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Comment: Re:Why would a PDP8 be expensive? (Score 1) 91

by istartedi (#49357449) Attached to: Rebuilding the PDP-8 With a Raspberry Pi

Absent interference in the market by governments and/or corporations, price is determined by supply and demand, not capability. I can't think of any rational reason for anybody to interfere with the market for PDP8s, so I'm going to assume it's a free market. Although economic theory with its neat little graphs might give one the impression that it's some kind of science, the actual shape of the supply and demand graphs (and thus the equilibrium price) are determined by emotional "ugly bags of mostly water".

Comment: Re:Time (Score 1) 296

by istartedi (#49357217) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?

Scrolled down for this. I would add, "time and testing" and "testing" usually involves wide distribution. Yes, JPEG, PNG and Open Source compression libraries have had bugs, sometimes very serious ones. I still consider it some of the best code out there. I don't think being able to read the code matters. That's a red herring, unless you need to work on it. If everybody needs to work on it, it's too unfinished to be particularly good code. The only thing I've read in some of these libraries is the headers, and mostly the comments in there. It was literally self-documenting in comments the last time I looked at it. That's some good code.

Comment: Re:End the Fed! (Score 1) 160

by istartedi (#49332017) Attached to: Energy Company Trials Computer Servers To Heat Homes

Not to mention that many diseases were a death sentence in 1913. Sure, health care was cheap. The doctor would take a chicken in trade; but all he had was a black bag. Appendicitis? surgical mortality was much higher. Polio? No vaccine. That's why FDR was in a wheel chair. Today? We can even cure some cancers if we catch them in time. Yeah, paying premiums sucks. I just paid mine today. Hate it; but I have no desire to go back to 1913.

Comment: The design is relatively simple (Score 2) 341

by istartedi (#49331939) Attached to: Feds Attempt To Censor Parts of a New Book About the Hydrogen Bomb

The design of the bombs is not the problem. Getting fissile material to build the trigger is the problem. Even a large corporation could probably not enrich uranium without attracting attention. Unless the book contains some method that Joe Sixpack can use to leach highly-enriched uranium from tailings or something, it's not a threat.

Comment: Reminds me of my old decision process (Score 1) 110

by istartedi (#49311225) Attached to: A Sucker Is Optimized Every Minute

It's been years since I've thought about it. When I was young and first got exposed to the whole concept of "making big decisions" I realized something. The process was like this: 1. Gather data. 2. Make chart of pros-and cons. 3. Come up with some kind of way to weight the data, ultimately arriving at some numbers that suggested the best course of action. 4. Screw it all and go with your gut.

It's obvious to think that you could cut out the first 3 steps. The big revelation for me was to realize that while steps 1-3 were important, the disappointment I felt over the numerical outcome was important too. It was like there was symbiosis between data and emotion.

An extreme example of "only looking at numbers" came to me in my late 30s. It was suggested that I should remain on the East Coast because "taxes are high in California".

Comment: If I really want to send money to friends... (Score 1) 95

by istartedi (#49280267) Attached to: Facebook Introduces Payment System

I already have a system. It works like this: "I'm out of cash, will you pick up this tab?". "Yeah, no problem. I owe you for pizza last night anyway". A long time ago, we were BSing over some beers and jokingly floated the notion of "pizza currency"--an entire economy backed by pizza as a highly perishable store of wealth, thus requiring some unique accommodations. In reality though, "pizza currency" transactions are small dollar figures that tend to cancel out in the long run among true friends. Everybody knows who the mooch is, and unless they have some legitimate reason for being that poor, they're not your friend.

So. It might be cute to have a hi-tech "friend money ledger" that keeps track of who is in debt, etc.; No actual banking is necessary for that. It could have been done with some Perl script in a few hours, and probably already has been done at some point; but it might do more harm than good to some friendships.

Aside from that, there's the obvious problem of giving real ACH power to FB; but others have covered that angle nicely.

Comment: Re:Or will it? (Score 1) 132

I think you may have done a better job of elucidating this than I did when I ranted along similar lines on Slashdot.

We still don't have a name for this Godwin-like law though, which perhaps is most succinctly formulated as "anything that can be inferred will be inferred". I suppose that would simply make it a corollary of Murphy's Law; but I still think it deserves its own law.

Comment: Re:Another explanation-economy is really bad (Score 1) 283

I would be happier if your links were from some place other than Zero Hedge. They're a broken clock when it comes to economic catastrophe. Sooner or later they'll be right, simply because recessions happen now and then. Sometimes I think that what might happen is that the US economy does really well, people lose interest in doom and gloom. Then, ZH shuts down due to lack of Interest, and just a few weeks later the market crashes 50%. On a smaller scale, that reminds me of Kitco firing John Nadler at the height of the most recent peaks in precious metals. Nadler was a critic of the gold market, if not an actual gold bear. He was repeatedly trashed on sites such as ZH. HIs firing, in retrospect, was a sign of a top.

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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