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Comment: Re:Austrian economics (Score 4, Informative) 600

by Wizard Drongo (#42090841) Attached to: Bitcoin Mining Reward About To Halve

There are services that will do this for you (ie. allow you to buy from Amazon using 'coin.) Admittedly, you're then beholden to that third-party who actually does the buying in your stead, rather than direct with Amazon, but nonetheless, without changing bitcoin into another currency, you can buy stuff on Amazon, and eBay, and a number of other sites, not to mention the ton of smaller, but no-less-useful sites that allow you to trade directly using Bitcoin...

Comment: Re:Shameful behaviour (Score 1) 743

by Wizard Drongo (#41872477) Attached to: Apple Hides Samsung Apology So It Can't Be Seen Without Scrolling

I agree he's a total fucking idiot (sorry OP, but you are, and I'll explain why in a minute), but he's nowhere near as stupid as some of the people on /.

The US Govt. will happily go up against a UK Judge. With ease. They'd do it in a heartbeat, and have on numerous occasions. But here's the key: only when it was in their interests.

Apple and Samsung right now are having a legal dick-waving competition. Eventually either Apple or Samsung will lose, or they'll both realise it's self-defeating and it will end. Either way, no interest for the US government in it. Even if Samsung were to win big in this multi-national legal fight, Apple would still be fine. They've not done anything bad enough to mean breakup or to stop them selling products like the iPad (Most i can see happening is a forced revision to remove feature X), and if it comes to a fine, Apple have a massive cash surplus on hand.
So there's no "protect US jobs/company" motive here. The US Govt. has been historically VERY wary of large companies getting all "we're bigger than government", which Apple is showing every sign of. If anything, they'd wade on in to HELP this Judge, potentially in the form of some sort of legal-judge cross-recognition treaty with the UK (ie. if you lose a patent case in the UK, sucks to be you,we'll help them enforce it here), if it got bad enough.

But they would NEVER help Apple in a trial like this, against the UK Judge...

Comment: Re:Live forever or die trying (Score 2) 289

by Wizard Drongo (#41867659) Attached to: Building the Ultimate Safe House

And *my* point was that not everywhere is in America; I said mid-western USA since I'm guessing the east coast and even california etc. have records going back at least 200 years. But I live in Scotland. I know what the weather was like, in broad terms, 1000 years ago. There are battle accounts of a nearby battlefield between the Gaels and the Norse, proclaiming how it was extraordinarily cold for the time of year, as it was May and there was still a bitter frost.

Not everywhere is in the US, not everywhere thinks 100 years is a long time.

Where I am, aside from a lot of rain which brings with it a minor flooding element (but actually, not major, just a case of bad drainage), the climate/geophysics are very stable here. No earthquakes over a 2 on the richter scale, no volcanoes for 1000 miles, no tornadoes recorded of more than F-0, we have an occasional bad winter but it rarely blizzards (at least where I am), and rarely (once every 10 years or so) drops below -10C, so it's liveable. And that's stable over the last millenia or so. Sure, temperatures took a dive during the so-called mini-ice age in the 1600's to 1800's, and the recovery from that has often been used as evidence of climate change. Not sure it is, but it's interesting Loch Lomond used to freeze every winter, enough that you could drive a car on it in the 1960's, and has not even froze over since the late 80's, so clearly some change happening...
That aside, we're pretty stable, and I can see that going back at least 1000 years.

Comment: Re:Live forever or die trying (Score 1) 289

by Wizard Drongo (#41864367) Attached to: Building the Ultimate Safe House

Only a century of weather? Huh?

OK, so I can't tell you average mean temperatures etc. going way back, but any sizeable storm or notable weather event (river that never freezes freezing due to really bad winter etc.) is recorded where I live going back at least until the 1600's, and before that, there are records containing reference to freak occurrences, so I know that volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes & tornadoes are quite rare here (ie. less than once per few hundred years, with the exception of the hurricanes, they're about once every 50 years)...

Not everywhere is midwest USA where westerners have only known it for a hundred + years...

Comment: Re:Gridlocked with No Way to Prime the Pump (Score 0) 438

by Wizard Drongo (#41695191) Attached to: Vast Bulk of BitCoins Are Hoarded, Not Used

That's simply not true. I can pay for ANYTHING, ANYWHERE, with bitcoins. Just because I have to exchange them for another currency to do *some* things with them, does not mean that they are inherently valueless. All fiat currencies are entirely fictional; bitcoin is at least backed by something, ie. that they cannot be created without energy expenditure (not to mention time).

Fact is, to me, here in Scotland, the US Dollar is an entirely useless currency. Very few, if any, retailers will take it. It's value is nothing, excepting that I can go into a bureau de change, and exchange it for "real" money (currently Pounds Sterling).
Hate Bitcoin all you like, and no one is forcing you to use it, but the fact remains that it has and holds a value. Currently about $11, although it depends.

There are of course a large number of things you can spend your Bitcoins on without exchanging currency. You can buy goods and services across the world, in both physical retail as well as online (although online is massively more popular to date). Everything from server hosting to lasers, from solid gold to somewhere to live.

And that's just the retail channel. Independent sellers and buyers, (i.e., just normal people selling to other normal people, friends etc.) are increasingly using 'coin because there's no PayPal delay, no chance of seizure because of [insert crazy Government excuse this week] or links with [terrorists]/[paedophiles]/[communists]/[Anonymous]/[Wikileaks] etc. and above all, no fees.

Comment: Re:Seems a very muted response (Score 3, Insightful) 192

by Wizard Drongo (#40734979) Attached to: Australians Receive SMS Death Threats

I think what he meant was that English law and Australian law share a lot of similarities because Aus law is based on the English law; indeed a lot of the Acts are the same, because they predate the split. Hence a lot of Australian courts will take english court decisions into mind, as "non-binding precedence"; indeed, even US courts have been known to do this from time to time.
Hence the ruling in an English court that a twitter update can be regarded i the same way as any other written document, could be used in an Aus. court as a "well here's what they did" precedence. Obviously, assuming Aus. has no such law or similar precedent in their own legal history.

Comment: Re:Where is this? (Score 4, Interesting) 241

by Wizard Drongo (#39769247) Attached to: Geologists Say UK Shale Deposits Hold Vast Energy Reserves

I wouldn't normally respond to such nonsense, but it irks me that someone else might read this and not know the truth:

1) Alex Salmond was democratically elected by the people of Scotland. How's that Cameron working out for you?

2) HBOS is made up of Bank of Scotland (in Scotland, strangely), and Halifax Building Society (almost all in England). BoS was very profitable, one of the last great retail banks. Halifax on the other hand was massively in debt, toxic nasty debt from overextending mortgages to anyone and everyone. This is why HBOS was bought "outright" by the Lloyds Group (under HM Govt. orders), instead of breaking it up into BoS and Halifax - it would have become clear that the debt was an English one and not a Scottish one, despite the Scottish name. If Scotland had been independent, under international law, we'd have had to account for the assets in Scotland, and their debts; this would have been very little, since Halifax was never that popular in Scotland, and BoS was running a profit. England would have been saddled with massive debts.

3) RBS, bit different, since it was still a Scottish bank. However, again, most of the debt was another part of the company, in this case the Dutch investment group ABN Amro. A lot of the debt was serviced by the Netherlands government, but yah, RBS would have had to be bailed out by Scotland. Fair enough, we'd have the credit rating to support it if we were independent.

I don't mind the notion that Scotland should pay her way after independence, nor do I think we'd have a problem doing so. I do mind the idea that England somehow subsidises Scotland, given that even the somewhat-biased UK Govt. figures (google "GERS 2011") show that Scotland pays more tax per capita than the English do, and on top of that has been running a surplus for several years. Scotland has 8.4% of the UK population, and yet pays 9.4% of the tax, and is responsible for over 10% of the UK's GDP. And all of that is NOT including all the North Sea oil & gas revenues that will become Scotland's post independence. Nor does it account for any taxes raised in Scotland by companies registered in England (such as most banks, shops etc.) , a good example being Tesco's which brings in staggering quantities of money in Scotland, but pays it's tax from London, and so it not accounted for in Scottish figures. Post-independence that will obviously change, so really, when the economic figures are in, Scotland will be a lot richer and better off without having to subsidise London.

Comment: Re:Advanced manufacturing no human lives (Score 1) 176

by Wizard Drongo (#39698793) Attached to: NASA Looking For Ideas To Explore Mars

This has to be one of the most insightful comments I've seen on Slashdot in years. Ever since the "web" became popular, /. has become somewhat less nerdy as more and more "normal" folks polluted it with their crap.
Thanks for reminding me what /. used to be like, "back in the day" (and me a 6-digiter as well! I bow before my betters!).

Now, in order of importance;

1) Sorry I don't have any mod privs. left. Used them up yesterday, otherwise I'd have made this +5 and not commented.
2) Submit this to NASA as part of the consultation. Tart it up a bit if you like, but seriously, this is EXACTLY what NASA need to be looking at. We need to get off this rock, sooner or later, but until we do, we need to leverage the tech we have on *this* planet, and use the space-race as a seed for doing better on Earth as well as getting to Mars etc. You are dead on the money here, and probably the only way of getting any extra money from the pork-barrel of government is by saying "we're developing this widget that'll be super useful for Mars. But it'd also be GREAT on Earth for ImportantThing26.
So please, submit your post. You never know, it might inspire someone over there to do something

Comment: Re:Old is gold? (Score 1) 494

by Wizard Drongo (#38941267) Attached to: President By Day, High-Tech Headhunter By Night

AhhhI guess it's at this point I should shamefully declare that whilst I did *skim* the summary, I didn't in fact, RTFA.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

And you're right, iOS programming is the very fluffiest layer of tech, usually (there are some worthwhile examples of pushing the art, and in a lot of cases, it's just conventional software dev., no different to windows or mac dev, but yeah, there is a lot of "iFart" apps).
So what you're saying about getting into hardware dev. is true, especially at the component level; you can't just do a start-up there, unless you're good pals with some serious VC folks.
But I still say it's wrong to say a guy in his experience cannot do worthwhile work via the startup mechanism. The hobbyist market is really just starting to get going now; it's a "makers" world now. Look at Adafruit for a good example. They don't make their own silicon - hell, their chips are very low-level ataMega's and the like that power the Arduino. But they are making serious coin, selling hardware kits to hobbyists who want to build their own DeathBot or Twitter-connected sandwich-maker or a twitter-connected deathbot that makes sandwiches etc.
Takes some serious EE know-how todo what they're developing; the kits are simple, but the design is certainly not, because they've taken a once-complex thing and made it accessible.
I'm not suggesting the OP starts the new intel, or for that matter, the new Adafruit. But his experience and skills are not solely limited to chip design; his wealth of knowledge is likely centred around Getting Shit Done. Once you know how to do that, you can skill-up what you need on the practical side a great deal (esp. if you hire suitably qualified neckbeards of a similar age)

"A mind is a terrible thing to have leaking out your ears." -- The League of Sadistic Telepaths

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