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Comment Re:Already here (Score 1) 412

Unfortunately inflation is not the solution, as long as the wealthy can "park" their money in investments that bring more than the inflation. And I'm talking about "passive" investments here, not the entrepreneurial ones, which actually benefit the society (i.e.: starting a new company, digging a hole for resources, etc).

They will always find a way to get better returns than inflation. Just buying lots of real estate, for example.

There are better solutions, the "Capital in the 21st Century" for example discusses one. It is not income tax, or inflation, but wealth tax (i.e.: levy) that will actually redistribute the wealth, at least according to the author. There might be other solutions, or this particular one might not be workable, however inflation is known not to decrease the wealth of the richest people, only the lower middle class.

Comment Way older than most people think (Score 1) 166

These kind of backdoors have been around for a very long time. Remember "AWARD_SW", or "AMIBIOS"? Those passwords have opened so many BIOSes back in the day. It was helpful, until everybody started circulating lists. The manufacturers changed default passwords, but took a while for them to give up on those passwords entirely.

They help "lazy" operators and sysadmins, but they also help hackers as well.

Comment Re: *May* owe $8 billion (Score 1) 148

In the top-100 of that list, I could recognize "Nokia" as a only known tech company. The majority of large European companies seem to be in the Energy, Utilities, or similar government sanctioned monopolies, or older industry like Automotive. They have much higher revenues compared to tech companies, and I would assume their average age is around 100 years old.

Comment Re: Blame Chrome (Score 1) 165

SSD's have a very good secure erase mode, but it is very low level. I had to do it once, when I forgot the password on my Samsung portable SSD. Basically the drive sends a concurrent pulse to all cells, and then drains them (that's what I understood). It took a very short time, and since it happens to the entire drive, and the initial data was encrypted anyways, I don't think any data woul dbe recoverable after that point.

But this is not an advertised feature, and I had to speak with the customer service to get the right tools.

Comment Re:ANOTHER one? (Score 1) 109

Yes. They seem to spent honest amount of effort on their idea, and still have not given up. This is not like some scoundrel who just take the money, and leave without a trace. There was real development, albeit it fell short. And judging by the project scope, it is reasonable to conclude that one million is not nearly enough to run a robotics team for several years.

Comment Probably laziness at work (Score 1) 129

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. The firmware developers probably never finished the "5" case in the "level" switch, and were still fine to ship the laptop with Windows. They were not obligated to do anything else to bring this to the market in any practical way.

I've seen developers write the minimum amount of code that will "make it just work", and ignore what will make it "actually right". This is not only Linux's issue. Even Windows had to do crazy things, like Win 95 had to use Win 3.1 memory manager if Sim City was running ( That is software, not hardware, but the core concept is the same. Somebody does a crappy product that works with a certain OS, and all the others have to mimic that in order to get that product working.

Comment What would possibly happen (Score 2) 611

What would possibly happen is that they will charge you $250 (+20 for various fees), and then still find a way to incorporate ads in the future. Remember how cable subscription you already pay for includes ads in the programming? In fact it already started, even large news outlets are including "adveterials" (sponsored stories), which are even worse than ads (it takes a second to realize they are not in fact real editorial content).

Comment Re:Silly argument (Score 2) 529

Exactly. They are different skills, and in fact most of the people laid off are foreigners (i.e.: Nokia).

Even though I am not a huge Microsoft fan, I do have a friend there, who was actually laid off with this wave. He was a US citizen, but he will not be replaced with an H1B worker, since the entire project was cancelled.In fact this seems to be his only regret, because not only they gave him a good severance package, he is skillful, and I believe he'll have no difficulty finding another job (even at Microsoft is he wanted to).

Comment Misconceptions (Score 1) 903

Contrary to common belief, Insurance is *not* healthcare. It's a way of distributing risk. For example, your car insurance will not cover oil changes, or regular maintenance. H*ck, even extended warranties will not cover those. This is because the cost structure is very well known (so and so much every 6 months).

Thus -- ignoring what these churches ask -- the only reason for including contraception would be reducing future risk. I.e.: the cost of these pills are well known, and the insurance would normally prefer not to cover them, as they do not cover aspirin, or baby diapers. However by including cheap contraception pill they mitigate a more costly future risk (a "cheap" delivery will cost 10K+ these days, and God forbid if there is anything wrong probably in the 100ks). So for insurance it makes sense to include these pills (still no aspirin).

However the church -- or whatever organization that does not want to provide these, just needs to have a separate pool of insurants, so that the cost of delivering a baby is only distributed among them. (I'm assuming they would also like to have more babies in general, but this might not necessarily be true for all religions).

Comment Re:the real problem.. (Score 1) 827

I'm sorry, but doing this will kill the universities, they already have problems keeping talent inside.

There are already too few academic jobs, and maybe one percent of the phd's will find a tenure track position without a postdoc. Now actually it has became more like two post docs, and several years of non-tenured temporary teaching assignments. This turns off many people from academia, and pushed them into the industry jobs.

The professors employed also have too much workload, and need to juggle between teaching classes, doing their own research, advising graduate students, and finally finding money to do all these through grants. The average attention professors can give to students is diminishing fast (this actually means there are just too many students, and too little professors).

And your third point shows what is wrong with the approach to universities. They are not vocational schools for finding a job. A university "is supposed" to provide higher education, giving you tools to learn and improve yourself. (Unfortunately this is what's called "masters" now). Not everybody needs a college education, however if the high schools cannot even produce graduates with sufficient math and grammar skills, then employers will ask for a higher form of education, which puts even more pressure on universities.

Btw, all these were about computer science departments. If you're talking about a field which has a lower "prospective salary" -- like education, everything will be even worse.

Comment It depends on what you have and what you need (Score 5, Insightful) 304

The short answer is: it depends. The longer answer is slightly more complex. It depends on the problem you have, the knowledge of your programmers, and the server environment you'll deploy.

If most of the developers in your house are web developers, and have extensive knowledge on JavaScript, then node seems to be a more organic solution. However as others pointed, JavaScript has been abused to code everything from databases to ray tracers, but you should keep real world performance in mind. For most tasks node (backed by Google's V8 engine) will be 2x to 10x slower than an optimized C/C++ program in the real world. You're basically trading developer performance for runtime performance.

Additionally using a dynamic language, especially modern JavaScript requires discipline. If you do not have a proper packaging or testing systems you'll run into problems. Fortunately node community already prefers doing things the modern way, so this should not be a concern for most (sane) people.

On the other hand, one should never discount the performance benefits of C++. For our latest project we converted one of the smaller, but very CPU intensive services from PHP into C++. This offered an order of magnitude performance increase (going from a minute to a few seconds). So use your common sense, and all available tools on hand depending on situation.

As for Java, and C#, you'll have a performance similar to C++ (same to 2x slow), as long as you have sufficient amount of RAM (a recent paper I read cited 6x RAM requirement for a GC to function properly). The only concern is that for C#, you'll most likely want to stick to Microsoft ecosystem (Visual Studio is a great development environment, but you'll have to deploy to Asure, whereas you have more choices with Java, including Amazon and Google Linux clouds).

The bottom line is: look at the task at hand, and the people you have to choose the tools. And do not be afraid to experiment -- especially early on in the project.

Comment Re:Oh, by the way... (Score 0) 128

Yes, that's one of the reasons I'm still keeping my Windows Media Center. My shows are mine, and I can keep/delete/watch them in any way I want. I can share them across PCs, or use MCEBuddy to gut commercials, and put them on XBMC (lately Plex).

I'll be sad when they finally pull the plug (MS tried to do so during Win 8 development, but kept it for one more release).

Comment Re:Nook HD+ make more sense? (Score 1) 81

I had tried both devices (nook hd, and kindle hd) in succession, and even with an extra $50 off promotion from staples, I returned the nook hd the next day.

While it is a much greater hardware, they botched up on software setup. It could not keep connection to my brand new 300Mbit wifi router, and I had no intention to go back to 50mbit (or whatever the older one was). On the other hand kindle was connecting fine, even at 5GHz band. Without connectivity neither of these devices are useful.

And while searching for a solution to my problem, I ran into many other complaints from nook hd users. Apparently they pushed updates without checking, and the latest update - at that time - was causing data corruption on sd card. the solution they suggested (since downgrade was not an available option thanks to lockin), was taking off the sd card.

And while the resolution was much much higher, it was obvious that the cpu/gpu was not able to keep up. Both devices were sluggish, but nook much more so.

And finally there was no front facing camera. I could care less about a back camera on a tablet, but if I'm getting a nice screen and a wireless device, I expect to call my folks on it. No camera = no go.

So after one and a half day of struggle, I returned the nook, and kept the kindle. (I had a very tight budget, and could not purchase nexus at that time).

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