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Comment: Re:Maybe it's a sign... (Score 2) 30

One big challenge for Cisco over the next few years is that a lot of their revenues come from their core networking products, where they have historically been able to sell hardware at a very substantial mark-up and add lucrative support contracts on top. It seems this industry is inevitably going to be severely disrupted sooner or later, with increasing use of consolidated hardware and virtualisation technologies, the potential advantages of software-defined networking once the tools are good enough, and a squeeze between bare-metal switches at the bottom end of the market and bespoke in-house hardware designs for the huge data centres at the likes of Facebook. So far, despite a couple of significant commercial moves, I see little evidence that Cisco has a long-term strategy to take advantage of, or even defend against, any of these trends.

ISS

Russian Cargo Spacehip Declared Lost 108

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-gone dept.
schwit1 writes: The Russians have declared lost the Progress freighter that had been launched to the ISS yesterday. They never could regain control of the craft, plus it was in an incorrect orbit. Moreover, the U.S. Air Force has detected debris nearby, suggesting a significant failure of some kind. The Russians are now considering delaying the next manned launch, scheduled for May 26, while they investigate this failure. Both Soyuz and Progress use some of the same systems, including the radar system that failed on Progress, and they want to make sure the problem won't pop up on the manned mission. At the same time, they are also considering advancing the launch date of the next Progress to ISS from August 6. Based on these reports, I think they might swap the launch dates for the two flights. A Dragon is scheduled to go to ISS in between these missions, though that schedule could be changed as well to accommodate the Russian plans.

Comment: Re:None (Score 1) 484

My cellphone works while the power is out too.

Sure, as long as the batteries last and you have useful reception in your current location (and the base station isn't affected by the outage). These are relevant concerns with a cell phone, while they matter little with a traditional land line.

You act as if smartphones somehow don't do their jobs, or that they're all massively unstable which is total bullshit.

That's a matter of opinion. Do they crash every five minutes? Of course not. Do they crash often enough to be annoying and potentially dangerous? Yes, every major mobile OS platform has had this problem at various points in recent years. Given this is a device you might need to call an ambulance one day, none of the major platforms has a great record on stability.

As for doing their jobs, there have been a few antennagate-style stories over the years, where some fundamental design flaw has undermined the basic functionality of the device as a phone. It seems popular to make thinner smartphones with larger screens that then bend or break in your pocket lately.

Modern smartphones seem to be about on par with PVRs and so-called Smart TVs. They do their job up to a point, and they do offer some advantages over the devices we used before. On the other hand, they are also trying to do too many different things to do any of them really well, they often try to be a bit too clever about how they do them too, and at some point these things affect the reliability of the system and/or raise security and privacy concerns.

I often have a feature phone in my pocket and a tablet in my case/bag, and I have yet to find anything I want to do while I'm out and about where a typical modern smartphone would be better at it than one or other of the devices I actually use. YMMV, but I'd be genuinely interested to hear of any common tasks that a modern smartphone really is better at than other widely used but more specialised devices, because I can't think of any myself.

Comment: Re:None (Score 2) 484

You laugh, but old school rotary phones could still call for emergency help if the power went out, they didn't hang, they didn't get viruses, they didn't get firmware "upgrades" that stopped them from working properly or at all, they didn't run out of their own batteries in the middle of a long call...

For once, I'm 100% in agreement with Khyber. Smartphones in a world with modern laptops, tablets, headsets and feature phones just look like a mediocre compromise to me. About the only thing they seem to be better at than any of the numerous other devices available is letting someone check Facebook every 10 seconds without actually having to take anything out of a pocket. At least until someone updates something remotely for them and breaks that functionality, anyway...

Comment: Re: Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 349

It sounds like you're a little older than me but we both see this much the same way.

I have as much interest in useful or interesting new technologies today as I had when I was 21. I'm also significantly quicker at getting up to speed with them and more aware of things like pros and cons and the importance of choosing the right tool for the job than I used to be at that age.

However, if you asked me right now, I'm quite sure that I couldn't crank out a new TodoMVC example in this week's front-end JS framework as fast as a 21-year-old who just learned it can. Since not a lot of people solve real problems or make real money writing toy to-do apps, I don't find this situation too threatening. ;-)

The thing is, I've long since stopped being impressed by this week's front-end JS framework, this week's UI trends and visual design language, and this week's new programming language that looks and feels like C or JS with a thin coat of paint over it. I could get up to speed with them to the point where I too could write to-do apps in half an hour, but to me that's like deciding to learn some new GUI toolkit just to write Tetris or learning some new database API just to write a PIM or whatever we're calling them these days. As you say, these kinds of tools are so ephemeral now that they tend to be very trendy and generate a lot of hype, but they are often popular more because of some big sponsoring organisation than any particular innovation or technical merit.

To me, about the only thing more dull is evangelists for a specific browser (why?!) telling us all about these great new features it has for writing large-scale applications... when the biggest web apps out there still tend to be orders of magnitude smaller than stuff many of us "old programmers" were working on in the last millennium, at which time some of those features actually were quite innovative.

Next week, all these elite young programmers, who are leaving people like you and me and our meaningless track records of building actual working and revenue-generating projects in their wake, will probably notice that MV* is not the only possible UI architecture, that building an application that has to run for years around a framework that has a shelf life measured in months might not be such a great idea, and that JS is actually a very bad and very slow language that just becomes not quite so bad with the ES6 changes and only moderately slow with modern JIT compiling engines.

Just don't tell them that the entire web apps industry probably represents closer to 5% of the programming world than 95% and some of these state-of-the-art ideas are actually 50 years old. Such talk is the stuff of nightmares, and they aren't old enough to hear that kind of horror story yet. ;-)

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 349

Older people seem to be more resistant to going along with the flow of technology...

You might consider that there are at least two plausible explanations for this.

1. Older people can't or can't be bothered to keep up.

2. Older people can keep up just fine, but actively choose not to use certain new technologies or to avoid them for certain types of projects because in their judgement those new technologies aren't the best option for what they need to achieve on those projects.

There are plenty of both types of older developer around in the software development industry. Obviously one type tends to get more useful work done. Unfortunately but inevitably, inexperienced developers frequently mistake one for the other. Knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing.

Comment: Re:Why bother with young programmers? (Score 1) 349

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49543023) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

I'd say Google's median age of 29 sounds about right. Obviously exceptions exist, but given that wages tend to be rather logarithmic relative to experience they're not that huge of a driver for hiring younger.

That's partly because by somewhere in their 30s, a lot of the good programmers aren't working for someone else on salary any more. They're working freelance and picking their gigs, or they've founded their own business(es), or they've specialised and now do contract work with a combination of programming and industry-specific knowledge and skills.

In each case, they are probably earning at rates much higher than almost any salaried employee at almost any employer. Notice that in all of these scenarios the rates you can charge are based on real value generated, which doesn't have a glass ceiling the way wages usually do.

Good programmers who are still working for someone else as a full-time software developer at 40 probably have their own reasons for choosing that career path. Those reasons will often mean they aren't particularly looking to move either, and if they are, they're not going to do it by sending out numerous CVs to different employers the way a new grad does.

How can you do 'New Math' problems with an 'Old Math' mind? -- Charles Schulz

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