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Comment Re:If the FTC wants to cut bullshit patent suits (Score 1) 92

The FTC doesn't issue patents. That's the Patent Office. They're not even in the same department. The USPTO is in Commerce; the FTC is an independent agency.

The whole point of an independent agency is to provide checks and balances, so that the departments don't feel compelled to cover up for each other and can try to compensate for each other's mistakes. Unfortunately, that can also mean that the left hand doesn't know, or like, what the right hand is doing.

"The government" isn't a big monolithic entity. Even the President has limited ability to interfere with many of the agencies. That has advantages and disadvantages.

Comment Re:hmm.. (Score 1) 243

BBC is the closest news network to cover it?

You must be new to the United States media, where the local TV devotes far more airtime to crucial stories such as fucking Zippy the Wonder Dog which does backflips and where the local Pravda newspaper devotes front 5 pages to a local recycling effort. If you're lucky, I mean really really lucky, the local Prava may, just may, have an article buried in page A15 of a 30 page section to 2 paragraphs on something which may affect you.

Amen to that.
Listening to USA tv news is the equivalent to diet of Crispy Cremes. Real news comes from the likes of AlJezera, BBC, NPR...

Comment Re:Confusing luck with talent (Score 4, Interesting) 91

There's an old stock market scam. You open 100 accounts. You invest randomly. After a week, roughly half will be turning a profit. You close the ones that aren't, and do another round of random investing. Again, roughly half make a loss, half a profit. After a few rounds of this, you have lost quite a lot of money, but you have one account that looks really stellar - huge returns on investment. You then open this up to investment, with the disclaimer that past performance does not guarantee future results, and wait for the money to roll in (you can then invest this in your own companies, or just take it and run away).

Much the same applies with CEOs. You take a few thousand business graduates each year and put them in management positions. They all make random decisions. Then you cherry pick the handful that have made decisions that turned out well. Then you say 'Superstar CEO, please pay enormous salary'.

Comment Re:In otherwords (Score 2) 258

These sound like valid concerns, If it's not in writing, it's not going to happen - any city that's worked with a developer knows that the developer will promise the world "Oh yes, we'll build a park on every street corner and a paved jogging/biking trail around the perimeter of the development, trust us", but when funds run short, the development ends up with a patch of dirt called a "park", and fifty feet of paved trail that goes nowhere.

While true, take a look at the rest of Florida - You want suburban sprawl? They wrote the friggin' book on it. Mile after mile of endless (and currently massively underpopulated) yuppy/retiree housing developments stretching from one coast to the other.

Whether or not Destiny fell short of its goal, I don't see how it could have done any worse than the default situation there. And given the stated intent of that community, even if the developers "glossed over" a few points, their target audience might have enough motivation to fill in some of those gaps.

Of course, that all assumes the whole project doesn't include the standard "the HOA considers solar panels ugly, and demands you water your exactly-2in-grass even in a drought" clause in every deed. It amazes me people still fall for those things. Funny, really, how many people who want to control what their neighbors do, don't realize that it works both ways.

Comment No such thing (Score 2, Insightful) 237

Welcome to the club. Now get back in line. :p

Seriously though, I think, with the exception of the "Alex P. Keatons" among us, virtually all programmers would rather work doing some sort of pure research for the betterment of humanity, than helping some sycophantic management team please the board/stockholders for yet another quarter.

Reality of the situation, though, you (and I, and all of us) have chosen the very same thing you claim has disillusioned you. You have chosen to want a paycheck. Make no mistake, for every one software engineering job position you see posted, you can find a hundred good causes that need volunteer coders. Except, good luck getting a steady paycheck if you go that route - Short of actually becoming a professor, you very much need to treat it as an act of charity.

Which leaves you to ask yourself: Can you really afford to live without a paycheck? If you can't answer "yes" without hesitation, hey, they don't call it "work" because we go there to have eight hours of fun every day.

As a compromise solution many of us have taken, do your good deeds on the side. Get that paycheck, and put 10-20 hours a week into a FOSS project, or helping the local foodbank set up a useable LAN from their pile of 15 year old mostly-DOA donated junk, or if you still have a few "in"s at your university, ask a few of your favorite non-CS professors if they have any projects that could use your skills (almost all of them do). But make a living first and foremost.

Comment Re:Garbage Collection is not O(GC)=0 (Score 1) 106

The counter argument to this is simple: Memory allocations accounts for 99% of all scarce resource allocation in a typical program (and all of the resources that they're actually likely to exhaust: when was the last time you saw a program that had so many file descriptors open at once that it was hard to keep track of them and they came anywhere close to the system limit? It happens, but in very unusual code). Saying 'well, I have to do it for 1%, I may as well do it for the other 99%' is really not a very compelling argument.

Comment The energy supplier thing is happening in US, too. (Score 1) 173

In the UK, for instance, for a period of many years door-to-door cold callers would attempt to persuade people to change their energy suppliers. Even if a resident was NOT interested, these callers would claim to need a signature so they could prove they had visited, and get paid.

Just had one of those here in the San Francisco Bay Area, like within the last couple weeks. Claimed to be "checking" that we were "getting the government required 20% discount". Tried to get us to sign a form that would switch our gas supplier from PG&E to some pseudo-ecological-responsibility gas supplier (using the common gas distribution system).

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