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Comment: Windows says 3:30 1:20 2:50 4:20 0:35 ! (Score 1) 46

by billstewart (#48682081) Attached to: My laptop lasts on battery for ...

Windows estimates on how long anything takes seem to be pretty random. For battery life, that seems to be exacerbated by the manufacturer's power management software as well (and I haven't figured out which lies my new HP tells, compared to the old Dell.)

We have a new program from the IT department at $DAYJOB, which puts the machine into hibernate overnight if you haven't used it for an hour or so after 7pm. (These are laptops, so the energy the company gets to brag about saving is on my electric bill, not theirs, but I've got electric heat so it doesn't really save anything.) The big impact is that the VPN connection drops, so I have to wake up the PC, then log in to the VPN, then before I do anything else, go into the browser and reload the autoproxy, so the firewall doesn't replace half my tabs with non-restorable "your proxy settings are wrong" banners. Costs me about 15 minutes extra in the morning, though I can get some of that back by making coffee while I wait.

Comment: Chimps (and humans) are Apes, not Monkeys (Score 1) 194

by billstewart (#48682017) Attached to: N. Korea Blames US For Internet Outage, Compares Obama to "a Monkey"

Ooook! Don't say the M-word near the Librarian!

You're thinking of the "Bush or Chimp" website. We're not monkeys!

And as the other poster said, at least in America, calling black people "monkeys" is specifically racist; calling white people that is just a non-racial insult.

Comment: Saving you time isn't their goal (Score 1) 58

by DoofusOfDeath (#48675259) Attached to: How Target's Mobile App Uses Location Tech To Track You

Most stores don't want to minimize your time in the story. I think they want to maximize the time you spend near high-margin impulse-buy items, and up-sells of the items you originally intended to buy.

If I was a sleazy developer of software like this, and especially if I had access to the customer's whole shopping list, I'd send them on a pretty different path than their ideal one.

Comment: Why Kozmo sort of succeeded (Score 1) 34

Ok, the company as a whole tanked rapidly, as one might expect, but according to friends who lived in its territory at the time, one reason the service was so popular was that one of the things it delivered was weed. The company itself didn't sell it, but the drivers did that themselves, so they were happy and the customers were happy, and there were an awful lot of deliveries that had only one random item on the books (plus weed.)

Comment: Skype Call Setup and Media Path Protocols (Score 1) 71

by billstewart (#48673601) Attached to: Ars Reviews Skype Translator

Skype used a server-based system to set up calls, going through supernodes if possible (so it was semi-P2P), which handled subscriber lookup functions and also NAT transparency (which was the big thing that Skype did better than standard VOIP protocols such as H.323 and SIP.)

For the actual media path, if it could go directly, it would, but otherwise it would carry the call through supernodes (again, the NAT traversal problem.)

These days it seems to be mostly central servers, partly as a result of Microsoft buying them and partly because there was a lot of corporate pushback against supernodes using your corporation's bandwidth to complete somebody else's call.

Comment: Re:If you're going to name your new software slack (Score 1) 34're going to have a bad time.

FWIW, I use Slack for work, and I find it really useful. It's a pretty good way to connect normal email, github emails, and chat.

My only real beef with Slack is that its markdown language is a bit different than, and inferior to, Github's. Which is an annoyance when, for example, github markdown messages are rendered by Slack.

Comment: Scapegoats and BS (Score 1) 86

by sjbe (#48666955) Attached to: Comcast-TWC Merger Review On Hold

One of the things that they teach at MBA school is that long badgering documents can make up for things like facts and logical arguments.

Really? At what business school and in what class do they allegedly teach this? Unlike you I actually have a business degree and strangely I can't recall that ever being a part of the curriculum.

You are making up a bunch of bullshit with no factual basis whatsoever.

If you look at the documentation in MBA paradises such as military procurement it easily runs into millions of pages for even the simplest of military kit.

The reason that military procurement has a lot of bureaucracy attached is because there is a long and proud tradition of people trying (and often succeeding) at ripping the government off. But you just keep going on trying to create your mythical MBA boogeyman.

Oh, and I've been involved in government procurement. I've sold kit to the military and worked at places like Boeing. Your assertion that there are "millions of pages for even the simplest of military kit" is a complete fabrication not supported by reality. If you are selling something like an M1 tank or an F22 then sure there is a lot of paperwork just like there would be for any complicated product. But for simple products there is a fairly modest amount of bureaucracy - quite manageable if you know what you are doing and not really worse than a demanding private sector customer.

Comment: Your history is wrong (Score 1) 86

by sjbe (#48666841) Attached to: Comcast-TWC Merger Review On Hold

The apple next acqusition didn't matter much until apple mattered again with the iphone.

Apple "mattered again" long before the iPhone hit the market. The products that made Apple relevant again was first the iMac followed a few years later by the iPod. Apple absolutely dominated the mobile MP3 market and still does even today. Apple's financial and mindshare picture was strong again long before the iPhone was ever released.

Comment: Define bad (Score 1) 86

by sjbe (#48666229) Attached to: Comcast-TWC Merger Review On Hold

Somebody please provide ONE case of a merger making a bad company better.

Define "bad company" first. Bad according to what measurable criteria?

There is plenty of evidence that most mergers tend to destroy value for shareholders but that doesn't mean the companies were necessarily "bad" or "good" beforehand. There is also plenty of evidence that many mergers are not good for consumers. But again, that doesn't mean the companies were bad or good.

I can provide you examples of mergers improving the financial and/or competitive position of the companies involved. They aren't hard to find. I can find you more examples of mergers hurting the finances and competitive position. But unless you can clarify what you mean by "bad company" then your question is more or less rhetorical.

Comment: Re:No soul (Score 2) 347

by PCM2 (#48664059) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

Peter Jackson ripped the soul out of Lord of the Rings when he neglected to film The Scouring of the Shire.

But he did film it, kinda. He just didn't put it into the story. It shows up a little bit in the Mirror of Galadriel sequence.

One could argue that that was the correct way to play it, too. I know people who claim to have "walked out of the theater after the first ending and skipped all of the other ones," as it is.

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz