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Comment Re:MenuChoice and HAM (1992) (Score 4, Insightful) 270

No, not the same thing (though similar in purpose). A shortcut is a file whose content is parsed by the software/OS to determine the location of the target, while a symbolic/soft link is a filesystem object that points to target.

Ah, so Windows 95 shortcuts weren't copying Unix, it was copying Mac OS aliases. Which were introduced in System 7, in 1991. Except that aliases still worked even if the target was renamed or moved to a different location, while shortcuts break.

Comment Re:Never consumer ready (Score 1) 229

As far as I can recall, tape backup systems have never been a consumer product. At least, I don't recall tape systems ever being marketed that way

QIC, Travan, Iomega Ditto, and DDS (DAT) tape drives were all marketed as consumer products in the 1990's.

In 2000 a DDS-2 tape cost $4.47, with a capacity of 8 GB (compressed): 56 cents per gigabyte. A 9.1 GB SCSI hard drive cost $385: $4.23 per gigabyte. Reusable optical media was not cost effective, and there wasn't anything else (that I can remember) with both high capacity and low cost.

(QIC and Travan drives were cheap, but the tapes were expensive; around $30 per tape IIRC. DDS tapes were cheap, but the drives were expensive; $700 for a DDS-2 drive in 1997.)

Comment Re:COBOL WHILE loops (Score 1) 729

Yeah, but remember that inline statements didn't come until the addition of explicit scope delimiters. The most common form actually is:

perform routine-name
  until condition

and in that case, the UNTIL really does come at the end. But it still is really a PERFORM ... WHILE.

The fact is that this trips up programmers. They forget that they need to init the condition before the PEFORM, lest it never execute.

Comment COBOL WHILE loops (Score 1) 729

Standard COBOL (COBOL-85) has both DO WHILE and DO UNTIL loops. But UNTIL loops are actually WHILE loops: they test the exit condition before executing the loop.

If you really want an UNTIL loop you have to code extra syntax:

perform until condition with test after

Comment Re:How about... (Score 2, Informative) 274

SkyDrive (formerly Windows Live Folders when it came out in August 2007) predates Google Drive by 5 years, Apples iCloud by 4 years and DropBox by a year. So how exactly is it a "me too" service?

Because Apple first introduced the iDisk in 2000.

(iDisk was part of iTools, which became .Mac, then MobileMe, and finally iCloud. iDisk was dropped in iCloud, and the iCloud storage is not comparable in functionality.)

Comment Re:Depends on what the initial contract says.... (Score 1) 338

That's the catch. The standard Wireless Customer Agreement says that you can avoid the ETF if AT&T "increase[s] the price of any of the services to which you subscribe, beyond the limits set forth in your customer service summary" (emphasis added).

The Customer Service Summary (CSS) is the piece of paper that you get when you sign up, and is unique to you. You can download it from the online account.

The back page lists the estimated credits, adjustments, other charges, government fees and taxes. So you have no case as long as the fee actually imposed is less than the estimate in the CSS.

And guess what? My CSS from a year ago has a line item for "Other AT&T Surcharges" (for which there was no actual charge until now), and the estimated amount is higher than the new "Administrative" charge.

No wonder people who complain are told it isn't a breach of contract.

Comment Re:Actually only one "loophole" matters. (Score 1) 716

Further to this, AFAIK the only western country that taxes foreign income is the USA. If Apple was headquartered in any other country it could bring home foreign earnings free of extra taxation. So only the USA has this problem of it's companies keeping their money out of the home country.

Isn't that because the USA taxes income, while other countries use a Value Added Tax (VAT)?

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre