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Comment Re: How can they patent it? (Score 1) 68

You might tell that to India. Parts of traditional medicine involving plants that grow locally have been patented by US companies. India objected and was ignored.

Note that in this case neither the use nor the product were either discovered or invented by the US patent holder. Check Tree-tea oil, for one example. (Unless it's Tea-tree oil.)

Comment Re:Good Idea (Score 1) 43

Having to print out the html pages is unreasonable. Having to print a pdf would not be unreasonable.

Possibly after I'd installed Gentoo once or twice I'd feel confident enough that I wouldn't think I needed the instructions in front of me as I did it, but just now I would want the full instructions. Which is why I said "a second computer on your desk".

P.S.: Why you format your disk, and have a boot disk, it's difficult to tell what info you are going to need to proceed in a way you haven't previously gone. You don't *KNOW* what info you are going to need. Before I get in that situation I like to have a visible plan of action. Thus a printed pdf would be reasonable. I don't have a phone or tablet that would act as a surrogate internet browser. So I want a printed copy of instructions before I get into something really new.

Comment Re:Good Idea (Score 1) 43

If systemd causes problems, use a non-systemd distribution. Devuan was on the front page yesterday, but Gentoo is optionally systemd free (well, so is Debian for now), and Slackware is free of systemd. There are other choices. (I don't consider Gentoo acceptable unless you have multiple computers on your desk, as the install instructions are on multiple html pages, and needing to print those out is unreasonable.)

As for Firefox, I haven't experienced the problems you are reporting. I'm using the Debian default install with Adblock Plus, and just about no installed add-ons. I commonly leave several windows with multiple tabs open for days. But I do generally forbid the use of Javascript. Usually if I allow it, it's only a temporary permission, which I soon cancel. So I'm guessing that you have a flaky add-on installed, for which it's not proper to blame Mozilla.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 2) 400

Functional languages are a bit more difficult to think about, but that may be a combination of my inexperience and the implementations I've seen. OTOH, some problems do not deal with with lack of state. I'd really like to use Erlang, e.g., but I need mutable state. You can do it in Erlang, but you've got to fight the system to do it.

Note: I don't need externally visible mutable state. That's clearly dangerous in a concurrent system. I need internally mutable state. In Erlang that means either storing things in a hash table, a database, or a block of uninterpreted bytes. All ways that are clumsy to handle (and, I presume, slow). That Erlang allows this indicates that it is seen as something that is concurrently safe. But the difficulty in doing this shows that the designers of Erlang didn't see this as anything important for their use cases.

Now it's a good question whether or not you consider immutability a part of the definition of functional programming. Lisp allows mutable state, so does Scheme. So does Erlang. But they all discourage it and make it difficult to use. It's my contention that the definition should restrict itself to shared mutable state, but I'm not sure that this is the consensus.

Comment Re:Systemd! (Score 3, Interesting) 351

Actually, Linux does reflect the personality of Linus. It's a precisionist and a correction freak. And the error messages can be a bit abusive. Fortunately, few people directly interact with the kernel, and for the kernel those are benefits. Even the error messages, because they are short, pithy, and relatively predictable.

The problem is when you say "asshole" you are painting with a broad brush that includes many different characteristics, some of which would be damaging and others of which are beneficial. Linux happens to be generally beneficial in his position. I wouldn't want him writing user interfaces. And I'd be dubious about him writing end-user documentation.

Comment Re: Oh, shit. (Score 1) 230

Well, that's the allegation, and it's a pretty believable allegation. There are apps that do all sorts of shady things, all the way up to placing calls to pay-me numbers that the user never authorized...and probably beyond, though I haven't heard of any. And companies usually have someone who will do something shady to increase some stat. Often even something criminal that doesn't even really benefit either them or the company.

But the question is, "How is Bose dealing with this case?". If they just deny it I'm going to want proof, which this case may yield. Or my not. Because of the trial, I really doubt that they'll acknowledge that they did something they shouldn't have.

FWIW, I've put Bose on my "tentative boycott" list. If I hear something convincing I'll take them off. If they brush it under the rug, eventually I'm move them to the "solid Boycott" list, with an "I forget why" reason.
Additionally this has refreshed in my memory a post someone wrote (who? when?) that claimed that Bose audio equipment was no longer top quality. I've never been sure how accurate it was, but now it's going to come to mind whenever I hear their name.

OTOH, this has reconfirmed my desire to avoid apps. Especially those where the source code is not available. (If it is available, I'll want to build it myself from the source code, because who knows that the downloaded version is the same as the one the source code that it purports to be an instance of.)

Comment Re:Your headphones are spying on you. (Score 1) 230

If your interpretation is correct, then the number of actual Christians can be counted on the fingers of one hand. You'll probably have three or four spare fingers.

As I figure things, the actual meaning of a religion is revealed in the sum of the acts of the "adherents". And by "adherent" I mean anyone who claims it as their religion OR who uses it as a justification for their actions. The "holy scripture" is only one element, and one without any actual weight except insofar as it affects the actions of the adherents. And the meaning is a weighted average that moves through time, thus current Christianity is weighted down by the acts of the Inquisition and the Crusaders, but the distance in time has weakened the weight that should be given to their actions. So start greasing up your multidimensional factor analysis toolkit.

A problem here is that destructive acts have a much heavier weight than constructive acts. This is necessary because, for example, it's much easier to destroy, say, a statue, than it is to make it in the first place. If you prefer substitute "life" for "statue". Equals may be substituted for equals in any operation. So you could also substitute "civilization".

Comment Re:Your headphones are spying on you. (Score 1) 230

To be fair, the Bible doesn't actually say why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Not in any testable way. It says that the people living in them were evil, without defining what the evil was. Maybe they liked oysters? There is a "traditional" English interpretation, and perhaps it's more widespread, that it involved homosexuality, at least in the case of Sodom, but I've seen no evidence that this is scriptural. ("Everybody knows what sodomy is, but nobody know what gomorrary is". Can't remember who I'm quoting.)

Comment Re: Revolution (Score 1) 127

Who do you count in the "median income"?
Is it adult humans?
Is it adult males humans?
Is it those holding a job within the last 6 months?
Is it those currently holding a job?

The sample population makes a big difference. What's the source of your figures and who did they count? And was it the same both times?

Comment Re:Revolution (Score 2) 127

Sorry, but almost all wealth is a social construct and only exists within the context of that society. When things break down, what is "wealth" changes. A good question is "How far did they break down?", because until you've answered that you don't know even whether owning a rifle is more important than knowing how to find water. Or whether a stash of gold has any value. Gold has value when the population is stable or increasing...but if things really break down that's a few decades away.

Now your stock certificates and gold bonds are only valuable after a truly minor breakdown. Ditto for your title to property. Etc.

The best hope is that we find a path through that avoid a breakdown, but current government policies make that seem a bit dubious. We may end up envying the Somali.

Comment Re:Revolution (Score 1) 127

I think you have a very narrow view of the situation.

This is more similar to the period where the Roman Republic collapsed. (Granted, that wasn't due to automation, but there were lots of other similarities. And this may be more similar to the period a decade or so before the final collapse.)

The problem is that the new jobs that you are proposing don't exist...or are already filled. Even the time of the Enclosure Acts (in Britain) had more paths upwards than currently exist for those who are both poor and poorly educated. Those who are well educated are currently frequently burdened with a tremendous debt that would take decades of full employment to pay off, and which can't be discharged by bankruptcy. And the jobs often don't exist, or aren't available. (H1Bs are a part of the reason, but increasing automation is another, and another is the redesign and deskilling of jobs that existed while the training was in progress.)

This is an on-going process, by the way. It was certainly happening 50 years ago, but then it was happening a lot more slowly. It's been speeding up ever since then (by fits and starts) and is a part of the reason I subscribe to a weak form of the "technological singularity".

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