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Comment: Traffic pumping (Score 2) 56

by jtara (#48915985) Attached to: FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems

How much of this, though, is due to abusive practices like traffic pumping?

There were hearings and talk of reform. Did anything every happen?

Is it possible that the reasons that long-distance calls (in or out) don't complete because they've been too greedy abusively-routing 900-calls and the like through these areas?

Comment: Re:Escaping only helps you until a war. (Score 2) 290

by khasim (#48911881) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

The Army alone has about 500,000 soldiers. A lot of them are in support roles but a private military also needs support.

Where are the families of the people in the private military? Because if they have to go back to the USofA (the "enemy" in this scenario) to visit Mom and Dad then there's going to be a problem. So you'll need room on the uber rich estate for the families of your military. And your support personnel.

Which brings up the infrastructure to support those families. Schools, hospitals, etc. Which means more support personnel.

Which means more schools and hospitals, etc.

Of course you can skip that if you want to. But remember who has the guns.

Comment: Re: Scaled Composites renamed (Score 1) 38

by jd (#48909771) Attached to: Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

Solar sail can achieve 25% light speed, according to NASA, and Alpha Centauri is 4 light years away.

You want a manned mission (with robots doing all the actual work) to determine if the conventional wisdom that a manned mission to the outer planets is physically impossible is correct. Even if the pilot dies, you learn the furthest a manned mission can reach. There's seven billion people, you can afford to expend one or two. Ideally, they'd be volunteers and there'll be no shortage of them, but if you're concerned about valuable life, send members of the Tea Party.

Comment: Re: Scaled Composites renamed (Score 1) 38

by jd (#48909107) Attached to: Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

No big surprise. The military are willing to invest what it takes for what they need. Military entities are, by necessity, pitifully naive when it comes to anything useful, but once they specify what they think they want, they don't shirk at the cost, they get the job done. A pointless job, perhaps, but nonetheless a completed job.

The corporate sector wants money. Things don't ever have to get done, the interest on monies paid is good enough and there hasn't been meaningful competition in living memory. Because one size never fits all, it's not clear competition is even what you want. Economic theory says it isn't.

The only other sector, as I have said many times before, that is remotely in the space race is the hobbyist/open source community. In other words, the background behind virtually all the X-Prize contestants, the background behind the modern waverider era, the background that the next generation of space enthusiasts will come from (Kerbel Space Program and Elite: Dangerous will have a similar effect on the next generation of scientists and engineers as Star Trek the old series and Doctor Who did in the 1960s, except this time it's hands-on).

I never thought the private sector would do bugger all, it's not in their blood. They're incapable of innovation on this kind of scale. It's not clear they're capable of innovation at all, all the major progress is bought or stolen from researchers and inventors.

No, with civilian government essentially walking away, there's only two players in the field and whilst the hobbyists might be able to crowdsource a launch technology, it'll be a long time before they get to space themselves. The military won't get there at all, nobody to fight, so the hobbyists will still be first with manned space missions, but it's going to take 40-50 years at best.

We have the technology today to get a manned mission to Alpha Centauri and back. It would take 15-20 years for the journey and the probability of survival is poor, but we could do it. By my calculations, it would take 12 years to build the components and assemble them in space. Only a little longer than it took for America to get the means to go to the moon and back. We could actually have hand-held camera photos taken in another solar system and chunks of rocky debris from the asteroid belt there back on Earth before Mars One launches its first rocket AND before crowdfunded space missions break the atmosphere.

All it takes is putting personal egos and right wing politics on the shelf, locking the cupboard and then lowering it into an abandoned mineshaft, which should then be sealed with concrete.

Comment: So it was the 1950's PATRIOT ACT (Score 5, Interesting) 272

Because short of the martial law of troops in the streets with body armor and M16's..... Oh wait... Our COPS have those now.
Well they dont have assult vehicles...... Wait....
Nor do they have grenade launchers...... Welll.....

So basically they have been planning on the shit we have today for decades?

Comment: Re:Terrible names (Score 1) 359

by jandrese (#48907909) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops
At least the old Unix names were at least somewhat relevant to their purpose, even if severely shortened to save keystrokes:

grep: Global Regular Expression Print -- Ok, still pretty bizarre sounding if you're not a bearded unixguy
man: Short for MANual. Straightforward.
awk: Beats me. I think it's named after the author's initials or something
sed: Stream EDitor: does what it says, edits streams of characters

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 2) 527


Google are a highly effective propaganda company.

But, as providers of a platform for developers, they are absolutely horrible. Writing software for their "platform" is like building a house on quicksand.

They make me look back on the time spent developing for Microsofts products with fondness.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 471

by ghjm (#48907827) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Well, I was programming in the 1970s, so this is recollection for me, not history. And you've got it wrong in either case.

The famous port of the Unix kernel to C was in 1972/73, not 1970, and at that time, C was still a private language within Bell Labs. The K&R book "The C Programming Language" was published in 1978, but C didn't gain much traction outside Bell Labs until Microsoft and Borland released compilers for it in the mid 1980s.

In the period from 1965-1970, computer science was taught using ALGOL, and between 1970 and 1980, it was taught using PASCAL - mostly the UCSD p-System. The Christmas shopping season of 1977 was the first time you could buy a computer and take it to your house, and these machines were programmed using interpreted BASIC and hand-coded assembler - nobody in microcomputers had ever heard of C. The first compiled language for microcomputers that had any widespread success was Turbo Pascal, released in 1983 for CP/M and DOS. C did not make any serious inroads into microcomputer popularity until the mid to late 1980s.

This wasn't just some random thing - there were good reasons for it. Many of the microcomputers of that era didn't have curly brace keys, so there was a version of C where you could type (* and *) instead of { and }. But more to the point, compiling Pascal is incredibly faster and easier than compiling C. Pascal does not have a preprocessor, header files or multiple passes - the syntax of the language lends itself to being fast and cheap to use on extremely minimal hardware architectures.

Some of the features of Turbo Pascal - like the "with" statement and the set operator - have never been duplicated in any other language. Trying to paint Pascal as an also-ran to C is both historically and technically incorrect.

Comment: They also are investigating other things... (Score 4, Funny) 143

by Lumpy (#48903959) Attached to: Secret Service Investigating Small Drone On White House Grounds

They also found some very high tech surveillance drones made from some high tech composites made to look like common folded notebook paper. It seems that these high tech spy planes also use a printed circuitry that looks like words on the surface.

The secret service is still researching these severe breaches of security. While they let a crazy guy run across the lawn and enter the white house in broad day light.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer