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Comment: London's Docklands Light Railway is automated (Score 1) 167

by Andy_R (#47956149) Attached to: Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

While the traditional London Underground has drivers, that's pretty much just because the powerful union in charge won't let them be upgraded to be driverless. We've had reliable, safe driverless trains for over 25 years on the 45-station Docklands Light Railway in the East of London.

Comment: Re:Probably a bad idea, but... (Score 1) 192

by Zocalo (#47937181) Attached to: On Independence for Scotland:
I'm in favour of it on behalf of Scottish self-governance, and as a Brit from the NW of England I can only imagine that the feeling that the government in London doesn't give a damn about the provinces is far worse than it is where I grew up. However, overall I think it would be a disaster for both countries. Scotland is much more Pro-EU and Anti-Conservative than the rest of Great Britain, so one likely outcome would be a Conservative victory in the next General Election, resulting in Cameron's promised referedum on EU membership going ahead with a likely victory for the anti-EU crowd in the referendum. Given the likely reaction from the rest of the EU to this, I don't imagine this would work out very well for the rest of the UK.

I'm also deeply concerned by the fact that Salmond's default response to any argument as to a potential problem is accuse people of being "wrong", "bullying", or whatever, but has in almost every instance failed to provide a plan for what the SDP will actually *do* to address the point should they be successful in getting a "Yes" vote. I'm really starting to think they have no idea what they are going to do in the event of gaining independance, other than to thrash out a plan in the aftermath of the vote - as if a half-baked plan is going to work for anyone. Finally, even if Scotland gains independance and manages a successful transition to higher GDP and wealth, does anyone *seriously* think that those benefits are going to be distributed where they are needed, and not simply end up in the back pockets of the politicians and business leaders that get to determine how the new nation is going to work?

Comment: Re:What now? (Score 2) 131

by Andy_R (#47913393) Attached to: The FCC Net Neutrality Comment Deadline Has Arrived: What Now?

You could always try the RICO Act.

Net neutrality is what ought to prevent racketeering in the digital age. In the old days the Mafia turned up on your doorstep and said "nice warehouse you have here, it would be a shame if it 'burned down', give us some money and we can make sure that doesn't happen." Without net neutrality, Comcast can turn up on your doorstep and say "Nice website you've got here, it would be a shame if it 'slowed down', give us some money and we can make sure that doesn't happen."

Comment: Re:The big question is 'why' ? (Score 4, Insightful) 329

by Andy_R (#47908959) Attached to: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

Microsoft only does well in areas where it has a monopoly. What it's doing here is not buying an asset, it's buying retrospective market share and killing a competitor. Mojang sold a lot of games before Notch left just like Nokia sold a lot of phones before the Elop disaster. It doesn't matter to Microsoft that Nokia imploded or that Mojang's main asset (Notch) left, the point isn't to have their assets or to actually do anything with the brands, that's just a bonus if it happens. The point is simply for them not to be competitors any more.

Comment: Re:Answer me this if you will... (Score 1) 249

by cbiltcliffe (#47900079) Attached to: City of Turin To Switch From Windows To Linux and Save 6M Euros

For a start, Ubuntu is a high-memory distro, because it tries to be everything to everybody, simple to install and use, and as automated as possible.
Blow it away, install Debian 7 with lxde, and you'll run the entire thing in nicely in your 512MB with room to spare.

Comment: Re:... and back again. (Score 1) 249

by cbiltcliffe (#47900049) Attached to: City of Turin To Switch From Windows To Linux and Save 6M Euros

99% of Windows is exactly the same to the user for Windows 8 vs Windows XP. The only difference is, if you click the start button you get a screen of icons vs. a menu of icons.

Plus, that stupid "PC Settings" screen, with a bunch of toggle switches for options, instead of a real control panel....oh, DOES have an actual control panel, but the organization of it is completely different than XP, Vista, or 7. And what settings do you find in the Control Panel, and what ones are in PC Settings?
Then there's turning it off. Where the heck is the Shut Down option?'s over here at the opposite side of the screen, completely hidden by the desktop equivalent of "mystery meat navigation."
Then there's the whole hideousness of the UI itself, and its flat, Windows-2-esque window chrome. When the graphical elements of your quarter century old OS are more appealing than your latest and greatest, you know you've screwed the pooch. Royally.

Comment: Re:How does MS get away with it in the US? (Score 1) 421

by cbiltcliffe (#47899695) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

That is the reality of wanting an alternative operating system, and is a choice of the people. If you want simplicity as an end user, windows is currently OS of choice, as its specifically built to install itself automatically with all the necessary drivers and settings by OEM.'ve never actually installed Windows, have you?

Comment: Re:Dubious. I'm not convinced this is a good thing (Score 1) 421

by cbiltcliffe (#47899643) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

In all your examples, the part that you're suggesting should be left out is made by the same company that makes the rest of the item.

In the Microsoft/hardware manufacturer case, they're two different companies.
In the obligatory car analogy, rather than the paint removed, it would be more like every car manufacturer (except for some niche ones like TVR, Saleen, Koenigsegg, and Caterham, none of which you can afford) sold you a car, but required you to buy a Nokia cellphone along with it. You already have a perfectly functional Samsung cellphone and plan, but you can't buy a car without this extra Nokia phone and plan being forced on you.
The thing they're removing is the Nokia, not the paint on the car.

Comment: Re:Separate hardware from software (Score 1) 421

by cbiltcliffe (#47898613) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

A law that forbids selling hardware and software together would increase innovation. Consumers would only be able to buy hardware and software separately. That way, hardware vendors are encouraged to document the hardware and software vendors will compete on quality. Installation procedures would become very easy very quickly due to market pressure.

Normal people don't like that though. Let's say that you try and sell product A to somebody that requires product B to function. This person has neither used nor ever had interest in A or B. Most people aren't interested in one or the other. Normal people want an A+B product where somebody else has worked out all of the compatibility problems.

The thing is, in this case, product A doesn't require product B to function. It can use product B, but it can also use product C, product D, product E, or product F. It only requires one of them, but when it's sold to you, even if you want to use it with product C, D, E, or F, you are required to buy product B.

Comment: Re:Apple? (Score 1) 421

by cbiltcliffe (#47898299) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

Apple doesn't develop their own supporting chipsets, CPU or GPU hardware, or any other such thing. At most, there may be some proprietary "System Protection Chip" that isn't needed at all for the system to work.

In fact, Apple themselves have instructions on their website for how to install Windows on Mac hardware. I guess you need to catch up to what the world has known for a while.


The Future According To Stanislaw Lem 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the drugs-and-nanotech dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Paris Review has an article about SF author Stanislaw Lem, explaining Lem's outlook on the future and his expectations for technological advancement. Lem tended toward a view that technology would infect and eventually supplant biological evolution. But he also suggested an interesting explanation for why we haven't detected alien civilizations: "Perhaps ... they are so taken up with perfecting their own organisms that they've abandoned space exploration entirely. According to a similar hypothesis, such beings are invisible because technological ease has resulted in a 'Second Stone Age' of 'universal illiteracy and idleness.' When everyone's needs are perfectly met, it 'would be hard, indeed, to find one individual who would choose as his life's work the signaling, on a cosmic scale, of how he was getting along.' Rather than constructing Dyson Spheres, Lem suggests, advanced civilizations are more likely to spend their time getting high.""

Error in operator: add beer