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Comment Re:Who would have guessed? (Score 3, Interesting) 225

Government procurement contracts pretty much preclude the government obtaining goods and services on the open market. Instead it must rely to a large degree on contractors and vendors who have the capability of handling all the special paperwork and requirements.

So if you're on a procurement committee you don't have much choice. Once you discard the vendors who (a) can't absorb the amount of money to be spent on schedule and (b) jump through the statutory federal contractor hoops, what you're left with is a rogues gallery of usual suspects.

Comment Simple answer: (Score 1) 184

Charge for the non-security feature updates -- maybe even do it through the app store. Customers have to pay for updates one way or the other, so you should be able to sell a competitively priced phone and then make just as much money selling fewer physical phones and more software updates as you would under the status quo. That'd be good for the environment too.

The one sticking point is, as always, the carriers. They'd much rather you trade in your perfectly good phone for another one whose price is rolled into a contract extension. I'm convinced that Verizon on several occasions deliberately botched upgrades to force you to buy a new phone with more RAM.

Comment Re:Pet Rock (Score 2) 186

Sure, the only really unpredictable aspect of this scenario is the size of the peak. If their business plans were predicated on maintaining usage near the initial peak indefinitely, then they were stupid plans.

I'm guessing that the plans for this product aren't that stupid. In that case a sensible goal will be to maintain a modest but loyal group of regular users and to periodically introduce new features that will entice usage jags out of occasional players.

Comment Re:Welcome to India (Score 1) 95

Rapes in India: about 37,000 per year for a country of 1.26 BILLION. Press reports it as a rape every 20 min.
Rapes in US: 1,200,000 per year for a country the fourth of India according to CDC. No one talks about it.
Obviously, BOTH are under-reporting.
If you take a large country as India or China, every measure will be automatically large. Talking absolute numbers rather than per capita adjusted numbers is either dumb or malicious journalism. During the Delhi rape coverage, not one newspaper I read talked about per capita rates.

Let's be realistic. For a poor country, the rights of women in India are no worse than similar poor countries. At least in India, the public holds large protests over rape. Don't see that much elsewhere.

Comment Why not public transit instead? (Score 1) 442

Public transit provides a service that complements as well as competes -- especially in an old, dense city like Boston where there isn't a lot of room to add cars and public transit carries about half the commuters despite being in dire financial straits.

Think about what would happen to Uber and Lyft in a place like that if you doubled the number of people using surface roads.

Comment Re:Alarmism (Score 2) 95

You are entirely looking at India with US legal system lenses. In India, the political system is not dominated by lawyers i.e. the politicians don't have a legal background as much as they do in US. Public prosecutors don't routinely run for elections and hence have an interest in promoting themselves as "tough on crime". AFAIK, terrifying the defendant with disproportionate punitive threats and forcing him/her into a plea deal is not an issue in India. There, the problems are more around the legal process taking simply too long due to inadequately funded institutions, outdated laws and generally a less agile system (poorer country), rather than an overzealous application.

That said, both India *and US* do have arbitrary application of law - due to different reasons and cause different sets of problems. Corruption is of course more in India, as you would expect in any country with its per capita income. Yet, I'd say that far... far more people are put in prison in US due to arbitrary application of law than in India, even though the due process is said to be much better in US.

Comment Alarmism (Score 4, Informative) 95

All this is pointless hyperventilating by people who understand little about India.
India is one the LEAST punitive countries in the world. It does not believe that putting people in the prison is a solution for anything – even for things most of us would agree that people should be put into prison for.
India’s incarceration rate is 33 (one of the lowest in the world) per 100,000
US incarceration rate is 698 (highest incarceration rate in the world, if you ignore Seychelles) per 100,000
Have you ever heard of anyone put in prison in India for downloading a file? The law has been around since 1957. I am not even sure if for-profit bootleggers who sell media in India have been in prison for more than a few weeks. This is just some tech-ignorant government bureaucrat getting carried away. If a 0.01% of Indians tweet about it, the warning will be edited to something realistic. This has been the pattern about most India alarmist articles on Slashdot.

Comment Re:Broken Windows Policing (Score 4, Insightful) 191

The problem in any kind of engineering -- and we're talking about social engineering here -- is that everything has its drawbacks.

The foundation of modern policing is a focus on two functions: bringing people to justice, and keeping the peace. You can unquestionably obtain gains in controlling certain kinds of disorder by adding a third function to he police: acting as an instrument behavioral control on the populace. The drawback is that this puts police into a position of habitual conflict with populations they serve, undermining the Peelian principle that the police are the people, and the people the police.

Over time the police begin to be viewed less as public servants and more like an occupying army. Since this process takes time, we ought to be skeptical of short term results that show improvements in statistical measures of public order. Think of public respect and cooperation for the police as a kind of social capital. If in toting up progress you ignore the capital you're spending you're not getting a true picture.

Public cooperation has been the foundation of successful policing for almost two hundred years, since Robert Peel established the Metropolitan Police in 1829. We should think long and hard about abandoning, or even tinkering with that model.

Comment Re:konqueror best filemanager (Score 3, Insightful) 508

Konqueror would seem to be the best file manager for power users and programmers.

As far as I can see, file management really isn't a big deal for programmers. IDE, source control system, build automation tools, web browser, and of course a shell with the usual POSIX utility suite -- each of those things is a big deal. But Finder vs. Windows File Explorer vs. Thunar vs. Nautilus? I'd be curious if anyone can show that the choice has any measurable impact on productivity. It seems to me purely a matter of taste.

I stopped using KDE and Gnome years ago, except to try them out periodically to see where they're headed. And pretty much it's places I don't particularly care about. I won't be arrogant and say that makes them bad or stupid, it's just means they're not for me. To me the desktop wars are like college basketball; if other people are into it that's fine by me, as long as it isn't compulsory.

If there are enough people who DO want to go where these projects are heading, then KDE and Gnome will do fine. If they aren't, well, I'd feel sorry for all the people who put so much work into them. There was a time when these projects were critical to the future of software, but not anymore. Pretty much any one desktop system could disappear over night -- even (or perhaps especially) Windows. -- and it wouldn't be the end of the world. There's a healthy field of choices now, which is good for users if rough on the legacy of pioneering developers.

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