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Comment: Re:Awesome (Score 1) 322

by alphaseven (#33763338) Attached to: New York To Spend $27.5 Million Uncapitalizing Street Signs

This is a great initiative to implement when facing massive, crippling budget deficits.

I think it's supposed to be classic Keynesian economics, that a government should run a deficit by cutting taxes and spending more when the economy is slow, then cut back on spending and raise taxes once the economy improves.

The only problem is that when the economy is doing well a "Less Government and Higher Taxes" platform is a pretty hard sell for a politician.

Comment: Re:The government focus on healthcare is troubling (Score 1) 212

by alphaseven (#32937652) Attached to: Feds To Help Train 50,000 Health IT Workers
Here's a chart showing a very strong correlation between health care costs and wages. For a period in the 90s health care costs grew very slowly and wages shot up, and when health care costs started rising more sharply during the 00s wages became stagnant. It makes sense that an employer would spend less on an employees wages as the cost of their benefits go up.

Comment: Re:Bubble (Score 5, Interesting) 557

by alphaseven (#32355570) Attached to: Apple Surpasses Microsoft In Market Capitalization

Looks like an excellent bubble to take advantage of. Sell (or short) Apple, buy Microsoft.

The thing is, with near 10% unemployment and having just come out of the worst financial crisis since the great depression, Apple is doing well.

If a company that specializes in expensive, high-end computer products is doing well in a weak economy... what happens when the economy improves?

Comment: Re:Wonderful news (Score 1) 413

by alphaseven (#31440178) Attached to: Bill Gates No Longer World's Richest Man


We are #3 behind China and Germany, who both produce 20% more than we do for exports.

As far as raw manufacturing goes, USA is far ahead in the #1 position.


The catch is, while manufacturing is actually increasing in America, employment in manufacturing has fallen because of increased productivity per worker.


So while it's not true that the USA doesn't make stuff, it can seem like it because there are fewer jobs in manufacturing.

Comment: Re:Never understood this game (Score 1) 189

by alphaseven (#31377584) Attached to: Valve Announces <em>Portal 2</em>

Did you play with sound enabled?

Actually that's a good question because the first day Portal came out there was a bug where the voice giving you instructions wasn't audible (for a few people). That happened to me, I played the first few levels and I never heard the voice, then the next day Valve patched the game and the game worked for me.

It was a subtle bug because all the other sounds were there, I never realized the best part of the game is missing. Luckily I hadn't gotten too far into the game.

Comment: Re:Welcome to Capitalism (Score 1) 633

by alphaseven (#30871882) Attached to: Rockstar Employees Badly Overworked, Say Wives

That's the way it is - it's profitable for the company with no downside. The only option is for employees to show that it will cost them in the long run through turnover and training new employees. Alternately, unionization or government regulation are the only other options.

The problem isn't capitalism, it's just bad management at that specific develooper. Here's part of interview with someone from one of the most successful developers right, Infinity Ward (who did Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2).

we schedule our projects well so there is never a feeling of "oh crap, this whole project is going to hell"; we reward our employees for their hard work with significant royalties; we usually make games on a relatively fast (but not rushed) two-year dev cycle; we almost never have forced crunch - in fact I've worked one full Saturday plus a few scattered weekend hours in the entire six years I've been at Infinity Ward.

I'm not a executive, but I would think Rockstar would be better off by hiring the best, paying them well and not overworking them so they can have a low turnover. I keep reading the same articles about "crunch time" and underpayed employees then later I read about the same companies having financial problems (EA in particular but also Rockstar).

Comment: Re:Pirate Flag... (Score 1) 762

by alphaseven (#29856687) Attached to: App Store Developer Speaks Out On Game Piracy

Frankly an 80% piracy rate seems a little difficult to believe given how most iPhone users I know use their phones (most use stock firmware, since they're still on warranty, and people have spent up to £800 and don't want to 'brick' it).

An 80% piracy rate doesn't mean 80% of iPhone users are pirates.

Now my math might be little shakey, but let's say, hypothetically, for every 1000 iPhone users there are only 50 who pirate games. If only 5 out of 1000 buys a game, but 20 out of 50 pirates download the game... you would have an 80% piracy rate even though only less than 5% of users are pirates.

Comment: Re:why 520 days?! (Score 1) 356

by alphaseven (#29830373) Attached to: Volunteers Wanted For Simulated 520-Day Mars Trip

Wouldn't that suck? Spending 8 months in transit to Mars only to find a crowd waiting for you once you land: "yeah, we actually invented this really cool new engine like the week after you guys took off."

In case that sounds familiar, it's similar to the plot of a memorable short story from the 1940s, A.E. van Vogt's ‘Far Centaurus’.

As I vaguely remember it , Astronauts get frozen and go off for hundreds of years and find out that faster than light travel has been invented and the Alpha Centauri system had already been colonized.

Comment: Re:DNS (Score 4, Interesting) 620

by alphaseven (#29745049) Attached to: Tim Berners-Lee Is Sorry About the Slashes

What I wonder is why the designers of DNS put the name in reverse?

Berners-Lee regrets that as well, from back in 2000...

I have to say that now I regret that the syntax is so clumsy. I would like http://www.example.com/foo/bar/baz to be just written http:com/example/foo/bar/baz where the client would figure out that www.example.com existed and was the server to contact. But it is too late now. It turned out the shorthand "//www.example.com/foo/bar/baz" is rarely used and so we could dispense with the "//".

Comment: Re:What About Plagiarism? (Score 1) 431

by alphaseven (#29232493) Attached to: We're In the Midst of a Literacy Revolution

The Internet facilitates easy plagiarism. I assume papers for sale on the 'net generally have good grammar. Is it possible an increase in Internet plagiarism caused the increase in literary quality?

The Internet makes it a lot easier to "detect" plagiarism, all you have to do is quote a few words from an essay and Google it, or use services like Turnitin.

Personally I think plagiarism in schools may be declining, it just appears to be increasing because a higher proportion are getting caught.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.