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Comment: Hiring people with a clue is harder than it looks (Score 1) 107

by Kjella (#48442097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

At a consulting company I used to work at we defined our "core processes" and in a bizarre act of simple self insight - probably because it wasn't billable - they found we had two:

1. Sell
2. Deliver

You're the system architect, are you the one doing the selling? Because I can't stress this enough, if you're not making sales you're going out of business fast. Even if you don't need a traditional salesman somebody has to promote the product in all sorts of media and get the word out to all your potential customers. The other part is having at least one guy who really groks code, since you're not it. You're going to produce a version 1.0 and it's going to have rough edges and it's going to have bugs. You won't have the to do all the things you'd like to do because you need to ship and make money, so stay on top of your early clients and make sure what bothers them is a top priority.

Is it a database-driven UI application? If so make sure you got database design experience as horrible table design and data inconsistencies will come back to haunt you, user interface designer who can also double as technical writer so your users actually understand to use it - this is also far harder than you think - in addition to the generic data processing skills. And really if that's three people, one salesman and if you haven't even started yet I wouldn't plan past that at the moment. If you're still alive and making money and looking to expand then you can start considering the rest. You'll quickly enough see where you need more people because you're out of resources, don't forget that the primary concern is running a business and secondary keeping your employees happy, if you fail at the first you fail.

Comment: Re:yes (Score 1) 222

by Kjella (#48441909) Attached to: Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

Not just that, we use a very limited part of our vision. The actual reading we do with the super-sharp fovea (3 degrees wide) while keeping track of line to line using the semi-sharp macula (18 degrees wide). The remaining 160 degrees of horizontal vision and 120 degrees of vertical vision aren't really effective to use. What you want for immersion like games or video is totally different from the optimal width for a newspaper column. In fact, an A4 page full of typically sized text is probably too wide and an artifact of punch cards and typewriters, research suggests ~60 characters per line rather than 80 as optimal. And we got 600 years of research on this.

Comment: Re:Why bother? (Score 1) 48

by Kjella (#48439773) Attached to: Another Hint For Kryptos

If you can do that, then you know how complex you can make your cypher for a competition page, and how simple you can afford it when building a TrueCrypt replacement.

Come on, there's an arbitrary number of formulas that could be used to encode the next bit. If you look at a sequence 1 3 5 7 and ask what's the next number most people would answer 9. Then the answer is "11, because it's the odd numbers excluding squares like 3*3 = 9" and people would go "How the f*ck should I know that?" and there's no analytic function that says how "weird" your formula is. You're just making a guess of how long it'd take before someone tries a formula like this, it could be in five minutes or fifty years.

Also, a cypher would be all but useless for building a TrueCrypt replacement because the secret is in the algorithm, not the key. Everyone with the software would have the cypher, it only works if that's a shared secret between you and the one you want to communicate with. Modern cryptographic software is built on the assumption that the algorithm is so strong that it doesn't matter unless the attacker has the key. Why create anything less, unless you plan to do it by hand?

Comment: Re:Wait, 314 million per year? (Score 2) 142

by Kjella (#48439661) Attached to: Mozilla's 2013 Report: Revenue Up 1% To $314M; 90% From Google

Translation: Our core business (browsers) is so ridiculously profitable and since our mission is open ended we can spend it on almost any pet project we like. Sounds like a good opportunity for a smaller and more focused group to create a better fork and run off with the market, but what do I know. It seems Firefox was initially a two-three man project (depending on which page I look at) that rebelled against the Mozilla suite, with ~17% market share (according to StatCounter) being worth $300 million then 0.17% should be worth $3 million. That sounds like solid money for a reachable goal, if you got enhancements that would make 1% of the user base switch.

Comment: Re:Guffaw! So much overhaul it's FOUR better! (Score 1) 165

by Kjella (#48436181) Attached to: Windows Kernel Version Bumped To 10.0

Some developers, on the other hand, would probably be quite annoyed if there's a version 7 kernel which doesn't match with Windows 7, a version 8 kernel which has nothing to do with Windows 8, and a version 9 kernel which seems awfully close to Windows 95/98.From that point of view, Microsoft should really have started this with Windows 7 - but Windows 10 is the next major opportunity to so after having to skip Windows 9 anyway.

Probably this, but who says they'll keep bumping it? Maybe they really wanted to do 7 now and 10 was the first non-confusing number. Maybe Windows 11 => 10.1, Windows 12 = 10.2, Windows 13 = 10.3, Windows 14 = 14. Like so many point out, it's not really a number anyway and you don't do arithmetic with it. 10 > 6 the same way 7 > 6, either way it's a major version bump. I doubt anyone in marketing even knows what kernel version they're running and if they did they wouldn't care.

Comment: Requirements, specifications and solutions (Score 1) 178

by Kjella (#48435029) Attached to: It's Not Developers Slowing Things Down, It's the Process

The article encourages managers to let devs contribute to the process and say "No" if the specs are too vague.

Well, I hate getting into a process too early and I hate getting into a process too late. Too early and they still haven't agreed on what it is they want, why they want it and you end up wasting time listening to a whole lot of arguing and proposals back and forth that have nothing to do with the technical feasibility of any solution. It's like having the chef waiting while the guests are debating fish vs steak vs chicken, they're all good dishes so pick the one you want. It's another thing if they're looking for help at finding a best practice, but in my experience they don't look to IT for that.

Come in too late and the requirements are woefully inadequate while the solution is half-designed with no regards to sanity. Like a proposal I recently reviewed, it had very little in terms of objetives and results but an almost complete IT solution that'd be a technical, administrative and logistical nightmare. Written by somebody knows the subject matter very well but has never managed more than his own laptop, my Dunning-Kruger meter went all the way to 11. And he wins most arguments by exhaustion, he makes these long deliberations in a slow, monotone voice that drives me nuts.

Comment: Re:CPM rates, etc (Score 1) 275

by Kjella (#48434633) Attached to: Google Launches Service To Replace Web Ads With Subscriptions

Well, more than half the trouble with micro-payments is getting you to sign up for an account and tie it to a credit card. Once they have that, they can up-sell you more. And I'm betting Google is giving them a sweet deal because once you need to be signed in to Google to avoid the ads when visiting your favorite sites you'll in practice be signed in 24x7. And if they didn't have a good profile on you before, they sure will now.

Comment: Re:Bullshit Stats. (Score 2) 479

by Kjella (#48428015) Attached to: As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

True, but how often do you hear people here complain about CEOs making millions? Either it's related to effort "He's golfing with vendors and reading trade magazines while I work my butt off 60+ hours a week" or results "I've created millions in revenue for them and after 20 years they lay me off and outsource my job to India." Does anybody tell you to STFU, take an MBA and become a CEO yourself? No. But if a nurse complains about long shifts and crappy pay for saving lives then it's easy to pull the same card and say if you wanted to become an engineer, well you could have picked a different career. If you want to argue that the free market hasn't provided you with a pay equal to what you're worth that's fine, just don't be a hypocrite when others do it too.

Your pay is basically as much as necessary and as little as they can get away with, if the job is important or not doesn't really matter only the price of your replacement. That's why they made minimum wage laws, otherwise they'd have people underbidding each other until they were all working for pennies. It's nice when you're on the upside having a rare skill that's unexpectedly in demand and can command a fat pay check, but if you think your real worth to society is so high because you can make big money throwing a football in NFL or writing HFT routines for Wall Street you're wrong.

How does sex tie in to this? Well, according to feminists the reason "female" professions is paid so low is because the jobs are being systematically undervalued compared to equivalent work dominated by men because the executives - that are mostly men - can get away with it. Kind of like the two wolves and a sheep story, except the wolves are just deciding sheep work is worth less, if you want wolf pay you must do wolf work. Note that in many of the "female" professions like grade school teachers or nurses there's no direct economic output. What second grade math is worth is largely what society's perception of the value is. It's a lot easier to say that without this developer we can't deliver this product that'll create this much revenue.

I'm not saying that there actually is a problem, but it's not an open and shut case. Since it's inherently comparing apples and oranges I guess there'll never be absolute truth. I think it happens with minorities though, for example in cleaning services because the language requirements are practically none. If companies more-or-less collude to depress prices, they can squeeze out the natives which get better paying jobs elsewhere while the immigrants have very little choice but to keep working. Is creating such an ethnicly-dominated, extremely low paid underclass racism? Or reflection of their lack of work skills? I'm inclined to go with pure captialism, if women can't/won't leave "their" occupations that will be exploited to pay them less.

Comment: Re:No distributed storage? (Score 2) 59

by Kjella (#48424689) Attached to: BitTorrent Unveils Sync 2.0

So there's no torrent then providing a pseudo cloud across many users' devices which would maintain the file? It's not like Freenet or other distributed storage p2p solutions? Ie it's not like bittorrent at all?

No, they're just pointing out that if you want to use it as a "private cloud" to sync your own files between your own devices you need a seed. Let's for example say you have a cell phone, a tablet and a laptop and they're on and off at different times then BT Sync only works when several of them are online and depending on setup, I wouldn't want my cell phone to try pulling down everything on my laptop. Not like iCloud or whatever where your cell phone can upload photos to "the cloud" while your tablet and laptop is off.

Comment: Halting problem irrelevant (Score 1) 316

There's a finite amount of information available on what is and what might be. If a person lethally allergic to peanuts wants to buy a peanut chocolate bar the vending machine will provide it and kill him. But if the vending machine has his ID and allergies on file it may refuse. The allergic person might just be buying it for a friend though, so maybe a strong warning is sufficient. Or maybe he'll eat it anyway because he's suicidal. The computer will do the level of due diligence we've asked it to, not more and not less. Perfection has nothing to do with it.

Comment: Re:Cynical of promises.... (Score 2) 69

by Kjella (#48420471) Attached to: Lunar Mission One Proposes To Take Core Sample, Plant Time Capsule On the Moon

No no no, absolutely anything is possible it's just the "establishment" that's unwilling to fund it. It has absolutely nothing to do investors doing fact checking and reviewing your competence, technology and business plans before committing large amounts of money, they're just all in cahoots with Big Oil / Big Pharma / Wall Street / The 1%ers / The Government / The Illuminati to bury any project they don't like. With Kickstarter you can cut out the middle man and we'll be skipping around the galaxy Star Trek style before you know it. All you've heard of ideas being a dime a dozen is false, just fund a Kickstarter with thousands of dollars and the execution practically does itself.

For the people with a faulty sarcasm detector: The above paragraph may contain sarcasm.

Comment: Re:No thanks... (Score 3, Informative) 202

by Kjella (#48413471) Attached to: Launching 2015: a New Certificate Authority To Encrypt the Entire Web

That almost doesn't matter... you create the private key and make a certificate request containing only the public key that they sign, but you're the only one with the private key for that particular certificate with that particular fingerprint. Sure, they or indeed any other CA your users' browsers trust could sign a different certificate and run a MITM, but if they did this in general it would be trivial to discover. Just scribble down your certificate fingerprint and browse it from your family / friends / work / internet cafe / proxy / VPN / open wifi Internet connection and look at the certificate details or just ask some random tin foil hatters to verify it.

It of course doesn't guarantee the government won't do anything nasty if a particular "person of interest" decides to browse your website, but you've at least upgraded it from postcards to an envelope that with a little bit of effort can be steamed open and resealed. Today if they have a bulk logger installed at key internet junctions, which you can be almost certain they do then they can just dump it all to tape, every HTTP call to every website passing through and analyze it later.

Even with the weakest of certificates they must decide whether to intercept it per site, per user and risk their tampering being discovered and it all must be done live. They can't just dump it to tape and decide weeks and months later that they want to go back and look at all that traffic, like postcards passing by a video camera. It would effectively kill bulk traffic data collection and by encrypting URLs also a lot of useful metadata, they'd just see server-to-server connections.

Comment: Re:The problem is cost per mm of silicon (Score 1) 75

by Kjella (#48412649) Attached to: Intel Announces Major Reorg To Combine Mobile and PC Divisions

I do believe Samsung is making high end chips for their own use as well, but for foundry companies it's down to TSMC and GloFo. The real question is whether they're in the same hurry as their customers though or if they just need to stay ahead of the other guy. Take for example the graphics market, in March 2012 nVidia launched the GTX 680 on a 28nm process. Fast forward to September 2014 and they launch the GTX 980 still on a 28nm process. That's 2.5 years with no progress on the process side and AMD has been the same, but is TSMC hurting? No. They'll continue to sell wafers to both sides anyway. And I bet Apple paid well for those 20nm wafers.

Intel still has a 60%+ margin. They could stop funneling tons of money into R&D (and profits) and fight TSMC on their turf any time they want to. Intel's never been the one to go for cheaper though, they want to make a premium chip and have you pay a premium price. They ran AMD into the ground that way and probably think they can do it again with ARM. Remember that Intel has a massive war chest from $1000+ server CPU sales and $300+ desktop CPU sales, they can afford buying their way to becoming a mobile player.

From AMD Athlon until Intel responded with Intel Core was 7 years (1999 to 2006). The iPad launched in 2010 and Intel has been busy mounting a defense and counter-offensive ever since, my guess is that over the next couple years many of those long term projects start reaching production. With AMD way, way on the defensive they're free to pretty much point all the guns towards ARM, Ivy Bridge and Haswell hasn't done too much for the desktop but with the AMD FX line comatose a little progress beats none. Those billions Intel use on R&D must be going somewhere else.

Comment: Re:Can Apple Move to ARM on the Desktop? (Score 1) 75

by Kjella (#48410063) Attached to: Intel Announces Major Reorg To Combine Mobile and PC Divisions

I don't see a transition happening any time soon, Apple make a lot of money selling high-end Intels and the A8X is not nearly a replacement for that. They might pull a WinRT though, as long as they:

a) make a meaningful merge of iOS and OS X
b) make it detachable for use as an iPad
c) most importantly, make sure to say it's not a Mac

If Google can sell "ChromeBooks", I think there's a market for Apple to sell something similar, maybe with an emphasis on the pad-side since it runs all pad software. Maybe call it the iPad Flex or something like that

Comment: Re:Fight Crime... but (Score 1) 306

by Kjella (#48409763) Attached to: I'm most interested in robots that will...

Well, it depends on whether you read it to be in the narrow scope of the job the robot replaced or the broad scope of reducing human contact overall. Just like older people don't miss talking to the phone operator instead of dialing a number I don't miss talking to my bank teller and if we managed to automate cars I wouldn't miss talking to the taxi driver. So far the closest I got it SMS ordering of taxis, which I prefer over waiting in line every time. It goes straight into their system and if there's a free taxi - which seems to happen a lot more frequently that free call staff - it'll be on its way seconds after you submit. Personal service is often, but not always overrated.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein