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Comment: Re:Routers? (Score 1) 360

by Strudelkugel (#48656625) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down

... They have only one neighbor who they share a land border with who will talk with them, so they likely don't really have a way to set up a redundant second route.

Two countries, they share a short border area with Russia

Makes for interesting questions: Do they have fiber running through Russia, too? Did China decide to shut down the NK internet? If NK has a connection through Russia, did they go along with the idea? Or did the US or someone else do something to the internal NK infrastructure? All of the above assumes the NK blackout is not the decision of the NK government.

Comment: Re:I see nothing exciting here (Score 1) 390

by Strudelkugel (#48481001) Attached to: First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

But none of that really tells us much about the movie itself; it could just as well be a teaser for Disney's toy catalog for next Christmas.

In other words, ff you get an advance copy of the catalog, you will know what is in the movie.

To this day I don't understand how Lucas could make something as good as "American Graffiti" and an entire collection as mediocre as "Star Wars", other than using them to sell toys. If it wasn't for Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and James Earl Jones in the original movie, my guess is that it would have flopped. It's sort of surprising to me that so many people with technical backgrounds like the SW series, given all of the science the movies completely disregard:

  • Sound in space
  • Spacecraft that make banked turns in a vacuum
  • Breathable atmosphere almost everywhere
  • No variation in gravity on different planets
  • Humans flying spacecraft while AI sits in the back seat
  • Humans aiming and shooting weapons while AI sits in the back seat
  • Large formations of spacecraft in close proximity even though they can move at hyper-light speed
  • etc, etc

The SW franchise strikes me as a series of repackaged westerns with WWII themes and an abundance of special effects. I like sci-fi that leaves you wondering about possibilities you never thought of before. I don't know why Hollywood has such a hard time with sci-fi given the example of "2001, A Space Odyssey". Not that 2001 was such a great movie given how disjointed it was, but the weightlessness, lack of sound in space, and of course the impossibility of understanding HALs AI made those sequences very alien and intriguing. (Martin Scorsese's comment that Dave Bowman shutting down HAL was actually a murder scene made the question of AI even more interesting.) "Terminator", "Predator", and "Alien" were all better, IMHO. I think all of the Philip K. Dick derived movies were better than SW, too. When it comes to SW, the stories leave little or nothing to the imagination, the antithesis of what good sci-fi should do. But then again, the movies are really just ads for toys and promotions at Burger King. In that regard, they make a lot of money so I will not argue with them as a business proposition. Now "Get off my lawn!"

+ - The bane of restaurants - Smartphones->

Submitted by Strudelkugel
Strudelkugel (594414) writes "A restaurant in Manhattan compared video from 2004 and 2014 to see why service was slower than before. A few observations listed in the article:
Customers walk in.
They gets seated and are given menus, out of 45 customers 3 request to be seated elsewhere.
Customers on average spend 8 minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order...
Customers walk in.
Customers get seated and is given menus, out of 45 customers 18 requested to be seated elsewhere.
Before even opening the menu they take their phones out, some are taking photos while others are simply doing something else on their phone (sorry we have no clue what they are doing and do not monitor customer WIFI activity)."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Still stuck in an analogue thinking pattern (Score 1) 216

by Strudelkugel (#46984789) Attached to: GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet
Given all that we know about GM, can someone explain (aside from the obvious political reasons / TBTF), why this company was bailed out? Romney was correct, it should have been allowed to go bankrupt. In addition, the taxpayer still had to eat a $10 billion loss. GM management was incompetent to the core. This idea is yet another example of it for all of the reasons you list and more.

Comment: Re:It's just corruption (Score 4, Insightful) 143

by Strudelkugel (#46955255) Attached to: How Dumb Policies Scare Tech Giants Away From Federal Projects

Actually it's a bit different from what you describe. The government loads contracts with all kinds of deliverables beyond the actual product being requested, such as documentation that never reflects reality since there is never enough time to do all of it and deliver a product. Everyone knows it won't be read anyway.As often as not these things distract the contractors. Then there are the process mandates and contract requirements that employ large numbers of people who are all busy checking checkboxes. All of this is done to prevent failures, but obviously the failures occur anyway. Part of this is often because the government tries to create a Facebook or Google in a couple of years, but also because the regulatory environment designed to prevent failure is so complicated critical information can be lost or obscured. It's not that the "accountable ones" are not held to account because they work for government, it's more the case that the contract complexity almost makes it impossible to determine who really is accountable.

Obviously when you don't really know who is accountable for something you don't know who to ask for reliable information, so people start making assumptions. "You want escalators, not elevators? But the contract says vertical lift system. We interpreted that to as..."

Comment: Been there (Score 4, Interesting) 274

by Strudelkugel (#46914975) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Joining a Startup As an Older Programmer?

I was involved in a startup in my 40s. It ultimately failed, but I learned lessons that will hopefully be valuable to you to. What you describe sounds like a dream job for most people. As long as you get it, I don't think you have to be concerned at all about being older than the others. They will appreciate the times when someone comes up with a bad idea that looks good, but you can say "I've seen this before, here's what happened..." - as long as you are right. Even better will be the times when someone has an unproven idea and you can say, "I remember a couple of times when one of our developers had an off the wall idea that we all wondered about, but it was appealing enough that we went with it anyway and it worked." As for the hours, there will be 20 and 30 somethings who will go on 24+ hour coding binges. Did you do that when you were in your 20s? Do you think you would be productive doing it? Does management expect you to disrupt your family life? It's hard to believe a company that has grown to have 300 employees would have leadership that expects all of their employees to destroy their personal life. If they do, the company won't be the success everyone hopes for anyway. (Well, the founders might walk away with a lot of money before it implodes, but you won't. You have to assess that risk.)

The great thing about a good startup is the chance it offers to to new kinds of work and see it succeed in the marketplace. This can be really exciting. It's possible that you might have a similar opportunity in a large company but the odds are very low since you will be separated from the product or service by layers of management and bureaucratic rules. Yes you will get a steady paycheck, but it will never compare with the huge win you can get at a startup and the satisfaction of knowing you had a direct role in the success. You can also ask yourself if the startup role will make you a better developer. If the company fails, will you have improved your technical knowledge so that you are still valuable to other companies? In an established company it's more likely that you will just be a code monkey whose skills slowly evaporate without you realizing it, although you don't sound like the kind of person who would let that happen. If OTOH, the company you work for is run by PHBs who are forcing you to work on obsolete stuff, you have to leave anyway. Some large companies do have great jobs, though, but I don't think you would be looking if you were really happy where you are.

From your description of the job and given that you don't sound like the Get Off My Lawn type, I would suggest that you join the startup if they make you an offer that is reasonable.

Comment: Re:Switching from Mercedes to Tesla after $12K bil (Score 2, Interesting) 360

by Strudelkugel (#46784073) Attached to: Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

I sympathize. I have a similar story about my former Benz. At 70K miles I had repair problem with the motor. MB's fault really, had to have been set up wrong at the factory. Cost of repair was about $7K. They put in $2K, but I had to fork over the rest. I will never buy another Benz. I have owned several cars. None ever had a catastrophic failure at 70K miles. Of course the dealers will tell you that is why you should buy an extended warranty. My response is the policy and its renewal fee would have been about as much, so it would have been worthless to me. After I decided to get rid of the Benz, I was quite tempted to buy a Model S after driving one. Ultimately I thought I would wait until they add a few features I like that are available on other cars. When the warranty is about to expire on the new car I will buy the Tesla.

It's also worth noting what a huge difference there is when buying a car from a dealership and a Tesla from the store. I think 99% of us share the opinion that buying a car from a dealership is the most insulting retail experience there is. Dealers know it but don't care since the franchise laws protect them from reasonable market forces. No wonder they are all trying to stop Tesla from selling direct to consumers. But car dealers are not the only industry that plays the regulatory game. Just one of the worst abusers.

Comment: Re:Armor (Score 2) 330

by Strudelkugel (#46478675) Attached to: What If the Next Presidential Limo Was a Tesla?

Actually electric motors power the biggest machines I can think of, such as draglines, railroad locomotives and ships. The Presidential limo is not designed for a high speed getaway, it is really an armored personnel carrier with a nice paint job. It also doesn't have to go very far. The only time a limo had to go very "fast" was after an assassination attempt, but remember that it has a police escort that will clear all other traffic ahead of it. In JFK's case, speed would have been irrelevant, and in Reagan's case, they still had to drive through Washington D.C. streets which were more of a speed limitation than the limo itself. In addition, there is always an ambulance following the motorcade, so the POTUS would be transferred to it for a medical emergency. (This didn't happen for Reagan since he was shot right next to the limo. His Secret Service agent pushed him in after noticing blood and made the decision to go to the ER immediately.)

Four independent electric motors might actually give the limo more mobility than a single ICE, since all four would have to be knocked out to immobilize the car. They would also be lighter than the ICE. As for power, they could always charge up an electric limo using the APU on board AF1, or just carry additional battery packs. Another option would be to put a turbine generator in the car if extra range were needed, but I seriously doubt the POTUS will ever take a road trip in the limo. Truman might have done it for fun since he liked driving so much, but that was a different time.

+ - IBM Sees Growing Enterprise Demand for Windows Phone->

Submitted by Strudelkugel
Strudelkugel (594414) writes ""Actual end user momentum is trailing business interest," Szafranski said. "IT likes Microsoft and likes Windows. They've made a lot of investment in things like Active Directory and Exchange and as a result they have a lot of interest in seeing Windows Phone used by employees. I don't think anyone is going to be all Windows on mobile, but enterprises do want it and I think they have a strong opportunity when it comes to the enterprise side of purchase decisions.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:This nonsense only works in corporations (Score 1) 437

by Strudelkugel (#46031361) Attached to: You Might Rent Features & Options On Cars In the Future

Consumers will buy another brand without these annoyances

This model already exists:

  • Satellite radio
  • On Star
  • Nav map updates (in some cases)

Enabling heated seats by subscription is an interesting example. It might be a good deal for the consumer depending on how much cheaper a car is without them, with the subscription version, and always available. Pricing would vary by region no doubt. People in desert climates might opt for the subscription where they are primarily useful at night, but people in cold climates might be willing to pay the price for constant availability. The opposite might be true for AC. Pricing various features sounds like it could be more complex than pricing airfares, however.

+ - 15 Rising Programming Trends -- And 15 Going Cold

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "From the Web to the motherboard to the training ground, InfoWorld offers a look at what's rising in popularity among developers, and what's cooling off. 'Programmers love to sneer at the world of fashion where trends blow through like breezes. That's not to say programming is a profession devoid of trends. The difference is that programming trends are driven by greater efficiency, increased customization, and ease-of-use. The new technologies that deliver one or more of these eclipse the previous generation. It's a meritocracy, not a whimsy-ocracy. What follows is a list of what's hot — and what's not — among today's programmers. Not everyone will agree with what's A-listed, what's D-listed, and what's been left out. But that's what makes programming an endlessly fascinating profession: rapid change, passionate debate, sudden comebacks.'"

+ - AT&T's Sponsored Data is bad for the internet, the economy, and you->

Submitted by sirhan
sirhan (105815) writes "From The Verge: AT&T is looking into what they call Sponsored Data, a program designed to let content providers bypass bandwidth caps if they pay AT&T. Simply enough, "if YouTube doesn't hit your data cap but Vimeo does, most people are going to watch YouTube. If Facebook feels threatened by Snapchat and launches Poke with free data, maybe it doesn't get completely ignored and fail. If Apple Maps launched with free data for navigation, maybe we'd all be driving off bridges instead of downloading Google Maps for iOS.""
Link to Original Source

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