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Comment: Teach yourself X in 24 hours (Score 1) 624

by amiga500 (#37305536) Attached to: What Is the Most Influential Programming Book?
Seriously, how many other professions have such books? Teach yourself brain surgery, teach yourself plumbing, teach yourself law... No ours is the only profession in which someone can think themselves an expert in a few weeks time. The good thing is many people can improve their lives by studying one of these books and switching jobs. The bad thing is this may be part of why CS graduates have been declining.

Comment: Postage is the solution (Score 1) 193

by amiga500 (#36579968) Attached to: Is Google Playing Fair With Groupon, et al?
I would like to see a feature added to mail programs which allows me to set a price level above which I would be interested in reading a piece of mail. LinkedIn attempted to do this with their InMail, except they set the level and they keep the fee. The $5 fee is so high that no one pays it, and instead recruiters spam you by inviting you to join their network. I'd like to set the level and I'd like to receive the fee if I open their piece of mail. If Groupon or Google Offers really wants me to read their mail, they could simply attach some postage to it. Gmail would see the postage amount and prioritize it based on my preferences. Like a CPM ad, if I don't open the email, the sender wouldn't get charged the postage.

Comment: Re:Writing printer and scanner drivers?? (Score 1) 901

by amiga500 (#35278416) Attached to: German Foreign Office Going Back To Windows
Governments and corporations often use printers which you would never find at your local Staples. For example check writing printers are one niche. Other specialty printers include wide format printers or high capacity printers. These printers also tend to have a longer life-span than your typical desktop printer. If the printers have a 10 year lifespan, the government may not have the chance to negotiate with the manufacture on getting Linux drivers.

Comment: Software only solution? (Score 1) 126

by amiga500 (#34351022) Attached to: Stephen Fry and DVD Jon Back USB Sniffer Project
Pardon my ignorance, but why can't this sort of thing be done entirely in software? On consoles this wouldn't be possible, but for Windows can't you create a virtual USB driver which is a proxy to hardware USB device? It seems folks have been doing this sort of thing with Ethernet for a long time.

Comment: Forward market (Score 1) 635

by amiga500 (#33082736) Attached to: Nuclear Energy Now More Expensive Than Solar
An electricity generator must sell their electricity to the market. A power plant may decide to sell forward 10 years of electricity in order to finance it's capital. It is then required to produce exactly the amount which it sold on each day. If it fails to produce this amount, the ISO will issue it large fines. Traditional PV solar is very unpredictable, as the sun can go behind a cloud and cut the power generated in half. This means it's very difficult to sell a contract to deliver a fixed amount of electricity. As such, large installations of solar PV have been rare in the US. However, most states have laws allowing for 'net metering'. This allows homes and small business to send small amounts of electricity back to the grid, without having to sell it to a power company in advance. In the US, coal and hydro cost less than $0.05/KWH. While I expect solar to continue to get less expensive, it's still by far the most costly way to generate electricity.

Comment: Searches are still open to side channel attacks (Score 2, Interesting) 176

by amiga500 (#32338174) Attached to: Google Rolls Out Encrypted Web Search Option
I study done a few months ago showed how one can easily deduce searches by looking at the size of the AJAX requests. http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/03/side-channel_at.html Yes, https should have been available a long time ago, and still isn't available for www.google.com.hk.

Comment: find / grep / glimpse (Score 1) 532

by amiga500 (#31124262) Attached to: Learning and Maintaining a Large Inherited Codebase?
On Windows I install cygwin, so I can execute grep. I use the following bash function to help me search code:

ffind ()
{
find . -name ".svn" -prune -o -name "CVS" -prune -o -name ".hg" -prune -o -exec grep --color=auto "$@" {} +
}

For larger code bases, I use the command line version of glimpse to search through the code. While there are a few open source code search engines, I find glimpse with a few formatting scripts works just fine.

Comment: Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (Score 2, Interesting) 252

by amiga500 (#31006172) Attached to: OpenOffice Tops 21% Market Share In Germany
I managed to complete a post-graduate course using Open Office. Assignments were given as Word documents, and needed to be submitted as the same. I always saved in Word 2000 format and my professors never had a problem. If Word was offered at the same price as OO, I would buy Word. I've only used OO because I'm too cheap and don't using office apps enough at home to justify the price. I wish OO were better than MS Office, but it's far behind. When ever I try to format text Writer never does what I want. I've tried drawing diagrams in Draw but soon gave up due to the poor interface, and Impress, well that's the worst of the lot.

Comment: Re:sounds familiar (Score 2, Informative) 422

by amiga500 (#30803650) Attached to: Wii Balance Board Gives $18,000 Medical Device a Run For Its Money
Do you know how much it costs to sell an $800 hammer? It's easy to sell a $10 hammer. For the $800 one, you need to hire a sales staff and lobbyists getting government contracts. You need to entertain your buyers, you may have to do trial runs, POC, RFP, provide 'free' training etc.. These things are all must be added into the cost of the product. I doubt Nintendo has sent salespeople to visit the doctors in the Melbourne, nor have they likely taken them out for dinner, provided them with equipment leasing options, or guaranteed a service and replacement contract. When I sent my Wii in for repair, it took six weeks and I lost all my data. You can't expect hospitals to get the same level of service as consumers.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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