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Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

packrat0x Re:Database? (371 comments)

Very few software developers would be considered engineers - calling yourself one doesn't make it so. There is an element of rigor required in engineering that is typically missing in software development. Would you want the same level of competence that you find in Adobe Reader or Internet Explorer surface in a suspension bridge you're crossing or a skyscraper that you work in?

I see the same level of competence in first model year cars, as you see in Adobe Reader or Internet Explorer. And it is for the same reasons: Add these features. Get it out the door by ship date. We''ll fix the problems next year.

2 days ago
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Writer: Internet Comments Belong On Personal Blogs, Not News Sites

packrat0x Re:Has this person ever read Slashdot? (298 comments)

This seems to hold true for most broad-interest sites like newspapers and magazines where comments can be downright awful, as opposed to sites like Slashdot with a self-selected and somewhat homogeneous audience.

If you read Slashdot at -1, you'll see plenty of horrid comments. Heck, people can be quite rude in +5 posts, although usually not both rude and stupid. Slashdot isn't helped by being self-selected or homogenous; it's helped by heavy moderation, both by users and by admins. Newspapers and magazines seem to leave their commenters to their own devices more. Rather than modding down the trolls, people reply to try to debunk them.

I normally read slashdot (well, skim) at -1, and the comments here are relatively decent. It really helps that I can browse as a single webpage. Compare slashdot to "news" sites, where the "noise" overwhelms the signal. And since slashdot has (had?) a reputation for tech articles, many of the commenters know how to type.

about a week ago
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The Great Taxi Upheaval

packrat0x Re:over/under (218 comments)

It's a conundrum-type problem, trying to find the sweet spot. You basically need to decide if the over-burden of regulation is going to cost more than what you are preventing. And that's if you're a corporation. If you're a government trying to please the public, you have a mess of moralists who don't care about economics and demand 100% perfection which requires a lot of rules and almost always costs more than accepting 5% graft.

Here in the United States, the cut-off is approximately 15% graft. I suspect this may be from the high costs of auditing and investigation quickly outpacing cost recovery.

about three weeks ago
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Comparison: Linux Text Editors

packrat0x Re:Please tell me I'm wrong... (402 comments)

Joe's Own Editor. Read the top line (press ctrl-k [then] h for help) . It's soooo hard to learn.

about three weeks ago
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Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

packrat0x Price Comparison (242 comments)

"At 60 cents per 1,000 gallons, it's far cheaper than any other source of water..."
I believe Israel is desalinating ocean water for 0.50 USD per cubic meter, which would be 60 cents per 316 gallons.

about a month ago
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ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers

packrat0x chicken and egg problem (69 comments)

"Without any hardware to test on, developers are leery of committing to supporting new hardware features. Without software that takes advantage of new hardware capabilities, customers aren't willing to pay for new equipment."

Is it not the manufacturer's interest to provide initial software / libraries? At least version 1.0?

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Correlation Between Text Editor and Programming Language?

packrat0x Re:main two (359 comments)

Perl: joe

Joe's Own Editor!

I use JOE for teaching students how to write code. That way they can concentrate on learning the material and not how to make the editor work.

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Unveil Experimental 36-Core Chip

packrat0x Why I like multi-core: (143 comments)

Because Windows programs have a habit of taking over a processor; acting like I am still using DOS.

about 2 months ago
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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

packrat0x Re:Huh? (465 comments)

I said "may" age out, subject to official policy and budget constraints. Alternatively, emails related to assigned case files need to be saved, archived on CD, and/or printed out for the case file. Emails with general instructions such as "Ask for more information from 501(c)'s which have to following words in their name..." are considered internal, and not case related. The email servers are for work only, so most email is plaintext or attached PDFs / Word DOCs. The emails probably use less space compared to what you would see from private accounts.

about 2 months ago
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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

packrat0x Re:Huh? (465 comments)

Do these people not run Exchange or some other centralized emailing system? When I used to work as a systems administrator, none of the companies I worked for stored emails on the client side. It was all done through Exchange, held on the company servers and backed up to tape. If a client crashed, at most they lost a few minutes of unsyncronized drafts.

Yes, the IRS runs Exchange. Yes, they have back-ups of the servers. However, back-ups from more than 2 years ago may age out. Thus, if you wait 2 years and dd if=/dev/[zero|urandom|random] the harddrive, you can make emails hard to recover.

about 2 months ago
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Internet Transit Provider Claims ISPs Deliberately Allow Port Congestion

packrat0x Cable company monopolies (210 comments)

They may not be de jure monopolies, but they are de facto monopolies. And it's for one simple reason: cable franchise fees. The county/parrish/city receives a percentage of the gross revenue collected within their borders. The more money people pay, the more revenue local government collects. An additional provider would only split the customer base, push prices lower, and lower total customer payments (at least in the eyes of government). There is no incentive for government to encourage another provider to enter the local market, and every incentive to discourage additional providers. And it doesn't matter if we consider this rational, it only matters if it's considered rational by local officials.

about 3 months ago
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Texas Family Awarded $2.9 Million In Fracking Lawsuit

packrat0x Compliance is not a complete defense (146 comments)

"Additionally the company noted that they had complied with all applicable environmental regulations."
Doesn't matter. If you cause damage, you owe damages.

about 4 months ago
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Charter Challenges Comcast/Time Warner Merger

packrat0x Cable customers shafted by state government. (90 comments)

"Time Warner Cable operates in 29 states, but thanks to the old system of regional and municipal cable monopolies, Comcast and Time Warner Cable don't compete anywhere."

This is your state government(s) shafting you. The states created laws which allow cable monopolies. Local governments collect a franchise fee on the gross revenue of the cable companies operating within their boundaries. In the eyes of local government, less competition means higher prices which means more tax revenue (without voter feedback). Local government passively discourages competition through regulations, filings, public meetings, disclosures, insurance requirements, etc. Some local (and state) governments *actively* discourage competition.

about 5 months ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

packrat0x Re:I am torn! (455 comments)

refuse to accept it unless security is improved

Who would decide the point at which security had sufficiently improved, though? The chip-and-PIN system used in the civilized parts of the world is, of course, much better than magnetic swipe, and *should* become prevalent here in the states. Unfortunately, it would cost billions to upgrade the US's entire infrastructure to support it, and I honestly don't see anyone picking up the tab for any part of such an upgrade any time soon.

The chip-and-PIN system is used by processors to transfer fraud liability from the merchant to the user. EMV was written by committee, and it fails to provide the security it touts. Also, it is not a positive endorsement when "the civilized parts of the world" have a card system forced upon them by their governments.

about 5 months ago
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Church Committee Members Say New Group Needed To Watch NSA

packrat0x Committees are a waste of time (143 comments)

Until the US congress actually withholds funding from an agency that violates US law, all federal agencies are exempt from the law.

about 5 months ago
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Norway Rejects Bitcoin As Currency; Taxes As Asset, Instead

packrat0x Re: How is Norway going to know? (245 comments)

To follow up, and make the point even more explicitly, the same logic holds for foreign currency. if I hold Euros for more than a year and the Euro gets strong, I have to pay cap gains on that profit.

Wait, how does Norway tax foreign currency now? Does Norway treat other foreign currencies as normal income / loss? Were they NOT taxing foreign currency gain at all?

about 8 months ago
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62% of 16 To 24-Year-Olds Prefer Printed Books Over eBooks

packrat0x Re:price and sharability (331 comments)

I think the language you used are why the young people who were polled prefer print.

They can hand a printed book off to someone without the word "pirate" being potentially used.

Yes. It's nice to be able to share without worrying about Digital Rights Management.

about 9 months ago
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Patents Vs Innovation - the Tabarrok Curve

packrat0x Avoiding bad outcomes (210 comments)

One one end of the spectrum is no patents or copyrights. All innovation is either public domain or trade secrets. With trade secrets, people still innovate, but they keep as much knowledge as possible away from the minds of others. This deprives citizens of shared knowledge. The other end of the spectrum is longer terms for patents and copyrights. As the terms lengthen (beyond a generation, beyond life expectancy) this too deprives citizens of shared knowledge.

about a year ago
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Viruses From Sewage Contaminate Deep Well Water

packrat0x Why septic is better (93 comments)

Sewer systems are complicated. They have to deal with non-fluid debris besides the effluent. Drinking water is much easier to pipe. The sewer pipes only transfer 70%-90% of the effluent to the treatment plant. What leaks out is full of human pathogens. Possibly animal and plant pathogens depending on what gets sent "down the drain". If we have the available soil at a location, we should use a septic system. The septic tank traps debris and kills pathogens. The septic field returns nutrients to the soil. We should install city sewer only where we cannot use septic systems. Alternatively, perhaps someone can invent a modified septic tank to be installed "upstream" of the city sewer connection.

about a year ago

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