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Comment Re:...uhh (Score 1) 178

When a race of aliens build a technologically advanced society, it is likely that they will turn to electromagnetic or optical signalling for long range communication, whatever senses they may or may not posess. And once they have that, start listening for word from other worlds, and happen to pick up our signals, it's likely that they'll recognize them for what they are: artifical signals instead of a naturally occurring phenomenon. Once that happens, it shouldn't be too hard for them to pick up on clues deliberately left in the message, whether it's pi or tau or prime numbers, or if they're not using base 10, or whatever.

It also seems likely that, whatever senses they posess, they'll have a way to "visualize" geometric shapes and "pictures" or some other means of provide an abstract representation of the physical world around them, and encode that into signals. If they can do that, they'll be sure to look for pictures in our transmissions, and then a TV signal isn't all that hard to recognize for what it is either.

Sure, beings from an ice planet that use nothing but temperature to communicate and make sense of the work around them may have a hard time coping with abstract visualisations, but lacking EM or optical sensors, they won't be picking up our transmissions in the first place, so the decoding issue becomes moot.

Comment Re:Rules v. consequences (Score 1) 228

No. Take drunk driving. If you drive under the influence and are caught, you get punished for taking a serious risk. If you drink, drive and kill someone, you are punished for an entirely different thing, namely manslaughter (or whatever the legal term is), not for "driving drunk and being unlucky". And your punishment should (and does) depend on how much the judge deems you to be responsible for the accident, ranging from 0% (unavoidable bad luck or the other guy's fault) to 100% (doing it on purpose). Driving under the influence increases your chances of having an accident. Everyone knows this so if you do drink and drive, it does increase your responsibility for the death. But it makes no sense whatsoever to prosecute an intoxicated driver for manslaughter if no one is dead.

If you drink and hit a person, it is only part bad luck: you yourself have increased the odds of an accident. Is it cruel to punish such a person harder if an accident does happen? I think it's even more cruel to increase punishments for the lucky ones who escape unscathed, causing no harm whatsoever.

Setting punishment for the maximum possible consequences without regard for probability or circumstances doesn't make for a very just society. Yes, some of that statement is subjective. Keep in mind though that respect for the law is subject to whether people feel those laws are just or not. Making a bunch of laws that are felt to be very unjust is a very dangerous thing, as it erodes respect for all of the law.

Comment Re:Rules v. consequences (Score 1) 228

Speeding causes deaths, too. Should speeding, even a little, be punished as severely as drunk driving? People die from falling objects too; should you be sent to jail for accidentally knocking a flowerpot off your balcony? A lack of serious consequences is no defense for violating the rule, but it is a mitigating circumstance when it comes to setting the punishment. And conversely, rule-breaking may well earn you a stiffer punishment in case you do cause an accident. If you hit someone with your car and you were found to be speeding or drunk, you'll be more likely to be held fully responsible than if you were operating your car within the rules of the road.

Risk and impact determine to what degree the actual consequences weigh in the sentencing. Moderate speeding carries a small risk, and thus results in a small fine only. The risks for drunk driving are much more serious, hence the stiffer punishment. And in some areas, like chemical plants or aerospace, the risks are such that no rule breaking at all can be tolerated. In this case, the rules are clear, and should certainly have been clear to a commercial operator like SkyPan, and I agree with a stiff fine in light of the serious potential outcome of their reckless use of drones. However we should not apply the same rigour in sentencing to all areas of our society. Almost all of our activities come with a risk to others, and personally I think that in a lot of cases our society has become way too risk-averse.

Comment Re: Rule #1 (Score 2) 281

I'll do you one better: my last client migrated from Mediawiki (encyclopedia) and Confluence (team sites) to Sharepoint. What a disaster. Sharepoint looks nice in demos, but there are some serious issues with the architecture, it does not scale up well and TCO for large deployments is enormous, and it tries to be everything at once (documents management, team sites, content management, wikis, and it sucks at most of them). And we had the expensive contractors to roll it out and try to sort of make it work as well. I'll take Confluence over Sharepoint.

Comment Re:Hubris and Self-Interest (Score 1) 281

The "neatly contained" part is key to SOA and microservices: it's not just a matter of having a problem that lends itself well to decomposition, but also about having the right people to do the architecture. It's not a trivial job, and if you get it wrong you'll have to refactor and redefine a whole mess of services, and your project can escalate out of control quite quickly that way. Refactoring a monolythic project is easier.

Comment Re:Rule #1 (Score 2) 281

Rule #2: Don't work for a startup unless there's some equity in the offing. Preferably not in the form of stock options that give the owners the option of simply firing you before they vest. If a company demands a lot from you (startups usually do) and your contribution makes a sizable difference in the success of the company, you should ask for a slice of the pie.

Comment Re:Who cares (Score 2) 577

Which newspapers or news channels do you get your news from? Any time you hear the anti-immigrant viewpoint, it's from some raving clueless idiot, or from Wilders (the two are not mutually exclusive categories). Any time you hear an opinion that is posited as a "balanced", "thoughtful", "realistic" or "reasonable" one by an "expert" or "intellectual", it is one of pro-immigration.

By the way, you are right about the rise of the extreme right. As I said, ignoring the real and imagined complaints and objections about immigrants does not suppress the growth of extremism, it fuels it. And it is extremely worrying.

Comment Re:Who cares (Score 2) 577

Claiming economic migrants just want good benefits is a disgrace, as you are attempting to cast them all as acting in poor faith.

I am not casting all of them as acting in good faith, only some part of them. By the way, that statement was an example of the fears about migrants, not a statement of fact, though there is a lot of historical data to back up the idea that many of these refugees will not end up working. And immigrants from some countries, arriving under much the same circumstances as others, do much better than those others, so their joblessness is not just a matter of "white man keeping us down". And some of them do not make much of a secret of the fact that they have no intention of working (I have met such people personally, by the way). Not a reason to think they are all like that, not a reason to turn all of them away, but it is a reason to be more selective about who we allow to stay, and to be more honest about what all this is expected to cost us in the long run, so that we can base our opinion and our policies on fact instead of either fears or an overly rosy picture.

Comment Re:Who cares (Score 3, Informative) 577

I mentioned this as a fear rather than fact, but yes, there are crime statistics for many neighborhoods where a refugee center was opened. Some neighborhoods experienced a statistically significant increase in crime and reported nuisances that coincided with the opening of the center. In other neighborhoods there was no measurable effect or even a subjective effect: citizens who were at first concerned about the refugee center reported that they did not feel more unsafe once the center had been there for a while. So it is clear that a refugee center has a detrimental effect of safety in some cases, but not all. It is not clear what the mitigating factors are, unfortunately, though overcrowding or having plenty of things to do during the day have some influence.

Comment Re:Who cares (Score 5, Insightful) 577

He might be an asshole, but I'm not surprised to see reactions like these to the immigrant crisis. I see them more and more often around me as well (I am from Europe). And it might get a lot worse, already we're seeing arson and threats of violence against refugee centers.

The reason is simple: the fears and objections of Europe's citizens have been completely ignored. If a refugee center opens up in your neighborhood, you will experience an increase in crime and nuisance. The people in a village with 500 inhabitants fear the influence that a nearby center for 6000 refugees will have on their community. And a sizable portion aren't refugees or even from Syria; they left their own save homes to find a better life, and look for countries with generous welfare packages. In the Netherlands, the refugees already have had a serious impact on housing. Municipalities are obliged to give priority to people with an asylum status, which means they jump to the front of the queue for social housing. The waiting time for a regular family without priority is now 7-8 years I believe, with some larger cities having a waiting list of 14 years.

Some of the fears are unfounded and the objections unreasonable, and the harsh reality may be that we will have no choice but to put these migrants up somehow, somewhere. But the problem is that in the political climate it is impossible to even begin that discussion To ask what the cost of this immigration is, what the impact is, to question the motives of some of the immigrants, to demand that we finally get some sensible and well organized way of dealing with the immigrants instead of pancking at the last minute and putting them up in tents, or to demand that along with a generous welcome for the true refugees comes a program to actively screen and evict people who have no business here and to deter them from coming in the first place. Those questions get you branded as an unfeeling nazi, a racist, or worse. This discussion is carefully avoided by politicians and the media alike. Instead, we hear only the good news: these immigrants bring important skills, they bring wealth instead of costs, they will not alter our society for the worse, they are not terrorists, and they will generate jobs for us too. Meanwhile the actual problems are unacknowledged and thus not addressed.

An increasing number of people are starting to feel the pressure from increased immigration firsthand, and they are completely abandonded by their representatives. Immigration in the face of an emergency doesn't have to be a problem for the locals: when the government organize things well, are open and honest about what is going to happen, do what they can to alleviate any nuisances, and take complaints seriously, then you see the locals putting up with any troubles that remain. If however you ignore valid complaints, and brand any naysayer as sub-human white trash, then desperate people will lash out. In increasingly violent ways. And they will lash out against the refugees as well, which is the last thing they need.

That is my main worry. Not the immigration itself, but the unbelievable way that my government and Europe are handling this, or rather: not handling it.

Comment Re:Duh (Score 2) 131

And that article is one of the worst I've seen.

I would say that I see our primary role is to proactively drive positive change while developing the right responses to capitalize on disruption in our industry.

Boy, he wasn't kidding about point #1, was he? ("[...] stay away from technology speak and jargon and talk the true potential of an enterprise architecture (EA) program to deliver on real business results.").

I am sure he's a very capable guy, but as an EA, his role is not to "drive positive change"; it's to enable and guide it, or at least to not get in the way.

In other words, you want to play beta-tester with the company's business. For technology that you do NOT control.

In the places I've worked, EA was mostly about cost, quality and compliance through guidelines and standardisation, not about innovation and change.Keeping innovation out of EA was a conscious decision (which isn't to say that they don't often work together closely), for the reason you stated.

Comment Re:Power for businesses (Score 1) 103

Managing the team's skill set starts with selecting the right guys & girls. If you're a line or project manager, you don't always have control over this, but we were discussing the criteria for hiring someone. But fair enough. If you've been given a team, it is indeed your job as a manager to make it work. Again, coaching can play a big role here, and if you do this well you'll not only improve your team but the people in it as well. But that only goes so far. If you need a DBA for your team, you don't get someone with some skills in MS Access and hope to train him up. Likewise, you don't hire someone with weak people skills for a job where contact with business stakeholders is critical. You might be able to improve the guys performance but you can't hope to bring it to where it needs to be when you need it.

I sympathise with the estimates remark, though. The managers I've met lately are woefully short on relevant people skills (not networking and leadership, but coaching and understanding what the people in your team are made of) and excel at Excel and their damn colored dashboards.

Comment Re:Power for businesses (Score 4, Insightful) 103

It really depends on what you need them for. Are you developing software with complex functionality or algorithms? Then you can probably use a good top coder. If your software does not have complex functionality but lives in a complex environment, or is simply very large, then you'll want a strong software engineer and architect but you can get away with using average coders. If you work in a complex business setting, you need good business analysts with excellent people skills. These are all gross generalisations but you get the general idea.

Also, in all but a few exceptional cases I would prefer a good programmer who gets along with others over a superhuman coder with poor people skills. The first one will function in a team, coach others to make them better coders as well, and won't be shy to propose better ways of working, tools, processes, etc. The second one will probably end up pissing everybody off.

The coaching bit is the secret sauce to a good tech career, by the way. Good employees continue to grow throughout their career; great employees help others to grow and become more productive as well. Do this well and you'll likely to be recognized for it. One of the reasons that managers are perceived as important (and get paid well) is that they are in a position to make such a difference in team productivity (in reality, they often have an adverse effect). Becoming 10% better yourself is nice, but make a 10 man team perform 10% better is even nicer.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"