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Comment Re:India? Robots in the front line? (Score 2) 169

Yes, the soldiers in body bags have lost a lot of the political cost in the recent Iraq/Afghanistan war. Gulf War I was remarkable for its low causalities. But I think it is wrong to attribute it to some post 9-11 change of mind of the American public. The earlier high political cost came in when the draft was in place and many solid middle class affluent families actually faced the law: all men are created equal. They had resources to dodge it, going to college, becoming a missionary, becoming a Rhodes Scholar etc etc. But now that draft is gone and the military has become one of the tickets out of poverty for the "lower" classes, the political costs have abated. Still almost all the politicians were very strung up about it. Look at the media ban Bush had about pictures of coffins being unloaded.

I think the political cost of images of dead soldiers is slightly, but just slightly, less in India than in USA. In both countries the martial middle class families get into the Officer Corps and not the enlisted ranks.

Comment India? Robots in the front line? (Score 3, Interesting) 169

Very surprised. Though no country wants to risk the lives of their soldiers, only in the USA soldiers in body bags have such a heavy political price. India being a Democracy it too would pay a higher political price than, may be Pakistan and China. But still it is a highly populated country without draft. In fact, even in the USA, after the draft has been removed and it became an all volunteer armed forces, the political cost of returning body bags have dropped a lot. So why robots in the forward firing lines? May be it is posturing, goading Pakistan into spending its money on robots instead of supplying terrorists with cheap AK-47s.

Comment How do you get the idiot consultant off my back? (Score 4, Funny) 331

Hi I am the head of IT of a midsize company and the management has called in this consultant. He is convinced my pointy haired bosses that my budget is twice the size and I an too naive and gullible and merely parrot my staff's opinions to the management. This consultant is so incompetent he is asking for advice in slashdot. How do I get him off my back, and demonstrate his incompetence to the PHBs?

Comment First to file vs first to invent (Score 5, Informative) 84

The patent process has recently changed from "first to invent" to "first to file". What is means is people who can demonstrate they already have invented it and been using it could not be sued. But you should have enough documentation to prove it. Also only the original invention gets this protection, not any enhancements. Others, even if they are aware of the invention being already deployed and in use, even if it is really obvious and non-novel do not get any protection by the claims of prior-art. They need to go to the courts and prove it is obvious and non-novel. But also if it has been in the market for one year, it is prior art, even if the original inventor did not file and some one else files for it after one year. And in software patents, if the feature is in the shipping code/product, even if there is no way for the user to access it, the feature is considered a released product and the one year clock starts ticking. We are adviced to use very strict #ifdef "patent_pending" #endif to protect all the special codes from getting into production builds.

Caveat: This is the engineers understanding of the patent process as explained by the legal department. I won't bet even two cents on it being right.

Comment Re:outsourcing to india (Score 1) 304

He is a twelfth grader. This is one off code without any lasting value. Writing a generalized code for this purpose would be an over design. Next thing you will be complaining people doing mental arithmetic to figure out how much that shoe on sale is going to cost are not modularizing and reusing their mental faculties. Jeez. Give that boy a break.

Comment Wont jump to conclusions. (Score 1) 304

The major revelation is there are certain totals nobody got. I mean, no one got 78 marks or 67 marks out of 100 in a subject. By itself it is not evidence of tampering. If all the questions had only even number of marks, then nobody would get odd number of marks in total. From what I recall from my high school final papers, there were a few one mark questions, some five marks and some 10 mark questions. But that was decades ago. Now with the rise in objective questions etc, it is possible the entire paper was so structured it is impossible to get some totals.

On the other hand, even if there are a sprinkling of one mark questions, the graph would be expected to be uniform. Anyway, good job of a twelfth grader to hack javascript at this level.

Comment Re:...and device runtime with stay the same (Score 1) 322

USB chargers are cheap. Leave one at work, one in car and one at home. I wish the smart phones will have a dumb phone mode that automatically shuts off everything other than the phone function when the remaining capacity falls below 3% or so and becomes a dumb phone. May be there is an app for this. But with touch screens there are no buttons and it is impossible to shut down the most energy consuming part of the smart phone, the screen.

Comment Let that Desi kid loose on this technology. (Score 1) 322

Some Indian American teen won the intel science prize for charging a cell phone in 20 seconds. Let her loose on this technology and get that Tesla S model recharged in 5 minutes for 200 mile range! Now we are talking, baby!

But of course, all she had was just a super capacitor. It probably does not scale easily to vehicle sizes and anyway it is not an electro-chemical reaction based "battery."

Comment Vint is not blaming Microsoft, but I do. (Score 1) 358

Microsoft from day one has been making its data incompatible with everything else. It was a lean and hungry company back then (it is fat and hungry now), and it was compatible with every existing thing on the import side and incompatible with everything on export. It fought a mean campaign against Samba. It played dirty with Netscape and the web standards. Bugs in IE worked around in IIS and vice versa to make it very very hard to stick to a standard.

Comment Time scales of traders and slashdotters.. (Score 4, Informative) 497

That's why the people with their own money on the line are buying up MSFT (stock went from $27 to $35 due to the last earnings report) instead of the air-headed armchair analysis that we see on here of 'lol my grandma ditched her PC and got an iPad so that means M$ is dying'.

The time constants of slashdotters discussing future of MSFT and the traders are vastly different. Slashdotter think 1 year is short term, 5 years is medium term and 10 years is long term. People buying MSFT @ 35 think 1 quarter as short term, 1 year as medium term and 3 years as long term. And the hedge fund honchos think 1 micro second as ultrashort term, 1 second as short term, and 1 minute as medium term and 1 hour as long term. And these hedge fund honchos will happily risk 1 trillion dollars for 1 micro second to pursue a possible profit of 25 dollars. And they will happily do it 1000 times a second. No wonder we are hosed.

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