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Comment: Ask for it? "We went with another candidate" (Score 1) 191 191

Why are people so quick to assume that they can't ask for something, and negotiate their compensation?

Because when I have asked for things, the result has ended up being "we went with another candidate for this position", and "how can I make myself a better fit for your company in the future?" has gone unanswered.

Comment: Re:My Plans for Firefox (Score 1) 125 125

Thanks for the offer. And yes, in a couple of cases I've reported a URL via the Firefox made me sad feature.

I'm torn about doing more. On the one hand, of course I'd like to see the issues fixed and in principle I'm happy to help. As a software developer myself I understand the usefulness of detailed technical information and test cases.

On the other hand, every time I go near Bugzilla I seem to spend 15-30 minutes trying to figure it out, before sometimes getting to the stage of actually submitting a useful issue but more often just giving up. I'm sure it's great for people who use it regularly, but for an occasional contributor it's awful. And unfortunately the reality is that I can't justify spending a client's money like that every time I find a bug in a browser if I have four other browsers available to me within 10 seconds that can load the site just fine, and as selfish as it sounds, there's only so much income that I'm willing to give up by working on non-billable activities.

So again, thank you for the offer, but if you have any pull with Mozilla I would encourage you to spend it on either improving the reporting systems so we can all contribute more effectively in the future, or on improving the built-in diagnostics in Firefox so if I come across a site that does hang there is still a mechanism available to capture what was really going on internally at the time and report it back.

Comment: Faulty? Not necessarily for the reasons you think (Score 1) 160 160

Any area of life where we currently use chronological age is faulty

Not quite.

How about areas of life like experience or shared age-based cultural milestones, both of which depend highly on your year of birth?

"How many years have you spoken [insert your native tongue here]?"

"How many years have you known how to multiply small numbers in your head?"

"Who was your President/head of state when you turned 18/reached the age of majority/reached voting age?"

"How many years since you started high school?" (in countries where almost everyone at least starts high school)

"When were you confirmed/bar-mitzvahed/considered an adult congregant in your church/synagog/place of worship?" (where the question is asked of someone who grew up in such a religious body)

These and many related "areas of life" are so highly correlated with chronological age that the statement "Any area of life where we currently use chronological age is faulty" is only true if "faulty" means "only slightly faulty, but still a good general assumption."

Comment: Re:My Plans for Firefox (Score 1) 125 125

In that specific case it would be understandable. Frankly I'm expecting Perl 6 and Half-Life 3 before Electrolysis ships anyway, but if it ever does, I think most people would understand that it's a significant architectural change and there are very good reasons for making it.

It's the frequent breakage of useful extensions just because someone felt like rearranging the UI or some superficially unrelated APIs that winds up a lot of users and extension developers, I think.

Comment: A driver's license can cost thousands (Score 2) 191 191

How is that feasible when it reportedly costs $6,000 for a driver's license? Some jurisdictions reportedly require 120 hours of logged supervised driving on a learner's permit before they will issue a license (source), and not everybody has parents who both drive and are willing to sit in the car that long. At $50 per hour for a professional instructor, it starts to add up.

Comment: Re:My Plans for Firefox (Score 3, Insightful) 125 125

I was there before Mozilla existed, and I respectfully disagree.

To answer your question about how it's bloated since 1.0, please consider this: which updates in the past year or so have not added an extra icon to the main toolbar and/or come with a splash screen about the update that primarily advertises a new feature that isn't a core part of the browser and would previously have been handled with an add-on (if at all)? Why is there an "Apps" entry on my "Tools" menu now? Pocket? Hello?

Meanwhile, quality seems to have dropped significantly since the rapid release schedule. There are currently several sites I visit regularly -- as part of work, mind, so these are professional business sites not bleeding edge web geek blogs -- that will crash Firefox. I literally have to fire up another browser to use them, and that could be IE or Chrome or even Safari on iOS, so it's not that someone has written an IE-only site in 2015 or anything like that. Of course it's particularly annoying with Firefox because unlike every other major browser for many years, taking out one tab in Firefox can still take out everything else as well.

Perhaps instead of trying to be all things^W^WChrome to all people, they would do better to go back to their roots as the simple, expandable browser the AC mentioned, and perhaps focus on the robustness issues with plug-ins and cross-tab contamination that have plagued them for so long. They might not take over the entire Web that way, but at least they'd still be the best choice for a significant part of the market instead of slowly drifting into obscurity on their current course.

I really hope they do, because the two reasons I still tend to use Firefox by default on most PCs are the add-on ecosystem and my general distrust of Google and more recently Microsoft. Mozilla seem to be going the wrong way on both fronts right now.

Comment: Re:Just in time (Score 1) 170 170

Sorry, but I think you're mistaking a somewhat similar historical position for what we're talking about here.

You're talking about the published support times for existing operating systems, not the support period based on hardware lifetimes that Microsoft has been referring to in connection with Windows 10. The supported lifetime for the OS itself becomes a concept with little meaning if they plan to treat Windows 10 as an evergreen system, but to my knowledge they have not yet given any clarification of how to interpret their hardware-related statements objectively.

You're also talking about contracts that typically only large organisations will have. Those contracts are irrelevant to home users, because that's not how they buy Windows. Clearly there will be bigger changes than you are implying with Windows Home, because for a start you have no option to ignore or defer updates; you'll need Windows Pro or higher for that from 10 onwards. And of course if you take Windows 10 as a free upgrade, so you haven't paid anything for it, it's questionable whether you'd have any basis in law for complaining even if Microsoft shut down tomorrow. At least with previous versions, if you purchased for real money (or got Windows preinstalled on a new computer you paid for) you could refer to public statements Microsoft have made about support durations and backing out of those commitments would probably lead to a class action suit in the US, for example.

Comment: Re:Just in time (Score 1) 170 170

Yes, that was part of what I had in mind.

However, there appears to be a more general problem (and a more deliberate strategy) with Apple than any one device or platform. In theory, there are still updates available for my iPad (an early Retina model) but in practice they are widely reported to perform so poorly that we daren't "upgrade". However, that means we are locked out of various apps or upgrades, because Apple forces app developers to target its more recent versions of iOS only. Need a new app? No problem, upgrade your iOS. New iOS makes your device so slow it's barely usable? No problem, just buy a new device. Want to just use what worked fine before on a device you only bought a few years ago, and run apps that developers would be happy to write for it? Sucks to be you.

With the direction Microsoft has been pushing in for a few years now, with what-was-Metro and RT and it looks like now with some of the Windows 10 integration as well, I'm very wary of being forced down the same artificial-obsolescence path. And at least with Apple you can ignore the prompt to update your system and keep using what you had before. The fact that Microsoft are disabling that ability for Windows 10 Home makes me extremely sceptical about their motivations.

Comment: The concept of generic kernels (Score 1) 108 108

Anything necessary to mount drives and any non-removable devices should be compiled into the kernel.

Which would make for a pretty big generic kernel if it has to handle every possible bus through which bootable storage can be accessed, and through which the decryption password can be entered, on every PC since the Pentium II.

For a smaller flash-based system

This kind of machine is more likely to be something purpose-built

I was sort of referring to tablets and tablet-laptops, which are likely to come with an internal SSD as small as 16 to 32 GB, or to bootable USB flash drives.

Just compile the drivers into the kernel, rather than producing any modules.

The drivers for which system? Or are you referring to abandoning the concept of a binary "generic kernel" in favor of recompiling the kernel for each machine on which it will be used, every time it is installed or updated?

Comment: Re:Just in time (Score 1) 170 170

I doubt anyone actually believes Microsoft considers the "supported lifetime of your device" to be only a year or two for a desktop computer.

True, but people would have said the same about Apple once upon a time, while lately Apple's software policies seem tailor-made to artificially limit the lifetime of its already relatively expensive product range, up to and including the high-end business laptops and such.

I think the concern is that this is a one-way trip. Once consumers and particularly businesses start making the switch to Windows 10, it is unlikely there will be any going back.

If Microsoft then ships one box-bricking Windows update to all those Windows Home users, who will have no option to defer or skip any update under the current proposals, there is going to be carnage.

The other significant risk I can see is that if Microsoft's new business model doesn't work out -- after all, it seems they're essentially betting on giving away Windows for a considerable time in the hope that it will drive more sales of other software, media content, and related services -- then they are going to need to make their money somewhere else. It would be a brave person who bet against a major tech company exploiting its locked-in users in the face of shareholder anger and probably changes in senior management under those conditions.

Comment: Individual taste (Score 1) 315 315

Like most desks-with-chairs, the ideal work environment is going to be unique to the person and to the task.

I find writing with a paper and pen or typing for less than a few minutes at a time easier to do if I don't have to change my standing or sitting mode. I find doing the same for between a few minutes and about half an hour somewhat easier to do sitting down than standing. If I'm writing or typing more than half an hour I'm probably going to take a break anyways.

I find it uncomfortable to stand more than 6-8 hours a day or more than 1-2 hours without a 20-30 minute sit-down break, but that's just me. When I was in better physical shape (read: when I was a teenager), I could do stand-up work in a restaurant all day with just a sit-down break for meals.

As far as which stand-up desk/workstation will work best for me? I'm not sure. Given my current job requirements, I doubt any would be as good as an ordinary adjustable sit-down office chair and a typical office computer desk. I'm almost certain your job requirements are not exactly the same as mine so your ideal work environment will very likely be different as well.

There is very little future in being right when your boss is wrong.