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Comment iTunes hasn't been a requirement for years (Score 3, Insightful) 114

Get rid of that awful fucking iTunes software and let me access the phone like any normal USB device.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I opened iTunes on a desktop computer or synced my iPhone with it. That hasn't been a requirement for years.

As for using it as a USB device, I feel you but doubt it is going to happen any time soon.

Comment Taxonomy is always arbitrary (Score 1) 206

Maybe stop changing arbitrary definitions.

Why? If the definitions already were arbitrary then what's wrong with changing them to a different variety of arbitrary? Especially if the new definition makes more sense. We're talking about taxonomy here, not some law of physics.

Frankly the term planet is probably too broad to be super useful by itself. It's kind of like a genus for space objects and we need to define the species. Jupiter and Earth are both considered planets but they aren't even remotely similar to each other aside from being big and round. Ganymede and Titan are both larger than Mercury and all of the dwarf planets. It's not entirely unreasonable to call them Moon Planets even if that seems a little odd to us currently.

People get WAY too attached to the word planet. It's just a word and it doesn't matter what we attach the word to as long as we are clear about what it means. If we want to call large moons a Moon Planet, why is that a problem so long as the definition is clear? We probably should call planets like Jupiter something different than planets like Earth. It's completely fine to have multiple categories of planets and I'm pretty sure we are going to find out that there are far weirder things in the universe than what is in our little solar system.

Comment linux minus gnu = linux (Score 1) 224

Stallman isn't taking credit for work he didn't do. Stallman is taking credit for work he did do; Stallman is taking credit for the GNU OS.

There is no GNU OS. Stallman didn't write the kernel. The kernel defines what OS it is. Ergo Stallman is trying to take credit for work he didn't do by pointing out that other work he didn't do (GNU - others wrote those tools too under the FSF aegis) was used to enable linux to be a useful product in some cases. It's not GNU/Linux as he claims. If linux didn't use any GNU tools it would still be linux.

Comment Re:Hole punchers for old floppies (Score 1) 615

Hole punch? Why?

Because I had one and they worked. Easiest and fastest way to do the job. Used a sharp knife a few times too. Scissors didn't really work great but could do in a pinch.

I still have a sheet of those little stickers you used to close the hole to write protect the disk lying around.

Now that is a questions worthy of a "why"? Just feeling sentimental? Worried that floppies might make a come back some day? Hoping they will increase in value? I just used some tape though I do remember the stickers. Got rid of all that crap decades ago though.

Comment Kernel defines the system (Score 2) 224

I thought Android is *not* Linux? At least that's what one of my Android text books says.

Just because someone wrote something in a book doesn't automatically make it true. Books are not necessarily authoritative sources and I can provide you lots of examples of books getting "facts" very, very wrong. This evidently is one of them.

It uses the Linux kernel...

Then it is linux in addition to whatever else it is. The kernel above all else defines which operating system you are using.

but is not the same operating system that is commonly referred to as "Linux" i.e. GNU-Linux.

It's a variant of linux but not the only one. GNU/Linux is really not a single system but rather a marketing attempt by Richard Stallman to use work he and some others did to take credit for work they didn't do. There is no single one-true-linux. Any system that uses the linux kernal as its base is some variant of linux.

Android has major differences with Linux.

Android is linux as long as it uses the linux kernel. Change the kernel and you can call it something else.

Comment Non-sequitur (Score 2) 181

I wish MBAs were judged by their ability to support and enable coworkers to achieve a common goal.

That sentence is a non-sequitur. A MBA is a college degree, not a class of people. Having a MBA doesn't grant anyone magical armor to prevent their job performance critically evaluated.

Presumably you are using MBA as a trite shorthand for someone in management who studied business in college. Guess what? They ARE judged on their ability to do exactly what you suggest. Managers who fail to support and enable co-workers to do their job generally suck at their job and generally are rewarded accordingly no different than any other job. Having an engineering degree doesn't grant one magical powers of intelligence and competence nor does it mean they are good at engineering. Some people with MBA diplomas are very good at their job. A bunch more are mediocre and some really suck. Same as with any other type of degree and job.

Comment Not everyone cares about the company goals (Score 1) 181

The one thing most managers fail to understand that most people if given a goal and all the things they need to accomplish that goal will work steadily toward it.

Many people are like that but not all. If you've managed groups of people you would know that for every motivated and hard working person out there there is a malingerer who wants a paycheck but doesn't really want to do any work. I can't put numbers to it beyond saying that the percent of the population that will be lazy and uncaring given the chance is in double digit percentages. This is particularly true if the job that needs to be done is boring, hard, dirty, or tiring.

I don't know if you've had the pleasure of dealing with fraudulent worker's comp claims. I have. You'd be amazed the lengths to which some people will go to avoid work. Many more don't take it that far but there are plenty more who do just enough to get by. Just because you make a goal doesn't mean everybody is going to be inspired by it. I've had to fire plenty of people who would much rather watch youtube videos on their phone than do their job. Maybe that means I'm not the best manager but more likely it just means that those were people who really just don't care.

If you have to drive them something is very wrong.

Not necessarily. Let's take McDonalds for example. I think we'd agree that it is a successful business. I think we'd also agree that it's not the most pleasant place to work. Pay is low, the work is tiring and boring, and your co-workers are rarely bright and motivated. Goals? Most of the workers don't care much about the goals of the company. Turnover in that company is over 100% per year. And yet they are very successful despite having a largely unmotivated workforce that turns over constantly. The people that work there want a paycheck and they harness that, deal with it, and drive their workforce to do what is needed. For the most part your typical McDonalds worker doesn't give a shit about any goal you put in front of them. They are there out of necessity and are not true believers. And that's ok as long as you know what to expect from them and build the business accordingly.

Comment Different skill sets (Score 1) 181

Like a sports team, the manager of the team can rarely accomplish what the athletes can. The manager may have been a great athlete in their past, but usually they were not.

And few of the athletes can accomplish what the manager can if he's decent at his job. That works both ways. Different skill sets are required for both jobs. Management rarely gets to their position by being incompetent know-nothings. They got that job because they have specific skills just like every other team member. It's not that the manager is less talented than his team, it's that he has a different set of talents to bring to the table. Each team member focuses on their role and the whole thing works. The role of the manager is to remove obstacles and keep all the parts of the team coordinated and on task.

Comment Smartest guy in the room (Score 1) 181

I have yet to meet someone in upper management who knows more than his underlings.

Right... All those upper management people got there by being know-nothing idiots... [/sarcasm]

Yes you probably know more about your specific job than anyone else does. Guess what? The same is usually true for everyone in the company including management. And people don't generally get to management jobs without having a pretty good clue how things work. Management doesn't need to know every nuanced detail about how to do everything in the company. That's why they hire other people. It doesn't mean they are clueless, it means they don't have the time to do everything themselves and/or that they can hire someone who is better at a given task then they are.

Basically a smart manager hires people who are smarter than they are whenever possible. The guy in charge doesn't have to be the smartest guy in the room at all times. He just has to be the guy who can figure out who the smartest guy is for a given task (or the most economical person) and take obstacles out of their way. I have a staff of about a dozen people that report to me. For the most part I try to let them do their job without me bothering them. In some cases I actually can do their job better than they can but it would stupid of me to try because I don't have the time. That was why I hired them - I needed the help. In other cases they do their job better than I can so my job is simply to make sure they aren't interfered with. That was also why I hired them - they are better than me at those tasks. Nobody is an expert in everything and it's foolish to expect them to be.

The reality is that most of the companies would actually run better and make more money if not for idiots in charge.

You can say that about every job. Your company would do better if you were better at your job too. My company would be better if I were better at my job. That is always true in every job.

Any time the boss isn't around the company things work smoother and clients are more satisfied.

Sounds like you should be polishing your resume if your management is so incompetent.

Comment Marginal safety gains are not enough (Score 1) 382

There are new reactor designs that haven't even been built yet

Which means they are nothing more than an unproven idea whose flaws have yet to be uncovered.

that are inherently safer than the current generation, and that are much less complex designs

I'm sure they are safer. But marginal gains in safety unfortunately aren't enough. They still have a meaningful chance of catastrophic radiation release and that is even assuming they work perfectly as designed. If there is a manufacturing flaw or an engineering flaw then the risk is multi-fold worse. We have no reactor design that solves this problem even in principle much less in practice. So far it is a problem with fission that has proven to be irreducible.

Then there's using Thorium instead of Uranium. All would be better than the current generation of reactors.

Thorium is fine but it doesn't solve the fundamental problems with using fission as a power source. The problem is that we have no way to be completely certain that catastrophic failure and accompanying radiation release is impossible. We have no known reactor design that can safeguard against this possibility. It's the fatal flaw in the technology. Add on the fact that fission also creates a pretty nasty waste disposal problem and it's pretty easy to see why the technology hasn't progressed further.

Comment The work is more important than the idea (Score 5, Insightful) 359

To be perfectly blunt, much of the work that constitutes modern computing was done in the 1950s and 1960s.

Just because someone did some work decades ago and had the nugget of an idea doesn't mean anything. The work still needed to be done to actually bring the idea to reality. There are few things more annoying than someone who thinks the idea is everything and that the implementation is just trivial details.

Parallel computing, virtualization, all these things were either developed on paper or implemented in some form long before many of us were born.

And yet none of them were available to me for the majority of my life. Why is that? It's because nobody had gotten around to the hard work of turning into something actually useful.

It's often why I find software patents so absurd, because they pretend that somehow someone thirty or forty years ago didn't develop something like it.

Software patents are absurd because they patent a mathematical formula. They also are absurd because the software industry moves WAY too fast for a 20+ year monopoly to be a sensible reward. Finally they are absurd because they do not cover the implementation of an idea but the idea itself and thus all possible permutations of said idea. That's not what patents are supposed to be for.

Comment Both borrow (Score 1, Insightful) 114

It's not a question of whether or not someone likes Apple.

Sure it is. Otherwise he wouldn't get any pleasure out of making snarky comments about how some feature in an Apple product was done somewhere else first despite the fact that very few people actually care.

Many of the "all new, we just created this and it's never been seen before!" additions to iOS have been blatant rip-offs of features in use for Android for months, if not years before Apple claims it is "all new".

Yeah yeah, Apple doesn't do anything new. Blah blah blah. Old argument. Here's the thing. Whether or not Apple is first to market with a given feature is more or less irrelevant. Very few people care if Apple or Samsung or HTC actually put the feature in a product first. What matters is A) whether that feature matters to a potential buyer enough to make them buy the product and B) whether the feature matters as a part of the entire product. I don't buy my phone piecemeal. I buy a phone with the best implemented SET of features. Worrying about who did it first is irrelevant.

It's the exact sort of crap that Apple would have sued for if the roles were reversed.

Really? What's stopping the Android handset makers from suing? You aren't going to argue that they are a bunch of nice guys who just wouldn't do that... because that would be ridiculous. I assure you Samsung will sue just as readily as Apple will. Two things there. First, Apple isn't as trigger-happy with lawsuits as you seem to imply and second, Android makers take ideas from Apple and vice-versa all the time. There are no innocent parties here.

Comment Borrowing features (Score 1, Insightful) 114

Once again the latest iPhone introduces revolutionary new ideas Android has had for years.

We get it. You don't like Apple. We'll all pretend for your benefit that the Android ecosystem hasn't "borrowed" any features from Apple and the Android is the one true system from which all good things originate.

Comment Humans and risk perception (Score 1) 382

Immediately after the end of World War II, the Greatest Generation was absolutely convinced that they were entering the Atomic Age and that it was going to be the best thing since sliced bread.

That's because they didn't know much/anything of the problems/risks with nuclear power plants. Nuclear power did seem like this amazing new technology straight off the pages of a science fiction novel and it had ended the war. Of course they were interested. There was a substantial lag between learning about it and what it could do and then figuring out what the risks and problems with it were. Over time we learned that there were significant practical problems with fission as a power source and some very real risks and it took a while for the public to absorb this argument.
People are by nature bad at evaluating risk (we tend to be risk averse) so it's hardly surprising that eventually public opinion in many places swung against nuclear power over time. Public opinion of the risk of nuclear power demonstrably is at odds with the real objective risk but if you want to build more nuclear fission plants then you need to deal with that very real fear in the political arena.

Then Green Peace set themselves against it. They spent the '60s and '70s telling the world how dangerous nuclear power was...

Greenpeace was a small player in a much bigger drama and I think you hugely overestimate their influence in this debate. But even if we stipulate to what you are saying, it is absolutely true that nuclear fission as a power source does carry substantial risks. To pretend that these risks don't exist would be foolish. You cannot argue that fission is 100% safe or that catastrophes cannot happen and remain credible. There isn't a fission power plant we've ever made that doesn't carry real risks and doesn't required oversight and maintenance from humans. Even simple designs like RTGs carry meaningful risks.

Then in 1986, the Chernobyl disaster happened, the greatest gift to anti-nuclear forces since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The reason Chernobyl was/is scary is that there is currently no way to prove that a similar disaster couldn't happen again elsewhere. It was confirmation of an already existing fear. There is not a single fission plant in operation today that does not have failure modes with potentially severe consequences. The failures are mostly remote but potentially very severe and that is the sort of risk we as humans are worst at evaluating. Use airplanes as an example - they are objectively very safe and yet many people are absolutely terrified of them because some of the failure modes are potentially quite severe and out of their control. Until you can trot out a scientist that can show that a meltdown or radiation release or similar disaster is provably impossible you're going to have a hard time getting public opinion back in favor of nuclear fission in many parts of the world. And even then a lot of people won't believe the evidence. I probably find that as disappointing as you do but it's the reality we live in thanks to human nature.

Human nature is to be scared of the things we're told to be scared of

And we've been told (with some justification and evidence) to be scared of fission for decades now. That's already done and reversing it is going to be really hard thanks to human nature. Getting people to accept something new is a lot easier than getting them to stop fearing something familiar that they think (rightly or wrongly) is dangerous.

For the record, I'm actually in favor of increased use of fission to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But to pretend that it is without risk or that it will be politically easy is just foolish naivety.

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