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Comment Re:Arsehole (Score 1) 1051

I wish my boss would show the same concern for the quality of our software, and scream at the programmers that break it every day. Unfortunately it doesn't happen, and other programmers end up fixing the broken code (and quietly grumbling) because otherwise they would not be able to do their jobs.

Sometimes harsh words can send a message better than a general "please check your code before you commit".

There is a difference between being concerned for software quality and humiliating someone in front of colleagues. If my boss would punish a workmate (or me) like that, I would be looking for a different job rather quickly if this behaviour wouldn't change rather quickly.

Comment Re:Hey if China is whining about building them.... (Score 5, Interesting) 312

But to be honest, the major reason is that companies like Foxconn are extremely good at getting an assembly line for a new product set up in a very short space of time. This was the reason the Raspberry Pi, for example, was outsourced to a non-Western country - Western manufacturers could match the price, but would take months to set up their production lines. Non-Western manufacturers could get everything set up in weeks.

And yet, after some months, the Raspberry Pi foundation moved manufacturing to the UK -- for the same retail price! (http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/1925). So why shouldn't Apple be able to do the same thing? Granted, the RP Foundation isn't out to make a huge profit, but still, Apple should be able to source its components and products a little bit more ethically.

Comment Started as a hobby when I was a teenager (Score 1) 298

The first computer our family had was a 286 12MHz running DOS 3.3 and Windows 2.11. Then came some 486SX, which I upgraded to have a double speed CD-ROM. Here in Germany dial up and downloads were very expensive, so the CD-ROM became my means to get my first Linux distribution. It was a magazine cover CD-ROM containing a DOS-bootable archive with Linux (something around Linux 1.0ish, I forgot), running the UMSDOS file system, ca. 20 MBytes. That was 1994. I played around with it for some time, until I bought my first Slackware, then my first SuSE distribution. So far this was still a hobby. I started to get paid for this as a student in 12th grade, by administering a small ISDN dial up router/server, which also hosted a Hylafax server, a Squid proxy (serving ~10 people over 64kbit ISDN), and an Email-Server. I had not enough clue about TCP/IP at that time, and I had to learn a lot the hard way.

Then I started my studies (computer science) in 1999. By 2000 I had removed Windows from my machine completely, only installing it a bit later in VMWare, for using it once in a blue moon. I wrote all my papers under Linux, did all my programming homework on it etc etc. After I graduated, I became a grad-student and did my research and all the work at the institute also under Linux (now Debian). At home I switched to Ubuntu after a few years more with OpenSuSE. Then, I got to know OS X, and switched to that for my desktop at the lab / work, and having the Debian PC be the number cruncher. Shortly before leaving university, I bought a Mac for home as well, since keeping up my Linux box was too much work at that point. Now I work for a company that makes behavioral finance software, and again I work under Debian, feeling at ease. At home, I still use and love my Mac, using MacPorts for all the good Unixy stuff, and having an OpenWRT router for toying (sometimes) and soon, hopefully, also a Raspberry Pi.

So, this year marks my 18th anniversary using Linux, and I still like it. I know that whenever I have to do CS / coding / computer work, I will always want some kind of UNIX-like system. Be it Linux, OS X, BSD or some other OS with a bash. :)

Comment Re:I see a problem... (Score 1) 96

After looking at the article, I would say this project is rather to get our attention to the garbage patch problem. Their solution, while maybe infeasible and ecologically unsound, is intriguing at the same time. Point is, there needs to be done something about the great garbage patch, and while the proposed idea might not be the solution, it is at least an idea that deals with the problem. Now let's throw in some more, and solve this thing!

Comment Re:Not quite (Score 3, Insightful) 354

And the Web is 90% porn (ok, maybe exaggerated) and Email traffic is 30-90% Spam (http://www.mailarmory.com/resources/stats/). But still we use both. Maybe 90% of torrents are currently illegal, but it does not mean that the service should be blocked or banned. Otherwise I would say: Bye bye to Email and Web as well. (At least Porn and illegal torrents serve a certain purpose, Spam on the other hand...)

Comment Re:Darn that dirty hydrogen (Score 1) 406

The hydrogen is a fuel that can be stored (with problems, as mentioned above). There are solar reactors that do what you propose, but this special reactor would be able to generate energy for later usage. Even if our hydrogen storage mechanisms are not perfect yet, this helps to solve one part of the problem.

Comment Re:one word (Score 1) 238

Sounds like a rather good plan. I am currently reading the Heechee trilogy by Frederik Pohl. The spaceships there never enter an atmosphere, except for the landing pods. Those are rather small. This sounds like a good idea for me. Even in Star Trek we have the idea of big space ships and small shuttle crafts -- ok, those are reusable, but I think the idea here could be: Use a small Soyuz type spacecraft and rocket to get into LEO. Then dock to your re-usable non-reentry spaceship that takes you to Mars / asteroids / whatever. With Mars the problem would of course be, to get a small-ish Soyuz-like rocket to the ground. I guess here you would want some Apollo style lander, but with a heat shield.

Comment Re:The people will be the ones who suffer (Score 3, Insightful) 667

What evil things?

Look. The US and EU claim to believe in and promote democracy. There's a very democratic way to handle the decision of whether to apply sanctions on Iran or not - allow individual citizens and companies to decide whether they'll trade with Iran or not. If there is genuine moral outrage at the "evil" things Iran is doing, individuals will refuse to trade and will boycott or publically pressure firms who do.

Democratic does not always equal morally or ethically correct. The society is made up of egoistic individuals. Most of us would buy products from Iran. Heck, I am buying stuff from Apple, produced at "the evil Foxconn". Because it's affordable and cool! But I am glad that there are institutions (many of them democratically elected) that serve as a moral / ethical watchdog. I am glad that they are applying sanctions. Our individual egotism is useful in day to day life, but hinders the greater society's values. So I think the system as we have it is already on a good track. It just needs some tweaking.

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