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Comment: Re: IBM no longer a tech company? (Score 1) 60

by Antique Geekmeister (#48228883) Attached to: Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

> This self feeds where the vast majority internally still are riding on skills from 20yrs ago

Like UNIX, lightweight code, C, consistent API's, and documentation? I'm afraid that while you may run into stodginess problems, a large part of my income right now comes from cleaning up after entrepreneurial spirits who ignore some of our hard-won lessons. And I'm afraid I've now seen several generations of newer developers take on new fads and be forced to re-learn, and re-invent from scratch, the procedures we learned 20 years ago.

I'm not insisting that IBM engineers are currently doing this, but don't underestimate the usefulness of these old skills.

Comment: Re: Nukes in Space (Score 1) 23

by Antique Geekmeister (#48228479) Attached to: Peter Kuran:Visual Effects Artist and Atomic Bomb Archivist

There were reasons to pursue such programs, although at least one fortunately never worked. There was a US "Star Wars" missile defense program involving fission bomb triggered X-Ray lasers. I'm afraid the design was quite useless for defense, the tracking system would have had to be much better than anything currently available. The design would also be completely useless as defense technologies, since they can't reach lower trajectory weapons such as drones or cruise missiles, and the larger missiles can use quite small amounts of fuel to "junk" in their trajectory and modern missile guidance systems can do course corrections for such jinking at the last moment. The X-ray lasers were a terrifying _offensive_ weapon, an unstoppable satellite killer against orbitally stable targets.

The overall program was fascinating. The "Star Wars" missile defense program helped bankrupt the Soviet Union trying to pursue the same technologies. So in an economic sense, it was an extremely effective Trojan Horse.

Comment: "Profit marrgin" may actually be repair costs (Score 3, Interesting) 91

The Surface has turned out to be both very fragile, and very difficult to repair. The result is that when there is any damage, and with the constantly droppping fire sale prices, the only personnel I know who've bought them have each replaced them twice, within the 2 years that the devices have been available. The result would look like "new sales" because the price of the extended warranty to cover such repairs, along with the time it takes to navigate the repair and replacement system, is better spent earning the money to buy a new one if you insist on continuing with such a fragile device.

Comment: Re:First (Score 1) 239

by Antique Geekmeister (#48201107) Attached to: Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals

> Laws and customs are irrelevant, as I criticize those frequently

This is precisely what I referred to. If they were irrelevant, there'd be nothing for you to criticize.

If you want to draw legal or political conclusions based on your personal utopic ideal, please make that clear. Because in the real legal and political world, it doesn't work. There is _no_ human society where those in power do not set boundaries on the use of recreational chemicals.

Comment: Re:Too Easy (Score 1) 239

by Antique Geekmeister (#48200893) Attached to: Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals

It used to be the House Committe on Un-American Activities hunting Communists. Before that, the Axis powers. Before that, rum-runners. Before that, the Anarchists.

There is always some group being pursued for political or criminal activity and innocent people crushed in the net used to catch them.

Comment: Re:First (Score 1) 239

by Antique Geekmeister (#48199829) Attached to: Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals

They certainly have the right when "in loco parentis" to make medical and lifestyle choices for children or for those incarcerated. There's also a great deal of long established political and legal right to prevent fraud. So please, do not throw around absolutes so carelessly when discussing law and custom.

Comment: Re:Not a religious war, but it sounds retarded ... (Score 1) 243

by Antique Geekmeister (#48192211) Attached to: Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

> Why would one in his sane mind convert from CVS to SVN?

Because Subversion really is "CVS done right". It scales much, much better, it's much easier to administer and manage, and it has much better support for large centralized repositories with limited access to specific parts of it for specific developers. My transformations from CVS to Subversion have been quite straightforward, except where developers manually edited old CVS files in the repository itself and broke things years previously.

If you need the local flexibility and to have source control access when disconnected from your central repository, the 'git2svn' interface has also been invaluable.

Comment: How to find the articles (Score 1) 113

Deleting the Google links is a quite serious hindrance to scholarship and informed research today. One may as well put it here (with due credit to Douglas Adams for writing this.

        "But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

        "Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."

Comment: Re:Cisco is just like the rest of them (Score 1) 148

by Antique Geekmeister (#48175645) Attached to: Cisco Exec: Turnover In Engineering No Problem

>but when you apply for them you get a response that the job doesn't exist

Oh, dear. This is a quite old trick. It's even more fascinating when they say "we already have candidates", but when your colleague with a different age, gender, or citizenship applies with similar credentials at the same time their application is accepted for review. The classic example of this is tuning HR requirements to only hire H1B candidates, as shown at:


Comment: Re:Folks this is what happens with bad leadership (Score 1) 148

by Antique Geekmeister (#48175629) Attached to: Cisco Exec: Turnover In Engineering No Problem

> They were suffering from price competition

Not just price competition: they were also suffering profoundly from fraudulent Cisco hardware.

Not only does it cost Cisco profits to lose the legitimate sale, but it costs them profoundly in customer support for the purchasers of fraudulent Cisco hardware. And Cisco support is a very large business cost to Cisco.

Comment: Re:My company (Score 1) 148

by Antique Geekmeister (#48175621) Attached to: Cisco Exec: Turnover In Engineering No Problem

Goodness, are you hiring? I'm doing a lot of partnership consulting with environments that have good people that have been trying to fix things for years. We respect them profoundly for their input and do our best to make sure they get full credit. But there is sometimes political infighting to get the work done and they wind up as sacrificial lambs. I'd love to send some your way: I wish _I_ could hire them, but my team is pretty well staffed and we often have non-poaching agreements.

Comment: Re:The essence of enterprise (Score 2) 148

by Antique Geekmeister (#48175553) Attached to: Cisco Exec: Turnover In Engineering No Problem

> Let me try to bring some perspective into the discussion. Lest somebody misunderstand, the very essence of an enterprise (any enterprise) is that it is a bundle of labour and capital whose essential structure and identity is independent of and more persistent than the labour it employs. The identity behind its labour component is no more important than the identity of its capital component.

I'm afraid, sir or madam, that your very opening statements show exactly why engineers will disagree with the entire rest of your statement. You've redefined a common word with a well understood social and legal meaning. Your definition reflects a business school philosophy that does not match either the common or the legal meaning. And it breaks down very, very quickly in the real world.

> It is for this reason that any contemporary HR policy is aimed at (and this is important) divorcing the work from specific individuals.

Nonsense. This guarantees failure in the long run for a tech business. It can work for Wal-Mart or even McDonald's or even non-technologically innovative business, such as spam advertising and domain squatting. There are profound evolutionary economic pressures against it for the more interesting or leading edge technologies. Networking tools and hardware, lab instruments, software virtualization, and systems security are examples that require insight and mastery to improve designs and remain effective and profitable..

> So it's up for debate really, and this isn't a new debate. It's a debate about a basic balance in our society that needs to be realigned from time to time.

And it's vital to know what the debate is really about. Please do not try to redefine basic terms in ways that obscure the actual debates. It's framing the question in a way that is misleading and helps prevent understanding of the underlying problem.

Comment: Re:That whole list (Score 1) 124

by Antique Geekmeister (#48137363) Attached to: Federal Government Removes 7 Americans From No-Fly List

The existing TSA has not presented a single successful prosecution, nor any "terrorists" successfully blocked by the terrorism watch list. The effective change in security has been the change in behavior of on board passengers and crew who no longer wait for the plane to land in control of the hijackers, and simple steps like better cockpit doors. There's little if any evidence that the enhanced check-ins are anything but security theater.

I've flown through dozens of airports since 9/11. Much like those attackers, I could easily pick the one with the worst security to stage a demonstration of just how simple it is to get weapns past their security.

In order to dial out, it is necessary to broaden one's dimension.