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Comment Re: Cue the idiots (Score 4, Insightful) 153

Just because Trump asked Russia to do this, and Russian hackers did this doesn't mean there's a causal relationship.

He didn't "ask Russia to do this". He was joking about Clinton's missing 30,000 emails. Emails that are apparently now a national security concern even though they're just about yoga and Chelsea's wedding, according to Hillary.

Comment As transparent as their customers demand (Score 4, Interesting) 91

The companies understand one thing: profit.

It depends on the volume of business and a variety of factors. For example, I was recently considering the purchase of a new automobile. There was one make which I ended up removing from consideration because their infotainment was not open for me to hack on. I felt like this was important and so I told the salesman why it was important to me and that this single factor resulted in my no longer considering any models from this manufacturer.

In another instance, a specific dealership had two different sales people contact me by phone, essentially competing with each other. I didn't like that so I didn't bother calling back either one. Several days later I received a form inquiry from the general manager (certainly an automated message). I took the time to respond, explaining that I wouldn't be doing business with them because of the poor coordination of their salesmen's activities. If I already talked with one and explained what I needed in a vehicle, why was another going to call me and try to make me go through all that again?

Granted, these are different examples, but I make this small effort in the hopes that it will either improve the situation for the person who comes along after me or for myself the next time. Of course, the larger the organization, the less likely this is to have an effect. I expect that the GM of the dealership with two salesmen could possibly do something based on my feedback. I fully expect nothing to change from the manufacturer of the car with the closed infotainment system. However, if 10,000 customers all told different dealers the same thing or bothered to write to the manufacturer directly, then something might change.

Southwest and other airlines are by necessity very large companies. If you tell a booking agent something it is almost certain no manager will hear of it. But, if you contact the execs directly, perhaps if there is a VP of customer service or an ombudsman, contact that person and let them know that you value openness and that you are specifically avoiding giving them your business because of their lack of it. If they hear this from enough people, the will get the message: we are losing out on business because of our approach to blah blah blah.

So, bottom line: companies should be as transparent as their customers demand. If you, the customer, don't demand then they won't know and won't make any change.

Comment Re:Since neither is getting elected (Score 1) 247

In summary: A 3rd party candidate is statistically more likely to be closer in ideology to one of the two major parties.

If you have primary parties A and B, and C is the 3rd party, C is probably more like B than A (for this example). If you and I vote for C because we hate A and like C better than B, our votes didn't count for B. So instead of a vote being a 49% A and 51% B vote, it may well turn out 49% A, 41% B, and 10% C. Thus the party we least liked, A, is the winner.

That's actually how Bill Clinton won in 1992. Ross Perot would likely have won, but he dropped out and only reentered the race at the last month or so. He pulled far more votes from Bush than Clinton, and Clinton ended up winning because of it.

Comment Re:This is NOT a matter of trademark violation (Score 2) 244

Not necessarily. Take a look at the relevant portion of the Lantham Act. It would have to fit one of the provisions therein. It might make a false suggestion of affiliation, but it's arguable.

15 U.S.C. 1125 - False designations of origin, false descriptions, and dilution forbidden

(a) Civil action

(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which

(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or

(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities,

shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

Comment This is NOT a matter of trademark violation (Score 1) 244

You violate a trademark if you mis-represent a good or service as that of the trademark holder. And it has to be in the same trademark category that they registered. Having a trademark does not grant ownership of a word, and does not prevent anyone else from using that word. Use of a trademark in reporting and normal discussion is not a violation.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 103

I have the front panel of the VAX 11/780 used to render that scene hanging on my wall, but I got to Pixar after that project. This year and last I've contributed some designs that will fly on a FEMA satellite, and a long time ago did a little work to support the Biosciences mission on the shuttle.

Comment Re:over-simplification of economy (Score 1) 506

Economies are just a collection of processes that convert raw materials and labour into useful goods and services

You can prove anything if you start with a bad enough premise.

I know, right. Like this:

"[P]oorest members would receive a basic income that gradually increases as the economy becomes more efficient, plateauing at a level where they can afford everything they want to consume,"

I mean, seriously, even a cursory reading of the worst written history book in the world will expose this simple undeniable principle: there is no limit to human greed.

In this new Utopian economy, the de facto currency would become power and control over other people. Sort of like now, but worse.

Comment When it reduces the cognitive burden (Score 5, Insightful) 239

When Do You Include 'Unnecessary' Code?

Here is how I make the determination: if it reduces my cognitive burden now, later when I return to the same code, or other programmers who will have to maintain it, then I include it

These days, a programmers time is nearly always far and away the most expensive commodity employed in any project. Why should I spend time asking myself about minutiae rather than focusing on architecture and algorithms?

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 103

I don't need to stand by the rotation theory. However, the 2.5 degrees that the Earth rotates are about equivalent to the downrange distance.

The first stage is going about 1/5 of the target LEO orbital velocity at separation. While you might well model the trajectory as a parabola over flat ground, given the lack of fuel I would expect that SpaceX puts a lot more care into their trajectory. So far I've failed to attract the attention of the person responsible for Flight Club, the most trusted modeling of SpaceX flights, but I'll message him directly.

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