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Comment: Re:Wake up America ... (Score 3, Interesting) 95


Honestly I'm a big fan of the Star Trek future however possible that may be. If through automation / etc the needs of *all can be produced by an extreme few why do we need to continue the philosophy that everyone must earn money to survive. I'm not for pure socialism but I have no problem with the safety net being high enough that everyone can do "good" on "nothing" not just eek by. Choosing to live on that minimum is a choice that is perfectly valid for all and not even to be shunned. That leaves those who want to follow their interests the freedom to do so without having to worry about where the shelter over their head or the food on their next plate is coming from.

There are all sorts of logistical issues to work out for that dream to be a reality (not the least of which is making sure enough people work for their own benefit to keep the engine running) and our level of automation isn't quite there yet to support it but that's the future I want to live in.

Comment: Re:Wrong criterion (Score 2) 95

Honestly I find this to all be overblown... Really curious how much actual IBM chips the US Gov't is buying these days? My former employer did nearly all of their business with the US. (We also went through US Gov't Review when we were purchased by a foreign entity and it was severely painful how it all ended up but I digress...) Working for several of the Acronyms IBM hardware was ever-present BUT it was all Intel inside. The new super computers we see being built are all Intel or AMD cored. There is a LOT of hardware I'm sure is rotting in some massive server farm somewhere so maintenance has to be an issue but we really saw no signs in any Department of *any new acquisition with IBM chips under the hood.

Of course I'm glossing over the various other chips on a server MB that may be fabbed by IBM directly but else seems like a lot of noise for a supplier that they are not utilizing any more. I would think it would be a bigger deal that IBM sold their server division to Lenovo since they are heavily using IBM Server Hardware and Lenovo is originally a Chinese company but maybe I just missed that piece of news.

Comment: Re:I wouldn't (Score 1) 104

by Matheus (#48198319) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

The balance also heavily swings on the quality of the devs involved. There's a vast field of difference between what one developer might consider trivial and another. If their pool of devs are true NP volunteers then it could be a fleet of "I read this book on Java once" quality devs which would make everything worse than trivial.

Since the requirements are pretty vague it's hard to say for certain but honestly I'd spec this project out at 2 people. I'd do all the dev and have another guy to get their infrastructure up and stable (maybe/probably cloud given the once a year use) with maybe another to put a second set of eyes on (essentially QA). Dealing with volunteers in a non-profit environment you get a lot of intention but not quite so much ability or follow through so keep the team small. (Honestly could do this solo but given guy 2 and 3 I'd take the help) If there are a lot of hidden requirements then this may need to be augmented but really we're talking about a fairly simple web app with extremely low load requirements.

More to the point of the OP's question, as you say there's a fine line here. Too many OTS solutions try to be the kitchen sink and so customizing them to your use ends up being more dev than creating the whole thing yourself. This use-case seems trivial enough that you would essentially want to say: Either what I'm buying from you works truly OTS or I'll build my own. Look at the cost of modification as your deciding factor. I used to work for an organization who had a bunch of in house software. Various CRM tasks were handled by this software and at least reasonably well. At some point a suit decided that instead of asking us for some more features he needed to ditch what was already working and buy ACT CRM. The modification development required by us to bring ACT even back to par with what it was replacing was significantly higher than it would have cost us to just add the features they wanted. This could be more of a specific dig on ACT than a general case but seems to happen a lot. The described non-profit seems to be in the similar boat of already having a custom solution so why throw it away when it just needs some mods?

Comment: Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (Score 1) 341

by Matheus (#48188583) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

That method is working fine here for at least one particular grocery store. A large regional grocer named Lund's does this at a number of their stores. Of course the stores they are using it in have a certain dynamic and layout that seems to compliment its use.

Other than grocery:
Best Buy uses this method during the Christmas Season and seems to be expanding that to other times of the year when they are busy.
Local Electronics/Computer shop Microcenter has done this since they opened.
The bathrooms in our stadiums end up working this way.

Definitely works well... not sure why others aren't catching on.

Comment: Re:Shocking News - One Size Doesn't Fit All (Score 1) 133

by Matheus (#48169427) Attached to: Mixing Agile With Waterfall For Code Quality

Can't speak for the development community at large but I have yet to work in either a purely Agile OR a purely Waterfall project yet. Every one has been a balance of both and it has worked quite well so this research seems stale to me.

Given I've "only" been in the development world for 15 years I missed Waterfall's heyday (Thank Jebus) but its not like the switch flipped all the way over. Agile and a variety of other procedural breakthroughs just add to the development toolbox from which to pick the best style for each team and project.

Comment: Re:iMac with Retina display. (Score 1) 355

by Matheus (#48161869) Attached to: Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

Um... "Yes."

The retina display is a "brand" for Apple. The term was supposed to imply that the display's ppi was great enough that your eye couldn't perceive any improvement with better. Of course it was shown pretty soon after that they were wrong BUT the measure is fairly close and they stuck with the name.

My new Dell has a less snappy name for its display "QHD+" but I'm not complaining since it has a noticeably higher PPI than Retina (as well as supposedly better tech for a brighter image at that rez)

Comment: Re:Plenty of Einsteins right now... (Score 1) 366

by Matheus (#48161689) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

This may show a couple different things:

1) IQ may be (possibly is) a terrible way to measure what makes an Einstein. Specifically the concept of creativity is complicated. There has been a bunch of research / analysis in this area with most of what I'm seeing saying an IQ test can indicate creativity but not purely the score but with in-depth analysis of how the different questions are answered (subtle).

2) There are a lot of geniuses dying on the vine for the unlucky habit of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

3) A genius may or may not choose to exercise their abilities in the way Einstein did. Many a genius would be pretty smart to be able to live their life in peace without the struggle. Apply your genius to a worthy goal of spending the rest of your life on a beach :-)

SO... is the OP actually saying we need more "contributing" geniuses?

Comment: Re:Patents, employment, and invention (Score 2) 224

by Matheus (#48159593) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

Ya... I was working at a company about a decade ago that was purchased. When the new bosses came in they handed us a bunch of paperwork to sign including a non-compete which we hadn't had previously. It had explicit language that said any thing we created on or off clock at work or at home was theirs expressly. I refused to sign and urged my coworkers similarly. At some point I ended up on a conference call with the legal team at overlord corporate negotiating an alternate version of the contracts which all technical staff at my firm ended up signing instead of the original. Fun moment in my career for sure.

As for IP and employment it can be very lucrative. My most recent previous employer had at least a few employees on staff who's primary job responsibility was to keep their IP in house. They collected nice fat paychecks to do very little (essentially support for implementations and debugging of potential issues with the patented algorithms). The key is knowing the value of your IP to your potential employer and take no less than everything they are willing to compensate for it without actually giving up ownership.

Comment: Re:I thought they loved it! (Score 0) 406

by Matheus (#48141405) Attached to: Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

Nah.. I think that's more common than that. I fly delta almost exclusively and they don't seem to mind at all (especially since on most flights you're watching a video anyway unless the video system is broken which happens a lot)

I've refused to follow the stow electronics rule just about as long as I've had electronics to stow. I've gone as far as to push the flight attendants for an actual *reason why we had to stow and only got one good answer (other than because I told you to) *ever. "If we have a problem during takeoff or landing your headphone/cords will interfere with the ability to quickly clear the seats/aisle" not that that dissuaded me.

Of course I also refuse to wear my seat belt. In the nearly half million miles I've flown that's only been an issue once and that was just sliding forward on a particularly hard landing (which I compensate for with the extremely challenging action of not having my feet tucked under me on landing) Aside from the dramatic scene in "Flight" where he barrel rolls the plane there are very few scenarios where that little strap is going to save me from whatever calamity we're going through.

Anyway... flying for me is like riding a bus these days (especially with TSA pre-approved to save the hassle going through security) so much like just about everyone on the bus I really only want to be interrupted by the crew on my way on and off the bus.

Never trust a computer you can't repair yourself.