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Comment Re:Idiocy (Score 1) 51

How about this one, out of the 10,000+ "engineers" working for Apple how many of them are going to know about this patent before filing, and how many of those are going to not need quotes around "engineer" and thus have done some first year physics as part of earning the title?
I think you'll find single digits for the former and almost certainly zero for the latter. In this case with 2 GHz there are very special problems associated with having the sort of amplitude required to charge a phone faster than it's battery runs down and it's a very safe bet that every engineer has got enough of an idea about how microwave ovens work to know about those special problems.
Above poster, I'm sure you are aware of those problems yourself but you just didn't consider it enough before posting.

Comment Too transient, how about redoing it as a poll? (Score 1) 69

I've been reading a lot of these books over the last few years and would even be glad to contribute a few comments, but... Too transient to justify the effort. How about redoing it as a poll? The current poll has been basically dead for a week or two, and this would seem to be a much more interesting topic.

You could get the top candidates at random, but I'd recommend using Amazon to get the bestselling examples for the top 4 or 5 slots and collect the others in the comments.

Seems to be a problem with the Cowboy Neal option. If it was about the creation of Slashdot, there's not much grounds for recommending it. Perhaps an option like "Cowboy Neal doesn't read books anymore"?

Comment Re:Why is it wrong to care? (Score 1) 142

How is it not a problem if a repressive government gets ahead of the west in R&D? Do you like more, or less repressive government and the wrongful imprisonment of dissenters?

You speak of China as if they were the same as North Korea, or worse, which is manifestly untrue. China, in the 60es, was repressive, no doubt, and you could see it in the fall in living standards, but things have turned around in a radical way since then. Have you ever been to China? If you ask anybody whether they think their government is repressive, they will tell you that the government does what it should - that it does what the people wants. As an American you may not like it, but since this is not your country, your opinion doesn't really count. As for China getting ahead of the US: up your game, invest more in proper education. The US is still a bit ahead, but for how long? You are letting it slip through your fingers, playing with silly superstitions.

Again, would you like a militarily aggressive force controlling the moon?

Isn't that more of an argument against the US being present there? Or European nations? Or Russia? In fact, of all the superpowers, China seems to have conducted the fewest wars of aggression in the last few centuries. The West has always had its excuses ready - civilising the savages, rolling back Communism etc, but excuses is all they were. As for controlling the moon - how do you imagine they would do that? Send 100 million Chinese up there to occupy the whole surface? Planting a flag and going "Mine! It's mine I tell you! Mwahahaha!!!"? Even establishing a base similar to one of the Antarctic research stations is going to take decades, no doubt. It will be centuries before any talk of dominating the Moon is remotely relevant.

Comment Wrong criterium (Score 1) 287

The right criterium is not how old or old fashioned something is - if it does the job better than something newer, then it is the newer technology that isn't good enough. One of the things about COBOL is that it is in many ways such a simple language, compared to modern ones; the complexity is mostly the very heavy syntax and convoluted attempts at using language that would have been seen as solid, American and business like in the 50es. When you get down to the actual code that does something, it is surprisingly close to assembler in many ways:

        ADD NUMBER TO ANOTHERNUMBER.
        PERFORM PROCEDURE1 25 TIMES. ...

I think there is very little to optimise from the compiler side, and the lack of advanced syntax may well be a major advantage - business transactions are computationally very simple and mostly only require the things that COBOL does. I think, if one were to seriously replace the language, it should be with something equally simple - a kind of COBOL with a lighter and less convoluted syntax, and it would probably lose the identification and environment division. Things that actually make the code clearer to read would be added, like procedures with parameters, to avoid using global variables etc. Who knows, it may already exist - I haven't used COBOL for decades, and I think I have heard the term 'OBJECT COBOL'.

Comment Re:Duh, (Score 1) 49

BMW and Benz are Tesla's competitors. Of course Tesla is gonna want to "service" them as little as possible. What did he expect?

Common decency? Having grown a business, I think it is reasonable to think that he had done the normal due diligence, and that he had reasons to expect that existing deals with his customers would be honoured - it's hard to guess without knowing more details. It is not, in fact unusual for companies to have their competitors as customers; I can how it could have been an advantage for Tesla to own the patents and setting the trends for these technologies for a long time, by licensing them to other car manufacturers. I don't think they simply want to cut off all connections - they just want to squeeze them into a deal that pays more to Tesla.

Comment Re:After over thirty years of start-ups... (Score 1) 69

Success is mostly down to dumb luck: being in the right place at the right time. Things like intelligence, talent and ability have a role to play also. You need to be able to recognise the opportunity when you see it, you needs to have the knowledge and skills to exploit it, and you need to have that feeling of "entitlement" - but there are plenty of people out there with all the skills and talent, who don't make it. If you have worked for any length of time as a software developer, you know this is true, because you have seen how few, upper level managers and CEOs are anything more than moderately intelligent.

Comment Re:Hopper who? (Score 1) 287

Ever heard of self-depreciating humour?
Yes this place is a sausage-fest and I am also male - so? The kiddies who go on about IT as if they are lumberjacks and it's far too tough a job for anyone without a dick are worth laughing at. They don't get the irony that it wasn't so long ago that only girls were allowed in the high school typing classes and only boys were allowed in the metalwork classes.

Comment Re:Abolish NASA, and deregulate aerospace. (Score 1) 142

Without NASA there is nobody to pay for "private space" apart from communications satellites, and that's hardly enough to keep the lights on. Any "private space" company without military funding would be doomed.
It's appears to be one of those situations where there is far too little return for a purely private model to work.
It's worth mentioning that NASA didn't build the lunar lander, Grumman built the lunar lander. It's been "private space" ever since we ran out of captured German V2 rockets and started paying Chrysler and a pile of other companies for things to go into space.

Comment So What (Score 1) 58

These standards are just media propaganda. Upgrade because we iterated the standard!

This happens every time. A company says hey, we are improving service, then irrelevant new organizations like Yahoo! publish articles saying it is not really an upgrade, hoping the user will click the link so they don't go bankrupt.

Comment Re:prediction... more good comments... not (Score 1) 464

implementing a minimum-wage increase throws some of the poorest of poor out into the unemployment line to starve

Bullshit. That's like those old arguments about workers compensation or an ability to sue for damages encourages workers to permanently disable themselves. You've been infected by poisonous political rhetoric that was old and worn out more than a century ago.

Comment I'd better add (Score 1) 163

Perhaps you should consider more carefully your appeals to authority.
A model limiting itself to nothing but wind and solar, not even more hydro let alone anything else, is not meant to be taken seriously alone. It's a thought experiment designed to illustrate the obvious situation that monocultures suck. It's not designed to prove what you have suggested at all.

Comment Re: Systemd! (Score 1) 364

All I did to "earn" those attacks from all those fanboys and yourself was to mention situations I have encountered where systemd is not perfect.

Which results in weird startup issues occasionally. I managed to hang my laptop trying to add an autostarting emacs server to my user session. Which shouldn't influence system boot, IMO, but it did

That's the kind of scope creep I was referring to elsewhere which IMHO is yet another sign that Lennart just doesn't "get" the idea of a *nix system or multiuser systems in general, but maybe I'm reading too much into it and his blog posts.

Comment Re:prediction... more good comments... not (Score 1) 464

Morality is irrelevant; minimum wage is an efficiency model.

The efficiency model is to exploit the weak and desperate as much as possible so it is indeed a moral issue to draw a line beyond where exploitation cannot go.

I really don't know why you wrote so much to build a house of cards upon your faulty premise. What exactly were you trying to do with all of that? What's with the weird attack at the end?

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