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Comment: If you have the factories, you win (Score 0) 181

by spike_gran (#47695993) Attached to: Xiaomi's Next OS Looks Strikingly Similar To iOS

The difficult part of pushing a design to market is building the thing. Once you have a factory, cloning a design and shipping a product is quite easy.

In fact, much of the industrial learning and knowledge comes from managing manufacturing processes.

This was always going to be the end game in the China manufacturing experiment. The USA closes its factories and exports the manufacturing process, but, holds on to "design" and "branding". China clones design and branding. The USA, unable to recreate the factories, becomes vassal to China.

It has happened at different rates for different industries: Giant ate Schwinn. Lenovo is eating IBM. Repeat 1000 times for 1000 corporations.

The only surprise here is that people are surprised.

In my corner of the industry (Aerospace) many government contracts require USA-made parts. Each year more and more subsystems become difficult to obtain from USA sources: Ethernet cards, bulkhead connectors, keyboards, etc.

Comment: Re:I'm ready to replace Make (Score 2) 179

by spike_gran (#45085017) Attached to: GNU Make 4.0 Released

In the mailing lists, the maintainer of Make implied that the Guile integration was put there essentially as a hedge. People would ask for extensions to Make that he didn't want to commit to, so now the Guile is there so that people can extend make their own way.

I would imaging that the Guile stuff would be valuable to do complicated pattern substitutions than Make can easily handle. It is trivial in GNU Make to convert a variable containing a list of *.c files to a list of *.o files, etc. But something more complicated of that nature is where a Guile extension would come in.

Comment: Good Enough (Score 2) 278

by spike_gran (#43189519) Attached to: Where Have All the Gadgets Gone?

In the TFA, he speculates that these multipurpose devices are now "good enough" to suit most needs, and I think that is true, But it is true that the quality of our audio and video experience seems to have gotten worse of the last couple of years.

When it look at the pictures, or listen to the audio generated by the phones and tablets, or watch the video. It works, but, it just isn't very good.

What's happening is that the middle layer of high-end consumer products are just vanishing: everything is either multipurpose devices or pro devices.

For me, anyway, I still use digital camera and I still use dedicated audio that I used to play CDs and records. I'm a grumpy old man, I guess, but, it sounds better.

Comment: Re:Good news for Linux (Score 2) 256

by spike_gran (#42760627) Attached to: Microsoft Phases Out XNA and DirectX?

I use Linux, but a spend more time in Windows and its not just because of games. If Linux natively ran something as good as Visual Studio + C# + MSDN, I'd be running Linux far more often. I don't have the time or the patience to exhaustively sift through API references any longer.

Absolutely. I spend a lot of time coding using the whole C + EMACS + Autotools + 100 random barely documented libraries that have been cobbled together to form the GNOME GNU Linux API. I care about software freedom. But Visual Studio and C# and MSDN is just so clean and complete and well documented. It really improves productivity. One day coding on Visual Studio == 3 days coding in C on EMACS.

Comment: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (Score 1) 216

by spike_gran (#38245398) Attached to: For 1 kWh of electricity, I pay ...

Los Angeles is somewhat unusual for California in that its electricity generation is owned by the city, instead of being a privatized monolopy.

It is a 3 Tier system, where, during the summer, the 1st tier (350 kWh per month) is the cheapest and the 3rd is the most expensive. Oddly, during the winter, all three tiers cost the same. Go figure.

Anyway, looks like a kWh costs about 0.14USD on Tier 1. I don't have air conditioning, so it would be pretty hard to exceed 350 kWh. 350 kWh works out to an average power consumption of 500W constantly all month long. I use about half that.

Comment: Re:App to edit photos and make illustrations (Score 2) 330

by spike_gran (#37948738) Attached to: Is SaaS Killing Native Linux App Development?

That's a fair point. I guess I do think of a photo editor as part of the dev environment, but, that is really stretching the definition of "dev environment" too far.

But the point I was trying to make, I guess, is that the native apps I use are used in my role as a developer. Rarely do I use native apps in the role of end user.

Comment: Does anyone use Linux native apps? (Score 1) 330

by spike_gran (#37948190) Attached to: Is SaaS Killing Native Linux App Development?

Despite being in free software for a bajillion years and using it as my desktop, I can't say that I've used any native Linux apps for anything really. For the past few years, it has just been a way to get a webbrowser running and to get online, and as a place to cache content. I also use Emacs and the dev environment to make my own (web) apps, and Apache to serve them.

The only native apps I use are games that need native audio/video control.

Comment: No easy answers (Score 5, Insightful) 388

by spike_gran (#35850122) Attached to: How the Social Tech Bubble Is Different

I think the real question from TFA is if we all do pointless crap like market analysis, marketing, branding, and search engine optimization like the guy in the article, are we going to someday have a future where these skills can no longer be converted into food and shelter through the magic of the market.

For a while now, I've been wondering what the purpose of the USA economy is.

There are the basics, of course. I work so that I can have food, water, clothing, shelter, free time, fun. But it is through the magic of the world economy that I get those things by writing software specifications and unit tests. The economy somehow figures out how many lines of code I need to write to buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.

I suppose I don't worry too much about the fact that most of the work we do is of dubious importantance, so long as it is still convertible into food and shelter. But there is a tipping point somewhere. If everyone in the USA worked making click-through ads, we'd reach a point where no amount of work could be converted to food and shelter.

Comment: Have to bring USA wages down, world wages up (Score 1) 791

by spike_gran (#35561950) Attached to: CS Prof Decries America's 'Internal Brain Drain'

The truth is that this is all about the hard capitalist reality. But if it is important for the USA to retain at least some technical capability, we need find a way to bring wages down in the near term. To do that we need to find a way to reduce systemic costs for workers so that they can accept lower wages. For example

  • Make college free
  • Socialized medicine
  • Free transit
  • Lower rent

(Note the conundrum, soft forms of socialism like in China and Germany is the best way to compete in a capitalist world.)

But, with lower wages for the workers, you'll have to shift the tax burden to corporations and individuals that profit from lower wages for workers, which, of course, is impossible in the USA. So, there's nothing that can be done. American workers will continue to migrate to those jobs that pay well.

Image

NHS Should Stop Funding Homeopathy, Says Parliamentary Committee 507

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-am-I-going-to-align-my-chakras-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Homeopathic remedies work no better than placebos, and so should no longer be paid for by the UK National Health Service, a committee of British members of parliament has concluded. In preparing its report, the committee, which scrutinizes the evidence behind government policies, took evidence from scientists and homeopaths, and reviewed numerous reports and scientific investigations into homeopathy. It found no evidence that such treatments work beyond providing a placebo effect." Updated 201025 19:40 GMT by timothy: This recommendation has some people up in arms.
Businesses

Failed Games That Damaged Or Killed Their Companies 397

Posted by Soulskill
from the cause-or-symptom dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Develop has an excellent piece up profiling a bunch of average to awful titles that flopped so hard they harmed or sunk their studio or publisher. The list includes Haze, Enter The Matrix, Hellgate: London, Daikatana, Tabula Rasa, and — of course — Duke Nukem Forever. 'Daikatana was finally released in June 2000, over two and a half years late. Gamers weren't convinced the wait was worth it. A buggy game with sidekicks (touted as an innovation) who more often caused you hindrance than helped ... achieved an average rating of 53. By this time, Eidos is believed to have invested over $25 million in the studio. And they called it a day. Eidos closed the Dallas Ion Storm office in 2001.'"

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