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Comment Re:Clogging the bandwidth (Score 1) 572

Out of curiosity, how's the quality of the landlines in India? In the US, practically every household has access to a landline, regardless of how far out in the backwoods they live or how poor they are. US telecoms networks have built/maintained a physical network (with five nines of up-time!) across a huge geographic span for about 100 years.

I'm not saying that telcoms haven't squandered their profits to some extent. And it makes me sick to think about how they've abused their subsidies on the backs of the taxpayers. But anyone who's ever had to modernize a corporate LAN/WAN, or refactor an app written in a dead language knows how much, much easier it is to move quicker and cheaper if you don't already have a legacy platform to worry about. I can't imagine how much inertia a hundred year-old system has.

Comment Re:Why are we playing games with these thugs? (Score 1) 770

The US Navy released an RFI for a feasibility study of creating a virtual wargames platform. The intention is that some contractor will build an Internet-based RTS game to train people on piracy fighting strategies. Anyhow... in the RFI they mention a major reason that shippers don't hire security for each of their ships is that it puts them at an economic disadvantage.

Ocean freight companies are *really* hurting financially since the US isn't buying many widgets from China these days. If they hired a small security detail for each ship, they'd have to charge their customers more per shipment. However, the customer would just switch to a cheaper carrier. So it's better business sense for them to risk the occasional pirate attack (which is a very minor portion of the overall shipping traffic).

Comment Re:Commercialism (Score 1) 315

Just as art is hollow when the artist cares only about money...

While romantic-sounding, what does that really mean? The world is filled with art (much of it famous) that was created by really talented artists trying to put food on the table. In fact, I can't think of a better motivator to produce good-quality art than the prospect of becoming another "starving artist." Michelangelo absolutely hated painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling. He was a sculptor and only did the frescos after being hounded into by the Pope. He complained incessantly about not having as much creative control as he wished over the project, about his aches and pains of doing uncomfortable work, the papacy rushing him, etc.

Comment Re:I wonder (Score 2, Interesting) 256

That's a common misconception.

It was from the RAND study that the false rumor started claiming that the ARPANET was somehow related to building a network resistant to nuclear war. This was never true of the ARPANET, only the unrelated RAND study on secure voice considered nuclear war. However, the later work on Internetting did emphasize robustness and survivability, including the capability to withstand losses of large portions of the underlying networks.

"A Brief History of the Internet", Internet Society.

Comment Re:As much as I hate to say it... (Score 1) 560

pagerank has been around for a long time and it hasn't altogether changed much.

PageRank (the patented ranking algorithm that put Google on the map) may not have changed much in the past decade. However Google has a $2.1B annual R&D budget. PageRank is only one of many, many tools in their toolbox. IIRC, a webpage's ranking in their search results is determined by around 400 different variables--PageRank being just one.

Comment Re:Awesome... (Score 2, Informative) 65

Stardock is based in Plymouth, MI which is halfway between Detroit and Ann Arbor. Slashdot was originally founded in the same area (Dexter, MI IIRC). I live about 15 minutes north of Dexter and about 45 minutes from Plymouth. In case you haven't been following the news, Michigan doesn't have a whole lot to be proud of, economically-speaking. It's possible that the editors have a special fondness for Stardock. While independent game publishers are common in California, it's very rare to find a successful one in the Midwest. And honestly, Stardock produces some pretty top-notch stuff. I am consistently impressed about how close they get to EA in terms of production value. They also have a very progressive (customer friendly) stance on DRM and piracy.

Comment Re:Old (Score 1) 622

A hobby of mine is woodworking. One piece of invaluable equipment is a jointer which is used for putting a parallel face or edge on a board. Along with a planer, a jointer is used to ensure that the boards are straight and square. It resembles a long table with a gap in the middle that contains a rotating cutter head.

While jointers produced today have newer bells-and-whistles, the machines produced 60+ years ago are generally considered superior and are highly sought after. This is primarily because they were made of solid cast iron, which is heaver and absorbs vibration better than the stamped steel machines made now (vibration is the enemy of smooth cuts). They also last forever and are rather easy to maintain since being able to easily fix your own equipment was more of a concern than the price tag back then.

There's also a similar situation with vintage Stanley hand planes and other woodworking tools. It's not simply a sense of nostalgia either. These old tools are genuinely better than most off-the-shelf stuff on today's market. I wonder if we'll ever look back on computers in the same way?

Comment Re:The elephant in the room... (Score 1) 279

I don't understand why you keep spreading the blame around to the school system when your anecdote clearly places the blame on a parent. Teachers don't go into teaching because it is easy or it pays well. The overwhelming majority of freshly minted teachers are extremely idealist when they first start. They are excited to help children learn. However, they quickly realize that their function is just a babysitter paid for by the state. The parents don't demand much else, so that's what the system produces. No, I don't blame the teachers nor the school system itself. The responsibility is solely that of the parents, and by extension, the tax payers and voters.

Comment Why make the leap in the first place? (Score 5, Insightful) 388

I wish the article would have explained why MLB went with Silverlight in the first place. What kind of arm-twisting (or hooker-and-blow-providing) could MS have possibly done to convince a company to take such a major financial gamble? For the most part, Silverlight is largely unproven tech and--to add insult to injury--proprietary. Can someone explain the appeal?

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