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Comment 10 GOTO 50 (Score 2) 620

30 goto 20
20 goto 40
50 goto 30

Huh. Why doesn't my program work?

In all seriousness, I started with BASIC at home and later did a bit with it in middle school. High school was Pascal based, and my university started with C. (There were many languages in between, but since the summary is focusing on schooling ...)

Comment Duo Dock? (Score 1) 76

My first thought was that this is the Duo Dock for the smart phone generation: taking a smaller portable form factor and converting it into a more traditional form factor (phone/tablet -> laptop vs. laptop -> desktop). I don't know if Apple was the first at docking stations, but they were certainly doing it a quarter century ago.

Comment Re:Makes sense to me (Score 1) 164

If you understand how the time estimate works, it is quite useful.

I frequently used the estimated time indicator to gauge how to use my Mac: "Oh, I have to push the battery life 30 minutes beyond what's left. Maybe I should decrese the screen brightness." Or: "Oh, there is only 15 minutes left on the battery. I should find an outlet pretty soon." It was never used as an absolute indicator, at least for me. It was used to alter my behaviour so that it was less likely to result in a dead battery at an inopportune moment.

Comment Re:layout == replacement? (Score 1) 191

Very few mobile apps compare favourably to their desktop counterparts. Virtually all of the apps that do compare favourably do so because they have access to hardware that typical desktop operating systems do not have access to. For example, GPS (et al) will make anything dependent upon fine location data easier to use since you don't have to enter that data manually. In other cases, the device's mobility will be a significant factor, since even the clunkier tablets are usuable when you are on the move.

Other than that, traditional desktop operating systems and applications have the benefit of decades of development. In many cases this is true of the longevity of the software itself. Yet even the youngest of software will benefit from libraries and interface conventions that have been refined for desktop environments over the decades. This is a challenging legacy to deal with, and few (if any) mobile app developers have. Rather, we have seen this "less is better" mentality take over. That's fine for particular types of software if you aren't a sophisticated user of those particular types of software, but is aggrivating for those types of software where you are a sophistiated user.

Comment As much as I dislike Trump ... (Score 4, Insightful) 445

These allegations are different from the Clinton allegations. They point to possible incompetence in maintaining a private email system, in contrast to allegations of violating govenment policies and regulations regarding a government official. Had Trump done something like this while working in government rather than campaigning for office, the allegations would hold more weight.

Comment A few things to keep in mind ... (Score 1) 101

This is a communications satellite in geostationary orbit. The typical ground station will be using fairly expensive equipment to provide an uplink in addition to a downlink. The ground station will provide internet, telephone, and television services to an entire community via more conventional means (e.g. cable). This is not the type of installation that you have in your home.

The uses go far beyond home internet access. The typical ground station will provide service for local government services and businesses. In this day in age, it is necessary for both the governance and economic development of isolated regions.

Many of these isolated regions are also within the provinces (i.e., not the territories in the arctic). Northern Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec are very much populated but much of it is incredibly isolated. There are several communities that are further south than major Canadian cities that rely upon this satellite. To give you an idea of what I mean: a town in Northern Ontario can be disconnected from the road and communications network, yet be further south than roughly 10% of the Canadian population.

For those saying that these people should live elsewhere: (a) the development of isolated regions, meaning most of Canada's territory, will not be possible without the tools needed for economic development. That includes the internet and telephone service. (b) Many of the people in these regions were born and raised there. Telling them to move would be like someone telling you to uproot your family and move to a community hundreds of kilometers away. I mean sure, you/they can do that. Just don't expect an agreeable response.

Comment Let's put it this way ... (Score 3, Insightful) 152

I prefer to start videos manually on sites dedicated to streaming video. Those are sites where I expect to watch videos, and the video is going to be visible on the screen when the page loads. It gives me a chance to ensure that I'm on the right page, a chance to read the description, and a chance to prepare to watch the video (because sometimes I'm just looking for stuff that I want to watch).

As for autoplaying video on a site that serves a different purpose altogether, after clicking a link that I may not even know links to a video, that's a definite turn-off.

Comment If you don't trust the vendor ... (Score 2) 405

If you don't trust the vendor, then it's time to look at someone else's products.

That being said, we are talking about Microsoft here. Many people disagree with their decisions, but they are more or less reliable. Their marketing may be agressive, but they aren't going to go to the point of breaking a product on purpose. They are going to test their patches to the best of their ability, and they are a large enough firm to have the means to do it well. Yes, there will be problems for some users. That is to be expected. Unlike many vendors, Microsoft has relatively little control over the hardware their product is used on or the software that is used on their operating system. So do take precautions like doing regular backups and be prepared to restore those backups if you end up being an edge case where things break.

While you can possibly do better than Microsoft, you can certainly do worse.

Comment Two big hurdles ... (Score 1) 515

I have tried KDE various times over the years, and always ran into two big hurdles:

The biggest one was that various KDE apps had a predilection for crashing. When day one of using a fresh OS installation that was shipped with KDE involves a couple of notable crashes, there is a huge disincentive to abandon it. There is also very little incentive to actually try to solve the problem because very little has been invested into the environment.

KDE also tries to do too much that doesn't appeal to broad audience. Feature rich applications may appeal, but a glut of applications that aren't even needed does not. In some cases it leads to an urge to purge unwanted components. In cases where the user has a prefered application, it lends to the impression that KDE suffers from NIH syndrome.

Comment Re:Good thing you have a choice (Score 2) 537

I'm fairly certain that it is legal in the US. The businesses that were getting in legal trouble in the US were using radio signals to jam signals. This sort of interference is illegal, and I suspect that it is illegal internationally (since many of the laws regarding the RF spectrum are a product of ITU regulations).

Comment Re:Opposite (Score 1) 117

Perhaps it's the location that I go to. It's right next to a bus terminal and near a couple of major roads used by commuters. In other words, their customers are bound to be in a hurry. I'm also basing my assessment on where I see people in the store. For that location, milk is conveniently located and there is a lot of traffic in that part of the store. Motor oil is not conveniently located, but it doesn't seem to be an area that people frequent much either.

Comment Re:Opposite (Score 3, Insightful) 117

That probably depends upon the customer. The main reason why I go to Walmart is because I can be in an out in 10 minutes. At least for the store that I go to: the layout seems to put the most popular departments near the checkout, and the less frequented departments in the fringes. They also have a true express checkout lane (one line feeds six cashiers for people with small purchases).

Sure, they want to snag impulse buys and they probably want to keep customers in the store longer to browser. On the other hand, impulse purchases don't require taking the lest efficient route. Getting customers in and out quickly is also in the store's best interest if it helps them retain customers. Remember, Walmart's business is to make money. Making money doesn't always mean going against the best interest of your customers.

Comment Sounds more than fair ... (Score 1) 260

If this happened in a physical store, the cashier would call a supervisor. The customer may get the product for free, but the issue would immediately be remedied so that it would not be exploited. In this case, the customer decided to call over other customers with the full realization that it was likely a mistake. A mistake that would only be noticed by the retailer through abnormal sales patterns or by someone reporting it, i.e. after the fact. Even though the customers were being dishonest, they were still rewarded.

Comment Idle speculation ... (Score 1) 559

This sounds an awful lot like the discussion surrounding habitable planets 25 years ago. There really wasn't enough to raise the discourse above idle speculation because we were dealing with a sample of one (the solar system). The situation wasn't much better shortly after the discovery of exoplanets since the sample was incredibly biased.

The situation for planetary atmospheres is similar today. We have an incredibly small sample of planets where we have studied the atmosphere in any detail (again, the solar system) and hints about the atmospheres of a highly biased sample of exoplanets. Give it another decade or two, and maybe we will have a basis to speculate on the habitability of extrasolar planets ... but that certainly isn't the case today.

Comment Re:I think I am in trouble (Score 1) 208

I'm sure that it was perfectly clear to many people, even to those who have a marginal understanding of technical buzzwords. Part of the problem is that the buzzwords are sufficiently ambiguous that they can mean practically anything when strung together, so the investor or client may visualize a product that is completely different from what is being offered. In other words, it is little more than marketing speak.

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