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Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

istartedi Re:Embrace the burnout (247 comments)

Wally is my role model.

Give a friend a coffee mug. Keep the red stapler for yourself.


Scotland Votes No To Independence

istartedi Re:Civil war (440 comments)

followed by two decades of brutal guerilla warfare lead by crack teams of Canadian mercenaries

Well, there were wide spread reports of a Canadian on crack, so... almost.


What To Expect With Windows 9

istartedi Re:Cortana??? (541 comments)

Slashdot is a game of politics and speed. It's speed-writing. Speed-editorializing. Screw-ups happen. It doesn't always play in my favor. Check out my recent history. I totally cratered doing that kind of thing with Apple. It's a game. It's entertainment. Sometimes it exceeds that, like that bit of poetry I wrote about getting a fix of freedom. Mostly though, like I said, it's speed-writing and sometimes you tag the wall.

3 days ago

What To Expect With Windows 9

istartedi Re:Cortana??? (541 comments)

Parent is a test of the humor AI in Windows 9.

4 days ago

What To Expect With Windows 9

istartedi Cortana??? (541 comments)

Holy crap. First I've heard of Cortana. Googled it.. Is that for real??? It looks like Seven of Nine got fucked by Bob and this is the offspring. I can already see the protests from middle America. "Electronic boobies from Satan are sending us to Hell". How could anybody think that's a good idea?

4 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

istartedi Re:Gee I do not know. (391 comments)

OK, but what if they have a degree in English Lit and significant Open Source contributions relevant to the job? What if they have a CS degree but wrote stories for the student paper, and won an award for that?

4 days ago

WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

istartedi In the past, losers haven't suffered too badly (198 comments)

So much work was done on both sides. They both have a talent pool. I've heard that "losers" often end up getting subcontracts from the "winners" for various subsystems, consulting, etc. Not sure if this will work with Boeing and SpaceX, but that's how it can work with the big MIC companies that were competing on a contract.

4 days ago

I think next winter will be:

istartedi Re:Denver will be buried (147 comments)

That indicates record breaking snowfall and 411 consumption for the coming winter.

Information wants to be smoked.

4 days ago

Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

istartedi Re:So-to-speak legal (418 comments)

From The Right Stuff:

Gordon Cooper: You boys know what makes this bird go up? FUNDING makes this bird go up.
Gus Grissom: He's right. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

5 days ago

Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

istartedi Valuable insight (156 comments)

You might even say this opens windows into trade mark law.

5 days ago

Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

istartedi Re:So-to-speak legal (418 comments)

the libertarian solution would be to remove these blocks and open up the options.

We had such a situation at the turn of the 20th century. There were too many poles and wires. A more recent example is the fiber that was laid in the late 1990s. In some cities, each fiber company was allowed to lay its own fiber. This actually resulted in some streets being cut into just weeks after they were patched over from the previous fiber install.

Any sane solution to the Comcast problem requires a public infrastructure. The free market would work well re-selling service over that public infrastructure. That's what we're arguing about here anyway--free access to a public entity, namely the Internet. The irony of libertarians arguing for a pure free market on something that was created by the government never gets old.

5 days ago

3D-Printed Car Takes Its First Test Drive

istartedi Re:it's means it is (132 comments)

I figured as much; but don't knock that. Talk to anybody who has wrecked the plastic on their sport motorcycle. If you could print that stuff at a reasonable price, that wold be HUGE.

about a week ago

School Installs Biometric Fingerprint System For Cafeteria

istartedi Re:Norovirus anyone? (230 comments)

Copper and silver have anti-microbial properties. This problem was solved centuries ago by pure dumb luck.

about a week ago

US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

istartedi Re:Nothing good... (119 comments)

[nothing good] ever comes outa Africa.

Drink some coffee, google around a bit, and get back to us.

about a week ago

Universal Big Bang Lithium Deficit Confirmed

istartedi Re:Three times less? (170 comments)

I take it to mean 1/3.

about two weeks ago

Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

istartedi Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (536 comments)

There's no way a country that small, and that close to the US could hold out as a communist nation in the face of unrestricted trade with the US - it'd become so utterly dependent on the US that it'd simply have no choice but to bow down to US wishes and culture.

Have you been to Berkeley? Joking aside, the US is starting to have more trouble keeping its own states in line on issues like pot, gun control, immigration and even monetary policy. Living next door and trading DVDs is no guarantee that you will always get along.

about two weeks ago

Laid Off From Job, Man Builds Tweeting Toilet

istartedi Send resume to Japan (114 comments)

They'd totally be into this... unless they've already done it and you're violating their patents. In that case, hide resume from Japan.

about two weeks ago

To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

istartedi Not switch over, switch back (486 comments)

Except for the battery, a street car was often an electric "bus". It drew the power from overhead lines. These were common until we were forced into automobiles by a combination of post-war cultural attitudes and downright bamboozling by the likes of GM.

So yes. Switch back. There. FTFY.

about two weeks ago

China's Island Factory

istartedi Any precedent? (199 comments)

Is there any precedent for a country to create new land like this, and claim territory around it? If international law is good for anything, it seems like this would be a good time to cite it.

about two weeks ago


istartedi hasn't submitted any stories.



istartedi istartedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Stop Obama's plan to sell FNMA foreclosures to private investors in bulk. These properties should be made available to all regardless of political or social affiliation.

It's understood that putting the properties on the market en masse could have negative impacts due to supply/demand fundemantals.

Here is a suggested course of action that addresses that issue FAIRLY:

1. Charter a corporation to hold, repair, and rent the properties, with the understanding that they will not be sold into the market for a fixed period of time, and thereafter only a fixed percentage per annum may be sold (e.g., 5 years of holding and no more than 5% of holdings per year sold thereafter).

2. The corporation must be publicly traded so that it will be subject to the full transparency required of any other corporation, and so that anyone who wishes may invest, regardless of who they know or donated to.


The Microsoft Antivirus

istartedi istartedi writes  |  more than 12 years ago

This article is a continuation of a thread that played out rather long, and was in danger of being archived before I was done with it.

Ogerman's words appear with emphasis, and mine in regular text.

I'm sorry, but you're way off here. I would consider myself one of the so-called 'zealots' that you refer to. However, my vision is not some imaginary socialist utopia where everybody blindly works for the good of all and is magically rewarded. GPL is a tool to ensure that control of the technology we embrace remains in our hands rather than being controlled primarily by business interests. Retaining control allows us (developers) to operate in a market with few barriers--a purely capitalist market.

That is one of the great myths of the Free Software movement. Copylefting software actually gives developers *less* control not more. How? Because developers no longer have money, and as people on /. love to point out, "he who has the gold makes the rules". So what if Linux is GPL'd? The suits at RedHat and IBM are still going to make most of the decisions about what areas of development get funded. At it's very best, the GPL does nothing to break the grip of the suits. If we get to the point where code under non-copylefted licenses is not available, it will be impossible for anyone to override the status quo, and the people who are most likely to do that are small developers in the garage, not the suits.

OK, lets assume that happens--for example, the Open Source community comes up with a beautifully written office suite that effectively drives all proprietary ones out of the market. How is this bad? All it means is the wheel will never again need re-invented and perhaps finally a true industry standard will emerge. There's still plenty of room for innovation--new features to the existing codebase.. contributed by anyone who pleases. Where is this scenario bad? It's sure as heck a more optimal outcome for thepublic interest. And if you've really got that great of an idea on how to re-think the whole concept of an "office suite" then sure, it's your right to go proprietary.

The harm to consumers would be similar to the harm done by any other type of monopoly--the lack of choice. It isn't necessary to standardize the software; only the file format. What happens if a customer doesn't like the one-size-fits-all look and feel of this office suite? Very few customers are capable of making code changes, and at the consumer level nobody can afford to hire a programmer. They will simply have to wait for someone in the community to make the change. I'm happy to see you saying "it's your right to go proprietary" in the last sentance. There's hope yet. However, consider the huge barrier now faced by someone who wishes to topple a GPL'd monopoly.

Toppling MSFT would be far easier. In fact, Be Inc. might have had a chance of toppling MSFT were it not for Free Software. Apple competes with MSFT by verticly integrating hardware and software. MSFT is not nearly as impregnable as people make it out to be.

To topple a proprietary monopoly, you can start by providing an inferior product at a lower price. Then, you can feed the revenue back into R&D until your product matches or exceeds the monopolist product in quality and/or price. Yes, nobody has done this in direct competition with MSFT. OS/2 had a shot. I think OS/2 was doomed by crappy marketing for the most part. Back in Win3.x and '95 days, I remember seeing OS/2 ads and coming away not really knowing what it was. OS/2 Warp? That sounded like some kind of ad-on that I didn't really need. If only IBM had said "run 32-bit Windows and DOS applications for half the price of Windows95". If only there had been an "OS/2 compatable" sticker on software boxes (maybe there was) I might have been sold.

However, to topple a GPL'd monopoly is entirely different. You have to either verticly integrate to subsidize the software (like the Intel compiler) or keep plowing massive ammounts of money into your R&D until you have a better product. Nobody will pay for the inferior early versions. If you do get to the point where you have a better product, you have to charge more for it to recoup development costs. That's why the Intel compiler is several hundred dollars; and that's even with a subsidy from chip sales. Can you imagine something as good as the Intel compiler being written by a pure software company?

As stated earlier, I would not take it to that extreme--outlawing proprietary. But on the other hand, if Open Source wins by nature and market forces, then so be it.

Good to know. FWIW, I don't think most people in the OSS/FS movements want to outlaw proprietary; it's just a core group of RMS that worry me. A /. poll on this might yield interesting results.

Nothing you have said thus far suggests any way in which copylefted software could cause social problems, but if you can provide a solid example, I'm all ears. Decreasing the size of the software industry due to increased efficiency of open development does not count, however, because this type of change is seen throughout all history and in all industries and is not a social problem. (compare: robotics replacing factory workers, etc.)

Of course I can't cite an example in software because like I said, the industry and the FS movement are both just babies. I see parallels to the communist revolution, and less extremely, to the public school system. If copyleft wins in a free market, I see poor people waiting for new features, while the rich pay premiums for software that already has the desired features. If copyleft wins by legal coup, I see a black market for proprietary software, with mafia coders moving in to add features and threatening to break your leg if you tell anybody.

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