowering taxes does not pay for itself in terms of increased growth. That's the quaint, counter-intuitive theory behind supply side economics. It was a quaint theory in 1980. Since 1984 or so, it's just been a lie. One repeated by every Republican candidate for president in every debate since...

Comment Re:Bad practice. (Score 1) 242

If this is the case, it would be nice to have a feature that lets you use your fingerprint to re-unlock your phone within a certain time limit of unlocking it with the passcode, but not to unlock an idle device.

I occasionally disable my passcode for times when I'm holding the phone, but not actively using it, but want a quick wake up feature when a notification comes in. This is mostly useful for silly stuff like an ongoing game of Words with Friends - or for an ongoing text chat. Another nice option would be a variant on the Android Lollipop notification system that would allow you to designate certain apps (like WWF) that can be accessed from their lockscreen notifications without unlocking. Android already has a 'pin a single app' mode. All they'd need would be for a way to access this directly from the lock screen for apps you enable it for.

Comment Re:Patent terms (Score 1) 345

That Hep-C got past the actuaries by setting the price at $84K for that single course. That probably makes it the most profitable cure ever. And Hep-C carriers are a big potential market.

Yes, there's an emphasis on maintenance drugs. And once they're found, there's a financial disincentive (for their makers, at least) to continue to search for a cure. But before either is found, I doubt you can direct research toward maintenance and away from a cure. If you don't know what's going to work, you sure don't know how it's going to work. It'd be really nasty if some company came up with a drug that could be used to cure a chronic condition, but then released it in a form that doesn't cure it, but keeps it in check indefinitely - as long as you keep taking and paying for the drug. There's one for the ethicists to ponder...

Comment Re: M$ and Redhat? (Score 1) 130

I didn't say there was anything wrong about self-serving kernel contributions - just that it's misleading to portray them as Linux-friendly, or as improvements to Linux per se.

The OEM's are paying because it's cheaper to pay than to fight. That says nothing about the quality of the patents - just that Microsoft is being smart about extracting money from those patents. Just because it's cheap enough that the OEM's are willing to pay it rather than fight, that doesn't mean it's not blackmail. And the reason they're doing it is to make the free Android system more expensive than the free WinPhone system (which wasn't free when this started - but which didn't catch on despite patent fees that made it as 'expensive' as WinPhone). Samsung went up against Apple, because Apple wasn't content to charge modest fees - they wanted Samsung out of business. Microsoft at the time wasn't in the hardware business, so it wouldn't have made sense to attack Samsung like Apple did.

My bit about antitrust has to do with leveraging the FAT32 filesystem (which, face it, nobody uses except for compatibility with the Windows desktop monopoly), to extract fees from non-Microsoft implementations of this defacto standard. Yes, the USPTO has blessed this. No, it's not justifiable on the merits.

And yes, bullshit patents are the fault of the USPTO. We agree there. You don't seem to agree that it's slimy for Microsoft to exploit that bad system when it suits them and to fight it when it doesn't. If that makes me 'emotional' and you rational, so be it. Choice of software platform is at least partially an emotional decision. Your emotions steer you toward Windows for whatever reason. Mine steer me toward the Unix/Linux axis - because I like it and find it empowering.

Comment Re:Couldn't have said it better myself. (Score 1) 130

Oh please. The old init system was a wrapper too. It just defined things less. So the fact that systemd wraps a bunch of modules together in a systematic way isn't a bad thing at all. If, like a Swiss Army knife, it forces you to contort those things horribly to get them to fit in the wrapper (lousy analogy, okay), then it's probably bad. If it doesn't - and merely defines standards to allow init modules to work together nicely, it's a good thing. I'm guessing it's more of a good thing than a bad thing - and yes, it makes it hard to do some of the quick and dirty stuff that made unix 'fun'. But quick and dirty certainly has its limits too...

Comment Re: M$ and Redhat? (Score 0) 130

Right, and Red Hat was the last, why? Probably because Microsoft had hoped that by supporting Red Hat's competitors, it could put a dent in RH's profitability. Since Ubuntu and Centos don't have viable server business models, supporting them doesn't threaten Microsoft. Of course, if there were more of a market for Windows cloud solutions, Microsoft probably never would've supported Linux on their cloud at all. And I'm guessing that the same goes for Red Hat - there wasn't enough demand for Ubuntu and Centos on Azure, so they had to bite the bullet an support Red Hat, which still is the go-to Linux server OS.

Likewise, i believe Microsoft's Linux kernel contributions are all in support of getting Linux to work as an Azure VM. I guess that counts as 'contributions', though it's pretty self-serving. Microsoft's new management gets some credit for chasing users wherever they happen to be - but of course, that was born out of necessity. Still, Nadela sees this, where Ballmer couldn't...

But keep an eye out for the embrace and extend trick to play itself out in Android. Nadela's still got a glimmer of hope for WinPhone 10 to catch on. But he's seriously hedging his bets with Android app support - which is fine. But watch out if they try to build a fully MS-specific version of the ecosystem and app store. I suppose you could say that's what the GPL allows, but if it can only succeed by continuing to blackmail OEM's with the threat of patent suits - making it cheaper to build MS/Android phones than Google/Android, that's antitrust territory. Hell, it's already antitrust territory that they're extorting fees for bullshit patents and the ability to code around the stupid FAT long file name kludge...

Comment Re:Linus rants about EVERYTHING (Score 1) 576

What makes you think coders don't copy/paste the shiny bits too without understanding them? In fact, if they're hard to understand, it's more likely that they will be blindly copy/pasted.

My rule of thumb is that no structure to solve a problem should be more complex than the original problem itself. I used to see coders devising these complex Rube Goldberg mechanisms of table driven functions that let you 'code something in a few lines'. That's potentially a good idea if it's well implemented, well documented and gonna be used over and over again - but all too often these things were used exactly once and ultimately supported forever.

Comment Re:Why should they? (Score 2) 187

The problem with Uber and AirBnB isn't technology. It's that their business model doesn't fit into cities where the normal rules of supply and demand have broken down. You might argue that rent-regulated markets like New York and San Francisco have brought their housing crises upon themselves - but it's a pretty empty argument. Both are seriously land-limited and seriously in demand. Some kind of regulation is required. Taxis are a little easier. In congested central cities, it's imperative to balance the number and availability of taxis with the congestion they produce.

Uber and AirBnb get around regulations by operating on a bait-and-switch basis. Full-time Uber drivers are not 'ride-sharing', and apartments operated as hotel rooms are not 'short-term roommate/sublet' situations. The fact that there's enough demand for such things in certain markets just points to the need for regulation in those markets. Perhaps those regulations need changing - and perhaps Uber and AirBnb can be part of a solution (e.g. requiring Uber rides to originate and/or end en outer boroughs). But opting to blow up regulations that are in place for a reason is a neat little bit of anarchic ideology that happens to suit these businesses' needs well - if not the needs of the residents of New York and San Francisco.

Comment Re:Reasons things fail (Score 2) 118

Here's another:

Decision makers deferring technical decisions to project managers with a stake in defending their past bad decisions. Results in doubling down on mistakes long after they proved to lead to dead ends.

And another:

Corporate business plans focused on 'selling the company' or 'an IPO in a few years'. Creates a perverse incentive. An incomplete project with the promise of 'enormous success just around the corner' is an easier sell than the finished, quantifiable result. So the above 'doubling down on failure' isn't failure at all. It's just a series of bumps in the road that are behind us now. And success - just around that corner we've just turned.

Comment Re: The old talent doesn't understand the new stuf (Score 4, Insightful) 229

The real issue here is that business has shifted its focus to low cost above anything else. Where it was once possible to have a lifelong career based on depth of knowledge on a particular system or vertical business - where technology was used to implement that knowledge, but the value was the knowledge itself, it is now virtually impossible to have such a career. Since there is going to be constant turnover, developers value experience in 'the latest thing' over experience at a particular company. And that's just self-preservation.

Of course, none of this works particularly well. Yes, companies get disposable, replaceable talent - but that talent is never particularly good at what they're asked to do - which is contribute significantly to a particular business. The end results are mediocre, and often barely supportable. You end up with layers of project management attempting to dot I's and cross T's in design specifications and testing plans - just so that the actual developers can be 'agile' in performing what is essentially gruntwork. In the 'old' model, the developers provided input into the designs - or at least were able to understand where a bad design ran into a wall. And those developers provided a pool of knowledgeable recruits for tech management. Nowadays, many software products are essentially as disposable as those interchangeable developers. They need to be rewritten every 5-10 years from scratch, because nobody can support them - and, I suppose, because it's 'necessary' to do that in order to chase the latest development fads.

Comment Re:Google's project Fi (Score 1) 125

Then I suppose you concede that Android isn't already tracking every website you visit (the usual Google paranoic's rant). Because if it were, project Fi would add no new info to the mix.

What we need is for the government to define the parameters of legal tracking. What the credit card companies already do is worse than what Google does. Selling personal info to anonymous third parties is over the line. Presenting ads for third parties anonymously to you is a different thing. You may not like it - and you need to be able to opt out, but at least you won't be getting Viagara spam based on anything Google's doing...

It sounds like what the phone companies are trying is somewhere in between. But it's being done without your knowledge or consent and tied to a service you're already paying for, not a free ad-supported service. Somebody needs to define what's legal and what's not - in terms both of what can be collected and of disclosure of how info can be used, and perhaps, how long it can be retained.

Comment Re:eFast Bad - Google Good?!? (Score 2) 183

There's just the minor side issue of fraud, asshole. If they want to provide a browser (yes, and even base it off of Chromium) and use some unique feature of it to convince people to let them serve you ads, I suppose that would be marginally okay - except the bit about hijacking websites and siphoning off their revenue streams, which seems at best unethical.

But let's not miss out on yet another opportunity to bash Google for the business model that provides you with search, email, youtube and the Chromium source tree in the first place. Perhaps you'd care to point me to alternatives that do it all for free without ad support? And don't point me to a wrapper around Google search - we're talking about viable business models that produce useful services, not simple appropriation.

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.