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Comment Re:Microsoft's underestimating their legacy base (Score 1) 400

" Microsoft is really dismissing how much legacy code is out there"

I had any illusions that they cared about that sort of thing shattered when they dumped Visual Basic. It was huge in industry and millions (perhaps hundreds of millions) of lines of code, representing untold millions of dollars, suddenly became legacy code. (VB.NET was/is a completely different language)

Comment Re:Did it occur to them that no one wants them? (Score 1) 86

I doubt AR glasses will make you vomit since you will still be able to see most of the real world. However, Hololens has a crappy field of view which they do not seem interested in addressing. The demos they have shown have all been "fake" composites of what you would ideally see if the FOV was huge and if Hololens was also able to show objects darker than the background (which it isn't).

I don't think they seriously intend Hololens as a consumer product. I think it is all just marketing hype for windows 10.

Comment Re:CROOKED hillary will be busted by Donald J. Tru (Score 1) 477

The Stay campaign seems far worse when it comes to scaremongering. Every day they are saying billions will be wiped of this or that, but in actual fact they really have no clue at all. There are plenty of intelligent arguments going both ways, but we have heard precisely zero of them from either campaign. Instead its just been unsubstantiated scaremongering. On top of this, the people who want to leave are being marginalized as racists, even though in the past, many of the leading left-wing politicians wanted to leave the EU, claiming it to be capitalistic and undemocratic.

Comment Re:Getting to a technological level is hard. (Score 1) 559

7) For the industrial revolution plenty of freely available energy had to be lying around near the surface - ie coal. You can't melt iron with wood fires.

And we only had coal because when trees first appeared, there happened to be nothing around that could digest them, so they just piled up, got buried and eventually became coal. However, it's not a complete show stopper since you can make charcoal from wood which does burn hot enough for melting iron.

Comment Re:Those countries... (Score 1) 1116

Mainly you can tell they are not socialist by the fact they are (a) permissive, and (b) happy - neither the sign of socialism at work (as well know all too well from countless historical examples, socialism and totalitarianism go hand in hand).

I think you may be confusing socialism with communism. Communism and totalitarianism have often gone hand in hand, not socialism and totalitarianism. I've noticed in political debates in the US that the term "Socialism" is often used in such a negative way that it seems that they really mean Communism. It's quite bizarre.

The American dream is the idea that anyone with humble beginnings can rise up and become a success, perhaps a billionaire or president etc. There is however a name for this phenomenon. It's called social mobility and is quite measurable. The US has an absolutely terrible social mobility. Ironically, if you want the "American Dream" you will need to move to a more socialist country like Denmark, or perhaps more conveniently, right next door to Canada.

Comment Re:two steps backward. (Score 3, Insightful) 42

Boston Dynamics is lightyears ahead of this little robot

From what I've read, Boston Dynamics may have been misrepresenting the success of their robots via editing. A bit like someone filming themselves throwing a basketball over their shoulder and then uploading the 1 successful attempt out of 200 attempts. A soon as their bipedal robot was put to a live test at the Darpa competition, it seemed to be falling all over the place even on flat ground. This is sure to have rung alarm bells at google.

This article springs to mind.

We really need to see long unedited videos of any new robots in action to have any confidence in their reliability.

Comment Switzerland Has Something Similar (Score 1) 490

They probably don't use computers for it, but the Swiss public can overturn new legislation by instigating a referendum. I believe it requires something in the region of 50 thousand signatures to kick off a referendum. This is a good compromise between purely representative democracy (which is often not very representative at all) and absolute direct democracy . Let the government do its job making dull but necessary new laws etc, but if they get out of line with some new law etc, we should have a constitutional and effective way of striking it down that doesn't involve mass protest and teargas.

In Britain, referendums are rarely granted by the government and in a number of cases they have promised them and then actually backtracked. They don't like handing power over to the public. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be for the public to simply overrule the government over something like TPP?

The question is, how do we get there?

Comment Re:If there are patent issues (Score 1) 355

It was a horrible mess, everything had to be re-written to be compatible because it was really an entirely new language. Developers were left in the lurch

I worked for a company with large amounts of VB6 code, certainly over a million dollars worth of developer time. The company simply could not afford to do a rewrite. I still can barely believe that Microsoft would screw so many businesses by doing that.

I vividly remember everyone gathering around as I used the project conversion wizard to convert from VB6 to VB.NET. I knew it wouldn't really work due to fundamental differences in the languages, but I felt we had to go through the motions. We sat there and watched the estimated time of completion climb and climb and climb. Eventually I think it just crashed.

At the time we had a big meeting and I tried to convince the company that we should move away from Microsoft technologies to avoid similar pain in the future. However, such is the "Gravitational Pull" of Microsoft products, we ended up sticking with them.

Of course, if there had been a compatible rival product (some kind of Borland VB) then it would have been much harder for Microsoft to abandon the language. This could be an issue if they try to abandon .NET due to the existence of Mono.

Comment Makes No Cost Sense (Score 1, Insightful) 226

Even if a solar panel in Geosynchronous orbit generated 100x more energy than an equivalent panel on earth (which seems unlikely), it makes no economic sense to put it there since you could put several hundred panels on the Earth's surface for a small fraction of the cost. In fact you could fill an entire football field full of panels for a fraction of the cost of the space based solution. Just through sheer numbers they would generate more than the space-based panel even on a cloudy day.

Simple repairs are also orders of magnitude cheaper for the ground-based solution.

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