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Comment OS/2 (Score 1) 211

The catastrophic error IBM made while building OS/2 was not aiming at the 386 chip. Instead they targeted the 80286.
Had they started off aiming at a chip with decent memory handling, it would have been far more effective.

But still, big companies had a terrible record of not grasping the PC nettle.

The "best chance ignored award" definitely goes to DEC, who at the appropriate time (first released 1972) had a brilliant multi tasking, time sharing, system for 16 bit computers called RSX-11. They could not bring themselves to sell it for a sensible price, and completely missed the boat.
Sad, as it was a vastly better system than DOS, CP/M, etc.

And now they are gone.

Comment Re:$399 per month (Score 1) 67

>> in ten years there will be a number of people who will never open the hood, will not check the air pressure themselves

I am the only one in my family to ever open out car's bonnet (ok, you can say "hood" if you like), or check the tyres. (I added a little gadget on each wheel that flashes when pressure is low - and they tell me it's flashing. As opposed to actually doing anything about it).

Mind you, come to that, none of the other family members (yup, all female) have ever changed a fuse, wired a plug, changed a washer in a tap, or even flipped a circuit breaker. I think the lawn has been mowed once by someone other than me or a gardener.
Correspondingly, I am expected to - and can - cook, clean, change nappies, calm babies, the list is quite long.
And of course I also get to work longer, retire later, die earlier, and am expected to do all the dangerous jobs, go to war and die for my family.

So how's equality of the sexes working out for you, eh?

Comment Re:How is this not win/win (Score 1) 663

I signed - complete with sarcastic message.
Foolish, I guess, as republicans has zero knowledge of sarcasm. Or statistics Or history. Or any other parts of the world. As far as I can tell (ie - "Despite the fact that reducing guns has reduced gun death everywhere it's been implemented, it wouldn't work here in the good old USA". I'm pretty sure that's not actually a quote, it shows awareness of other parts of the world, after all).

I especially love the line suggesting it's actually dangerous to NOT have people armed and will attract, y'know terrorists. That's priceless. (As a matter of interest, are there any cases of people actually resisting terrorists successfully with their guns, or even burglars come to that, where they have NOT managed to shoot themselves or their families? I'd love to see some statistics).

Back to the convention ...
Maybe they could take their kids, give them guns too, and everybody could shoot everybody else.
Just like last week.

Oh look, another mass shooting ... move along, nothing to see here ...

Comment A little balance (Score 1) 523

It's hard to imagine the masculinity of the majority of researchers does not affect their research. The background of people always affects their outlook on life, so it's pretty likely something as fundamental as gender will too.

Historically, a lot of science has centred on conflict, and perhaps a little more female input would see more cooperation and manipulation in their subjects.

It's very probable a more even gender balance would result in more balanced science.

That would be good.

But feminist geology, loaded with anti masculine propaganda? Really? That doesn't sound too balanced.

Come back Marie Curie, we need you. (Also Rachel Carson, Ada Lovelace, Chien-Shiung Wu, Grace Hopper ...)

Comment Not a pickup truck - we want a truck truck (Score 1) 223

To heck with pickups. What the world needs is decently driven trucks. Actual tractor trailer rigs (variously called 18 wheelers, articulated lorries, semis, big rigs) that move product around the country.
In big countries, Australia, USA, Canada, Russia, not mention Europe, there are long distances to be covered by said trucks. They are currently driven by often exhausted, sometimes drugged, human drivers. Most of the travelling is not challenging - freeways and the like.
The rigs are seriously expensive, and having them sitting about while the driver sleeps is a waste of investment (and slows delivery). Replace the driver with a machine and it'll drive for 24 hours per day.
A halfway mode is possible - with a fairly standardised route, the driver could sleep in the back of the cab, and get called to duty for the tricky bits - cities, loading/unloading.
Result - better use of investment, faster delivery, safer roads.
So how about it Tesla ... or Scania, Volvo ... [insert list of manufacturers here]?

Comment Re: Money for nothin... (Score 1) 456

>> What services are Apple not paying for already?

Overseas, Apple go to extreme lengths to conceal the profits made in that country (see "transfer pricing"). This means they pay astonishingly little tax in said foreign countries, eg Australia.
It seems fair to me that where profits are made in a country, which depend on the infrastructure of that country, those profits should pay tax there.

Imagine you live/work in - say - Belgium, and earn money there. You live there, you enjoy the benefits of Belgium's infrastructure. Does it seem fair to pay taxes in a country with low taxes and less infrastructure such as, say, Liberia? To me it sounds like tax dodging.
Why is a company any different?

It's true that Apple pay a lot of tax in USA. But compared to their profits it is probably quite low compared with the taxes you presumably pay on income. (I'm assuming you are American as you don't seem too interested in taxes anywhere else).
USA has an odd (possibly unique) scheme whereby any repatriated overseas profits are still due to pay US tax, less any overseas taxes paid. But as they pay very low overseas taxes, despite earning their profits in similar taxing countries, so they are unable to repatriate said profits. Hmm, could that possibly mean they have manipulated their accounts to do that? Surely not ...

So, basically, Tim Cook is taking complete rubbish.

Apple - pay your taxes!

Ditto all other corporations, eg Google, and probably every other big multinational.

Comment Re: Money for nothin... (Score 1) 456

>> Why should Apple or any other corporation get all the benefits of a developed nation including limited liability and patents when they're doing their level best to avoid paying for those benefits? If they want to play these tax avoidance games they should have those benefits withdrawn

Absolutely.
I think most people agree (especially Bostonians) "No taxation without representation" ... well, no benefits without paying taxes, I say.
Trade in a country, pay tax in that country on your trade.

But on the other hand, the USA policy of taxing any repatriated profits at the US rate is stupid. It means a company cannot compete with local corporations without cheating.
So guess what - they cheat.

And having discovered cheating, gosh. they do it for everything. Great.

Comment Australia and other places (Score 1, Troll) 456

It would be nice if corporations actually paid tax in the country where they actually earned the money. Apple, like other giant corporates, earns billions in Australia and pays bugger all tax, carefully moving the "profit" to other low tax countries.
If the richest company in the world paid its taxes like good citizen, as I do, the world would be a better place.

Someone once said "I lik paying taxes. With taxes I buy - civilisation".

Well, if you want civilisation - pay your taxes!

Comment Re:Special case vs. general case (Score 1) 85

Oh so true. I have worked with various banks, and that is precisely what happens.

Especially the part about "kill off internal knowledgeable staff, so changing back is impossible".

It seems absurd, but I have seen interviews for "new' external outsourced folk actually occurring over Skype with a second person sitting next to the interviewee audibly whispering answers to questions.
I have tried to take part in "meeting" which appear to be in an outdoor market in India, complete with market sellers yelling in the background.
Not to mention the language challenges.

Some of this would be fine, if it is a lot cheaper.
But it's not. Certainly in a bank where I recently worked, the internal charge rate for on offshore contractor was pretty close to an onshore one. This is surely insane.

The overhead for the translation process (the banks internal standards to the outsource group's standard) was ridiculous - and charged to the customer.

And amusingly, the outsource group considered its staff completely replaceable. "Suresh is away [has left], Jael will be doing it", er no he won't, at least not efficiently, certainly not for a while.

I have yet to have a good experience with outsourcing.

Mind you, I'm outsourcing to a London group at the moment, from Sydney, so I guess I should not be so critical. (Of course I do actually follow their standards, speak the same language, and I'm cheaper than a local Londoner).

Comment Re:Ship GPS can go out (Score 1) 350

In 1981 I sailed a small boat across the Atlantic (30' cat, took 22 days). GPS (civilian) did not exist [1996 was when it became useful and accurate], we used the sun, tables, and a sextant. I only shot the sun, not stars. Sight reduction is tedious, but not too bad with tables and perhaps a calculator. I used an HP41c - wonderful gadget.
Even with a calculator, it is not especially quick, and what you get is a position line (LOP) [actually a large circle mapped onto the earth surface corresponding to a constant angle between the sun and the horizon, but it appears as a straight line 'coz it's big]. You have to shoot the sun again in few hours, and you get crossing lines, which have to be adjusted by your speed and direction.
At night, you can shoot stars, but it's hard and I never did it. The ocean is big, and pretty empty, after all. But no matter what you do, you won't get a position much more accurate than a nautical mile. Maybe you can do better on a more stable large ship.

So not instantaneous, not terribly accurate, and kinda tough if the conditions are rough. Which they often are.

And you get no position if it's cloudy.

But the sun has one major advantage over GPS.
It's really, really hard to turn off (and if someone did, I think there might be other problems).

Comment Re:You only need 3 essentials... (Score 3, Interesting) 149

Later in life (at 50, actually, and yes, I still cut code 10 years after that), I took up figure skating as a hobby. (Warning, it's a) addictive, and b) very tough, oh, and c) quite dangerous ... and expensive).
Yes, it's well and truly dominated by females.

So, anyway, I was at the National Championships, at the after competition ball. Another chap and I looked out over the sea of fit, healthy femalehood, and he commented - "To think I spent most of teenage years with my head stuck up another blokes bum playing rugby. What was I thinking?"

This made me wonder why I spent some of my younger years on model railways - and why more females did not. It's surely a heck of a way to meet guys ...

So, good advice to younger male chaps, seeking to meet girls. Take up figure skating.
And, good advice to younger female chapesses, seeking to meet guys. Take up railway modelling.

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