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Submission + - A brief history of the TV remote control. (

harrymcc writes: "TV remote controls certainly aren't the most high-profile of gizmos, but they're among the longest-lived and most pervasive. And they've evolved a lot in their sixty years. I've compiled a quick guide to notable models, from 1950s's Lazy Bones to the first infrared model to the first universal remote (designed by Woz!) to Peel, a new remote that's actually an iPhone app."

Submission + - The case against Ballmer (

UnknowingFool writes: Greenlight Capital President David Greenhorn publicly called for Microsoft to replace Ballmer. Under Ballmer's 11 year tenure, the stock price has stagnated around $30 per share; this is weak especially compared against other tech giants. During this time, MS has seen its problems like the Vista debacle, the failure of costly products like the Zune and Kin, and the exodus of top management like J. Allard. Besides the core products of OS and Office, MS has not expanded into new markets and met with financial success.

While MS is still extremely profitable, investors want growth. Tech analysts see MS as increasingly reactionary rather than proactive in new markets and trends. Inside MS, there has been a growing dissatisfaction with Ballmer if the posts at mini-Microsoft are representative. Personally I think Ballmer is a decent manager which is fine if he was COO. As CEO, I think he's lacked the vision and direction that MS needs.


Submission + - Windows 1.0: The power of DOS, plus tiled windows (

jbrodkin writes: "I'd always wanted my own working copy of the elusive Windows 1.0, and after a few failed attempts I got one working in a virtual machine (I had to downgrade from the latest version of Windows Virtual PC to an earlier version to get it started, but that's another story). With 416K free memory, we were able to cruise through Reversi, take a look at the first version of Notepad, as well as the now-defunct Microsoft Write, and create a "masterpiece" in Microsoft Paint. Eventually, applications started crashing, but a simple reboot got it working again. All in all, a nice tour through computing history. Anyone have a copy of the first Macintosh OS they want to send me?"

Comment OZ gov't is a bunch of whiners (Score 1) 179

The Aussie government failed to recommend a standard that supplants PDF in such a way that it handles all the cases one would expect to handle. So what's the point of this exercise that the OZ gov't did other than basically say without words... 'we should publish everything in XML documents since at least those can be parsed to some degree?

You know, there should be an industry-standard sheet of paper (Letter/AF) that meets the JAWS difficulty test, much in the same way there are test HTML pages that test web browser compliance with HTML 1.1/5.0.

Needless to say, blind people already have solutions for reading printed text that is not braille. Print the PDF and then scan it back into OCR-to-speech software. I'm sure someone by now has invented the OCR-capable print driver that eliminates the need to print to paper to reach the step of reading scanned paper.

Create a PDF document that has radially-printed text, "The green fox slept and fellated the brown dog." printed in a straight line, then printed in a spiral, and then printed upside down.

Then for Hebrew and Arabic (RTL languages), the same type of sentence... printed in RTL in various configurations.

Then the newsprint column layout, etc. etc. etc.

Point JAWS at the PDF, or use the PDF reader's built in speech interpretation, and let PDF vendors attain for certified compliance from the accessibility software industry.

Problem solved.

Comment Re:It's the Larry Ellison Parade (Score 2, Interesting) 66

I don't dispute that at all. SAP owes money. Question is how much. Did SAP really capitalize and make any gains off the back of Oracle that warrants a gigantic payout by SAP? That's what the trial is all about.

SAP did make some very smart buys by the way. BusinessObjects was probably their best purchase ever and probably was a huge thorn in Oracle's butt... and Leo was lucky to be present on the closing of that deal. Oracle has yet to come up with a decent fully-integrated BI suite to match what BO users are doing with that software. And now that BO is permanently married to SAP, Oracle has to steer their customers away from what is actually quite a nice product.

Comment It's the Larry Ellison Parade (Score 3, Interesting) 66

Too bad it's not a jury of dimwits that gets to determine the award. Then they'll have to ask themselves in a conference room if Larry's crocodile tears are worth excising a large sum of money from one of Germany's largest companies and giving it to a douchebag who already has loads himself.

Maybe if there's some scarlet twist to this suit that hasn't been made public yet----like SAP had intended to modify Oracle's code to make the database columns with German identifiers like SAP's?

I cannot tell you with what joy I have going into transaction SE38, then digging through ABAP code, then trying to figure out what column identifiers (like LOGIKZW, STABPRRT) means...

Comment Re:HFT is Not a Sin (Score 4, Insightful) 178

Another lie the chairs of NASDAQ and NYSE love to tell the world is that HFT speeds up price discovery.

How is this even POSSIBLY true??? They are algos. Those algos don't have any clue what the future performance of a company is. The algos are not going to tell you how successful AAPL's iPhone 5 will be, or when the next class action lawsuit is coming.

And algos break ALL THE TIME. It has been happening more often these days because stocks are breaking 120DMA more often, and most of these algos are doing nothing but backtracing trends on top of their arbitrage schemes. When a big investor comes in the room, they jump on him like nervous poodles.

That's why the May 6 event was such an eye opener. Waddle and Reed didn't cause the flash crash. They executed a normal transaction that wasn't even a Big Fish transaction, and all the algos went haywire.

So much for the quants and their MIT-smartness.

Comment Re:HFT is Not a Sin (Score 4, Insightful) 178

Yes it IS a sin.

It's a SIN because the heads of NYSE and NASDAQ continue to spread this lie that HFT shops contribute liquidity to the system. THEY DO ANYTHING BUT!

Have you seen the offices these HFT shops rent out in New Jersey and CT? They're cheap Class B space, warehouse loft and other low-rent space. They don't have the capital it takes to be a market maker. They just have capital---and they aren't going to sit in the market when it is hurting and make trades no sane person would make to keep liquidity flowing.

That is the job of a REAL market-maker. A market-maker will step in and be the counterparty to keep the issues they are responsible on the exchange moving.

What the fuck do you think happened on the May 6 flash crash? Almost all the HFT shops ran to their server rooms and SIGSEGV their software and pulled out to avoid taking more pain. The bids all dried up on the NYSE which is why the first crazy market order for $0.01 a share came to the exchanges, NASDAQ cleared it so for a while, several stocks were at zero print... like Accenture.

When you have the most top companies on your exchange printing zero in the flash of an eye... YOUR MARKET IS BROKEN. How is this even debatable?

Why would I want to put the kids college fund money in this fucking disaster?

HFT sucks.

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Mathematics is the only science where one never knows what one is talking about nor whether what is said is true. -- Russell