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Comment: Re:it depends on what "skilled worker" means. (Score 1) 397

by Rob Y. (#47399343) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

All true, but this dynamic only works for a short time. Since it amounts to sabotage of any real value in the company, it also counts on a business plan that involves unloading the company after a few years - either by selling it to another company or going public. The real enablers of this crap are the companies that buy such destroyed hulks - and/or the banks that hype their IPO's. My company just got spun off from a public company to a private equity firm. That's after a 400 million dollar writeoff (the public company was sold a bill of goods several years back). Anyway, we're one year in, and the IPO wheels are already turning. Improvements in the company's outlook? Well, there's now a vision of 'moving everything to the cloud'. No viable path to accomplishing that, but obviously these jokers think it's enough to hang an IPO off of.

Comment: Re:Not a dime from me (Score 1) 117

by Rob Y. (#47388339) Attached to: Lessig's Mayday PAC Scrambling To Cross Crowd Funding Finish Line

Incumbents will always have the publicity advantage - though that also applies to bad publicity. If you think that carpet bombing the public with corporate-funded messages is an appropriate way to counter that, then where's the room for non-corporate messages. Somebody's still got an unfair advantage. Candidates of all stripes are well enough versed in media manipulation to largely counter the encumbent's 'newsworthiness' advantage - though I guess the media (and the public) are slow to pay attention until a candidate manages to get nominated into a high-stakes race. Still, the problems of a corrupt and lazy media and a lazy electorate are nothing compared to the wholesale undermining of the principle of one person one vote democracy that we have now.

Comment: How about 5 computers and a billion smart terminal (Score 1) 104

by Rob Y. (#47388283) Attached to: Do We Really Need Another JavaScript Framework?

There's a class of application that will never make sense to be stand-alone, and for those apps, the cloud is probably the best paradigm. But the current state of HTM5/Javascript calls for a cloud with a ton of application logic running in the browser. I'd much rather see a single app running in the browser that isolates all the front-end specifics and makes it really easy to write fully server based apps that use the browser as a universal delivery system - and nothing else. Sure, you're not going to write video games that way. But I'm talking about apps that handle data input and output with a robust widget set that doesn't need to be programmed on the front end. A smart terminal that lets you generate, say, data to be displayed in a grid on the server and just send it to the terminal for display and manipulation.

I wrote something just like that a long time ago - though it doesn't run in a browser - so the smart terminal requires Windows or WINE to run. That no longer cuts it, but as a proof of concept it works really well (and is still in use). The data grid, for example takes grid layout instructions and a file in a 'CSV with flags' format that is produced on the server for display (and editing) in the terminal. Besides making the app easy to implement and debug, that level of abstraction has some nice side benefits. 'Printed' reports come for free, because the data and the instructions for laying it out in a grid are generated separately from the display logic, and it was easy to implement a printing module that takes that same info on the server side and uses it to generate a PDF or XLS file for download and native display/printing. I guess it's essentially splitting the MVC model so that only the View part (the part that has to run on the client) runs on the client.

I can't be the only one that's done something like this - but I'm curious why I don't see anyone trying to adapt that model as a browser-based application platform. Just because Javascript lets you write application code that runs in the browser, that doesn't mean it's a good idea - or that the end result is easy to write, debug and support. The browser's a really smart terminal, but maybe it would make sense to write a browser application that turns it into a somewhat dumber terminal - that only does terminal-like stuff.

Comment: Re:Classic Obama (Score 2, Interesting) 211

Easy. Because Republicans put the idiots on the Supreme Court that just decided that your employer can dictate what kind of birth control you use your health insurance to buy. That's right - YOUR health insurance. The insurance that you received from your employer in lieu of cash to buy your own - which would be an even worse deal, since the insurance companies still only offer their best group plans to employers. And while Obama deserves at least some of the blame for letting insurance companies dictate such things, at least he saw to it that insurance companies can't deny you coverage outright - for which many people are quite grateful.

Anyway, until a mass movement votes the Congressional tools of the oligarchs out of office, you may as well vote for the guys who won't give the Court to folks who are intent on allowing Republicans to choose who gets to vote in the first place...

Comment: Re:Hah! (Score 1) 667

I guess you haven't been installing the various upgrades to your distro until you get new hardware then. Not that that's so bad either - but it's about 2 hours of downtime each time the distro upgrades. That is, as long as your desktop environment didn't decide to change its configuration files in some incompatible way, in which case it'll take you another hour or so to get things back the way you like 'em. And all of this assumes you kept /home on its own filesystem.

Not horrible, but not the best use of your time either. Then again, I don't think I've ever upgraded Windows on any machine I've owned. That's either because the OEM version was good enough to tide me over until I needed new hardware - or because my old hardware couldn't handle the ever-growing demands of a Windows 0S.

Comment: Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (Score 1) 461

by Rob Y. (#47326239) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Nice way to miss my point. For any given house, there's a point where its insulated - you can't throw more insulation at it and hope to gain much. So yeah, insulate as much as you can. Then go solar. You get all the benefits of insulation, and you need less solar to cover the now reduced energy demand. I guess a carbon tax is the same as a reverse subsidy - and it may be the most efficient approach... today. But if subsidizing solar leads to efficiencies of scale down the road, a carbon tax may never get you there.

Comment: Re:I lost the password (Score 2, Insightful) 554

by Rob Y. (#47326173) Attached to: Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Not to mention that the entire witch hunt for IRS 'discrimination against right-wing groups' is a bogus, political sideshow. And beyond that, not to mention that *all* of these political groups shouldn't be tax-exempt - or certainly not in the way that allows their donors to be anonymous.

It never ceases to amaze me that presumably smart Slashdotters are so quick to subscribe to conspiracy theories (cue smarmy response about how non 'presumably smart' I am). And that they embrace nonsense just because they think they're libertarians and the issue at hand falls on the libertarian side of an issue. The wholesale compromise of U.S. democracy in favor of big cash contributions is a tragedy - for liberals, conservatives and libertarians alike. But the media love it. Ad sales spike like crazy around elections, and for TV stations, election season is probably what Christmas season has long been for retailers - a few months, without which they would operate in the red...

Comment: Re:They hate our freedom (Score 2, Insightful) 404

by Rob Y. (#47308043) Attached to: San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

Who's going to prevent the fistfights when someone spots you getting into your car and waits for you to leave the space - and you just sit there. If I'm waiting for you to move and somebody else pulls up who insists on taking the space 'because he paid for it', it's not going to be pretty.

Comment: the invention is the compressor, not the reader (Score 1) 263

by Rob Y. (#47288605) Attached to: The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

So even granting that Huffman's invention was worthy of a patent, that patent should be on the method of file compression - not on the compressed file format itself. Royalties should be collectible on the compression software (the part that implements the patent), not on the decompression software, which simply reads the file.

Popular file formats become de-facto standards, and a patent on the format that covers reading it becomes more than a monopoly on the format - it becomes a monopoly on the data contained in the file, which becomes inaccessible without paying patent royalties. So, sure, if you invent a great file format - patent it, and if it's really great, people will pay. But don't allow the fact that a video content provider chose to pay for a particular video compressor grant control of the video data to to the patent holder on the compressor. Or allow the fact that an SD card manufacturer chose to use a FAT32 filesystem (and paid a royalty to do that) prevent you as the purchaser of that card from reading the data you store on it from any device you want to plug it into.

Comment: Nexus hackable about as long as locked devices (Score 1) 192

by Rob Y. (#47267403) Attached to: Amazon Announces 'Fire Phone'

What's wrong with the Google Nexus as a nerd-friendly hackable phone?

Mostly nothing - except for the Nexus One, which got orphaned at gingerbread after 18 months (vaguely understandable, since it was underpowered) and the Galaxy Nexus, which got orphaned at about 2 years (which stinks, because it still has plenty of power).

I'm on the Nexus 4, hoping it doesn't meet a similar fate. This thing has plenty of life left in it, and if Google/LG went with components for which drivers become unavaliable at the next major Android update, I'm giving up...

Comment: Re:People pay for music? (Score 2) 364

by Rob Y. (#47257965) Attached to: Google: Indie Musicians Must Join Streaming Service Or Be Removed

As I read it, this has nothing directly to do with music videos hosted on YouTube - except that they won't let you host them there unless you also sign up to host your music streams on Google Play music - or whatever their Spotify competitor is. That's kind of veering toward evil-ish. Nobody has to host videos on YouTube, but it became ubiquitous by allowing anybody to host stuff there. Now it's requiring you to support another Google site as a condition. Not cool. If the other Google site is good enough, it'll get content on its own...

Comment: Re:How do opinions like this still exist... (Score 2) 155

by Rob Y. (#47214049) Attached to: Apple To Be Investigated By the EU Over Tax Affairs

No. Software is written, in the case of Apple, by programmers in the U.S. Then the resulting code magically becomes 'owned' by an Irish subsidiary that exists just to own this code and prevent that component of Apple's products from being taxed. I don't even think any money is transferred from the Irish subsidiary to US Apple which might count as income in the US. It's all a fiction to avoid taxation - which in turn requires the rest of us to pick up the slack.

Comment: Re:So CentOS will be out in 2016? (Score 2) 231

by Rob Y. (#47206263) Attached to: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Released

I agree that long-term ABI stability is important. But on AIX, they've managed to maintain backward compatibility for years. Almost everything built on way old versions of AIX runs on the latest version. If they have to provide multiple versions of some libraries to handle broken old behaviors, they do that too. Maybe I'm missing something here - like maybe AIX includes a much smaller set of libraries than RedHat. But for the purposes of our apps, AIX has been a really nice, stable platform. Nothing flashy, but no surprises.

Comment: Re:Should have upgraded Openssl (Score 1) 44

by Rob Y. (#47149323) Attached to: Heartbleed Bug Exploited Over Extensible Authentication Protocol

I have a crappy, locked down Asus 7" cheapo tablet (don't blame me - I won it in a raffle). Anyway, it's still on Ice Cream Sandwich, but I did receive an OTA update shortly after the Heartbleed news - so I do think they must've patched it.

Then again, Asus is pretty much a tier one player these days, and a patch should've been expected.

"Gotcha, you snot-necked weenies!" -- Post Bros. Comics