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Comment Re:EBooks (Score 1) 167

Same across the board for most 'digital' with physical counterparts. If I 'buy' a digital video, it'd be more expensive (and more limited) than a blu-ray copy. Steam is about the only venue I've seen the downloaded copies sell for cheaper than boxed copies.

Comment Re:EBooks (Score 1) 167

I would *hope* so, but there's frankly a limit on how many people would purchase a work. I'm not so sure that a 50 shades series book would have much opportunity to sell to more people than they already did. I don't think I've heard many people say "oh, I would read that book, but I can't afford it".

Of the people I know roughly their buying habits, their time budget for reading limits them far more than their money budget.

Comment Re:Not a big deal (Score 1) 136

MS, like almost every company on earth, would kill to have a "fad" like that...

The article you link in fact state "In contrast to the iPhone and Mac, the iPad continues to struggle". They made a lot more even on Mac computers. Their competitors make more (revenue) on laptops/desktops than Apple does on Macs. While no company would turn down an extra $5 billion in revenue certainly, the players in the industry don't have much reason to be *exceedingly* envious of that particular product.

iPad fever had the world on fire as it went from $2 billion a quarter to 5 and then 11 billion, with people assuming that trend would continue. $11 billion was respectable in its own right and would outpace most companies PCs sales if sustained, but people were *mostly* focused on the presumed future. Since then iPad sales half fallen to half of that, without a sign of that trend reversing.

Comment Re:Not a big deal (Score 3, Interesting) 136

Speaking as a user of a similar product, interoperability was the wrong word, but I think I see his point. I always use it with the keyboard attached, just like a laptop. When trying to use it like a tablet (touchscreen only), it's a terrible experience that doesn't work well with most software on Windows. Pen input and touch input are only very occasionally useful, so the experience is overwhelmingly dominated by things that essentially need a keyboard and pointer device.

Moving forward, I think I'll stick to cheaper Android tablets for the things a Tablet can do, and traditional laptop for a Windows system when I need Windows (while tablet+keyboard is very similar experience once settled, it's clumsier than a laptop lid to set up, and much more awkward on the lap than a laptop.

Comment Re:Not a big deal (Score 1) 136

I think its largely a combination of things:

-MS is slow to refresh, so those who want it, already have the current model. Conversely if you are thinking of buying one, you know Kaby Lake iss out and 'any day now', a new Surface model will release.

-The tablet fad has pretty much come and gone. Apple doesn't talk excitedly about the iPad anymore, and that is the poster child for 'tablet'. The novelty and 'maybe this will be better' aspect seems to have largely given way to the reality that for most things, a keyboard and mouse in a laptop form factor is more convenient, and in terms of portability, it may be more portable than a laptop, but mobile phones win on that front. So a tablet is the best way to watch videos and read documents at your home or office, and that's about it. A surface is no better at those tasks than a cheaper android tablet.

-The new microsoft has lost its obsession at beating Apple at its own game, and has re-emphasized how they dominated Apple in the desktops, and is leaving things more in the hands of their partners. Manufacturing hardware is a thankless job, and a diverse ecosystem was what attracted consumers to Microsoft's partners in the first place. Of course Microsoft is currently stuck between Apple doing first party everything and Google offering Android for free, and letting the manufacturers pretty much tailor the platform to a much greater extent than Microsoft does. All this aside, once the market has chosen, it's very hard to make the market change its mind.

Comment Re:Safety hazard. (Score 1) 160

Well, this is beyond impractical, but on that specific front, it wouldn't be too hard to do, and I can swear I remember already seeing that. You have barriers that rise up before descending and the walls close over the hole like doors.

Of course, you could only go so far without destabilizing the ground, no way you could practically avoid all the underground infrastructure and have decent paths, the energy required to zip things around that fast would be significant unless you evacuated a lot of the air (like hyperloop), but a car cabin wouldn't be designed for it (instead of sled, a sealed capsule maybe....).

Either way, it won't happen because it would be impossibly expensive even if possible.

Comment Re:Where are these Cobol positions? (Score 1) 372


A quick hunt around UK jobsites shows a number of large companies (not banks) looking for COBOL programmers in the £35-45k range. That's the price range of someone who just does basic network management, who can be replaced in seconds.

The banks aren't giving salaries but they state benefits, etc. but much of their job descriptions are "experience with finance stuff" with COBOL thrown in occasionally.

Though I'm sure it probably is harder to find a COBOL programmer than other languages nowadays, they aren't trying very hard to attract them based on searching "COBOL" on a number of jobsites. Either what little demand there is is being met, or they just aren't advertising them at all.

Comment Language (Score 2) 372

Why does the language matter?

I have to learn all kinds of new, esoteric and niche languages all the time as part of my job.

Surely what you want is to hire a business or banking programmer and make sure they are then made competent in COBOL (gosh, maybe you could utilise your ageing COBOL workforce to teach him?), no different to bringing in a guy trained on a competitor's system and training him on YOUR system.

It worries me that a bank would be hiring a programmer who *can't* do several languages, especially languages that have been around for decades rather than languages utilising entirely different paradigms, or that can't pick up new ones as they appear.

If you hire some - I don't know, whatever the language of the moment is, say Java or something - programmer to replace all this system, you'll have a system tied into Java. Which will, as Java is starting to show, start to get replaced itself by the time that guy has gone and you've only got rookies running the place on the old-guy's code.

Massive expense, to be back to square one, after decades of dodgy code that was trying to stabilise.

Advertise for programmers, teach them COBOL as the "in-house" language. Then, so long as your business systems have the tools for them to create and execute those programs, you're sorted for a long time yet. You don't even need to care that every other bank in the world has moved to Java or whatever if you do it right and have standardised interfaces or conversion tools.

I think this is not related to "we can't find people who could program in COBOL" as much as "we already have a bunch of cheap outsourced programmers who only know Java and they can't learn anything else".

The time taken to familiarise yourself with such a critical codebase to the point of confidence in pushing your production code should VASTLY outweigh the time required to actually learn something like COBOL from scratch, in this kind of industry.

Comment Re: This needs to stay (Score 1) 272

you're dumb enough to esteem the judgment of a guy who hired someone dumb enough to take money from foreign sources and not report it

Oh, you're referring to the guy THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION gave a security clearance to in 2016, following a review of his business dealings in Russia? That guy? One of the reasons he didn't get even more scrutiny while being considered for that job was the fact that the previous administration had just vetted him post Russian involvement and considered him worthy of an unsponsored security clearance. Which you know, but you're pretending you don't so you can spew your usual phony ad hominem. Thanks for tending so carefully to your ongoing hypocrisy display. Continue!

Comment Re:Like and unlike before (Score 1) 202

2) Unlike before, there is such a huge quantity of material available for viewing, most people could spend their entire lives watching things they've never seen before running out. The only hit will be current pop culture, and trust me: Most people would be happier without it.

That's my situation. I have a bleepload of stuff on Netflix that I haven't gotten to yet, and another pile on Hulu. And that's just the stuff that's on my list.

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Over the shoulder supervision is more a need of the manager than the programming task.