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Comment Re:From TFA (Score 2) 323

"Just because Malthus wasn't right in his lifetime, that doesn't make him wrong. Malthus died in 1834: that's really not that long ago."

Malthus observed a historical phenomena that kept the population of Earth more-or-less constant since the agricultral revolution which in its time increased the population of the Earth by 2-3 orders of magnitude. Since the Industrial revolution and the era of economic growth all such predictions have been dramatically WRONG. Every time time humans appear to run up against a resource limitation, we've found ways around it. The most recent has been crude oil. Who talks about Peak-Oil now?

Our main problem now is that Fossil fuels are too cheap to give up without a global carbon tax.

Comment Re:If Water is Scarce (Score 1) 323

I just ran the numbers of Melbourne's Desalination plant (http://www.melbournewater.com.au/desalination). As far as I can tell, taking account of the interest on the capital, it costs around $4.67 AUD per 1000 L of water. (http://www.kimwells.com.au/deception-on-water-desalination-costs/)

If you neglect the capital cost, it's $0.66 AUD per 1000 L of water.

Comment Re:Stop using Java (Score 2) 243

The only comparable platform to Java is .NET and if your goal is to avoid money hungry patent/copyright-abusing companies, switching from Java (which has been open source for years) to .NET (partly open source for, what, one year?) is not really a great trade.

And no, dynamically typed languages are not replacements, nor are C/C++. To be a Java competitor you need to match its feature set, which is very hard given how large it is. And you need to be both garbage collected/statically typed. Only Go is even in the right general area, but Go is where Java was around 1998, so that's not really compelling.

The rather boring reality is that Java is safe unless you're an unusually rich corporation who is making something kinda-but-not-really Java. That does not describe most users.

Comment Re:Since when did Apple "rule" smartphones? (Score 1) 214

Apple's outlandish profit margins were largely possible because the US carrier subsidisation model, which is now ending. A huge market wasn't really exposed to the true cost of the hardware. Android's market share over iOS has been massive in most markets around the world where phones were not heavily subsidised, and now the US is coming into line with international norms it seems like Apple will either bleed marketshare or have to lower its margins significantly.

Comment Re:Since 1984 (Score 1) 214

You seem to be skipping over a fairly important detail in that heartwarming story - Apple nearly DID die, in the 1990s, and its turnaround was so incredible it's been studied in microscopic detail by business types the world over. Steve Jobs has movies made about him, this is such a rare and unlikely feat.

Blowing off any criticism or concern about Apple's direction on the grounds that "they didn't die last time" seems to overlook the fact that Jobs is dead and what he did is insanely hard to replicate.

Comment This a problem, not a good thing... (Score 3, Insightful) 298

The article sounds as if it is a good thing that Germany has to pay people to use electricity. Actually it is exactly this problem that sets the upper limit to how much renewable energy can be used in a modern economy with current technology. The market correctly valued that the power produced by renewable sources had negative value, yet the producers of renewable energy were paid exactly the same feed-in tariff as they get on a cold windless evening. Doubling renewable energy production will not result in doubling the amount of electricity usefully used by Germany over the course of a year. It will be dumped somewhere in the system. Germany must solve the engineering problems required to efficiently store and recover vast amounts of energy as well as building more renewable energy generating systems to reach its goals.

I'm totally surprised that this is not a major topic of discourse in a country with such a large body of technical talent.

Comment ipod nano gen 5 (Score 1) 267

The iPod nano 5 gen is the peak of their Apples devices. Light, 16 GB, solid, many hours of battery life, awesome click wheel interface but even more awesome is that it is the last iPod that works with libgpod, so you don't need iTunes to run it :-)

*sigh* it was all broken with the ipod nano touch. A truly stupid device and concept. I bought a refurbished gen 5 nano's after washing my old ipod.

BTW I would never ever buy an iPhone for fear I would have to use iTunes to talk to it.

Comment Re:Despicable traitor (Score 1) 72

I suspect you're overlooking a more likely possibility on the grounds that you wouldn't like it - maybe he decided to turn on Tor because he eventually realised he didn't agree with how it was being used or run. A guy with his skills could clearly get well paid work in other fields, after all.

Comment Re:Heh, if only it worked (Score 1) 225

The issue is that for mysterious reasons US banks believe Americans are too dumb to remember their PINs. So American chip cards are unlike the cards used everywhere else in the world, they're "Chip and Signature" rather than "Chip and PIN". Not surprisingly, this unique mode of operation causes interop issues because it's never been tested at scale before.

Comment Re:Lots of places in the US support NFC payments. (Score 1) 225

Apple Pay is much worse than the NFC payments the rest of the world uses.

1) You need an iPhone. Apple's marketshare outside of English speaking countries isn't that high.

2) You need batteries. NFC credit cards don't.

3) An iPhone is physically much larger than a card.

4) Apple Pay has to be initialised by putting in your card details, which makes it perfect for washing stolen CC#s. NFC cards are sent to you straight from the bank, so, there's no intermediate fraud-prone step.

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