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Comment: Re:The first rule (Score 1) 245

by David McBride (#41930069) Attached to: What To Do After You Fire a Bad Sysadmin Or Developer

There is truth in what you say; see also The Unspoken Truth About Managing Geeks for a further discussion along those lines.

However, I have also seen cases where the person they're talking about really is an incompetent and/or immoral idiot, and what management are parsing as name-calling and a possible shifting of blame is, in actual fact, one of your staff warning you of a significant danger.

While management might not like to believe they've hired someone with those qualities for a role, if it has happened, they would be well served to listen to the bad news being reported and take some action to assess and mitigate that risk!

Comment: Re:Have a great trip! (Score 1) 1095

by David McBride (#30216634) Attached to: Geek Travel To London From the US — Tips?

And regarding your trip. Depending on how long you stay there, if it's more than a week, try to find a neighbourhood pub (a real one preferably, not one of those modern things) and meet the locals.

A friend of mine put together a list of decent pubs in the area; see: http://ashok.org.uk/thelist/

Comment: Serious threat to Facebook, Twitter, et al (Score 5, Insightful) 170

by David McBride (#28130327) Attached to: Google's "Wave" Blurs Chat, Email, Collaboration Software

The decentralised nature of this system will directly threaten Facebook, Twitter et al.

The DNS system works, and scales, because everyone publishing information to the DNS is responsible for the upkeep of the nodes that publish their own records.

Facebook and Twitter, however, have scaling and financial problems. Facebook, so far as I am aware, continues to make a substantial annual loss despite its enormous success, and I have yet to hear that Twitter has managed to turn a profit.

More importantly, the privacy of everyone publishing much of their personal, private correspondence using a small number of centralized agencies is directly threatened -- and it could get particularly messy if, in a few years time, $SOCIALNETWORK fails to become profitable, goes into receivership, and the vast databases of private information are identified by the administrators as the organisation's most valuable asset.

In contrast, a Wave infrastructure, like DNS, will distribute the upkeep and storage of private information to many (hopefully) locally trustworthy systems. Because of social engineering / hacking attacks, leakage of private information can and will still occur, but the impact should hopefully be minimized if the Wave protocol and its implementations have been suitably well engineered.

This is going to be interesting.

Comment: Re:Well, this WAS a triumph (Score 1) 246

by David McBride (#27424337) Attached to: Google Launches CADIE, the First True AI

Creating a portal tunnel between your room and the surface of the Moon would fairly rapidly result in most of the air being evacuated from the Earth and deposited in lunar orbit around it.

This idea definitely falls into the Egon Spengler "That would be Bad" category.

Better idea: create a perpetual motion machine -- free energy -- by opening the exit portal above an entry portal, fixing a turbine in between them, and chucking in some water.

Comment: Avoid: OTRS; Try: RoundUp (Score 1) 321

by David McBride (#27006869) Attached to: Best FOSS Help Desk Software For Small Firms?

We deployed OTRS locally when we had to deploy something open-source off-the-shelf quickly, and it's proved painful. It might be possible to make it do what you want with more time and customization.

Since then, I've seen RoundUp appear, and it looks most promising, though I haven't had a chance to play with it yet.

Comment: Re:don't forget radio... (Score 5, Informative) 336

by David McBride (#26952933) Attached to: Cory Doctorow Calls Death To Music, Movies, Print

You can bash the man if you like, but you'd be more convincing if you laid off the ad hominem attacks and got your facts straight:

This latest is just the gasp of a flunkie, uneducated has-been science fiction author whose work is so spectacularly bad that he had never had a commercially successful work.

On the contrary; his latest novel "Little Brother" made the New York Times Bestseller list (Childrens), reaching the #8 spot after 6 weeks. It's had multiple print runs, been published in both the US and the UK, where they've sold well, and has been nominated for and granted a range of literary awards.

I'd say that qualifies as a commercially successful work by any reasonable definition!

The Courts

+ - Jack Thompson threatens Bill Gates and MS

Submitted by
smitty_srs
smitty_srs writes "Looks like old Jackie hasn't learned his lesson yet. Now he's threatening Bill Gates over Halo 3. [gamealmimghty.com]
From the letter: 'Here's the deal, Mr. Gates: Either Microsoft undertakes dramatic, real steps, through its marketing, wholesale, and retail operations to assure that Halo 3 is not sold, via the Internet and in stores, directly to anyone under 17, or I shall proceed to make sure that Microsoft is held to that standard by appropriate legal means. I have done that before successfully as to Best Buy, and I shall do so again as to Microsoft and all retailers of Halo 3.'
So, the question is: Why go after Microsoft and not retailers as he's done 'successfully' before?"
The Courts

+ - Copyright Misuse Claim Against RIAA Upheld

Submitted by
NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's attempt to dismiss a "copyright misuse" counterclaim against it has been rejected by Judge Charles L. Brieant, in a White Plains, New York, case, Lava v. Amurao. The counterclaim (pdf) calls for the record labels to forfeit their copyrights on the ground that they "are competitors in the business of recorded music.....[and] are a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and public policy, by litigating and settling all cases similar to this one together, and by entering into an unlawful agreement among themselves to prosecute and to dispose of all cases in an identical manner and through common lawyers..... Such actions represent an attempt....to secure for themselves rights far exceeding those provided by copyright laws......Such acts constitute misuse of copyrights, and lead to a forfeiture of the exclusive rights.....". The judge also upheld (pdf) a counterclaim for declaratory judgment of non-infringement, and granted the motion for leave to file an amicus curiae brief filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation."
The Internet

+ - U.S. Lobby Groups Criticize the World on Copyright

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The International Intellectual Property Alliance — a group that brings together several U.S. lobby groups including the MPAA, RIAA, BSA, the ESA, and publisher groups, has just released its Section 301 recommendations, criticizing 60 countries for their copyright laws. While the report leads to dire media coverage, Michael Geist has just debunked the lobby campaign demonstrating how "the U.S. approach is quite clearly one of 'do what I say, not what I do' (fair use is good for the U.S., but no one else), criticizing country after country for not enacting a DMCA, and blasting national attempts to improve education or culture though exceptions or funding programs.""

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