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Comment Re:You just now started worrying? (Score 1) 196

If you think that the Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility I suggest you go back and look at the changes in Federal deficits by fiscal year when they are in charge. Note that if a president takes office in FY X, FY X+1 is the first budget he submits and FY X+2 is the first budget that fully reflects his priorities.

Comment Re:Begging popups (Score 1) 75

every time I start up a browser that isn't Edge, it pop ups a little warning saying how Edge is a better and safer browser.

Clippy lives!: "It looks like you are trying to use an inferior non-sanctioned browser..."

Have Vivaldi display a counter popup that says Microsoft is a lying greedy bastard. Make it only periodic and fade by itself so it's not a lasting annoyance.

Comment Re:Distances (Score 1) 90

Japan's maglev system is proven technology, already at the low end of the Hyperloop speed range and projected to reach over 900km/h in time. Hyperloop is expected to hit around 1200km/h, so I just can't see the benefit being great enough to outweigh the disadvantages.

The reason to choose Hyperloop over Maglev isn't speed, it's projected cost. Musk thinks he can build the things for $11 million/km. That's about a quarter of what maglev would cost -- assuming that Hyperloop even works.

There isn't a lot to choose between 30 minutes LA to San Francisco and 45 minutes. Over longer haul routes the technology is supposed to eventually go much, much faster than maglev, but the key in the near future will be to beat maglev on cost over medium distances. And to actually work.

As for comfort, Hyperloop proposes to turn intercity travel into something more like a cross city subway ride. In fact (assuming it works) you'll be able to get from New York to Washington DC in less time than it takes to cross Brooklyn on the MTA.

Comment Re:Contrast this with the incoming administration (Score 1) 224

Solar is getting no where near to the price of coal. We're still paying 0.528kWh for solar here in Ontario, the price we were paying for coal when the last plant shut down was 0.043kWh.

Of course when you're shutting down coal power plants the price of coal is going to drop. Canadian coal demand dropped by 45% in the ten years prior to Thunder Bay shutting down, you have to look at those prices in the context of a collapsing domestic market. Coal prices would have been much higher with stable or growing domestic demand.

Latitude and climate also affect the cost of solar, and last time I checked most of the population of the US (which is the country we're talking about here) is south of Ontario. Solar is much, much cheaper in Florida for example. But even where I live in Massachusetts (same latitude as SW Ontario) you can get rooftop solar panels for US $2.50 / watt (6.25 Canadian) if you pay for them yourself and your house is favorably situated. That means to beat the Can $0.043/kwh benchmark, solar panels here in Boston have to run for about ten years. Solar panels have an expected service life of thirty years.

Of course when you get into realistic economics things get complicated. But a lot of my engineer friends have chosen to pull the trigger on rooftop solar, and they aren't afraid of doing ROI calculations. It's not for everyone yet, nor is it a solution for everything. But it's economical for some people in just about every part of the continental US, and that's a significant development.

Comment There's a good reason why Trump is right (Score 1) 224

The cheaper energy is, the faster R&D goes. Movement to renewable energy is going to occur regardless, but a thriving economy based on cheaper energy now means we get to a great alternative energy future even sooner.

The previous administration was just helping subsidize solar for rich people. That's nice and all but I want electric cars for everyone, not just the 1% or wannabes.

Comment Re:Dynamic Relational [Re: That's not how it works (Score 1) 225

Yes, it can use joins. It can do just about anything one can do with typical SQL and even use SQL (with some minor adjustments in the way comparisons are done).

It's not a new query language, I would note, but more of a new data model for tables (or table-like things). While I'd prefer other query languages, SQL is good enough, as explained in a sister message per learning curves.

I'll assume your dev/null comment is intended as a joke, and file my reply under dev/null.

Comment Re:Dynamic Relational [Re: That's not how it works (Score 1) 225

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) 379

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 4, Interesting) 224

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) 161

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:What is up with airlines IT structure (Score 0) 115

I'm not sure about that - the 50 missing flights may not be able to re-book, but the original flights will still fly roughly on time, to the same places. Individual cabin crews know what the passenger count is to let more people on or not. There's nothing about an iT shutdown that SHOULD have to cause a complete failure of all planes to fly.

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