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Comment Re:Expected /. response (Score 1) 474

Well, I don't think staying on Windows 7 is a losing battle, for reasons I've described in my other comments in this Slashdot discussion. Short version: It works just fine for now and for the near future. I hope Microsoft will change their strategy before the Windows 7 option eventually ceases to be viable, but if they don't, yes, we will look at migrating to some other platform.

Another comment I was writing prompted me to look at how much of the software we use in my small businesses these days is still proprietary native Windows applications, and it's actually a very short list these days. Most of what we run natively on the desktop and literally everything we run on our servers is now freely available and widely portable to different platforms. The rest of what we run is hosted either on those servers or online and accessed via browsers and sometimes also mobile apps. The number of software packages we depend on that are actually Windows-only is trending to zero, and might well reach zero within the useful lifetime of our current Windows 7 systems.

Comment Re:Expected /. response (Score 2) 474

Obvious, but possibly naive. Small businesses in first world economies typically make more money, employ more people, and basically do and contribute more as a group than large businesses. And as the saying goes, every successful large business was once a successful small business. Also, small IT businesses, independent professionals, and "prosumer" geeks are disproportionately influential when it comes to IT decisions. Playing to the huge enterprise customers at the expense of the little guys may be a successful strategy for the short term, but in the longer term, neglecting the little guys will surely come back to haunt them.

Comment Re:People agree that Windows 10 has better tech (Score 1) 474

It's easy to say you have better tech if you ignore the complaints about it.

That's been Microsoft's SOP for a long time. Remember when they said they hadn't broken the networking in Windows 7, even though it suddenly took minutes or hours to copy large numbers of files over in Explorer that would have taken seconds or minutes on XP, or even from the command prompt on the same Windows 7 box?

Comment Re:Just what the world needed most urgently... (Score 1) 198

Compare programming a 6502 in assembly back in 1980 to programming in Java nowadays.

I see your 1978 and raise you a 1970.

'''Prolog''' is a general-purpose logic programming language associated with artificial intelligence and computational linguistics.

Prolog has its roots in first-order logic, a formal logic, and unlike many other programming languages, Prolog is declarative: the program logic is expressed in terms of relations, represented as facts and rules. A computation is initiated by running a query over these relations.

The language was first conceived by a group around Alain Colmerauer in Marseille, France, in the early 1970s and the first Prolog system was developed in 1972 by Colmerauer with Philippe Roussel.

Prolog was one of the first logic programming languages, and remains the most popular among such languages today, with several free and commercial implementations available.

The language has been used for theorem proving, expert systems, as well as its original intended field of use, natural language processing.

Modern Prolog environments support creating graphical user interfaces, as well as administrative and networked applications.

Prolog is well-suited for specific tasks that benefit from rule-based logical queries such as searching databases, voice control systems, and filling templates.

Prolog did not fail because it was lacking in declarative concision. It failed because there's an annoying layer in between formal description in the problem domain and viable execution strategies in the solution domain.

This layer, too, requires code. Of course, we can just write a formal description of the "annoying layer" as a Prolog program and then let Prolog do all the real work.

Uh, wait a minute, recursion has somehow failed us here. How could that even be? Does not compute. Proceeding to Halt and Catch Fire.

Comment Re:Upgrade refuseniks are idjits (Score 1) 474

Not necessarily. For example, we're good for another hardware cycle at this point, and our software base is all paid up and permanently licensed to go with those machines, to the extent that we're still running proprietary local applications anyway.

For business planning purposes, we are assuming that by the time we get to our next major upgrade window, either Microsoft will have come to its senses regarding the Pro version of Windows typically used by smaller businesses like ours, or some other platform will be more attractive anyway.

Unless some of our businesses expand significantly more rapidly than anticipated after the possibility of buying new PCs and using downgrade rights has run out but before we migrate to some other platform, we're fine.

Comment Re:More like... (Score 5, Insightful) 474

Quite. I read this:

Microsoft says that continued usage of Windows 7 increases maintenance and operating costs for businesses.

and my immediate thought -- as someone who runs a few small IT businesses and is typing this on a Windows 7 PC -- was... well, it would be impolite to write my actual immediate thought at the time, so let's paraphrase it as "No, it doesn't".

With Windows 10, we offer our customers the highest level of security and functionality at the cutting edge.

The thing about cutting edges is that if you're not careful, you get hurt. And I have little interest in helping Microsoft's security at the expense of my own businesses.

Oh, and just for completeness while we're debunking every single statement in TFS, we bought a final round of PC gear just in time to still get Windows 7 preinstalled, and so far the total number of devices or software products we wanted to use that haven't been compatible with it has been 0, and the number of malware infections we've had to deal with has also been 0. Literally the only thing we've had to do with drivers that was even slightly awkward was slipstreaming USB3 drivers in when installing because PCs tend to have all USB3 ports these days, in contrast to the numerous reports of driver compatibility problems with Windows 10. We're far more concerned about the potential security, reliability and confidentiality risks fundamentally built into Windows 10 than we are about any threats Windows 10 is supposedly better equipped to defend against than Windows 7.

Ironically, the single most annoying and time-consuming thing in setting up those new PCs was applying the latest Windows security patches, because Microsoft have made such a dog's dinner of Windows Update in recent times that you basically have to use one of the alternative channels instead of the built-in one. And they want us to move to a new OS that relies on their update infrastructure and gives even less control over when it runs or what it does? Don't make me laugh.

Comment Re:All your jobs are...belong to us! (Score 1) 126

As of yet, there is nothing inherently special about a human being that cannot be reproduced by machines.

What on earth are you smoking?

The present gap, on best available technology, is so staggeringly mind-rending it could serve as the third ring in Dante's Total Enlightenment Vortex.

(Midway through the fifth ring—still reeling in shock from the fourth ring's ascendancy of green slime as fully revealed—the Pilgrim of Total Enlightenment receives a surprising and painful transcranial injection of quantum nanodots, so that the true horrors of rings six—spoiler alert: Chaitin's omega because blindingly intuitive and compulsive to calculate—and seven—HAL hasn't blinked since—can be savoured and swallowed in immense and total abjection.)

Comment Re:Remember kids! (Score 1) 394

I love the politicians who stump for "no invisible tax" and write legislation to ensure that gasoline pumps break out every tax category on the paper receipt (we still have these in Canada, I can't speak for anywhere else).

Everybody knows the deal going in.

I sure wish we'd apply the "no invisible tax" standard to casinos, as well. In this world, every patron is entitled to a printed receipt on the way out (just stick your card into the receipt printer near the main exit) of total $$$ in bets placed and total $ in winnings returned.

Even better if those same receipts enumerate the proportion of your losses that wind up in the government's pocket.

7 Facts about Gambling Winnings in the US

Riddle me this, Batman: how does an activity with a guaranteed amortized loss end up pay tax to Uncle Sam on aggregate negative proceeds?

John, a German national, travels to Las Vegas on holiday. He wins a single $10,000 jackpot on the slot machines while playing at Caesar's Palace, triggering the creation of form W2-G by the casino, a copy of which is given to the player. He also wins $1000 more in various slot machine wins, none of which trigger the creation of form W2-G. When John wins the $10,000 jackpot, he hands the slot attendant his German passport along with Form W8-BEN. The slot attendant processes the form and no withholding is taken from the $10,000 jackpot. At the end of the calendar year, John will need to file Form 1040NR with the IRS and report the $11,000 of gambling winnings. He will attach Form 8833, reporting his use of the treaty position to make the gambling winnings non-taxable in the US, along with a copy of the Form W2-G he received from the casino. John will only need to file Form 1040NR in the years that he has US sourced income.

I understand taxing proceeds in a game of skill like poker, but freaking slot machines? Ludicrous. Beyond insane. Conceptually criminal.

Comment death's excellent extended vacation (Score 2) 480

Are we talking the 'death' when a generational math prodigy turns twenty-five?

Or the 'death' when a the fastest of all fast-living rock stars turns thirty?

Or the 'death' when an formerly fetching actress turns forty?

Or the 'death' when a corner-office executive producer turns fifty.

Or the 'death' when a commercial pilot turns sixty?

Or the 'death' when a professor emeritus turns seventy?

Or the 'death' when a defeated American presidential candidate turns eighty?

Or the 'death' when everyone's favourite preschool teacher turns ninety (on Okinawa)?

Or the mostly-just-resting 'death' when the queen mum turns one hundred?

And we're still not done. George Burns lived an entire Windows 95/98 maximal uptime (49 days) after his one hundredth.

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