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Comment Re:Dynamic Relational [Re: That's not how it works (Score 1) 224

Think of it as a prototyping tool.

Let me clarify that. The proposal is to allow for a "loose" initial style, but a database instance can gradually be tightened as the requirements settle by adding various existence, type, parsing and/or lookup constraints. It probably cannot be as "tight" as a traditional RDBMS, but perhaps close enough.

It can be "loose" and "medium tight". Few other tools/ideas can straddle even that much.

(Throwing features at it could perhaps allow a really tight database, but I suspect there would be side-effects, such as excess complexity, and/or performance problems.)

Comment Re:Bubble timing (Score 1) 372

Computer technology has always been boom and bust, and therefore fairly likely to pop again.

The "Sputnik scare" created a spark in the late 50's and 60's, and then a lull in the 70's. Late 70's sparked again by microcomputers and Star Wars enthusiasm. Then the "game crash" in 1983/84 (remember ET-Cartridge-gate?) Windows/GUI's/desktop-publishing then sparked it in the early 1990's, and then the dot-com mega-spike, which burst nastily in 2000/2001. Now we are in the Mobile Boom. I expect it to either pop, or at least hit a lull.

Comment The ballad of Solyndra (Score 2) 61

Solar power is showing a nice pattern of gradual gains and is becoming quite competitive with fossil fuel. As much as conservatives complained about the bungling of Solyndra, the govt's general investment in multiple solar companies sparked the industry and made solar cheaper.

China's gov't jumped into the field also, creating a kind of solar "space race", which cranked up the rate of R&D. It's a good "fight". (China was later caught under-pricing their solar products to drive out foreign competitors, but that's another story. I took a nasty stock hit due to that.)

Thus, even though Solyndra was a lost battle, it seems Obama won the solar war. Over-focusing on the failures has made many conservatives miss the bigger picture.

Solyndra was a really cool idea: paint the roof white and use regularly spaced solar-collecting tubes. It was especially useful for low sun angles, resulting in fairly even power throughout all seasons . It just didn't pan out because flat panels eventually got fairly cheap due to flat panel R&D such that flat panel INefficiency at low sun angles mattered less.

Comment Enterprise & custom hardware [Re:Good Riddance (Score 1) 139

It's not the they sell "bureaucracy", it's that they lock you in and charge too much.

Their products are indeed targeted toward "enterprise" applications, where you want stability and reliability, which is sometimes called "bureaucracy". If you are a smallish risk-taking start-up, then Oracle products are probably not for you.

However, Oracle's problem in the enterprise arena is that they gradually trick you into paying an arm and leg over the longer run. Now that MS-SQL-Server is focusing more on the high-end, and there are open-source products like PostgreSQL and MariaDB, customers are migrating to alternatives, at least their low/mid-sized systems. Oracle will bleed customers if they continue their vice grip ways.

I thought DB-centric hardware was a potential growth industry for them: custom-built database servers that are optimized for Oracle databases potentially could kick the competition's rear ends, kind of like how custom/dedicated neural net (AI) hardware is now "big".

But for some reason it didn't pan out and they are laying off DB hardware people. Any server hardware experts out there who can explain why AI-dedicated hardware is paying off BUT NOT dedicated database hardware?

Why can neural net custom/dedicated hardware kick generic server arse while DB hardware cannot? Is it something about RDBMS's in general, or does Oracle simply suck at hardware?

Comment Re:London Too (Score 1) 501

I'm in an outer London suburb - and a fairly wealthy one at that ("leafy Tory suburbia" pretty much nails this place). Back at the start of December, a huge number of Deliveroo drivers started congregating on the market street every evening, and then drifting off to a nearby park as the night goes on. It's not quite become a permanent encampment yet, but it's well on its way. From what I've observed, very few of these guys have more than a few words of English. It doesn't really feel like a healthy situation for anybody.

There's only one local takeaway that I use and it's an old-fashioned one that still employs its own driver. For all I know, he's horribly downtrodden and oppressed, but at least he's not part of that slightly creepy pale-green army.

Comment Re:Google as last choice (Score 2) 161

What I would love is federated social networking somewhat like e-mail works on various servers transparently)

Even the federated model of e-mail has declined over time, with the vast majority of people using an e-mail address from a handful of large providers like GMail. Universities and companies are under pressure to have all the e-mail under their domain names actually served through GMail instead of running their own infrastructure. If you want to run your own server, there are a lot more hoops to jump through these days before you can federate, otherwise things you sent out just end up in spam folders. (These hoops are generally reasonable anti-spam ones, but they are nonetheless very different than a decade or two ago.) And now certain websites that monetize the hell out of their userbase are refusing registrations if the e-mail address you enter is from a domain that doesn't nudge its users into adopting a format like

Comment Re:As someone with a masters in this -exact field- (Score 1) 267

If you are a true master, you should be able to explain concepts in a way that even a child can understand

This is, in a word, horse pucky. It's the same reasoning my niece uses to justify her anti-vaxxer beliefs: the quacks and charlatans she listens to are more credible than epidemiologists and immunologists because they're easier to understand. This is the real-life equivalent of the joke about searching for the $20 bill under the street light because where you actually lost it is inconveniently dark.

If it were true that a child could understand anything, there wouldn't be a need for education. You'd just find a "true expert" to explain, say, fluid dynamics to a random bunch of people off the street and then set those randos to work designing aircraft. Or cryptographic systems.

There's an unfortunate cultural trend to devalue anything that requires mental effort and dedication to understand as elitist bullshit. This is a dangerous development, especially when combined with our national vanity: ever since the Moon landing we see technological and scientific leadership as a birthright. It's not. It's something we have to earn, and continue earning every day by dint of hard labor.

The humbling truth is that real understanding in many things requires trekking a long and arduous road. It's a near certainty that you don't actually understand General Relativity; crude analogies about balls and rubber sheets notwithstanding. General Relativity is like a mountain that looks easy to tackle from a great distance, but the fact is it takes years of toil before you can even grasp how arduous the foothills of Mount Einstein are.

Comment Re:Fairness has a role (Score 1) 269

I don't really understand your point. Is it that govts can intervene and tell you to sell at a different price?

The OP was arguing that you can charge what you like for your product regardless of whether the price is fair or not: as long as people are willing to pay it you can charge it. My point is that you do have to factor "fair" into your pricing at some level. If you completely ignore it then you will annoy enough people that governments will eventually act, especially if your profits rely on an artificial monopoly created by those governments' laws.

Comment Re:Gouge the middle class to make them poor (Score 0) 269

Of course, the nuclear family of the 1950s had:
a 1200 (not 2200) sqft house,
formica (not granite) counters, ...

But the house was owned - with a mortgage affordable on a single income and substantial equity in place.

The car was also either owned or being purchased on an auto loan (rather than leased), again with substantial equity from the down payment, and again paid for out of that single income - which was also feeding and clothing the 2.3 children and taking a nontrivial vacation once a year or so.

And I have no idea where you are getting those square footage numbers. Our family's houses (we moved a couple times once Dad got done with his degree and was buying rather than living in a student ghetto) were substantially larger than you describe, and were typical of the neighborhoods around them.

Yes, Formica: It was the big deal of the time. Granite is a recent vanity - and a REALLY STUPID idea if you actually USE the kitchen to prepare food on a regular basis. Drop a ceramic or glass utensil on a granite counter and it breaks. Drop it on Formica-over-plywood-or-hardwood and it usually bounces.

stainless steel appliances,
automatic dishwasher,
automatic dryer,
*might* have had a TV (not a 54" LCD),

Yeah we had all those boxes (though the appliances were be enamel rather than stainless). Also a console sound system - pre "Hi Fi" - AM, FM, and four-speed record changeer with diamond needle in the pickup.

The non-electronic appliances lasted for decades, too. (Even the electronics lasted a long time with occasional maintenance - which was required for vacuum tube based equipment - and was AVAILABLE.) Quite unlike the modern stuff. (My own family has been in our townhouse for about 17 years now and is on its third set of "stainless steel appliances", thanks to the rotten construction of post-outsourcing equipment by formerly high-end manufacturers. We're even on our third WATER HEATER: The brain of the new, governent mandated, eco-friendly, replacement flaked out after less than a year - and the manufacturer sent TWO MORE defective replacement brains and one defective gas sensor before lemon-replacing it.)

Comment Fairness has a role (Score 1) 269

'Fair' is where you go to sell your pig, not the means by which you set the price.

That's only partly true. If your pricing is extremely unfair and what you produce is essential to people then governments can get involved and laws get changed to cut you profits, especially if you rely on those same laws, such as copyright and patents, to create artificial monopolies. This is happening with the pharmaceutical industry.

In the past Canada has threatened the patent protections of some firms and more recently the US seems to be finally waking up to the crap that these companies are pulling. So while you may set your price at a level that you think you can get away with, perceived fairness is a factor in what you can get away with and you ignore it at your peril.

Comment Re:Gouge the middle class to make them poor (Score 4, Insightful) 269

It sounds more fair when you say charge less in poorer countries. However when you turn it around, it is gouge the people in less poor countries.

Especially given that GDP is not evenly distributed among the population. The bulk of the added revenue from technology driven productivity improvements (at least in the US) has gone to the denizens of the C suites and the government, not to the workers. GDP has soared while real-inflation adjusted after-tax income has stagnated or dropped for decades.

That's much of why a nuclear family in the '50s got along fine on a single income and a two-parent family now involves both parents working and the kids in child care, and the bulk of kids are in "non-traditional" family arrangements and/or on some form of public assistance.

So "gouge the developed world's middle class" is indeed what such a GDP-based scheme would accomplish.

Comment Where there is money there is a way (Score 1) 269

The fact that it's only sold in the App store now?

In which case you just connect to the app store for that country from wherever you are - I have accessed the Canadian store from Europe and the US without a problem in the past. If they eventually block that then you go through proxy and if they try to stop those they just end up playing whack-a-mole. Getting the money to the right store would be the hard part but if someone makes it worth their while I'm sure there will be resellers shipping iTunes gift cards to wherever the software costs significantly more.

The only way to preserve a price difference between two markets is to make the cost of getting around whatever barrier there is more expensive that the difference in price.

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