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If I could change what's "typical" about typical laptops ...

Scott Wood Re:Middle mouse buttons (591 comments)

Not registering spurious taps is an even more key ingredient to an acceptable touchpad -- so those physical buttons had better be there after I disable tapping altogether.

about a year and a half ago
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If I could change what's "typical" about typical laptops ...

Scott Wood Re:No Windows OS (591 comments)

There's a big difference between information about the programming interface of a device, and "blue prints" that would allow a competitor to easily implement a copy. It might make it easier to produce hardware that works with the same drivers, but probably not easier than just writing new drivers for totally unrelated hardware (unlike in the DOS days where drivers were embedded in application code, and hardware compatibility was the only reliable approach).

There is lots of hardware with open source drivers -- how often does that result in the hardware being cloned?

Of course, some devices are relatively simple things with all the intelligence in the driver software. In that case, you'd have more of a point (though you could still document the interface to the hardware itself), but that's more about selling software than preventing a clone of the simple hardware. It doesn't justify a general statement that Linux driver development is "pure hell".

about a year and a half ago
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How Long Is Your Morning Commute?

Scott Wood Re:Varies from about 20-30 minutes (353 comments)

It would help if cities didn't count the actual gutter towards meeting the standard bike lane width (or ignore said standard width entirely).

more than 2 years ago
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How Long Is Your Morning Commute?

Scott Wood Re:Varies from about 20-30 minutes (353 comments)

4 times the mileage (kilometerage?) for highway driving versus city? Using less gas per minute (not per km) despite driving at substantially higher speeds? Unlikely.

more than 2 years ago
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GPL, Copyleft On the Rise

Scott Wood Re:No GPL if taxpayer funded (277 comments)

This is the FSF's position, but some people think the requirement to preserve the BSD license text is a "further restriction" relative to GPLv2.

Even if those people are correct (one might argue that the text the BSD license says must be preserved falls under "appropriate copyright notice", or is close enough that a court would not find it a substantial breach of the GPL), explicitly dual licensing is useful to satisfy said people's paranoia, especially if you want your code merged into their project.

Of course, if we're going to start interpreting the GPL that strictly to the letter, section 2a of GPLv2 gets violated constantly...

more than 2 years ago
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Tetris In 140 Bytes

Scott Wood Re:Not 140 bytes (215 comments)

One of my favorites is banks in 1998... a flight simulator in 2256 bytes (shaped like a plane, of course). And that's raw libX11, no web browser...

more than 2 years ago
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Tivo Gets $215 Million Patent Settlement From AT&T

Scott Wood Re:Tivo dreaming (93 comments)

I use a cablecard Tivo with Time Warner in Austin, and don't see this. They do set a lot of things (sometimes quite randomly) to what I assume is copy-once, which makes multi-room viewing mostly useless, but does not inhibit recording and playback on one DVR.

more than 2 years ago
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WRT to the next major election where I live:

Scott Wood Re:Poll Tax (390 comments)

Do they provide transportation to and from the office where you need to apply for such an ID?

What about people that are citizens, but lack the documents required to get a state ID? Not everyone is born in a hospital, and not all parents of home births are responsible enough to file the birth certificate -- especially for older births when such things weren't as important as they are today.

Adding barriers of any sort is going to depress legitimate turnout, so it had better be stopping enough fraud to be worth it. If you suppress more legitimate votes than illegitimate, you have failed in making the vote outcome better reflect the desires of those eligible to participate.

Such suppression disproportionately affects the fringes of society -- and we know who *they* vote for, so guess which party pushes voter ID laws...

about 3 years ago
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Apple Plans New Spaceship-like Campus

Scott Wood Re:Interesting Highlights (279 comments)

I'm not sure that running a natural gas generator is going to be sticking it to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

more than 3 years ago
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Senate Panel Backs Patent Overhaul Bill

Scott Wood Re:WTF? (243 comments)

I need an investor to write software? Even if I have one, I need to burn valuable startup capital patenting every little aspect of my product that someone might want to patent?

Does "first to file" only make a difference with prior inventors that did not disclose, or does it interfere with prior art that has been made public by way other than patenting?

Personally, if there are multiple independent inventors within a short period of time (disclosed or otherwise, as long as you have evidence that it happened, and was independent), I think that should invalidate the patent altogether as being an obvious progression from the current state of the art. Or at least give joint rights to the patent to everyone involved.

more than 3 years ago
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Senate Panel Backs Patent Overhaul Bill

Scott Wood Re:WTF? (243 comments)

How is that US widget manufacturer contributing an invention to the sum of human knowledge? Why do they deserve a monopoly on the US market for those widgets?

more than 3 years ago
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IRS Nails CPA For Copying Steve Jobs, Google Execs

Scott Wood "it died but only after a huge upset" (509 comments)

So, they're operating with no good guidelines in a system that makes it hard for S corporations with highly variable income to avoid burdening themselves with fixed salary costs -- and they like it that way, since they opposed the proper fix, which is to recognize that this is all ordinary income, and should be treated as such -- just as the profits of an unincorporated business would be.

more than 2 years ago
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IRS Nails CPA For Copying Steve Jobs, Google Execs

Scott Wood Re:The Joys of employeehood.... (509 comments)

Tax liability for profit in an S corporation is distributed to the shareholders, so his income tax return had much more than $24,000 on it. This is about payroll tax, which doesn't have deductions.

more than 2 years ago
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Should Employees Buy Their Own Computers?

Scott Wood Re:So who then loses out when the computer goes do (498 comments)

What about time spent unable to work because of a restrictive IT environment? Time spent dealing with an out-of-date OS on which I cannot install newer application software that I need (no, I'm not talking about "time wasters")? Waiting for builds on slow hardware? Not being able to effectively work from home (include here the time I wasted trying, in vain, to get some sort of usable VNC setup on top of the old, IT-managed, company-owned Windows laptop that I'm allowed to VPN with, so I could get to my Linux desktop in the office? I eventually got it working, mostly, but it wasn't usable.)?

You can't treat all employees and all jobs the same.

more than 3 years ago
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Should Employees Buy Their Own Computers?

Scott Wood IT works for the company, not the other way around (498 comments)

That's just what I want, to support 30 or 40 different models, brands, or hell even architectures.

There's a difference between "let's have IT support everyone's personal equipment" and "let's not prohibit people from connecting their own computers to the network". Limit it to people considered technically competent, and feel free to reject support requests where the problem appears to not be on your end -- though don't be too quick to dismiss the idea that the problem might be on your end, particularly when dealing with developers and others who ought to have a clue.

To say nothing of when their own personal laptop that they used to surf horse porn last night brings some nasty viruses to work to test the corporate network.

If someone causes a problem due to carelessness, then maybe they lose the privilege of connecting their own stuff. But don't use the firewall as an excuse for crappy internal security.

And finally, what happens when I tell them "Sorry, you're going to need to downgrade your os/office suite/creativity suite/whatever to be compatable with the tools we've already paid thousands of dollars for and aren't going to get a new license just for your special snowflake hardware there".

Accommodating such differences is a separate question from restrictive policies, though I don't see why it's IT's business if some department wants to pay extra for a special license, or for extra IT manpower. If you're asked to pay for it out of your existing budget, that's another matter.

No thanks. I'm happy with standardized hardware.

I'm glad you're happy. Your users -- who may also be highly valued employees that the company wants to be happy -- may not be.

if you keep facebook and yahoo messenger off it (thank god for corporate virus protection that can prevent unauthorized installers/msi files), it'll run nice and quick.

"Runs nice and quick" is not something anyone would ever say about a Windows computer after IT loads their crap on it where I work. Their Linux boxes aren't slowed down quite as much, but they run old software with lots of weird local IT changes (e.g. they override the already old distribution's version of sed with an even older version. They said it was because they thought someone at some point might have depended on that old version, but they didn't seem to have a clue who or why).

We're not limited in the software we can install. We can, in some instances, wipe the OS and install whatever we want and manage it ourselves. But corporate policy prohibits us from connecting a piece of hardware not *owned* by the company to the network, not even to connect from home over the VPN, not even on a virtual machine dedicated to the task.

Seriously, a 5 year old pendium D with 2gb of ram running XP will tear the fuck out of office 2003 or 2007.

My job doesn't involve running "office 2003 or 2007". Or Windows, for that matter. It does involve compiling large codebases, with compilers that grow ever slower in their efforts to make the generated code faster. It also involves a variety of development and communication tasks that benefit from running up-to-date software.

This is work. Do work.

So, does "Fri Jan 14, '11 03:31 PM CST" translate into work hours in your time zone?

Seriously, it's not IT's job to determine the extent to which employees should be allowed to take a break, or what constitutes "work".

more than 3 years ago
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Has the Industrialized World Reached Peak Travel?

Scott Wood Re:Far from it... (314 comments)

Oil consumption will at some point be self-regulating by insufficient supply -- but simply letting that happen on its own schedule would be more disruptive than gradually weaning ourselves off of it, using the revenue raised to accelerate development of alternatives and mitigations, saving more of it for the most important uses later on. Who are you to tell future generations (or the less wasteful members of the current generation, for that matter) that it's our right to suck the oil out as fast as we can?

CO2 is not self-regulating in this manner. We can take explicit action to reduce emissions, hope it magically falls on its own, or endure the consequences. Who are you to tell the rest of us to twiddle our thumbs while you crank out as much CO2 into our atmosphere as you want?

If you live in Aliso Viejo, I'm sorry that you have (or had) idiots in your local government (if you don't live there, then congratulations on the cherry picking), but we are not going to abandon the notion of trying to find collective solutions to collective problems just because someone makes a mistake now and then, or because a few people make grandiose claims of self-sovereignty.

more than 3 years ago
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Has the Industrialized World Reached Peak Travel?

Scott Wood Re:Far from it... (314 comments)

I didn't say that cars are evil -- I was just complaining about an environment where one is dependent on them for most or all mobility.

The rhetorical tone was calibrated by the parent post comparing all dense cities to Indian slums.

more than 3 years ago
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Has the Industrialized World Reached Peak Travel?

Scott Wood Re:Traffic Volume Trends (314 comments)

Yes, access to a wider variety of shops/services/jobs is nice. That's why people clustered into cities in the first place. You've got a much more energy-intensive way of achieving that.

Are there some things that need to be done out in the country? Yes. Are most of the people that live out in the country or in suburbs (the latter in the larger problem, in terms of cumulative effect) today doing that? No. For those that have a real need to be out there, higher fuel costs are just a cost of that line of work, which you can pass on to your urban customers. Somehow I don't think turning farmland into suburban subdivisions is going to help keep the agricultural system going.

It's not about wanting to interfere with anyone's life -- it's a recognition that we're burning more fossil fuel than we can sustain, and needing to bring down that consumption level. Increasing the cost of burning fossil fuel is an extremely powerful tool for achieving that. Government has already been interfering in our lives by discouraging cities in favor of suburbs through various policy decisions.

Before you complain about the tax money spent on cities, check where that tax money mostly comes from -- and don't forget to count people that live in the country or a suburb but commute into the city.

more than 3 years ago

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