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Comment Re:don't throw the baby out with the bathwater (Score 1) 87

" The patent system worked rather well for a few hundred years."

Eh, even back in the days of the steam engine and the cotton gin and before it was hardly a clear cut benefit to the general welfare. It's just become more and more destructive as the pace of technological advance has increased, that's all.

Comment Re:It's a about money. (Score 2, Informative) 211

"No such arsenal has ever existed that could do that once, much less a dozen times."

There are a little over 5,000 warheads in the US stockpile (as of 2010 wikipedia quoting reuters.) That's enough to hit every small city in the world, and most of them twice. Each is many, many times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The initial blast fatalities alone from a full scale launch would decimate any nation on earth, it would make things like hurricanes look like hangnails.

The rural population outside the cities would survive the initial blasts, but the lingering effects of radiation would decimate that remnant in short order - as well as the populations of any areas that were not initially struck directly. And only a small fraction of those weapons would need to be detonated to invoke a nuclear winter which would make survival problematic even if all the explosions are on the other side of the globe from you.

Life would continue, yes, the cockroaches would inherit the earth. But humanity would be lucky to survive even in stone age form.

Comment Re:It's a about money. (Score 4, Insightful) 211

"Which is why it makes sense to leave them where they are. Decommissioning is even more pricey"

Not really. A one-time cost to decommission, defrayed by salvage, versus a large recurring expense.

"Most of the cost is military. Personally, I think guarding holes in the desert is a much finer jobs program than bombing people in the Middle East."

Cant say that I disagree on that. But nukes are extremely expensive toys and the maintanence cost is huge, and NOT mostly on personel. Just maintaining the nuclear arsenal accounts for around $18million a year currently and it's rising every year.

These are very delicate, precision machines, and each and every one of them is a minimum of 20 years old, many much older than that. As time goes on they require more maintanence, and it becomes more expensive.

I'm no naive hippy and I am ok with paying for deterrence. But it's clear we could cut our stock in half tomorrow with no reduction in deterrence. An arsenal that is capable of destroying the entire planet is in no way inferior to one that would be capable of destroying the planet a dozen times. It just costs less.

What the US administration has been trying to do, however, is get the Russians to make some concessions in return for us reducing our stock. This just wasnt a great approach to take. It probably actually spooked the Russians, who wonder why we are so concerned about their arsenal, hmmm? And they have other reasons to resist. They have indicated they are not interested in bilateral agreements that were reasonable back in the cold war days. It's a multipolar world, there are many nuclear nations, not just two and their respective pack members. The Russians want negotiations that include all the other nuclear powers as well. And the US administration would probably find that very reasonable if it werent for Israel...

At any rate we should cut stock for a number of reasons. It would soothe the Russian fears and might well lead to them reducing their own stock in response, but that's not the reason to do it, that's just some possible gravy.

"If we were sick of throwing money into a pit, we wouldn't have approved TARP, TARP2, and we would have had some campaign promises kept, like closing Gitmo, and getting us out of our two major wars, instead of getting us into two new ones as well. That'd save a bunch of money right there."

True that.

Comment Re:Yeah, focus is slipping (Score 1) 778

"Disrespecting the end user is one of the stages of software development team meltdown.'

Well do tell us the other stages, hopefully this is near the end?

Because I sure see a lot of it these days. Might we see every commercially significant software development team meltdown in the very near future? Please?

Because I have a feeling complete meltdown is necessary before anything gets better.

Comment Huh? (Score 2) 778

"An add-on to block 3rd party Javascript would be a nice alternative NoScript which requires a lot of whitelisting to be useful. Almost all advertising related Javascript is from off-site."

Noscript does this. "Temporarily allow top level sites by default" right up at the top of the general tab in noscript options. If you go to scripts originating from are parsed, scripts referenced from third party server are simply ignored. It's a thing of beauty.

Comment Re:noscript (Score 1) 778

"This page is built using Javascript, but it seems that you have Javascript disabled on your browser. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page to continue."

And that is absolute bare minimum formal requirement of the language. If you use a script on your page and you didnt do that, you didnt write a web page, but a defective abortion of one. It's like claiming you wrote a program in C when the sucker wont compile.

The vast majority of websites that use javascript would work perfectly fine without it, and therefore have absolutely no excuse for not working properly regardless of whether or not javascript is permitted or not.

And even the tiny handful that are doing something useful that is not doable otherwise should still use noscript tags to explain what it is that requires javascript and why.

A page that 'breaks mysteriously' when exposed to sane security settings is, again, an abortion not a web page.

Comment Re:Nothing new... (Score 1) 778

I am not the poster you were referring to, but I concur with him that Mozilla went completely insane years ago.

And unfortunately I dont have a good answer to your question. Chrome is absolute trash. Opera was once great but isnt so great anymore, and is becoming Chrome next release anyway. On Windows, IE is awful but probably the best of a bad lot. But I tried and found that I really could not replace Firefox with it even there.

Of course the Firefox I use is pretty thoroughly reworked using extensions. Noscript, tree tabs, image zoom, https everywhere, status4evar, etc. Without the extensions, firefox would be the worst browser around, but with the right extensions (and extended support release,) it's still the best of a very poor lot. But it's obviously getting worse every release. ESR is only delaying the inevitable.

Comment Re:Wrong solution to a non-problem (Score 1) 778

No, actually, it's not debatable at all. That's nonsense. If you dont know how to use a noscript tag you are INCOMPETENT. If you know how, but dont always do so, it's probably your bosses that are incompetent. Whether the average user is smart enough to turn off their javascript (or tie their own shoelaces) is entirely irrelevant and beside the point.

Comment Re:dumb, maybe a face-saving move? (Score 2) 778

"Yes, but those programmers are morons. Why legitimize their bizarre take on things? Most of the web works great without javascript, so disabling javascript is usually a safe thing for users to do."

The worst that can happen from disabling javascript is that incompetently coded sites will fail.

On the other hand *enabling* javascript opens you up to lovely drive-by infections, as well as many other, more subtle, dangers.

Comment Re:Solution in extensions (Score 1) 778

Googles push for javascript is one of the things that has made them progressively less useful over the past decade.

I dont know what your 'web app' is and I wont even assume that it's garbage (although experience tells me that is very likely) - I will assume it is very useful to your customers. Your customers should understand that and not have a problem following directions to use the browser you prefer and whitelist your app so they can run it.

But no browser should be configured to let something like that run by default.

Comment This isnt all false (Score 1) 778

"It seems that Firefox 23, currently in beta, has removed the option to disable JavaScript. Is this good for programmers and web apps? Why has Mozilla decided that this is the right thing to do? The simple answer is that there is a growing movement to reduce user options that can break applications. The idea is that if you provide lots of user options then users will click them in ways that aren't particularly logical. The result is that users break the browser and then complain that it is broken. "

It's sad but true that there is indeed some truth to this. Computer illiterates are a significant portion of the population and anyone that offers them free support with any product is digging their own grave because these people can break anything.

But this thinking can easily go too far. Make a computer that a computer illiterate will not be able to break, and it will also be a computer that the rest of us find unbearable. And while there is still a good deal of computer illiteracy to be dealt with, the trajectory on that should be down, not up.

"For example, there are websites that not only don't work without JavaScript, but they fail in complex ways â" ways that worry the end user. "

These websites, however, need to quit pointing fingers and fix their damn webpages!

The level of slop that 'web designers' have been churning out for decades is their own damn fault. Better than removing the option to turn off javascript would be removing the option to turn it on.

"Hence, once you remove the disable JavaScript option Firefox suddenly works on a lot of websites. Today there are a lot of programmers of the opinion that if the user has JavaScript off then its their own fault and consuming the page without JavaScript is as silly as trying to consume it without HTML."

These 'web designers' are the silly ones. If turning off javascript breaks your webpage then your webpage is broken, simple as that. Graceful degradation is a mandatory feature here, and trying to push your own incompetence back on the customer is reprehensible.

Comment Re:Why not promote motherboard manufacturers (Score 1) 248

"The argument is that it is "Microsoft's" security system* that is part of their ecosystem."

Wait a moment here, I buy commodity hardware, install something *nixy that I compiled and signed on it, and somehow this is part of MicroSofts ecosystem that they have proprietary rights in? Huh?

"but under the trusted computing platform isn't there a system of trust that depends on the kind of lock down where the private endorsement key is not set by you? Such that if you did put on your own key Microsoft would no longer want to trust your computer. "

Not asking Microsoft to trust my computer. Why would they?

This is just a cryptographic verification function to prevent an altered bootloader from executing. My computer doesnt need to trust Microsofts key, and their computers dont need to trust my keys either.

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