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Comment He has a point (Score 2) 82

I think he has a point. Most people (especially non-technical people) primarily only post and interact with others using sites owned by strangers (typically big companies). Just look at the URLs - is the domain is owned by someone other than the poster? If it is, then that other organization decides what you can do or not do. I've long owned my own domain, and I can post what I please on my webiste. If I want to move sites, I can just move hosting organization - the URLs come with me, because I own the domain. I don't think the problem is the existence of big companies at all - the problem is the difficulty of exiting. I don't mind others hosting my material as long as I can leave. If you can't practically leave, then you're no longer in control. Currently it's impractical always own the domain, but even in those cases, it's worth considering the exit cost. For example, git makes it *easier* to move to other hosting organizations (though by no means trivial).

Comment Re:Why stay? (Score 5, Insightful) 729

because you people made it illegal for teachers to live in your area

Strawman. No one made it illegal to be a teacher (or fireman or whatever), and no one made anyone take that job either. If it's too expensive to live in SF as a teacher or fireman, then teachers and firemen start to disappear. If they are important, then their local salaries will get raised until they stop disappearing. That's how economics works.

Now clearly this causes lots of undesirable dislocations. But the fundamental problem here, as far as I can tell, is that SF's government appears to have discouraged building new housing, and been depending on mechanisms like rent controls which have KNOWN serious problems. You can pretend economics doesn't matter, but it does, and it causes lots of easily predictable effects. The SF city government appears to have let a problem fester, with (again) predictable consequences. It is entirely appropriate to be sympathetic to the many people harmed by the SF government's bad policies. Yes, they need help, and I think they SHOULD get help. But part of that help needs to be acknowledging that ignoring economics doesn't work.

Comment No right to $500 rent in SF (Score 5, Insightful) 729

We're talking past each other; let me try again. No one is saying, "you may not live in SF". Anyone can live in SF, as long as you can pay for it. The problem is that SF housing costs more than many can afford. There's no human right to $500/month rents in SF. You may believe that it's good policy, and that's a different question. I suspect that SF has a long history of pretending that economics don't apply to its housing, based on the little I've read about it.

Comment Supply and demand (Score 1) 729

My heart goes out to those evicted, or fearing eviction. To my untrained eye, the problems seem like an obvious result of supply-and-demand. SF has limited land, hasn't built much in the way of housing for a long time, and is in high demand. Of course the housing prices will go way up. The only solutions are to make it less desirable (lower demand), or increase housing (increase supply). Here's an interesting article: https://medium.com/@Scott_Wien...

Other cities have done this, e.g., DC has aggressively added new units.

Comment Don't need to pay a lawyer: (Score 2) 122

There's no need for a formal legal letter developed by a lawyer. This is straightforward. Send an email to your boss and say, "May I please release these code improvements to this open source software under their respective licenses?" If he says yes, then keep the email - and perhaps better, post it publicly somewhere. Your boss can change his mind, but that doesn't change anything. If you buy a car, and a year later say "hey, I've changed my mind", you don't suddenly get your money back. As long as there's no initial deceptions, or something illegal about an agreement, then agreements stay that way. If he says no, well, that's that. Sometimes organizations to silly things, but it's their legal right to do silly things. Caveat: I'm not a lawyer. But I don't see why this needs to be complicated.

Comment Story quality! (Score 2) 1839

I think a key part is simple: good story quality. Key steps:

  1. Eliminate duplicates. The submission system should quickly warn of potentially duplicate URLs or subject words.
  2. Quick review. Find a way to have a quick review of the story summary before posting. You don't want to slow down the flow too much, but it'd be good to have someone check for missing "not"s, URLs that don't work, and so on. I would assume you already have a spelling and grammar checker, but it's not clear it's always working. That sort of basic for a few sentences really shouldn't take that long.
  3. Try to find good topics. That one in some sense is the hardest.

The discussions are sometimes interesting - and sometimes not. But I think if the stories start higher-quality, the follow-up discussion is more likely to be better.

In the longer term, the system for entering text is... quirky. Has someone considered using Markdown? Yeah, Markdown processors vary, but lots of people know Markdown (e.g., via GitHub), and specs like CommonMark and libraries like Red Carpet make it fairly painless.

Good luck!

Comment Widely-available language for beginners (Score 2) 117

The point of the article How are students learning programming in a post-Basic world? isn't that we should all use Basic. The point is that there's a need for a single 'starter' language so that people who have no experience can get started using something. That language should come with practically all computers, should be portable enough so that you can write programs that port to many computers, should be immediately accessible so beginners can quickly learn some basics, and should be useful enough so that beginners can create useful programs.

There are a number of reasonable contenders, including Python, Ruby, and Java. A version of Ruby comes with MacOS, but none of these 'just comes' with the computer regardless of what OS you run - so in most cases, before you even get started, you have to explain how to download and install something. Not ideal. Java is what a lot of people use professionally, but it does take more time to get started when you know nothing. Python has many advantages for simplicity, but you need to install it in many cases.

Perhaps the dark horse here is Javascript ES6. Javascript is available almost everywhere, and people can get started quickly. As a first language Javascript's unusual approach to OO programming (with prototyping) has probably held it back, but ES6 adds standard class notation, and that might make it much easier to use as a starter language.

Comment No big deal, mostly just aliases (Score 3, Insightful) 132

I looked at the list, and it's really no big deal. Firefox will just add support for some aliases for standard names, so that existing websites that use "-webkit" prefixes will "just work" today. That's good for users, and it doesn't mean the 'death of standards' or anything like that. It's reasonable to ask people to use the standard names going *forward*. However, it takes a long time for older sites to update, and they rarely update completely correctly. This decision means that Firefox users will have a good experience looking at other sites.

Comment Profit of over 500 million euros == do it again (Score 1) 87

Italy believes Apple was supposed to pay €880m in tax between 2008 and 2013, and Apple only had to pay €318m instead. If this report is accurate, Apple's tax evasion appears to have been handsomely rewarded. Perhaps Italy's estimate of taxes owed turned out to be wrong. Maybe. However, I suspect the tax authorities simply decided it was easier for them personally to just settle. The problem is that this creates a terrible precedent... and also robs their citizens of the services those taxes were supposed to fund. I'm no fan of big taxes, but each country gets to decide what taxes and services are appropriate. Other companies have now been told that it would be foolish to pay their taxes. If countries want to prevent tax evasion, they need to actually acquire all the back taxes owed, along with stiff penalties to discourage recurrence.

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