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Comment: Race to the bottom... (Score 5, Insightful) 264

by joh (#49334919) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple

The 'race to the bottom' is just utterly normal for any market with lots of competition. The only way to escape then is setting yourself apart enough to command higher prices instead of trying to undercut the cheapest offers and this in itself is a highly competitive field (as in: works only for a few apps, not for all).

Face it, apps are like cups of coffee: Either you sell just coffee and people will buy the cheapest one or you manage to add some (real or subjective) value to your cups of coffee so you can sell with better margins.

But yes, it's almost impossible to make a living from $0.99 apps.

Comment: Re:What's the money for? (Score 1) 90

by joh (#48469211) Attached to: WaveNET – the Floating, Flexible Wave Energy Generator

Excuse me, but this is like your employer asking you why you want more pay for your work than necessary to keep you from starving until the next workday... I mean, maybe he doesn't WANT to pay you more than that but you DO want as much as you can get.

Slashdot is a business, not a public service.

Comment: Delays? (Score 1) 46

by joh (#48445173) Attached to: Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays

Not unheard of in such things, really. If you're not prepared to push through some bad times, forget about it. Either push on or leave it. I still think VG is hardly more than a stunt for the rich (and a dangerous one too) but you're not going to dunk even your toes into space without running into problems now and then, often producing lots of debris... and costs.

Comment: Entropy always goes downhill (Score 2) 550

God. OK. While I agree with you in many things, there are a few things that you seem to have missed:

1. Debian (or general-purpose Linux generally) isn't simple anymore. These days are over and there's no way to get them back. Really. This is true for EVERYTHING in Debian/Linux and in every other OS. General-purpose systems tend to become more complex to be more easy on the outside. And there's no way around that.

2. The "community". I don't even know where to start. The "community" has turned into a mob that knows everything and gets nothing done. I'm sick of that. Strong opinions about things with no alternative implementations are worth exactly nothing.

3. Sit down and develop something better and defend it.

4. There is no step 4.

Meanwhile I really fear that several community-based projects will happily fail just because there are legions of people who know perfectly what they hate and have no precise idea what they want to have or even would sit down and DO IT. Do I like SystemD? No, it sucks, just like every other comparable system. Do you know what I hate even more? Not having ANYTHING to work with and to rely on it staying around.

Debian (and Wikipedia by the way too) is becoming a bit like a failed state: Factions that love fighting more than building something and kill each other while there's hardly anything left than smoking ruins around them. If there's someone doing something that you don't like and won't listen to you than either just sit down and do something better or shut the fuck up.

Debian is becoming a lesson in applied entropy.

Comment: Re:Citizen Four (Score 1) 231

by joh (#48352545) Attached to: Berlin's Digital Exiles: Where Tech Activists Go To Escape the NSA

I think there's no way to go forward with technology and not have that (being monitored one way or another). The REAL test is if we can still manage to have rights and use them regardless of being monitored or not. All too often all this surveillance panic is used by people as an excuse for being cowards. The real test of you being a freedom-loving individual is not if you're against or pro surveillance. The real test is if you dare to be yourself DESPITE it. Because if all of us just act as free individuals all surveillance in the world isn't going to make us less free. But if we give in to that kind of terror we won't be free.

In short: Do not ever wait to be not monitored before you act freely. Because you can't prove a negative anyway. Freedom is nothing that ever will be handed out to you.

To Berlin: East Berlin (and all of the GDR) was the most perfect surveillance state that ever existed. Still, when the people stood up and wouldn't take it anymore, it collapsed. What good is knowing everything to a government if "everything" just amounts to "they are fed up with us and won't take it anymore"? I think many people underestimate what Germans did in 1989: They got rid not only of a government, but of a government that had all the powers in its hands. There's a lesson to be learned from that. The people are more powerful than the state.

Comment: Re:Silly question -- but... (Score 4, Insightful) 54

by joh (#48347325) Attached to: New Facebook Update Lets You Choose News Feed Content

Why the flying fuck would I need another site to feed me news?

Facebook is the website to end all websites.

People seem to use Facebook as a kind of mental chewing gum. There's always some gossip and "news" to scroll through. Sometimes you're interested in something of it. An endless on-the-go stream of gossip.

Comment: Re:How about... (Score 1) 54

by joh (#48347275) Attached to: New Facebook Update Lets You Choose News Feed Content

No, they should just show you relentless everything you get. If it's too much, go and restrict it.

What FB does is not showing you everything and additionally show you things you never wanted to see just because someone paid them for it.

But of course FB is a business, not a service. It's more like a personal TV channel than anything else. You get fed enough of what you want just enough to make you see what others want you to see.

Comment: Good idea (Score 1) 79

by joh (#48143531) Attached to: Navy Tests Unpowered Exoskeleton

A bit like a good backpack that helps you to carry most of the weight on your hips instead of on your shoulders which frees your upper body from most of the loads (instead of projecting it from your shoulders through your backbone to your hips through your legs to your feet). Extending this to actually support the weight by an exoskeleton right down to the shoes with no need to have the load go through your legs is just logical. It's just a matter of designing and engineering well-fitting, lightweight support structures with joints in all the right places. Not really easy, but may easily be worth it. I sense a real business opportunity here...

The problem with carrying weight is that the human body has no ideal attachments for that. The only obvious place is hanging it from your shoulders but this of course means the load is going through most of your body (only carrying it on your head would be worse). Hips are workable only with a really well-fitting belt and of course you need hips that project over whatever is around them... and even then you need a tight fit to avoid the belt slipping down, which can be painful. Doing the same with actually supporting the load from the ground (via your shoes) would be indeed the best way to do it.

Ironically the most simple cart (or bicycle!) works very much the same way with much less engineering trouble by replacing all the complex joints with simple wheels... So I think this will be limited to very special applications.

Comment: And what does this mean? (Score 4, Insightful) 323

by joh (#48142985) Attached to: How English Beat German As the Language of Science

It means that Germans are able to read German stuff AND English stuff while many scientists from the US are just able to read English things.

By the way, learning a second language as early and thoroughly as possible does something to you. It breaks the unconscious 1:1 connection between concepts and words and makes you understand that even the best language is just a poor crutch. There have been countless studies about that. It even helps a lot with not reacting by instinct to things you hear and read because you have learned to differentiate between words and meanings and helps you to grow a kind of conscious processing layer between them. I've learned to never trust the words of someone who knows only one language. Chances are that most of what he treats as thoughts are just unconscious reactions. Things like knowing that the word "freedom" has the same roots as the German "Frieden" ("peace" as opposed to "war") actually helps you with understanding the world instead of just parroting noises.

Not so long ago you would never have been considered educated if you couldn't read and write at least two, maybe three or four languages. And I think there's more to that than just quantity. It's a bit like being able to see with two eyes instead of one, you gain the insight that there's actual a room in front of you and not just a picture. It adds a quality that is very hard to acquire when words, ideas and concepts are all the same to you in a totally unconscious way that you soaked up mostly in childhood (basically very much like an animal).

So: I think that learning a second language may easily be the most important thing you can learn in the long run.

Comment: Re:Google crawls and indexes the public Internet (Score 1) 144

by joh (#48138815) Attached to: Google Rejects 58% of "Right To Be Forgotten" Requests

Your examples are flawed. There isn't a database with a complete record of all license plate movements. Google isn't creating any content, it's telling you where to find it.

And Google does that by building a complete record of all the public Internet. Or do you think Google is going out and crawling all of the Internet only after you've typed a search string?

The public Internet is as public as the license plates that are driven around are public and as conversations in the open are public. What Google does is like scanning all streets all the time or listening in to all public conversations all the time. And then save it and index it and make it searchable for everyone.

These examples aren't flawed, they're fairly correct. If you think they're flawed you don't understand what Google does.

Comment: Dream Chaser? (Score 2) 81

by joh (#48134841) Attached to: Secretive X-37B Military Space Plane Could Land On Tuesday

I wouldn't be surprised if the USAF would grab Dream Chaser for that. It's basically a much larger version of the X-37B and even is meant to be launched on the same launcher (Atlas V) since it doesn't need that frigging huge payload shroud that the X-37B hides its wings under during ascent.

After Sierra Nevada being denied NASA money they're basically beggars who can't be too choosy anyway.

Whatever the USAF needs the X37B for, Dream Chaser would be even better suited for it and again: same launcher, same launch costs with a much better payload (both size- and mass-wise), potential for a crewed version... I wouldn't even be surprised if NASA knows that too and didn't see any good reason to support something that the USAF can (and wants to) pay for just as well.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.