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Comment CDC Cyber 6000 from roughly 1966 (Score 1) 620

CDC Cyber 6000 mainframes from roughly 1966 are still defending or at least warning the USA of missile attack.

AN/UYK-43 32-bit computers in United States Navy surface ships and submarine platforms starting from 1984 are still in widespread use.

AN/AYK-14 is a microprogrammed 16-bit airborne computer that was designed in 1976 by the Control Data Aerospace Division in Bloomington, Minnesota, and it is still in widespread use.

Comment Class Action? Similar story... (Score 4, Informative) 165

IANAL, but ...
Many years ago, I worked in the USA for a Canadian Corp. The Corp. routinely bounced payroll checks, delayed sending payroll checks, or wrote payroll checks for less than the amount owed. Every time theses things happened, the Corp. claimed it was difficulties with exchange rates and transfers to the USA bank from which pay checks were drawn for USA employees.

I happened to work right across the street from a US Federal Building, so one day, several co-workers and myself walked over to inquire about any remedies that might be possible. We provided documentation to the helpful FBI agent who said bouncing payroll checks could fall under FBI jurisdiction. I also happened to mention the situation to my congressman who I knew socially as a long time family friend. A few weeks later, a Treasury Department person called and told us that nothing could be done to induce better behavior by a Canadian Corp. with respect to USA "employees", and furthermore, we weren't employees. We were considered independent contractors from the point of view of the Canadian Corp. Apparently, a shell USA Corp. employed us as regular employees with benefits and then contracted with the parent Corp. for our time. We received W-2 instead of 1099, but we were effectively 1099 contractors. The Treasury representative seemed to be telling us that we were not protected by USA labor laws or banking laws.

Treasury representative's statements didn't seem right, and we asked many questions to clarify our understanding. Several of us asked a local lawyer about the situation, and the answer we got was that any court action would have to start in Canada, and any settlement would be consumed by attorney fees. In other words, it wasn't worth it.

After a while of continued mistreatment, all of the USA employees except a few salesmen who worked on commission moved on to greener pastures. Such is life.

Comment Re:Why Force Your Children to Live in the Past? (Score 1) 734

While I am sympathetic to your point of view, I still disagree.

Europe is not magical. There is a significant homelessness problem in France, for example. The French unemployment rate has been higher than the USA unemployment rate for every single year since 1948. (Yes, there are differences in the way unemployment is calculated, but France has had higher unemployment even when statistics are correlated).

Taking your assertions one by one:
Since 2008, The USA has offered 53 weeks of full unemployment benefits when a person looses a job. That is actually quite generous even by European standards.

USA healthcare is not the "worst healthcare system in the world" by any measure. In 2000, the USA was rated 38th. Belgium was rated 21. The USA has presumably improved since 2000 with more people covered by insurance etc.

USA crime rates are at historic lows.

"very little maternity leave, no paternity leave, a recent push for no sick time or vacation time (they lump it all together) and we also have the shortest amount of vacation time compared to all the modern countries. our corporations work the workers to death and then dispose of them, IF you can even GET a job in the US (h1b, yes! born here, sorry.)" ... The USA is composed of 50 states. Not all labor laws are at the federal level. Absence of laws does not mean absence of benefits. For example, I have 6 weeks of paid paternity leave, 5 weeks of paid vacation, and numerous other employment benefits that are not enshrined in law.

Comment NOT like Microsoft's Visual Studio GUI layout and (Score 2) 69

Interface Builder has not changed in any fundamental ways since it debuted in 1988 with NeXTstep.
Unlike crappy Microsoft tools for the 90's, it is NOT a screen drawing tool. It is an object instantiation and configuration tool. You set the properties and relationships between live objects graphically. The objects are then archived (serialized) and later unarchived (deserialized) into your running iOS app.

Watch this from 1992
Steve Jobs demonstrates Interface Builder starting 23 minutes into the video. Also note that Windows 3.1 shipped in 1992.

Just for fun, here is NeXTstep from 1988

Comment Re:The web and hyper text are a challenge (Score 2) 211

As a university instructor, I disagree. Many subjects are presentable in sensible sequence with knowledge neatly building on prior knowledge. The entire curriculum is created with prerequisite and co-requisite courses. Attempting a 400 level class without having mastered the 100 level course content is a recipe for pointless struggle.

Wikipedia is a great resource. It's articles are self contained and generally rely only on general knowledge. Wikipedia is not a good source for delving deep into subjects.

Having said that, I use wikipedia extensively. There is almost an entire Computer Science undergraduate curriculum in there. t still requires a guide. There are still sensible paths through the information. Here is a great example: In the context of a Data Structures course, that is a great page. What benefit would that page provide to somebody who has never programmed and doesn't know what a data structure is? You can follow links to and then and then you are directed to dead-tree textbooks that explain the topics in a sensible sequence.

Comment Stack Overflow (Score 4, Informative) 211

In my opinion, Stack Overflow is most often the blind leading the blind. There will be 20 wrong answers, 10 answers to the wrong question, 2 suboptimal solutions, and if you are in luck there will be 1 good solution. Now, tell me which is which. It seems to me that the good answer is almost always buried under crap.

Stack overflow questions are often badly stated and difficult to find with more correct search terms. If you don't even know the search terms, the site is useless.

There have been a few times when stack overflow saved me a lot of time. There have been many times when stack overflow has been a pointless time sink.

Comment The web and hyper text are a challenge (Score 5, Insightful) 211

As an author of three successful dead-tree programming books, I have a few observations.

1) I use the electronic versions myself because of easy search (better than an index) and copy/paste.
2) In book format, it's possible to lead a reader through topics in a sensible order that builds on prior topics.
3) The challenge with electronic/on-line documentation is that there is no expectation that readers will approach the material in any particular order. Readers type a search term into google and up pops a page or two of documentation. How can the author make safe assumptions about the definitions of terms and prior conceptual knowledge the reader will have? Adding links to the definitions of terms and links to chapter oriented conceptual documentation doesn't usually help because readers are impatient, and there is no good place in the middle of the documentation to start.
4) Many readers don't know the terms to type into google and therefore aren't lead to the relevant conceptual documentation even if they would have read it had they known.

Comment Re:Proportional representation (Score 1) 500

Each USA citizen votes for one representative in the House of Representatives and two Senators. Each representative represents slightly less than 1,000,000 people. Given voting rates, a US Representative can get elected with as few as 200,000 supporters.

Residents in Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Delaware, and Montana can elect senators with as few as 200,000 supporters.

Small interest groups in large states like California and New York are unlikely to get any representation unless they happen to be concentrated within one or two congressional districts. Of course, that's the case in places like New York City and San Francisco where individual neighborhoods are almost sufficient to elect their own representatives to congress. Barney Frank of Massachusetts's 4th congressional district is a stirling example of a congressman with a vary narrow and special interest constituency. See also Charles Rangel who represents the Harlem portions of Manhattan.

In a proportional representation system, would Harlem have any representation? Would anyone in North Dakota be represented?

Comment Re:Proportional representation (Score 0) 500

5% in the USA is between 15,000,000 and 20,000,000 people! You want to exclude people who can find 15,000,000 people who support their platform? Under your standard, the following 45 European states would have zero representation in a theoretical European political union: (FYI, The USA contains more that 20 CITIES with greater population than the nation, Norway)

Population density, area and population of countries and dependencies in Europe (2002-07-01 est.)
Country Population
  Vatican City 900
  Gibraltar (UK) 27,714
  San Marino 27,730
  Monaco 31,987
  Liechtenstein 32,842
  Faroe Islands (Denmark) 46,011
  Guernsey (UK) 64,587
  Andorra 68,403
  Isle of Man (UK) 73,873
  Jersey (UK) 89,775
  Iceland 312,384
  Malta 397,499
  Luxembourg 512,000
  Montenegro 626,000
  Cyprus 803,147
  Estonia 1,294,236
  Slovenia 2,048,847
  Macedonia 2,054,800
  Latvia 2,366,515
  Armenia 3,262,200
  Albania 3,544,841
  Lithuania 3,601,138
  Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,964,388
  Ireland 4,234,925
  Moldova 4,434,547
  Croatia 4,490,751
  Norway 4,942,700
  Georgia 4,960,951
  Finland 5,302,545
  Denmark 5,368,854
  Slovakia 5,422,366
  Switzerland 7,301,994
  Serbia 7,498,001
  Bulgaria 7,621,337
  Austria 8,169,929
  Sweden 9,076,744
  Azerbaijan 9,493,600
  Hungary 10,075,034
  Belarus 10,335,382
  Portugal 10,617,192
  Czech Republic 10,674,947
  Belgium 11,007,020
  Greece 11,606,813


Submission + - The Apple Tax Hypocrisy (

EMB Numbers writes: Apple's victorious $1B patent verdict against Samsung has the potential to raise prices of competing phones when makers must pay a royalty (tax) to Apple. Yet, Apple pays the Nokia tax: Apple paid Nokia more than $600M plus an estimated $11.50 per iPhone sold. Nokia has made more money from these IP arrangements than from selling its own Lumia smartphones.

Last year, about half of all Android handset makers paid a Microsoft Tax bill of $27 per phone. Samsung pays Microsoft “between $10 and $15 – for each Android smartphone or tablet computer it sells.”

  Jean-Louis Gassée identifies hypocrisy in the media and nerd outrage :

Comment Cody claims teacher performance doesn't correlate (Score 3, Interesting) 216

Cody claims teacher performance doesn't correlate with student achievement. I believe him. I don't agree with his assertions that schools are underfunded and couldn't educate poor students even with more funding.

There is even less correlation between cost per student and student performance than between teacher and student performance.

It is common for urban poor school districts to cost much more per student than the surrounding suburbs. Look at Kansas City or Washington DC for stark examples.

Seriously, spending more than $10,000 per year per student is a travesty. A class with 30 students should not cost $300,000 and the money is not going to the teacher!

I agree, end the war on drugs and greatly reduce parent incarceration rates.
I agree, find employment for everybody that raises them above poverty.
I agree, support family planning, pre-natal care, nutrition, and free pre-school or head start.

But, it isn't poverty exactly or school financial resources that predict student performance. It's culture. There is an urban poor culture that doesn't exist among poor rural students, and the outcomes differ. How can we change the culture that devalues education? How can we change the violence and street power culture? How can we convince people not to have children that are later neglected and abused?

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