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Comment Trunkless vehicles (Score 1) 514

Vehicles without trunks are for people who don't need to carry anything of value in their vehicle, in other words, for very few people. I think people who do need to drive with items of value are foolish to buy these vehicles.

For example, someone I know has a giant expensive SUV, he's almost always the sole driver, the vehicle gets terrible mileage, and he has no way to secure valuables because there is no trunk. As you can imagine he always drives with a laptop. The only security is that the rear portion of the vehicle has tinted windows.

Sad to say but vehicle purchases are mostly emotional, which isn't great for your portable electronics.

Comment Why? (Score 4, Insightful) 58

Why should the US government aid the Chinese surveillance state any more than it already does? If there is hacktivism going on against China then so be it. China would do well freeing its political prisoners, such as the Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, and then it can ask for cyber help from the US.

Comment Great idea (Score 2) 748

Looks like a great idea to me if they install it by default and turn on auto updates, because it will mean fewer botnets and less spam. It will raise visibility of virus protection so I don't think it will hurt third-party vendors too much. If people want added protection they will buy it, just like they do today.

Comment I'm sure this will offend you but (Score 0) 373

...the more I read about Mr. Stallman the more I feel that he's a stand up guy.

I didn't read the whole rider (only about half) but everything there looked absolutely fine to me.

When you plan a conference, you really do want this kind of detail. The rider is a declarative statement. The intended audience doesn't care whether it seems rude or fails to use the word please. That's not the point. Think of it like software documentation. You want facts and thoroughness, not opinion.

Richard has selected a noble area of human endeavor to pursue, supporting openness in computer science. In order to make change in this society you have to offend people, and so his presentation is effective, if not necessarily deliberately so.

Discussing his personal habits or grooming habits is inappropriate. Software is supposed to be about the best ideas winning. And frankly, over time, virtually everything Richard Stallman has said, however disturbing to some people, has proven to be correct. This man is not affiliated with MIT for no reason.

Comment Great decision (Score 3, Insightful) 124

As I said in an earlier post, HP needs their PC's to get leverage to sell their two strongest product lines, laser printers and inkjet cartridges. I have no use for inkjet cartridges, but every HP laser printer I've owned, from high end to low end, has been an absolutely solid piece of machinery.

Comment Depends upon the company and sector (Score 1) 362

If your software processes credit cards, that type of environment is banned by Visa. Among other restrictions, you have to run supported versions of all software. You have to have a release process, including code reviews. You have to have a development process. It doesn't have to be strictly Agile, but the process has to be documented and followed. I've worked in other sectors at other companies where things are much more chaotic.

As a programmer, you should take work which makes you a better programmer, while making enough money to be reasonably happy. You know if you're getting better as a programmer or simply treading water until the next job comes along. If you take work for the money, you're more likely to fall into the latter trap. The amount money you make, whether the company will survive longer than a few years into the future, and the exact processes at work at the company don't have that much to do with improving your skills as a programmer. What does improve your skills as a programmer involve things like how much design are you doing, do you get to see your work through to completion, do you get to be exposed to a variety of technologies and environments (not necessarily the latest fads), and do you get to work with other highly skilled technical people (especially other programmers).

Comment Plenty of innovation (Score 1) 437

There is plenty of innovation, even in the United States, and despite the patent system.

It is difficult to see innovation because our lifestyles quickly adapt to it. Let me give you three examples of major innovations during the past 20 years or so:

1) You can now obtain just about anything with very little effort. Wanted a rare book, a used import auto part, some kind of odd screw, or an antique coin, in 1980, and you'd have to spend lots of money and days, weeks, or years tracking it down. You might fail. Nowadays, if something is out there that you want, it's probably being offered on the Internet. Let's say that you want a couch for nothing. How would you do that in 1980? Today you can post a message on craigslist and someone reading it might respond by telling you to come and pick up. Maybe he's willing to get rid of it for 50 bucks.
2) For pennies a day you can communicate with a billion people, and you can broadcast your wants and and desires to a like-minded group. Doesn't matter where they live. Around 1985 zone calls (> 25 miles away) cost $8.00 an hour. Long distance to different area codes in the United States was a bit cheaper at around $5.00 an hour. That's communicating with one person at a time, or to a bulletin board system, which had very limited communities of a few hundred people or maybe a few thousand.
3) Myspace 2-3 years ago and Facebook and Twitter today. Not even in 2005 could you communicate with a pool of hundreds of millions of people with such ease.

Point is, we have tons of innovation and it is happening at a rapid pace. We're taking it up so quickly we don't even notice.

Comment A note about liquidity (Score 1) 331

There is debate about whether HFT provides more liquidity. I am of the opinion that it does. HFT is used to make quotes, an order pair with a bid and an ask price [and quantities]. When there is a market in something, you can buy it or sell it. Without a market the thing you want to buy or sell is illiquid, and a trade cannot take place. Correctly-written HFT algorithms can enter orders of magnitudes more quotes than a manual or semi-manual process and importantly adjust those quotes when they become out of line, replacing them with new quotes. HFT also reduces the gap between bid and ask prices because an asking price that's too cheap or a selling price that's too low is more quickly eliminated (executed as a trade).

HFT then gives you a great idea of the price of something and the ability to execute a trade at that price or close to it. It's like going to the grocery store and being able to buy a dozen apples for between $2.00 and $2.01. In the past, roughly speaking, you might not be able to buy those apples at all or the price range would have been between $1.90 and $2.10. Maybe a better analogy would be that tangelo would not have been available to you in the past for a reasonable price because nobody wants to sell it at that reasonable price for fear of losing money.

A great example of computers providing liquidity is craigslist. Want to get rid of that couch? For a nill transaction cost you can enter a sell order of $50.00 + pick up with a quantity of one and in this liquid market you will have a high probability of a successful execution. The Internet has made your old couch into a now more liquid asset. HFT is like that, except with orders of magnitude higher speeds.

Comment Re:Not replacing, just adding on top (Score 1) 331

Living in the eighth largest state, Michigan, my vote means a hell of a lot less than someone's vote in West Virginia. That is because the upper house of the US legislature, the Senate, has two representatives per state, regardless of population. One result of this imbalance is that my state subsidizes other states. In other words, the taxpayers here pay more to Washington in taxes than they receive: The roads here in Michigan are so bad in part because West Virginia's Senator Byrd was on the transportation subcommittee and so West Virginia received more money than it should have received for roads at the expense of Michigan drivers.

So it's like voters in West Virginia have voting shares and Michigan voters have nonvoting shares in the stock known as US citizenship.

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Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson