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Comment: Re: Say what you will but this is cool (Score 1) 52

by ScentCone (#47787217) Attached to: Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing'

So where does the liability lie when these things fall out of the sky, or collide with helicopters, planes, trains or automobiles? How will they "innovative" around that?

Where does the liability lie when a UPS truck backs over a baby stroller, or a FedEx delivery person loses control of a handtruck full of boxes and breaks someone's ankle? Where's the liability when an aircraft flown by DHL crashes short of the airport and burns a row of houses to the ground?

You make it sound like small plastic/foam flying wings with four battery-powered motors are the first dangerous thing that business has ever considered operating, and that there's no such thing as the liability insurance industry. Which means you're clueless about the real world, or just trolling. Or both.

Comment: Re:Bad business practice (Score 1) 106

by lgw (#47786333) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court

Of course you have to be online the first time you launch it, just like you have to be online to download the game. That's not actually a burden.

Steam offline mode has had issues over the years, and I still don't trust it, but having to be online the first time you ever launch a game is the least annoying copy protection possible. There's a freaking checkbox in Steam to launch a game as soon as the download is complete, for goodness sake, so you don't even need to babysit it to do that first launch.

Comment: Re:Amazon riding rough over industry? One recourse (Score 1) 75

by Kohath (#47786255) Attached to: Japanese Publishers Lash Out At Amazon's Policies

What that does not help you with at all is that time ten years hence when no competition remains even on niche platforms, and Amazon decides the price should really be 10 what you are paying now...

Fewer and fewer people read books every year. In 10 years, the market will be much smaller than it is now.

Plus, you're trying to pretend there will somehow be a monopoly on books. Or on electronic distribution of text. Because no one could possibly figure out how to print a book or distribute text without Amazon -- so they'll pay 10x what they're paying now. It's not even the tiniest bit realistic.

Comment: Re:Testing is not verification. (Score 1) 146

by phantomfive (#47786127) Attached to: Software Error Caused Soyuz/Galileo Failure

Bridges aren't designed and tested by "trial & error"--if they were then half of them would fall down within a few weeks. Neither are buildings or pacemakers or computer chips.

Should we also assume that rockets are programmed with the same careful methods you (conveniently) omitted?

Rockets are known to never fail, after all.

Comment: Re:"Programmers" shouldn't write critical software (Score 1) 146

by phantomfive (#47786105) Attached to: Software Error Caused Soyuz/Galileo Failure

but they already have a far better safety record than the average human driver.

I want you to realize that the only source we have for this is Google. It's not from a scientific journal, or an independent research team, or an auditor, it is from the same people who want you to eventually buy their product.

Furthermore, I want you to realize that the Google team is very careful in what information they reveal. All the information they present is shaped in a way that makes them look good, and to increase demand for the car. Now, maybe they've built the perfect driverless car, and it somehow got off the ground running with a near-perfect driver record, but the information they've given us isn't enough to determine that.

Comment: Re:Oh microsoft (Score 3, Informative) 117

by phantomfive (#47786059) Attached to: Microsoft Releases Replacement Patch With Two Known Bugs
I've written enterprise software, used by large banks and other corporations. Our software was so bad, I couldn't understand how it would help anyone, I'm sure the people who used it were slowed down by the process.

Finally I realized they did get one thing from it: accountability. If you've never been there, it's hard to understand how corporations are shaped by SOX compliance, and general accounting problems. If a $2000 purchase disappears at a startup, it's a minor problem. But at a large company, accountants will be looking for weeks to find what happened to it.

Those are the kinds of issues large companies deal with, and removing the accountability of the decision making process (of figuring out what software to use) and giving it to Microsoft is a real service for them. This is the same reason people use RedHat, even though RedHat gives their software away for free. It is one of those things that makes no sense to you until you've worked in that kind of environment.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.