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NSA Hacked Huawei, Stole Source Code

real-modo Re:No irony (287 comments)

UM, does anyone else feel like saying F--- Snowden at this point?

No.

about 4 months ago
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Debian Technical Committee Votes For Systemd Over Upstart

real-modo Re:Beta (379 comments)

...The problem is that systemd is too opaque, much like Windows "you don't get to see" philosophy. It's contrary to the way Unix based OSs have always been.

The people who are so desperate for a Windows-like OS should just... use Windows! Windows more or less works fine if that's your cup of tea.

This bears repeating, so I have repeated it. Systemd is philosophically Not The Unix Way. Microsoft has been doing things the systemd way for much longer than Poettering & Sievers, and is better at it.

I have no desire at all to use an ersatz Windows. Which is probably why I'm using the real thing more than I am using Linux these days. Not happy.

about 6 months ago
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The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer

real-modo Re:Alan (533 comments)

No. Money is about number six.

The saying is: you join a company, and leave a manager.

about 6 months ago
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Reports Say Satya Nadella Is Microsoft's Next CEO

real-modo Re:They sell something other than exchange? (177 comments)

Two things I hear about the least: Active Directory and Exchange. Those are Microsoft's core products.

Azure is Microsoft's response to Amazon elastic compute. Skydrive...for most people, is a Dropbox knock-off. Office 365 (again: for most people) is a blatant attempt to extract more revenue from Office. Active directory? Best in class? Exchange...what else are you going to use? Lotus Notes? POP3 mail and paper calendars?

about 6 months ago
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Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

real-modo Re:Haters are going to Hate (1009 comments)

Well, here's some of the other kind of hate.

I have one of the 25 million PCS that has Windows 8.1. I bought it, determined to give ti a fair trial. This was after my experience with Ubuntu Unity -- I hated that for three weeks, but now it's kind of OK. Not as good as Windows 7's UI, but OK. Same with GNOME 3. It's OK. I can live with it.

I've been using windows 8.1 for three months now, and my irritation levels have only grown. I'd rather be forced to use Clonezilla's UI -- if you've seen that, you'll be able to calibrate my irritation levels. And this is after applying all the fixes and remedies that I could find on the intertubes -- boot to desktop, deleting all the Metro Apps that it lets you, installing a menu/app launcher that retains context, getting rid of the super-aggressive power saving as far as I can, etc., etc.

There are about 3 cardinal rules for WIMP interfaces, and with 8 Microsoft broke at least 2 of them: Maintain context while responding to user action - no surprises, don't make people remember stuff, ensure thay can see it; and make every action reversible, until the user commits to a new state. The other one is "make sure the device works. That also doesn't happen with 8 coming out of sleep on my particular hardware. Microsoft's hardware compatibility list lied to me.

"8 is designed for touch", you'll say. Maybe; phone and tablet buyers disagree. But for my PC, I sure wish I'd bought 7--or that there was a Linux/BSD app that would do what I need to do. And I don't understand why Microsoft is selling 8 or 8.1 as fit for use on PCs and laptops.

about 7 months ago
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Andy Rubin Is Heading a Secret Robotics Project At Google

real-modo Re:Going to change everything (162 comments)

IANAEconomist either, but it's not too hard. If all your basic needs are being met cheaply, and you have money left over, then you spend it on other things. You hire a hairdresser to cut your hair. You hire a gardener to mow your lawn, painter to paint your house. You spend more money on entertainment and tourism ("spring break" holidays didn't exist as a thing for most people, not so long ago.).

And more things like those get invented, so long as there is enough demand for them. There are new industries that could take off if there was a mass market. Personal trainers. Life coaches. Personal shoppers, interior designers and style consultants. Time management tutors (GTD and the like). Probably many, many other new or currently tiny industries, all of which have this key characteristic: the value of them lies in the human touch, so no robot could ever do them. If lots of people had money, *some* of those ideas would take off.

In our world, though, some clever entrepreneur dreamed up nail bars, because these days a 15-minute manicure is all that most people can afford to spend on themselves as a luxury. Those other things above? We need median income to go up in line with productivity, as it used to do before 1975.

But also...

The bulk of the money freed up by cheapening food, clothes, and personal effects has gone into zero-sum competitions. Moving to a neighbourhood with "better schools" for the kids--that is, buying a more expensive house than you would have otherwise.The combination of high demand and a fixed supply just drives up the price of property in those areas. No value is created, except in the lawyers' and agents' fees.--relatively minor and infrequent. (The sellers just trade up, mostly, so the extra money they have just goes into another zero-sum competition for status somewhere else.) Likewise families compete to get their kids into "good universities". If the number of positions is fixed, then the extra money you spend is just going to the gatekeepers -- see below.

This kind of problem, where the value of what you buy lies in the position relative to other people that it gives you (i.e. status), is a never-ending spiral. Not so easily fixed.

Biggest problem. Income and wealth are rapidly concentrating.

Really wealthy people mostly trade already-existing things among themselves, rather than invest in businesses that employ people and craete new things. A better house in a better neighbourhood. A house in the Hamptons, or sell the old one and buy a better one. A pearl necklace once owned by $celebrity, or an artwork by $long_dead_artist. Stocks and bonds. Gold, if they're that way inclined. A third home in some out-of-the-way but safe country, or a "ranch" to go riding on. Those sorts of purchases contribute virtually nothing to the economy, apart from agents' fees, which are one-time expenses and the (low) wages of (a very few) staff. How many people do these purchases employ? Not many, compared to an exercise gym, engineering consultancy, or a movie studio -- investments that actually grow the economy. Sure, rich people do employ some people. Hotel staff, their own personal staff, couturiers, jewellers, etc. But those expenses are very minor compared to their income.

Productivity is good when it increases employment and the real wages of those at the bottom. Wait, it's actually the other way around. If poor people had more income, they would spend more on the things that tend to employ people like themselves. With more money going around entrepreneurs would spot opportunities to sell new mass-market products and services, and employ more people, in a virtuous circle. With money circulating among the rich, entrepreneurs find ways to tap into that. Like Bernie Madoff. Or Goldman Sachs, some employees of which openly called their clients "muppets".

Two exceptions. One, health care. That's labor-intensive, and old rich people will spend *a lot* to stick around, enjoying what they've got. And healthcare is by far the fastest growing employer in the country. Two, security. old rich people will spend a lot on security. Gated communities, body guards, politicians, insurance for their stuff: whatever they can do to cut down the chances that they might lose some status, safety, income, or property. Security isn't *yet* very labor intensive, but that may change...

Right now, the best hope for employment is that having a large household staff becomes a status symbol for rich people. So you can be some rich person's trophy employee.

about 8 months ago
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Intel Linux Driver Now Nearly As Fast As Windows OpenGL Driver

real-modo Re: woo (113 comments)

Ah. Every few years, a new bunch of people need to read "Worse Is Better".

about 8 months ago
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Code.org: More Money For CS Instructors Who Teach More Girls

real-modo Re:because it matters? (381 comments)

You are arguing against the received wisdom in academia. You need to support your assertion with something more than a link to YouTube.

Industries in which women are the majority mostly have lower wages than those dominaged by men.

The news.com.au article that AlternativeIdeas links to makes exactly this point, albeit in a backhand way. A woman electrician has rarity value, besides the fact that a woman who self-selects into a male-dominated industry is likely to be more highly motivated than the average worker to do well.

So: let's have some actual evidence, please. Statistics and stuff. In the mean time, the simplest explanation for code.org is that it's an attempt to keep coders' wages depressed.

about 8 months ago
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GCC 4.9 Coming With Big New Features

real-modo Re:GCJ vs. JIT (181 comments)

Save the syllables!

Yeah! Those evil Japanese and Russian syllabling fleets, sweeping the oceans clean of cute baby syllables with their nets and harpoons. We've got to do something!

about 8 months ago
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Robots: a Working Breed At the Dairy

real-modo Re:How many humans does the farm require? (65 comments)

... I'm pretty sure that the rich will need something to do with all of that money.

The rich are different. They buy positional goods in competition with other rich people. Entry to Harvard for their kids. Famous artworks and jewellery pieces. Trophy houses around the world. Yachts. Football teams.

A couple of observations: the rich buy from each other, in a competition for status and/or security. And the goods they buy don't have a low labor component in their value--most of their value derives from intrinsic scarcity.

The best hope is that rich people decide that one way of competing positionally is through having large staffs. The non-rich can then become trophy employees.

and the voting majority won't let them keep all of it.

You'd think. But people seem to think that rich people deserve their wealth (which is of course nonsense, as most wealthy people are children of wealthy people and haven't done much to increase their wealth; or are simply lucky, like Justin Bieber).

As a result, many people vote against taxes that only affect multi-millionaires.

about 8 months ago
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EFF Says Mark Shuttleworth Is Wrong About Trademark

real-modo Re:ubuntu is trash, linux is trash, fuck all ya'll (103 comments)

you know it is possible to use an ipad and linux on another system without exploding, right?
even windows too...

Trying it right now, as it happens. Here we g-aarghh!

about 9 months ago
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Red Hat Releases Ceylon Language 1.0.0

real-modo Re:YABL (159 comments)

YAML

Yet another meh language.

about 9 months ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air

real-modo Re:A shot at other OS, computer *and* device maker (471 comments)

Mac hardware has no more resale than PC hardware.

Not true here. People consistently pay more for used Macs than they do for higher-spec PC hardware of the same age and condition. Panasonic toughbooks--the real ones--are the one and only exception to this. But that's a market Panasonic has to itself, pretty much.

Value is what people are willing to pay. Reputation may be the cause, sure. But the reality is that the five-year cost of owning a MBP is reduced (compared to the counterfactual of an identically priced Not-a-Mac) because of its higher residual value.

about 9 months ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air

real-modo Re:A shot at other OS, computer *and* device maker (471 comments)

Learning new keyboard shortcuts doesn't bother me very much, for some reason. (Maybe I stick a new star on my mental achievement chart. ;-) )

Loud or whiny fans and bad trackpads, though.... Isn't it a good thing for manufacturers that people are different? ;-)

about 9 months ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air

real-modo Re:A shot at other OS, computer *and* device maker (471 comments)

how about toshiba?
http://www.toshiba.com/us/computers/laptops/kira/kirabook13/KIRAbook13-i5-touch

$300 less, but has last-gen graphics, last-gen core processor, and a last-gen SSD that's 1/2 the size. it does have a touchscreen where the MPB does not.

Kirabook reviews: Makes an annoying noise under load, fan grille on the bottom (which makes it a tabletop), and reproduces the main flaw in the MBP keyboard - half-height arrow keys. Apparently a very good screen, although I couldn't find any charts showing color accuracy or sharpness.

Still costs 20% more than the equivalent MBP, where I live. Well, that's down from 50% more. Perhaps PC manufacturers are starting to realise why their stuff isn't selling.

Thanks for drawing it to my attention, though.

about 9 months ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air

real-modo Re:A shot at other OS, computer *and* device maker (471 comments)

Okay, the cheap laptops are not in the same league, but there are comparable Windows ultrabooks with excellent calibrated displays, similar specs, battery life etc. NEC's LaVie series, some ASUS and Samsung models, and of course Sony.

Apple laptops are not magic, or particularly good value. They are similar to the competition, it's just that no-one else has the Reality Distortion Field that makes them seem so much better.

NECs are hard to come by, here. For the good reason that some years back, they seemed to have terrible reliability. Rickety USB ports and power connectors, and loosely attached key caps. Display panels that went bung after a few months. Drivers that didn't drive, and caused problems with other software. All for premium dollars.

Somehow, no-one wants to distribute NEC, now. Reputation - years in the making, two bad products in the losing. For decades.

Asus, Samsung - where I live, models competitive to MBPs in most respects cost a third more than the Macs. Those with "excellent displays" used to cost at least twice as much, although in recent months the message from AnandTech and others seems to have started sinking in. I have my doubts about the durability of Asus frames and hinges, and the reliability of Samsung keyboards and ports, though... Time will tell.

about 9 months ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air

real-modo Re:A shot at other OS, computer *and* device maker (471 comments)

Then you're an idiot and need to learn how pricing works....i5, 8gb ram, aluminum case pc laptop on newegg RIGHT NOW, $400. Comes with windows, and then add office for $140 more? Ohhh....soooo much more $ than a Mac!!

Nine-hour battery life with reasonable weight? A battery that lasts five years with only 30% decrease in capacity?

Reasonably well color-calibrated screen pretty much covering sRGB, with reasonable sharpness, viewing angles and brightness, which doesn't wobble or develop faults in a couple of years?

Accurate, pleasant-to-use trackpad?

Backlit keyboard, typing on which isn't uncomfortable, annoying, or error-prone? And which doesn't lose key caps when you sneeze or develop unresponsive keys?

Good durability? Good resale value?

Windows laptops with these features, the features that make the difference between resenting your tool and enjoying using it and owning it, do exist. Granted.

But every time I've looked for one in the last four years, in the place where I live, matching a Macbook Pro in the Windows space seems to cost between 50% and 200% more. And no Windows laptops match MBPs on resale.

I don't think Mac users are the idiots. I think I am, for refusing to buy a good tool at a fair price.

about 9 months ago
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Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?

real-modo Re:What an absurd headline (558 comments)

- UI: I'm not sure just how much hardware acceleration OS X uses, but Windows Vista/7 with Aero and Windows 8 at all times have hardware accelerated graphics for their UIs - eye candy in exchange for power consumption.

This is just wrong. The UI would use a *lot* more power if it were all done in software.

Microsoft is behind the times. In this age of "fast enough" processors and "everything in the browser", which we reached in 2007 or thereabouts, people start to demand other things. Good keyboards and touchpads. Good screens. And mobility, which requires long battery life.

Apple realized these things back in 2007. Microsoft has *almost* figured them out, six years later. Give it another couple of years....

about 9 months ago

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