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Comment: Re:Substantiate "biggest vendor" (Score 1) 110

To be fair they have never made any excuse about this, which makes sense when you think that their investors are going to want to know why the f*** they are giving away an asset paid for by their money FOR FREE. This is Microsoft adapting to work within the current business environment to the best advantage of these same shareholders. They have a legal obligation to do this or they go to jail.

Comment: The reason that aeroplanes are safe... (Score 1) 265

by occasional_dabbler (#49496057) Attached to: FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment
...is because there is a century of the best engineering behind them, with levels of failure and fault identification and mitigation that most people would find obsessive and arcane. Throw in a Swiss cheese like WiFi access and you have a serious disruption and a non-trivial influence that I for one, as an engineer designing aircraft safety systems, do not particularly want to see, It's nice that I can read my Kindle during take-off. That's enough.

Comment: Re:Fight within a platform, not between platforms (Score 1) 175

by occasional_dabbler (#49489163) Attached to: Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps

I am somewhat surprised to say how much better I find the Windows Phone UI to be over Android and iOS. I am guessing individually downloaded apps will matter less and less and integrated services more and more in the future, so Microsoft may very well achieve the same thing in the mobile world as they did in the PC world.

Yes, my thoughts too. I think the shift to W10 running on all devices with the UI kinda intelligently morphing to be appropriate for the size will help Microsoft long term as people get used to it, forget how bad W8 was and get on with their lives. (Try the previews). Despite being something of a Microsoft enthusiast I still find I use my favourite apps, Skype and OneNote, on my Nexus 7 far more than on the phone and hardly ever on the desktop. I think Microsoft are making a pragmatic and sensible move.

Comment: Re:100mph? (Score 2) 74

by occasional_dabbler (#49450865) Attached to: Amazon Gets Approval To Test New Delivery Drones
I'm posting AC because I have mod points tonight, but my handle is "occasional_dabbler" with ID 1735162. I wanted to alert you to this Bill because I mostly agree with your posts. The FAA are under intolerable pressure, Their prime function is to ensure that aerospace activities are safe for EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING; MY HAMSTER is protected by the FAA. They are not being as "obstructive as politically possible", they are desperately fighting a rearguard action against the FUCKING IDIOTS who want to fill our skies with random death machines.

I strongly suspect they have had their balls crushed to make this one-off allowance and they have their entire field team watching with prejudice ready to down the machine as soon as it twitches,

Commercial autonomous drones are not going to happen. At least not until we trust AIs. We can just achieve an acceptable mission success rate in military environments with military drones (which have ALWAYS more human pilots than any physical aeroplane, just not co-located.)

The only time in your entire life when you have been 'safe' to the FAA's satisfaction was when you were strapped into an airplane seat.

Comment: Re:Perfect security (Score 1) 460

by occasional_dabbler (#49433389) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots
You have me, sir!

I was using a little bit of hyperbole. Currently there are no aircraft equipped for auto-taxi or auto-take-off precisely because this is something that a human pilot can handle better than a machine. It is not even an option offered nor are airports equipped to support it. Auto pilot can be engaged immediately after wheels-up at about 500ft and in principle, with a Cat III aircraft and landing runway, it can fly the whole journey from there to the taxiway, where the pilot would once again take over.

We already have the technology available to fill in those missing parts, should the need ever arise.

Comment: Re:Perfect security (Score 1) 460

by occasional_dabbler (#49432325) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots
Thank you. I know plenty of pilots both socially and professionally. I know from what they tell me that, yep, that was one we wouldn't have foreseen, several times, per pilot. Yet you only get a maximum of one catastrophic event per pilot. I think it's quite possible that pilots avoid more than four otherwise-catastrophic events per career for the one they may cause.

Comment: Re:Perfect security (Score 2) 460

by occasional_dabbler (#49424133) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots
I design aircraft engines for a living. Much as I am an early-adopter type I cannot agree with the assertion that a pilotless plane is safer than one with a man in the loop. At least not yet.

The question is not whether we could build a plane that could fly itself safely, we already build plenty of those, they're called 'drones' and any modern airliner can be specced with options to fly itself from gate to gate on an ordinary day including typical bad weather. The question that is not being properly addressed is this: does having a human pilot avoid more accidents that would have happened, than they cause by error? It is very hard to quantify the former number but tragically easy to quantify the latter.

Comment: Re:Beware Rust, Go, and D. (Score 1) 223

by occasional_dabbler (#49411383) Attached to: Mono 4 Released, First Version To Adopt Microsoft Code
Microsoft is really not the company it used to be.

Companies are made of people and they change, grow up/older and move on. It is a huge company and in any such organisation it takes a long time for culture and strategy to change significantly.

Anyone who witnessed the hideousness of the SCO litigation has to look at a new Microsoft where FOSS is actively supported (even if there are strings attached) and where employees can talk about open-sourcing the OS without being fired on the spot has to accept that they are at least heading in a better direction than they were.

Comment: Re:Surprising (Score 1) 159

by occasional_dabbler (#49404201) Attached to: The Most Highly Voted Requests In Windows 10 Feedback Pool
At least in UK accounting a subscription model has benefits for anyone who can claim a Windows licence as a business expense. A subscription would be classed as an operating expense and can be wholly offset against tax as part of the cost of sales. A licence on the other hand is an asset, which can only be depreciated over at best, three years (50% the first year then 25% for the following two)

This has a number of effects: By reducing my costs in the current year and at the same time being able to offset the entire cost improves my cashflow and reduces my tax burden. Also, by avoiding the ownership of an asset I reduce the book value of the company so I increase the ratio of earnings to investment (ROI). The additional cashflow will allow me to grow the business; I should be able to get a good return on the cash or else why am I bothering to be in business in the first place?

It may well be that Microsoft make more money out of my company using a subsription model, but that does not necessarily mean that my company makes less money, it all depends on just how I can juggle the numbers and what I do with the cash.

Disclaimer: I am not an accountant, but I have been a subcontractor running a limited company for several years.

Comment: Re:"Policy construct we've been given" (Score 3, Informative) 212

This is a little tricky.

Yes, we British don't really have an historical right of ownership of the Falklands, it's not like they are on our doorstep, or even in our hemisphere. However, the Argentinians have never had a presence on the islands (except for the famously brief war) and their only interest is in the oil reserves suspected, and now being found, in the surrounding waters. The war was also an attempt by the Junta to boost their flagging popularity in Argentina and a corresponding opportunity for the Conservative government to boost their own flagging popularity in the UK. There are no white hats in this fight.

The only tangible facts are that the people who now live on the islands voted overwhelmingly to remain under British sovereignty and that Mrs Thatcher had bigger balls (and better-trained special forces) than the Junta.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling