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Xerox Alto Source Code Released To Public

dbc Re:PARC monument (106 comments)

Except that he didn't steal enough. He took what he could see: graphical display, windows, menus, pointing device. But he didn't understand what was under the hood, and missed a huge opportunity. The Smaltalk language was a huge part of the Alto system, and Jobs ignored it completely. If the original Macintosh had shipped with a Smalltalk interpreter in ROM, the world would be a hugely different place. Turning the world's hackers loose with Smalltalk on an original Mac would have made the Mac and Apple hugely successful, instead of sending Apple into an extended near-death experience. Trying to write an application for the original Mac was about as pleasant as repeatedly poking yourself in the eye with a sharp stick, and that was after shelling out large $$ for the dev system.

4 hours ago
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Safercar.gov Overwhelmed By Recall For Deadly Airbags

dbc We have a winner. (119 comments)

So, for how many years now has it been that computing on demand has existed? Enterprises use it, hobbyists use it. There is no reason public information can't be served from commercial web farms -- spin up enough instances to handle the traffic bubble, spin them down again when the panic subsides. And it's acutally pretty cheap -- cheaper than having the government maintain its own server farm. Now, there may be certain sensitive data sets that should not leave government servers -- OK, so the .gov could have it's own compute-on-demand farm someplace and agencies could use it as needed with appropriate cost-transfer bookkeeping. But when the whole purpose of a website is to disseminate public information, it's hard to argue a security need for having your own servers.

So, yeah, "be competent" is good advice. Unfortunately, procurement bureacracy is going to get in the way of even compentent IT staff getting anything accomplished in under two annual budget cycles.

yesterday
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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

dbc Stupid new Blue. (272 comments)

Unfortunately, Maersk changed their corporate blue color before ordering these ships. Which means that the Lego color palette lost an interesting blue, as the new Maersk is essentially regular Lego light blue. The Lego EEE model is therefore a non-event. Curse you, Maersk. Can't you take the needs of Lego fans into account when making important decisions like this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

2 days ago
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No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

dbc Re: a quick search (299 comments)

The doctrine of suppressive area fire came about with close quarters battle in jungle and urban settings, where the utility of aimed fire from a long stand-off distance is not in play much. In the treeless Canadian arctic, CQB is not a thing. The rate of fire with a smooth bolt action is not much worse than a semi-auto for a trained operator, and has bolt action has good cold weather reliability. Also... .308 has an awful lot of recoil for full-auto -- essentially unusable for most mortals. The selected rifle is designed for wide-open spaces, long distances, ultimate reliability, and serious stopping power at a distance. Kinda sounds like what you need in the Canadian arctic.

3 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

dbc Re:This looks like a nasty trick. (832 comments)

All of that savings is looking for a good place to be invested, which drives down the cost of capital for companies looking to expand, which increases employment. Increasing an economy's net savings is the best way known to drive growth. Encouraging dissavings and consumption is only short-term economic stimulus and is inflationary. ECON 101 -- take it.

about a week ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

dbc Re:Let me get this right (832 comments)

???? Have you ever taken an economics class? Did you pass? *sheesh* Wealth taxes are the quickest way known to destroy an economy, economists of all political stripes agree on that one.

about a week ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

dbc Re:Let me get this right (832 comments)

A progressive consumption tax is easy to collect. But not at point-of-sale, that's impractical. But, observe that when you fill out your income tax returns, all of the data reporters and most of the data necessary to compute your net consumption is available. Perhaps some of the data reporters would need to tweak their reports, but the data is easily available. Consumption = income - net_savings. It's that simple. Your dividends are already reported. Your interest income is already reported. Net change in cash into your investment vehicles is all that is necessary to compute consumption. Apply progressive tax table that the politicians can argue over endlessly and the final result is a system not materially different in complexity from the one we have now.

about a week ago
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Anonabox Accused of Lying About Its Product Being Open-Source On Kickstarter

dbc Re:Not the only problem (72 comments)

That's too harsh. I've pledged a lot of kickstarters, for things that I would like to see happen. But I'm selective -- I have enough experience as an engineer that I can sniff out the BS and avoid projects that are run by the clueless (there are a lot of those) and by the scammers (a few do exist). So far I've never had to suffer anything other than late delivery. But then again, I've suffered late delivery from people that worked for me also, so there ya go. I might even admit to being late on hardware deliveries myself. But you are too harsh when you lump all kickstarters together as scammers. The center of gravity tends towards well-meaning but inexperienced noobs with good ideas, who can envision about 60% of what they are getting themselves into.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

dbc Re:German illegal? (323 comments)

And this is attached to the wrong comment. oooof. Having a bad post day today.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

dbc Re:German illegal? (323 comments)

argh. wasn't logged in. parent post is mine.

about a week ago
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Former GM Product Czar: Tesla a "Fringe Brand"

dbc Re:It's true (267 comments)

Well, I actually have two friends that have Teslas, see other Teslas on the road often, and Leafs are common as dirt. That has a lot to do with the climate, commute patterns, and infrastructure here in Silicon Valley. That said, the Tesla is a fringe brand for many of the reasons that you say -- it is expensive, its infrastructure needs are scarce in most places, and if you live where cab climate control is necessary, prepare to sacrifice range for that. As Telsa moves down the price curve and Leaf moves up the range curve, they will become more popular and the infrastructure will follow.

about three weeks ago
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Yahoo Shuttering Its Web Directory

dbc Re:Nostalgic about oil lamps? (116 comments)

Yahoo wasn't keeping up when it was brand new. I remember using Yahoo when Mosaic, compiled from sources by yourself, was the recommended procedure for installing a web browser on my workstation at work. Yahoo wasn't keeping up even at that time.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

dbc Re:If you 'speak' C (316 comments)

Hmmm.... well.... it certainly was a long time ago. So many machines, so many assemblers since then... I may well be mistaken.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

dbc Re:If you 'speak' C (316 comments)

BALR *,13 to you, sir.

Oh... and:

0C7 ABEND
ABORT
CORE DUMP FOLLOWS

about three weeks ago
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FAA Clears Movie and TV Drones For Takeoff

dbc Re:Brilliant. Got to prioritize... (50 comments)

Indeed. Crop inspection drones are my favorite poster child for this. If a corn farmer in Iowa wants to fly a drone at 50 feet above his own farm consisting of 1200 contiguous acres of crops, I don't see how that in any way could be dangerous to anyone or anything. But the movie companies have lots of money to spend on lobbying and political donations.

about a month ago
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Not Just Netflix: Google Challenges Canada's Power To Regulate Online Video

dbc Re:Netflix / Google's argument is surely valid (109 comments)

Go read the whole thing at the link I posted. The Canadian law is pretty clear about there being RF transmissions involved.

about a month ago
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Not Just Netflix: Google Challenges Canada's Power To Regulate Online Video

dbc Re:Netflix / Google's argument is surely valid (109 comments)

You're argument is similar to what is listed in: http://legal-dictionary.thefre... as the US legal definition. However, http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca... shows that the Canadian definition is even more tightly tied to transmission by radio waves than the US definition:

“broadcasting” means any transmission of programs, whether or not encrypted, by radio waves or other means of telecommunication for reception by the public by means of broadcasting receiving apparatus, but does not include any such transmission of programs that is made solely for performance or display in a public place;

about a month ago
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Robot Operating System To Officially Support ARM Processors

dbc Qualcomm must be funding it. (33 comments)

ROS has had portability issues for a long time, but those issues have been getting a lot of attention for at least a couple of years. The build system is much better, for one thing. It should be acknowledged that a lot of people (hobbyists, mainly) have been putting in signficant effort on making an ARM port possible for some time, Raspian on the RasPi being the main target. So while it is a good thing, on balance, that Qualcomm is putting in some money to make it happen, I'm disappointed that the work already done on an ARM port isn't being recognized.

One interesting question that is always worth asking: Why is Qualcomm putting money in? And why are they putting money in now?

Anyway... it's finally nice to have some news for nerds.

about a month ago
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UK Ham Radio Reg Plans To Drop 15 min Callsign Interval and Allow Encryption

dbc Re:Everyone uses encryption right now anyway (104 comments)

Pedantically correct, you are. But... why is a proprietary CODEC allowed in the ham bands? I can't go out and build a D-STAR compatible radio because of that. Proprietary CODECs should not get FCC type acceptance for amateur radio, as it conflicts the the "basis and purpose" wording of the enabling legislation. *grump*

Encryption, OTOH, is kind of a big deal now for emergency communications. In the USA, hospitals have traditionally been both big supporters of and big clients of amateur radio emergency communications groups such as RACES and ARES. HIPAA has put a very large kink in that -- being able to encrypt patient information would make that a non-issue, but as things currently stand HIPAA regulations are a giant trip-wire for anyone passing information in the clear. Amateur radio would benefit greatly from changes to part 97 that allowed health/welfare information to be encrypted for emergency communications.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Robotics or Electronic Kits For Wounded Veterans?

dbc Re:RedBot, Elecraft (115 comments)

Well, so there are no jobs in wireless these days? I guess I'll have to tell that to all my friends that do cell tower site planning and engineering, or do tower rigging, or old-fashioned two-way and paging system maintenance. Or all those guys I know with RF design engineer jobs... I guess they are unemeplyed, too.... wonder how they are paying for their Tesla's?

about a month and a half ago

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