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Comment Re:Hillary and TTP (Score 1) 101

What is this TTP thing that you are mentioning? This thread is about TPP isn't it? As a resident of New Zealand, one of the countries heavily involved in the creation of the TPP, I have to say that I hope and pray that the TPP does not see the light of day. It imposes American corporate will on us little guys in a most ugly way. Unnecessarily heavy-handed IP laws combined with hideously expensive drugs combined with the right of multinational corporations to overturn our local regulations make it intolerable. I do not want to live with it in place.

Comment Re:wat (Score 1) 348

I have understood that difference likely since before you were born. I spent a good piece of my career creating code to run embedded on small devices (and some not so small). No, I don't think "dinkypoo" is on the money. I was trying to compliment/encourage "slowdeath", who I think has a really good understanding of the issue. I find your rudeness to be really quite intolerable.

Comment Re:Surprise? Why? (Score 1) 348

Counter-intuitive? Maybe, but what you are saying here is largely the argument used 50+ years ago in developing RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computers), the technology which led to the first so-called supercomputers capable of sustained operation at megaflop+ speeds. Although I have not kept up with today's chip architectures all that carefully, I am sure that many of the characteristics of RISC continue to be present.

Comment Re:Old Guy (Score 1) 515

Everyone must have a different story, here's a bit of mine: In 1960 I went off to college, and had a chance to register for the first undergraduate course in programming that had ever been offered there. Computers were not a big part of everyday life then, and the idea of programming was very exotic and enticing to a young lad. I dove right in with only the fuzziest notion of what I was getting into. I was really really lucky to have Alan J Perlis (later the first recipient of the Turing Award) as my instructor for that class. He was simply amazing, and the most friendly teacher I had that freshman year.

We started learning to program in assembly language, and did a fair number of puzzle-solving problems, many having to do with moving pieces on a chess board. That really makes one have to think about data structures and abstractions of physical reality without beating you up. Also, we had all-time access to the computer (IBM 650) and wound up spending a lot of evenings feeding cards into its maw. That class showed me what I wanted to do with my career. I wanted to make computers be able to do things that had not been done before.

The undergraduate programming class went on for two semesters. After that everything I learned was self-taught, and sometimes quite a struggle as techniques and technologies continued to evolve.

In those days, computer science and programming were really new, and had not found their place in academia quite yet. I was mostly advised to continue studing a more traditional subject, though I really wanted to pursue programming. I finished my student career with a PhD in theoretical chemistry, but it was really a sneaky way to do more programming and play with computers.

I am still of the opinion that coding should be learnt first from assembly language level, and then get progressively more abstract. When you are coding at the machine instruction level, you really have to learn what the machine can and cannot do, and I think that informs programming for the rest of your career.

Comment Re:The problem (Score 4, Insightful) 194

Turing was gay and he was on of the few British that actually did anything in the early computer field. That's why we hear about him, not because of his accomplishments, which were few and unimportant.

If his accomplishments were so unimportant, then why is the preeminent award in computing named for him? And why are his papers used as the foundation for much of Computer Science?

And if you think the British were little active in the early days of computing, I suggest you go and study your history better.

Comment Re:Half way there (Score 1) 119

No doubt, this is a substantial reason why the government does not do the bill.

Another big reason is that in many (most?) other countries the number of exceptions (deductions, exemptions, etc.) is much smaller, so it is much easier for the government to figure your taxes based on your income reported from the employer. I live in NZ, and I would say the average guy does not file a return. If every scrap of income he made was from a job, or bank interest, or pension payments, or dividends lodged with a broker, then the government has already taxed those things at source and there is nothing more to be said.

On the other hand, there are some items which can be claimed to reduce tax that the government may not know about. This leads to an entire industry in NZ which helps people figure out if they have a refund coming that they did not know about. Most people do not.

And I have been very satisfied every year using Turbotax to prepare my US returns from NZ. The ability to link to financial institutions and automatically download the data is a real plus. For several years Intuit did not allow one to efile with a foreign address, but now they do, and that is icing on the cake.

Comment So what is an answer? (Score 1) 129

For weight and space reasons I travel with only my wifi-only tablet. Generally that works well for me.

Every now and then I encounter a hotel with only wired access provided in rooms. (Often they have wifi in public areas.) Is there an answer to using the wifi-only device in such a circumstance. For sake of argument, let's assume I am an international traveller whose cellphone never works in the countries I visit. (True) That means the hotspot method mentioned will not work.

Comment Real absurdity (Score 1) 437

I live in a non-US country. My family is all in the US. For years, before I left the US, it was my habit to purchase Netflix Gift Subscriptions for family members. I used to do this online, and was no trouble at all.

Now, because I connect from a foreign location, Netflix will not talk to me at all. Even though I am trying to buy a gift for someone in the US using a US$ credit card based at a US address, I have no hope. Neflix simply refuses to do any business with me because I come in from a foreign address.

I find that to be really absurd.

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