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Comment Re:I'm shocked! (Score 1) 309

When you give consumers a product that they want, at a price they find fair, in a form factor (format) that is convenient for them, in a location that is convenient for them, they are happy to pay for it!

...and, by extension, if you don't offer it at a price they find fair, in a form factor that is convenient for them, or in a location that is convenient for them, then there are surprising numbers of consumers out there who think that the appropriate (and sometimes even moral) response is "therefore, I am happy to stiff you and get it free off the Internet", not "therefore, I will not pay you any of my money and go without your overpriced, poorly distributed wares."

Comment I Think I've Heard This Story Before (Score 4, Insightful) 189

Apple: We're coming out with a new product. It's a pill that'll give you surprisingly good night vision.
Apple Zealots and various talking heads: Oh. My. God. The iPill will CURE CANCER.
The Other Zealots and various talking heads: Pssh. Will it make my headaches go away? Will it stop indigestion? I just can't see how anyone would want this where there are so many better pills already on the market.

months pass

Apple: Here it is: The iPill. Take one, and you can have 20/20 vision in the dark for an entire month.
Apple Zealots: Oh. My. God. This is soooo disappointing! And it doesn't even cure cancer! We thought it was going to cure cancer!
Other Zealots: Hah! Oh, Apple's really screwed themselves this time. All this stupid pill does is give you night vision! Big deal--you can get night-vision goggles that can be turned off, are half the price and don't need to be swallowed! You idiots really missed big time on this one!

months pass

Apple: The iPill has sold over ten bajillion units, and we've made more money on it than god raised to the god power. Night vision goggles are now considered obsolete. Soon, we'll release the iPill 2, which will add the ability to see into the ultraviolet spectrum.
Apple Zealots: Yaaaaaay! Finally, a cure for CANCER!
Other Zealots: ARRRGEGHRHRHGA People are such fucking stupid SHEEP

Comment ..so? (Score 2, Informative) 620

...you're required to have tail lights, turn signals, a horn, and a whole load of other otherwise unnecessary stuff on your car, all primarily for the safety of people other than yourself. This is how automotive safety works; you identify problems (cars running on electric power are hard to hear; pedestrians rely to varying degrees on the sound of a car for situational awareness, the blind moreso than others,) and you take reasonable steps to rectify the problems.

Do people really have problems with this kind of thing?

Comment Re:History doesn't repeat itself (Score 4, Insightful) 426

Seriously, how is this useful in modern computing, other than as a "Back in my day..." quote?

Learning how to use older/simpler machines is an excellent way to learn about a number of fundamental concepts. Modern computing, for all its advances, still operates off the same fundamental principles as it did fifty years ago; it's simply become orders of magnitude more complex.

Now, while it's perfectly possible to learn how to do this sort of thing using emulation or specialized training software, there's real value to having an appreciation of the history of the field you're planning to enter, and working with machines that were once considered state-of-the-art is a very effective way to gain a sense of just how insanely far computing has come. Note, too, that simply because you're never going to be called upon to program a PDP-8 in real life doesn't mean that you can't learn a fair amount of generally-applicable knowledge about hardware, logic, branching, execution, input, output, and instruction sets. In fact, by pulling yourself out of a familiar environment, you're forced to pay attention to important things that you'd otherwise happily ignore--like "well, how does what is in my head actually get into a computer's inner workings?"

Finally, always remember that programming is a subset of computer science. Even if all you ever expect to do is write code, a deeper knowledge of what goes on between the compiler and the electrons is going to be quite useful--and will make you a better coder, to boot.

Comment Re:Ummm Personal responsibility? (Score 4, Insightful) 520

Whatever has happened to personal responsibility? Why is this such a problem? If a nurse is doing their job, then they will follow the tubing back to the source to ensure that they are connecting the right ones. Why is this so hard?

"look, I -understand- your heart has stopped, sir, but if you'll just be patient with me--heh, "patient"--I'll trace these tubes back to...the...appropriate bits of--OK, that's the one..."

Personal responsibility is a wonderful thing, but nurses a) often don't have the luxury of time, and b) like other human beings, occasionally make mistakes. Further, nurses don't have the luxury of an Undo command, and very, very slight errors can and often are fatal.

...or is this some newfangled variety of personal responsibility that completely eliminates human error?

Comment Re:Bosses earn too much (Score 1) 1018

I agree with you completely. People who shoulder the risk of running a business deserve to reap the most personal reward for their work of anybody in that company.

The disconnect here is that the people running our world's largest companies, with vanishingly few exceptions, are in a position where they can quite literally drive a company into the ground and still come out tens or hundreds of millions of dollars ahead. A Fortune 500 CEO stands to gain exorbitant personal wealth if they successfully direct their company, but there exists no substantial penalty for making excessively risky decisions.

I don't doubt for a second that the stresses of such positions are enormous. I don't believe for a moment that running a company of -any- scale requires anything less than total personal dedication. I do believe, however, that the only people who are well-served by the kinds of executive compensation packages we see today are the executives themselves. So long as an executive can expect to live like a king regardless of how well they perform, and so long as the leadership class treats amassing personal wealth as a competition amongst peers, you'd better believe that it'll be the rest of society that bears the brunt of their risky behavior.

Comment Re:Bosses earn too much (Score 1) 1018

You are, of course, absolutely correct. With decision they make, the leader of a Fortune 500 company is risking their ability to wield enormous amounts of power over the lives of countless other people, as well as their ability enjoy a lifestyle that is for all intents and purposes bounded only by imagination. You're right that this is, indeed, a huge risk to take.

Obviously, given the sheer magnitude of this risk, it follows that they deserve millions upon millions of dollars in annual compensation, simply to guard against the ever-present chance that they could suddenly find themselves out of a job, well along the road to destitution and ruin, with but a few scant tens of millions of dollars' worth of golden parachute to see them through the rest of their lives.

Then, of course, there's the less tangible but equally massive "lifestyle" loss. After all, if you're used to being able to fly in private comfort to any corner of the globe at a moment's notice, the thought of having to book first-class tickets on a commercial airliner to any part of the globe at a moment's notice should rightly send chills down your spine. How, one wonders, can an individual survive the crushing shame of discovering that all the people you counted as close personal friends are suddenly revealed to be greed-driven, narcissistic sociopaths who won't even invite you on weekend jaunts to the Calicos anymore, let alone return your calls?

There's every reason to pay top executives the highest salaries in a company. That does not mean, however, that top executives should be given the mind-bogglingly exorbitant compensation they receive today. If, by dint of chronic bad decision making, a group of executives can effectively destroy a major multinational company and suffer what is essentially a blow to one's pride as a result, there is a serious problem with executive compensation.

If you compensate the guy flying your plane based on how high and how fast he can fly, ask yourself if it's a good idea to give him an ejector seat and a parachute when everyone else has to make do with seat cushions and life vests.

Comment Re:Bosses earn too much (Score 5, Insightful) 1018

Heh. It isn't risky to run a Fortune 500 company. It doesn't matter how well or how poorly you do; you're guaranteed to make enough money to lead a rather lavish life several times over. Carly Fiorina seems to be doing just fine, despite having driven HP into a brick wall. Tony Hayward may not have much of a future with BP, but you'd better believe that he's already "got his life back." The only risk you run is having to wrestle with the demons you create when your actions destroy the lives of other people, and while I'm sure that's an absolutely miserable thing to have to do, it sure as hell beats being one of those other people whose life is, y'know, destroyed because somebody other than themselves fucked up.

If you're running a successful financial firm, "risk" simply doesn't exist for you, at a personal level. It's why so many financial firms so royally fucked up; the cost of failure is borne by your clients and your employees. All you need to do is go before a Congressional panel and say how very sorry you are.

Hell, you don't even need to say that.

Comment I have, and it's a real pain (Score 1) 201

I started writing a little space-trader game called iAye in HTML5/JS called for the iPhone back before the dev kit was public. I'll readily admit that my code is quite far from perfect and follows the "write-as-you-go" school of design, but even having said that, it was a royal pain in the tuckus to write this game.

For one, Canvas (at least on the iPhone) is godawful slow. For another thing, mobile Webkit has a tendency to crash. The client-side DB was particularly suspect, and has a habit of crashing the browser in a light breeze. The dev tools for HTML5 development are nonexistent beyond your classic HTML toolkit; when you're trying to manipulate SVG files with script, this can be a major, major headache.

Note that many of these gripes are specific to Webkit. The dev tools, however, are not. I work primarily in Flash these days because a) it's what my work pays me to do, and b) for all my quibbles with it, Flash's development environment is the only dev environment that even comes close to being good for this kind of work.

I would absolutely -love- to target HTML5 instead of Flash, but until the tools are there, it isn't going to happen. The real kicker is that in another few years, HTML5 will likely simply be a publish setting in Flash CS(n+1), and all this chest-thumping about HTML5 versus Flash will be completely moot, as the actual -content- being made will be -exactly the same for both-.

In the end, HTML5 will likely supplant Flash, as it should; plugins are generally a bad way to go about enabling core content. That said, everything is going to look pretty much exactly alike, and virtually all rich HTML5 content will be created with the exact same set of proprietary tools as Flash. What's more, that proprietary toolset is going to generate code which is essentially unreadable to humans, anyhow.

Comment Re:Paper and Environment (Score 2, Informative) 446

...similarly, environmentalists are doubly too stupid to realize that once you factor in the energy saved in harvesting, transporting, milling, packaging, re-transporting, storing, re-re-transporting, retailing, and re-re-re-transporting a ream of paper, you've created over eleventeen jerbs. Jerbs that environmentalists would have took! My god, they're so blingingly stupid!

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