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Comment Re:Not just at the border... (Score 2) 197

I love those armed checkpoints many miles from the border in Arizona.

Ironically, the last time I had to go through one I was the passenger in a car with Arizona plates. I'm 50, the driver was 65, both of us are Caucasian men. We had to answer a bunch of questions and were there for 2-3 minutes. The driver lives in Bisbee and has to pass through either the checkpoint in Tombstone or Sierra Vista to go anywhere north (Benson, Tuscon, etc), and so is through the checkpoints all the time.

The car in front of us had *Mexican* plates and 2 passengers. I don't think they were stopped for more than 10 seconds.

That's just fucking great. Two American Citizens NOT crossing a border in a vehicle with in-state plates spend more time answering Border Patrol questions than three likely foreign nationals in a vehicle with foreign license plates. Tell me what this system is about again?

Comment Re:Technology is slowing down. (Score 1) 440

I think you're sort of on the right track, but I think it has even LESS to do with potential technological or engineering innovation.

My sense is that the finance people have basically taken over, and that technology/engineering is being completely driven by financial modeling. Basic technology and innovation is being dictated by what the elaborate revenue models tell them, and the models are built in a way to min/max production cost and consumer spending.

I see this in all kinds of technology situations, where what appear to be the dumbest engineering decisions are made because it requires you to spend more.

I expect the same with the elimination of the heapdhone jack. They will eliminate the 3.5mm jack and replace it with a lightning based audio connector. The specs won't be released until after the phone is available to purchase and they will be the exclusive provider of native Lightning headphones *and* Lightning-3.5mm stereo adapters at huge premiums, raking in nearly exclusive revenue on them for months. They will eventually acquiesce and approve third party 3.5mm adapters, but their licensing process will also also guarantee they get a percentage of ALL of them.

Now, if you look at it from a technology perspective, maybe the 3.5mm jack does need to go. But you don't need much of an imagination to think that maybe there could have been some other jack design implemented that would have still have accomplished the other putative design reasons (thinner, more internal space) and not tied up in a bunch of exclusive-to-Apple IP.

Comment Re:Commingling Inventory (Score 1) 336

What I think is especially maddening is that Amazon allows sellers to brand what look like identical goods with their own names, yet use the EXACT same picture of the items in the listings.

I bought a digital volt/current meter from a company on Amazon and there is another seller selling the EXACT same product using the EXACT same image as the one I bought. Both companies appear fairly engaged in their product (answering questions) and the second seller has suggested usage wiring diagrams as secondary photos.

My guess is that both sellers are selling some kind of Chinese product whose "brand" is whatever factory turns them out, but why does Amazon allow them to use the same photo? Why would they WANT to use the same photo?

Comment Re:This is Why... (Score 1) 120

I prefer driving as well, and even though we have a lot of direct flights from MSP, I find that security, delays, car rental, and so on worth nearly 3 hours or nearly 200 miles of road time on the Interstate. My limit, though, is about 500 miles because distances beyond that are just too time consuming for driving. I did have a trip to Springfield, IL, though which ended up being longer flying than driving would have been due to a cancelled flight and getting re-routed via Chicago.

The upside even if driving is long is you can take stuff with you -- food, full-size monitor, a decent electric kettle, cooler, etc. All that makes a week at a budget hotel much more bearable, especially when you're working 12 hour days. I've worked a couple of projects where I literally didn't need to leave the hotel for 2 days (on one of those trips the manager called me on day 2 asking if everything was OK -- she explained they get edgy when guests at this location don't leave the room for a couple of days as it makes them think of crime/drugs).

From a rights perspective, though, I think it's a mixed bag. The whole TSA experience is like visiting a prison, but I've kind of gotten to the point where I think they don't give a shit about anything but potentially violent people and no longer have the cop's what-can-I-bust-you-for-today mindset.

And in your car, with out of state license plates? You're basically an engraved invitation for a moving violation and an intensive search, and god forbid the cop that pulls you over is anything other than a major city squad or a state trooper. The former don't generally bother with anything but egregious traffic violations and the latter the same, provided your car is late model and in decent shape.

But small-town cops and county sheriff deputies can be real assholes to out of state cars. They are hot shit in their jurisdiction, shitkicker ex-football bullies making $20k/year and just convinced that someone from out of state is carrying mary-wanna and they just love to offer you a deal -- let me search your trunk, or you can have a stay in the county lockup, eat a moving violation, impound fees and lose 48 hours of your life.

Comment Re:Life goes on (Score 1) 118

I remember rumors a few years ago that VMware was going to make a smartphone hypervisor that would allow for smartphone VM partitioning.

The downsides would be battery consumption, paltry RAM on smartphones and the fact that you would basically need a major OEM to bake it into the design.

Of course the unachievable dream would have been iOS and Android VMs on one piece of hardware.

Comment Re:Happens All The Time (Score 5, Interesting) 105

But presumably the Brazilian Google exec was just that -- a Brazilian living and working in Brazil, and presumably under the jurisdiction of their justice system (no matter how non-local the video hosting was).

What I as an American find kind of unappealing is the jurisdictional claims that US law enforcement makes against a foreign national living in a foreign country whose actions took place in a foreign country and only tangentially involved the US, like the guy happened to have a dollar bill in his pocket at the time, so therefore all US laws apply.

I think it's serious overreach and it makes me wonder how safe I am from the reverse situation, some foreign prosecutor who decides that because I said "boo" on the Internet and it breaks some law in Fuckedupistan that they should get to prosecute me.

Comment Re:Not *really* selling student loans (Score 1) 49

I figure there has to be some risk with even the apparent advantages.

For one, you still have to collect on deadbeats. That's not easy.

There could be some kind of shift in the so-called gig economy where like minded student loan evaders eke out some kind of cash-only existence, making them even harder to trace and collect on.

Then there's potential for political action. It's not hard to imagine some kind of "student loan debt relief" where Congress basically forces the holders of these loans to take a haircut after 10 years or rewrites the rules to allow them to be discharged in some manner.

Comment Re:Commingling Inventory (Score 3) 336

This is one of my main complaints -- you find a specific item and there's a dozen or more sellers of the item, including Amazon itself.

I usually filter by Prime and try to choose Amazon as the seller to make sure I have the best chance of getting the real product and a recourse for a failed product.

I think Amazon could benefit itself and its reputation by forcing greater differentiation of products by seller. You would think they would want to for brand identity purposes and to claim more sales, especially when the alternative sellers are often underpricing Amazon. I know they're making money either way, but usually they're making more when they are the seller and not just the transaction handler.

Comment Re:This Adds to my Nest Frustration (Score 1) 52

I'd wager that's the value of the AI analysis, sifting the performance demands across the variables -- I/O, CPU, etc -- to find patterns that indicate where you ought to home workloads, the return on migrating workloads on demand and so on.

It may be that the metrics they had targeted previously suggested similar kinds of workload distribution merely for the power benefits of idling or spinning down nodes but without taking into account the HVAC-related aspects, resulting in fewer nodes but with no HVAC zoning priority, resulting in inefficient using of HVAC.

I'm sure there are limits, as they have other probably more important priorities like available network bandwidth, redundancy, risk mitigation from too much concentration in a single HVAC zone, etc.

Comment Re:The Finest Day.... (Score 3) 184

Your post pretty well captures a key value of manned spaceflight. It demonstrates a pretty astonishing human achievement that is largely bereft of politics and presents an image of human civilization moving forward.

I'm sure the lander/robotics crowd are right that we can do more *science* (as measured by dollars per mission) without people in space, and while the achievements are no less amazing in terms of technology, they don't capture the imagination quite like human space fight.

Comment Re:A good reason to replace old reactors (Score 3, Insightful) 140

The land question is an interesting point, but the water basins can be used for storing fresh water, water surface can be used recreationally, and in places like the Tennessee Valley and other places, more land is usable downstream because flooding has been controlled.

I think the nuke plant land argument is mostly bogus because unless you have a Chernobyl event, the lost land to a decommissioned reactor is relatively small in the scheme of things.

Comment Re:So many shared (dynamic?) libraries (Score 1) 112

That may be the reason for commercial applications, but even in the free software space shared libraries are completely dominant, so dominant that in some cases it's becoming impossible to statically link even if you control the build process.

I ran across this mailing list thread from Freebsd-Stable about static linking:

http://freebsd.1045724.n5.nabb...

I'm not enough of a developer to fully comprehend the reasons, but it sounds like dynamic linking is so baked in that it's just not possible to statically link in some libraries. Perhaps if you built the source code into yours and tweaked the limiting functions, maybe, but the level of effort it involved would be huge.

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