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Comment: Re:Imagine how much we're saving already with mail (Score 2) 339

by wireloose (#47128127) Attached to: The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes
Hmmmm...

We got several packages a month mail-order. When I was a kid in the 60's we lived on a farm in central Illinois. My parents and grandparents did a lot of catalog shopping. USPS used to deliver packages frequently. Big mail-order businesses at the time included Sears, Fingerhut (first catalog in 1948), Hammacher Schlemmer (first catalog in the 1800s), JC Penney, Montgomery Ward, Spirgel, and more. Most of these places had accounts, but you had several payment options.

Most common method of ordering was to pull the order form from the catalog, fill in the items you wanted, calculate the costs yourself, and send it with a check. In those cases, often orders shipped once your check cleared the banks. In other cases, you could order and be billed later. Sometimes things came COD. Sometimes they came with a bill inside the package. Or a bill would arrive separately from the package. We did the same for ordering parts for some of the equipment, which wasn't available locally.

Most mail-order companies had customer credit accounts, and you would just list your account number on the order form, or it might be pre-printed because the catalog was shipped directly to you. Some, like Fingerhut, used to put a peel-off mailing label on your catalog. It had account information printed right on it. You just pull it off the waxed backing, and stuck it right on the order form, which was inside the catalog. They would ship the order to you immediately, and you'd get a monthly bill. Some, like Penneys and Sears, offered their own credit cards, and you would just use their cards to order. A lot accepted Bankamericard (which became Visa).

Every adult I knew had at least one credit card in the 60s. I think the most common were probably the gas company cards. Shell, Fina, Gulf, and the like, although there were plenty of bank cards floating around.

Our normal mail carrier was a nice lady, and she drove her own car. Most days she drove a station wagon because she had so many packages to deliver to homes and farms along her route, but some days she drove a little car if she didn't have much to carry. I remember in the '70s when she got a new Jeep Cherokee and was so proud of it. The first day she drove it, she stopped to talk to Dad, and the back end was almost full of boxes for delivery. Around the holidays she would sometimes have to split her route up into thirds because of all the pre-holiday catalog shopping, and she would sometimes drive a full sized van.

UPS didn't deliver out where we were at the time, too far out in the country until the 70's. It was "too far off their regular route." We were 3 miles from a small town, and 10 miles outside the nearest city. Go figure. If something came by UPS, my parents would have to drive into town to pick it up. I remember those rides quite well. Dad commented once that they probably couldn't afford to deliver outside town because they charged less than USPS did for delivery, and yet the companies that shipped by them didn't know that and therefore used them a lot. Mom was always making notes on the order forms to please ship by USPS (if there were no listed options) because UPS didn't deliver to us. IIRC, USPS had a 20-lb limit on parcels at the time, so larger stuff would have to ship by UPS.

Dad sometimes would hand me a tool or parts catalog with a couple of pages and items marked, and have me fill out the order form. I think that was a test more than anything else, but I smile when I remember it.

I can see where if you lived in town, and tended to only need stuff that was available at local stores and businesses, you wouldn't have needed to mail order stuff much, and you may not have needed or wanted a credit card. Also, it's pretty obvious that the traditional walking mailman wouldn't have capacity to carry parcels in his shoulder pack or on his tiny cart. I know my grandparents, who lived in the city, occasionally got parcels, and they were delivered by a driver, not by their regular mailman.

Just for curiosity, I looked up the history of the parcel post. USPS has had it since since 1913, although they were accepting smaller packages long before that. Sears was shipping 30,000 orders a day in the early 1900s. https://about.usps.com/who-we-...

A particularly interesting quote: "In 1903 Sears claimed that “one-fourth of the entire population of the United States secures some of their goods from the Chicago Mail Order Houses,” which by then were receiving up to 30,000 orders daily."

Comment: Re:Idea (Score 1, Interesting) 481

by wireloose (#44512485) Attached to: Bill Gates Promotes Vaccine Projects, Swipes At Google
Exactly. Gates' current problem is that Microsoft stock is falling, and most of their products are a bust. Windows 8, Windows Phone, Surface. Gates' net worth is still heavily tied to Microsoft. Google, on the other hand, is doing well. Bing Google search. The Nexus 7 has been selling well, and a new version is out. Microsoft has nothing like Glass. Android is showing up in a lot more types of devices, and holds the leadership in the global mobile market. So Microsoft is suing Motorola (and Google) and attacking Google on every front. Suing Android users for patent royalties. Everything from stupid ads like dancing office workers to rampant product placement of Surface tablets into primetime tv shows.
Gates is attempting to make Google look bad, mostly through classic propaganda techniques. He employs faulty syllogism and use association: that Google's intent for better Internet is solely aimed at world health. He's acting more like a congressman every day. In their eyes, making the opposition look bad makes them look good. But it's really the question of who's the lesser of two evils.

Comment: Re:Idea (Score 4, Interesting) 481

by wireloose (#44512301) Attached to: Bill Gates Promotes Vaccine Projects, Swipes At Google
Dow manufactured Agent Orange for the military. Only last year, Dow finally agreed with the EPA to clean up dioxin spills around its plant in Midland, Michigan, where they produced dioxin for almost 100 years, and it fought the cleanup for almost 20 years. That alone is a very bad record. If you really want more citations, just use Google. There are plenty.

Comment: Oracle fail (Score 1) 405

by wireloose (#43945371) Attached to: Oracle Discontinues Free Java Time Zone Updates
Sounds like Oracle doesn't have enough free time on its hands.

It seems clear to me that Oracle really doesn't want Java except for an easy way to gain control in the mobile interface market. It always seem merely collateral damage from acquiring Sun. The only real attention it seems to have gotten was rebranding. And with Google developing their own compatible engine for Android, Oracle's grand plan is now a pipe dream. Hence their crazed copyright lawsuit against Google for uncopyrightable APIs.

Comment: Re:One Suspect Dead (Score 4, Informative) 1109

There is no such thing as an anesthetic bullet. The closest possible device would be tranquilizer darts, which are usually fired from shotguns. They aren't very accurate, so you have to get pretty close. Plus, they take a while to work. Sometimes minutes.

Murphy's First Law of Armed Conflict: If the Enemy is in range, so are You.

Comment: Re:Oracle? SPARC? (Score 1) 98

by wireloose (#41569711) Attached to: Oracle's Sparc T5 Chip Evidently Pushed Back to 2013

If you're connecting to my web site or my cloud services, you don't know what hardware I'm running on, but you DO care that it's fast enough to meet your needs. So why would you care whether my hardware is x64 compatible as long as your x64 systems talk to it just fine?

Of course I don't care. But I'm not the person who's building the infrastructure that makes this web application work. And that person wants commodity systems: lower upfront cost, lower TCO.

Commodity systems do not always mean lower TCO. TCO is based on a lot more than just hardware, which is normally a small fraction of a system's costs.

IBM Power systems also run Linux.

As I already pointed out, everything runs Linux. But how many people are buying POWER to run Linux?

Well, at least IBM is trying to push Linux on POWER itself. At Sun, we left Linux on SPARC to Canonical. But I don't see either taking off any time soon.

Very well, but you also said of IBM, "When they start selling POWER systems that run Linux, then we can talk." I was merely responding to that, fyi. I'm certainly not putting words in your mouth.

Comment: Future History (Score 1) 1199

by wireloose (#41569533) Attached to: Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City
2015: Nationwide News: Certain high-risk sports become "off limits" with employers across the nation. Included in the list are mountain climbing, downhill skiing, biking, motorcross racing, and 4-wheeling, all of which can lead to severe injuries.
2018: New Colorado employment guidelines ban hiring snowmobile owners or people that enjoy horseback riding.
2019: New HR guidelines in St. Louis require candidates for any city job to sign a form indicating that they do not and will not own skateboards, tennis rackets, or golf clubs.
2022: San Francisco releases new guidelines for hiring women. No woman with her uterus intact can be hired in any agency. Officials cited the cost of healthcare insurance for women capable of reproduction.
2025: Automobile driving is prohibited for all employees of the federal government.

Comment: Re:Oracle? SPARC? (Score 2) 98

by wireloose (#41557995) Attached to: Oracle's Sparc T5 Chip Evidently Pushed Back to 2013

. But those of us who are willing to wait a year or two for the latest GTA to be ported to the PC just don't care.

Good point, but that's more of a consumer view than a business view. Businesses are usually working on the here and now, or the near future, and cost effectiveness. Your view leans toward less timeliness to gain the cost savings. I have both views, one for my personal equipment, the same as yours, and one for my company, the timely need.

You also make some good discussion about x64 compatibility, but consider services and apps vs. hardware. If you're connecting to my web site or my cloud services, you don't know what hardware I'm running on, but you DO care that it's fast enough to meet your needs. So why would you care whether my hardware is x64 compatible as long as your x64 systems talk to it just fine? It's like caring about the underlayment on the highway, as long as the top surface is good for driving.

Oh, and by the way, IBM Power systems also run Linux. Very well, in fact. Ever since the RS/6000 system shipped in 2000. In fact, the base purchase of any Power system, even a blade, usually includes the Linux CDs. (Or did, I haven't bought one in over a year.) On a personal note, I miss the days when dozens of companies were doing competing hardware designs and so much innovation was going on at one time. With only a few, the innovations come more slowly, and we know that many are stifled because of internal company competition politics. I want more innovation.

Comment: Re:Seems like a problem that could be fixed... (Score 4, Informative) 194

I don't see it as a big issue, either. The original article and the repost here are all FUD. If you read the bill, the congressional concerns are that the legislative data is downloaded intact and authenticated. They seem to be concerned that there is no way to lock an XML file in a manner similar to a PDF, which is already a common format used by much of the federal government. There is also concern about certificates. And there is language about the costs of developing a system. It's all in the bill itself, pages 17 and 18.

http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/LEGBRANCH-FY13-FULLCOMMITTEEREPORT.pdf

Obviously, the biggest issue is that detractors for each party will modify downloaded bills to meet their own political agendas and mudslinging goals. I would prefer to see this done correctly, too.

Comment: Re:Tables turn (Score 5, Insightful) 245

by wireloose (#39866987) Attached to: Google Apps Beats Office 365 For US Dept. of the Interior Contract

As a government employee who had to plan and deal with sharing of information across thousands of systems, I often sat across the table from Microsofties who claimed that their software met our compatibility needs even though it didn't have even a basic IP stack at the time. We supported military engineers worldwide who had Sun, Apollo, Masscomp, Pyramid, and dozens of systems running a number of operating systems. Yet, they all had one thing in common - they were all POSIX compliant, and there were common tools and interfaces across all of them. Even when Windows finally got a native (sorta) IP stack, it still never got POSIX compliance. POSIX is a set of IEEE standards initiated in the 1980s, and was adopted into the NIST FIPS standards. The POSIX standards continued to develop until just 4 years ago. Most of the popular operating systems today are POSIX compliant, even certified. I wouldn't expect you to know that, though, being a MSoftie. Of all *mainstream* operating systems in use today, only Windows (in all versions) remains out of compliance. Microsoft has always fought against compatibility and portability rather than work with everyone else. The MSofties I knew were always trying to get us to drop all standards and just buy their stuff, with no care about how we could get it to work with what we already had.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

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