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Comment: In other news.... (Score 1) 238

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) 238

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).

Comment: Re:way to over simplify the issue win the summery (Score 1) 174

by markhb (#46871005) Attached to: SCOTUS Ends Novell's Anti-Trust Cast Against Microsoft
WordPerfect 5 and 6 were a mess. WP pre-Novell had long made a habit of creating its own printer drivers, stemming partly from the fact that they supported so many wildly disparate platforms (they started on AOS/VS... now go look that up and get off my lawn!) in the pre-GUI era that they needed an internally consistent set of interfaces to work with. Once Windows started providing things like printer management, even in the 3.11 era, they had a hard time switching over and tended to GPF all over the place. I'm not absolving MS from any dirty tricks they may have pulled, but it's not like WP was building something that people outside certain vertical markets (they still rule the legal world AFAIK) couldn't move on from.

Comment: Re:Connections...forward (Score 1) 276

Watch the show "Connections" some time. If you're not familiar with it (and you call yourself a Geek?) it takes a historical view of how we got from there (the invention of stirrups) to here (telecommunications). Take that kind of historical perspective and then try to extrapolate forward from it. Don't forget to figure in the technological growth curve, socio-economic factors, human psychology, a hundred other things that I don't feel like compiling a list of right now...oh yeah...and a big, healthy dose of random chance (think The Mule in Asimov's Foundation Trilogy). If you get better than 5% accuracy on a 25 year prediction I'll be very surprised.

Connections, indeed. Should be required viewing before being allowed to have an account on /.

Comment: I miss the old days... (Score 3, Insightful) 162

by markhb (#46631821) Attached to: Subversion Project Migrates To Git
... when Slashdot posted nothing but joke stories all day on April 1; it was the best way to catch all of them. Maybe they decided they couldn't top themselves after OMG PONIES!!!!! (which I missed), but just sticking in one joke stories amongst a bunch of uninteresting real ones is lame. There isn't even an article on the Google prank!

Comment: Re:Um no (Score 1) 224

by markhb (#46605191) Attached to: Introducing a Calendar System For the Information Age
After all the 70's-era metric indoctrination I received (including weekly showings of "The Metric System" on PBS), I happily recognize that there are legitimate reasons in science and trade for the use of SI. However, beyond that, the fact is that there is no actual advantage in daily life between US standard and metric units. There's no functional difference between km and miles, and the decimalization of km doesn't mean a whole lot when you really think about how often you need to use the fact that there's 1760 yards in a mile (i.e., yes, it's easier to convert, but how often do you need to convert?) For scientific use the 100 degrees between the freezing and boiling points of water in Celsius makes sense, but Fahrenheit serves its intended purpose admirably: the range 0 to 100 is a reasonable coverage of the weather in the temperate zones of the world. There's no overwhelming advantage to making the switch, particularly in the USA where "because the rest of the world does it that way" is typically considered a misfeature.

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