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Class-action Suit Filed Against Microsoft Over Surface Write Off

shoppa Compare with Enron (212 comments)

When it is obvious to the consumers that the execs of a company are arrogant lying assholes acting in bad faith and living in a fantasy world, why would would the rich investors bother to put money in?

about 8 months ago
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World's Most Powerful Private Supercomputer Will Hunt Oil and Gas

shoppa Re:2.3 gigaflops? (135 comments)

Crap, I got it wrong too. Not 2.3 teraflops either. 2300 teraflops = 2.3 petaflops.

1 year,25 days
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World's Most Powerful Private Supercomputer Will Hunt Oil and Gas

shoppa 2.3 gigaflops? (135 comments)

2.3 gigaflops is on most everyone's desktop today. Maybe you mean 2.3 teraflops?

1 year,25 days
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Welsh Scientists Radically Increase Fiber Broadband Speeds With COTS Parts

shoppa Where is end-user fiber optics the capacity limit? (72 comments)

I don't know if things are better in the UK, but here in the US the bottleneck for fiber-to-end-user is rarely the link from CO to end-user. The bottleneck is aggregate traffic capacity from CO to the backbones, an amount that has to be shared among all users. Giving individual end users more capacity to the CO sounds like it would make the current bottleneck even more apparent.

about a year and a half ago
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Oracle Open World: Ellison Preaches Cloud Religion

shoppa Headline might be news if it was 2003 or so (49 comments)

"The cloud" being pushed by a tech company's leader might have been news a decade ago. Today in 2012 it just seems a little lame.
Although of course what is behind the headline is more interesting. Interesting that Fujitsu is involved. Maybe the Japanese "Fifth Generation Computer" vision is finally coming together? Like 30 years late.

You don't see many headlines about "Fifth Generation Computing" anymore although they were all the rage in the 1980's!

about a year and a half ago
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Foxconn Says Vocational Students Aren't Being 'Forced' To Work

shoppa Re:Economics of labor in China (117 comments)

Having just spent several weeks in China I tend to agree: It is hard to imagine the hundreds of skyscrapers I saw in construction around the outer ring roads, being commercially succesful. There were just so many skyscrapers and roads under brand new construction that I was in total awe.

But I have to observe, the Chinese can be very innovative and resourceful, many of the folks my age and younger were out hustling EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY to boost their own business, perhaps they will be able to use the surplus construction and infrastructure better than any western society could.

about a year and a half ago
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Foxconn Says Vocational Students Aren't Being 'Forced' To Work

shoppa Economics of labor in China (117 comments)

40 years ago the super-major purchases that an affluent family might make in China, would be a bicycle, a radio, and a desk.

Today (thanks to assembly shops like Foxconn) the standard of living has been raised so that those lucky enough to get employment at a place like Foxconn, can often buy a car, a computer, and a TV.

Every major city in China is building hundreds (and I'm not kidding, HUNDREDS, it is astonishing) of skyscrapers on its edges to accomodate rural, farm poor folks who are moving to the city to get jobs at place like Foxconn.

That doesn't mean that everything is always on the level or that Foxconn is pure at heart. Far from it, corruption is widespread and so many of the jobs are incredibly dangerous. But construction work is far and away the most dangerous work environment in China today.

about a year and a half ago
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Business Tier For Australia's NBN Brings Big Possibilities For VoIP

shoppa Isn't this what a T1 is for? (70 comments)

In the US, a business needing a bunch of phone lines would buy a T1 or multiple T1's, provisioned for 23 voice channels each, from the phone company. Don't know the Australian telco tariffs but they must've had this sort of service for the past 30+ years in Australia too. ???

about a year and a half ago
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After Recent US Storms, Why Are Millions Still Without Power?

shoppa One factor: Trees still lying across roads (813 comments)

This AM (four days after the storm), there are still giant trees lying across major roads.

This might be why the power isn't back on everywhere.

In several cases, homeowners were out Saturday and Sunday clearing away trees from state highways.

In at least a couple cases, trees have been removed and Pepco is starting to drill holes to put in new utility poles where the utility poles were snapped off.

about 2 years ago
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Google Highlights Censored Search Terms In China

shoppa Reminds me of stills during prohibition (99 comments)

During prohibition in the US, stills could be owned and sold, just not used to produce alcoholic beverages. There were still legitimate purposes for stills, e.g. malt extract for baking.

The manufactures helped out, by giving very explicit instructions on exactly what NOT TO DO, because if you followed all the steps, you'd end up with whiskey. And you wouldn't want to do that.

about 2 years ago
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Facebook Shares Retreat Below IPO Price

shoppa Do the analysts even understand what a website is? (471 comments)

Do the analysts even understand that websites sell advertising and data mining on their users, a very different business model than people buying software from Microsoft?

“We believe in the potential of the Facebook platform. However, even on the traditional PC/Mac platform, advertising remains nascent,” Richard Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG, wrote in a research note.

about 2 years ago
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Florida Thinks Their Students Are Too Stupid To Know the Right Answers

shoppa "Choose the best answer" (663 comments)

Oh man, everyone's turning a multiple-guess test, into an essay question.

When there are multiple answers that could be correct, the job of the test-taker is to choose the "best" answer. Almost invariably "best" is "the one that the test writer was thinking of". Clearly you have to put yourself in the head of a high school or middle school or grade school teacher to understand "best" in that context, and someone with a PhD or even just graduate coursework in the subject is going to be at a disadvantage.

about 2 years ago
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Microsoft Passed On iPhone-Like Device In 1991

shoppa Handheld PC-clones of the 90's (184 comments)

In fact there were many companies making battery powered, wireless connected, handheld PC-clones in the 90's.

Where I saw them, they most commonly were used on local wireless networks in industrial/warehouse/trucking settings but I also know they were being used in some retail and manufacturing settings. The wireless local area networks back in the early 90's were in reality not much more than radio channels with analog modems.

They had small text displays and ran MS-DOS applications that were hardcoded to the proprietary wireless network. Certainly nothing like a real network stack.

Part of the difficulty is that AFAIK they were never usable as phones and barely usable as data network devices in the wide-area sense. The "data network" concept with cellphone networks in the early 90's was exquisitely awkward in the US, with the most common access method being to have an analog modem hooked up to the cellphone network (which was all analog in the early 90's and just beginning to move to digital in the late 90's) and you called your ISP's phone number. That was really super sucky.

Certainly Windows CE had some concepts that were more high-minded than the custom-built MS-DOS applications, but in most ways it was even more sucky to the end user (who just wanted to run the same application over and over again, scanning barcodes, taking inventory, etc.) I think it's not even ironic that even Apple is having a hard time making inroads into these single-purpose applications with their multi-purpose iPhone/iPad platforms; the specialized platforms being used in this area for the past 20 years are not sold on computing buzzwords or brand cachet but on pure utility.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: At What Point Has a Kickstarter Project Failed?

shoppa Not too different than any tech startup (247 comments)

I'd expect 90% chance for a good techie startup with a cool innovative idea to go under, without producing a product or getting bought out, in 2 years. (Number can be radically different if it's a "copycat" techie startup. Ironically the copycats have a substantially better chance of getting bought out by a bigger company.)

Maybe 9% chance that the startup will get bought out by a bigger company if they had any vaguely promising technologies.

Maybe 0.9% chance that an actual product will be produced (if a service oriented company... there may be a different number) and not be successful in the marketplace.

0.1% chance the product will be successful. That's different than turning a profit on the balance sheet though.

about 2 years ago
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Foxconn "Glad That Mike Daisey's Lies Were Exposed"

shoppa Re:I hope he realizes he did more harm than good (332 comments)

I think Daisey using Foxconn's name in relation to the Hexane poisoning was probably the tipping point. A hexane poisoning incident did happen but it was a different company, Wintek. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/22/chinese-workers-apple-nhexane-poisoning Daisey using Foxconn's name made his monologue sound too much like journalism which it never was. But it was good muckraking.

more than 2 years ago
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Foxconn "Glad That Mike Daisey's Lies Were Exposed"

shoppa Re:I hope he realizes he did more harm than good (332 comments)

I think that it would be more accurate to say, that Daisey took bits and pieces of various real stories, all of them reported by actual journalists, put these details in rearranged form into a fictionalized monologue, and that became a TAL segment.

Daisey's monologues should be compared with say Upton Sinclair's _The Jungle_. That wasn't actual factual journalism, it was muckraking, a fictionalized account including some examples from real life. I don't think there's anything wrong with muckraking.

When public radio starts running TAL right alongside real new programs, then things get confusing. I think TAL did an interesting and intellectually correct thing by essentially fact-checking the monologue and turning that into a story.

more than 2 years ago
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FCC Inquires Into Its Own Authority To Regulate Communication Service Shutdowns

shoppa Federal vs local authority (112 comments)

In wartime, congress (with the help of the FCC) has shut down radio communications modes before. They've even coordinated plans to do such shutdowns on very short notice, google "CONELRAD".

I would far rather put this in the US congress's hands via the FCC, than in local law enforcement's hands. It's not that I think the world of the current US congress, but rather it's their inability to get together and agree on ANYTHING. Contrast with local yokel law enforcement and city councils setting up a patchwork of local laws and limits on radio and phone and other forms of communications.

more than 2 years ago

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