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Comment: Re:Not worth it (Score 1) 251

by JaredOfEuropa (#47757217) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?
Just get your PC from a reputable OEM. I get mine from a local shop who build machines to spec or provide one of their predefined configurations, and they give knowledgeable advise on tuning, configuring, noise management, etc. They install Windows for you with no crapware (but with the right vendor-supplied drivers, and with any additional software you specify), or without Windows if you so prefer. By the way, over here any shop will sell me an OEM version of Windows if I buy a PC component (motherboard, processor or even just a mouse) at the same time.

Without crapware, Windows is a decent enough OS, except the unbelievable usability choices they made in Windows 8. I'm hoping Windows 9 will fix those mistakes, and that they will not hit me for the full amount when upgrading.

Comment: Re:Things (Score 3, Interesting) 191

by JaredOfEuropa (#47743441) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?
It's all about degrees of disaster. If there's a real disaster, I wouldn't give a rodent's behind about my electronics and I too would be happy with my emergency stash of food and water. But even so I have taken some precautions... My router, server, NAS etc sit in the basement, but they are mounted as high as possible in case there's a flood, and there's a flood detector as well. No use against a real flood (we live below sea level), but if the water mains bursts or if a minor dike breaks, my stuff will be reasonably safe and I will be notified in time to move it if the flooding continues. The same level of protection that people arrange in hurricane areas, I suppose, like having sheets of wood handy to board up the windows with. Not sure how you'd protect your things against a minor earthquake, though. Not mounting them in a wobbly cabinet is probably a good start.

Comment: Re:Congratulations, India ! (Score 1) 67

by JaredOfEuropa (#47743327) Attached to: Mangalyaan Gets Ready To Enter Mars Orbit

So it's an excuse for not doing these things at all?

They are doing both the space program and doing something about living conditions. The problem is that fixing poverty is hard, and like the problem of travelling to the moon or Mars, you don't solve it merely by allocating a budget, that's only the start. If fixing poverty was easy, a lot of other countries wouldn't have any. Hell, perhaps the USA wouldn't have any. And fixing their poor living conditions probably costs a multiple of what it costs to run their space program. According to their 2013 budget, the Rural Development Ministry alone receives over 16 times the ISRA budget. My point is that I think it would be a big mistake to shift the +- 1 billion $ space budget to further rural development.

Comment: Re:Congratulations, India ! (Score 1) 67

by JaredOfEuropa (#47742355) Attached to: Mangalyaan Gets Ready To Enter Mars Orbit
India is doing well economically and I think they have the right idea: they promote high tech industry and have a couple of high profile projects like these. This makes them more independent, builds their economy, and instills national pride. The wrong way to do it is to take things one at a time: first get plumbing and sanitation in place, and only then work on getting a meal into every child's belly, and only then provide basic education, and only then introduce mechanised farming, and only then work on a national road network and electrical system, and so on. India's space program is money well (and frugally) spent.

Comment: Re:3D Blu-Ray Player (Score 1) 99

by JaredOfEuropa (#47737969) Attached to: The Tech Fixes the PS3 Still Needs, Eight Years On
I play most games on my PC as well, but sometimes it is just nice to boot up a quick game on the console and have at it with some friends. My main niggles about the PS3, compared to the older consoles:
1) The old games were very much about head-to-head action, but many PS3 games have poor support for multiple players on one console, and instead focus on networked play
2) The updates. The god-damned updates. The PS3 is switched on only every now and then for a few quick games, only to find that both console and game require a patch, which sometimes takes over an hour to download and install. Fail. The whole point of a console is that it's instant-on.

Comment: Re:Waaah. (Score 2) 336

by JaredOfEuropa (#47735951) Attached to: New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W
Contrary to anti-EU people*, it's not completely pointless. Regulations like these are not just for controlling the wattage of vacuums, the curvature of banana's, or the number of times a paperclip can bend before it breaks. Thanks to regulations like these, certification for products in the EU has become a whole lot easier; no more need to have it done in each country separately. The problem is that the EU has a lot of bored politicians eager to make their mark, and they *love* to slip politically motivated items into these bills. Some are relatively harmless like the limit on vacuum cleaner power, some are a bit more evil and designed to give certain countries an edge over others (look at EU farm policy), and some are just stupid, like fixing the maximum weight a worker is allowed to lift at 23.5kg, when most bulk goods like cement come in standard 25kg bags (the limit was taken from a US study, and converting the nice round weight given in pounds to kg, they arrived at the 23.5 figure)

*) I'm all for the idea behind the EU, but very much against the intransparent, bureaucratic and unaccountable mess they turned it into. The EU needs a severely limited mandate as well as better democratic controls.

Comment: Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (Score 4, Insightful) 441

Not superior, just cheaper. The guy is right when he states that, in tech, "The difference between someone who's truly great and just sort of okay is really huge". It stands to reason that you'd pay a hell of a lot more to the truly great compared to the good, and that the good still earn quite a bit more than the sort of ok. Funny how that never seemed to happen, though, except in a few companies I've seen (where you also had management reeling in horror at the fact that some techies made more than them). I bet there's plenty of talent to go around in the US, but top performers command top pay or they'll up and leave. Foreign workers are a cheaper and less mobile work force.

Comment: Re:Publicly Funded Governments (Score 4, Insightful) 159

There are many reasons why proprietary software is sometimes the better choice. In some cases the TCO will be lower, or the software is easier to use for office workers (like it or not, Windows / Office is pretty much what employees will already be familiar with). It may be easier to find support staff for some proprietary software. And in some cases, the proprietary software will simply be of better quality, more reliable, or a better functional fit. Also, I fail to see why license fees are evil.

With that said, I think governments should use open standards for data, document storage and interfaces where available, and avoid products (proprietary or otherwise) that do not support such standards.

Comment: Re:god dammit. (Score 2) 519

by JaredOfEuropa (#47711031) Attached to: Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

I'm trying to think of the name of the thin, extremely fragile layer of crust on undisturbed desert ground that environmental groups want to shut down land so people won't walk on it.

That's cryptobiotic soil, I think. Worth preserving, but I think we can stand to lose a few square miles of it in exchange for power for 100k+ homes. This isn't random people walking or driving over it for a moment and then leaving, this is permanently putting a piece of desert to useful work.

Comment: Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (Score 1) 199

Our problem is we have a caste that calls themselves "lawmakers" and so all they want to do is make new laws.

Unsurprising, when you are ruled by lawyers. Poking around demographics on Congress, we find about 40% of members with a law degree (over 50% in the Senate). In contrast, only 2% of them are scientists or engineers...

Comment: Re:Surprise? (Score 1) 579

by JaredOfEuropa (#47701551) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft
Users will compare the office environment with what they know, which is usually Windows, and usually a version that isn't locked down thus giving a better experience. They will complain, it's inevitable. How they complain about the office setup and whom/what they blame for it depends on the situation:
- Windows at work: "Why can't our crap IT department make this simple stuff work properly, if I can do it at home?"
- Linux at work: "Why are we even using this cockamamie hippie software, instead of Windows which the rest of the world is using?"

There are good reasons for managers to go with MS, SAP, IBM. For the manager, they are safe choices; the decision to select any of these vendors is unlikely to be challenged. The Windows situation will only give him a stick to beat IT with, or at best some leverage to wring a discount or some free consultancy from MS. In case of Linux, it provides an opportunity to attack the decision to go with Linux itself. If the guy happens to be against Linux, or talked to MS about a sweet deal involving a move of their Euro HQ to Munich for example, those user complaints will come in very handy indeed.

Comment: Re:Not really game changing (Score 2) 239

Modded "flamebait", but you're sort of right. The hard part of blowing something up is getting the cash together, obtaining enough explosives, and finding the right target and opportunity, all that without having some security agency get wind of your plans. Finding some poor deluded soul willing to blow himself up for a crappy cause is actually the easy part, especially if you can draw from a pool of religious nuts. And islam has plenty of those, sad to say.

Comment: Re:us other engineers matter, too (Score 1) 371

On the face of it, that makes a lot of sense, but in practice it is rarely that simple. If a team sees a 10% increase in productivity, it's often the manager who takes credit, but often enough it's due to that old boy engineer or that senior business analyst helping out the rest of the team and making things more efficient. Unsurprisingly, to make engineers work better you often need an engineer, not a generic manager. This is the difference between managers and leaders, and it's also why I think training (*real* training) and coaching are so important (and, like the engineer, they are undervalued by management). If you're a manager and you think that your staff comes fully equipped for the job, with up to date skills and knowledge of standards, best practices and procedures, think again.

Comment: Re:Gartner cynic here - enlighten me (Score 2) 98

by JaredOfEuropa (#47669333) Attached to: Gartner: Internet of Things Has Reached Hype Peak
I'm a cynic as well, though I do read their reports from time to time (our company has access to them).

The value of these reports is not insighful conclusions, but in the research that "proofs" those conclusions. Let's face it, everybody knows that cloud-based computing has gone mainstream: it's been around for a while now, there are various stable, standardized and cheap services available for it, and many large companies already have good experience in using cloud resources, even though they have some issues from time to time. What Gartner does is put some numbers to those common insights: how many services, how have cost and competition evolved, what standards have emerged, how many companies actually use it and for what % of their business, anyone using it for business critical stuff, what kind of issues have they experienced, etc.

You're not going to learn anything amazing from Gartner reports, but there is a reason that even smart managers look at these reports to judge market readiness or trends: they provide evidence to support what you probably already knew, and it's a lot better evidence than what Google punters can come up with.

"Now here's something you're really going to like!" -- Rocket J. Squirrel