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Comment: Disruptive technology is always less at first (Score 1) 399

by CyberLeader (#46858689) Attached to: Japanese and Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches

The long-term question isn't whether people want a watch or something more generalized, it's more a question of whether your wrist is a viable place to wear something useful. Traditional watches and the plethora of UP/Fuel/FitBit bands seem to say "sure."

Any disruptive technology starts out less effective than the thing it's disrupting. Early cell phones were big, clunky, and had short battery life; early smart phones had clunky keyboards and low bandwidth; early SSD drives were (are) more expensive and smaller than HDDs, etc. Early smart watches have and will continue to suck at being watches, but that's not the point. When battery life is no longer an issue, when clunky tiny interfaces stop trying to replace bigger interfaces and focus on things that work well at that size, *then* the disruption will begin in earnest.

Various posters are correct that a Rolex is a fashion statement and that its time-telling ability is incidental. However, there is such a thing as fashionable technology, so for the luxury watchmakers to think that they're completely immune to disruption looks short-sighted to me.

Comment: Yay, another foreign corporation (Score 5, Insightful) 284

by CyberLeader (#45920423) Attached to: White House Reportedly Dismissing Key Healthcare.gov Contractor

When you're tired of screwing it up like amateurs, bring in Accenture so you can screw it up like professionals!

My firm has made a lot of money cleaning up Accenture's disasters. It's a living.

So while Accenture was originally based in Bermuda, they've since moved their corporate HQ to Ireland. Could we at least pick a vendor incorporated in the U.S.?

Comment: MarkLogic is an XML repository, not a RDBMS (Score 5, Interesting) 334

"Some people, when confronted with a problem, think 'I know, I'll use XML.' Now they have two problems."

-JWZ

MarkLogic is an XML database, not a relational database, so if your data primarily consists of XML content then it's the right tool for the job. Sounds like the vendor building the system had a favorite hammer and decided that a rather traditional database problem looked like a nail.

MarkLogic itself is fine if your data fits neatly into an XML schema, but with healthcare.gov that tree is probably enormous and hard to optimize for DB activity.

Comment: Solutions are simple, executing them is hard (Score 5, Insightful) 453

by CyberLeader (#45490435) Attached to: Imagining the Post-Antibiotic Future

Those of us who have been in and around the industry have seen this developing for a long time. The solutions are straightforward but face enormous resistance from those currently benefiting from how antibiotics are currently misused.

1) Ban the use of antibiotics in livestock except to actually treat disease. As the article notes, >60% of all antibiotics by volume are used to fatten livestock in the absence of disease. Because the USDA regulates livestock production rather than the FDA it becomes a jurisdictional quagmire to try to limit use in livestock. While there isn't much antibiotic left in meat when it goes to market, the runoff from stockyards provides the perfect mixture of bacteria and diluted antibiotic (and metabolites) to create resistant strains.
2) Stop prescribing antibiotics in novel classes for routine things like ear infections and sinus infections. Studies show that most of those will clear up on their own without antibiotic treatment, but nobody wants to be the guy who feels miserable but doesn't get a Z-Pak or some fluroquinolones as treatment.
3) Ban these ridiculous anti-bacterial soaps and things that contain triclosan. It's creating cross-antibiotic resistance and isn't even that effective at killing bacteria during primary use because people don't leave it on long enough.
4) An earlier poster asked if the lack of corporate investment to find new antibiotics is a market failure, and the answer is yes. Besides the enormous dysfunction that permeates big pharma in general, the reality is that antibiotics are generally not nearly as profitable as once-a-day drugs that last a lifetime. Either provide regulatory incentives for antibiotic development or do more of the research at the government level or both.
5) In the long run, we need a completely different approach to managing bacterial infection. An earlier poster mentioned phages, and there are multiple different research avenues that show some promise if we can get them going.

Comment: Embracing the disruption (Score 4, Interesting) 481

by CyberLeader (#37440224) Attached to: Netflix Creates Qwikster For DVD Only Business

So we here in the Slashdot crowd are the first ones to laugh at businesses that fail to stay ahead of the technology curve. AOL and their endless CDs, RIM getting destroyed by iPhones and Android phones, Yahoo's failure to recognize that Google's advantage comes from more than just its search algorithms, et al. A common theme through all of these dramatic implosions is that the old business model strangled the new, and that the leadership of these companies was unwilling to take the short-term pain hit to prepare for the future. Yet Netflix is doing just that, and they meet with even more derision because it's going to screw up the existing customer base.

Do any of us believe that DVDs via USPS are the future of content delivery? Of course not. Could Netflix have spun it a little better? Sure, but there's a whole set of reasons that moving away from your established business model is considered painful, and one of those is that it's going to piss off the established base and cost you some lost business. A little more artistry in the transition would have been nice, but anyone who thinks that this move is going to kill off Netflix is probably mistaken. They are being remarkably honest about it all.

The DVD business is dying fast, and they know it. Direct content delivery is the growth industry that is disrupting DVDs (and eventually CDs, games, and packaged software) out of existence, and they're jumping to the new ship before the old one is sunk.

Microsoft

+ - Malware authors learn from the best->

Submitted by Earthquake Retrofit
Earthquake Retrofit (1372207) writes "The Register http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/12/new_zeus_features/ has a rather funny story about the Zeus botnet: 'The latest version of the Zeus do-it-yourself crimeware kit goes to great lengths to thwart would-be pirates by introducing a hardware-based product activation scheme similar to what's found in Microsoft Windows... They've also pushed out multiple flavors of the package that vary in price depending on the capabilities it offers. Just as Windows users can choose between the lower-priced Windows 7 Starter or the more costly Windows 7 Business, bot masters have multiple options for Zeus.'"
Link to Original Source
Technology (Apple)

+ - French investigating 'exploding' iPhones

Submitted by krou
krou (1027572) writes "The BBC is reporting that French consumer groups are investigating cases of spontaneously exploding and cracking iPhones. 8 people are believed to have been effected so far. The most recent case is Rolland Caufman, an 80-year old pensioner, who claimed 'I took it out of my pocket and held it to my ear and saw the screen crack up like a car windscreen'. Previously, 'a 26-year-old security guard claimed he was hit in the eye with a glass shard when his Iphone screen cracked up.' He is believed to be suing for damages. This comes after an earlier EU investigation after similar reports in the UK, Holland and Sweden. The report also mentions accusations that Apple are trying to hush up incidents where iPods and iPhones have heated up or burst into flames, particularly in the case of Ken Stanborough and his daughter, who 'have accused the firm of trying to silence them with a gagging order after the child's iPod exploded and the family sought a refund'. Apple has so far not commented on the incidents in France, saying, 'We are waiting to receive the iPhones from the customers. Until we have the full details, we don't have anything further to add.'"

Comment: Re:Fonzi'd (Score 1) 798

by CyberLeader (#27218129) Attached to: Sci Fi Channel Becoming Less Geek-Centric "SyFy"

SciFi jumped the shark when they canceled Farscape. How can you argue with a show where a giant mushroom Muppet pilots a living starship full of hot blue and gray women, an alien warrior with a six foot tongue, a lost Earthman, and his almost-but-not-exactly-human girlfriend, all while being chased by a guy who looks like an anorexic with an S&M fetish?

"Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it." -- Marvin the paranoid android

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