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Comment: Re:This is huge ... (Score 1) 178

by phantomfive (#47793451) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

If America can force Microsoft to reach out to Ireland for data, then Germany (etc.) can force Microsoft to tunnel into America, right?

Germany can try. Or they can seize all Microsoft assets in Germany, and kick Microsoft out. Argentina recently did exactly that to a company from Spain.

Comment: Re:re I don't care (Score 1) 178

by phantomfive (#47793445) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

You can't apply U.S. laws to the world at large, regardless of your 'legal' standing.

You can apply it to US citizens, no matter where they are in the world. There is plenty of legal precedent for this (you have to pay taxes on money made outside the US, for one example).

You can also apply it to corporations.

Comment: Re:How much? (Score 2, Interesting) 126

by phantomfive (#47791159) Attached to: Dell's New Alienware Case Goes to Extremes To Prevent Overheating

Seriously? Why do people that read a legitimate news story always try to assume something is advertising

It helps to increase that assumption when in the next paragraph you defend ad-block passionately.

If ads were guaranteed to be malware free, then I wouldn't block them, but ad-tech companies are more interested in vetting inventory than advertisers (because advertiser are the ones who pay, so ad-tech companies put a lot of effort into making sure they get a good product).

FWIW I thought your post was interesting.

Comment: Re:Tokyo is tiny by comparison (Score 1) 100

I wonder if, in time, we will see a regression back to city-states once urban populations get big enough. Tokyo is basically its own country, and the same goes for SF, LA, and NYC.

I believe the limiting factor on country size is 1) communication ability, and 2) transportation (force projection) ability.

Roads were a major factor in the size of the Roman Empire, for example. City-states were common when there was no force regionally large enough to conquer the city. City states also needed to maintain farmland surrounding them, so they could remain fed.

Comment: Re:Testing is not verification. (Score 1) 153

by phantomfive (#47786127) Attached to: Software Error Caused Soyuz/Galileo Failure

Bridges aren't designed and tested by "trial & error"--if they were then half of them would fall down within a few weeks. Neither are buildings or pacemakers or computer chips.

Should we also assume that rockets are programmed with the same careful methods you (conveniently) omitted?

Rockets are known to never fail, after all.

Comment: Re:"Programmers" shouldn't write critical software (Score 1) 153

by phantomfive (#47786105) Attached to: Software Error Caused Soyuz/Galileo Failure

but they already have a far better safety record than the average human driver.

I want you to realize that the only source we have for this is Google. It's not from a scientific journal, or an independent research team, or an auditor, it is from the same people who want you to eventually buy their product.

Furthermore, I want you to realize that the Google team is very careful in what information they reveal. All the information they present is shaped in a way that makes them look good, and to increase demand for the car. Now, maybe they've built the perfect driverless car, and it somehow got off the ground running with a near-perfect driver record, but the information they've given us isn't enough to determine that.

Comment: Re:Oh microsoft (Score 4, Informative) 136

by phantomfive (#47786059) Attached to: Microsoft Releases Replacement Patch With Two Known Bugs
I've written enterprise software, used by large banks and other corporations. Our software was so bad, I couldn't understand how it would help anyone, I'm sure the people who used it were slowed down by the process.

Finally I realized they did get one thing from it: accountability. If you've never been there, it's hard to understand how corporations are shaped by SOX compliance, and general accounting problems. If a $2000 purchase disappears at a startup, it's a minor problem. But at a large company, accountants will be looking for weeks to find what happened to it.

Those are the kinds of issues large companies deal with, and removing the accountability of the decision making process (of figuring out what software to use) and giving it to Microsoft is a real service for them. This is the same reason people use RedHat, even though RedHat gives their software away for free. It is one of those things that makes no sense to you until you've worked in that kind of environment.

Comment: Re:Could have fooled me (Score 1) 208

by phantomfive (#47781315) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries
No kidding. One of the scariest quotes of the article: "42 per cent of Canadians are able to read and understand newspaper stories detailing scientific findings."

The scary part is Canada is ahead of everyone else on that stat. Newspaper stories are not exactly deep in scientific detail and hard-to-understand words.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis