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Comment: Re:In addition to rolling out... (Score 1) 129

No, NYC is too corrupt and too union. It doesn't help that everything in NYC is expensive, but don't imagine for a minute that running high speed fiber in NYC is just a matter of buying the fiber and paying a competitive hourly wage for somebody to run it through a conduit. There's definitely a reason why no little startup is just buying some cheap datacenter grade GigE switches and running new fiber building to building in NYC.

Comment: Re:Clever? (Score 1) 229

Interesting interpretation of the word "lost" you've got there. Right in the headline of the article you linked to it says "AT&T lost $3.9 billion in Q4 2012, earned $7.3 billion profit for the year".

But I suppose you could be referring to $7.3 billion profit for the year as 3+ billion per quarter if you're bad at dividing by four.

Nevertheless, according to page 30 of AT&T's annual report http://www.att.com/Investor/ATT_Annual/2012/downloads/ar2012_annual_report.pdf the dollar amounts (in millions of dollars) for "Construction and capital expenditures" for the past few years are:
2012 19,728
2011 20,272
2010 20,302
2009 17,294
2008 20,290

So 17-20 billion dollars per year in construction and capital improvements. If you've got evidence to show that AT&T is NOT investing tens of billions of dollars per year in improving the network you should maybe contact the SEC or FCC. Otherwise, it's not really polite to imply that AT&T isn't investing in infrastructure without evidence to support your claims.

Disclaimer: I work for AT&T but not in wireless or in finance. But I'm well aware of AT&T's public communications of how much the company is investing.

Comment: Standards based interfaces? (Score 1) 248

by Paul Carver (#45863377) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

I haven't looked into it lately but it used to be that composite analog video (i.e. NTSC/PAL) quality was the only standard. Any higher quality video was proprietary and often required Internet Explorer. The only other option was using something like zone minder or motion to grab jpegs as quickly as possible and create videos after the fact.

Has the situation improved? Are there cameras available that provide live realtime HD quality video without a dependence on the camera vendor's software or a web browser plugin?

Comment: Re:How about complete amnesty (Score 1) 354

by Paul Carver (#45862249) Attached to: The New York Times Pushes For Clemency For Snowden

I think a reasonable case could be made that the NSA is the enemy of America and Snowden was operating behind enemy lines in direct contact with anti-freedom forces with great power to destroy him. While he may not have been in an armed forces branch of the US government he WAS acting at great personal risk to defend the US constitution from those who have demonstrated their willingness to violate it. The constitution must be protected from enemies foreign AND domestic. Snowden is fighting to do so even if he never actually swore that oath.

Comment: Socialization vs getting work done (Score 1) 96

by Paul Carver (#45126339) Attached to: What's Lost When a Meeting Goes Virtual

Humans are social creatures so there is often business value in spending some money to allow people to socialize, hang out, and eat and drink together. That's where face to face meetings are irreplaceable.

However, if the work is well understood and there aren't personality conflicts that need to be worked out and team cooperation to be built, then teleconferencing is much more effective. In person meetings and whiteboards facilitate "winging it" whereas teleconferencing (I mean with screens sharing, not just voice) tends to encourage getting your information into at least somewhat organized electronic form. This can be harder, but it's harder because it's not allowing you to be as lazy as just sitting around talking and maybe scrawling an incomplete and inaccurate diagram on the whiteboard that you never bother finishing or archiving for future reference.

I wish my employer would spring for a bit more business travel, but I would be lying if I said it would make me more productive.

I should also mention that instant messaging with presence indication is also an essential component of working across geographic distance. I'm much more effective working with people when glance at a list of names on my screen shows me instantly who's available at this moment. The people who are never "online" in IM require a much more inconvenient phone call/voicemail/email/walk down the hall.

I have certainly wasted time at in person meetings waiting idly by while someone I wanted to talk to was busy talking to someone else about some topic that didn't require my attention.

Comment: Re:Let me see if I understand this... (Score 1) 136

by Paul Carver (#45035431) Attached to: In Praise of Micromanagement

No, he was an expert in knowing what a large number of people will think looks cool. I didn't buy anything while I was there, but when I was in the vicinity of the Apple store in NYC I certainly went inside to take a look around. The building itself is basically a work of art and the staircase is at least as much a part of the art as anything else.

A staircase alone won't sell phones or computers, but Jobs didn't focus on just a staircase. He treated buildings as part of the Apple package. If you can't see why that's important then you'll never be as successful as Jobs.

Of course that's ok. It's not necessary for everyone to be as successful as Steve Jobs. But if you're putting a lot of effort into trying to prove that he wasn't *really* successful you might want to take a look at your own life and ask why it's so important to you to find faults and convince people that he wasn't talented.

Comment: Re:Obligatory Steve Jobs quote (Score 1) 208

by Paul Carver (#44994823) Attached to: Apple Now the World's Most Valuable Brand, Knocks Off Coca-Cola

Obviously model matters, but I stopped using a dedicated GPS specifically BECAUSE of time to acquire a signal. Granted both of the dedicated GPS units I bought are now quite old, but I needed a new cell phone anyway so I didn't really feel it was worth the extra money to keep buying newer dedicated GPS units.

My phone gets help from cell tower triangulation that jump starts the more accurate GPS acquisition. Neither of my dedicated GPS units have that. This really hits home when not wanting to spend extra for the optional GPS in a rental car at an airport. Bringing along my own GPS was a total waste because it would have a lot of trouble acquiring a location after a plane flight. My phone would have a good enough location fix while still inside the concrete parking structure whereas the dedicated GPS unit would take a good 5-10 minutes of clear sky view after pulling out of the parking onto an unfamiliar highway in a strange city.

Even at home, if I start Waze while walking to the car my phone will have a good fix by the time I buckle my seat belt whereas the dedicated GPS won't get a fix for at least 30-60 seconds after I start the car.

Comment: Re:don't (Score 1) 682

by Paul Carver (#44992309) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

Very few of the people who have indoor plumbing need indoor plumbing. Are you advocating a return to outhouses? Or are cell phones a special case where you feel people should only have what they "need"?

Trying to use lack of "need" as a reason why people shouldn't have things heads down a VERY slippery slope of defining exactly what "need" means.

I didn't give my four year old her own phone and now that she's six she only gets to use my old iPhone without a SIM to listen to music. But whether you think she has a "need" for it doesn't figure into my decision at all.

Comment: Re:Pointless posturing (Score 1) 200

by Paul Carver (#44785499) Attached to: New Jersey Congressman Seeks To Bar NSA Backdoors In Encryption

Everyone has the right to petition the government, but I don't agree that the first amendment guarantees the right to tuck a wad of cash into the petition with a "ps. There's more where that came from if you do as I say" at the end. Interpreting the first amendment as a "right to bribe government officials" is a willful misinterpretation as far as I'm concerned.

And I don't see what the eighth amendment has to do with stocks either. The word "unusual" in that amendment is unfortunately vague. Our current system of corporate run "for profit" prisons would have been very unusual in the late 1700s whereas putting someone in the stocks would not have been anywhere near as unusual. The prohibition on "cruel" also needs some interpretation since a punishment that is entirely free of any hint of unpleasantness can hardly be considered punishment at all. I don't think the eighth was intended to entirely prohibit punishment of wrongdoing. So with regard to stocks there could be some room for discussion of whether it is cruel to restrain a wrongdoer in public view of the people they wronged. I don't believe the public should be allowed to physically harm a person confined in the stocks, but a bit of verbal ridicule might be well within the bounds of "not excessively cruel" punishment.

Comment: Re:The answer is in your question... (Score 1) 252

by Paul Carver (#44514551) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Development Leadership Overvalued?

Are you a one man show? It seems hard to believe that any part of a fighter jet would be developed by a lone wolf accountable only to himself/herself. I would have assumed that no fighter jet ever got created without many tiers of management coordinating all the hardware/software/design/building//testing to ensure that all the pieces work together. You may be overestimating your level of responsibility if you're a one man show and you think nobody in management is taking responsibility for ensuring that your piece work, not only by itself but as a piece of the complex whole.

Comment: Re:There is only one way... (Score 1) 195

I'd suggest giving GraphViz a shot. Make sure to check the source files into Git or SVN and pick out a good wiki package. Put URLs in your GraphViz input and have it generate SVG. Then you'll be able to click through your diagrams to the wiki for details.

Just getting the raw connection info into GraphViz source files will be much faster than putting it all into Visio and with them version controlled you can futz around later with layout. You can even pull the generated SVG into Visio or other graphics program for polishing if you really need too.

Comment: Re:Tool to condense forum posts into a wiki? (Score 1) 129

If you're looking for artificial intelligence to distill knowledge from forum posts and write wiki pages in the manner of a human author then certainly that doesn't exist yet. But if you're just looking for tools to extract knowledge from forums and other "social media" you're probably not looking in the right price range. The tools exist but are specialized and expensive. Look at Clarabridge, Attensity, SAS, Teradata, Lucid Imagination, Polyvista, as well as services from IBM, Oracle, SAS, SAP, HP, an Dell. The phrase "text analytics" might be helpful in guiding your research.

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"

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