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Comment All those little changes add up... (Score 4, Insightful) 388

...and they usually add up to a giant, steaming pile of crap.

I worked on a project once that did its best to implement all user requests in its product. By the time I started working on it, there were at least seven different ways to do any basic function, because different users thought it would be great if they each had their own way of doing the same damn thing.

The result? The software was bloated, and damned near impossible to adequately test. The permutations possible to do the exact same task were staggering. This resulted in a lot of weird bugs that weren't found during testing. It made the software brittle, and in the end the same users that wanted all these different ways of doing the same task (multiplied by a few dozen different tasks I might add) weren't happy with the resulting complexity. All that stuff that users thought would be simple and a good idea, in combination, sucked.

Sometimes it's a developers job to say no. It can be very difficult to decide when that time is, but projects that never say no are doomed to failure. Sometimes an over-arching vision as to how the product should work needs to win out over every single good idea some random user has.

I sometimes work with physical tools. And there are times when I'm using a wrench, but need to put it down and start using a hammer. I don't think it's unreasonable of the tool manufacturer to reject it when I suggest to them it would be great if they welded a hammer to all of their wrenches so I didn't have to put one tool down to use the other.

Yaz

Comment Re:Nice job . . . (Score 1) 421

The problem with that is: what's your house's IP address? Thanks to DHCP, no one knows. It can change at any time. So you'd have to use some kind of dynamic DNS service to get around that, and now you're talking about it being too difficult for the average idiot^Wuser to set up and use.

Or you need IPv6. The way the devices would have a real address, and your phone/mobile device could easily interrogate and store the addresses of every device on your local network using ZeroConf. As the resulting addresses would be fully routable on the public internet (assuming your home gateway is firewall setup to passthrough to those addresses on whatever port they use for command and control, which can be done automatically via NAT-PMP or UPNP). You wouldn't even need a server.

Of course, this is a very simplified view -- you'd need security beyond just the home firewall, of course -- the command and control should be 100% encrypted via a per-device key to keep out hackers -- but this is really the model IoT devices need to eventually get to. You wouldn't need any sort of centralized cloud service (although this model also wouldn't prevent one for people who wanted, say, remote web access to their devices from having one. It could be run as a third-party service, or even integrated into something like Facebook, for example); just documentation on the communications command and control protocol(s), and it would be easy for end-users to setup. IPv6 will be a very significant enabling technology for IoT to really take off -- once every device can have its own stable, globally routable address, you won't need to worry about centralized cloud services anymore.

Yaz

Comment Re:Where's the news? (Score 4, Informative) 266

Seriously though, how can a golf ball have 11 patents on it?

Read Costco's reply to the court, in which each patent is listed along with Acushnet's claims and Costco's rebuttal. You can look the patents up online at the USPTO web site. Let's look at a few, shall we?

Patent# 6,994,638 - Golf balls comprising highly-neutralized acid polymers.
Abstract
A golf ball comprising a core comprised of a polymer containing an acid group fully-neutralized by an organic acid or a salt, a cation source, or a suitable base thereof, the core having a first Shore D hardness, a compression of no greater than about 90, and a diameter of between about 1.00 inches and about 1.64 inches; and a cover layer comprising ionomeric copolymers and terpolymers, ionomer precursors, thermoplastics, thermoplastic elastomers, polybutadiene rubber, balata, grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, non-grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, single-site polymers, high-crystalline acid polymers and their ionomers, or cationic ionomers.

What is claimed is:

1. A golf ball comprising: a core comprising a center and an outer core layer, the center comprising a thermoset polybutadiene rubber composition having a first hardness; and the outer core layer comprising a polymer comprised of an acid group fully-neutralized by an organic acid or a salt of the organic acid, and a cation source or a suitable base of the cation source; and having a second hardness; and an inner cover layer and an outer cover layer comprising ionomeric copolymers and terpolymers, ionomer precursors, thermoplastics, thermoplastic elastomers, polybutadiene rubber, balata, grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, non-grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, single-site polymers, high-crystalline acid polymers and their ionomers, polyurethnnes, polyureas, polyurethane-ureas; polyurea-urethanes; or cationic ionomers; wherein the first hardness is from about 50 Shore A to about 55 Shore D and first hardness is less than the second Shore D hardness by at least about 10 points.

Here's Costco's rebuttal:

11. Costco is not infringing any valid claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,994,638 (“the ’638patent”). Acushnet has accused Costco of infringing claim 1 of the 638 patent. Costco’s sales of the KS golf ball do not constitute infringement of claim 1 of the 638 patent, however, because, among other things, the Shore D hardness of the center core of the KS ball is not “at least about 10 points” less than the Shore D hardness of the outer core.
12. The 638 patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102, 103 and/or 112. The claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102 and/or 103, for example, in light of U.S. Patent No. 6,468,169 and other prior art publications and activities

Clearly, a lot of chemistry work went into this patent to make the balls have a certain elasticity. Costco says that their balls do not have the same properties, therefore they did not infringe upon this claim.

Here's another:

Patent# 8,123,632 - Multi-layer golf ball
Abstract
Golf balls consisting of a dual core and a dual cover are disclosed. The dual core consists of an inner core layer formed from a rubber composition and an outer core layer formed from a highly neutralized polymer composition.

Here's the claim in question:

"17. A golf ball consisting essentially of: an inner core layer formed from a rubber composition and having a diameter of from 1.100 inches to 1.400 inches, a center hardness (H.sub.center) of 50 Shore C or greater, and an outer surface hardness of 65 Shore C or greater; an outer core layer formed from a highly neutralized polymer composition and having an outer surface hardness (H.sub.outer core) of 75 Shore C or greater; an inner cover layer formed from a thermoplastic composition and having a material hardness (H.sub.inner cover) of from 80 Shore C to 95 Shore C; and an outer cover layer formed from a composition selected from the group consisting of polyurethanes, polyureas, and copolymers and blends thereof. "

While a multi-layer golf ball is nothing new, this patent builds on an older patent for a multi-layer ball. Acushnet claims this is a new innovation that Costco violated. Costco claims otherwise:

15. Costco is not infringing any valid claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,123,632 (“the ’632 patent”). Acushnet has accused Costco of infringing claim 17 of the ’632 patent. Costco’s sales of the KS ball do not constitute infringement of claim 17, however, because, at the least, the surface hardness of the outer core of the KS ball is not 75 Shore C or greater.
16. The 632 patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102, 103 and/or 112. The claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102 and/or 103, for example, in light of U.S. Publication No. 2007/0281802 and other prior art publications and activities.

So Costco again says that because their balls don't have the same properties, they aren't violating this patent. This is all pretty standard legal wrangling.

Comment Re:Where's the news? (Score 1) 266

Just another reason to SHORTEN the length of patents for none drug inventions. There is NO reason on earth that a patent on a golf ball needs to be 20 years

Why not? Is the research into the aerodynamic characteristics of a golf ball more or less worthy than the research into the hydrodynamic characteristics of a blood vessel stent? For that matter, someone who keeps active as a golfer is likely to be healthier longer than someone who is sedentary and requires drugs and other medical interventions to live. Certainly you'd agree that the sporting goods companies have done more good for public health than Martin Shkreli ever did as CEO of a drug company.

Research is research, and the law says that inventors can profit from their inventions. I'm sorry you don't like that.

Comment Re:VMWARE is the future? (Score 1) 360

What's easier to backup and restore? Hint a virtual machine image.

Run your tooling inside a Docker container instead. Processes run as local processes without the overhead of virtualization, and the container images can be backed up by pushing them to a repository in a single command. On top of that, Docker container images are way smaller than comparable VM images, as they don't need to store an entire OS as part of the image. In fact, as Docker images are created in layers, two images that share the same base OS layers don't need to store that base OS image layer twice -- in effect, your images are just the diffs from whatever image they are generated from. Way smaller, easier, and faster to backup than a giant VM image.

Yaz

Comment The absolute best. (Score 1) 360

The absolute best environment? Sitting on my couch, in my pyjamas, with easy access to my refrigerator and tunes.

However, if I catch one of your developers on my couch wearing my pyjamas and helping themselves to my 'fridge while listening to my tunes, there's going to be trouble.

Ultimately, as a developer my preference is to a) have the entire power of the system in my hands, b) not be tied down by local system restrictions, and c) not being tied to specific developer tools, especially an IDE.

Breaking those down:

  • Entire power of the system: I require my own system that doesn't share any resources with anyone else. It has to be a real desktop or laptop. No thin client of any sort. If I'm out in the woods and away from any form of networking and need to build the product (or some subset), I should be able to do so. If the product relies on or is expected to be used in any sort of cloud technologies, then the ability to generate and use cloud instances is certainly a must, however they should be available alongside and via a real machine, and not be the sole development environment.
  • Not be tied down by local system restrictions: if IT wants to provide a system so tied down that my local user doesn't have sufficient privileges to install device drivers, tools, or anything else I may need to work, you need to verbally smack them around. That may work for Sales and Marketing, but your most technical people need to have full access to their systems.
  • Not being tied to specific developer tools: All of the most pain-in-the-butt projects I've ever worked on are those that rely on a specific IDE to build. And this has always wound up being a bad idea. Projects should be buildable without any sort of IDE whatsoever. Use Gradle or Maven or Ant or a Makefile to build your projects. Pretty much every modern IDE can work with these systems. Your developers can pick and choose what IDE and tools they want to use this way -- they should just be able to just 'git clone' or 'svn checkout' and build from the command line. This also tends to mean that your Continuous Integration system will build the product in exactly the same way as developer systems -- which is a good thing. Anytime I've joined a project that is so highly tied to a specific IDE, the instructions and time needed to on-board new developers is always way too high (I've seen documents with over 20 pages just on how to setup your IDE properly to build a specific project! I've also seen bugs in the code that wound up being due to differences in the way code was built in the IDE vs. how it was built on the nightly build server). Decouple how the code is built from what tools are used to write the code whenever and wherever possible, and then I'll pick the local tools that work best for me to write that code.

TL;DR version: give me a lot of computing power I can carry around with me, don't tie me down to specific coding tools, and then get out of my way. And keep your developers off my couch, and out of my pyjamas and 'fridge.

Yaz

Comment Re:Second rule of business (Score 1) 115

Your business has absolutely nothing to do with what you want to sell... it has absolutely everything to do with what your customers want to buy.

"But we can shift that paradigm! This time, we'll plan better, we just need to educate our consumers."

Well, at least they taught their consumers a valuable lesson: Sony, famously guilty for shitting on the rights of virtually everyone through their crappy DRM-enabled hardware, still sold way more consoles than Microsoft.

Microsoft just has never excelled at building what customers want.

Nokia and everyone else had phones with Java, so Microsoft shipped WinCE phones - that didn't sell.
Apple came out with their DRM-encumbered iPod, so Microsoft followed it up with the DRM encumbered Zune - that didn't sell.
Apple came out with the iPhone with the walled app garden; so Microsoft shipped Windows Phones with a walled garden - that didn't sell.
Steam and Sony and Nintendo came out with DRM encumbered games; so Microsoft shipped the XBox One - that sold quite a few, but sucked.

Their two biggest problems are that they want to use services as license enforcement gateways, and that their stiffest competition to their Software V3.0 is their own Software V2.0. Nothing new in Office has been worth buying upgrades since about 2007, yet they have managed to convince some people to upgrade to Office 2010, 2013, and now Office365.

And people are getting more and more fed up with the constant greed. LibreOffice has caught up to about Office 2007 in terms of maturity, which is good enough for a lot of people and companies. Linux has caught fire in the corporate world, overthrowing WIndows Servers by the millions. Cloud computing is moving companies to outsource their hardware data centers. Azure is competent in this arena, but cloud computing is already close to a commodity - there's not a lot of value Microsoft can add over the other big players.

It's weird, but at the core it's an existential crisis for one of the world's largest companies. They are desperately trying to figure out something to sell that will still be in demand 10 years from now.

Comment Re:Rotten Tomatoes is getting self-important (Score 1) 395

I do the same when looking for a restaurant - find a negative review and they'll tell you everything good about the place that they don't understand.

This. I use this same strategy when evaluating any product. Read a few good reviews, sure, but I need to read a few of the top negative reviews to figure out if the product actually has weaknesses that matter to me, or if it's just been purchased by a few users with unrealistic expectations.

The good thing about negative reviews is they usually aren't placed there by the business or by a sock puppet/SEO, so the dishonest reviews are at least more transparent. If some jerk with a grudge posts a 1 star review, they'll often include a whole sob story about how this company was unfair to them because they didn't immediately replace the broken thing the user dropped on a concrete floor.

Comment Re:Wait a minute... (Score 1) 265

God forbid your daughter consumes paid content without you having to pay a dime for it, paps, while people already paid over Patreon say things you disagree with "for free".

My daughter has zero buying power. She doesn't understand the ads. And what's worse, the ads that typically come up aren't even close to age appropriate. This isn't a case of Youtube showing her ads for toys she might ask me for -- they're ads for inappropriate things. They will never generate a sale for the advertiser.

Yet, at the same time, groups that Google (not I) determines to be disagreeable will now have an ad-free experience. I'd actually rather that if they insist on showing my daughter an ad for haemorrhoid cream when she wants to watch "Wheels on the Bus", that people watching "disagreeable" videos should have to watch them too.

Yaz

Comment Re:Wait a minute... (Score 2) 265

You use bandwidth without paying for it.

I'm not complaining about the need for ads; it's that they're effectively going to be exempting you from seeing advertising if you're watching terrorist propaganda, or racist rants, or two girls one cup, or whatever else gets deemed "inappropriate", while at the same time happily showing my 6 year old daughter ads for erectile dysfunction medication when see wants to watch "Wheels on the Bus".

If you had google music or youtube red there wouldn't be ads.

Which would be fine if Youtube Red were available in my country. But it isn't. I'm not sure about Google Music -- it's not a service I have need of anyway.

I do agree that it's messed up. Even the dumbest Americans should be capable of realizing that running ads during a youtube video doesn't equal approving of the content. But we didn't have so many idiots, we wouldn't have the problems we do today.

Believe it or not, advertisers are human beings too. And while they don't want to be seen endorsing or being associated with the types of videos the article discusses (bad optics), at the same time they also don't want the people who make these videos to benefit from their advertising dollars either, just as (I presume) you or I wouldn't donate money to a Jihadist group, or NAMBLA, or the KKK, etc. So I'm happy to give the advertisers some slack on this -- most decent people, advertisers or not, don't want to see their money going to such groups, even if everyone else were fine with it.

Yaz

Comment Wait a minute... (Score 5, Interesting) 265

American companies swiftly followed, even after Google promised Tuesday to work harder to block ads on "hateful, offensive and derogatory" videos.

So let me get this straight -- racists, misogynists, and terrorists are going to benefit from an ad-free experience, and yet my 6 year old daughter has to put up with ads for mortgages and makeup and other adult stuff when she wants to watch kids videos? WTF did we ever do to you Google that dirtbags get an out from Youtube ads, but the rest of us have to suffer?

Yaz

Comment Re:But which kind of stroke? Too thin or too thick (Score 1) 41

To throw another wrench into the decision matrix, an ischemic stroke is caused by a clot that has been jammed into a narrow blood vessel. If the patient is not particularly healthy he may have fragile arterial walls, in which case the clot can damage the artery. Ironically, this may lead to the clot doing its intended task, becoming the thing preventing the damaged artery from hemorrhaging. In these rare and undiagnosable cases, responsibly using tPA (or spider venom) to dissolve the clot can actually lead to a hemorrhagic stroke.

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