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Comment: Re:Only in America... (Score 1) 71

by putaro (#48569535) Attached to: Apple DRM Lawsuit Loses Last Plaintiff, but Judge Rules Against Dismissal

Real didn't remove the Apple DRM, though, they added it. That's not DRM circumvention. Real had the rights to distribute the music. If there was some legal issue with creating the FairPlay (gotta love them names) compatible files, Apple would have sued Real rather than just adding code to reject their files.

Comment: Re:Why tax profits, why not income? (Score 1) 602

by putaro (#48514415) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

I think there may be some merit to this.

First, it makes the tax structure for companies a lot simpler. The amount of paperwork for tracking all of your expenses is silly (I _hate_ saving and tracking receipts) and you don't know how much your tax will be until you know how much your profit is. If it's a percentage of revenues you can just figure it in to your costs and be done.

Second, the tax on income penalized businesses saving. So, if you need to make a big investment that you can't finance out of revenues in a single tax year it makes more sense to borrow for it than it does to save profits for a few years. When times are good, borrowing is fairly easy. However, as soon as a recession hits, banks start to trim credit lines and refuse to make new loans. This decreases investment and makes the recession worse. If more businesses were financing themselves out saved profits the business cycle would probably not be as much of a boom/bust as it.

Comment: Re:Hide your cables (Score 1) 516

by putaro (#48465879) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places? in Tokyo a lot of the power is coming in through overhead lines. Our building gets fed off a pole and we haven't had an outage in years. That includes during the multiple typhoons that come through every year. They tend to insulate the wires and wrap them with steel cable here, though, so maybe that's a big difference.

Comment: It depends (Score 1) 176

by putaro (#48442315) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

Most of the answers to your questions are "it depends" I don't understand what you mean by a "software shop" - is this a consulting company, a company that produces a large scale product, a company that produces a small product, an online service or what?

Your ratio of junior to senior developers depends on the kind of product you're producing. If you have an application that has a big, overarching architecture and then lots of relatively simple modules for specific cases, you want many junior developers to pound out those simple modules (e.g. different types of data entry screens).

Coding standards and standardization are always good. For a small shop you're best off looking around for one that you like and adopting it rather than trying to make your own from scratch because it is not a revenue producer and you can burn endless hours in meetings arguing about spacing, comment style, etc. Make an executive decision and move forward.

Tools and languages, again, it depends. Use the right tool for the job.

Since you don't know any of these things or how to make the tradeoffs, what you need is to hire a director of engineering who does because if you try to hire some developers and apply the vast depth of wisdom that you've acquired from this thread on Slashdot you're probably going to fail miserably.

Comment: Re:What's it good for? (Score 1) 236

by putaro (#48432613) Attached to: Russia May Be Planning National Space Station To Replace ISS

There's a lot of value in having humans along. Currently, launch costs are so high that the costs of bringing along the life support for humans is prohibitive, but if it got cheaper many things would work better.

Consider Philae - if it had landed a few meters in another direction it would still be working. If it had been a manned expedition, that wouldn't have been an issue.

Or look at the Mars rovers. Great stuff, but there's little ability to improvise. Think up a different experiment you want done? Well, it'll have to wait for the next rover because that one can't do it.

Comment: So much for Angela Merkel's commitment to privacy (Score 2) 59

by putaro (#48357669) Attached to: German Spy Agency Seeks Millions To Monitor Social Networks

Yeah, Angela Merkel was upset the NSA was spying on her (and she's actually a legitimate target as a head of state and has her own security forces who are supposed to be securing her communications) but wants to return the favor to the rest of the world. They're all the same.

Comment: Re:It's a scam (Score 1) 246

by putaro (#48356655) Attached to: The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

There's one barrier in front of space exploration - high launch costs. Everything else is surmountable or ignorable.

We've been sending people to Antarctica for a while. Many of the early explorers died. Tourists have died in Antarctica. Some space explorers will die because of shoddy equipment. We may even send people places with equipment known to be substandard. I wouldn't go but there seem to be plenty who would.

Money is the root of all wealth.