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Comment Re:The Cloud (Score 1) 58

This isn't the reason the cloud makes a terrible backup. The thing that you want to avoid with a backup is correlated failures: things that cause a failure of your primary store should be different from things that cause a failure of your backup. Your house burning down or thieves coming and stealing your computers will cause failures of both your original and on-site backups. It's a lot less likely that the founder of your cloud provider will be arrested for the same reason that you lose your laptop.

Remember: it only matters if your backup storage fails at the same time as your on-line storage.

Comment Re:SF salaries are too low (Score 1) 327

No, he's right. To afford a standard of living comparable to what the same engineer would be able to afford elsewhere, he needs to make $500K/year. That's obviously not sustainable for his employer, which means that the rational thing to do is start moving jobs out of the bay area (which some companies have already started - Microsoft closed the bay area Microsoft Research site a year or two back, for example).

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 327

You can address that by having a progressive tax. In the UK, there are tax-free savings accounts that have a limited pay-in amount per year[1], income on which is exempt from income tax. You could do the same thing with a wealth tax: anything in a tax-free savings account doesn't count. You could perhaps also add an exemption for money in your primary residence, up to the median house price in your region. Beyond that, add a tax-free allowance of something like $50K and most people will pay nothing.

The real problem with such a scheme is that it's open to tax avoidance. It's fine for poor people, whose wealth is typically in cash form and so easily valued, but what about wealth held in private stocks in off-shore corporations? Those currently don't even need to be disclosed, and if they are then it's often very difficult to determine the value of the company (especially if it's a shell company that owns other shell companies that own real assets, with arbitrary levels of indirection in the middle). To make it work, you need complete financial transparency on all private companies.

[1] When they were introduced, this was about £3K, which was pretty reasonable. If you're earning 50% more than minimum wage in most of the country, you can get close to this. Now it's over £10K, which effectively makes it a tax break for the rich. Unfortunately, it doesn't roll over either, so if you have irregular income then you couldn't put in nothing one year and then £6K the next.

Comment Re:It's got nothing to do with desirability (Score 1) 327

Add to that, claiming unemployment benefits after moving also typically takes a while to set up, so you need to have enough capital to cover your cost of living for a few months if you move somewhere to look for work, rather than moving somewhere because you have a job offer. And you're not going to get a job offer before you move unless you go and visit a place to interview first, which costs in hotel bills and transport unless your prospective employer covers interview costs (which only happens for relatively high-skill jobs).

Comment Re:We already had this sales pitch... (Score 1) 141

There are a few things wrong with your analysis. The first is that disk writes tend to be bursty for desktop users. You write a few hundred MBs (or a few GBs) and then drop down to an average of a few tens or hundreds of KBs per second. Spinning rust can easily keep up with the average write throughput of a typical user, it's the bursts that it has problems with. If you can buffer a few hundred MBs of writes, reorder them to reduce head movement, and then write them out behind the user, then you'll get much better performance. Obviously, this won't help for server workloads where you're I/O limited all of the time, but it will help a lot with desktop / laptop use.

The second is that one of the big bottlenecks for modern filesystems is the wait until data is safely in persistent storage. System RAM doesn't help here, because it goes away with power failure. To ensure consistency, you have to pause writing parts of an update until you've received confirmation that the previous part is written. In a conventional journaled FS, for example, you don't start writing the updates until you've confirmed that the journal has been committed to disk. With NV cache, you can get this confirmation practically instantly. If there's a power failure, then the drive just has to replay the transactions from NVRAM.

Comment Re:Online ? Authors never shopped in real life (Score 2) 242

I thought Waitrose delivered everywhere where they had a large store. Don't they deliver in your area?

For what it's worth, I've had under a dozen substitutions in five years of using Ocado (fewer than I got in any six month period with Tesco before that) and things always come with long shelf lives. They also have excellent customer support and will quickly fix anything that they get wrong.

Comment Re:Online ? Authors never shopped in real life (Score 4, Interesting) 242

Unfortunately groceries kind of suck online in the UK.

Seriously? Between the major supermarket chains and Ocado all providing online order / home delivery, none of them works for you? I'll admit, I gave up on Tesco repeatedly sending me things that were one day away from their use-by date, but there's a reasonable amount of competition.

Comment Re:It's not just shocking, it's stupid (Score 1) 242

You actually see this on Amazon, where a number of third-party sellers automatically set their prices by querying the Amazon price or the cheapest third-party price and undercutting it slightly. This sometimes leads to amusing effects where two third-party sellers are offering something for 10% less than the cheapest other seller and forget to set a minimum price.

Comment Re:CEO's fear (Score 1) 286

I seem to recall a study a few years back that showed that most highly paid CEOs' decisions were not better than random and, in a number of cases, were significantly worse. They shouldn't be worried that they can be replaced by AI, they should be worried that they can be replaced by a magic 8 ball.

Comment Re:Robots are good (Score 3, Insightful) 286

The problem isn't robots taking all our jobs, it's robots taking half of our jobs. How do you manage a society in which 50% of the working-age population are contributing essential work for the functioning of civilisation and the other 50% are not able to do anything that a machine can't do better? Unemployment rates of 10-20% are currently seriously problematic for western societies and cause huge economic problems. For some jobs, you can solve it by dividing the work among more people, so you have four people working a 10 hour week instead of one working a 40 hour week, but that doesn't help you to deal with the people who aren't able to do any available jobs.

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