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Comment Re:Never consumer ready (Score 1) 229 229

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) 729 729

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) 729 729

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) 274 274

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) 338 338

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) 716 716

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)?

Comment Re:why does your phone need software running on yo (Score 2) 519 519

If I read this correctly, the bug is still entirely on Apple's side as it chews CPU whenever any program using that API is running.

If that was true then why would it by fixed by installing an update to the other winsock LSP?

My guess is the other program was not implementing their LSP in full conformance to the API.

Submission + - xkcd's long-running "Time" comic: Work of art or nerd sniping?

Fortran IV writes: Randall Munroe's xkcd webcomic has done some odd things before, but #1190, "Time," is something special. It's a time-lapse movie of two people building a sandcastle that's been updating just once an hour (twice an hour in the beginning) for well over a month (since March 25th), and after over a thousand frames shows no sign of ending; in a few days the number of frames will surpass the total number of xkcd comics. It's been mentioned in The Economist. Some of its readers have called it the One True Comic; others have called it a MMONS (Massively Multiplayer Online Nerd Sniping). It's sparked its own wiki, its own jargon (Timewaiters, newpix, Blitzgirling), and a thread on the xkcd user forum that runs to over 20,000 posts from 1100 distinct posters. Is "Time" a fascinating work of art, a deep sociological experiment—or the longest-running shaggy-dog joke in history? Randall Munroe's not saying.

Comment Re:Facts? (Score 1) 544 544

There seems to be confusion about the Apple v. Microsoft lawsuits.

Microsoft won the 1988 to 1994 lawsuit over infringement of the GUI by Windows 2.0 and Windows 3.0, but Apple's case was hamstrung due to a licensing agreement for Windows 1.0. The court ruled that the vast majority of the infringement was covered by the licensing agreement, and the only remaining elements were not original to Apple.

The 2nd case was in 1997, when Apple alleged that Microsoft and Intel stole QuickTime code. Apple threatened Microsoft with a multi-billion dollar lawsuit and Microsoft threatened to cancel Office for Mac. They reached a settlement deal, with public announcement that Microsoft would continue Office development and buy $150 million of non-voting Apple stock. Oh, and there would be cross-licensing of patents.

It wasn't public knowledge at the time that the $150 million was really to settle the QuickTime theft, but the details came out in the 1998 US vs. Microsoft case.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.