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Comment Re:Tied sale, supposedly illegal in the U.S. (Score 1) 561

It's more tied than that: I physically can drop the new engine into the Ford, but the surface had hardware to keep me from doing so. I have to use a motorcycle example for this: removing the engine from a Vincent black shadow renders it unrunnable, as the engine is a required part of the frame. Non-identical engines can't be substituted (unlike featherbed Nortons).

Personally, I want the better of the two Surface keyboards, which a colleague described as the best small keyboard he'd ever used. Alas, the keyboard is tied to the platform, which is tied to Windows 8. I suspect they'll only be available via purchasing a Surface for some considerable time, thus the interest in making the whole surface run Linux. I will definitely investigate the "plus", which reportedly does have an Intel processor, and may have the keyboard...

--dave

Comment Re:The problem with petitioning for redress (Score 5, Insightful) 584

Our various governments propose ways of "petitioning for redress of grievance", and, as each becomes popular, strive to cut them off.

In British law, as applied to the 13 colonies, a signed petition could be presented to a governing body and it had a duty to respond. As the Yale law journal points out, that was so heavily used in response to slavery that it was withdrawn in the U.S. (see http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/796438?uid=3739448&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21101604364957) A certain well-known president is trying to bring it back, but that's a different discussion.

With organized petitioning unavailable, personal appeals to one's representative became popular. It soon became impossible to meet your representative, and written letters turned into counts pro and con that their staffs reported.

Groups and companies then banded together and hired lobbyists, to button-hole legislators in the lobby of their building, where the public was allowed. When these became too bothersome, only selected lobbyists were invited to meetings, and the general public was excluded from the buildings.

The press is still allowed in some selected lobbies, but there is always a back corridor available for legislators to use to bypass them.

Groups then started petitioning in person, on the front lawn of the parliament buildings, and occasionally their representatives would come out and meet them. More often, the police closed off access to the building and its vicinity.

No organization, whether legislative or commercial, enjoys hearing criticism. As soon as they get too much from a given channel, that channel will be cut off. Only the occasional brave, duty-oriented legislator will ask their electors for comments.

In my own country of Canada, this last happened when the government of the day asked for broad comments on amending the copyright law, when my local city councilman needed opinions and options on a garbage-collection proposal, and most recently when the CRTC asked for suggestions to moderate the bad practices of cell-phone providers.

Redress of grievance still exists, but it's genuinely rare.

--dave

Comment You're talking to a Human Resources weasel (Score 4, Insightful) 243

As opposed to a employee relations person, you understand.

The weasels want people with 5 years experience with Java in 1995, and then wonder why no-one but James Gosling applies.

Send the posting to Larry Page's office with a subject line like "Public relations blunder".

--dave

Submission + - Swedish Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade (falkvinge.net)

davecb writes: "Rick Falkvinge reports today that the Swedish Pirate Party has laid charges against at least Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal before the Finansinspektionen , for refusing to pass on money owed to Wikileaks. The overseer of bank licenses notes (in translation) that "The law states, that if there aren’t legal grounds to deny a payment service, then it must be processed.”"

Comment Heck, whole lead is pretty misleading (Score 1) 510

Unions can't protect jobs, although they sometimes think they can. What they can do is protect workers in cases where there is a big imbalance in bargaining power between owner and worker.

In a tech company with less than a hundred-odd people (some exceedingly odd), a union is less than useful. In a low-tech company with many people, it's almost a necessity. When I was at Motor Wheel, the union was cool. When I was at Sun, I never felt the lack.

When car wheels are mostly made by robots, the humans in the plant will probably want a union. Humans working in high tech may not, although the AI's might (:-))

Comment Simplifying assumption, to make the models work (Score 1) 544

If you chose a time period substantially greater than the time to raise a new generation of humans, then you can guarantee your models won't show humans being displaced by technology.

Persons desirous of having lots of automation, in hopes of having a better life for said humans, tend to chose such long time scales, while persons concerned with being displaced chose periods like "right now", to demonstrate the event actually happens.

Honest economists consider the period, say why, and discuss the trade-offs.

--dave (a philosopher, not an economist) c-b

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