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Comment: Re:OT: ":Fine money should be burned (Score 1) 362

by TheRaven64 (#48195655) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected
Burning the money actually works reasonably well as an alternative. It reduces the money supply and therefore lowers inflation, resulting in a relative increase in the value of everyone's money. The counter argument is that rich people profit more, but generally if you have enough money lying around that the effect would be noticeable, you've invested most of it in things that have a much better return on investment than cash, so as a proportion of net worth if favours the people whose money is mostly money (predominantly poor people).

Comment: Re:It is a common thing right now in other cities (Score 1) 362

by TheRaven64 (#48195603) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected
That's fine, if late fees are for their original purpose (preventing people using a shared resource from impacting the quality of service for others). It's only a problem when they require them for revenue. Ideally, you want to completely decouple the revenue from punitive fines from the organisation that can set them.

Comment: Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (Score 3, Insightful) 362

by TheRaven64 (#48195549) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected
And then those same elected officials are subject to calls to cut taxes, but keep public services the same. Want to be reelected? It's difficult if you voted against lowering taxes and your opponent promises that he won't. But no one notices when you make a decision that raises revenue at the expense of safety.

Comment: Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (Score 1) 362

by TheRaven64 (#48195487) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected
I've been in quite a few places in the US where the lights one way turn red at exactly the same time that the lights going the other way turn green. In the UK, there's always a few second pause between the two to ensure that the junction is clear. We like to mock drivers in the US for its high level of road accidents per driven mile, but a lot of the blame goes to the road and signal design, which is just dangerous in a lot of places.

Comment: Re:In time (Score 1) 139

by TheRaven64 (#48194083) Attached to: Doctor Who To Teach Kids To Code

My ability to put 'latex manuscript.tex' and 'dvi2pdf manuscript.dvi' into a makefile is not magic, it is basic automation

It's also redundant and likely not to do the right thing (ironic, given previous comments about libraries). Look for latexmk, which is part of the standard LeXLive distribution. Oh, and since this is not 1970 anymore, let's skip the DVI step and go straight to PDF with pdflatex (latexmk -pdf manuscript.tex is probably what you actually want).

Comment: Re:I am not going to convert (Score 1) 233

by TheRaven64 (#48193991) Attached to: Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime
You can checkout a subdirectory if (and that's a big proviso) you structure your code in such a way that each directory is a separate git repository, referenced as a submodule. The submodule points to a specific version of the other repository. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of issues with this approach:

The biggest is that you have to think about what parts of the project you might want to check out individually before you start. For new (small) projects, it's sometimes easy, but typically projects grow organically and parts get factored out. There's no good way of turning a subtree in a git repo into a new repo preserving history (and no way at all that allows you to merge into both).

The second big one is that you lose atomic commits (the thing we all switched to svn from cvs for in the first place). If you only have one layer of submodules, it's quite nice because committing something to the submodule and updating the version of the submodule are independent. That means that you can make changes to a component, unit test them, commit, and then later update their consumers. Unfortunately, there's no way of atomically updating two independent subtrees simultaneously.

The third annoyance is the most embarrassing for a DVCS: the remote repository for upstream is identified by an absolute URL. You can do relative URLs, but they don't work very well, which means that if you want people to use a local version then it's quite convoluted. There's no simple 'clone this repo and all of the submodules in such a way that someone else can clone my copy and it all work sensibly'.

In general, the dire UI of git has been an unexpected advantage. No one can stand working with it, so people have been motivated to write nice GUIs that make it tolerable.

Comment: Re:Newton anyone? (Score 1) 81

by TheRaven64 (#48193681) Attached to: IBM Pays GlobalFoundries $1.5 Billion To Shed Its Chip Division
Freescale mostly sells PowerPC chips for automotive and similar applications. They already had the low power parts, but they didn't have them at the speeds that Apple wanted. Most of their customers use their chips for engine control or entertainment systems. They also made the chips for consoles. Their biggest weakness was that Apple was the cheapest supplier of a PowerPC system that you could develop on, and they were undercut by a long way by Intel machines. This is the same problem that Alpha had: it didn't matter that their Windows NT systems were faster than Intel's, they didn't get them into the hands of developers so everyone wrote software for Intel.

Comment: Re:Newton anyone? (Score 1) 81

by TheRaven64 (#48186769) Attached to: IBM Pays GlobalFoundries $1.5 Billion To Shed Its Chip Division
ARM exists largely because of Apple. They didn't want to buy mobile chips from a competitor (Acorn), so invested in a joint venture so that Acorn would spin off their chip division into a company that would sell to both. They then ignored ARM after killing the Newton though. Many of the people working on the current ARM cores at Apple formerly worked on a PowerPC processor at PA Semi. I think, if IBM and Freescale, had been serious about selling desktop chips that Apple would have been happy to avoid a load of software costs by having a single CPU family for their entire product suite. IBM didn't want to compete with Intel in mobile chips and Freescale kept promising exciting parts and never quite bringing them to market.

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta