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Comment Re:It's true (Score 2) 286

Pixar was unique in Silicon Valley companies in that we had deadlines that could not move. The film had to be in theaters before Christmas, etc. I'd see employees families come to Pixar to have dinner with them. I took the technical director training but decided to stay in studio tools, first because Pixar needed better software more than they needed another TD, and second because of the crazy hours.
GNU is Not Unix

Richard Stallman Interviewed By Bryan Lunduke (youtube.com) 171

Many Slashdot readers know Bryan Lunduke as the creator of the humorous "Linux Sucks" presentations at the annual Southern California Linux Exposition. He's now also a member of the OpenSUSE project board and an all-around open source guy. (In September, he released every one of his books, videos and comics under a Creative Commons license, while his Patreon page offers a tip jar and premiums for monthly patrons). But now he's also got a new "daily computing/nerd show" on YouTube, and last week -- using nothing but free software -- he interviewed the 64-year-old founder of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman. "We talk about everything from the W3C's stance on DRM to opinions on the movie Galaxy Quest," Lunduke explains in the show's notes.

Click through to read some of the highlights.

Comment People have workflows. (Score 4, Informative) 388

They invest the time and the learning to master a workflow. They expect a payoff from this investment in their ability to use these workflows to achieve other ends. When you mess with a workflow, you negate that investment. They have to spend time learning and mastering a workflow all over again before they can apply it toward their actual goals.

Nobody uses software "to be using software" or "for a good experience." They use it to get things done. If they have to spend two weeks mastering a new workflow then your improvements had better deliver a multiple of that value in return, or they're going to come back with "that's cool, but it would trip me up for all of my muscle and click memory to be invalidated."

People aren't averse to improvements. They're averse to evolutionary improvements that cost more to the user in practice (time invested and mistakes avoided) than they deliver on the other end. "Small tweaks" often fall into this category. Some dev moves a button to a more "logical" placement and for the next two weeks, the users lose five or ten seconds every single time they need to use it because their absent minded clicking—absent-minded because they're focusing on what they're really trying to accomplish, not on 'using the software'—keeps ending up in the wrong place vs. what they're accustomed to.

Dev says "BUT IT'S BETTER." User experience is actually that of being irritated and not getting things done as efficiently as usual, so their response is "IN PRACTICE, IN THE CURRENT CONTEXT OF MY LIFE, NO IT'S NOT."

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

If you look in the FEMA site, they say that they provide gramts to perform repairs not covered by insurance. And no, they don't do a needs test. Now, the typical rich person does not let their insurance lapse just so that they can get a FEMA grant. Because such a grant is no sure thing. They also point out that SBA loans are the main source of assistance following a disaster. You get a break on interest, but you have to pay them back.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

I understand your point about view land being desirable even though it's a flood risk. I live a mile or so from the Hayward fault. But I have California's risk pool earthquake insurance. The government wouldn't be paying me except from a fund that I've already paid into. I imagine that the government does pay some rich people in similar situations, but as far as I'm aware disaster funds go to the States from the federal government and should not in general become a form of rich people's welfare. Maybe you can find some direct evidence to show me that would make the situation more clear.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

What you are observing is economics. As a city or town population grows, the best land becomes unavailable and those who arrive later or have less funds available must settle for less desirable land. Thus many cities have been extended using landfill which liquifies as the San Francisco Marina District did in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, or floods. Risks may not be disclosed by developers, or may be discounted by authorities as the risks of global warming are today.

Efforts to protect people who might otherwise buy such land or to mitigate the risks are often labeled as government over-reach or nanny state.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

Oh, of course they were caused by misguided engineering efforts. Everything from the Army Corps of Engineers to Smoky Bear goes under that heading. The most basic problem is the fact that we locate cities next to resources and transportation, which means water, without realizing where the 400-year flood plane is. Etc. We have learned something since then.

Our problem, today, is fixing these things. Which is blocked by folks who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change, or even cause and effect at all. They don't, for the most part, register Democratic.

Comment The problem with your explanation (Score 5, Insightful) 307

The problem with your explanation is that it's fact-based, and stands on good science. This is the post-truth era. Thus, the counter to your argument will be:

  • Evidence for a human cause of erosion is thin and controversial, and is being pushed by loony liberals.
  • We need those oil and shipping jobs, and jobs building and maintaining levees, not more regulation that stifles them!
  • Cause and effect is not a real thing, except for one cause, God is behind everything.
  • This is part of God's plan for us. The end time is coming, and when the Rapture arrives it will not matter that Louisiana's coast has eroded. Cease your pursuit of unholy science and pray to save your soul!

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 342

so far hasn't done anything irreversible.

I think the first victims have been farmers who can't bring in their crops. Just the people who voted for him in California's central valley and wherever else we depend on guest workers. I don't see citizens lining up to pick those crops. The small family farmers, what's left of them, will feel this worse, the large corporate ones have the lawyers necessary to help them break the rules and truck people in from South of the border.

The second group of victims will be the ones who need health care that doesn't come from a big company. It's a lot more difficult to start a small business when there is no affordable way to get health care. And that is the case for my own small business - I'd be in bad shape if my wife left the University. I think that's the real goal - to keep people from leaving employment in larger companies and going off on their own.

Comment Re:So... (Score 4, Interesting) 342

Donald Trump, unfortunately, satisfies a common desire among the populance to right things by means that won't actually right them. It's a desire to rid Washington of inaction by cleaning it out of the current folks who don't seem to get anything done: and then you find that the things they were working on are harder than you understood. It's the feeling that you can get things going right by having a manager who lights a fire under the responsible people: just the way that bank managers pressured employees to increase revenue or be fired until those employees started opening accounts fraudulently for customers who hadn't asked for them.

What I am having a hard time with is how our country gets back out of this. I fear Humpty has had such a great fall that there is no peaceful recovery.

Comment Re:It is kind of sad in a way... (Score 1) 423

... we do have Internet issues we need to address. Net Neutrality certainly has it's flaws ...

The difficulty is just how much of the system is walled off. The open internet is mostly dead. (* See below) Net Neutrality laws are a struggle to pass and corporations and governments inject their own loopholes into the laws so even when passed they are nearly useless.

There have been a few attempts to restore openness, and tools like RSS feeds attempted to put people back in control, but those attempts have largely failed. Paywalls, authorization servers, and other barriers must be crossed. Tolls must be paid.

In that regard I agree with Sunde. So much of the Internet has become a walled garden. It is no longer free and open, barbed wire and toll booths are everywhere. He is right that so much has changed to companies and governments building power centers, a land grab to see how much they can wall off.

Under the Open Internet, everybody had their own control. Everybody who entered the Internet did so as a full peer, anybody could talk to anybody, services could talk to other services. Anything could be automated, anything could be connected, everybody was equal, or at least as equal as their bandwidth and processors allowed. But the Open Internet is a vestige of the past. Today corporations and governments demand centralization of power, demand everything be inside their walls. When something isn't inside walls, the covetous groups do all they can to capture it. With the new rules the corporations and governments are the King. Sometimes you can arrange to be one of the King's vassals with your own little space, yet still operating within the terms and rules and whims the King sets. But for everybody else, if you want to work with a service, you become the lowest level of serf.

That is the battle that has been fought and lost.


* Stuff about the Open Internet

Back through the history of the Internet up through the late 1980s and early 1990s, the system was basically an open free-for-all. Of course tools were much harder to use, everything was driven by command line, but still much was free and open.

Back in the early days having Walled Gardens was rare. Unix was free, at least until the Unix Wars in the late 1980s, then several variants became walled gardens, which is why we have so many systems based on System V, when the schism started. The internet freely connected researchers and computer scientists, all they needed to know was the location of the resource. Several schools had CS departments that were central hubs, many government offices had central hubs, but they were all fully connected (internetworked) and effectively anybody who could connect to the network had public rights to everything across it. Anyone could go anywhere and do anything the network allowed.

The open internet is mostly gone. Being able to connect does not grant access. You need to sign up, give email addresses, create an account, and eventually gain access.

Today most services are wrapped. If you want to see something on Facebook you must register. Want that tweet? Register first. That's a great news article, just surrender your email address and it is yours. Needing to download the file linked to in a forum requires an account. Etc.

I have tried to explain to my kids many times what the Open Internet was like, how anybody could write a program and make it available for anyone else. Email addresses were broadcast far and wide so anyone online could talk to anyone else. How you didn't need to log in to every Internet service, you could sign in anonymously for access to anything anywhere. An online world that didn't maintain a minimum of 3 ads per screen. They struggle to understand that such a world could even exist, let alone what it would be like. In one online group I help with, young students were afraid that wget would get them in trouble or be illegal, and sadly, it is enough to get kicked off of some walled gardens, but would not have been an issue in the Open Internet.

Comment Discrimination City (Score 5, Interesting) 155

I have to staff exhibit booths a few times a year. I absolutely hate that applicants treat it as a modeling job and send me their photos. My wife hates it too :-) .

I ask that they be capable of standing for 8 hours per day for three days straight, and that they be well dressed, well groomed, and personable. I will always hire the smart ones (you'd be surprised how many folks with a Masters or Ph.D. are looking for weekend work), and they rarely are the model folks.

I started putting "NO PHOTOS" in my ads a while back. I am thinking of asking folks to use a first initial and not indicate their gender, just to see what happens.

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