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Comment Re:What did the child specifically say. (Score 1) 254

While I don't have an Echo device, so I cannot try it myself, this sounds like it could be abused by a malicious prankster who researches the correct sequence of commands first.

The next step would be sending something like "Alexa, order me some anal porn" over the speakers in some larger venue. After that, Amazon would certainly backpedal ;-)

Comment Re:from 9.6% to 6.1% in 8 months? (Score 1) 228

The statistics from Net Applications (or at least some of them) are available at netmarketshare.com. IMHO you need to take them with a grain of salt. Sometimes these statistics have fluctuations that are not really plausible. For instance, a few months after it fell out of extended support, XP had a strange peak where it increased in popularity by a few percent. Reportedly. I'm skeptical.

Comment Re:Zen pci-e lanes will crush intel and no DMI lin (Score 1) 139

Rumors (because that's what they are at this point) talk about 32 PCIe lanes for desktop Zen.
That is good but not exceptional, the better Intel E-series CPUs have 40.

But Zen will probably beat the E-series in price while coming (very) close in performance, much better than the situation with Bulldozer. That should be enough to shake up the market, please the AMD fans and maybe force Intel to rethink its very high prices.

In short, I don't expect Zen to be a wonder CPU, but I expect it to bring real competition back.

Comment Re:Easy fix.. (Score 1) 102

I agree about Microsoft's business practices, but that is not their only problem.

In the posts here and in the articles by Shamus Young (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=34549) Kunedog linked to, the software quality of Windows Store in combination with Windows 10 is described as pretty abysmal. At the same time, Steam works pretty well these days.

So I expect the Windows Store to become a fiasco of Zune proportions ;-)

Comment Re:This is welfare, nothing more (literally) (Score 1) 426

UBI will be nothing more than the current welfare program expanded. And if you think for a second any government will financially approve any more than BASIC bread-and-cheese income, you're delusional.

Yes, it will be a sort of welfare program. But the Finnish are planning a model experiment with UBI anyway, with the UBI being slightly higer than the current welfare rates. There is your government that at least considers the possibility.

And I think the Finnish approach makes sense. There is a growing part of society that won't get a job again, due to automation increasingly killing low-income jobs. Now in most of Europe this means a lot of bureaucracy for making sure that only really poor people get welfare. The finnish government expects more savings on the bureaucracy then the increase in UBI over the old welfare rates will cost.

Comment Re:mountains of diamonds (Score 5, Informative) 365

I'm just curious, would diamond wafers offer any serious advantages over current silicon? Heat conduction, maybe?

Long version: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369702107703498

Short version:
Diamond promises to be superior in most properties that are important for electronic components.

Comment Re: because the market hasn't balanced yet (Score 1) 587

Probably all correct, but there is also the difference that someone at the seat of the company can do some things better than someone telecommuting. Such as attending meetings where some things happen on paper, checking out hardware problems in jobs that include such tasks...

H1Bs may erode that difference though because they are also local.

Comment Re:I don't think they are "new installs" (Score 1) 333

As far as I know NetMarketShare is just counting installations based on what peoples user agent strings are reporting during normal web surfing. I don't know of any way to determine an OS date of install from a user agent string.

This.

All you can tell from the numbers is what OS people actually use, and that may be distorted by some people changing their user agent strings.
Not many people probably, but (without proof) I suspect that it will be some users with exotic OSes or browsers, who want to pretend having a mainstream system.

Because sometimes, stupid websites decline to serve browsers their developers are not familiar with.

Comment Re:New world, new business model. Out with the old (Score 1) 275

My point is that the previously steady increase of Windows 10 marketshare (which every previous MS operating system had as well) seems to have stopped in recent months. While its predecessors' marketshare appears stable. Something is not going as planned for Microsoft.

BTW, Windows XP is still declining, albeit slowly. Netmarketshare shows it slightly below 8.1 now.

Comment Re:New world, new business model. Out with the old (Score 2) 275

Unless the customers actively hate it.
In the data by netmarketshare.com, the market share for Windows 10 on the desktop has not increased since August. That is untypical, usually a new Microsoft OS would rise in percentage until a successor is released.

At the same time, the market share for Windows 8.1 is pretty stable since June. Similar for Windows 7, it seems people REALLY dislike the idea of switching to Win10.

Now the question is, where will those people go when Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 go out of support?
My guess is that many of them will keep their systems despite no more security updates, which may have interesting results at some point ;-)

Comment Re:they should be teching real skills not outsourc (Score 1) 618

Sorry pal, but now you're moving the goalpost. You declared that capitalism is selling at the highest cost the market will bear. These politicians are being capitalists by selling their product, legislation to the highest bidder. Their supposed to sell it to the voters (who appointed them at the ballot box and pay their salaries with taxes) but the voters offer less than the market will bear.

That's capitalism - like it or not.

That's poor oversight by the voters. Because most of them are re-electing the douchebags who made promises to the voters before the elections and then sold out to corporate interests. I'd expect a lot more people voting for third parties, concerns about "lost votes" be damned.

Comment Re:"Crazy Loon Industries" Was Taken? (Score 1) 30

Also, performance-wise McAfee antivirus has earned a reputation for slowing down systems a lot. I remember a previous job, where running McAfee antivirus was mandated by management. Some tasks were impossible to achieve in reasonably time, such as major searches in the file system, unless you temporarily deactivated the antivirus software.

I don't think it is a good idea for TPG to move to the name McAfee for its products. Or for Intel to hold significant shares in such a venture.

Comment Re:Different from the Social Security benefits? (Score 1) 630

The government-granted monopoly (especially on drugs) stems from two things:

1) Patents. A twenty year monopoly in exchange for publication of the invention. Frequently used to secure a monopoly on new drugs.
One can argue that they don't really serve their purpose (Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine have written a book about it, http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/againstnew.htm).
If one agrees with Boldrin and Levine, the solution is abolishing patents. Otherwise, they are a fair deal between society and the inventor, and the public should just live with the twenty year monopoly.

2) Testing requirements. Even when a patent has run out, a new company that wants to produce the drug still needs to show the safety of its products. I have some experience in a related field (medical equipment) and the approval process costs time and money. That is one reason why there is not always a competitor that undercuts an overpriced manufacturer. This could be changed by abolishing the FDA, but at the expense of (literally) bringing back the snake oil peddlers.

In short, it is not only crony capitalism. There were some good intentions involved.
Personally I see crony capitalism in ever longer copyright terms, especially the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act
That one is far more difficult to justify than 20 year patent terms and drug testing requirements

Comment Re: This will drive pay down (Score 2) 163

It tends to balance out if there is meaningful competition. At least for those goods where there is no bottleneck for production and competition can drive down prices.
For instance, my own salary has seen only minor increases over the last ten years, but there are also a lot of cheap offers for technology stuff. Food and housing have seen more price hikes, but I can still live with those.

And if it wasn't for politics supporting capital over labour, things would look even better for the "working class". A lot of the transfer of wealth from labour to capital was actually caused by shifts in legislation that favored the capital side.

So while I don't trust the left-wing parties in my country too much, I'm increasingly inclined to support them in the next elections. Because I see plenty of evidence that it is needed to stop capital from grabbing an ever larger part of the pie.

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