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Comment: Re:WindOwS X (Score 4, Informative) 154

by sl3xd (#49670903) Attached to: Windows 10 the Last Version of Windows? Not So Fast.

Your history is incomplete.

You're aware there were hordes of Apple II clones, right? I started my computing life on a Franklin ACE 1000 - a superior clone of the Apple II. After it died, I got another Apple II clone (A "Laser 128" as I recall). There were Apple clones for over ten years with the Apple II, and several more years with the Macintosh.

Apple II clones died for two reasons: The Apple II was a very old architecture, only capable of 64k of memory. Also, most of the cloners illegally copied Apple's BIOS. Even then, Apple vs. Franklin was in 1987 - ten years after the Apple II was released.

IBM did sue clone makers into oblivion. In fact, after Apple vs. Franklin, IBM sued a number of early cloners out of existence for the because they also illegally copied from IBM's BIOS.

The difference is that nobody saw the point in writing a clean-room Apple II ROM in 1987. The world had moved beyond 64k, and there was no point in denying reality. Even Apple was pounding nails in the Apple II's coffin.

In contrast, Phoenix and AMI both had clean-room IBM BIOS clones written in 1984 and '85 - years before Apple vs. Franklin. IBM couldn't touch Phoenix or AMI.

So IBM tried to destroy cloners by creating the backwards (but not forwards) compatible PS/2, complete with their backwards (but not forwards) compatible OS/2.

In the end, it came down to price: A clone was more capable than IBM's PS/2 disaster, and had a cost far less than the PS/2 or a Macintosh.

IBM tried its best to kill the PC clone. The difference is that unlike the Apple II, the PC clone could handily beat the PS/2 that was supposed to replace it.

Never forget: The PC clone didn't just beat the Apple Mac - it beat IBM's replacement for the PC as well.

And it did so for the same reason Timex has far more market share than Rolex or Tag Heuer: It does the same job for a lot less money.

Comment: Re:LOL LOL OMG.. HAHAHAHA (Score 1) 553

by sl3xd (#49613865) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

Get real.

Not even North Korea has an economy that is completely what its politicians designed.

Even the (East) Germans, models of efficiency and planning they are, didn't have an economy that was completely planned by its politicians.

The US economy is one step away from anarchy compared to either North Korea or East Germany

Comment: Re:Pigments block light. News at 11! (Score 1) 403

by sl3xd (#49589759) Attached to: Tattoos Found To Interfere With Apple Watch Sensors

Green LED's provide more accurate heart rate monitoring.

The watch already has infrared LED's and IR sensors in addition to green; the "extra $0.45 per watch" is baked in.

Every engineer has to make a decision about where the point of diminishing returns lies for their design.

For every additional LED and sensor they use, more power is consumed. Does it make sense to shorten battery life by x hours for everyone just so it functions better for y% more users?

Comment: Re:BTUs? (Score 1) 280

by sl3xd (#49587175) Attached to: New Study Suggests Flying Is Greener Than Driving

The thing is average Americans don't use BTU's either. MegaJoules are every bit as abstract and unfamiliar.

The only things I see in "everyday" use for the BTU: Cooking stoves and window air conditioners -- things you don't buy or compare often. . In both cases, it's not "meaningful" other than a higher number is more powerful.

Comment: Re:So what about law? (Score 1) 703

by sl3xd (#49578901) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

Your strawman is unimaginative.

Law is a human idea, and is by definition mutable. It's a whim and nothing more.

The reality is the bullet, bludgeons, bars, and bindings. They don't care what you believe. Law is just an idea of when it's acceptable to inflict those pieces of reality.

In the same way, the climate doesn't care what anybody thinks. It just reacts to the physical realities of energy flux.

Comment: Re:Science... Yah! (Score 1) 958

by sl3xd (#48970539) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness

One big problem is that the "nutritional" industry, which amount to well-spoken charlatans. They make outlandish, unprovable claims, and people swallow it (literally) by the billions.

They masquerade marketing as science in order feign legitimacy, and the fact is they aren't providing anything with a provable benefit.

The only regulatory bar they have to cross is that it's not obviously harmful. There's no requirement that the 'supplement' be beneficial.

It's bad enough to claim that some herb or vitamin supplement provides health benefits that are nonexistent. It's another thing entirely to sell a product that doesn't even have what is on the label. This morning, ABC news had a story about a number of nutritional companies were forced to pull their 'supplements' after testing proved they didn't contain anything they claimed to have.

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but after working for such a company, I have few doubts: the entire industry is rotten to the core, and is only interested in fooling their customers into buying snake oil. It's not like it's an insular thing; you're have to be aware of what the competition is doing, and I saw the same BS everywhere.

Comment: Re:Greece's problem is lack of ecumenic freedom (Score 2) 328

by sl3xd (#48918879) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

Japan can also print its own money, which gives it the ability (at least in theory) to wipe out all public debt with the stroke of a pen. There are consequences to that action, but when your debt is counted in your own currency, you can largely ignore the public debt, as long as inflation is kept in check. Most non-eurozone countries (including the US) do the same thing. In fact, inflation has long been used by most nations to decrease the impact of public debt, as the fixed-dollar debt can be reduced to a smaller %age of the GDP. It's how Great Britian and the US 'paid' for World War II, for example. As another example, recall the talk about a "trillion dollar platinum coin" during the most recent US government shutdown, which would have paid off a trillion dollars of debt as well as instantly and drastically inflated the dollar (among other things).

Greece doesn't have a national currency. Their debt is in Euros, and must be repaid in Euros. Greece can't unilaterally inflate the Euro to reduce their debt load. The situation is closer to the economy of California, which is also heavily in debt. California doesn't get to print its own money, and it doesn't have the option of creating inflation to reduce its debt load.

Greece and California have two choices: Make their payments, and hope inflation happens on its own, or default and accept they won't be able to borrow money for a substantial amount of time. Growing their economies makes both options more palatable, but doesn't solve the problem by itself.

Comment: Re:Communicating probabilities (Score 1) 397

by sl3xd (#48918261) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

+ This

Anybody who lives around snow knows it comes in pretty much every density and consistency water can possibly have: from "wet" heavy snow and huge flakes that stick to everything and entombs cars and houses, to "dry" powder that doesn't stick to anything, and blows around like a dune in a sandstorm.

Sometimes you get both kinds within an hour.

Comment: News at 11!!! (Score 4, Informative) 172

by sl3xd (#48557913) Attached to: Just-Announced X.Org Security Flaws Affect Code Dating Back To 1987

Anybody who's really looked at security around X11 has known for decades that it isn't that great.

I even remember that as recently as a year ago, ATI's drivers specifically tell you to use "xhost +" to enable GPU compute jobs using ATI devices, which resulted in a lot of "LOL NOPE" in the HPC industry. (It's trivial to root a machine that has had "xhost +" executed inside an X11 session.)

X11 having critical security holes should surprise no one. There's a reason internet-facing servers don't have X11, and it's not just because you don't need a GUI sucking up resources.

On the other hand, I'm thoroughly grateful that somebody decided to do something about it.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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