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Comment: Re:So... providing electricity is easy, IT is hard (Score 1) 192

AC OP has overstated the simplicity of the electric grid but his main point is still valid. Power is a bit like cable TV, everybody gets the same subscriptions. People don't care what power plant has generated their energy. As long as power is available within certain parameters it's good. People do care a lot which bits they receive from a network. If they get their colleagues email instead of their own it's mostly worse than not getting email at all. The storage and processing of information is continually changing to adapt to needs of all kinds of organisations and people. If you compare the number of people working in electric utilities to the number of people working in IT I'd say IT is about 10 times as complex.

utility workforce http://energy.gov/sites/prod/f...
IT workforce http://www.globalization101.or...

Comment: Re:Ubuntu + Battery = Not the best choice (Score 1) 208

I don't think even running a computer at full power all the time will make difference to the battery of a car. The engine of a car uses kilowatts and a PC watts. In other words a PC uses factor 1000 less than the rest of the car. Even if you could completely eliminate the power usage of the computer it will result in less than a mile extra range. So no "huge benefit" to be had. And where did you get the idea that this computer is always running even if the car is offline ? This computer is only for the entertainment system. As JB Straubel has said: "That's a key point. The whole entertainment system, those touchscreens, all of the applications you might load are totally separate from the propulsion of the car. In fact you could, if you had to, turn off the screens in the car while driving and the car still drives just fine."

Comment: Re:No, UI designers went crazy. (Score 2) 503

The market for desktops and laptops is not going down the drain. A good part of activities that were performed on it have shifted to other form factors like tablets which offer a superior experience for those activities. Those activities are for a very big part media consumption. Media creation is largely still done on more traditional PC's and will in my opinion stay there for quite some time. The form factor and available software are not the only reason for this. The user interface is also a factor. When you are creating a document you don't want to move your fingers from the keyboard to the screen all the time. It is imprecise and touch obscures the part of the screen you're interacting with. Also a mouse has at least three actions under a click of a button. Much faster than using gestures. For a portable form factor touch makes sense since carrying a separate pointing device is awkward and you pretty much need a desk for a mouse or precision touch pad. Portable devices are limited in screen size by virtue of being portable. So it makes sense to run all apps full screen. Desktops are more and more using big screens and/or multiple screens. This lends itself to presenting all necessary data for a task at once in multiple programs. That does not work if all programs only want to display full screen or two programs at once maximum. Desktops and tablets are different things and are used in a different way. Forcing them to use the same tablet UI is as stupid as forcing flight yokes in cars because more people are flying these days.

Comment: Re:HTTP/HTTPS Issues? (Score 5, Informative) 94

Sorry, but modern browsers don't really address that. The problem with the browser warnings is their definition of insecure. You only get warnings if there is something wrong with an encrypted https site like an invalid certificate. Using an unencrypted site is NOT seen as insecure as it would annoy users during most of their normal browsing sessions. The Blackhat presentation about sslstrip from Moxie explains very clearly what the problems are. You can view it at http://www.thoughtcrime.org/so...

Comment: Re:Fear and Paranoia... (Score 3, Informative) 926

by Melkman (#45382459) Attached to: Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Well, I live in Europe and have been to the US. And the waiters in Paris pale in comparison to some waiters in Florida ;-). But on average people are people wherever you go. You got friendly and entertaining people in all societies as well as rude obnoxious ones. In areas with high populations like big cities you got more of both of them.

Comment: Is it fear ? (Score 4, Insightful) 926

by Melkman (#45382173) Attached to: Where Does America's Fear Come From?

I don't think the primary motivation for massive surveillance and such things is fear. In my opinion it is about control and power. Being able to silence any opposition before it gets organized and knowing in advance which groups dissent is growing gives you the power to stay in control longer. Fear is only used to gain acceptance of the public: think of the terrorists etc.
 

Comment: Re:Open source survives (Score 2) 227

by Melkman (#45214721) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose Frameworks That Will Survive?

But that depends on other parties with the will and capabilities to support the framework having an interest. Being open source definitely is an advantage but by no means a guarantee a project will survive. Sturgeon's law applies to open source software just the same as to proprietary software.

The request of the submitter for a fail-safe set of axioms can never be answered. With fail-safe systems tending to fail by failing to fail safe. But with common sense a few indicators of long term viability are easy to give:

1) Who controls the software ?
If it is a single party chances are good it will be abandoned at some point in the not so distant future. Open Source can help with this point but as said earlier it is no guarantee. There are many open source projects which are for all practical purposes developed by a single company. These projects are just as likely to be abandoned as commercial software.

2) Who uses the software ?
The more people use the software the less likely it is it will be abandoned. For commercial proprietary software a big user base means income and companies are not in the habit of slaying the goose that lays the golden eggs. For open source software it means there is a bigger potential pool of contributors to continue development if a main developer exits the project.

3) How long has the software existed ?
New software is continuously written and released. Again according to Sturgeon's law 90% will be crap. It will take a little while before the writers realizes their software belongs to this majority and stop supporting it. The longer software has been actively developed the less likely it is to be crap and discontinued.

4) What was the motivation for creating the software ?
If the motivation is a specific goal other than meeting the needs of the users expect the software to be abandoned if it becomes clear that the goal is unrealistic. If the goal is met the software might be continued. Think about lock-in strategies and subverting standards in this regard.

The choice for Adobe Flex had issues in at least point 1, 2 and 3.

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