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Comment: Re:Really? (Score 4, Insightful) 255

by JoeMerchant (#47148545) Attached to: A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Too lazy to RTFA, I take the meaning of the summary this way:

Like a society can be judged by how it treats its elderly, infirm, and more fragile members, a coding project (open source or privately funded) can be judged by how it treats its least well regarded developer.

Are you Nazi Germany, do you show people the door based on the color of their eyes/hair, how tall they are, their GRE scores, or how they perform on some arbitrary admission test before you give a 15 minute in-person interview?

Are you Genghis Khan's Mongolia, do you abuse and then fire anyone who isn't running at the front of the pack? Rank and yank does not generally improve morale.

Are you the European Middle Ages, do you just ignore your weaker team members and let them be consumed by plague rats / drown in their own stinking code while you isolate the shipping product in the ivory tower?

Are you a more modern quasi-socialist society where you educate your weaker team members as best you can and enable them to contribute as they are capable?

There are cases to be made for the advantages and efficiencies of all approaches, but, generally, you need to be a strong development team to carry and build up the weaker team members - if everybody is too focused on product and producing to care about helping their fellow team members to improve, your team is overtaxed (too weak for the job at hand) and probably not able to perform well (provide a reliable living wage for the developers while producing and maintaining the product) in the long term.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 4, Insightful) 334

But people get off on unenforceable judgements. The real force of the judgement is that if the photos ever become public after the ruling, then the photographer can be found in contempt - which is a whole other golden opportunity for the ex to leak the photos and make additional hell for the guy....

Comment: Re:1984 v 2014 (Score 1) 93

by JoeMerchant (#46971723) Attached to: Eavesdropping With a Smart TV

If you study the eastern philosophies, you will find that hot pizza is more important to happiness than whether or not someone else knows what you are doing.

It would be the height of conceit to believe that what you do in your living room is interesting enough for anyone important or in-power to care about. I worked at a company that had "listening bug" phones on every desk in every office - we still talked openly in front of the phones, openly disparaging the leadership, their policies, their personal habits, etc. and, somehow, when the layoffs came around, we, the brazen flaunters of the surveilance state, were not the ones let go. It's not because we were too valuable or otherwise endeared to the leadership, it was because they simply didn't care enough to listen - even though they had the capability.

If you really have something to hide, then hide it, and know that your fancy new television _could_ spy on you. If you live an unremarkable life - as most of us do, nobody will ever bother to activate the bug in your television, or set up an IR laser reflection listening device on your windows, or tap your phone line, or any of the other hundreds of methods that exist - and mostly have existed for centuries - to find out what you are up to. Conspiracy comes down to who you communicate with, and most acts of terror come down to collection and assembly of dangerous materials / devices. You don't need a smart TV to figure this out.

Comment: Re:pointless? (Score 1) 201

by JoeMerchant (#46971621) Attached to: $7 USB Stick Aims To Bring Thousands of Poor People Online

Absolutely true, I was on the internet in 1988, downloading a patch for a CAD system via Kermit - and, no, wasn't out yet.

So, because the internet isn't accessible or useful in Africa today (Nigerian princes, who sent paper letter scams long before the internet, would argue otherwise), we should continue to ignore it and push over aid that patches today's problems? Sounds like air-dropping food to the starving to me.

Comment: Re:OS on a stick is not novel (Score 1) 201

by JoeMerchant (#46970017) Attached to: $7 USB Stick Aims To Bring Thousands of Poor People Online

Well, this is a way to leverage a satellite link and make it more accessible to a larger number of people, not to mention allowing them to store their personally obtained information and carry it with them, and even access it later when at a location or time when sat link isn't available.

I don't think this will bring about world peace or end starvation and suffering, but it does strike me as a damn practical thing to try with $40K, something different than another missionary program to go dig a well and hand out bibles.

Comment: Re:pointless? (Score 1) 201

by JoeMerchant (#46970009) Attached to: $7 USB Stick Aims To Bring Thousands of Poor People Online

The terminals could be networked, or not, as local infrastructure supports... This isn't a panacea, but $40K is a trivial amount of money to get hung up on how it is spent - if these Indegogo funders want to do this, it's a hell of a lot better than an art project to put pink bands around the islands in Biscayne Bay.

Comment: Re:pointless? (Score 1) 201

by JoeMerchant (#46969913) Attached to: $7 USB Stick Aims To Bring Thousands of Poor People Online

Access to the internet allowed me to file for unemployment benefits while on holidays visiting my family, yes, my employer laid off the entire company essentially the day before Christmas holidays. My grandmother is 96, and I did not feel like cancelling our Christmas visit just because my ex-boss couldn't make payroll nor bring himself to give advance notice of the true nature of the impending problem. In a non-computer-access world, I, sole income for a family of four, would have missed a couple of weeks of benefits, or missed visiting my Grandmother. The same kind of access allowed me to find a new company to work for in just a few weeks, instead of reading want-ads in the paper on a week to week cycle.

So, I could see access to networked information in Africa potentially informing the people of where food and work is available more efficiently than the present systems in a similar manner.

Comment: Re:OS on a stick is not novel (Score 2) 201

by JoeMerchant (#46969885) Attached to: $7 USB Stick Aims To Bring Thousands of Poor People Online

There's different ways of measuring the success or "waste percentage" of a program like this. Just putting two boots on the ground costs more than hundreds of these USB sticks, so, if you can air-drop a thousand of them and only 10 find actual use, you're still doing better, efficiency wise, than hand delivering them and successfully personally training 10 people how to use them.

If a village has a solar powered "computer center" with a satellite internet link and 3 ten year old PCs that these sticks can work in, all people within walking distance of that computer center have potential access to a miracle greater than the mythical Oracle at Delphi. Yes, people will have to learn a western language to access most information, yes it would be slicker if they had a satellite linked laptop with a urine powered battery that they could carry with them, but with $40K in funding, this project has the potential to positively impact a few thousand lives, figuring 10 people benefiting from every one that gains useful information from the internet.

Maybe it catches on as a fad and thousands upon thousands start to access computers and the internet this way, probably not, but for the same investment level as a project to put a drinking well into a couple of villages, this project can have a different positive impact on a larger number of people - who might learn how to dig their own wells, among other things.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27