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Comment Business Decisions Based on Economics (Score 2) 202

It's sometimes bewildering to watch companies with a responsibility to shareholders behave in ways that appear counterproductive to their own bottom line. If the study from Carnegie Mellon passes peer review *and* the movie industry does not respond in a way that actually curbs piracy, then one has to wonder what exactly drives their behavior. This is not a rhetorical question. If anybody here on /. has insight into this, please share.

Comment Citizen activism is an option (Score 1) 147

I was part of a jury pool in the 9th Circuit about 2 years ago and the judge told the prospective jurors that exactly this type of metadata would be shown as evidence. He also stated that this evidence was gathered without a warranty. As a prospective juror, I raised my hand and said that I was unwilling to find the defendant guilty if the prosecution's case hinged on that information because I believe this application of the 3rd party doctrine to be illegal. The judge responded that his job as judge is to decide which evidence is legal (and this evidence was "legal") to introduce and my job as a juror was to weigh that evidence without worrying about its legality. I then responded that Richard Nixon once famously said that "if the president does it, it's legal" and I went on to indicate, "we all know how that worked out". I was dismissed from the pool.

Comment Re:Oh good, more taxes (Score 1) 342

There's actually strong evidence that with each tax increase on cigarettes, consumption subsequently drops. The taxes in question are used for smoking cessation programs and other public health interests. Hardly parasitic, but also antithetical to a truly free society. On the other hand, society's shared costs don't occur in a vacuum. If my neighbor smokes, there's a statistical cost his neighbors will incur at some point in the future that involved supporting his healthcare. Given that the burdens are being shared in one way or another, I'm ok with not being "truly free".

Comment Re:Uh, just pay extra (Score 2) 644

I suppose a millionaire can opt to give money to fix roads and bridges via their tax returns. The problem with this solution is a sort of prisoner's dilemma though; you need everybody to participate with commensurate participation, or the volunteerism simply doesn't work. This is probably why they want to see the solutions codified in the tax code rather than be voluntary.

Comment Re:Teen driver checkup? yes please (Score 2) 215

You actually don't know anything about me, and yet you feel compelled to pass the most hideous of judgments. By comparison, I'm willing to surrender a 2-ton object capable of reaching very dangerous speeds to an inexperienced driver while not personally in attendance. I fail to see how I'm failing as a parent in asserting what responsibility I can into the situation.

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 5, Interesting) 174

I used to run AMD's consumer benchmark group during the K6, K7, K8 days. I'm not sure what you mean by "unbiased reports", but I can tell you that the process the company went through to create and execute benchmarks that were unbiased was remarkably fair. In the time I was there, the company ran benchmark results for any application that met three key requirements:

1) repeatable results
2) relevant software
3) practical to benchmark

So this meant that using canned benchmarks from applications such as Winstone for MS Office applications was a great option to look at office productivity software. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out how PC Magazine was weighting the application between the various MS Office applications, and I hit upon a way to do this by changing core frequency during benchmark runs so that we could create a multi-dimensional array of scores vs. frequencies to determine that Word was x%, Excel was x+5%, etc. We came up with a likely weighting scheme, although I don't recall what became of that work. In the consumer space, the other big hitter is obviously games. At the time of my tenure, AMD used many or most of the same gaming applications that were en vogue with Firing Squad, Toms Hardware, Anand Tech, Sharkey Extreme, etc. There was nothing nefarious about the work we did, nothing unbiased. We looked at these applications with equal weighting and determined that for a given frequency of relevant, competing Intel CPUs, there was an AMD offering that on balance, performed equally or better at a lower frequency. This processor was then given a model name such as 1800+ that was meant to convey it compared favorably to an Intel 1.8GHz CPU. In the days that my group did this work, AMD made a point of publicizing this process and went so far as to have the process vetted via direct supervision of a 3rd party auditing company who was one of the big-4 industry auditors. It was painstaking work to demonstrate that software load order and procedure was identical for AMD and Intel parts. When a benchmark completed, we showed the score to the auditor. Sometimes benchmarks returned imperfect scores because of a stray hard disk latency event and would throw the score off for either product. We would work with the auditor to show that the result of the otherwise repeatable values was an outlier and subsequently toss it in favor of another run.

Others in this Slashdot post have complained of heat dissipation. My team was solely concerned with instructions per second and performance per watt was not a concern for us. I do vaguely recall that this may have been a factor for the server team. My guess is that based on reading the occasional tech article here and there, AMD has made some important progress on power management.

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