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Comment: Re:Umm... (Score 1) 80

by darkmeridian (#48905741) Attached to: SpaceX, US Air Force Settle Spy Sat Dispute

The FTC authorized the merger as long as some terms in a consent degree were followed by both parties. It's very possible that the FTC just said "yeah, whatever the Pentagon wants" and waved it through. But to be honest, I'm not sure if keeping the two companies separate would have been any more efficient. It's already a duopoly with a single, captive buyer, and there's no way that one provider is going to charge much less than the other guy. It's like the airlines. One company set its rates on Monday, and on Tuesday, everyone else sets the same rates.

It also sounds like Boeing and Lockheed Martin was suing their crap out of each other before joining the ULA. If you look at the KC-X program to provide an aeriel refueling plane to succeed the KC-135, lawsuits can keep a program from going forward for years. The Air Force/Pentagon/Boeing/Lockheed/FTC might have just looked at all this horseshit, and said, screw it.


Comment: Re:Let's hope (Score 1) 253

by darkmeridian (#48879747) Attached to: IRS Warns of Downtime Risk As Congress Makes Cuts

The IRS has always promulgated regulations after Congress passes a statute. This is not unique in our growing administrative law state. Congress may tell the Patent Office to allow patents. Then the Patent Office, which is more specialized than Congress, will work out the details in the form of regulations. The same is true of the IRS.

Comment: Re:Finally. A Google plan I can get behind (Score 1) 101

Well, you have to understand that Google provides many other services, and their customer support isn't necessarily that good for those services. If you bought a phone from Google Play, for instance, it was a pain to fix things. No humans. You had to send an email and hope for the best.

Comment: Re:Anyone else concerned? (Score 3) 164

by TheMeuge (#48811983) Attached to: Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor

Is ist just me or is anyone else actually concerned that a have-a-go engineer can apparently quite easily achieve significantly bettr results than a team of so-called expert doctors in their own field?

RTFA please.
The description does indeed try to imply that the above is the case. But it's far from the truth, as much as internet armchair experts would like to believe.

The article itself appears to state that the problem was that 1) the initial advice was to wait, which after (appropriately) consulting with a number of experts they had done, and a followup showed progression. Even the first advice was not totally misplaced. Then what happened was that he suggested that the neurosurgeons basically invent a procedure specifically for him, and used 3D printing to create a model for them. The result was he did find someone willing to try (my guess is they refused the conventional approach) a less invasive procedure that removed 95% of the tumor. Now that may sound revolutionary, but neurosurgery is a tricky business, and depending on the tumor 95% may be equivalent to buying a little time while doing nothing at all, especially since they already knew that the tumor was growing aggressively. If the conventional approach would have had more of a chance of removing more of the tumor, possibly all of it with negative margins, that would be a far more definitive approach. Doctors aren't always right, but if you get a sufficiently experienced expert opinion, it'll usually reflect what is possible to do currently, with a reasonable margin of both safety and success.

Comment: Contractor Was Held Responsible! (Score 1) 166

by darkmeridian (#48794427) Attached to: Nuclear Waste Accident Costs Los Alamos Contractor $57 Million

The problems with the system are obvious but I think it's hilarious that a contractor was finally held responsible for fucking up. I mean, they lost 90% of their contract price for this year because of this accident. Hopefully, this would make them act more properly now that their bottom line is at risk.

Comment: Re:Build the whole plane out of the black box (Score 1) 95

by darkmeridian (#48794411) Attached to: AirAsia QZ8501 Black Box Found

At some point in time, each and every aircraft will have satellite Internet. How hard would it be at that point to have the black box data streamed in near-real time to a command base? You can make the link one-way so even if security is compromised, there would be no risk to flight systems.

Comment: Re:Amazon is waiting for a competitor (Score 1) 155

by darkmeridian (#48754855) Attached to: The Fire Phone Debacle and What It Means For Amazon's Future

Amazon has been successful because it has been diversifying into various revenue sources instead of relying on only online sales. Amazon makes money from: (1) Kindles and their content; (2) Amazon Web Services; (3) online advertising to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year; and (4) selling on Amazon.

Amazon's misfires on the Fire tablet and phone are not the mistakes of a company that is trying to preserve a monopoly. It is a company trying to expand their revenue base and not succeeding at first. I have an Amazon TV Stick. Now I look at Amazon Prime Videos all the time. At some point in time, my cheap ass will be buying or renting videos from them.

Comment: Re:Amazon is waiting for X... (Score 1) 155

by darkmeridian (#48754803) Attached to: The Fire Phone Debacle and What It Means For Amazon's Future

This has to be more highly rated. Amazon has its fingers in many pies, but in terms of putting physical products in your hands, Amazon is really facing off with Walmart. We've all read the crazy articles about Walmart's distribution network where suppliers have a ten minute slot to show up and unload their trucks into Walmart's warehouses. Well, this pretty much applies to their online sales as well.

Comment: Re:IBM? 103 years and counting (Score 3, Insightful) 332

by darkmeridian (#48696599) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Companies Won't Be Around In 10 Years?

IBM will stay around for a long, long time because they spend a ridiculous amount on research and development. I know this is an imperfect metric, but IBM has has been granted the most US patents for twenty straight years. These patents are good for over a billion dollars in licensing rights each year, and give IBM blanket immunity from patent infringement lawsuits from any practicing entity. IBM created technology as varied as excimer lasers used for LASIK surgeries, microprocessors used in the Playstation 3, XBox 360, and the Wii, bar codes, and Watson.

IBM has moved from mainframes to data analysis. Heck, IBM has announced deals with Apple to push into the enterprise and with Twitter to mine data. IBM will be around for a long, long time. Even if it suffers huge setbacks and missteps, its patent portfolio will keep it in the running for a long, long, time.

There's this story about IBM, the patent troll. A bunch of IBM dudes show up at Sun Microsystems claiming infringement of seven patents. After the IBM presentation, the Sun guys get up and explain in detail how these patents are all bullshit, and not infringed. The IBM dudes say, well, we have 10,000 patents. We can go back to our office and come back with seven patents that you do infringe. Sun had to write a check.


Comment: Re:Ten years? (Score 2) 332

by darkmeridian (#48696423) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Companies Won't Be Around In 10 Years?

Microsoft is definitely going to be around in 10-20 years, if only because of the captive audience that is their enterprise customers. The large corporations made huge investments in training, customized software, and back-end support for Microsoft Windows, and Office. Heck, there's no real alternative to Outlook for businesses, and Excel/Powerpoint are industry standards at this point. Moving to another operation system or office suite will require back end changes, and retraining their IT staff and employees, and Microsoft has moved quickly to fix all the fuckups with Windows 8, which was a stupid attempt to grab up the consumer market for commodity products.

Enterprises are okay with paying the Microsoft tax because they are more concerned about long-term support. You can always find someone who can provide technical support for Microsoft server products, but it's harder for Linux.

In sum, Microsoft just needs to be "good enough" for its enterprise customers to stay with their solutions. Microsoft has been playing the "follow the follower" strategy that game theorists suggest that market leaders should be doingâ"when you have a large lead, you shouldn't innovate. Rather, you should let people with smaller market shares bear the burden of innovation, and when they succeed, you follow them. That's what has been called "embrace and extend" but you don't embrace dead ends. That's why you see Microsoft getting into business cloud solutions (Office 365) to compete with Google Apps.

Also, Microsoft will only get stronger as Intel's mobile processors get more powerful. You already have tablets running Windows 8. Within five years, you will see smartphones running full versions of Windows.

Comment: Re:Not seeing the issue here (Score 1) 209

by darkmeridian (#48653191) Attached to: Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts

I am pretty wary of the police state but even so, cops have to be able to lie in order to be successful in their primary mission of stopping crime and arresting criminals. Pretend that you are interrogating a murder suspect. You find the gun, and there are fingerprints on it, but they're too messed up to give you a solid match. But you have a suspect, and you tell him that his prints on the gun, and he should confess for a better sentence, which is also a lie because it's the DA and the court that sets his sentence. So he confesses.

Now, is this unfair? Perhaps. Perhaps you'll say that this leads to false confessions. But how is the police going to stop crime otherwise? The suspect will simply ask if they have his fingerprints, DNA, or any forensic evidence, then the police either has to answer truthfully or refuse to answer, which he can take as evidence that the evidence doesn't exist, then he sits back and relaxes.

Comment: Re:I just don't understand (Score 1) 1128

by darkmeridian (#48476471) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Read the grand jury testimony. The witness who said that Mike Brown was kneeling when he was shot in the head execution style changed her testimony three times while on the stand. She initially had told the FBI that Mike Brown was shot four times in the back after he was on the sidewalk prone. She then changed her story after she read that he was only shot in the front, not the back. The witness was completely unbelievable.

The blood spatter evidence reveals that Mike Brown was headed towards Darren Wilson even after he was shot. The spatter does not reveal how fast he was moving, but it contradicts some witnesses who said that he dropped to the ground almost immediately.

What Mike Brown did immediately before getting shot is relevant to whether or not Darren Wilson was liable. If Mike Brown had not done anything violent at all, and was headed towards DW, then DW could not shoot. But MB had tried to get DW's gun. (There was a gunshot wound to MB's hand between the index finger and thumb, and his blood was found on the gun and inside of the car.) A reasonable person would fear that a person who had already went for the gun would be trying to get the gun again if he's walking towards you AFTER YOU DREW YOUR GUN.

Comment: Depends On The Wintel Monopoly (Score 1) 91

by darkmeridian (#48382095) Attached to: Intel Claims Chip Suppliers Will Flock To Its Mobile Tech

Microsoft is the dark horse in this race. Intel's trump card is that their products run on x86. Computing power is getting to the point where mobile devices are able to run Windows 8 quite well. I have a Dell Venue Pro 8 from last year that can run full-on Windows 8.1, and it's based on the old Atom. While the device has flaws, it is still goddamned amazing (and very useful!) to have Windows instead of Android in terms of application compatibility.

The new Intel Broadwell processors promise even better performance and lower power consumption. If Microsoft does not fuck up Windows 10, then this would push sales of Intel-based tablets. Why bother running Android or iOS when you can get desktop applications running on your tablet, even if you pay a slight premium? Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 sold $900 million in the last quarter. Competing devices such as Yoga 3 would only get more users onto the idea of a Wintel tablet.

I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943