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Comment: Radio Shack Closing Around Them (Score 1) 92

by billstewart (#49368043) Attached to: Arduino Dispute Reaches Out To Distributors

I started playing with Arduinos a couple of years ago. You ordered them by mail order at the time. Eventually Radio Shack started carrying them, which made it easier for anybody to pick one up (and while I live in Silicon Valley, if I needed a few resistors or LEDs or simple components to go with them, it was often easier to stop at Radio Shack than Fry's or mailorder.) Now they're fighting over the name, and Radio Shack is going out of business.

Comment: Booth Babes never made sense at RSA (Score 3, Informative) 326

by billstewart (#49351139) Attached to: RSA Conference Bans "Booth Babes"

They were a really clear indicator that the occasional companies that hired them seriously didn't understand their audience, and hadn't brought anybody who knew anything technical to their booth, probably not even any marketing people who understood the product, so you could pretty much skip them, because they were pretty much always useless as well as unprofessional.

On the other hand, you can totally bribe us with chocolate or especially coffee, and we might sit through your silly magician act for a raffle ticket for an iThing as long as there was technical content at your booth, and we'll pick up blinky tchotchkes with your logo on them. The woman I'd rather talk to at your booth is the one who developed the cool product, or can explain it well.

When my company's been at trade shows in the area, about half their staff are booth-running professionals, rather than product-related, from the people who set the thing up and make sure all the marketing content is there to the people who herd customers in, figure out what they're interested in (even if it's just at the buzzword level), bring them over to the right part of the booth or find the right person if they need to, scan your contact info, get the speakers on and off the stage, etc., and about half are either main-office or local people who know something about whatever we're trying to sell. They seem to do a good job on the mechanics of it (I've occasionally ended up as local booth staff), and they're seriously good at respecting the audience.

Comment: Re:Not concerned (Score 1) 177

by afidel (#49348275) Attached to: German Auto Firms Face Roadblock In Testing Driverless Car Software

I think it's more likely we'll ban human drivers. Just this morning I counted over 16 silver/grey/blue-grey vehicles driving in pouring rain and light fog without headlights on. On average a computer driver today is probably better than a human, and they'll just get better as time moves on whereas human improvements are a bit slower to happen.

Comment: Never happened. (Score 1) 54

Never did - here's the Wikipedia about the Indiana Pi Bill. The crackpot proposed a bill that would acknowledge his collection of R33lY k3wl mathematical discoveries and let Indiana schools teach them free (in return for royalties from other user, if I'm reading it right), it snuck past the Indiana House, and a Professor Waldo told the Indiana Senate how bogus it was. It was close to passing there anyway, but one senator pointed out that it's not the Senate's job to establish mathematical truth. And now you know Where Waldo Was.

Comment: Whistleblowing about the local mayor (Score 1) 54

Back in the 60s, my father-in-law ran a weekly paper in his small town. It eventually got shut down by the police on some bogus excuse; the actual reason was that he wasn't just writing that the mayor was taking bribes, but had the bad taste to say who they were from and what for. Corruption does also exist in the US, and so does censorship. (I didn't see much censorship when I lived in New Jersey, though - just corruption.)

Comment: Re:Countries without nuclear weapons get invaded (Score 4, Informative) 228

by billstewart (#49338009) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

The Iraqis got their chemical weapons from the US for use against Iran. The US still hasn't destroyed their own CBW program products (though they do occasionally retire old unstable chemical weapons, as they've done recently.)

And both the US and Russians still have their hoards of smallpox, pretending they need to keep them to develop vaccines in case the other side uses theirs to attack, even though cowpox ("vaccinia") is good enough for a vaccine and not good enough for a weapon.

Comment: Pakistan, Israel (Score 1) 228

by billstewart (#49337975) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

Pakistan has nuclear weapons (and India has the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Nuclear Bombs as well), but aside from their border conflicts around Kashmir (for which the nukes make war less likely but more risky), their big invasion problem is non-governmental forces like Taliban, for whom nukes are really no use at all.

And Israel, of course, has the bomb (probably also the hydrogen bomb), but you're not allowed to say that in discussions about whether Iran can make one also. Wouldn't be a total surprise if the Saudis had it too.

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