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Comment: Re:now this more like it (Score 1) 74

I totally get that POV. I even somewhat agree with it. Sometimes, it's better to just have a character die (or at most become so minor later on that his appearance is little more than a cameo, or a wink/nod to fans.)

It would have been way, way better if Daneel was reduced to some glorified scribe who wrote down history or something minor, and not this 'power-behind-the-throne' thing.

That said, I don't really detest the series that much... Asimov did manage to pull it off IMHO (barely, but still).

Comment: Re:Assuming the consequences of one's decisions (Score 2) 32

by Penguinisto (#49386657) Attached to: Angry Boss Phishing Emails Prompt Fraudulent Wire Transfers

Wait, no... wrong details, and it's not a good parallel to use.

The dude in question was the lead network engineer for the City of San Francisco. Long story short, he had no standing policy to do what he did: he changed the supe passwords on all the city's core routers, locked everyone else out of the the things, then refused to tell anyone what the new password was.

I agree that he shouldn't have gone to jail over it, but TBH it was a dick move on his part.

Comment: Re:They might as well have. (Score 1) 82

by Penguinisto (#49381677) Attached to: Microsoft Considered Giving Away Original Xbox

Value of brand recognition?

So, wait - who exactly in the First World does not know what Microsoft is and does by now?

Being relevant in consumer products?

This one I can sort of agree with, though most of their efforts in this space have flopped spectacularly: MSNTV, Kin, PocketPC, Zune... I think the XBox was the only Microsoft product to date that hadn't crashed and burned insofar as consumer electronics are concerned.

Comment: Re:AND they stole Halo from the PC world.... (Score 2, Interesting) 82

by Penguinisto (#49379955) Attached to: Microsoft Considered Giving Away Original Xbox

Agreed. if it weren't for Halo and the subsequent lock-in to that console, I suspect the XBox wouldn't have really gotten anywhere.

Consider that the XBox was still a massive money-sink for years on end, and I daresay that it has still not yet reached its overall ROI, let alone a profit. If it were built/sold by any company other than Microsoft (or similar behemoth-sized), the company would have gone broke years ago from it. They may eventually reach ROI and turn a profit, but I think that's still a couple of years off at best, and after that, I have no idea what kind of profit margin it would have.

My best guess is that Microsoft wanted to (and is still desperately trying to) make the XBox into a home media center, to the exclusion of everything else (DVRs, dedicated DVD/Blu-Ray players, etc). They may still latch on a cablecard/sat receiver, and maybe some tie-in to "The Internet of Things" (or whatever buzzphrase is being used nowadays), so that it becomes the brain of the "smart home"(ditto), so as to lock-in a potential market. But then, people being what they are, they stubbornly go out and buy tablets, 3rd-party home alarm/HVAC controllers, decide to use Dish instead of DirecTV or Comcast, run out and buy a Sling/AppleTV/Roku box, etc. I think it's that diversity (and the entrenchment of the players in it) which has kept them from making that final drive. This in the end may well turn the whole XBox thing into a permanent anchor on Microsoft's profit margins unless costs are cut somewhere... which makes me wonder why the shareholders haven't demanded that the console be made profitable or else.

Comment: Re:More... (Score 1) 220

by Penguinisto (#49379033) Attached to: Why You Should Choose Boring Technology

This problem isn't just in pure developer-land.

As an example, meander on down to the PuppetForge and look at the common modules used to do boring stuff.

For example, installing and maintaining PHP on a box via Puppet should be drop-simple, with little-to-no work... I designed and wrote a simple module for it in like 30 minutes, spending 15 minutes of that having a cigarette, no sweat. But one look at some of these, and you'd think they were writing Turing-capable climate modeling software. Okay, I exaggerate (a little), but the point is, these guys spend untold hours trying to turn a set of car tires into jet engines.

Here's where it gets ugly: Most DevOps folks liberally download these beasts and implement them, never realizing (until it's way too late) that the vast majority of these modules are written either to be cute, to be clever-by-too-far, or to bolster someone's resume ('look, I'm a coding deity!' type crap***). They then spend hours on end busting their ass trying to get these damned things to work in their environment, and end up with something that quite frankly eats more CPU cycles and disk space then it really should... by orders of magnitude.

TL;DR? The greatest wasting of time I've seen in development and beyond is when people try to get too cute or too clever with code.

*** if someone showed me some of these ugly-assed bloat-factories as part of the interview process, they would face some damned hard questions from me about design before I'd even think of recommending them to be hired.

Comment: Devil's advocate: (Score 4, Interesting) 326

by Penguinisto (#49349745) Attached to: RSA Conference Bans "Booth Babes"

I dunno, I usually like going to conventions so people can try to sell me things.

Thing is, these 'booth babes' acting as total sex objects *do* sell things...

I'll explain in detail for those who disagree: the ladies grab the typical convention-goer's attention long enough for the sales-critters to suck the guy in and start making the pitch. Our victim is now too damned busy trying to steal glances so that he can lick every inch of her body with his eyeballs. This in turn means that his attention and concentration are now shitty enough to keep cynicism at bay, but still present enough to suck in any buzzword and pretty chart that gets shoved in front of him.

It's a salesman's dream: a horny distracted dimwit with access to purchase order numbers.

Now let's remove the barely-dressed ladies, and what do you get? People that *pay attention* to your sales pitch. People that will start asking hard questions. People who will have their cynic shields on full-power. People that take way more time to work on. Fewer prospects that even bother paying attention to your booth in the first place.

I suspect that after a year or two of "empowerment" (or whatever they want to call it), it won't be attendance that drops, but vendor participation. When vendors see lower sales numbers off the convention, they can no longer credibly justify the expense and time of going.

Me, I couldn't care either way - I usually bring my wife along (at personal expense), so that we can spend off-hours playing tourist and eating at nice places (and she goes off to museums and such during the day). On the other hand, I know exactly what a younger version of me would want... and the evil salesman I keep locked up in my brain knows just how effective sex is to get what he wants by using it.

Comment: Re:Wait... what? (Score 1) 228

by Penguinisto (#49339601) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

The Japanese leadership did not see the atomics as significantly worse than what they had already suffered due to the sustained bombings their cities had endured in which many more civilians died than from both the bombs combined.

Militarily, this would be false. Where before it would take swarms of US bombers put at considerable risk to firebomb a city into almost nothing (yet not really damage hardened bunkers/buildings by too much), Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed that it only took one bomber (though both flights had three - including two observers) to wipe out an entire city (or whatever), and obliterate nearly *everything* in it, all with less effort than a reconnaissance mission.

Also, consider that after Hiroshima, most Japanese leaders either considered it to be a lie ("...no, there must have been hundreds of bombers, not three!", didn't know about it fully, or thought it was some sort of fluke bombing that turned into a conventional firestorm, and the survivors were just too dazed to know quite what happened (after all, Hiroshima was completely untouched up to that point). By the time they realized that maybe Hiroshima did happen the way it did, Nagasaki blew up the same way, and survivor stories corroborated way too nicely.

But as for the whole Russians thing? Two reasons why that's not really as consequential as some would like to believe:

1) Japan was doing all of its negotiating through the Soviets, and knew them well enough that they not only didn't care, but were way too busy with cleaning up (and consolidating power in) half of Europe. Even if the Japanese thought they were serious? Siberia worked both ways, and logistics would prevent the Soviet army from doing hardly anything - by the time the Sovs could bring anything substantial to bear, the US would have long since bombed Japan's home population, infrastructure and culture into literal non-existence with these new atomic bombs.

2) From the Japanese militaristic point of view, the US wouldn't even have to invade - but simply stand back, bomb everything (and everyone) into impotent ash, then forget that Japan ever existed. It would be a death without honor, which was a living hell to the Tojo faction's mindset... to be treated as little more than hornets killed with a can of bug spray.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)

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