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Comment Re: No self driving trains? (Score 1) 393

It's also thousands (or tens of thousands) of tons, bafflingly complex at times to operate correctly (for instance, properly managing the slack between cars along a mile-long train during acceleration/deceleration/ascent/descent is a true art form) and subject to a much harsher regulatory environment. The stakes are higher, so it only makes sense that cars would come first.

Comment Re:I tried to install iTunes on Windows once. (Score 4, Informative) 519

Not the average use, no, but it does raise a whole lot of accessibility issues for those who have physical issues that prevent their using mice. Both Apple and Microsoft publish a set of user interface guidelines that say the following: Excerpted from Microsoft UX Guidelines ( ):

To ensure that your program's functionality is easily available to the widest range of users, including those who have disabilities and impairments, all interactive user interface (UI) elements must be keyboard accessible. Generally, this means that the most commonly used UI elements are accessible using a single access key or key combination, whereas less frequently used elements may require additional tab or arrow key navigation. For these users, comprehensiveness is more important than consistency.

Comment Re:There goes my plans for fleeing tyranny in the (Score 1) 178

That's because a great country is what you make of it.

You want your freedoms? You can pay for them in the sweat of your brow or the passion in your heart or the cash in your pocket like your ancestors did or you can settle for what you've got.

Now, I'm not saying this in a 'USA love it leave it' sense - Some countries are more ripe for the fostering of democratic progress than others - but moving to a place and looking to live off the benefits of its preÃstablished press and lifestyle freedoms is closing off a lot of your options right off the bat.

Comment Re:Great (Score 1) 392

I suspect they've just realized that individually lobbying every single state, one by one, as they start running low on money and turn their greedy eyes to The Internets for income, is counterproductive. They're trying to head it off and approach the problem from the federal level, where they can toss out their bribes all at once, get a federal tax rate that's less harmful to their business than the weird-ass stuff the states keep proposing.

Comment Re:The profit motive is a great motivator (Score 1) 901

Well, calling them shitheads is an awesome way to motivate them, isn't it?

Once again the Asshole OS Advocate rears his head. Sure, your OS of choice may be superior, but calling names and implying that they're so stupid they should be terminated shows simple disrespect for the user's time and expertise.

These people aren't stupid, they just have other things to do. Things like the jobs they were hired to perform, at which they are generally very good. Every hour of training time, every call to tech support over something that doesn't run exactly as it should straight out of the gate, every time the foreign office's entire agenda has to be put on hold for a week because there's no good driver for the passport press is lost productivity and an increasing backlog that can even bog down the rest of the government.

It may take them an hour to learn web browsing, document writing and emailing, but that's because these are instances where an inspired team helped Linux to rise to the occasion and meet the user halfway. Without teams willing to step off of their pedestal like that for the purpose of getting things done, you'd still have Linux advocates using PINE and moaning about how the user just has to be educated on proper CLI mail programs.

These opportunities don't come along very often, and this one seems to have been blown pretty badly. Whose fault is it? It's ours. Every UI that doesn't pick up and scurry to fulfill the user's needs. Every missing driver for an obscure printer that halts a workflow vital to the national interest. Every time some nerd on the internet sneers at the people who had the audacity to give his product a try.

It's our fault, because taking responsibility for the fun parts of changing the world also means taking responsibility for the failures.

Comment Re:What "empire" (Score 5, Informative) 555

You're thinking of an empire in the 18th and 19th-century sense of the word – a sense that died its last official breath after WWII, when Britain released the last of its official colonies. In that era, when the nation-state was the ultimate expression of power, a colony flew the colonizer's flag, spoke its language, had the colonizer's religion imposed upon it. Going back into the heyday of colonialism, conquest was government-centric; national glory was the cause. With the rise of international business, however, the nation-state itself has been supplanted by the multinational corporation. They do not work for the glory of the nation, but for their own glory. They do not respect the laws of the nation, and do not obey except where those laws are convenient or enforceable. In short, the heyday of the nation-state is over. Let it not be said that the nation-state is dead, though. We're still in the centuries-long transition between forms of cultural organization, so while governments are the only ones permitted to hold the weapons (this, too is changing and will continue to change over our lifetimes), the multinationals' interests dictate where those weapons are pointed and when. This is why the United States has military presence in over a hundred countries in a time of peace. These are the agents of modern colonialism. This is why there are terrorist attacks against our troops and our cities and citizens. Not because they hate our freedoms, but because we are camped out, toting guns, on their land, and have been for a hundred years now.

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PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5