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Comment: Oh, I totally agree about the feds (Score 1) 469

by sirwired (#48637781) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

I totally agree that the Fed's ability to CREATE drug laws is legally tenuous. But that's really irrelevant here. A state has no right of action to force another state to conform their laws to this or that federal law. If the feds have a problem with it, it'll be between the feds and that state. It's simply not a matter for one state to go after another.

Comment: Yeah, about that Constitution Thing (Score 1) 469

by sirwired (#48632465) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Attn Border States:

The Interstate Commerce Clause. Read up on it, and how it means you can't do jack about what a neighboring state does or does not legalize. The feds certainly can, and do, have anti-drug laws, but states have no jurisdiction over federal law enforcement priorities.

Comment: Meh... the more things change... (Score 1) 241

by sirwired (#48584899) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

The More Things Change, the More They Stay The Same.

It's my general impression that the cost of any given IT resource has gone down at roughly the same rate the consumption of said resource has risen. This means that IT capabilities rise at the same rate as advances in storage/programming/processing power/etc., but the total complexity (and amount of IT resource to manage that complexity) has stayed roughly level.

I remember fifteen years ago, the "rule of thumb" for managing Enterprise Storage was approx. two administrators per Terabyte. (This was when a terabyte storage array was about the size of a pair of commercial refrigerators and took 4 3-phase power feeds.) Nowadays, the company still has two administrators, but they now have a Petabyte to manage, and their company makes productive use of every last scrap of that Petabyte.

Comment: "Corps as people" try to have it both ways (Score 1) 341

by sirwired (#48526453) Attached to: New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

The major legal concept that makes a corporation different from a jointly-owned partnership is the idea that the corporation exists as a separate entity from the shareholders. This confers benefits, such as insulating shareholders from liability for things an "arms-length" corporation they happen to own shares of might do. But if corps want to retain that benefit, they should not expect to be treated as having the same rights as their shareholders. If they are truly "arms length" then the rights their shareholders do or don't have should be irrelevant when determining the rights of the corporation itself. Certainly the constitution has nothing to do with it, as corporations are not citizens (nor residents) and therefore cannot have constitutional rights in and of themselves. They have only the rights we choose to grant them.

Comment: These cases are a waste of time (Score 1) 341

by sirwired (#48526403) Attached to: New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

How much rights animals should have is certainly a worthy discussion to have. Do some animals deserve more rights than others? Which ones? How many rights? What makes one animal more "worthy" than another? All interesting questions.

But the law is pretty clear: Animals are property, not people. Under the law, they have no rights. We already grant them the special privilege (vs. say, a car) in that they cannot be treated with gratuitous cruelty (and that's highly flexible... I can do a lot of things to, say, rats, that would get me arrested if I did them to a dog.) But those protections are explicit in the law. If you want to grant animals further rights, the courts are not going to be able to do it, it's going to have to be done through the legislative process.

Comment: This is quite different from existing systems. (Score 3, Informative) 110

by sirwired (#48497911) Attached to: Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

Simple X-Y robots (that have been around for years) that pick regularly-shaped items off of shelves (usually decent-sized boxes) and drop them onto conveyors are pretty standard, and not that difficult. Picking up objects of an infinite variety of shapes and sizes, many of which are quite small, is something it's not possible for robots (at least not reasonably priced ones) to reliably do at this time.

This system (which brings the shelves to the workers, as workers are MUCH better at plucking small, irregularly-shaped items out of boxes) has fascinating challenges all of it's own, mainly related to traffic control, safety, and where to put the shelves after you are done. (A fixed location is very inefficient, but neither do you want to stick the shelf in the first available space.)

Comment: Why couldn't it be MSI directly? (Score 3, Informative) 110

by sirwired (#48497757) Attached to: Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

Plenty of companies (including manufacturers) have Amazon storefronts. Some of them use Amazon for fulfillment, some just use Amazon as a storefront. I don't see why MSI can't.

While Amazon's site for computer parts isn't nearly as good as NewEgg's (Amazon's spec search capability is pitiful), I've never had any difficulty telling who the seller for a particular product is. In your case, if it said "Sold By: MSI", you can be pretty sure that's who it was.

As far as not getting a shipping quote until checkout? That's pretty normal for lots of web stores. If you are going to charge for shipping at all, per-item shipping is certainly a choice, but plenty of web retailers do it differently. They can go by actual shipping cost, a rate based on total order size, etc. In Amazon's case, if the item is fulfilled by Amazon, you either go with the free shipping (or prime), or you pay according to their published shipping rate tables. If it's not fulfilled by Amazon, they just do whatever the retailer tells them to.

Personally, I find NewEgg's shipping to be the most confusing: depending on the individual item, shipping is either free (and slow), free (and less slow), per-item, or total-weight. And it's never clear which shipping rates are going to apply if your order contains items in multiple shipping categories.

Comment: This doesn't even vaguely resemble a tape library (Score 1) 110

by sirwired (#48497669) Attached to: Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

A tape library arranged in a straight line with one or two picker robots does not, in any way, even resemble the issues involved with an army of independent transport robots picking things from an entire warehouse. Other than the word "robot", the two really don't have anything to do with each other.

A tape library requires lighting speed, and a very high degree of precision. The issues with this system revolve around route planning, collision avoidance, queuing speed, and battery longevity.

But while you are talking about tape libraries: The IBM 3495 library was a conventional tape library for cartridges. However, development problems with the new robotics assembly led to IBM using a general-purpose welding robot, of the sort you'd see on an automobile assembly line. This was, needless to say, an utterly absurd application of such a robot; using a robot with about 8 degrees of motion in a task requiring only 3.

Hilarious true story. During product test, a bug in the x-axis software led to one of the robots driving right through the end of the frame at top speed, falling over, and crashing through the raised tile. This led to a requirement for a dedicated cabinet on each end of the chain having nothing but large hydraulic/spring bumpers of the sort you might see at the bottom of an elevator shaft to keep mutinous robots from trying to crush their human masters.

Comment: And this is where editors might be nice... (Score 1) 204

by sirwired (#48379857) Attached to: Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

Look at the following phrase at the end of TFS: "...it does make you wonder how long organizations can afford to continue promoting incompetent bosses in today's very dynamic and competitive business world."

Any editor with a nicely-sharpened red pencil would cross that right out. The first thing that pops into my head was "As opposed to some world in the past that was neither competitive nor dynamic?" When exactly was this, 'cause I don't know when it was. Being hide-bound and slow has never exactly been a recipe for business success, even if other factors meant you didn't go bankrupt right away.

Comment: In other news, the feds aren't morons (Score 4, Insightful) 135

by sirwired (#48357779) Attached to: Tor Project Mulls How Feds Took Down Hidden Websites

It's a common fallacy to assume that you, on the side of Right and Truth, are clever and intelligent while The Other Guys (standing for all that is Wrong and False) are a bunch of bumbling idiots.

That's a really easy way to get surprised and metaphorically spanked, in any context.

Of COURSE the feds have been working on ways to de-anonymize Tor! What did you expect them to do? Go "Oh Golly-Gosh-Darn! A bunch of people have figured out a way to do things we don't like in a way that's difficult to track. I guess I'll simply sit around and eat donuts all day and wait for my dept. to get cut when it's noticed at the next budget hearing that my electronic surveillance dept. isn't actually surveilling anything!"

Just like people within Tor do work to plug de-anonymizing holes, people that would like to de-anonymize Tor do work to find the loopholes first. Shocker.

Comment: This is missing one of Silk Road's major features (Score 4, Interesting) 108

This is missing one of Silk Road's major features of "washing" your BitCoins through a central pool. Without the laundering facilities available, it becomes a lot easier to track sellers down.

I suppose a decentralized eBay-ish thing could be handy, but without the money laundering, it's a lot less useful.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.

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