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Comment: You don't (Score 2) 384

by Digicaf (#46235645) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You To Tell Your Client That His "Expert" Is an Idiot?

I was a consultant for a while and trained more than a few FNGs. I would always advise them that the choice was theirs, but that the chances of a positive result were slim to none if they took their concerns to the customer. Sure enough, I saw several otherwise excellent consultants get shown the door because of this exact scenario.

Part of your responsibility as a consultant is to "work magic". If you run into roadblocks, you find ways around them and that includes the occasional professional vegetable. What typically isn't in your domain is giving advice on personnel, unless you were specifically hired to do exactly that. In the end, almost nobody wants to be told that one of their chosen workers is sub-par. It's negative, it's dangerous, and it's usually pointless.

Just work around them, document everything, and communicate that sort of stuff with your own manager behind closed doors. You should also be sure to have customer "witnesses" in your emails and meetings. Team distribution lists and direct managers are excellent for that.

Comment: Re:even a broken clock... (Score 1) 523

by Digicaf (#46069279) Attached to: RNC Calls For Halt To Unconstitutional Surveillance

Hallejulah! That can't possibly happen soon enough. I've never seen, heard of, or read about such a broken, self-centered, childish, short-term thinking generation in my life. If you ever do business with them, you will see it yourself. Most of them are like big two-year-olds who absolutely must get their way at all times.

I don't suppose you've been dealing with a lot of the young twentysomethings coming out of college recently? I'm willing to bet they're going to be just as bad, if not worse. It's been a pretty stark contrast to the graduates coming out just 6 or 7 years ago.

Comment: Re:And (Score 1) 287

by Digicaf (#45981783) Attached to: NSA Collects 200 Million Text Messages Per Day

Probably wouldn't help as much as you might think. Most of the young people I've talked to over the years have been extremely under-educated and too sheltered to have a well rounded world-view or to avoid manipulation. Their understanding of basic economics, for example, has been shockingly bad. I'd shudder to think what kind of insane policy they could be made to support.

For example, take one horrifying conversation I had at a college between myself and several "financial advisors" (young 20-somethings fresh out of college) in the fin-aid department. We were talking about student loans when the talk got political. They wanted to support full federal subsidization so that people could get "free college". When I pointed out that it wasn't free in that case, and that the cost was just shifted to taxpayers they literally couldn't understand it. So I asked "who would pay the professors and staff", to which their reply was "Why do they need to get paid". They were being completely serious.

Getting them more involved would be no less damaging than the religious nutjobs and ultra-conservatives that seem to be so common lately.

Comment: Re:"Patent Holder"?! (Score 1) 178

by Digicaf (#44039647) Attached to: TiVo Series 5 Coming This Fall

"Trivial" is just as arbitrary and subjective as "obvious".

The GP has a good point. If it was that easy or apparent, then why didn't anyone else do it over the few decades of recording devices that came before?

Honestly, if all your predecessors spent 20 to 30 years making thousands of products and then you come along and find a way to improve them significantly, then you should be able to patent that improvement. Just because it's a small or simple thing, doesn't mean it's less important.

Comment: Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (Score 2) 521

by Digicaf (#43784305) Attached to: Working Handgun Printed On a Sub-$2,000 3D Printer

Really?

You want to take something like what they made in that video and use it as a recoil spring? First off, it was huge. It would have to be significantly reduced in size to fit in a weapon, making it a lot less useful. Additionally, it would need to be extremely more robust. Do you have any idea the magnitude of the force absorbed by the recoil spring or the speed with which it's expected to function?

I'm not saying it's impossible to print the mechanical equivalent of a set of springs for use in a semi-auto, but posting this video as proof is akin to North Korea proving it has an ICBM by launching a bottle rocket.

Comment: Re:Hmm... I have a question. (Score 2) 177

by Digicaf (#43677633) Attached to: Watch a Lockheed Martin Laser Destroy a Missile In Flight

That would be a 7% absorption in ideal conditions only during initial contact. Once the coating and reflective surface reach a critical temperature then there'd be a cascading failure. The coating would be subject to both ablation and charring, which might actually help the laser more than hurt it.

There are a lot of factors that would quickly degrade the initial absorption figure (quality of coating, wavelength, surface contaminants, etc...). But even with that, I'd bet that a reflective mechanism would only slow down the process by a second or two.

Assuming this takes off, what we'll probably see will be an arms race of a sort. Missile designers would start using reflective surfaces and internal insulators while the laser designers would increase power, focusing ability, and introduce wavelength shifts (maybe dynamically). This could get interesting.

Comment: Re:Can't keep this up (Score 4, Insightful) 137

by Digicaf (#42171935) Attached to: Mars Rover Finds Complex Chemicals But No Organic Compounds

The point the GP is making is that reporters outside of NASA blew this up, not NASA themselves. That's not semantics, that's just really bad reporting.

As far as I've seen, NASA didn't make this out to be more than it was. In fact, I saw a couple of NASA releases stating that people shouldn't get too excited about it.

Comment: Re:Isn't that a bit of the fox guarding the chicke (Score 4, Insightful) 98

by Digicaf (#41934739) Attached to: Judge To Review Whether Foreman In Apple v. Samsung Hid Info

True, but that's the problem and the lie of omission.

If he had just said yes, then there could have been followup asking for full disclosure. But, since he said yes and then gave a followup immediately it would be natural for anyone to think that his followup was complete. Thus, he's guilty of omitting pertinent details that may have affected his standing.

Here's an example (only hypothetical):
Question: "Have you ever been arrested in Texas?"
My Answer: "Yes, I was detained for disorderly conduct but was acquitted"
Result: Most of the people hearing that would think that was all and go about their business.
The real story: The above is true, but I was also arrested for several other possibly relevant crimes.
What happens when they find out: a shit storm

Sure, the people doing the questioning failed to be exactly precise, but that doesn't mean I wasn't hiding something.

Comment: Re:Might be incentive to buy American? (Score 1) 543

by Digicaf (#41602767) Attached to: Supreme Court To Decide Whether Or Not You Own What You Own

No it's not. Definitely you should take some simple notes if you need them, but that's very different from developing questions about the material while it's being presented. Taking notes doesn't require understanding, and therefore requires almost no thought. Thinking of a question, however does take significant thought because it goes well beyond simply repeating the same material in a different format. This is especially true as the subject mater gets more complex. That's one reason why it's so much better to wait for questions until after the presentation.

Think about the process involved in both activities. In taking notes, auditory processing occurs as you hear the material and is quickly sent to the hand for writing. It's a simple, rote process that requires no real thought or effort. Developing a question, however, is much more complicated. You have to hear the material, process it for an appropriate level of understanding, discover an area for further investigation, formulate that into a coherent fragment, and speak it. The second process requires activation of a lot more of your cognitive centers than the first (especially since the first activity has been so thoroughly burned in).

In either case, the point is that you devote your full attention to the presenter so that you don't miss something. If you're thinking of a question, you're attention is on the question and not the presenter.

Comment: Re:Might be incentive to buy American? (Score 3, Insightful) 543

by Digicaf (#41598467) Attached to: Supreme Court To Decide Whether Or Not You Own What You Own

He's saying that when you "come up with questions automatically", that detracts from your cognitive listening skills because at least part of your thought is directed to the question and not what's being said. I have to agree with him. No matter how good you think you are, when you start thinking of questions while listening to something you take away some attention that could have otherwise been spent on listening and understanding.

Most people who've taught or given presentations would attest that people who think they can talk (or think of questions) and listen at the same time are deluding themselves.

Comment: Re:Note to TSA (Score 4, Interesting) 335

by Digicaf (#41388033) Attached to: TSA Spending $245 Million On "Second Generation" Body Scanners

So you expect a human being to sit by while 200 people are killed on the other side of a door. Are we going to start hiring sociopaths to be airline pilots?

In short, Yes. In long, Yes absolutely.

They don't need to be sociopaths, just don't underestimate things like the bystander effect and the human capability to ignore something unpleasant. Turning off communications with the cabin would help, and I'm wondering if items like that were formalized once they started locking the doors and treating the cockpit like a secured zone.

The human mind is wired to rationalize inaction and ignore reality, especially when there's any small amount of "push" being applied in that direction. Look at all the experiments we've seen that involve getting people to do or ignore horrible things with minimal effort. The Milgram experiment, for example. I'd be willing to bet that a pilot would ignore anything coming from the cabin if she or he was being told to ignore it by controllers.

Comment: Re:it's an arms race (Score 2, Insightful) 1184

by Digicaf (#41153979) Attached to: White House Finalizes 54.5 MPG Fuel Efficiency Standard

Sort of like survival of the unfittest.

In this context, the fittest do survive but the world may not define "fittest" the same way you do.

In that example, the soccer mom may survive and continue her genetic line not because her driving habits make her "fit", but other factors may. Maybe she can afford a minivan with excellent safety features, and because of those she survives. Or maybe someone else buys those features for her. Selection pressures in those cases would include her ability to earn pay, or her ability to socialize.

We have to be aware, in our current situation, that we are quite literally changing the priority and types of selection pressures. They aren't always what we've understood to be classical pressures, but they are always there. People will always be subjected to them in some form or fashion because we don't live in a bubble, instead we live in a world with finite resources where selection is a much more subtle and complex thing than it was 10,000 years ago.

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

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