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Comment Re:Major disconnect from layers (Score 1) 446

It's actually the same root cause for both -- incompetent management. Having an idiot in the C$(x)O suite forcing competent engineers into supervisory roles for which they are extremely unqualified does as much damage as having him force the engineers to follow Waterfall development methodology.

And it's absolutely not a matter of training. A CIO who isn't an engineer and who hasn't spent at least part of their life actually doing engineering can't be "trained" to be a competent engineer; not without giving up the CIO gig and becoming an actual hands-on engineer for a while.

By the same exact logic, you can't take a random engineer out of the pool, send him to manager school, and then stick him in a corner office. The day-to-day tasks of scheduling and spreadsheets and budgets may not be technically difficult, but managing is all about handling people, and many engineers won't have the schmoozing abilities needed to make them comfortable in that role. Ever take a Meyers Briggs test? Ever notice how the managers' results are generally distinct from those of the engineers? There's a clue.

Just like someone chooses to go into engineering, some people choose to go into management. The office of the CIO is best served when it contains someone who naturally has both talents.

Comment Re:Major disconnect from layers (Score 4, Insightful) 446

It's a huge problem when the CIO isn't an engineer. That's simply a disaster in glorious slow-motion Technicolor. Look at the time-lapse downfall of HP from a respected engineering company to one that's known today only for selling printers that are cheaper than their overpriced ink. (Thanks, Carly, I'm sure this country could use a genius of your caliber at the helm.)

But the more common source of discontent happens when developers are tossed a pile of requirements and told "shut up and make this X." Every developer I've known will have serious questions about those requirements, because they're always filled with errors and inconsistencies. In most cases the flaws are not evident until after development has progressed beyond the Rubicon. Being able to discuss the requirements with the stakeholder, to make suggestions on how to improve the product, to develop the best possible X to further the business, that's what developers crave. Give them that, and a steady paycheck, and you have happy people with satisfying jobs.

And if you tell them "hand this coding over to Haich WunBee over at Outsorcery, Inc.", don't be surprised if satisfaction drops.

Comment Re:or else what, exactly? (Score 5, Insightful) 235

I also believe that to date the FCC has received zero actually complaints about someone illegally modify current routers. So in attempting to address this imagined problem the FCC is going to enlarge a gigantic real problem (ie unpatched routers).

There's the clue to "follow the money." If this isn't a real problem, it's likely legislation that's been written by some big company whose profit model is threatened by open source. Look for the sponsors to be Cisco or Belkin, someone who would benefit by selling you replacement hardware if their old hardware gets hacked.

And that suggests a potential cure.

If this is to go forward, it needs to come with a big safety, hacking, and consumer safety clause, something like "Due to the restrictive nature of this rule, the vendors of devices subject to these restrictions must offer a free 20 year warranty repair or replacement of any device found to have a flaw in either the hardware or the software included with the device, including any flaws that expose the device to unauthorized access or use. This replacement must include free shipping of the replacement part, free return shipping of the failing device, and free on-site installation of the replacement device. If repairs can be made via software update, the manufacturer may opt to update all affected machines remotely. All such repairs must be completed within one month of the FCC being made aware of the flaw. This free service must be extended for 20 years from the date of the device registration with the FCC. Any company who dissolves or reorganizes before the 20 year span expires will automatically transfer the liability for free replacements to the majority acquirer of their assets. Non-compliance with this law will result in fines to the manufacturers and distributors of these devices equal to twice the retail purchase price at the date of the sale of the first device multiplied by the quantity of devices manufactured, with the fines to be disbursed equally to customers who physically present the device to an authorized FCC representative, and the FCC."

If they still want this law when it includes a poison pill like this, then we'll all be cheering for bugs to be found every month so we can get another "router check" from them.

Comment Re:Backtrack is not a tool (Score 1) 35

From the students' paper:

Experiment Configuration

The student team had freedom to choose any network traffic capture tool for their study. The tools and environment used by the students included a Lenovo attack laptop running Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro, Sun Virtual box (version: 4.3.8) with BackTrack 5 Release 3, iStan medical mannequin, iStan laptop running OSX Lepord (version: 10.5.2), iStan Muse software (version: 2.1), and a monitor used to display the mannequin’s vitals to the medical trainees utilizing Touch Pro display software 2.0

They used a BackTrack distro. Perhaps your problem is Slashdot's editor referring to what would more properly be called a "toolbox full of tools" as simply "tools"?

My problem isn't the description at all. It's that the front end to iStan runs in Adobe Flash, and these students somehow got credit for "hacking" it. That's like asking a 300# professional football lineman to tackle a grade school quarterback during a game of flag football.

Comment Re:Same issues (Score 2) 151

What do you mean "most"? I put Economists in the same fraudster category as Psychics and Clergy and Life Coaches (and somewhat worse than Psychologists). Lets not do anything that might pretend to legitimize these can artists.

Despite the examples set by the economists visible in government roles, private economists are actually proving to be valuable in certain sectors; specifically, MMORPGs. Bringing in an economist to help set up, monitor, and maintain the currencies, item prices, trade values, treasure drops, etc., can make the difference between a fun game and an endless grind.

Comment Re:results, not theories (Score 1) 151

You're right. Neural networks are trained to spot only outcomes, and don't understand the inputs. Economists try to put human behaviors and motivations into selecting their equations, and when they find an equation that matches reality, they claim to have modeled the behavior. But the "math problem" isn't the real problem here.

Regardless of how these equations are arrived at, whether it be from some economist or from some neural network, the next step is for someone to exploit them for gain. "Hey, if we buy and sell X really rapidly, we'll trigger their logic into reacting on Y, at which point Z will drop and we can buy it for profit." This directly alters the system they were modeling.

This equation may work for a few trades, and some quants will get richer, but then the secret is out. As more people attempt to exploit the new algorithm, the activity that was keeping the market in check modifies itself to chase the new source of profits, and the entire system returns to the prior state of equilibrium.

The real trick, then, is to produce market-unbalancing models on a daily basis. Maybe machine learning is faster than the quants, and can solve that problem.

Comment Re:Same issues (Score 1) 151

> Isn't this the same as having economists doing the work, just faster?

Of course not! A machine is a cold, emotionless, insensitive, empathy-deprived entity, while an economist...

Hmm, it really is the same...

In other words, instead of calling it "the dismal science", we should be calling them "the dismal scientists".

Comment Re:Easy Fix (Score 1) 85

Did you catch the article yesterday on /. "Microsoft intensifies data collection on Windows 7 and 8" they are hard coding sites, bypassing the HOSTS file.

The application firewall still works, though. You can shut off much of that traffic; it just takes a ridiculous amount of time and effort.

Comment Re:I have the right to watch it. (Score 3, Interesting) 145

My PC is hobbled to near-uselessness with crapware installed by Lenovo

We've recently purchased some Lenovo machines, and yes, they came with a metric assload of shitty software that nobody could possibly use or want, and that soaked up RAM and CPU like a drunk in a vineyard. But you do know you're allowed to uninstall all that shovel-ware, right? And if you don't know what to remove or how to uninstall them yourself, a useful tool is the PC Decrapifier, which is so simple anyone can run it.

The Decrapifier is not perfect, though, as the authors seem to be dodging some legal lines by not being particularly aggressive in what they recommend you remove. And it won't get everything. My sister asked me to help her as her machine had slowed to the point of unusability. At some point her machine had become infested by some particularly nasty McAfee "free" malware that required a ludicrous amount of effort to destroy. It took me far too long to discover I had to surf to their site to download a custom uninstall tool. I think I spent almost two hours downloading updates and scrubbing the malware from three machines simultaneously. But once all the crapware was gone, and they had current patches, they actually became some decent machines. (Then I had to go home and take a shower, because that McAfee software made me feel filthy.)

I consider that wasted time as an expense that jacked up the cost of owning the machines by a couple hundred dollars. It would not be worth the investment on a cheap Lenovo, which I would never recommend unless you have the nothing but time to waste, but as I was getting a big SSD, fast CPU, hi res screen, and lots of RAM, I overlooked it. But I'm not forgetting it.

Lenovo, if you're reading this, know that I'm the senior buyer for all computer and electronic equipment purchased by my two extended families, and that $20 in kickbacks you got for installing the shitware on my machine will never recoup the costs of even one of the never-buy-Lenovo recommendations I've been handing out. Multiply that by the thousands of nerds who feel like I do, and that's millions of units you're not selling because of your own stupidity.

Comment Re:Bingo (Score 2) 95

Gamification existed long before "online". People have always played the angles to get a better grade, and some even mistake the effort of "begging for points" for "doing actual work and learning from it". They've learned only how to game the system, so to them every future task becomes a game in which they only have to demonstrate a positive outcome.

We generally call them "executives."

Statistics means never having to say you're certain.