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Woz and the RCA Character-generator Patent

david duncan scott Re:Don't stop at Paul Allen (219 comments)

Last I heard your boss's job is to delegate the work assigned to him. Assigning that work to you is precisely his job, and if you insist on doing it for him, I'd suggest going after his paycheck as well--apparently he's not earning it..

Besides which, you might end up looking pretty silly if you assign to yourself the work that your boss already knew was superfluous or even erroneous this month and you didn't even bother to check. Sometimes eager beavers dam up the wrong streams.

more than 3 years ago
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Tech That Failed To Fail

david duncan scott Re:ATM machines (428 comments)

"It's just as easy to go buy a pack of gum at 7-11 and get cash back if all you need is convenience." Sure, but some banks charge you $2 for a debit POS transaction (last I checked mine's not that bad, but I think it was 75 cents. Until they put an ATM on my street, it was a halfty-fifty call which fee to pay.)

more than 3 years ago
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Air Force Wants Commercial Spacecraft

david duncan scott Re:An oxymoron (70 comments)

You figure silver is the index of all things? Why, pray tell, except for some sort of magical thinking? It was worth more in 1980 then it is now--are we on the right track?

Personally I go for days at a time without touching any silver at all. On the other hand, the medications that are currently keeping me alive didn't exist, at any weight of silver, gold, or unobtanium, in the fifties and sixties.I had a smallpox shot back in those halcyon days of economic splendor, a shot that my children didn't need.

If I need to examine the state of a nation, the price of some particular mineral enshrined solely by tradition wouldn't be the first place I'd look, any more than I'd glom onto the relative worth of cowrie shells or beanie babies. Do you really believe that people command 1/26 of the spending power their parents did, just because the price of silver has changed by that much? Do you claim that Americans are 26 times hungrier, colder, and sicker than they were in 1950, or are the Hunt brothers a lot wealthier for their manipulations of the price of a sometimes-useful metal (although, with film gone from cameras, I suspect you'll be able to watch the dollar grow stronger, or at least silver get cheaper.)

more than 3 years ago
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Air Force Wants Commercial Spacecraft

david duncan scott Re:An oxymoron (70 comments)

Profitable private rail? The private rail that was built on massive amounts of federal land, and supported through government strike-breaking? That private rail?

And no, my argument is not that "people like things for free, so let's get government to do those things." My argument is that, on certain occasions, government can prime a pump. Do you honestly think that there is no demand for air travel? There wasn't nearly enough back in the twenties, so the Post Office came up with "airmail." Who really cared if a letter got there a day sooner, especially since a good many ended up strewn across fields amidst smoking wreckage--the point was to provide some of that demand until the airlines could get a market going. I know it's hard to picture Charles Lindbergh and Eddie Rickenbacker sucking up to the socialist trough, but without airmail contracts, speed and distance prizes, and other such interventionist folderol the US air transport industry might well have stopped with the Curtis Jenny (you know, that plane that the Feds pretty much gave to anybody who asked after World War I

more than 3 years ago
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Air Force Wants Commercial Spacecraft

david duncan scott Re:An oxymoron (70 comments)

What if the government is paying for part of the demand? It's not hard to imagine situations in which some demand exists, but not quite enough to justify any particular company making an existential wager on it. An additional demand from a government customer might tip the balance.

How much purely commercial demand was there for small, portable computers before the Air Force wanted them on-board ICBM s? We went from "the world needs maybe six mainframes" to our current state pretty quickly, once some of the R & D was picked up by the Feds.

There aren't very many things for which there is absolutely no demand, but there are many things for which the price is as yet too high.

Besides, I like my interstate highways, even if they were just an Eisenhower-era military-industrial conspiracy. They have turned out toi be useful for a good many things besides rapid mobilization of troops.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Small-Footprint Modern Browser?

david duncan scott Re:Buy more ram (475 comments)

George Bernard Shaw was self-employed.

more than 3 years ago
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For Security, My Wi-Fi Access Point Relies On:

david duncan scott Re:Multiple? (458 comments)

Nothing redundant about it. Shooting ordinary people, or even Federal employees away from their jobs, is covered by state, not Federal laws. This is why the FBI used to investigate lynchings as "civil rights violations," and also why it was significant that Judge Roll was attending the Giffords appearance to discuss her support of the Federal judiciary, rather than just as a private citizen.

more than 3 years ago
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For Security, My Wi-Fi Access Point Relies On:

david duncan scott Re:Multiple? (458 comments)

That's OK. They don't really get "the phone rang," "carriage return," or "winding a watch" either.

more than 3 years ago
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Yes, an Armadillo Can Give You Leprosy

david duncan scott Sound advice (151 comments)

And I would not dig in soil that has a lot of armadillo excrement.'

Oddly enough, this has been my family's motto for five generations.

more than 3 years ago
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EFF Advocates Leaving Wireless Routers Open

david duncan scott Re:Safe harbor prov? Sorry, only if you're a big c (686 comments)

You know, I have some sympathy for your point here, but I don't see a lot of evidence, either. Back in the misty days when Thompson sub-machine guns could be purchased over the counter and Clyde Barrow toted a BAR, the cops weren't notoriously polite to the people they arrested. Apparently the widespread availability of firearms did not, in fact, prevent "third-degree" interrogations and prisoners who never even made it to booking.

I suspect our perceptions of how it used to be are based on a sort of Pleasantville image of happy white people trusting their neighborhood patrolman, who spent most of his time helping lost children with melting ice-cream cones.

After all, before all those hippie liberals got in the way, it didn't occur to most cops that they shouldn't tap your phone, turn out your pockets, hold you for days without access to a lawyer, or "tune you up" before formal questioning.. Each of those issues had to be dragged through a court before Officer Friendly gave them up.

more than 3 years ago
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My Crowdsourced Follow-Up About Crowdsourcing

david duncan scott Re:tl;dr (59 comments)

The point? At least an intellectual exercise., and possibly a scheme that Facebook (who have stepped on their dicks any number of times over this very issue) might at least consider, along with anybody else who hosts user content and feels a need to monitor its appropriateness.

But hey, if it doesn't spin your prop, don't think about it.

more than 3 years ago
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Robert Bunsen, Open Source Pioneer?

david duncan scott Re:Faraday (127 comments)

I can often whistle a tune after I've merely heard it--that doesn't make me a composer.

I would argue that the simple, obvious-in-retrospect, inventions are the hardest. Complex inventions are frequently piles of simpler things organized in a new way. The stirrup, by contrast, is almost painfully simple,and is trivial to duplicate once seen, but men rode horses for some thousands of years before some gifted inventor thought of that simple, ground-breaking device.

There comes a point at which we tend to forget that things had to be invented--the lead pencil, the light switch, the telephone bell--because we have a hard time imagining their non-existence.

more than 3 years ago
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Robert Bunsen, Open Source Pioneer?

david duncan scott Re:Faraday (127 comments)

Yeah, I came up with the paper clip, the safety pin, and the ballpoint pen just last week. They were all perfectly obvious--once I'd seen them.

more than 3 years ago
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Ma Bell Stifled Innovation, AT&T May Do the Same

david duncan scott Re:Ma Bell Stifled Innovation? (354 comments)

You can argue that others anticipated the work, but Shockley, et al. built working transistors in the late 40's and early 50's. They may not have been the neat little cans we're used to, never mind the photo-lithographed IC's running this computer, but transistors they were.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How/Where To Start Watching Dr. Who?

david duncan scott Re:At the risk of my nerd card... (655 comments)

You know, "Blink" is superb Dr. Who, and the funny thing is that there's hardly any Doctor, or even a companion, in it, which makes it a weird introduction to the series.

more than 3 years ago
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Advocacy Group For the Blind Slams Google Apps

david duncan scott Re:Sigh (287 comments)

It's a university, for God's sake! They're supposed to be four-eyed eggheads

more than 3 years ago
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Advocacy Group For the Blind Slams Google Apps

david duncan scott Re:Sigh (287 comments)

Damn. "Who's," not "whose." Believe it or not, there no apparent cognitive deficits.

more than 3 years ago
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Advocacy Group For the Blind Slams Google Apps

david duncan scott Re:Sigh (287 comments)

Actually, speaking as somebody whose recently had a stroke and has had to take unpaid leave, you might be surprised how much economic issues still matter even amongst medical ones. Your grizzly insurance is probably partially employer-funded.

Remember, some of these blind folk may have been working, studying, and paying tuition there for years, and now everything's been changed, for maybe not much reason. "Clean out your desk, Perkins--a man who can't throw a javelin better than that has no business in shoe distribution--God knows how you almost got vested in the pension plan."

Besides, schools should be concentrating on sharp minds, not sharp eyes.

more than 3 years ago
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Advocacy Group For the Blind Slams Google Apps

david duncan scott Re:Sigh (287 comments)

Yeah, I know. I'm an insensitive bastard. But even you might have trouble after that grizzly bear bites off your left hand. Point is that there are constraints needed for a job--I suppose firemen might need to climb a thirty-foot rope to rescue panda cubs from flaming orphanages--and some are more-or-less arbitrary, and this may fall into the latter category.

more than 3 years ago
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Advocacy Group For the Blind Slams Google Apps

david duncan scott Re:Sigh (287 comments)

You're talking to the wrong end of the horse. The NFB is suggesting that Google Apps was a bad choice for these (incidentally federally-funded) institutions.

Let's say you came to work one day and all the stairs and elevators had been replaced with climbing ropes. You'd still be a perfectly competent WHATEVER_YOU_DO_FOR_A_LIVING, but you'd never be able to reach your third-floor office, and all because you can't climb thirty-foot ropes--boo hoo, you whiner!

more than 3 years ago

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