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Comment: Re:Beta (Score 1) 379

by real-modo (#46206273) Attached to: Debian Technical Committee Votes For Systemd Over Upstart

...The problem is that systemd is too opaque, much like Windows "you don't get to see" philosophy. It's contrary to the way Unix based OSs have always been.

The people who are so desperate for a Windows-like OS should just... use Windows! Windows more or less works fine if that's your cup of tea.

This bears repeating, so I have repeated it. Systemd is philosophically Not The Unix Way. Microsoft has been doing things the systemd way for much longer than Poettering & Sievers, and is better at it.

I have no desire at all to use an ersatz Windows. Which is probably why I'm using the real thing more than I am using Linux these days. Not happy.

Comment: Re:They sell something other than exchange? (Score 1) 177

by real-modo (#46126355) Attached to: Reports Say Satya Nadella Is Microsoft's Next CEO

Two things I hear about the least: Active Directory and Exchange. Those are Microsoft's core products.

Azure is Microsoft's response to Amazon elastic compute. Skydrive...for most people, is a Dropbox knock-off. Office 365 (again: for most people) is a blatant attempt to extract more revenue from Office. Active directory? Best in class? Exchange...what else are you going to use? Lotus Notes? POP3 mail and paper calendars?

Comment: Re:Haters are going to Hate (Score 1) 1009

by real-modo (#45948253) Attached to: Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

Well, here's some of the other kind of hate.

I have one of the 25 million PCS that has Windows 8.1. I bought it, determined to give ti a fair trial. This was after my experience with Ubuntu Unity -- I hated that for three weeks, but now it's kind of OK. Not as good as Windows 7's UI, but OK. Same with GNOME 3. It's OK. I can live with it.

I've been using windows 8.1 for three months now, and my irritation levels have only grown. I'd rather be forced to use Clonezilla's UI -- if you've seen that, you'll be able to calibrate my irritation levels. And this is after applying all the fixes and remedies that I could find on the intertubes -- boot to desktop, deleting all the Metro Apps that it lets you, installing a menu/app launcher that retains context, getting rid of the super-aggressive power saving as far as I can, etc., etc.

There are about 3 cardinal rules for WIMP interfaces, and with 8 Microsoft broke at least 2 of them: Maintain context while responding to user action - no surprises, don't make people remember stuff, ensure thay can see it; and make every action reversible, until the user commits to a new state. The other one is "make sure the device works. That also doesn't happen with 8 coming out of sleep on my particular hardware. Microsoft's hardware compatibility list lied to me.

"8 is designed for touch", you'll say. Maybe; phone and tablet buyers disagree. But for my PC, I sure wish I'd bought 7--or that there was a Linux/BSD app that would do what I need to do. And I don't understand why Microsoft is selling 8 or 8.1 as fit for use on PCs and laptops.

Comment: Re:Going to change everything (Score 1) 162

by real-modo (#45603547) Attached to: Andy Rubin Is Heading a Secret Robotics Project At Google

IANAEconomist either, but it's not too hard. If all your basic needs are being met cheaply, and you have money left over, then you spend it on other things. You hire a hairdresser to cut your hair. You hire a gardener to mow your lawn, painter to paint your house. You spend more money on entertainment and tourism ("spring break" holidays didn't exist as a thing for most people, not so long ago.).

And more things like those get invented, so long as there is enough demand for them. There are new industries that could take off if there was a mass market. Personal trainers. Life coaches. Personal shoppers, interior designers and style consultants. Time management tutors (GTD and the like). Probably many, many other new or currently tiny industries, all of which have this key characteristic: the value of them lies in the human touch, so no robot could ever do them. If lots of people had money, *some* of those ideas would take off.

In our world, though, some clever entrepreneur dreamed up nail bars, because these days a 15-minute manicure is all that most people can afford to spend on themselves as a luxury. Those other things above? We need median income to go up in line with productivity, as it used to do before 1975.

But also...

The bulk of the money freed up by cheapening food, clothes, and personal effects has gone into zero-sum competitions. Moving to a neighbourhood with "better schools" for the kids--that is, buying a more expensive house than you would have otherwise.The combination of high demand and a fixed supply just drives up the price of property in those areas. No value is created, except in the lawyers' and agents' fees.--relatively minor and infrequent. (The sellers just trade up, mostly, so the extra money they have just goes into another zero-sum competition for status somewhere else.) Likewise families compete to get their kids into "good universities". If the number of positions is fixed, then the extra money you spend is just going to the gatekeepers -- see below.

This kind of problem, where the value of what you buy lies in the position relative to other people that it gives you (i.e. status), is a never-ending spiral. Not so easily fixed.

Biggest problem. Income and wealth are rapidly concentrating.

Really wealthy people mostly trade already-existing things among themselves, rather than invest in businesses that employ people and craete new things. A better house in a better neighbourhood. A house in the Hamptons, or sell the old one and buy a better one. A pearl necklace once owned by $celebrity, or an artwork by $long_dead_artist. Stocks and bonds. Gold, if they're that way inclined. A third home in some out-of-the-way but safe country, or a "ranch" to go riding on. Those sorts of purchases contribute virtually nothing to the economy, apart from agents' fees, which are one-time expenses and the (low) wages of (a very few) staff. How many people do these purchases employ? Not many, compared to an exercise gym, engineering consultancy, or a movie studio -- investments that actually grow the economy. Sure, rich people do employ some people. Hotel staff, their own personal staff, couturiers, jewellers, etc. But those expenses are very minor compared to their income.

Productivity is good when it increases employment and the real wages of those at the bottom. Wait, it's actually the other way around. If poor people had more income, they would spend more on the things that tend to employ people like themselves. With more money going around entrepreneurs would spot opportunities to sell new mass-market products and services, and employ more people, in a virtuous circle. With money circulating among the rich, entrepreneurs find ways to tap into that. Like Bernie Madoff. Or Goldman Sachs, some employees of which openly called their clients "muppets".

Two exceptions. One, health care. That's labor-intensive, and old rich people will spend *a lot* to stick around, enjoying what they've got. And healthcare is by far the fastest growing employer in the country. Two, security. old rich people will spend a lot on security. Gated communities, body guards, politicians, insurance for their stuff: whatever they can do to cut down the chances that they might lose some status, safety, income, or property. Security isn't *yet* very labor intensive, but that may change...

Right now, the best hope for employment is that having a large household staff becomes a status symbol for rich people. So you can be some rich person's trophy employee.

Comment: Re:because it matters? (Score 1) 381

by real-modo (#45512753) Attached to: Code.org: More Money For CS Instructors Who Teach More Girls

You are arguing against the received wisdom in academia. You need to support your assertion with something more than a link to YouTube.

Industries in which women are the majority mostly have lower wages than those dominaged by men.

The news.com.au article that AlternativeIdeas links to makes exactly this point, albeit in a backhand way. A woman electrician has rarity value, besides the fact that a woman who self-selects into a male-dominated industry is likely to be more highly motivated than the average worker to do well.

So: let's have some actual evidence, please. Statistics and stuff. In the mean time, the simplest explanation for code.org is that it's an attempt to keep coders' wages depressed.

Comment: Re:How many humans does the farm require? (Score 1) 65

by real-modo (#45441589) Attached to: Robots: a Working Breed At the Dairy

... I'm pretty sure that the rich will need something to do with all of that money.

The rich are different. They buy positional goods in competition with other rich people. Entry to Harvard for their kids. Famous artworks and jewellery pieces. Trophy houses around the world. Yachts. Football teams.

A couple of observations: the rich buy from each other, in a competition for status and/or security. And the goods they buy don't have a low labor component in their value--most of their value derives from intrinsic scarcity.

The best hope is that rich people decide that one way of competing positionally is through having large staffs. The non-rich can then become trophy employees.

and the voting majority won't let them keep all of it.

You'd think. But people seem to think that rich people deserve their wealth (which is of course nonsense, as most wealthy people are children of wealthy people and haven't done much to increase their wealth; or are simply lucky, like Justin Bieber).

As a result, many people vote against taxes that only affect multi-millionaires.

Comment: Re:A shot at other OS, computer *and* device maker (Score 1) 471

by real-modo (#45209587) Attached to: Apple Announces iPad Air

Mac hardware has no more resale than PC hardware.

Not true here. People consistently pay more for used Macs than they do for higher-spec PC hardware of the same age and condition. Panasonic toughbooks--the real ones--are the one and only exception to this. But that's a market Panasonic has to itself, pretty much.

Value is what people are willing to pay. Reputation may be the cause, sure. But the reality is that the five-year cost of owning a MBP is reduced (compared to the counterfactual of an identically priced Not-a-Mac) because of its higher residual value.

Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.

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