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Comment: Re:I give the Chinese 300 years (Score 1) 216

by wvmarle (#48166161) Attached to: When will the first successful manned Mars mission happen?

You're a few years behind the times.

While for sure they're not on par with the Americans, I wouldn't call BeiDou a "PR stunt". There are already mobile phones on the market that use it, in conjunction with the American GPS and the Russian GLONASS. They also have a growing number of more and more advanced military satellites circling around the earth already, and have managed to reach Mars.

There is for sure a lot of PR involved, and that should tip you off for the future. They will sooner or later leapfrog the US, just because of that, because it's the exact same motivation the US had to put a man on the moon.

Comment: Re:I give the Chinese 30 years (Score 1) 216

by wvmarle (#48166141) Attached to: When will the first successful manned Mars mission happen?

I figure it isn't going to happen within 10 years. Since it isn't even started yet.

When the Americans decided to put a man on the moon, they did it within ten years. In an era where manned space flight was in its infancy

We're now in an era where manned space flight is more or less routine, and where rocket technology and other space technologies have vastly improved.

I'm quite positive it's possible to put a man on Mars within ten years, if only we really want to. If the US would put only a quarter of the money that now goes towards destruction of other people (i.e. the military) towards this mission, it can be done - the amount that goes to their military is so huge, a space mission will look cheap in comparison. It'll need a multiple of spacecraft, one for the crew (with life support for the duration of the trip and a while on Mars), several robotic freighters to carry further supplies needed to set up a permanent base. Indeed it'd be a one-way mission, until the Mars colonists produce the fuel needed for the return trip.

What's missing is the political will. The Americans got to the moon as they thought they were being outcompeted by the Russians, and that this was the only non-selfdestructive way to show the Russians their might (invading Russia would've amounted to suicide of course). This political will, this competition is missing now.

So that indeed gets us back to China. Russia has lost most of it's capabilities, and won't be back on track soon. The Chinese however develop quickly, and start to seriously catch up with the Americans. The moment the Chinese take over and say "we're going to put a man on Mars, just to show the world how great we are", the Americans will say "we're going to be there first!". As soon as that happens, less than a decade later, there will be people on the moon.

Comment: Re:Leave them off your resume. (Score 1) 224

by wvmarle (#48155409) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

One hope is that the patents look good to the prospective employer on a resume, but I don't want them to take the existing IP for granted as part of the deal.

If it is not part of the deal then leave it off your resume.

Leaving them off may not be such a good idea if those patents are your personal selling point - showing your capabilities, and why they should hire you and not someone else.

Also later if you get the job, those patents will probably get in the way. I expect those patents to be right in the main field of expertise of the applicant - which is probably exactly the expertise the prospective employer wants to hire him for. It is going to be hard to use your expertise, when a key part of that expertise can not be used as you have patented it yourself.

So somehow I think the patents should be at least part of the interview process (show of expertise/experience if nothing else), and if the content of those patents is indeed related to the job at hand they will have to be licensed by the hiring company as well in one way or another - preferably in a way to prevent lock-in and conflict of interest from both sides. I've no idea how that could be done specifically, but I'm sure a way can be found.

Just leaving it out of the interview may come to haunt you later. Hired for the job, then you want to implement something for the company that needs your patented technology, and suddenly you have to ask more from the company (a patent license) just to do your job. That's bound to give problems at best, and in worse case dismissal.

Comment: Re: Getting tired of this shit (Score 1) 280

by wvmarle (#48128213) Attached to: Four Dutch Uberpop Taxi Drivers Arrested, Fined

There's nothing requiring you to go to registered doctors or official hospitals.

When getting sick, why don't you fly over to Africa (the plane tickets cost you about as much as a night in hospital in the US), and ask some witch doctor to treat you (his fees for a full treatment may be less than what your regular doctor will charge you for a consult)? Maybe it's because you hope to get a proper treatment at your registered doctor, who you know has finished a rigorous training, and that the hospitals you're treated are maintained to high standards?

There are good reasons for the licensing and registration systems that are in place for not only medical personnel, but also commercial transport services such as taxis. There may be room for improvement on the existing systems, but abolishing is certainly not going to be an improvement.

Comment: Re:Uber seems to be fitting under UK existing law (Score 1) 280

by wvmarle (#48128195) Attached to: Four Dutch Uberpop Taxi Drivers Arrested, Fined

Not knowing the intricacies of UK rules, what you mention still means that not just anyone who happens to own a car may start offering rides for pay.

The key is "Licensed Hire Vehicles" - they're licensed, so there must be some requirements for those that do not apply for normal private cars. Probably extra driving course and insurance, that kind of things. And as soon as they're licensed, they're legal to drive people around.

The problem of most Uber drivers is that they are not licensed to carry paid passengers.

Comment: Re:Nothing new (Score 1) 100

Never seen pinyin in great use: too many homophones for that to work well. There are much better methods than pinyin.

However those methods only work well with a keyboard, while handwriting works better on small screens like mobile phones. Looking around me on the MTR I see most people use handwriting, some use other methods (such as "nine stroke" which basically uses the numerical phone keyboard for character input, advantage is that the soft keys on the screen are of reasonable size).

Comment: Nothing new (Score 2) 100

Handwriting input is routine for input of Chinese characters on mobile phones, and has been for many years already. The character recognition part works quite well there, and is certainly a lot harder than for the very limited Western alphabet. So unless I'm missing something, there doesn't seem to be anything innovative about it.

Comment: Re:Excuse me while.. (Score 1) 97

by wvmarle (#48123409) Attached to: More Details On The 3rd-Party Apps That Led to Snapchat Leaks

As long as you can be sure that this third party doesn't know you, you're fine.

But how can we be sure of that? Maybe this unknown third party uploads it with your name or other identifying information to some image site, Google finds and indexes it, and suddenly people that know you and that for fun search your name in Google, can find it. Same accounts for your future prospective employer, who receives lots of application letters, likes your resume, and a few Google queries later has your private parts in all their glory on his screen. As a result you never get a chance to even come for an interview. Not too far-fetched a scenario.

So that's how an unknown third party seeing them may hurt you.

If you happen to be a celebrity (if only as captain of your local school's football club) it's even more daunting.

Comment: Re:Excuse me while.. (Score 4, Insightful) 97

by wvmarle (#48122561) Attached to: More Details On The 3rd-Party Apps That Led to Snapchat Leaks

Agreed with the "should not" part.

However "should not" and "not doing" are two different things - especially for exactly kids that age. It's the age of self-discovery, of rebellion, doing things they know they shouldn't do, without yet realising the consequences.

In my time (I was that age in the late 1980s), taking nude pics of oneself and sending it to school friends was just not an option. That's probably the only reason it didn't happen back then, or any time before the early 2000s - the time web cams became ubiquitous, and instant digital shots could be made from the privacy of one's bedroom, with little to no chance of parents finding out. Nowadays of course web cams have been replaced by mobile phones, making it even easier.

It is more reasonable to understand that there are always kids that actually do this, trying to stop them is futile. Instead teaching general computer security as part of modern day computer lessons would be the way to go. One major part should be to have all people understand that if you can see a picture, you can save that picture, period. No matter what the app proclaims. It may be hard, you may not be able to pull it off yourself, but it can be done, and as a result those pics and other data may end up where you don't want them to.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.

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