Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 1) 162

by Archtech (#48802061) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

" At the core, sales & marketing are just con artistry".

When I was a bit younger - I'm really old and creaky now - I might have said exactly that. And I still feel that way, a lot of the time.

The thing is though, even if those skills are just con artistry, maybe they are necessary or even indispensable. In a perfect world, as Dr Sheldon Cooper might see it, everything would be decided by pure facts and logic. Everyone would have perfect information, and would instantly see all the consequences and ramifications of every fact.

Needless to say, your average human being (even Sheldon, actually) is not much like that. One of the greatest weaknesses of economics has always been its understandable inclination to over-simplify reality through entirely unjustified assumptions such as perfect information, perfect rationality, and a complete lack of empotions or any other motives than maximizing monetary property.

So salesmen and marketroids do fulfil a useful function - like dung beetles and bacteria, if you will - by partially compensating for our lack of imagination and logic. It would be far better if we could do without them, but sales would be a lot slower - causing manufacturing to slow down, workers to be laid off...

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 3, Informative) 162

by Archtech (#48765103) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

Jobs was truly innovative - but he thought in terms of applications, not basic technology. It's true that he didn't make any original technical inventions (AFAIK), but he was brilliant at finding attractive ways to market what others had invented.

That sort of creativity is extremely valuable, but it is slightly different from what I think we were discussing. To put it very simply, someone like Jobs could not succeed unless other people (mostly unsung heroes of technology) had previously done the spadework. On the other hand, their work would not have been nearly as fruitful without Jobs' clever marketing touch.

To my way of thinking, he could be compared (in a sense) with a brilliant Web site designer who produces a wonderful interactive site using the standard ingredients of HTML, CSS, scripting, etc. Everyone has access to the same palette of technology, but most designers do routine uninspired work, while some make a dreadful mess. And a select few have the talent to leave out whatever isn't essential, thus creating a work of art.

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 1) 162

by Archtech (#48754149) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

Thanks, lazarus. My comment was heartfelt and I deeply believe that it is correct. As they say, "you get what you measure"; or, perhaps more accurately, "you get what you reward". Earning profit is rewarded and respected; making creative or technical breakthroughs is not, except sporadically in places such as /.

Comment: Re:Something Truly Innovative (Score 5, Insightful) 162

by Archtech (#48753449) Attached to: What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

"Anything where the designers have cared more about making something amazing than making a ton of money".

Unfortunately, in our particular system those who care about making something amazing tend to go bankrupt or, at best, be acquired. Whereas those who consciously and deliberately set out to make a ton of money - by any and all means, and without caring how - often wind up running giant corporations.

This isn't just a casual complaint. I have observed the software industry professionally for about 30 years, and earned a living by writing about software vendors and their ways for over 10 years. I couldn't count the wonderful creative, innovative, dedicated companies founded and staffed by really, really smart people that I saw appear, flourish briefly, and then wink out. Meanwhile people like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison steadily built up immense fortunes by making absolutely sure that everything their corporations did was directly geared to support continuous long-term profit growth. They may have done some good things along the way, but that was purely coincidental.

Comment: Re:Anyone remember "The Manchurian Candidate"? (Score 2) 231

by Archtech (#48723961) Attached to: US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

"There is no doubt about it because the rebels announced the news themselves to the whole world before they realized their mistake".

Thank you for your polite expression of dissent. It's fortunate that information like that could never be faked by any group of vicious, self-seeking propagandists who habitually lie about everything. (Which could equally well describe the current "Ukrainian government" or the current US government - it makes no difference as the first is operated by the second).

Unluckily for your conspiracy theory, we know for sure that there were jet fighters within firing range immediately before MH17 went down; that there was no smoke or noise indicating a BUK launch; that the BUK unit captured by rebels (if any) was incomplete and incapable of shooting down an airliner at 10 Km height; that photographs clearly show the cockpit section riddled with cannon holes; that the Ukrainian authorities deliberately diverted MH17 directly over the fighting, for no good reason; and that mysteriously the highly detailed US military satellite images of the attack have never been released. Apart from which the Russians and Novorussians had every reason not to shoot down a civilian airliner, while Kiev had everything to gain from staging a false-flag attack.

Your faked "social media" evidence loses hands down.

Comment: Re:Turn about is fair play (Score 1) 231

by Archtech (#48723939) Attached to: US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

" Most of the free world profits from trade with the US".

In the sense that they receive lots of minty-fresh new dollars, hot off the printing press, in return for their valuable goods and services - maybe. But do you think that situation can go on for ever? Seriously??

And by the way, what is this "free world" of which you speak? Do you mean those nations that have democratic constitutions, defined as solemnly holding elections every few years in which the suckers, er people, can choose which of two gangs of corrupt millionaires they want to be ruled by for the next few years? Or do you refer to our "free markets", which are systematically rigged by banks, oil companies, and other wealthy corporations - as well as governments, of course?

Freedom is not an absolute: it's a matter of degree. In a nation with literally tens of thousands of restrictive laws and regulations (and more every year, at a steadily increasing rate) there is precious little freedom except the freedom of the rich to do what they want.

Comment: Re:Great framework (Score 1) 231

by Archtech (#48723911) Attached to: US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

"Well in the UK the sanctions against Russia have merely caused vegetable prices to go through the floor. I rarely go to super markets but I went yesterday and they were piled high at 5p a packet. Normally they are about 70p".

And you think this is a good sign, do you? Consumers like you get to save a few pence, while vegetable producers go broke and eventually out of business. It's not smart at all for a small overpopulated island to rely on imported food - it may not always be there to buy.

Comment: Anyone remember "The Manchurian Candidate"? (Score 0) 231

by Archtech (#48720779) Attached to: US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

Well, wow. Obama knew within minutes of the shooting down of MH17 that PUTIN DID IT. And he immediately knew that the NORTH KOREANS HACKED SONY. The man has unbelievable [sic] superpowers!

But he's overplayed his hand. As a direct result of his "diplomacy" [sic] China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Syria and other Asian nations are forming an increasingly tight trade, financial and military alliance. Ever since WW2 (and arguably WW1) US foreign policy has been aimed primarily at PREVENTING this. But they reckoned without the SLEEPER PRESIDENT! (Oh, did I forget to mention South America, Central America, and Africa?)

Comment: Re:Painted into a corner (Score 1) 174

by Archtech (#48719251) Attached to: Hunting For a Tech Job In 2015

"There seems to be a reasonable number of genuine jobs, but they simply don't have realistic expectations about what they can get for what they are willing to pay."

Yet another indication - if any were needed - that the "market mechanism" doesn't work, and is nothing more than a convenient excuse for paying less and demanding more. (Which, let's face it, is the essence of business).

I have never understood why managers, who really don't understand what programmers and other software experts do, nevertheless feel justified in putting a ceiling on what they can earn. It seems that they have a strange imaginary model of the world in which the things they do (if any) are infinitely more important than the things programmers do. (Just as sales is a "profit centre" while development is a "cost centre", although without it sales would have nothing to sell).

Oh well, just think of it as evolution in action.

Comment: Re:economy doing well? (Score 1) 174

by Archtech (#48718857) Attached to: Hunting For a Tech Job In 2015

"The money won't just appear out of thin air, you know?"

Funny you should mention that... take a look at

Apparently there is no real need for taxation any more. All the government has to do is run the printing presses and print up as many dollars as it needs - plus a few trillion for its good buddies, of course. Because the rest of the world owes the unique, exceptional, indispensable nation a generous living. The economics of Oz is here to stay!

Computer programmers do it byte by byte.