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Comment: Re:It's more than the tie (Score 1) 166

That's a distinction without a difference. The people in the private sector are wasting the investors / suppliers / customers money.

The difference is that the investors / suppliers / customers have a choice when dealing with a particular private company. We have no real choice regarding paying our taxes (assuming one doesn't want to wind up in a courtroom over it).

Comment: Re:Intel (Score 2) 236

by markhb (#47474695) Attached to: Nearly 25 Years Ago, IBM Helped Save Macintosh

Microsoft was signed up to port Windows NT and it looked like you'd be able to run Windows and MacOS (the two most popular desktop operating systems) and possibly some of the other less-popular ones (most of which were m68k-based) on the same hardware.

You left out OS/2, which Lou Gerstner hadn't given up on yet (although the nightmare of the PPC port helped him make up his mind). IBM at this point still had hopes of re-conquering the desktop market, and the CHRP (Common Hardware Reference Platform, aka PPC hardware design) was part of that. Alas, it was not to be. I have booted exactly one machine in my life - a small tower RS/6000 running AIX - that came up and proclaimed itself to be a CHRP machine.

IIRC, either Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 did, in fact, ship with a PowerPC install on the CD, alongside i386, Alpha and MIPS. Whichever it was was also the last of the NT line to support multiple architectures until 64-bit came along.

Comment: In other news.... (Score 1) 239

by markhb (#47371205) Attached to: Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

A family is reporting that a stranger named "Stan O'Neil" has invaded their home, apparently using a key to the premises, and is claiming to be their husband and father. The woman who heads the family says she does not remember ever seeing the man before, but could not name the father of her children or the person who gave her what appeared to be wedding and engagement rings.

Comment: Re:Massive loses? (Score 1) 239

by markhb (#47371177) Attached to: Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

I think if they attach your name to a blockquote in a story, they apply the "you own your own words" policy and leave it as-is without so much as a smug (sic). For those portions of the story they actually write themselves, it is not required that they spell or use grammar more correctly than CmdrTaco did.

Comment: Re:Is it is? (Score 1) 153

by markhb (#47247799) Attached to: Google Fiber Is Officially Making Its Way To Portland

I'd say that the "Portland" is the one in Maine that has a city in Oregon named after it. In fact ISTR that the Oregon folks lost a United Way bet to us a couple of decades ago in which they promised to change their name if they lost. Still waiting for that.

(Waiting for the folks on the English island that has all the cement to jump in...)

Comment: Re:You make it... (Score 1) 519

by markhb (#47213909) Attached to: Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

In what world can "any [individual] elected school board member fire all those teachers"? Any school board I've ever seen can only act as a body; individual members can't do squat.

At any rate, public education unions tend to be some of the strongest out there; it shouldn't be harder to release a teacher than it is to fire any other unionized worker. Tenure at the university level serves a purpose: to ensure the academic freedom of the faculty to perform the research they see fit by insulating them from the vagaries of administrations. I'd be hard pressed to find a full-time public school K-12 teacher who does meaningful research as part of their job.

Comment: Re: aka (Score 2) 186

by markhb (#47212767) Attached to: Toyota Investigating Hovercars

What about off-solid-ground applications, where they are already used? I have an actual use case in mind for a hover vehicle similar to a DUKW, where it could go into hovercraft mode over water that is too shallow to use conventional craft mode, but with a bottom too shallow to use the tires.

However, the on-road applications face another stumbling block: the laws in my US state (and likely most if not all of the others) require all vehicles used on public roads to be exclusively propelled by means of power-driven wheels in physical contact with the pavement. No hovercraft, no strapping a jet turbine to the roof and throwing it in neutral.

Comment: Re:American Date Format (Score 1) 134

by markhb (#47067529) Attached to: New IE 8 Zero Day Discovered
As an American, for that particular day, there is an added significance to the number itself as 911 is our universal emergency telephone number, similar to the European 112 or 999. I would typically write today's date as 22 May 2014, but when I do so I am being consciously pretentious. Otherwise I'd use 5/22/2014 (I was the Y2K guy at my previous job; it cured me of 2-digit years for good).

A modem is a baudy house.