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What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?

indymike Only reason to use windows: it breaks a lot (1215 comments)

The only time I use Windows is fixing Windows... Either: a) Fixing someone else's machine. b) Legacy servers at work. It is remarkable how fragile Windows systems are sometimes. That said, they mostly work, and there is some very useful Windows only software out there. Made the switch to Linux in 2008, got a Mac recently... and mostly run Kubuntu on it. The best feature is that I don't lose days of work to service pack updates or get stuck at work because I have 28 updates to install when I try to shut down my laptop (or restart a server).

about a year ago
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Cryptography 'Becoming Less Important,' Adi Shamir Says

indymike Re:I do not agree! (250 comments)

Getting ahead of regs and requirements doesn't make anything secure. It's busywork.

about a year ago
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Cryptography 'Becoming Less Important,' Adi Shamir Says

indymike Re:I do not agree! (250 comments)

Security isn't a "core piece" because it is a pain in the ass for everyone but security people and easy to defeat most of the time. If you get root, collecting keys and salt for secure hashes becomes a lot easier. A good example is DRM - almost every crack comes from extracting keys. Most of the time, when you think encryption, your time would be better invested in say, keeping software up to date, auditing user permissions and doing other basic things that actually do have a big impact on real security. Almost every security choice is a trade between secure and easy to use. Magic solutions that claim somehow make everything secure often are not magic and not very secure. The let's encrypt everything concept is a virus of the mind - it sounds good, but in application is often riddled with a combination of bugs, assumptions and mistakes that result in big holes and big bills from security consultants. Oh, and with encryption you also inject a probability of data loss... some idiot losing a key is more of a threat that unauthorized access.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Explaining Version Control To Non-Technical People?

indymike Simple Answers Are Best (383 comments)

Version Control for code is exactly like accounting software for money. Without accounting, your business would fail as it becomes more complex. Eventually, without version control, the process of building software will fail as development becomes more complex.

about 2 years ago
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Why Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Survived the Tsunami

indymike Re:Corporate Social Responsibility (148 comments)

Actually, the corporate veil existed long before the LLC (which is a specific kind of corporate entity). I believe the first law that established the "limited company" was made in England in 1855.

The LLC is a structure that allows people to pay taxes on their owner's draw at a personal rate rather than pay corporate income tax and then be taxed again on dividends. The LLC is limited in the number of shareholders it can have. The LLC was designed to make partnerships more practical as partnerships typically had no limited liability (except those new-fangled LLPs that are basically an LLC anyway) The basic idea was this:

Partnership structure + Corporation's liability protection = LLC

LLCs make it easier for people to start businesses, simplify taxes and reporting requirements. They are a very good idea, and the limited liability part simply protects owners and employees from personal liability for things like leftover debt when the company goes out of business. The "corporate veil" can be pierced if members (shareholders) intentionally do illegal things or do unethical things like co-mingle personal and company money.

This whole "corporations are bad because they have limited liability" meme is not interesting. The limited company was invented to allow businesses to fail without taking the owners down with the ship and also to prevent companies from using their owners as an unlimited checking account. Imagine owning 1000 shares of, say Circuit City and having to pay $10,000 to pay your share of Circuit City's liquidation debt. Investors would be limited to the ultra rich, and middle and lower class people would be unwise to invest in stock... because company managers would know that ultimately, any check they wrote would be made good on the backs of the shareholders. I suppose we should go back to the pre-1860s economy where we had debtors prisons (yes, US States had them up until the 1850s) and where a business mistake or a recession could literally result in families being totally destroyed.

Talking about how having owners not engaged in managing the company (Adam Smith's big concern) is dangerous is much more interesting.

more than 2 years ago
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Why Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Survived the Tsunami

indymike Re:Corporate Social Responsibility (148 comments)

Profit-maximising Corporations are a Cancer and should be treated as a disease. Yes, lets go back to the old system where the king was in charge and everyone else was peasants. Putting all that power in the government clearly resulted in more freedom, higher incomes and safer work environments for her subjects. BTW it doesn't matter if the king is a person, committee or computer. The concentration of power is the problem, not the king.

about 2 years ago
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FBI's Top Cyber-cop Says We're Losing the War Against Hackers

indymike Re:I fully agree (134 comments)

Outawing stupidity has never worked. Nor has legislating that pi=3.15.

more than 2 years ago
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Van Rossum: Python Not Too Slow

indymike Re:Static vs. Dynamic Typing (510 comments)

Do you really want to be wasting company resources tracking down bugs that could easily have been found by the compiler in a statically typed language? It's never been much of a problem because I don't have to compile to find these kinds of bugs :) A significant fraction of C code (C is my first language) is purely focused on implementing and manipulating structures... which is why in many cases there is a large difference in the number of lines of code between functionally equal C and Python code. Code implementing and manipulating data structures is also where you are most likely to run into type errors. It's not better or worse, it's just different.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Upgrades WebP To Challenge PNG Image Format

indymike Re:NIH (249 comments)

IE9 is not likely to drive any kinds of standards adoptions. Most developers would rather spend their days training fish to ride bicycles than support another MS only feature.

more than 2 years ago
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AMD Layoffs Maul Marketing, PR Departments

indymike This is a good thing for AMD. (136 comments)

The future market for GPUs is not a bunch of gaming enthusiasts and the design cycle for new devices takes sometimes years. The future is in tablets, phones, TVs, and other connected devices. Having a GPU that fits in a smartphone is more important than having insanely good rendering performance. Having a GPU that draws little power and does not need three fans and a big heat sink is crucial. AMD's marketing team made a colossal branding mistake by killing the ATI brand when millions and millions of gaming devices were sitting in people's living room with little red stickers on them and on the splash screen. ATI had become a household name thanks to the Will. ATI was a much more recognizable brand than AMD ever was. When you add together the amount of change in the GPU market (desktop down, small device up) My guess is senior management did not like the fundamental marketing strategy and wanted to change the direction. After marketers lock in to a branding strategy, it's very hard to get them to change direction, just like it's really hard to get a Java development team to port their product to Lisp, Add to that the sea change in who is buying GPUs and what devices they go in, and you have a situation where AMD needs to totally reposition. To everyone here who is saying marketing people are not as important as the engineers, I believe that you are talking about a chicken and egg problem. To succeed in the market, you have to have a product people want (good engineering) and the marketing make sure that the appropriate level of demand develops in the marketplace. Marketers do a lot more than hang around the coffee pot wearing black turtlenecks and discuss the merits of sumatra vs. colombian coffee.

more than 2 years ago
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Amazon Pushes For National Internet Sales Tax

indymike Re:It's Rules that's the problem not Rate (392 comments)

Article I Section 8 This debate gets replayed every 5-10 years. Every state in the country would love to be able to tax sales made in other states or to impose duties on imports into their state. Fortunately, our constitution was designed to prevent trade wars between the states. Unfortunately, our politicians and many voters don't understand this and think that their state is being screwed out of money. Reality is that they can't have that money or there is little financial reason for a state to be a part of the United States without the free interstate trade that is enabled by our system. Allowing say, California to tax purchases in Indiana would allow put a larger burden on Indiana than it does California, and would eventually lead companies to move to more populous states and would eventually destroy or limit the economies of smaller states (just as global excise and duty systems often do).

more than 2 years ago
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Is Apple Pushing Away Professionals?

indymike Re:Define professionals? (556 comments)

The issue is that Apple designs for the market that will exist when the product is released instead of the current market. IT for example is becoming less and less relevant in context of what kind of device you use to access business systems. For many companies, browser based software is quickly replacing old thick client apps. So, now the expectation is that you work from home, use your own laptop, and log in to company web services to get things done. That means the buyer is an individual. Apple recognized this three years ago, and the competition is still seeking easy 1990's style "laptop standard IV" style corporate deals.

more than 2 years ago
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Amazon Pushes For National Internet Sales Tax

indymike Re:It's Rules that's the problem not Rate (392 comments)

Actually, the US constitution requires any tax on interstate commerce to be levied equally. It also prohibits states from taxing purchases made in other states.

more than 2 years ago
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How Adobe Flash Lost Its Way

indymike Reality Sucks (354 comments)

Adobe hasn't been able to port flash to new devices fast enough, and proprietary operating system vendors have figured out that using multiplatform tools makes it easier for users to leave. There's no good reason for Apple or Microsoft to let Adobe devalue their platforms.

more than 2 years ago
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Who Killed the Netbook?

indymike Re:Price is the problem (398 comments)

You are right about the tradeoffs... but the average Wal-Mart shopper will think they are getting much more laptop for the money in a big one. Everyone knows $21/lb is a better deal than $150/lb.

more than 3 years ago
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Cancer Cluster Possibly Found Among TSA Workers

indymike Re:Model based science vs evidence based (487 comments)

FTFY: Scientists make conclusions based on evidence, politicians make conclusions based on getting re-elected.

more than 3 years ago
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Synaptic Dropped From Ubuntu 11.10

indymike Re:Does Ubuntu Ever Stop Changing? (360 comments)

Interesting comment. The real utilities and protocols haven't changed much (apt or whatever instant messaging protocol in the case of IM clients) but the GUIs do seem to be at the whim of fashion and changes in what is considered cool for users. I think it's actually probably good that the GUIs evolve over time... as how users interact with computers is changing. I don't think we've found the perfect UX yet... and probably never will arrive at perfect because fashion will always change things (look at cars and home appliances which annually have updated models, new looks and user interfaces, but really change little in functionality).

more than 3 years ago
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Who Killed the Netbook?

indymike Price is the problem (398 comments)

I can get a Netbook with a wimpy Atom processor, 1GB of RAM and a little, cute hard drive at the local Best Buy / Fry's / Wherever for $259. I can get this week's on-sale full size laptop with a dual core 64 bit processor 3GB of RAM, and 300 or 500GB of storage for $329. To make the netbook useful, I'll need to add memory, so after a $49 upgrade, I'm at $308 anyway... so for $21 more I get a useful computer. It doesn't make sense to buy the netbook.

more than 3 years ago
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Google CEO Schmidt Leaves Apple Board

indymike Re:This is all about Andriod (128 comments)

I get Apple fine, thank you. Apple has had a fabulous run the past six years, and they do make incredible products. No different than in the past where Apple has: * Dominated, then lost the microcomputer market in the late 70s and early 80s. * Dominated, then lost the GUI powered computer market in the mid 80s. * Dominated, then lost the PDA market in the 90s. Android vs. iPhone feels a lot like PC Clones vs. Apple from the 80s, or Wintel vs. Mac in the 90s. I think Android compares much better to iPhone than a Wintel box did to a Macintosh. Oh, and yes, I've used both Android and iPhone. iPhone certainly has more polish, but I have to say that the very few restrictions on apps going into Market and Android's ability to allow apps to multitask really makes it more useful.

more than 4 years ago
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Google CEO Schmidt Leaves Apple Board

indymike This is all about Andriod (128 comments)

This is all about Android, which is poised to knock off the iPhone this fall as over 18 new devices hit the market (from Motorola, Samsung, LG and HTC). Android is the game changer, and both Google and Apple know it.

more than 4 years ago

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