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Comment: Re:Thank you for clarigying that I have no interes (Score 1) 24

This. A device isn't mine unless I can run it offline. Why does it even need to be in constant touch with the mothership; the website fails to adequately explain that. As a hobbyist I'd *love* to have one of these, but it needs to be able to run on its own.

Comment: Re:survival of the fittest? (Score 2) 642

by JaredOfEuropa (#49797019) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?
It's not hard to see who gets to live longer. The rich, for one. If "we" decide to select candidates on merit, there will most certainly be other places where the selection criteria are different or where the deciders can be bought, and those who can afford it will simply move there (or import the stuff from there).

And if this is done by lottery, a lucky winner might well sell his ticket if the price is right... and would we even want to try and stop such transactions, like we prohibit people from selling their own organs now? If you (at, say, age 35) win the lottery and get to choose between a normal lifespan in sufficient wealth, or an extended lifespan that will be spent either working or worrying over money (or both)? Because your state or private pension scheme is most certainly not going to cover you for 300 years.

Comment: Re:An aid or a barrier? (Score 1) 110

GP makes a good point though, and actually both IT and the business often perceive the IT department as "plumbing". Something that just has to work: the plumber keeps the toilets from getting clogged, and IT keeps the servers from being owned. If that is how IT sees themselves, they'll become a "no" department with no added value.

If a business guy tells you: "I need an FTP server", your answer shouldn't be "no way in hell", but "what is it you really need?". Understand what their business need is, then offer your expertise to set up the right technology for the job to meet that need. And it goes further: if you understand their business, you can take the initiative and bring new tech to their attention and show them how it will help them to do things better, faster or cheaper. Many IT departments don't do that often enough or well enough.

Comment: Re:Welcome to outsourcing (Score 1) 110

That's a very good observation, and I suppose that in some cases the strict and deliberate split of Business and IT was done to keep departments from going off and setting up all manner of rogue IT projects. I have seen other specific measures being taken to prevent just that sort of thing. However, I see the exact same organisational trends in companies that profess to continuously improve their ways of doing business through innovative IT. In those cases, the downside is very real, and as far as I can see not very well understood or even recognized. Big IT-driven change projects and pilots of innovative technology are enthusiastically started, but fail to deliver the potential business benefits because of a lack of IT knowledge of management on the steering committee, and because of a lack of intimacy between business and IT.

I'd argue that there are still big gains being made with new IT; the need for continued innovation is still there. For starters, replacing traditional inventory and accounting with computer based solutions hasn't been a big bang where all the benefits were realized in a short time. These things evolved from basic isolated solutions, adding bar codes and inventory tracking, automated warehouses, JIT logistics, ERP, standardisation in integration tech that allows easy outsourcing of payroll and other business processes, etc. And this process continues. My current client suffers from the stuff I described above, but that doesn't mean that all their projects fail, and we've seen some significant tangible benefits coming out of the use of mobile devices, new ways of learning and providing support, a shift to SAAS, virtualisation, web-based solutions (thin client), and they even still develop some bespoke software that gives them a real competitive edge. They go for "commodity tools" in the sense that their strategy is to "buy not build" where possible, but the stuff they buy is being improved upon all the time, and even SAAS solutions do not free you from having to have at least some knowledge of IT when rolling them out into the organisation.

Keep in mind that innovation doesn't mean operating on the bleeding edge of tech or inventing your own stuff, in most cases it means adjusting your organisation and the way you do business to take advantage of advances being made in tech that is already available as "boring" commodity software or services.

Comment: Re:Welcome to outsourcing (Score 1) 110

This. Also, here's a telltale quote:

The report says that given the low levels of digital knowledge and skills outside of IT [..]

When I first started working, IT was more closely interwoven with the business functions. Gradually, IT was separated into its own department, parts of it were outsourced, and the work was more compartimentalized (moving from individual generalists to fully interchangable specialists). To be sure this has had positive effects: in my own experience the level of professionalism has gone way up and there are far fewer ninja projects and hobby departments. But the downside has been that IT has lost touch with the business almost completely, and the amount of red tape is staggering.

Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 62

by Bruce Perens (#49787045) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Russia would like for us to continue gifting them with cash for 40-year-old missle motors, it's our own government that doesn't want them any longer. For good reason. That did not cause SpaceX to enter the competitive process, they want the U.S. military as a customer. But it probably did make it go faster.

Also, ULA is flying 1960 technology, stuff that Mercury astronauts used, and only recently came up with concept drawings for something new due to competitive pressure from SpaceX. So, I am sure that folks within the Air Force wished for a better vendor but had no choice.

Comment: Context (Score 3, Informative) 62

by Bruce Perens (#49782349) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

This ends a situation in which two companies that would otherwise have been competitive bidders decided that it would cost them less to be a monopoly, and created their own cartel. Since they were a sole provider, they persuaded the government to pay them a Billion dollars a year simply so that they would retain the capability to manufacture rockets to government requirements.

Yes, there will be at least that Billion in savings and SpaceX so far seems more than competitive with the prices United Launch Alliance was charging. There will be other bidders eventually, as well.

Comment: Re:They're missing the point... (Score 1) 277

by JaredOfEuropa (#49781519) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

It'll be a lot like living on a submarine that you mostly endure rather than pioneer

Extra points for this remark. I suppose many of us (myself included) at first had a somewhat romantic picture when thinking about the first Mars settlement, even harebrained ones like Mars One. A garden dome with some cylindrical habitats around it, with a bespacesuited pioneer standing outside next to the rover he takes out on his daily drives around the planet. The submarine analogy is much more realistic... It'll be cramped, with only very limited time outdoors, with zero privacy, zero opportunity to escape your fellow colonists, and probably limited opportunity to escape into work (as people in such conditions often do). Big Brother in Hell. Probably exiting for the first month, still pretty good a few months in, but after a year (after you're still around) it's going to suck.

Comment: Re:Sure, let's make everything tiered (Score 5, Insightful) 389

Don't dry your poodle in this microwave oven. Do not look into laser with remaining eye. Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear. Not to be used as a flotation device. This packet of nuts may contain traces of nuts. Look out for pedestrians when engaging the auto-park feature.

There's always a better idiot to beat your safety system. Also, wasn't this caused simply by the driver stepping on the accelerator? This did not look like the kind of driving any self-parking car would do, pedestrians or no.

Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 4, Interesting) 117

The hard part is indeed establishing what the right level of security is and how to evaluate companies against that. At least over here, the exclusions for burglary are pretty clear cut: leaving your door or a window open, and for insuring more valuable stuff there are often extra provisions like requiring "x" star locks and bolt, or a class "y" safe or class "z" alarm system and so on. With IT security, it's not just about what stuff you have installed and what systems you have left open or not; IT security is about people and process, as much or more than it is about systems.

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 3, Insightful) 415

by JaredOfEuropa (#49765125) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
An A.I. expert may know a lot about A.I., but you need a broader perspective to judge the impact of A.I. on humanity. A bit of economics, sociology, psychology... and in that light, I'd value the opinion of certain Science-Fiction writers higher than that of any of those 3 as they've already done some considerable philosophizing about the subject.

Comment: Re:We 'must' compete (Score 4, Insightful) 118

So we already stopped singling out winners for scholastic performance (or performance at sports, or whatever), with this "everyone's a winner" crap. And now we can't even give kids points for effort?!

Competition (meaning a race between two or more people, although this also applies to the economic meaning of the word) is healthy and good, and it is a powerful way to push people to excel. And recognizing effort helps disadvantaged children, they get bonus points for persevering where the advantaged kids "got everything handed to them on a silver platter" without having to try very hard, as one critic in that article puts it.

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