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Comment: Instill confidence through source escrow (Score 1, Insightful) 151

by SethJohnson (#48441557) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?
If you are planning to sell software to the government or business as a startup, consider source code escrow. Your customers will tend to stick with established vendors for fear of you going out of businesses and leaving them with an unsupported implementation. The source code escrow is insurance against that being more of a catastrophe for your customers than you.

Invest in dedicated technical support. It plays up as great comedy in the movie, Office Space, when the character says you don't want the customers talking directly to the engineers. You actually don't want that. Establishing a quality support team keeps the engineers productive on developing while the support group ensures the customers are getting help with their issues. Oh, and don't outsource this responsibility to a foreign country. If you think you can't afford quality support, at least staff it with a recent college grad and split that person's time between support and bug fixing.

Comment: Automation changes future job market (Score 0) 84

by SethJohnson (#48399075) Attached to: Billionaire Donors Lavish Millions On Code.org Crowdfunding Project

Society needs plumbers, welders, architects, accountants, doctors, physicists, line workers, and every other job there is.

You and everyone else who thinks being a plumber is a lucrative job now and tomorrow needs to understand that automation is going to change the employment landscape dramatically in the coming years. The undereducated people who have been automated out of their warehouse work, call center jobs, etc. will dogpile on those jobs that pay well and don't require a diploma. Then those jobs won't pay so well.

These wealthy tech billionaires see the writing on the wall and are trying to help equip the masses to be more relevant in tomorrow's job market. I appreciate your reference to Socrates and think it's an astute observation. While I think on the higher-end of the tech jobforce, companies like facebook and Microsoft are abusing the H1B visa program, I do think their support of STEM is in the interest of growing the domestic workforce towards the needs of industry.

Comment: Much more secure... (Score 1) 405

by SethJohnson (#48380969) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?
You do realize the guy is sending out unencrypted email over comcast's pipes in plain text. If privacy was his priority in choosing a home hosting solution, then you might want to awake the OP from his delusion of security by telling him he'll never see the court order that enables reading of all his inbound and outbound email messages.

Comment: Get rid of your home datacenter (Score 1) 405

by SethJohnson (#48380123) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?
I did the same thing described by the OP for many years. Suffered through hardware failures and soradic ISP service interruptions that caused me MANY hours of unnecessary work and lost productivity. I also shouldered the expense of electricity, noise, and replacing hard drives.

Then the price of virtual private servers became so cheap, I couldn't rationally keep hosting stuff out of my house.

Check my sig. Five bucks a month for a 512mb linux server with 150gb of storage and 2TB of bandwidth a month. You're root on your own box and don't have to deal with all the crap mentioned above.

Comment: think of the insurance companies... (Score 1) 320

by SethJohnson (#48243303) Attached to: What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?

.....and ban this right away, it will not matter if the fatality rate is even lower than manually driven cars.

You ignore the gargantuan influence insurance companies wield over politicians.

Who do you think got these types of laws passed?

  • No smoking in bars
  • No sodas sold in big cups
  • Mandatory seat belts
  • Child safety seats

Those were the doing of an entity who could see that modifying these behaviors would reduce the payouts they make each year. This entity lives and breaths statistics and charges its customers based on anticipated payouts and profits off the difference. By modifying the behaviors while keeping the premiums at the same level, the insurance companies are able to expand their profits. Insurance companies use these profits to control politicians.

Self-driving cars are hugely attractive to insurance companies. If they can overall reduce payouts by some small number, they'll happily pay for the fewer claims made against their customers' self-driving cars. Should cases go to court, they'll have plenty of telemetric data to throw in front of a jury to bolster their defense.

Comment: Just finished books "Daemon" and "Freedom" (Score 1) 583

by SethJohnson (#48242121) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"
Really excellent current-day technology thrillers. They expand on some very contemporary surveillance / privacy issues and also project many currently-available technologies into advanced what-if scenarios. It was hard not to think that the creator of the AI in these two books was not conceived as a reference to either Elon Musk or John Carmack. Definitely Carmack was an inspiration to the author at some level, but the weaponized self-driving cars hints at Musk.

If Musk is warning about this AI-gone-wild threat, these two New York Times bestsellers might have given him the fright...

Comment: Re:Ballmer investment portfolio (Score 1) 283

by SethJohnson (#48230863) Attached to: Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"
The reason Marc Cuban is wealthy is because he had a dumb idea and was able to sell it to Yahoo before they realized they should only buy companies with paying customers rather than a pie-in-the-sky idea. Marc Cuban sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo, and they didn't know how to get any subscribers and that asset eventually evaporated into nothing.

Then Marc Cuban started HDnet cable channel thinking he would corner the market on producing high-definition cable TV content. Then all the other cable channels began broadcasting in HD and the property floundered for a reason to exist until Ryan Seacrest bought and rebranded it as another entertainment variety channel-- AXS..

Take a read of Cuban's blog. It's fun to click around in the archives to read his thoughts on the direction of future technology trends. Like when he predicted just ten years ago people would go into video rental stores to have movies transferred to a physical hard drive instead of walking out with optical disk media.. Somehow he didn't see the rise of Netflix and Redbox, did he?

Cuban and Ballmer have a LOT in common. When a board of directors selects either of them to be the CEO of a multi-billion $ company, their opinion might be relevant. Right now, the industry and stock market has a lack of faith in the decision-making powers of these two.

Comment: weak link isn't the host (Score 4, Informative) 115

by SethJohnson (#48180965) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Hosting Service For a Parody Site?
Any organization attacking your published site will send DMCA emails to the hosting / bandwidth provider, but will also attack the DNS registrar for copyright violation. That's going to be the more difficult one to choose because there are a finite number of registrars and they all want to cover-their-ass against ICAAN violations.

Comment: Re:I live in the Northeast part of Austin... (Score 1) 88

by SethJohnson (#48166409) Attached to: Google Fiber To Launch In Austin, Texas In December
Well-chosen slashdot nickname, Dimwit.

All the public infrastructure crap you're complaining about was part of bond packages that voters approved and paid for with tax money.

Google fiber ain't that. It's a subscription service being provided by a corporation. The fact that you're complaining of not having sewers hooked up indicates you live in a rural section which isn't the most lucrative region for Google to spend money where the people / mile-of-fiber ratio is thin.

Comment: Re:I don't trust it (Score 1) 284

by SethJohnson (#48165649) Attached to: FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

An NSL can be sent to Apple telling it to give the FBI all information it has.

Brune,

Pump the brakes, son. The words you have written here strongly indicate an irresponsible underestimation of the power wielded by National Security Letters. Go ask the ex-owner of Lavabit if he agrees with you that there are limitations on how National Security Letters may be applied to corporations.

Comment: Allow me to lubricate... (Score 2) 117

by SethJohnson (#48024465) Attached to: Tor Executive Director Hints At Firefox Integration
From Wikipedia:

The Firefox project began as an experimental branch of the Mozilla project by Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt and Blake Ross. They believed the commercial requirements of Netscape's sponsorship and developer-driven feature creep compromised the utility of the Mozilla browser.[29] To combat what they saw as the Mozilla Suite's software bloat, they created a stand-alone browser, with which they intended to replace the Mozilla Suite

Comment: Sales knows best on this (Score 2) 159

by SethJohnson (#48016609) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?
In competitive sales situations, each company has performed competitive analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of their competition's product. When talking to a customer, the sales team is emphasizing the problems of the competitor's product and the strength of their own. The customer is beating up the salesman by asking questions about the weaknesses of their product that were fed to the customer by the competing salesperson.

"It took them six years to fix these three simple bugs."

"It wasn't until release 4.5 before they found a critical security vulnerability that has probably been exploited since release 1.0."

"They decided not to fix these important problems in the current release and customers are going to have to wait another year for this functionality to work properly."

Helping your competition perform competitive analysis is a really good way to help your company go out of business. The benefit of transparency will be hugely outweighed by the savagery that will be perpetrated against your sales team. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the sales team quit if this transparency continues.

Because car analogies are so hated on Slashdot, here's one:

If a dealer handed you a piece of paper listing 100 things mechanically wrong with one car and then offered a second car that they said verbally had nothing wrong with it, would you really buy the car that is documented to be broken in 100 ways or would you trust the dealer's word on the other car?

Comment: Re:What about BSD derivatives (Score 1) 221

by SethJohnson (#47971075) Attached to: Outlining Thin Linux

It is a working system with everything you'd need to run a legitimate server.

I have wanted to run *BSD as our server OS for years, but the lack of native Oracle java support has held us back. Our app demands Oracle java and will not run on OpenJDK. Wish it would, because that's the only dang thing holding me off of *BSD these days.

I can fully expect some people will claim the lack of availability of native Oracle java support is a benefit of BSD. I would not argue against that sentiment, but my paycheck depends on other criteria.

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