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Comment Re:Microsoft (Score 1) 644

That's a good narrative of how Microsoft screwed up the browser war, but there's another story to tell about why Microsoft screwed up the browser war. Back in the mig 90's at the advent of the web, there was endless talk about how the web and web browser were going to replace the OS. "The Network Is The Computer," that sort of thing.

This may not actually be wrong for the common user and majority of machines, it may just be about 20 years off. Chrome OS or similar thin, probably Linux based OS's booting into a browser-only environment may still be the future of $80 commodity netbooks sold at the checkout line at Walmart. Which may become ubiquitous, with only "power users" who need Creative Suite, CATIA, Maya, etc. using computers that run a real OS anymore.

Microsoft jumped on the "we need to control this thing before it eats Windows" idea and spent a lot of money on a product that they gave away for free in order to control market share to protect Windows.

But then two things happened. First of all, Anti-Trust made every market-dominant position they held a scary liability, and here they were taking 80% of the browser market giving away a free product. Second, the idea that Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox/Opera were some kind of immediate threat to Windows dominance was looking more and more ludicrous.

So did M$ totally screw their huge lead in browsers? Definitely. Were they trying not to? I'm not so sure about that.

It may be ironic if thin-client/fat-web-browser cheaper-than-dirt netbooks and tablets still come around to sweep the mass market PC free of the M$ tax, relying on the viability of alternative browsers.

Comment Easy to use nice computer (Score 4, Interesting) 203

It's not a popular idea around here, but among my hard-core geek tech industry friends, there are several who used to use Linux as their primary OS who then got a Mac. Many still run both Linux and Windows virtualized, but still tend to boot into OSX.

A lot of geeks just hated Microsoft and were not necessarily huge fans of Linux on the desktop. Once Apple went to Unix, and to Intel, and started making nice laptops, it was an appealing option. Other geeks like open source but also still find Linux frustrating with dependency hell or config file editing or lack of some piece of software functionality, and just want an out-of-the-box OS that they feel they can spend less time messing around with so they can spend more time messing around with their code. [Obviously a contentious topic around here, but in my limited experience I have spent relatively less time troubleshooting configuration on OSX than Linux. Yes, yes, OSX supports a limited set of hardware and Linux tries to support everything, but that doesn't change the time commitment to making your stuff work.]

There are also developer geeks who, until Lion (which allows virtualization), practically had to buy a Mac because they wanted to test their software under Windows, Linux, and OSX, on one machine. So it had to be a Mac virtualizing the other two.

Comment Passwords, keys (Score 5, Insightful) 332

Why not also require them to make copies of their house keys for each other so they and their lawyers can go into each other's houses any time they want and rummage through each other's files, look for evidence of affairs in their bedrooms, look for property not reported in the divorce proceedings, look for signs of alcohol or drugs or depression or other personal factors that might have some bearing on the case?

Comment Long life, low cost (Score 1) 254

My Motorola flip phone was $30 unsubsidized and easly lasts over 3 days. With pre-paid Tracfone service purchased two years at a time with a free extra minutes coupon, it comes out to about $5/month all included.

Of course, it is not smart. Also, after 3-4 days, the battery goes from three green bars, to two, to one, to one red bar, to a blinking red bar, to dead over about 2 hours. Still, can't beat the price.

Comment Re:What was the point of this exercise? (Score 1) 943

Or to paraphrase: if you arbitrarily decide to define the timeline of the universe as non-infinite, and then decide there were cause and effect chains that predate your arbitrary start point, it implies there's a giant man with a white beard and robes on a thrown who uses our weekly schedule of fish consumption (amongst other factors) to determine whether we will spend eternity burning or playing a harp in the sky.

Comment Re:Another holiday: (Score 1) 333

To follow up, both men were extremely influential on the history of technology, and in very different ways, so the proximity of their deaths has caused a lot of comparison. More attention has been brought to both of them due them being in the same industry and the timing coincidence. Steve was a celebrity and already getting a lot of attention in the population at large, Dennis was mostly known within the industry. Bringing Dennis up to compare with Steve is introducing his legacy to some people who didn't know about it. It's a good thing, and the fact it is happening is not some kind of slight on Dennis.

Comment Re:Another holiday: (Score 1) 333

I'm sure you're upset because you knew Dennis, but what the parent post said is objectively true, and it is not a slight on Dennis Ritchie. Did you even stop to think, you're calling his post BS in a discussion on a Steve Jobs article, in which most of the posts above this are about Dennis Ritchie? Every discussion forum about Steve these days has a bunch of posts about Dennis - if Steve hadn't died, these posts about Dennis wouldn't be here. I'm not getting the hate for his post.

Comment Re:what I find most illumunating (Score 3, Insightful) 186

There is an important, yet meaningless, distinction between what you're saying and what they're doing.

They aren't hiding the law. They're hiding their interpretation of the law. Anybody can look up the law and read it. The government just decided they think the law means something different than anybody else thinks it means, and they won't tell you what.

You and I know that, empirically, hiding how the law will be enforced is the same thing as hiding the text of the law itself. Either way, the public can not determine what actions are illegal. The difference is that while hiding the law itself is clearly wrong in a very objective, supreme-court overturnable sort of way, classifying the government's interpretation of the law is doubleplusgood.

In fact, if this does make it to the Supreme Court, the DoJ can just say that they have an alternate, classified interpretation of The Constitution, that the Supreme Court can not know about this interpretation due to it being classified, and that this interpretation makes it legal for the government to radically reinterpret laws and classifying those reinterpretations.

Catch 22, SCOTUS, what do you do now? Before you answer, remember that you're not the branch with a Commander In Chief.

Comment Re:What's the problem? (Score 3, Interesting) 292

First I modded this up, now I'm back to post.

Seriously - don't host in Italy, and who cares?

Do you think the Wikipedia page on North Korea confoms to the laws of North Korea? The wikipedia article itself, in the span of two sentences, shows that it's not a legal article there:

In its 2010 report, Reporters Without Borders ranked the freedom of the press in North Korea as 177th out of 178, above only that of Eritrea.[136] Only news that favors the regime is permitted...

I don't hear anyone threatening to pull it down.

The law itself is abysmal, but there's no reason for it to affect Wikipedia. It strikes me that in making this claim, Wikipedia is taking up a political fight. Wikipedia is not in any danger from the law, they're theatrically threatening to pull out, despite being unaffected, in order to draw attention to this. I'm against this abhorrent and ridiculous law, but I'm not in favor of Wikipedia making exaggerated claims and throwing its weight around on political issues.

Comment Re:I rent both my home and my office... (Score 1) 219

Speaking of when you are and are not ruining the planet - geeks, keep in mind that if you use electric resistance heat or anything of similar efficiency, then running your gadgets any time you're heating your home is FREE. 100% of the energy consumed becomes heat in your house, at the exact same efficiency as running the heater. Crank up folding at home, game away, turn off sleep mode, lug your old Commodore-64 out of the basement to play with for nostalgia's sake, whatever you want for those winter months.

If you have a heat pump or natural gas, then you're still wasting power with your electronics, but still only at a fraction of the rate of waste when you're NOT paying to heat your home.

Of course, the flip side of the coin is that when you're running the AC, you pay MORE than DOUBLE the electricity the actual devices consume. All the power your gadgets consume is turned into heat in your house, then you use less than 100% efficient air conditioning to remove all that heat again.

So Dallas residents will get much higher returns for investing in more efficient home electronics than Maine residents.

Comment Re:Proof that the system is corrupt (Score 2) 524

It's true, the transaction speed advantage, unlike the market as a whole, is a 0-sum game, and companies are investing in huge resources trying to win it. That is, they're dumping huge resources into a totally unproductive sector of the economy. This is not a sign of efficient markets, something stock markets supposedly help facilitate.

They should go to turn-based trading. Everyone line up your bids and resolve them on 1-second intervals or some such scheme.

Comment Re:The purpose of a test ... (Score 1) 323

Presenting original analysis of the course material requires a much deeper understanding of it than merely typing up my class notes as a paper, which as I noted, did not even require me to read the course material in order to get an A. Most of the professors there, had they been given my first papers for that class, would have been given my original paper a B+, A-, or A. The rewrite (and my subsequent papers that also got "A's") would have probably gotten C-'s for simply regurgitating exactly what was presented in class.

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