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Comment Re:This is dangerous... (Score 1) 845

You said "it might not be relevant to him for his job duties." C'mon! Not criticizing you, but this guy says he manages a 3 billion dollar budget. And he can't do basic arithmetic, even with a calculator? I can't for the life of me imagine how addition and subtraction can't be relevant to someone that manages money on a daily basis.

Comment Re:I don't think you do (Score 1) 93

One correction: While Breitling has a robust history in aviation, no Breitling watches have ever (officially) been used in space by NASA. The only watches certified by NASA for spaceflight are the Omega Speedmaster Professional and (I believe) the Omega Speedmaster X-33. Interestingly, the current Speedmaster Professional is virtually identical to the one selected by NASA in the mid-1960's mechanical, handwind movement and all. The only modification NASA made to the Speedmasters that went into space was to replace the stock metal bracelet with a Velcro strap that could be adjusted to fit over the cuff of a space suit.

Comment Re:Do you know what Breitling is? (Score 5, Insightful) 93

It's probably not quite correct to say that Breitling doesn't "give a shit about science" or that they make "designer watches." Designer watches are what you pick up for $49.95 at Marshall's and toss in the trash when the battery dies. If you've ever held a Breitling, you'd certainly agree that the quality of design and workmanship is orders of magnitude better than a typical "designer watch." Admittedly, the price is also orders of magnitude greater, but you get what you pay for. And there's an enormous amount of both science and engineering that goes into the manufacture of a modern mechanical timepiece. Watch manufacturers are constantly working to develop longer-lasting and more effective lubricants. They develop new alloys to use in escapements to make their watches more resistant to the effects of gravity, magnetism and temperature. They use silicon and other materials in place of metal to reduce both wear and the need for lubrication in their movements. So, I'm thinking that the folks at Breitling probably do give a shit about science.

Comment Re:RAM's cheap (Score 1) 543

"I remember paying $160 for 16 megs"


That sounds like a bargain to me. In the early '90's, I worked for a local shop that built machines to order for customers. If we wanted to ballpark a price for a custom configuration, the numbers we used were $45/meg for RAM and $1/meg for hard drives. This was in the days when low-end machines came with 4 megs of RAM and a 25 mHz 486 and the high-end boxes had 16 megs of RAM and a 486-66.

Comment Not even close (Score 1) 210

Considering their closed business model (you can't read an eBook from any vendor other than Amazon on a Kindle), the device itself, even without ads, should be very close to free. Amazon should be looking at the Gilette business model; charge next to nothing for your razors and make your money on the blades. I might pay $25 for a device that locks me into Amazon as my exclusive eBook vendor, but not a penny more.

Comment Re:Doh (Score 1) 408

You can always write or call the company and tell them why you intend to not give them your business, but friends I have in the marketing and advertising industries think that this might have the exact opposite effect. The attitude at many companies is "any publicity is good publicity." Even if you're pissed off at the company, they got your attention, and got their name and logo in your head. And that's what they wanted.

Comment Re:Open Notes & Well-Designed Exams (Score 1) 870

Not so much. I certainly remember more than one of my doctors pulling his copy of the Physician's Desk Reference off the shelf more than one when writing a prescription for me. As a poster upstream pointed out, in the real world it's much better to check your reference material and know you're right than to make your best guess.

Comment Re:I am not surprised.... (Score 1) 930

The lack of a clutch pedal probably has something to do with it, but not exactly in the way you're proposing. In the Audi case, investigators concluded that pedal placement had something to do with the incidents. Here were the relevant facts back then:
1) For virtually every incident, the Audi was the driver's first non-American car.
2) Distance between the brake and accelerator pedals in Audi 5000's was less than in most American cars (probably because they used the same pedal cluster as manual-transmission models)
3) Pedal height was different from what drivers of American cars would expect. Audi placed the brake and accelerator pedals at roughly the same height to facilitate heel-and-toe downshifting. Most American cars at the time had the brake pedal substantially higher than the accelerator.

All these factors taken together meant that some drivers would get confused about which pedal they were depressing. The greater prevalence of manual transmissions in the rest of the world would help to explain the lack of such incidents outside of the United States.

Comment Re:To that I'll add (Score 1) 441

Excellent points. Nowadays, I run a development team in a consulting organization (and still code a fair amount myself), but a number of years ago, I was a career-changer seeing an entry-level programming position. In college, I'd majored in psychology and taken a few programming classes. When I wanted to get into IT as a profession, I enrolled in a one-year certificate program that taught me to be a COBOL (yes, it was THAT long ago) programmer. I learned 370 Assembler, COBOL, MVS JCL and other skills that were designed to get me a job. In the recession of 1992, I had an entry-level job within two months of finishing the program. This isn't to say that a BS in CS wouldn't have gotten me a comparable job, but the HR person that gave me that initial interview said that she specifically looks for people with some employment experience (I had about four years of real-world experience before deciding to make the change) and high grades from a program such as the one I attended.
Piracy

Sony Joins the Offensive Against Pre-Owned Games 461

BanjoTed writes "In a move to counter sales of pre-owned games, EA recently revealed DLC perks for those who buy new copies of Mass Effect 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Now, PlayStation platform holder Sony has jumped on the bandwagon with similar plans for the PSP's SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3. '[Players] will need to register their game online before they are able to access the multiplayer component of the title. UMD copies will use a redeemable code while the digital version will authenticate automatically in the background. Furthermore ... anyone buying a pre-owned copy of the game will be forced to cough up $20 to obtain a code to play online."

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