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Comment Re:over-simplification of economy (Score 1) 506

Economies are just a collection of processes that convert raw materials and labour into useful goods and services

You can prove anything if you start with a bad enough premise.

I know, right. Like this:

"[P]oorest members would receive a basic income that gradually increases as the economy becomes more efficient, plateauing at a level where they can afford everything they want to consume,"

I mean, seriously, even a cursory reading of the worst written history book in the world will expose this simple undeniable principle: there is no limit to human greed.

In this new Utopian economy, the de facto currency would become power and control over other people. Sort of like now, but worse.

Comment When it reduces the cognitive burden (Score 5, Insightful) 239

When Do You Include 'Unnecessary' Code?

Here is how I make the determination: if it reduces my cognitive burden now, later when I return to the same code, or other programmers who will have to maintain it, then I include it

These days, a programmers time is nearly always far and away the most expensive commodity employed in any project. Why should I spend time asking myself about minutiae rather than focusing on architecture and algorithms?

Comment Lots of industries/careers are unbalanaced (Score 4, Interesting) 51

I can respect what this professor is saying. However, there are plenty of industries/careers/endeavors that have it far worse.

Take safety, for example. You can have thousands of successes, but then everything goes in smoke after an failure or two. The recent happenings with Dole and Blue Bell ice cream are good examples. Same for law enforcement. You can have a department that employs hundreds or thousands of officers who daily have positive interactions with the community and uphold the law. Then one or two officers do something stupid or malicious and all of it is called into question. There are so many ongoing examples of this that I don't think I even need to bring any up (being that nearly all are very racially charged and that isn't the point here). Military/Intelligence is the same thing as well. Foil 1000 terrorist plots and the public will never know. Let one slip through and all of a sudden ... well you get the idea.

What the professor is describing is the human tendency to focus on the parts of things that we like. Ironically, the attention generated by his "failure CV" is a result of the fact that many of us understand the failing he is describing and can identify with it because we do the same thing and perhaps somewhat wish the world was a little different, more balanced.

Comment Re:Software at taxpayer expense? (Score 3, Insightful) 54

On top of what you say, there are lots of places in the government that focus on tech transfer. The very essence of it is that the government and one or more private entities jointly share in the development cost and risk. The government then usually gets some perpetual royalty-free right to the product of the endeavor, while the commercial interest gets the right to further develop the technology and market/sell to the commercial public. There is almost always a requirement that those two don't interfere with each other. The biggest concern is usually on the part of the commercial interests which worry that the government will give away the technology at some later time, thereby destroying their market. So, there is usually a prohibition on just that sort of thing when a tech transfer takes place.

To make the "all software developed at tax payer expense open source" thing come true, the government would have to completely re-think the idea of how tech transfer works. Don't get me wrong. I am in favor making as much government-funded software as possible open source. I'm just saying it is more complex than that.

Comment The culture is not anti-establishment (Score 1) 417

The employees' concerns also provide insight into a company culture that despite the trappings of Silicon Valley wealth still views the world through the decades-old, anti-establishment prism of its co-founders Steven P. Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

The culture is not anti-establishment. Some of the employees might have a general anti-establishment leaning, but Apple is the establishment. Just have a look at their market cap. Also, if the culture of Apple is anti-establishment, then why were they so vigorous in going after white box vendors trying to sell generic systems running OS X? The way in which Apple handled that particular situation, as an example, was very establishment like and worthy of Microsoft, IBM, and even the auto manufacturers and dealers trying to stop Tesla's direct-to-consumer approach.

Comment Re:Suzie can vote. Suzie can get a pitchfork. (Score 1) 954

I'm always amazed that the rich think they can hide in their gated communities and enjoy the fruits of other people's labor.

I'm always amazed that people don't get this simple truth:People tend to avoid whatever the government makes more expensive and gravitate toward whatever the government makes cheaper

This can be accomplished by active tax policy (e.g., raising taxes on luxury items or "sin taxes," enacting tax credits like for having children or performing energy saving upgrades to your primary residence), or by passive tax policy (e.g., allowing nearby jurisdictions to be more competitive from a taxation stand point).

For example, this is precisely why people constantly travel from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and even further away to buy stuff in Delaware. NJ, PA, & MD all have relatively high sales taxes, while DE has none. This is also why lots of big US companies (Microsoft is the only one that springs to mind recently, but there are others) funnel lots of their revenue and profits through affiliates in Ireland (which has a much lower corporate tax rate than most other industrialized nations). This isn't rocket science, it is simply understanding fundamental human behavior.

The biggest flaw in your assumption, however, is that we can keep widening the social safety net indefinitely. Eventually, people will need to become responsible for themselves again and own their own fate.

Comment Re:Impossible to even interview whites?!? - I'm ou (Score 1) 274

Secondly, I'm white. I don't want to support a company that will discriminate against me or my kids.

Well, I'm Hispanic (even share their diversity VP's last name) and this is alarming to me as well. I'm not keen on supporting a company that discriminates (even if it would happen to be in my favor) and I definitely don't want to deal with a company that makes things worse for me. Let me explain. I've worked for every single thing I have, every single award and honor I've received, and so on. I resent people who perpetuate an environment that causes people to ask, "Is this person here because he's the best, or because we went on a diversity kick this quarter?" I've worked too hard to have people wonder that when they look at me.

Comment Re:You should be anyways (Score 1) 303

I agree. In fact, when I read the summary I was dumbfounded by the idea that someone would grab code off the Internet without adding a comment along with it explaining what it does and its origin. What happens when you look at the code again in 6 weeks, 6 months or another developer comes along after you and has to maintain/modify it?

I find this also very helpful in the case where the borrowed approach is not otherwise consistent with the style and architecture of the project.

Comment Re:Just because you can... (Score 1) 173

This is just another example of the nanny state. If I want a phone with remote kill switch or wipe capability, I will buy one that has it, or one on which I can install an app that has the capability. They do exist. Making this capability mandatory is only going to increase the cost of phones.

There are instances where such an increase in cost to the consumer is arguably warranted (e.g., seatbelts, airbags, etc.). But there is no public safety or public health argument here. It is strictly a matter of convenience.

Comment Not sure about most frequent ... (Score 1) 413

I am not sure about most frequent, but I went from Windows to Linux over 10 years ago and haven't looked back since. I still encounter Windows periodically in my work, but I try to keep my distance. All the systems I administer for myself run Linux. I wouldn't want to be making any OS migration a "frequent" activity.

Comment The minority party gets blamed for stalling? (Score 5, Insightful) 104

Republicans have stalled the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 with a Senate vote of 51-47 against the legislation

So, I am not an expert on politics, but in the current congress, there 51 democratic senators, 47 republican senators, and 2 independents (both of whom caucus with the democrats). By my count, if every single senate republican voted against this, that still only comes to 47 votes. That means that the other 4 would have had to break ranks with the democratic party. So, just who is at fault here?

Just saying.

Comment Re:Tax Breaks (Score 2) 35

the only thing tax breaks do is line the pockets of big corporations. There is no "trickle down" effect any more.

Umm, a very large number of people in the US with any sort of retirement savings have them in stocks of some form or another (either through direct ownership or through mutual funds). So, when a public company becomes more profitable, the price of its stock increases, which in turn helps out many people. But then, I guess I was always a "glass half full" sort of person.

Comment Re:What do you expect? (Score 1) 298

Now everything is going "cloud", I can see a gap in the market for "family cloud" appliances - plonk them on your home network, trust a few similar units on the networks of family members, and get the benefits of redundant backups, mail service, etc, exchanging the cost of your privacy for a few hundred dollars.

That is exactly what Eben Moglen discussed during his presentation at DebConf10. Info on the presentation (including links to video) is available. Also check out Joey Hess' commentary on the presentation. His objective price point is less than one hundred dollars, IIRC.

Comment Re:Can this be legally challenged? (Score 2, Interesting) 895

Sorry, but prayer led by state paid employees in a state-funded institution i.e. public school is obviously establishment of a state religion.

Let's try a little word substitution:

Sorry, but prayer led by state paid chaplain in a state-funded institution i.e. state penitentiary is obviously establishment of a state religion.

Or how about this one:

Sorry, but prayer led by military chaplain in a military-funded institution i.e. chapel is obviously establishment of a state religion.

What about if the "employee" is not paid? What about when congress opens its session with a prayer? (That is done at the opening of every congress, IIRC.) What about when a school sponsored club meets on the school grounds, but wants to start with a student-led prayer? (There are instances that can be cited where such things have been prohibited.) What about the case of the Boy Scout council in Philadelphia that was essentially evicted from the property the city was leasing them for $1/year? (The argument there was that the city's favorable lease to the Boy Scouts constituted an establishment of religion, because of the Boy Scouts' policy against atheists.) Is each one of those a state establishment of religion?

I'm not buying it. I'm not saying that I have the answer, but it sure is not as clear-cut as you make it out to be.

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