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Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry

tlambert Re:Just red tape? (140 comments)

As you surely know, coal plants exhaust is filtered to the extend that the exhaust is cleaner than the intake. At least that is so in germany

Accepting your premise...

It sounds like the Germans need to set up some big filter plants that do nothing but intake, filter, and exhaust the air, if their air is so shitty that running it through a coal fired power plant cleans it.

4 days ago

Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

tlambert Apparently, Hillary Clinton was wrong... (417 comments)

I have seen first hand a gypsy neighborhood raised by bulldozers.

Apparently, Hillary Clinton was wrong... it doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes a group of bulldozers.

5 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

tlambert Any software requiring documentation is broken. (198 comments)

Any software requiring documentation is broken.

I blame Bob Wallace.

Bob Wallace was one of the originators of the concept of "shareware", and he got paid not for his software. This made people wonder how Quicksoft was able to stay in business.

When questioned about this at one convention, he made circling motions with his hands on either side of his head, and said "Software is ... all up here ... it's not real, it's ephemeral. I don't sell software, I sell manuals". So Quicksoft made its money, and its livelihood in the margin between the cost of mass-producing a manual vs. printing it out from a floppy disk and using up a bunch of tractor feed paper and expensive ribbon.

Or, to put it another way, Quicksoft made their money by having a relatively feature-full product which was nearly impossible to use without documentation. And people have been mistakenly trying to copy his success by utilizing the same technique, ever since.

Why did WordPerfect lose out to Microsoft Word? It wasn't because WordPerfect didn't already own the market; it did. It wasn't because Microsoft Word had more features; it didn't. Was Word a lot better, intrinsically, than WordPerfect? It actually wasn't.

Frankly, it was because of the F1 key. By the time WordPerfect got around to deciding they needed a "Help!" key, some of the function keys were already assigned, and so they assigned the next available one to be the "Help!" key. It helped sell a hell of a lot of keyboard templates. And it hid the help from anyone who'd experimentally go looking for it by hitting unlabeled keys in order until they found it (in fact, this would totally screw you up in WordPerfect).

Microsoft hit on a UX innovation: when something goes wrong, make the "Help!" key the first key someone is likely to hit, before all other keys.

And then they did it one better: The F1 was assigned to be the "Help!" key in *all* their products. Instead of just being a great UX thing, locating the key where they did on the basis of probability, they turned it into a Schelling Point: anyone who wanted "Help!" in any Microsoft product knew where to go to find it, if they had ever used some other Microsoft product, and needed "Help!" there.

So back to the original question: should you invest in documentation? Well, yes... if your product has already failed to the point where it's nearly impossible to use without documentation, or because, like Bob Wallace, you intentionally made it nearly impossible to use without documentation because that's one of the premises of your business model.

Maybe you want to write books on your project, once it's used by enough people to make that profitable, and that's how you plan to turn your hobby into a vacation fund. Or maybe you want to get to be a published author about a product so you get hired as a tech writer somewhere, or you get a lot of speaking engagements, and monetize your efforts that way. But if making your product hard to use was one of your initial conditions, then I think your software is broken.

about a week ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

tlambert Re:When arguing solar vs. nuclear... (409 comments)

It is more cute that you don't kniw the difference between waste and spend fuel.
Reprocessing spend fuel produces more waste than not reprocessing, hint: for fuck sake read about the topic instead of making cute comments that in hint seight only show you are a dump ass, and not a smart ass.

It's also cute when someone who can't spell attempts to "correct" a theoretical physicist on a physics topic, and their correction is wrong:

about a week ago

Getting IT Talent In Government Will Take Culture Change, Says Google Engineer

tlambert Re:Engineers do dress well (165 comments)

So it'd be like working with Linus Torvalds?

Actually, no. Linus has given us Linux and git. Whereas Congress has given us debt slavery, corruption, economic stagnation and Forever War.

I suppose we'll have to take the bad with the good.

about a week ago

Getting IT Talent In Government Will Take Culture Change, Says Google Engineer

tlambert Re: what a douche (165 comments)

I've known "rock star" coders. If you don't want someone like Vint Cerf or W. Richard Stevens or Kirk McKusick or Eric Allman or Mike Karels or Dennis Ritchie or Sam Leffler on your team, then you are a freaking idiot.

And if you haven't heard it before, then you've probably never done a startup in Silicon Valley: Talent attracts talent.

about a week ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

tlambert Re:When arguing solar vs. nuclear... (409 comments)

Fission only at places where you can cool them, and preferable the road infrastructure is good to get fuel to them and waste away.

It's cute that you think waste has to be hauled away and stored, instead of reprocessed into more fuel.

about two weeks ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

tlambert When arguing solar vs. nuclear... (409 comments)

When arguing solar vs. nuclear, what you are really arguing about is where to put the reactor, and whether it's going to be a fusion reactor now, or a fission reactor now, with a fusion reactor replacing it later.

about two weeks ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

tlambert Re:Finally!! (409 comments)

I'm disappointed that codes for new construction haven't started mandating the installation of solar.

So are the companies selling solar. Meanwhile, Chevron is disappointed about codes for new construction not mandating the installation of furnaces requiring heating oil.

about two weeks ago

Parallax Completes Open Hardware Vision With Open Source CPU

tlambert Re:What about the FPGA? (136 comments)

As customization reaches lower and lower levels, it becomes increasingly difficult to meaningfully compromise it. Probably the only way to meaningfully compromise an FPGA is to autodetect an internet connectin, and stream out to it everything you receive, possibly only on receiving a particular activation signal.

The "FP" in "FPGA" stands for "Field Programmable"; it's possible to compromise in the field, in a rather meaningful way.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

tlambert That's easy! (194 comments)

That's easy!

Start with a computer that doesn't need tweaks/updates from time to time, and then add video conferencing software that allows you to not upgrade it in order to support new platforms because the basic protocol never changes, but is already ubiquitous on every platform someone might want to use, and get it all from a vendor who has no monetary interest in forced updates!

about two weeks ago

San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Dismantling Will Cost $4.4 Billion, Take 20 Years

tlambert Re:CLEAN, SAFE, (343 comments)

An elephant is a mouse with constantly changing government regulation.

about two weeks ago

Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can

tlambert Re:Soda can... (163 comments)

The primary reason for traffic slowdowns on these highways was rear-end collisions blocking traffic.

You've apparently never driven on U.S. 101 in the SF Bay Area; the primary reasons for traffic slowdowns are:

(1) Auuuuuuuugh! There's a huge ball of light up in the sky! We fears it, my precious!

(2) Look! An accident! Is there blood? Hey, Bill, can you see any blood?!?!

(3) I must get in the fast lane because it is the "fast" lane, even though I'm coming up on my exit!

(4) I must get from the fast lane all the way over to the exit lane, but it's OK if this takes forever, I was in the fast lane for 50 feet, dammit!

(5) Yes, I know it's after 3 PM and before 7PM! What do you mean, the lane to the left of mine is "The Car Pool Lane"? I'm driving slow in the middle lane; if you want to pass, you should get into the car pool lane and pass, then get back into this lane; you probably won't get a ticket anyway...

(6) Let me race up in this lane that I need to be out of before too long, rather than getting over now, even though I see barricades ahead, because I know some dumbass will let me in, right? Right? Hey, dumbass, I'm talking to you!

(7) I want to get on one of the bridges, but I don't want to wait behind all the people who also want to get on one of these bridges, so I'm going to block the next lane over until someone lets me in just to punish everyone else... if I have to wait, then everybody else damn well has to wait, too.

That probably should have been a countdown; fast lane discipline while car pool hours are in effect is probably the number one cause of traffic slowdowns, followed by "I'm too stupid to get over ahead of time", with "Auuuugh! Ball of fire!" in third place...

about three weeks ago

Unesco Probing Star Wars Filming In Ireland

tlambert The obvious solution? (181 comments)

The obvious solution? Just make a rule: "No Blasters."

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Resources On Programming For Palm OS 5?

tlambert As a general comment... (170 comments)

As a general comment... it's pretty funny that this wouldn't be an issue, since they complied with the GPL as they were required to do, and published their sources.

Only the politics of Open Source is such that the projects that they published the changes for were not updated to include the changes, because they felt that it was not their responsibility to update their projects to include someone else's changes to their projects. They felt, instead, that it was the responsibility of the people making the changes to join their projects, and then make the changes with the editorial oversight of the community.

This is somewhat ironic, since they wouldn't have published the sources in the first place, if it hadn't been for the license.

So it's interesting to me that you can more or less not comply with the license by complying with it, and that the license is only effective for however long your product and company are around, and, if not picked up by the community to be carried forward, get lost after a short period of time, even if the company continues to exist.

I guess I wonder if it's legal to sell remaindered product (or used product) without offering the sources, per the terms of the license, or if, after that period of time, the products become illegal to transfer the binary licenses, since the originators are no longer around, and you cant appeal to them in order to get around your personal obligation, as the seller/reseller, to make the sources available any more (but you, as the middleman, failed to take advantage of the offer while it was possible to do so).

Probably, projects need to be a little less pissy about integrating third party changes, fixes, and extensions back into their main line.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Resources On Programming For Palm OS 5?

tlambert Re:SDK available here: (170 comments)

Following the link to the SDK gives a 404. Palm development tools were never readily available even when the platform was popular. Now they're almost impossible to find. Obstructing access to development tools is one sure-fire way to kill off a platform.

Pretty sure they want it dead.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Resources On Programming For Palm OS 5?

tlambert Re:SDK available here: (170 comments)

Perhaps next time you should do a little searching around for the fille which can no longer legally be distributed before you ask me to distribute it, rather than merely giving you enough information that you could find it if you were smart enough to be able to do the type of programming that the OP is asking to be able to do in the first place, since it's going to be pretty useless to you otherwise.

about three weeks ago

On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

tlambert Re:Slippery Slope (186 comments)

Let me repeat that: It is absolutely technically possible to filter based on source IP address country.

Yes, you can also do various trickery to cloak your real source behind another source. That doesn't invalidate the point.

No, it just invalidates the suggestion as an effective method of geographically constraining data away from users in a particular region, which is what you are trying to do by using the IP address as some sort of magic geotag.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Resources On Programming For Palm OS 5?

tlambert SDK available here: (170 comments)

SDK available here:

Perhaps next time you will read the acquisition history for the software you are trying to find in the Wikipedia article, and then go to the OpenSource/Downloads section of the company website for the current owner of the technology yourself?

about three weeks ago



It looks like Apple has started paying for product placement

tlambert tlambert writes  |  about a year and a half ago

tlambert (566799) writes "From the well-that-didn't-take-long department:

It looks like Apple has gone back on their long-standing tradition of refusing to pay for product placement; at the end of the Hulu premiere episode for the television show "Deception" in which multiple Apple products appear, there is a clear statement in the credits: "promotional consideration furnished by APPLE". The statement occurs at time hash 44:49, 6 seconds before the end of the video."

Link to Original Source

99 year old woman reading again on her new iPad

tlambert tlambert writes  |  more than 4 years ago

tlambert (566799) writes "This is a cute story (with video) about a 99 year old woman and her iPad. It's interesting because of the accessibility angle. After years with glaucoma, she's able to read books again due to a combination of font scaling and an adjustable backlight intensity, according to the article."
Link to Original Source


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