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Comment: Re:All the more reason... (Score 2) 248

by Streetlight (#49088001) Attached to: Lenovo Allegedly Installing "Superfish" Proxy Adware On New Computers
I'm not sure crapware is now the problem. Crapware can generally be removed and for the unwashed masses one can get a Windows machine without crapware using Microsoft's Signature program.

The problem is hidden malware in firmware in devices like hard drives. No computer manufacturer can be immune to that if they buy parts that are infected when intercepted during shipping between the manufacturer and the computer assembler or end user by some three letter agency. The same for the finished computer. And what about malware hidden so deeply into computer parts where the firmware can't be rewritten? If Intel's or AMD's parts are corrupted in this way during manufacture, swapping out the part will never solve the problem.

Comment: Re:Yes meanwhile.. (Score 1) 167

by Streetlight (#48986035) Attached to: Google Quietly Unveils Android 5.1 Lollipop
You hit the nail squarely on the head! My N 7 (2012) with Android Lollipop 5.0.0, 5.0.1, 5.0.2 has a long, crazy boot process, some apps are broken, notifications take forever to load (I disabled most of them), apps run slowly. I would hope 5.1 will be fix all these problems and allow me to run all my apps. I'm not hopeful.

Comment: Driving I-80 though Nebrasa is like LA traffic now (Score 2) 481

by Streetlight (#48985959) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation
The problem is the incredible amount of semi-trailer truck traffic. It's bumper-to-bumper. One gets behind one semi- passing another on a two lane highway east or west bound with the passing truck doing ~0.1 MPH faster than the passed truck at 65 MPH. It can take 10 minutes to accomplish this and traffic backs up behind this blockage. And passing through Omaha is an LA scenario.

Comment: Re:Tsk. And they wonder where employee loyalty wen (Score 1) 331

by Streetlight (#48981527) Attached to: Massive Layoff Underway At IBM

They didn't need to do this to stay profitable.

Companies exist to produce profits, not to provide employment. If an employee is not providing net value, then it is better for the company, and the overall economy, for that employee to go somewhere else. In the long run, it is better for the employee as well.

Many employees are cost centers rather than profit centers. IT costs money. However, IT keeps the wheels turning and hopefully allows profit centers to be more efficient so as to increase profit per employee. By your reasoning, getting rid of IT would be a good thing, that is, until some outage prevented profit center employees from using their information infrastructure to do work and make money.

Comment: Re:The ideal gas law is a limiting law (Score 1) 239

by Streetlight (#48954389) Attached to: NFL Asks Columbia University For Help With Deflate-Gate
The footballs are not filled with water, but air. It's air pressure that's measured and the boiling point of air is very much below the ambient temperature of a football game.

Of course, one can have gaseous water at temperatures below the boiling temperature of water which is responsible for relative humidity in the air in our environment. To discuss this we need to think about the tendency for liquid water to evaporate (vapor pressure) as a function of temperature and the capacity of air to hold gaseous water (in relative terms) which involves a phenomenon different from the study pressure, temperature and volumes of pure gases in the absence of their liquid forms. If there were a some small volume of liquid water inside the footballs in equilibrium with its gas form, at the temperatures involved, say 50 deg F, the contribution to the gas pressure inside the football would be about 0.18 PSI. I looked up the vapor pressure of water to do the calculation. This is a negligible contribution to the gas pressure inside the football when it's ~13 PSI and might not even be noticeable using the gauges the refs used. Furthermore, gaseous water would likely follow the ideal gas law at these vapor pressures.

Comment: The ideal gas law is a limiting law (Score 1) 239

by Streetlight (#48954003) Attached to: NFL Asks Columbia University For Help With Deflate-Gate
Many commenters suggest the ideal gas law could be used to explain the temperature effect on the difference in pressure of the air in the footballs. Be careful about extrapolating its use to other circumstances. The ideal gas law works reasonable well for most gases at temperatures well above the boiling temperature of the gas and at relatively low pressures for small molecules. There's not enough room here to go through it in detail but a quick look in a college general chemistry text book or Wikipedia will fill the reader in. There are a number of modified ideal gas law equations that can do a pretty good job correcting for the influence of intermolecular interactions and molecular size on P vs T.

For the case at hand with gauge pressures of a couple of atmospheres and the pressure differences observed, the ideal gas law is probably good enough.

Comment: Re:combination of things (Score 1) 239

by Streetlight (#48953925) Attached to: NFL Asks Columbia University For Help With Deflate-Gate
MLB for example doesn't let the teams play with baseballs that they bring to the game,...

Partially correct. The home team provides the balls that both teams use. There was some kind of problem in Denver with the balls provided by the Rockies. Seems the balls were too dry and so the team installed a giant humidifier to dampen the balls to be like those in other cities. IIRC, given the high elevation with less dense air and dry balls they really accelerated off the bat when hit. I don't think it was called ballsgate or humiditygate, though.

Comment: Remember the guy who hired a Chinese programmer? (Score 2) 271

by Streetlight (#48867543) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees
There was the guy working for some company as a programmer who hired a programmer in China to do his work for him so that he could watch cat videos all day. IIRC, he paid the Chinese guy at the rate of $20k per year and the work was rated highly by the company's managers. Why hire an H1B person for $50k when you can hire someone outside the country for $20k that does good work and you don't have to go to all the trouble to get someone a visa, pay Social Security & Medicare taxes, pay moving expenses to the USA, help him or her set up all that's associated with settling in, etc., etc. We're talking 80% savings, not the much less 50%. Such a manager might might be considered a financial genius and end up Chief Financial Officer of the company.

Comment: Re:Also not everyone has taxable investements (Score 1) 450

If you have an IRA or SEP, the manager of those accounts will report the Fair Market Value (FMV) as of Dec. 31, of the account each year to the IRS and you'll get a copy of the report sent to the IRS. I assume this is so the IRS will know if the accounts have had non-taxable additions in excess of that allowed by law and whether Required Minimum Distributions have been taken. If RMDs have not been taken there is a 50% tax on the amount not taken in any year. These FMVs don't have any consequences for reporting taxes, though folks need to pay attention to them.

Comment: Re:Not just self-employed.. (Score 1) 450

When you start taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) or other distributions from your IRAs, 401ks, etc., the distributions are taxed as normal income. The investments remaining in the retirement accounts continue to change tax free, so no Schedule D is involved on that account. Of course, if you reinvest those distributions in stocks, bonds, mutual funds you may have a Schedule D to fill out as you will probably be selling assets, particularly as mutual funds adjust their portfolios of stocks through selling some assets at least once a year.

Comment: I use Bifocals and have no trouble (Score 1) 464

by Streetlight (#48721567) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?
The bifocals I have use a correction of about 0.75 diopters for the left eye and ~2 for the right in the bottom part of the lenses. What I find important is that for a desk top monitor the bottom of the monitor should be at the level of the table and not raised up. And that's for a desk top at about 28 inches from the floor. A lower desk might even be better. If I could get drug store reading glasses with these different corrections for my two eyes I'd use them but it seems they're only sold in the same magnification for both eyes. I guess they're good for folks with contact lenses with proper correction for distance sight. Of course, drug store glasses probably don't correct for astigmatism. One thing one needs to do when seeing an optometrist for a prescription is to first measure the distance from the bridge of your nose to the monitor you'll be using and make sure the correction can be used to read at that distance otherwise they usually correct for a shorter distance. It's a trivial check during the exam.

My wife has used progressive lenses on her "coke bottle" glasses (corrections for both eyes ~6 diopers!) and loves them. Her job involves using a computer all day. She claims there have been considerable improvements over the years in the width of progressive part of the lenses.

Comment: Start over = new bugs + old bugs (Score 1) 248

by Streetlight (#48692513) Attached to: Microsoft Is Building a New Browser As Part of Its Windows 10 Push
Creating a new browser means reinventing old and new bugs. MS is still getting rid of bugs in Windows Explorer in version 11 and the new browser will take at least 11 or more versions and hundreds of patches to even come close to other, more mature browsers. What are they thinking?

Comment: If you were to start the Internet from scratch... (Score 1, Interesting) 115

by Streetlight (#48648907) Attached to: Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority
What would anyone do if they were to build the Internet infrastructure in a place where there was no infrastructure except phone lines first installed many dozens of years ago? Install those monstrous DSL cabinets all over the place only to be replaced later with coax infrastructure because speeds were too slow? How about just jump into fiber to the home/apartment building/business office/factory? Cuba might have a faster Internet the the average in the USA, although not necessarily more private than in the USA. Oh, wait, I forgot about the NSA.

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