Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:from the what-until-they-get-a-load-of-this dep (Score 1) 291

by Immerman (#48668381) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

Ah, but state those rules out loud (assuming you are already confident as to what they are) and the comma or its lack will almost certainly be apparent in your speech, at least to an astute listener. Which is also the reason I use it sporadically in "and" conjunctions as well - in that case the alternatives are usually roughly equivalent, but may have subtly different implications. I write like I speak, and commas appear in the places where I pause to separate concepts. It may not always adhere to the formal rules, but is usually clearly comprehensible. I think.

Which raises the question: how to write a sentence to proactively state that you do in fact mean for "draw and discard" to be a discrete concept?
If I say "I have one pile each for for my carrots, lettuce, , macaroni and cheese.", does that clarify that I do in fact have three piles*? The english language would well benefit from an equivalent to mathematical parenthesis, or perhaps something somewhat more expressive. Conciseness in language is not something that should have to depend on the normal usage of language being concise - it never will be. For maximum utility and adoption it should be something where the various common permutations can be seamlessly dropped in to a casual conversation where conciseness is useful, before disappearing again into the rough-and-tumble realities of casual conversation.

* Yes, I do consider .", to be the correct punctuation - how else would you unambiguously characterize the way that sentence should be read?

Comment: Re:Gregory was just not interesting on the show (Score 2) 126

by Immerman (#48659963) Attached to: Comcast's Lobbyists Hand Out VIP Cards To Skip the Customer Service Wait

Perhaps I'm out of touch - last time I watched broadcast TV Fox News was one of the major players.

And did I say anything about the relative merits of other "news" stations? I simply chose the station that I suspected was one of AC's preffered disinformation channels.

Comment: Re:Right... (Score 1) 126

by Immerman (#48659941) Attached to: Comcast's Lobbyists Hand Out VIP Cards To Skip the Customer Service Wait

Well, I won't argue with you there - giving more power over regional decisions to individual city districts would probably help as well. But I can assure you that even in small towns regulatory capture results in... sub-optimal implementations.

As for your conduit/pole renting scheme - that might work. But I suspect what would happen is that the existing monopolist would make clear that they'd be selling their deployed lines at more than the cost to deploy all new lines, severely disincentivizing any competing bids, especially when you consider that the city is unlikely to allow significant down time to deploy new lines.

Private easements through people's back yards are probably a non-starter, especially for power - one of the reasons lines run down streets is because of ease of maintenance and relative safety in case of damage - a power line downed in the street is far less likely to start neighborhood threatening fires than one in your back yard. Underground conduit would be less of an issue though.

Comment: Re:Gregory was just not interesting on the show (Score 1) 126

by Immerman (#48659895) Attached to: Comcast's Lobbyists Hand Out VIP Cards To Skip the Customer Service Wait

No, I'm just following ACs lead - if we should fire newscasters for burying a story because it doesn't fit their narrative, then what should we do to "news" stations that knowingly lie to their viewers on a regular basis, and have even successfully argued in court that FCC policies against intentionally lying in the news are only non-binding "guidelines"?

Comment: Re:Duck & Cover? (Score 1) 69

by Immerman (#48659823) Attached to: ESA Carries Out Asteroid Impact Drill

Actually dinosaurs evolved from reptiles, not the other way around. Hence the "age or reptiles" coming before the "age of dinosaurs". Reptiles couldn't compete with their more advanced, probably at least somewhat warm-blooded relatives, and lost their position as the dominant class of land-dwelling animal life.

And of course birds are descended from only one small class of dinosaurs that included such notable examples as the T-rex, the vast majority of dinosaur gene-lines vanished forever, and it's hard to look at a chicken or sparrow and not feel that it's been much diminished from the former glory of it's ancestors. But I'm sure some descendant of the squirrel monkey will do justice to the primate gene line after the next great extinction event.

Comment: Re:NetworkManager (Score 2) 163

by Immerman (#48659655) Attached to: NetworkManager 1.0 Released After Ten Years Development

And these are normal activities for an average home user who just want's to be able to watch cat videos at whatever hotspot they happen to be connected to?

The point of tools like this is to simplify things for people who don't know or care about the details - the technological 99% if you will. If you actually know what you're doing there are absolutely far more powerful tools available, should you have the need for them. But would you really want to inflict those eldritch horrors on your grandmother? (the one who has trouble using email, I'm sure the leet hacker one wrote her own tools from scratch.) Or really, on anyone else you end up playing unpaid tech support for?

Comment: Re:Right... (Score 1) 126

by Immerman (#48659557) Attached to: Comcast's Lobbyists Hand Out VIP Cards To Skip the Customer Service Wait

Not specifically - but any situation that requires per-customer infrastructure buildout or otherwise benefits from network effects or economies of scale will tend to naturally form a monopoly, even without government interference. And when deploying and maintaining such infrastructure requires digging up streets or hanging stuff on utility poles, the local populace (by way of government) has a vested interest in minimizing redundant infrastructure and the associated risks and inconveniences of maintenance. Which pretty much translates to accepting the inevitability of a monopoly, and at least strapping some regulations on them in th process. Of course regulatory capture tends to undermine those pretty quickly.

Personally I think a better way to handle such natural monopolies might be to separate infrastructure from service: There's one power line company, one dataline company, one waterline company, etc. But all of them are prohibited from selling any services to customers - instead they can only rent customer access to service providers (probably at a flat rate, with mandatory service availability - that's the price of getting the monopoly). Slightly complicated for things like water and power where there's not really a 1:1 correspondence between source and sink, but flow metering is already in place, so really it's mostly a matter of just making sure the incoming water/power is meeting the required quality standards.

That wouldn't totally fix the problem, but at least it would help avoid regulatory capture since you've got competing business interests lobbying different sides of the regulatory debate. Might be able to improve things even further by having the -line companies not actually own the infrastructure, instead being essentially a deployment and maintenance company hired by the government to service the infrastructure - not unlike road maintenance crews. Get too greedy and the city/county can just fire them and hire a replacement: the infrastructure belongs to the people. You'd probably have some tragedy of the commons issues there, but carefully incentivized contracts could probably keep that to a minimum, and it's not like the current situation is leading to companies falling all over themselves to properly maintain the infrastructure.

Waste not, get your budget cut next year.