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Comment: Re:Steve Jobs set the standard... (Score 5, Interesting) 260

by Dzimas (#47650729) Attached to: Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?
The best hire I ever made was someone that a senior VP disagreed with me about during and after the interview. I saw the skill set and personality that was needed for our team and he didn't. Fast forward 10 years, and I found myself approaching the person I'd hired for funding to keep my little startup alive and allow it to prosper. Because I had treated that employee well, we were able to hammer out the framework of an agreement at our first formal meeting. It was the easiest pitch that either of us had ever been through. Behaving like a tantruming child simply because you have money and the illusion of power is the stupidest approach if you plan on being in tech for the long haul. Sooner or later, someone you've trampled or angered *will* be in a position to give a less-than-flattering opinion of you or shut you out.

Comment: Limited utility. (Score 4, Insightful) 136

by Dzimas (#47625151) Attached to: Parallax Completes Open Hardware Vision With Open Source CPU
I run a company that releases all its hardware designs and am a huge proponent of OSHW. This gesture has limited utility simply because the people who use MCUs in designs aren't typically interested in delving into the minutiae of how the processor that runs the system is built. They're more interested in open source circuits which have real-world applications -- a low pass filter for smoothing PWM signals, a nice clean USB power supply, and so on.

Comment: Re:Who cooks at 800C ? (Score 3, Insightful) 228

by Dzimas (#47363871) Attached to: Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven
Lead melts at 327.5 degrees, zinc melts at 319.5 degrees, tin a bit less than that. You could have some serious metalworking fun in the kitchen -- get it up to 1200 degrees and you could liquify gold, silver and even copper. I seriously hope that the numbers in the summary were just an awkward conversion error, because the notion of your very own kitchen smelter is terrifying.

Comment: Re:Why should we care? (Score 1) 206

by Dzimas (#47168619) Attached to: NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars
A politician's speech is the best you can come up with to explain why we need to reach Mars? Oh, my. JFK was all hot and bothered to reach the moon because it would upstage the Soviets, not because it was a noble or even sensible endeavor. There are a number of good reasons why a mission to mars would be desirable: (1) it requires the development of long-range manned spacecraft, (2) it gets us out of low earth orbit, (3) (in the long term) it encourages the development of new forms of long-range propulsion and an important emphasis on interplanetary life support systems. I could scrawl down a few dozen more, but the *important* bit is that it encourages us to make tentative steps into the larger solar system. And -- once we can reach other planets and moons -- perhaps there's an economic opportunity to be found that drives further advances.

Comment: Re:Sometimes the "idiot" isn't the problem. (Score 1) 255

by Dzimas (#47148921) Attached to: A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"
Yes, of course I presented the user feedback as you suggest. I also provided solid use cases to illustrate how things didn't match the way their business works and what could be done to dramatically improve it. The problem was simply that the project manager had chosen to build a technical house of cards and didn't have the budget or time to change course. When faced with clear evidence that the system simply didn't work for clients, the easiest response was to discredit and kill the messenger. That only preserves the status quo for a short while, though. In this company's case, it was a matter of about 8 more weeks before an executive review killed the project and eventually the entire division.

Comment: Sometimes the "idiot" isn't the problem. (Score 4, Interesting) 255

by Dzimas (#47147951) Attached to: A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"
I've had the delightful experience of being treated as the team idiot simply for declaring that the emperor had no clothes. It was one of those death march instances where a company decided to write a "version 2.0" of their extremely good program from the ground up. They brought in extremely skilled and expensive technical leads who developed a complicated new back end that was designed to be as "infinitely versatile" and then deployed a front end to match. The result was that they took a very good user experience and turned it into an arcane and slow -- but insanely flexible -- system. Client users absolutely hated the preview releases because they simply didn't let them do their work. I was the unlucky sap who had to provide feedback to the dev team. I decided not to pull punches and deliver a factual summary. The end result? The project lead declared that, "The consulting team simply doesn't understand how the system works" and proceeded to try to ice me out of the company. The organization ultimately failed because the project was such a mess. Unpleasant, but I'm glad I stood my ground and called a spade a spade. It took a while to regain my confidence after that, but my subsequent projects have all been successful and even award winning.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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