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Comment Re:subjects in comments are stupid (Score 1) 280

In the USA, a recipe can't be covered by copyright because it's a collection of facts and directions, but theoretically it can be patented as a process and/or composition of matter. It's very difficult to get a recipe past prior art and obviousness, but it is considered patentable subject matter.

Unless that recipe is called "software"

Comment Re:Drop in the bucket (Score 5, Insightful) 48

No. No one wants it. It is junk, like most storage places. Why people want to keep junk around I'll never figure out. Some of those manuals are for vacuum tube stuff. Vacuum tubes aren't making a comeback. If someone needed it, it would have been referenced in the last 20 years and it would have been saved.

And it is attitudes like this that demonstrate why anyone who has been in the computer industry for a while keeps seeing reinvention of the wheel and bogus patents that don't recognize prior art. I guess that is one way to create internet billionaires, but it isn't helpful for the industry in general.

Comment Re:As Sen Dirksen said... (Score 1) 200

I recently picked up a Nokia N9. I love that phone.

The big problem with it is that many apps don't work because they make references to web sites and services that no longer exist. Not even the Twitter and Facebook apps can talk to home. You can't even put it into developer mode because it needs to download packages from now-non-existant servers. Plus, it is really slow on Wifi networks.

Now that I have used the N9 and Meego, I think that it is a big shame that Elop and MS killed it off. Makes me a bit angry.

At least I was able to get the terminal app onto the N9, so I have a shell prompt. The package files are out there and there is a Sailfish OS port, so I can play with things and try to get it working better.

Comment I call BS (pending the full report) (Score 3) 83

I have read the NTSB Executive Summary. As far as I have seen, the full report has not yet been made available.

The claim made by the report is the accident was the result of human error because one of the pilots unlocked the feather prematurely and that the actuators that control movement of the feather were overcome by aerodynamic forces (while going through trans-sonic speeds) and the feather moved. Deploying the feather is a two-step process, unlocking, which one pilot can do, and commanding it to move, which require both pilots to take action.

What I didn't see in the Executive Summary was whether Scaled Composites expected the actuators to be able to control movement of the feather while the vehicle was going trans-sonic.

Just after the accident, there were statements attributed to Scaled that the actuators should have been able to hold the feather in position after it was unlocked. If the people working on and with the vehicle thought this, how could it be human error for the feather to be unlocked when it was?

If it turns out that those earlier statements were incorrect and Scaled knew that it was a bad idea to, say, unlock while going through trans-sonic, then the Executive Summary should have indicated that. I just find it odd that it doesn't say anything about what Scaled had communicated to its pilots about the capabilities of the actuators for the feather once it was unlocked.

Comment Re:$805M budget (Score 1) 231

This comment is modded Insightful? It is more like clueless.

The purpose of this campaign is right on the Kickstarter page (and it isn't to raise money that would otherwise not be in their budget):

Kickstarter gives a wide audience the chance to be a part of this project. We're inviting you to go behind the scenes and be a part of the process – from fundraising through conservation to display.

Lots of people want the opportunity to be involved with stuff like this.

Comment Re:Lies (Score 1) 265


Given that a lot of the coverage of the New Yorker article leads with stuff like "Seattle will be devasted", yes, hyperbole. Things will suck in Ocean Shores and Seaside and other coastal locations that don't have large populations. Unless the Seattle Fault is triggered, there won't be a tsunami in Seattle. The USGS projections show damage in central Puget Sound as moderate.

What I would like to know is what is new about this story? There is nothing new about it. Could they not find someone to play up asteroid or Atlantic mega-tsunami risk? NYC publications seem to have a Seattle hang-up, so maybe they couldn't find someone to do another story about the damage that could be done by a lahar if Mt. Rainier goes.

Comment Re:Lies and statistics (Score 1) 265

This jumped out at me:

"In 2009, Dougherty told me, he found some land for sale outside the inundation zone, and proposed building a new K-12 campus there. Four years later, to foot the hundred-and-twenty-eight-million-dollar bill, the district put up a bond measure. The tax increase for residents amounted to two dollars and sixteen cents per thousand dollars of property value. The measure failed by sixty-two per cent."

The average house price in Oregon is $246,000. I assume in this area due to proximity to the ocean it will be higher, but let's just use the average. That "measly" $2.16 is $531.36 a year. The average American leaves home at 21 (and thus, even if renting, is in some way exposed economically to those taxes) and dies at 79. That's 58 years exposed to property taxes. Assuming an average interest rate of 3% over all that time, that school cost the average citizen $369,826.56.

I am happy to see, however, that 62% of people in that city know that $2.16 can actually cost them almost $370k.

Do you really not know how bonds paid off through property levy work? I supposed that you think that when someone takes out a loan to buy a car that he has to make that monthly loan payment for the rest of his life.

Comment How's this different from what they are doing now? (Score 1) 97

The last time that I (a US citizen) flew back from Canada (last December), I got directed to a kiosk that I inserted my passport into and that took a photo of my face. When I got my last passport photo, I was clean shaven, had just got my haircut and was 20 lbs heavier. When I went through Passport Control, I hadn't had an opportunity to shave for a few days, I hadn't had much sleep either and it had been a couple months since I got my haircut. The kiosk could not match my passport photo against how I looked, so I was directed to a Immigrations officer. He could instantly tell that the photo matched my face.

Most of the people going through Passport Control didn't seem to have the same problem, which was fine because there was a long line for the station after the kiosk and no line for an Immigration officer, so, in the end, I got through more quickly.

Comment Re:This is why I quit web programming (Score 1) 83

But isn't connecting a car to the internet inherently stupid (for the consumer, not the vendor)? The risk of theft and car crashes via hacking are inherent in such a design decision whereas there are few benefits, such as getting updates without visiting the dealer.


It's like connecting your toaster to the internet -- pointless and not very useful.

Right. There is no conceivable use case to connect a car to the internet. Current traffic conditions and best route information for current conditions? What use is there for that? Streaming music? Who would want that? Automated reporting of accidents when the occupants are non-responsive? What a dumb idea, right?

Comment Re: Definition of "Remote Attack" (Score 1) 83

In VAG cars, and possibly many others, that honk is an option which can be changed by twiddling an option code which can be looked up in the dealer's service data (which comes on DVD.)

What's your point? Most alarms give an indication that the system is armed and most people that I know look for that indication as they walk away. If the horn doesn't sound or the lights don't flash when I arm the alarm, I check to see why not.

Comment Re:Intuit has a history of ABUSE. (Score 4, Informative) 119

They are making things right tomorrow by upgrading every Dexluxe owner for free and putting back the features in next year's version. The CEO also gave a very sincere apology.

They are nowhere close to making it right.

I have been using TurboTax Deluxe for 15+ years without even thinking about it. I have a minimal amount of iOS app income (net about $100/year right now) so I need to file a minimal Schedule C. I bought TurboTax for 2014 a couple of weeks ago and installed it, but was waiting for W-2s, so hadn't entered any numbers yet.

A week and a half ago, Intuit and its CEO sent me e-mail with a "very sincere apology" that explained that I was eligible for $25 towards upgrading. As explained in the e-mail, they were improving the customer experience by removing functionality and it was really being done for customer benefit or something like that. I had no idea what the letter was referring to, so did a search and found that they had disabled Schedules C, D & E in TurboTax Deluxe and there had been a huge outcry.

I thought that they had disabled the wizards that walk you through the forms, but found out that I was wrong when I started entering numbers into TurboTax. I tried to select Schedule C and was told that I needed to upgrade TurboTax and that it would cost $40. Note that Intuit was only offering to reimburse $25 towards an upgrade. At that point, I removed TurboTax from my computer and returned it to Costco and bought competing tax software.

One interesting thing to note is that the product info on the Intuit web page still indicated that TurboTax Deluxe could be used to file Schedule C even though it actually could not.

Yesterday, Intuit and its CEO sent me another e-mail with a "very sincere apology" which explained the they would be reverting TurboTax Deluxe back to the way that has been for years (but, if you had already paid for an upgrade and already filed your taxes, they were still only reimbursing $25, even though the actual upgrade cost could be more). Since I now already have other tax software, I will not be taking them up on the offer.

As I said, I would just buy TurboTax every year without thinking about it and I know a lot of people who did the same. The idea to try and squeeze even more money out of people, resulting in people thinking about whether to buy their product and considering a competitor, has got to be among the worst 'penny-wise, pound-foolish' business decisions ever made.

Comment Re:Simple (Score 1) 228

In some countries bribes are just part of doing business. In others it is quite illegal.

So, corruption is okay as long as it is culturally acceptable? I see.

Greed trumps ethics and morals.

In a word, yes.

What is ethical and moral is dependent on the culture. If a culture's idea of what is ethical and moral conflicts with your own, then you are free to not do business in there. You can also sit on your high horse and complain about how unethical and immoral they are (by your standards), while they don't give a damn what you think.

Comment Re:Let's hope ... (Score 1) 38

Scaled Composites' role in Virgin Galactic has been winding down for a while. IIRC, the LA Times story mentions this, possibly in a quote from the Scaled Composites guy.

The Spaceship Company was formed as a joint effort between Virgin and Scaled (Branson and Rutan). Scaled built the first WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo, but the plan was for TSC to build the subsequent ones. Virgin bought out Scaled's part of TSC in 2012.

Why is it surprising that Scaled's role is continuing to wind down? Isn't that the way that things work with them anyway? They work with clients to develop designs and build prototypes, not refine a product (i.e., the planned Virgin Galactic fleet).