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Comment: Error? (Score 1) 227

by cwsumner (#49764993) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

I think the error bars on his calculation are much bigger than his answer.
He does not know anything, and neither do any of the others. We don't kmow how many are out there, at least not yet. And we don't know what the relative size mixture is.

It doesn't make sense to worry about stuff that you can't do anything about. On the other hand, it would be a good idea to assign at least a few people to find out what they can. 8-)

Comment: Re:Yet looks more modern than 8/10 (Score 1) 377

by cwsumner (#49764887) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

... All ruined in the name of anti skuemorphism which was the most advanced progress made in gui development since win 3.0. What a shame sigh

MS was terrified that the standard Windows QUI was too high-resolution for smartphones. And they wanted to be on all the smartphones.

So they rushed to change the QUI to a low-resolution design, just like the old DOS apps.

Unfortunatly, about the time they were all ready to go, the smartphones go new screens that are higher resolution than the old PCs!!
Fail... 8-)

And we get DOS app screens. Yay! (Not) 8-(

Comment: Re:Oh without a doubt, Windows 3.0 was a massive e (Score 1) 377

by cwsumner (#49764833) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

There was a product called DesQview, that did all that before win3 ever came out. And it did it better, more reliably, faster, and with the existing app. software.

Not the oly one: There was Multi-User Dos, by Digital Research. Yes the one who did CP/M and DR-Dos, and was the company to talk to when IBM looked at making PCs.

It was a Multi-thread OS with multiple users and multiple consoles and terminals, like an old DEC or IBM mainframe, but it ran Dos apps. Not just one per user, the users terminals could have several threads or "virtual terminals". It originally was 8086 and 80286, ours ran on 386, and was upgraded for later BIOS versions and CPUs. Even had an API, similar to Sockets, for talking between apps.

But, it was not a QUI, just a Dos command line. Although many of the Dos apps looked "sort of GUI" by using smart terminal commands. (That included Clarion for Dos.)

I never looked at MS Windows until Win95, because I was much more impressed with Muli-User Dos. And it was still used for the main computers until XP came out.

Comment: Re:Big deal for MS, shit for the rest of the world (Score 1) 377

by cwsumner (#49764731) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

... But Windows is full of crap, and full of "If you can't make it work right, make it look good - Bill Gates" that it basically caused IT to be shit. ...

Here is another one: "Don't worry about how big or slow it is, computers will get bigger and faster. - Bill Gates". While technically he was right, he was very wrong. It is why MS stuff is so bloated and slow compared to other stuff.

Comment: Re:#define BITLEN 48 (Score 1) 205

by cwsumner (#49752311) Attached to: Australian Law Could Criminalize the Teaching of Encryption

Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

If you're going to just go ahead and assume it works as intended, sure.

I think you missed the point. What the line means is that Democracy doesn't work as intended, but even then it is better than others.
The major advantage is that we can have a revolution without shooting as many people. At least as long as most agree to follow the rules...

Comment: Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 1) 607

by cwsumner (#49739149) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

You mean jack income tax rates up to 90%? Half kidding, but I'm curious what you see about the differences between Democrats now vs. JFK era.

IIRC the 90% marginal rate was under Eisenhower. And I'd be all for returning to that!

Keep in mind that when the politicians say "tax the Rich", they mean anyone who has a job. So it includes you and me, probably... 8-)

Comment: Re:Pretty sure the heat death of the universe will (Score 1) 386

by cwsumner (#49737255) Attached to: Criticizing the Rust Language, and Why C/C++ Will Never Die

What you say about how well-maintained the old software is, is true. Good programming can extend the life of programs a lot.

But the ideas about "throwing away the old stuff" have been around at least since Assembler language, and it is often an excuse for lazyness. When anyone encounters something really new to them, it causes what the psychologists call "Learning Frustration". People that can't endure frustration will clutch at any way to avoid learning things, and they often have the idea that if they write it new it will be less frustrating.

This can result in the loss of the only documentation of what really needs to be done, i.e., the old source code. The "specs" are never correct and seldom even updated to the last version of the software. The managers seldom know exactly what is being done. The specs you are given new, are wrong. The only way to detect the errors, is to know what is being done in the old program.

Bottom line: You have to learn the old code just to be able to successfully write new code. And by then it is usually less time to update the old code. (If the term "update" includes perhaps converting to new languages.) Or at least, then you can make a rational decision about whether to use the old code.

Sometimes, the hard way is actually the easy way! 8-)

Comment: Re:Those pour [sic] souls (Score 1) 94

by cwsumner (#49729701) Attached to: Biologists Create Self-Healing Concrete

I think that had more to do with their use of Lead for piping and the aqueduct.

Lead piping and such is not that much of a danger. If it was we would all show lead levels in our blood, and we don't.

The Romans discovered this really neat artificial sweetner, though. It was a lead compound and they used it in many their wines.
-That- is what caused the problems!!

Comment: If Engineers... (Score 1) 615

by cwsumner (#49726019) Attached to: The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks

"If Engineers built buildings the way Programmers write programs, the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization!"

If you think computers would be better than truck drivers, you not only don't know driving, you don't know computers. Computers -can- make mistakes and it does not always cause a crash. Sometimes, it leaves the computer running with corrupted data. Quite aside from bugs in the programs.

This sounds like salesmen and college professors looking for grants.

But it is true that technological changes can cause disruptions in the economy...

Comment: Something... (Score 1) 402

Most likely, something that has not been invented yet. And that we probably would not recognise or even understand.

A good bet would be an engineered intellegent organism. Whether mechanical or organic would probably be a moot point, since advanced forms of either would be indistiguishable from the other.

Comment: Re:Not at all (Score 1) 461

by cwsumner (#49700325) Attached to: Does Using an AOL Email Address Suggest You're a Tech Dinosaur?

... I would guess 99% of the haters never actually used AOL.

Actually, they had good reasons. AOL wanted to be the first Google but didn't know how. They wanted to be the IBM of the internet. It was impossible to cancel your account once it was started. They just kept charging you forever. It was years before they got sued enough to finally cancel some accounts.

Plus, they made so much on Dial-Up that they refused to move to highspeed. You had to get a new account with a different ISP for faster connection. So you paid for both!!! 8-(

They straightened up later, after enough competition, but it was too late.

Comment: Re:The good old days... (Score 1) 461

by cwsumner (#49700259) Attached to: Does Using an AOL Email Address Suggest You're a Tech Dinosaur?

Ok, but how did it become fashionable to tie an onion to your belt?

It keeps insects away. And partly covers up the smell of farts.

Believe it or not, keeping insects away before repellant spray was a big thing. The alternative was something like rancid bear grease, which smelled terrible but worked.

Comment: Ha! (Score 1) 461

by cwsumner (#49700217) Attached to: Does Using an AOL Email Address Suggest You're a Tech Dinosaur?

You think AOL is old? My current email address uses ""!! I got it before there was AOL and it was Dial-Up and they were the biggest company on the web.

Of course it doesn't go there any more, it was bought by a newer company. ... wait for it ... now it's actually AOL. 8-)

On the other hand, if you go to "" you will see the website, and it is still updated. Nothing on the Internet really dies...

Now you kids get off of my lawn! 8-{

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend