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Comment: Re:Just damn (Score 2) 404

by Registered Coward v2 (#49149539) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

I loved his acting as much as anyone, but I disagree that it was necessarily a sad day. He was, after all, 83 years old. He beat the average life expectancy in this country by a wide margin. He made an impact on a huge number of people, as well. He was ready to check out and move on. Really, what could you reasonably expect an 83 year old man to do beyond this point anyways? I'm happy for him and all he's done.

Yes, he truly lived long and prospered...

Comment: Re:Predicting the future is hard (Score 1) 347

by Registered Coward v2 (#49143869) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

Joel Spolsky has a take on this problem, called Evidence-Based Scheduling, which tracks past estimates against their deliveries, and uses that to improve future estimates.

That is a good idea, but you have to be careful how you track work. We used to do estimates based on hours worked and thus come up with a price. Since the work was fixed price the actual hours were irrelevant to the customer's cost; but very relevant to our team. Going over was bad; and going under yielded us no benefits other than having to explain low utilization; even if we had huge profit margins. As a result, our total hours billed to a project always exactly matched the estimate. One word of caution, never let the sales person estimate the cost or duration; they are rewarded on sales and so have an incentive to underbid to get work and let the team try to deliver.

Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 2) 347

by Registered Coward v2 (#49143811) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

A well defined project can be estimated. Change Orders estimating needs to be done properly and BILLED - the cost of re-analyzing is a real cost and the business needs to see it. Once you get that across the number of change requests decreases dramatically.

Software engineering is Engineering... some of the costs are inverted, but otherwise it's the same project management as other engineering projects.

Correct. Our rule was "Give away the initial project because we'll retire on the change orders..."

Comment: Re:Schneier's opinion isn't what it once was (Score 1) 114

This isn't like a door lock where its possible to overcome them and we can't stop them from being overcome, so we take advantage of locksmiths when we screw up. Locks can not be 100% secure, encrypted data can be effectively 100% secure and thats a different environment.

While I agree with most of your points there is no such things as 100% secure data; some is only harder to get than others. It only take step right approach to get it.

Comment: Nothing new here... (Score 1) 255

by Registered Coward v2 (#49135945) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken
Repetitive and easily managed process are ripe for replacement, just ask telephone operators, and higher paid positions are reduced in favor of less costly staff trained in specific functions, just as MD's about NPs and Nurse Anesthetists. As machines get better at collecting, analyzing and recognizing patterns people who do that will be replaced by machines, just as the spreadsheet replaced begins of low level accountants crunching numbers by hand. The ability to use that information for decisions making will mean higher level cognitive skills will still be in demand, as will the ability to recognize and react in unforeseen circumstances. Flying FedEx drones from a room in Memphis is a great idea, but what happens when you lose the radio link or your instrument data goes haywire and you need to figure to what is going on; while controlling a hundred other plans as well? Planes already have gone to 2 person crews since automation has eliminated the need for the flight engineer and many planes can pretty much fly from takeoff to touchdown without a pilot's intervention but the pilots are there not for the routine but for the unexpected. It's the ability to apply a solution in an unforeseen situation or green insights that will continue to be valuable; sure a machine can predict the success of a lawsuit, or the probability of a winning hand, but a good lawyer, like a good poker player, can find a way to turn a loser into a winner and that's what people pay for.

Comment: Uber is an example of a common line of thought (Score 1) 193

that because something uses the internet or an app it is somehow different from the same activity done the "old" way; when all the new thing is is an old process enabled by a different technology. If you got a bunch of people to agree to let you dispatch them to pick up rides and charge for them, added a bunch of POTS lines to handle the calls, and then connected paying passengers with drivers, you would be called an unlicensed cab company. Uber simply replaced the POTS lines with an app, the rest of the process is the same and yet they think they are different because they use disruptive technology; when a bunch of POTS lines is just as disruptive if not as convenient as an app.

Comment: Re:I wonder why... (Score 1) 193

Driving the long route to get a higher fare. It still happens today but with licensing there is at least an authority to report the violation to. If it happens enough times the company can be fined and the driver's permit pulled. Fare kiting is fairly easy to prove as place to place fares are easy to confirm.

Happens in Vegas all the time. Drivers are supposed to take the shortest route, or at least that is the law unless it has changed recently, or ask if you want a different one but on city to airport runs they go the long way. If you go through the tunnel they've nailed you for a longer fare; however if you ask them why the took the long route instead of the prescribed shorter one they will charge you the shorter fare. If they balk you can always ask the cop at the airport what to do and the driver doesn't want that because he may get fined. I was told this by an honest cab driver who was pissed that many cheat customers who when they find out think al cabbies are crooks; when I went to the airport lo and behold we went through the tunnel and when I asked the driver charged the lower fare.

Comment: Re:We want bad ideas! (Score 1) 45

by Registered Coward v2 (#49135769) Attached to: The Believers: Behind the Rise of Neural Nets

We're particularly interested in research that either won't work or, if it does work, won't work for a long time. And I've been reading some of your papers.

Sounds like a pretty damning indictment.

It actually has at least a couple of advantages. The sooner you learn what doesn't work the quicker you avoid sinking vast sums of money into trying to make it work. If an adversary is working on it you can be assured it is a waste of time and money they could spend on something that might actually work. Of course, sometimes people are wrong about what won't work because they give up to soon; which is the downside of asking what won't work.

Comment: No one believes they can't get the stuff (Score 1) 268

by Registered Coward v2 (#49130815) Attached to: It's Official: NSA Spying Is Hurting the US Tech Economy
If it's built there the Chinese government has access to it; even if it isn't brand name but "OEM." In this case, refusing to buy while backdating the tech is a good PR move that will play well with their populace; so there is no downside to this move.

Comment: Really? (Score 2) 101

by Registered Coward v2 (#49128237) Attached to: Amazon Files Patent For Mobile 3D Printing Delivery Trucks
There is plenty of prior art. Mobile sintering machines that get emailed instructions on how to fabricate a part have been in use for quite a few years. Get the instructions, make a part via sintered printing, machine it to final specs. The US military uses them to fabricate parts by deployed troops, who can haul the machine around in a deuce and a half, or whatever they call a truck nowadays.

Comment: Re:He is linking homeopathy to astrology (Score 2) 319

by Registered Coward v2 (#49126913) Attached to: Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP

"Ninety per cent of pregnant French women use homeopathy. Astrology is a useful diagnostic tool enabling us to see strengths and weaknesses via the birth chart."

At first, I have failed to see the common ground between homeopathy and astrology - these two sentences sounded completely unrelated. But they are actually related - it says "90% of French women are gullible enough to fall for homeopathy. This means that most of them are stupid enough to also believe astrology crap, so market is ripe"

That would be true only if all French women are pregnant.

Comment: Re:Canadians (Score 1) 176

by Registered Coward v2 (#49120411) Attached to: H-1B Visas Proving Lucrative For Engineers, Dev Leads

So I don't know what you mean by 'vulnerable' position. If you take a job in another country, you take that job. You can quit and return to your own country at any time.

The vulnerability is for those that don't want to return but eventually get a green card. The "Do this or I pull your visa threat" is very real for them; and they would generally be the lower level cheap IT labor pool people, not someone with very valuable and specialized experience that a company wants to keep.

I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work I will do it.