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Comment: Re:Newsflash: mobile doesn't actually matter. (Score 3, Interesting) 135

by mbkennel (#47707801) Attached to: Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board
| Tablets have also failed in the market. Apple is the only vendor to have seen some success, but that was built more upon hype and the quasi-religious attitude that many people hold toward Apple devices, rather than out of any real need or use for such devices. Outside of a small number of niche use cases, people in general have found tablets to be useless.

The niche use cases are
a) reading email
b) sending messages
c) using web apps
d) watching movies
e) playing games

which as it turns out are very common.

However it's true that Microsoft doesn't have a huge play here on the terminal (tablet end), but it does on the service end.

It just means that now such software will be expected to be readable and usable (for some things) on a tablet terminal as well as a laptop terminal. There's plenty of traveling businessmen who might want to access a service application through a tablet (e.g sales force) that starts in 2 seconds when they're in the airport instead of using the whole laptop.

For Microsoft, tablets are not an opportunity to make hardware or sell operating systems (the total global revenue from tablet operating system sales is $0), but only as another terminal to hosted applications.

They should stick to writing business software. Instead of trying to fight and lose against very capable competitors in their primary niches, i.e. Google and Apple, they should compete in the space of general business software. There's much more opportunity beyond Office. Soft targets, for example all of Oracle's horrid non-database application software, where the standards are egregiously low, and make Office seem like a work from Michelangelo.

Comment: Re:Everything hits poor people harder (Score 1) 206

| Poor people also pay a disproportionate part of their income on food, clothing, energy, housing and transportation. Should all of those things be cheaper for poor people as well?

Yeah. But because that's hard (higher wages works the best), you should start by not making things worse for them and benefit others by extracting more tax revenue from the poor so you don't have to get as much from the rich.

Comment: Re:Not So Fast... (Score 1) 391

by mbkennel (#47657239) Attached to: 3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX
| So, taxpayers take it in the ass three times, once to pay for ULA launches, once to pay for Musk's protest, and ULA's counter protest, and then the third time to pay for satellites the SpaceX blows up.

And save so so so so so so so so so much more when SpaceX's rockets cost so much less, and when there's a competitive market instead of a monopoly for the next 40 years.

Comment: Why is that scary? (Score 1) 371

by mbkennel (#47631767) Attached to: Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

Modern Fortran (as in Fortran 2003+) is a very good programming language for its domain and exceeds many alternatives in useful, natural expressive power, ease of use, and computational efficiency.

It just so happened that archaic Fortran was easier to transform into something good than other legacy languages.

Comment: Re:Good for them (Score 1) 82

by mbkennel (#47617081) Attached to: Xiaomi Arrives As Top Smartphone Seller In China
"So you're confident that the US government, which you suggest is spying on you and taking away your freedoms, will defend you against China's attempts to spy on you and take away your freedoms?

Why? Because the US government called dibs?"

No, because the US government has political and economic interests to counter the opposing political and economic interests of the Chinese government, and in the end the first cares about your prosperity (well, maybe your boss') more than the second.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 5, Interesting) 342

Funny, as it actually turned out, energy efficiency research for both electricity and transportation has worked very well, as have wind turbines and solar power. And quite a bit of that comes from DOE research.

Fusion reactor? Well, that's still 30 years away.

Of course the vast majority of DOE money is devoted to the nuclear weapons infrastructure and environmental cleanup from decades of nuclear weapon infrastructure.

For instance, take the FY 2012 budget of Los Alamos National lab.

What fraction would you say is on basic science? I expected 30%. More like 4%.

57% NNSA weapons
9% NNSA nonproliferation
7% NNSA 'safeguards and security'
7% work for national security (most likely intelligence agencies)
8% environmental cleanup
4% undefined 'work for others'
4% DOE Energy and Other Programs
4% DOE Office Of Science

Comment: Re:Meh, why should we spend money on that? (Score 4, Insightful) 161

by mbkennel (#47479089) Attached to: Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997
| I have every expectation that the guys who invented the transistor met with business people who told them: "That's real nice, but I already have a triode or a pentode for that. Give me something I don't already have.

No. That's what happens now. That didn't happen in the 1950's at Bell Labs or in any successful organization in the era of significant American technical/industrial competence (1920-1980).

Comment: Re:Maybe MSFT was trying to learn from Xerox (Score 5, Insightful) 161

by mbkennel (#47479083) Attached to: Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997
| Kodak was a film company, not a camera company.

What Kodak didn't realize, and its competitor, Fuji did realize, was that Kodak was actually a materials, coatings & chemical processing company, but it thought it was a photography company. As you recognize, the expertise wasn't in how film works, it's how film factories work, and the people who knew semiconductor factories made better sensors.

If they did realize this, they'd be around today making graphene or medical instruments.

And for a number of decades Kodak, along with Perkin-Elmer (also in upstate New York) made the most impressive photography system in the world, i.e. the film-based NRO surveillance satellites, and could never talk about it. That big stream of revenue also died.

Comment: Can we extend corporate rights to individuals? (Score 4, Interesting) 52

by mbkennel (#47462289) Attached to: Telcos Move Net Neutrality Fight To Congress
| Imagine the consequences if we DIDN'T extend individual rights to corporations.The government could just read all the data on Google's servers after taking them.

As opposed to now? They read all the data on Google's servers without taking them.

The problem is that powerful corporations appear to have even more rights than individual people.

People managing powerful corporations do illegal acts, and other people (the shareholders who had no knowledge or control) are punished.

Personally, I'd love to re-incorporate my soul in a zero-tax offshore jurisdiction and subcontract out my physical body to earn income another country but not have to pay tax.

Since a corporation is not a natural person, but a particular structure created by legislative activity, there is no legal or moral reason that rights of such constructed entities cannot be legally constrained in ways impermissible for natural humans.

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination -- but the combination is locked up in the safe. -- Peter DeVries