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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.

Comment Like VBA when it was new (Score 1) 163

The trend is not entirely new. Microsoft has been building macros into Office many years ago to enable semi-technical people to better automate their work. With some success, but also some drawbacks such as some pretty shortsighted "software design" by people who never understood the theory of what they were doing.

Today, I still see the occasional job offer that calls for someone with VBA skills, but it has not wiped out software engineering. What I do see is that there is somewhat less demand for optimization, because often a half-assed program is "good enough" when running on modern hardware. That is something I find regrettable, but I can live with it.

Comment Re: Linux. (Score 1) 405

take the window min/max/close buttons on MacOSX and Ubuntu, which for some reason they decided to put on the left instead of the right which everyone has been made familiar with over the last couple decades. ... And to what end?

That's pretty simple: the original Windows design is poor, because it's very easy to mis-click when trying to maximize and instead close your program, because some moron at MS though it'd be a great idea to stick the two tiny buttons right next to each other.

If you have a hard time figuring out how to use a window-close button on the left side, you're going to have a real problem when you're sat down at a Windows 8 or 10 computer with its "charms" and touchscreen-oriented UI.

Minor quibble, but I'm gonna bite:
The Ubuntu design is just as poor, because what the designers did was move all three buttons to the left. So you can still mis-click. Moving "minimize" and "maximize" to the left but leaving "close" on the right would have been much smarter.

BTW, you can edit the configuration in Ubuntu to change the button positions to the right. I don't think I've ever seen such an option in Windows.

One of MY pet peeves in Xubuntu are single-pixel window borders that make click-and-drag resizing very difficult. But those, too, can be edited.
There are even pre-designed console commands on the net: https://softsolder.com/2015/01/28/wider-borders-in-xfce-xubuntu/

 

Comment Gradual move to Linux planned (Score 1) 405

I already use Linux for highly sensitive stuff aka online banking. Because I don't trust Windows to handle my PINs and TANs. Firefox under Linux obviously works, or I could not do my online banking with Linux.

Next will be e-mail, here I need to look for a way to move my mailbox over (currently in SeaMonkey on Windows). Essentially, I need an alternative for the e-mail part of MozBackup that works with Linux.

I expect that Office stuff will be easy, as I'm already using Libre Office on Windows. Loading the same files into the Linux version should be no problem, right?

Games can stay on Windows for now, although I might experiment with WINE a bit more.

Comment Re:And unwanted updates... (Score 1) 275

In this case, it may be honest incompetence by Microsoft ;-)

In a thread at superuser.com (http://superuser.com/questions/890038/why-is-checking-windows-update-so-slow/935299#935299) some people describe the update process as a horribly complex dependency tree the update agent has to process. The more patches add up, the worse it gets.

One guy who goes by "Dalai" has published a guide on how to shortcut the process (http://wu.krelay.de/en/).
It requires the user to manually download a few patches from Microsoft and apply them outside of the normal patching process. Those patches contain improvements to Windows Update that make the algorithm more efficient.

The problem as I understand it is that a fresh Windows 7 installation does not have those patches yet, and the original, un-optimized update algorithm gets bogged down trying to process the update dependencies (which it must do before it can install the updates). So the solution is to install those patches manually.

Comment Re:Will the chips be secure? (Score 1) 81

Right now, there are not many alternatives, especially in the x86 world. AMD is a US company too, I would not bet on them resisting a national Security Letter.

Other countries:
The Chinese have the Longsoon, a MIPS-derived homegrown architecture. The Russians have the Elbrus processor family.

For the Elbrus, I found a story on qz.com (http://qz.com/419923/this-22-pound-made-in-russia-laptop-is-actually-pretty-useful/) about a computer with the Elbrus-4C CPU inside. Expensive ($7500), only for sale to corporations and somewhat obsolete compared to the latest western PCs.

I guess for China and Russia it will be worthwhile to use those in security-critical environments, but for others not so much.

Comment Re: Competition (Score 1) 81

I think things went seriously wrong for AMD with the Bulldozer architecture in late 2011. Before that, they were already at a disadvantage vs. Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture (released earlier in the same year), but AMD's Phenom II still sold well due to cheaper prices.

Unfortunately, Bulldozer did not bring much of a performance improvement over the Phenom II, despite improving the manufacturing to a 32nm process. In some benchmarks, it even performed worse than the Phenom II. So stagnation at AMD while Intel kept making progress (albeit slowly).

The Piledriver architecture brought only a minor improvement.

The following Steamroller and Excavator architectures look better and get passable reviews in the notebook market, but are only available as APUs with a few exceptions. The FX series for the desktop is still on Piledriver, and frankly it cannot compete with the latest Intels.

This will hopefully change when the Zen architecture is released in late 2016/early 2017.

Comment Re:Goto (Score 1) 674

I'm currently dealing with about 2M lines of crappy code written in an ide that did/does soft wrapping of lines. Looks really pretty in that particular Windows ONLY
IDE, but in anything else it looks like shit when you 1k, 2k and some times even 3k characters on a single line. No, I'm not joking.. I've got a single line embed sql query that is 3k characters long ( I don't have a problem with the query per sae, but with the fact that it was written as 1 flipping line).

Without knowing the context I'm guessing here, but isn't there a way to break the query into smaller parts? Or build it dynamically?

A 3k character SQL query would immediately make me wonder where I messed up to get there...

Comment Re:Denormalize (Score 1) 674

And the C example with strcat() is arguably only a problem because of C's sub-optimal way of handling strings.

Many Pascal dialects use a length-prefixed implementation of strings (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_(computer_science)#Length-prefixed), which eliminates the need to parse the entire string.

Sometimes the stupidity is in the tools, and can be avoided by picking the right tool. Or extending the tool. If I was a C programmer and had to work with strings a lot, I'd probably end up implementing my own version of strings with a length-prefixed implementation.

Comment Re:Mindshare (Score 1) 147

Slightly OT, but in the x86 vs. ARM tests/benchmarks I've seen so far current x86 chips don't look so bad. Apple even switched from PowerPC to x86 several years ago, because x86 was arguably superior at the time.

Granted, this may be due to Intel's manufacturing expertise rather than superior circuit design, but so far I don't see another architecture outperforming x86 by a large margin in real life benchmarks.

This may change as manufacturing technology slows down and other vendors get closer to Intel though.

Comment Re:Right after the end of the free Win10 upgrade (Score 1) 85

Don't forget that the Windows 7 life cycle was originally announced as "extended support until Jan 2020". Microsoft then tried to partially revoke that promise and said "new generations of computers won't get support until 2020, buy those with Win10".

They have now backtracked on this, but that is merely returning to their original support promises. A true extension would be Windows 7 support past 2020.

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