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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

darkwing_bmf Re:Anything built before 2001 (513 comments)

We always get a false impression of the reliability and quality of old stuff, because the stuff that sucked and broke got thrown out years ago, and the only things that we still encounter are the ones that were well made. It's true with old houses, old cars, old furniture, pretty much everything. I'm sure there's a law for this phenomenon with some pompous dude's name on it but it's a well established and discussed phenomenon.

I believe the term you are looking for is Survivorship bias.

9 hours ago

Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

darkwing_bmf Sales tax (342 comments)

Just charge a tax on the total value of whatever is bought/sold. Like 0.1%. This would eliminate any incentive for the micro-game of HFT.

about two weeks ago

Fifty Years Ago IBM 'Bet the Company' On the 360 Series Mainframe

darkwing_bmf Re:software (169 comments)

Really? How much are you willing to offer for this motivation?

about two weeks ago

Data Mining the Web Reveals What Makes Puzzles Hard For Humans

darkwing_bmf I doubt it. (44 comments)

One possibility is that puzzles that are hard for computers must also be hard for people. That's undoubtedly true...

Not really. I would imagine something like a riddle would be easier for a human than a computer. On a more mundane level, computers, even with robotic bodies, so far can't interact with the world we live in as easily as humans do. Yes, they can do some things we can't but the reverse is also true.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Experiences With Free To Air Satellite TV?

darkwing_bmf Re:us fta worth it? (219 comments)

Sounds like an opportunity to install an antenna tower!

about two weeks ago

Toward Better Programming

darkwing_bmf If only there was a way... (391 comments)

If only there was a way to take a real life need or want and make the machine do it. Oh wait, that's called programming. Well, what if I want to use only human language to describe what I want? Well, there's a solution for that too. Hire a programmer.

about three weeks ago

IRS: Bitcoin Is Property, Not Currency

darkwing_bmf Re:Yet another reason... (273 comments)

There are plenty of reasons to not use bitcoin but taxes ain't one of them. You're going to be legally liable for taxes on any income (including any coming from bitcoin) regardless of the IRS ruling but the ruling adds clarity on how it's taxed.

about three weeks ago

$30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow

darkwing_bmf Re:Did Fluke request this? (653 comments)

30k was probably cheaper than a full time staff of lawyers anyway.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

darkwing_bmf Microsoft Surface (287 comments)

I don't know why the focus is on Linux.

I got a Microsoft Surface (rt) for my Mom and she loves the thing. It gets a lot of negative press for not being a "real" windows but it fits her needs well (web, email, Netflix, solitaire), has a touch screen and keyboard. It's relatively inexpensive and moreover, Microsoft offers two years of training for $99 (one lesson per week). You can't beat that price if your grandma is interested in learning more about her computer (assuming she's somewhat close to a Microsoft Store).

about a month and a half ago

Steve Ballmer Blew Up At the Microsoft Board Before Retiring

darkwing_bmf Re:Microsoft just doesn't get it. (248 comments)

I think the surface is pretty cool. Got a first generation one for my mom and she loves the thing. Granted, she's not a power user, but for email, office, (very) simple games, and Netflix, it's a great device.

about a month and a half ago

Mt. Gox Shuts Down: Collapse Should Come As No Surprise

darkwing_bmf Re:Can someone explain this theft? (232 comments)

Let's say you deposit your retirement money at the Bonnie and Clyde savings and loan. They then take that money and move to Mexico and use it for their retirement. They may or may not use a car to get there. Either way, you're never going to see that money again.

about 2 months ago

Sony's Favorite Gadget Is Kinect

darkwing_bmf Re:Microsoft had another option to be different (222 comments)

But, it comes with a cost--the inability to buy used discs or discs from third parties at a discount will keep prices outrageously high for games.

Steam is diskless. It also has games that are just as cheap, if not cheaper, than used disk games (especially during sales). There are other benefits as well, such as no disks for the kids to scratch up or thieves to steal that you have to re-buy if you want to play again.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Games Are You Playing?

darkwing_bmf Re:FTL Faster Than Light (669 comments)

While you're pondering what question to ask a dead frog, the ceiling squashes you. Your life and your adventure end here.

about a month ago

Star Trek Economics

darkwing_bmf Re:Star Trek world has scarcity (888 comments)

Thanks for responding. I do disagree with you about free trade though. I believe it to be good. It might be disruptive but it is economically efficient (overall) and it is peaceful. In fact, surpluses created by trade and other means are essential if we want to fund all the good things societies want. The problem isn't trade per se, it's that the benefits aren't reallocated back to the people that might be displaced by it.

about 2 months ago

Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

darkwing_bmf Re:I see his point (312 comments)

I don't know. Our managers, good or bad, are tasked with some pretty mind numbing things like tracking progress on things that are hard to measure and endless days of nothing but meetings. Why would anyone want that job?

about 2 months ago

South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

darkwing_bmf Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (665 comments)

He should be tossed out for violating the constitution.

How about just not re-electing him?

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

darkwing_bmf Re:There is programming without code. (876 comments)

Thank you Mr. Car Analogy Person. But us programmers are simple people. We just tell the machines what to do. Other Engineers are responsible for making the machines.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

darkwing_bmf There is programming without code. (876 comments)

Programming is nothing more than telling a machine what to do. You can tell your car to start by turning a key. You can tell the light to switch off by flipping a switch. You can even etch your own circuit board without typing anything. However, using actual words to code is much easier than designing an entire system from chemical and mechanical processes. That's why we have programming languages. Despite popular perceptions, those languages significantly simplify complex tasks.

about 2 months ago

Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps

darkwing_bmf Re:Common sense? In MY judiciary? (457 comments)

Sorry, that argument doesn't work. Supposedly the idea isn't just to make you drive the speed limit at the speed trap, it's to make you drive the speed limit *everywhere* because you don't know where the speed traps are.

Well, the real answer would be speeding cameras everywhere instead of random checks. It would be more fair to everyone and reduce speed more consistently than random checks. But guess what? Those are not popular.

Right now driving is a game. A game with screwed up rules like: It's okay to drive the speed you feel safe. Unless there is a cop trying to enforce some arbitrary limit. Then you must drive the arbitrary limit. You are less likely to see a cop during rush hour because they don't want to slow down traffic. You are more likely to see the cop when the lanes have fewer people and are therefore safer for higher speeds. It's a crazy system we have.

about 2 months ago



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