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Comment They did it before, and they are doing it again. (Score 1) 301

As a young person studying computer science, I watched Microsoft use crooked business practices to foist its empirically inferior software on the masses. In many cases, they wrote their OS to cause competing software to crash or perform poorly. I did work on Windows 95, 97, and 2000, so I know first hand how bad they were. And yet MS became dominant. Why? Largely because they wouldn't allow any computer makers to sell Windows and any competing software at the same time. In the end, you were either an MS shop or an Apple retailer. The end result was that the computing industry was held back approximately a decade in terms of OS technology. As direct evidence for this, I present the fact that NeXT existed in 1987, almost a decade before Windows 95. NeXT was already a full and modern OS, and indeed forms the basis for Mac OSX. Think about that: The important parts of OSX, a fairly decent modern OS existed nearly a decade before the turd that is Windows 95.

I am not a fanboy. I use Linux and OSX, and I freely admit that neither are perfect. OSX is retreating back to being an iOS black box, while Linux is sometimes irritating. But I will never move back to Microsoft. I saw what they did. I know that they have made the quality of the technology we all use poorer through their monopolistic practices. The parent article only confirms for me that Microsoft has not changed.

Comment Re: So funny (Score 1) 171

They can't keep up with demand for the model X, how the hell are they going to do it for the model 3? What's going to happen when people who pre-ordered the model 3 thinking a $35,000 price tag realizes that Tesla has used up their government rebates and it'll be $42,500

Oh for fuck sake stop bull-shitting! The base price of the Model 3 was $35,000 BEFORE the incentives.

Comment Re: So funny (Score 1) 171

He does all this with HUGE government loans and private loans.

Maybe you might want to look at reality. You say they received HUGE government loans. I assume you mean the $465 million dollar loan Tesla received from the Department of Energy. Are you aware that Tesla paid that loan back with interest? The government made money on that loan. Were you aware that the DOE gave Ford a $5.9 billion dollar loan, and Nissan $1.4 billion under the same program?

Comment Re: So funny (Score 1) 171

Both Tesla and Space X have enormous subsidies.

That article is a hit piece likely paid for by oil and auto interests. The article claims for instance that Tesla will receive a $1.29 billion dollar subsidy from Nevada for building the Giga-Factory. What Tesla was actually promised was a 1.3% break on the state sales tax. To cap the discount, the state said that the maximum total tax break over TWENTY YEARS could not exceed $1.29 billion dollars. Tesla would have to spend $100 billion dollars over 20 years to reach that; the article makes it seem like Tesla received a cheque for $1.29 billion, which is false. Amongst other distortions, they included a DOE loan that Tesla had already paid in full. All in all, this article demonstrates much of what is wrong with the American economic system today, where corrupt billionaires use subterfuge and distortion to try to crush anyone who might begin to erode their monopolies. This is not free-market capitalism. It makes all of us less well off.

Comment Re:Seems this topic is stuck in the roundabout. (Score 4, Insightful) 364

I think something that is usually not emphasized is that in most cases, human drivers will not have time to make such moral decisions. If you had time enough to think about moral implications, you would in most cases have time to avoid the accident in the first place.

Comment Windows Architecture Upgrade to UNIX (Score 2, Insightful) 247

Having watched Windows grow from MSDOS, to Windows 3.1, to NT and beyond, and having observed the architectural stability through those stages (e.g. the registry), I have become convinced that the only way Windows will become truly stable and easy to maintain will be for it to adopt a UNIX architecture. This is not an absurd suggestion. Apple did it. It adopted a UNIX kernel, and managed to support legacy programs using virtualization. The process was in fact relatively benign from a user point of view. Old software appeared to continue working as it used to. When one opened a program written for legacy MacOS, a virtualized environment was created, and the program worked in the same way as it did in the older OS, even though it was actually running in OSX.

Windows could do this with relative ease. Create a brand new OS on a UNIX foundation. Create a virtualized environment to run legacy software. The god damned registry and all the other architectural mistakes can live in that space as long as MS wants to preserve legacy support. In the mean time, MS can move on from the detritus that has built up in Windows over the years. It can have a fresh start. The new windows can have things that other UNIX operating systems have enjoyed for years, like for instance proper hardware abstraction. Imagine using the same OS foundations on phones and laptops, like Apple has had for years. Imagine supporting different processor architectures with the same basic OS, like UNIX systems like OSX have had for years.

I left Windows years ago, partly for the reason that the OS was so badly engineered. It shocks me that Windows still runs the software engineering abomination that is the Registry. I currently use a combination of OSX and various UNIX systems. I will NEVER return to windows unless MS upgrades its OS to a more stable foundation.

Comment Re:The lawsuit was a PR stunt gone well for Oracle (Score 2) 243

Oracle has to defend its business and it would be stupid for them not to go after the ginormous megacorp Google if they didn't see a chance of making a PR splash with the public and the shareholders.

I suggest you watch this extremely insightful BBC documentary called "F**k You Buddy". It largely explains how the above type of viewpoint gained ascendance in certain circles. The short answer: much of our current economic ideology is based on the game theory work of paranoid schizophrenic John Nash. The implication of Nash's work can be described in the "Prisoner's Dilemma", where cooperation is negative, and the only way to reliably win is to betray your neighbour. Nash's ideology puts forward a hypothetical version of humans where we are all out to betray one another for our own selfish gain. However, I would put forward the fact that Nash's mental illness may have coloured his worldview. His schizophrenia caused him so see paranoid conspiracies everywhere he looked. The worldview implied in his game theory ideology reflects this picture of humans as selfish backstabbing automatons. I would say that although there is some reality in this view, humans also have undeniable altruistic characteristics that contradict his cartoonish view.

Comment Re:Doing this stuff is hard (Score 1) 89

The problem here is our federal government hot cancel contracts and retire heavy lifting vehicles. Frankly, the shuttles were not in immediate need of retirement. Endeavour, the newest, was built in '92 and could have been kept in rotation until there was a viable American-controlled alternative.

The problem with the Space Shuttle program was the cost. It was stupidly expensive. The tiles had to be replaced after every mission, and every tile was unique with its own part number/serial number. The main engines needed to be nearly rebuilt after every mission, due in large part to hydrogen embrittlement of the steel. The cost per launch was somewhere in the neighborhood of one billion dollars per launch. SpaceX launches for $60 million for satellite launches and about $133 million for space station cargo launches (including the capsule).

Comment Re:Without Steve Jobs (Score 1) 284

Apple is living on borrowed time. They need to come out with something disruptive, but all they can do is incremental upgrades.

I agree. IMHO, one of Steve Jobs' primary strengths was his tendency not to follow business school ideology when running his companies. Specifically he micro-managed. He knew enough about technology to know what was possible, and he knew enough about the market to know what it would want. He didn't overly rely on so-called scientific business methods such as focus groups or market surveys, which study individuals in a market who usually don't have enough self-awareness to know what they will really want. He created the iPhone with a small group of engineers (about 20 I think). They brought him preliminary builds, and he said "that's shit" or "re-do it" enough times to drive those engineers crazy. That interface, even with all its flaws, is the primary model for smart-phones interfaces today.

Tim Cook is an accountant at heart. He is a bean counter. He has been doing what business school types do best: milking existing products and innovations to get the largest possible profit from them. However he does not have the vision of Steve Jobs. He does not have fundamental insight into technology or the market. And so like any good MBA, he delegates to others, and Apple becomes a rudderless ship, bereft of innovation or passion.

Comment Re:All Discussion Formums are Vulnerable (Score 2) 429

I wouldn't include /. due to the moderation system in place. While still possible to abuse, it would require a coordinated effort to not only post something but to come back with separate accounts to mod that post up and keep it at a high level. Even if it was a paid post, if interesting and factual, why shouldn't it get modded up? Disclaimer: I am not a paid poster for /.

If I ran a PR company that specializes in paid trolling, and I wanted to troll slashdot, I would build up various accounts that could be used for posting comments. Such accounts would have a posting history, and would build up moderation points over time. If I owned, say, one hundred or more accounts, I would be likely to have access to many moderation points. I could have an automated system that would be aware of what accounts had moderation points to spend. I could then have one or two of my paid trolls moderate on, say, global warming discussions, to tilt the moderation in favor of the topic my company wishes to influence. It isn't rocket science. It should be relatively easy. Run a few discrete browsers, or perhaps use virtual machines with different or spoofed IP addresses, and write a system that tracks posts and various accounts, and you would have a fairly powerful workstation that could enable a single person to post to numerous newspapers and other boards, INCLUDING Slashdot. The reason Slashdot and other discussion forums are vulnerable to this is that you do not know who is at the keyboard. You do not know them personally. You do not know what type of a person they are. You do not know their job, or their friends. You don't know their integrity, their trustworthiness. You just have a username, and a message. That is the flaw in this system. And it is unlikely that we can ever fix it.

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