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Comment: Re:Change Jobs (Score 1) 268

by lgw (#47966437) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

. An IT group that is stretched too thin, asked to do too many things, or held accountable for things beyond its control, and has therefore devised methods to insulate itself from complaints ... and accountability.

Who's talking about "IT"? I'm talking about software development. If you don't have those things I listed, you're doing it wrong - this is an engineering field now, the days of "seat of your pants" are past us.

But process that gets in your way is a sure sign of bad management. With the right tools, everything conspires to let teams work together faster, with no "who broke the build?" and no integration explosion at the end of large projects (a.k.a, the second 90% of the schedule).

Accountability is orthogonal to all of this.

Comment: Easier attack angle - kites or pilots (Score 1) 136

by SuperKendall (#47954927) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

"Send in the drones!" Why not fight drones with drones?

I feel like a way better attack vector would be a computer controlled kite. Between a string reaching all the way to the ground almost invisible to see, and a bunch of long streaming tails from the kite to foul rotors - you could do pretty well, if you can find the drone.

I would think though it would be more effective to hire goons to hang around anywhere open and with a line of sight to the area over the filming. Kind of a different take on the XKCD $5 wrench encryption cracking strategy.

Comment: Re:Trustworthy Computing was a sham (Score 1) 98

by lgw (#47952045) Attached to: Microsoft Kills Off Its Trustworthy Computing Group

The engineers working on Windows 8 knew the Metro UI was crap for the PC. The usability studies all showed that the Metro UI was crap for the PC. It was senior management that forced the issue over the protests of those involved.

The reason I have hope for MS yet is the result from all that. The entire management chain responsible for that, right through the CEO, all of them gone. Gates, Ballmer, Larson-Green, and middle managers below her well fired or moved away from PC computing. Someone, somewhere, decided enough was enough.

Will the new guy be better? Who knows. But we've had decision after decision that left consumers saying "WTF?" being rolled back, starting with firing that X-Box VP whp insulted the customer base and reversing his decisions on used games and always-on DRM and hopefully through the restoration of the start menu. Of course, if Windows 9 ends up sucking, MS is as dead as a very dead thing.

Comment: Re:Treacherous Computing (Score 4, Insightful) 98

by lgw (#47952015) Attached to: Microsoft Kills Off Its Trustworthy Computing Group

Had TC been an open standard, it could have been a great thing. Think: locking down one VM such that no virus can taint it, which you can then use to scan the rest of the system with assurance that the results are valid.

But instead it was a joke. I was doing standards work while the TC "standard" was being hammered out, and while they were in the same Hotel as real ISO standards work, you had to be there from a member company and sign an NDA to even listen to the discussions. We didn't take them seriously (the normal ISO/INCITS rules are that anyone who shows up can participate, you only need to be from a paying company to vote, and that minutes are always public).

Comment: Re:No, It Won't (Score 1) 319

by lgw (#47951957) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

Forest coverage of America has grown quite a bit over the past 50 years because so much farmland - most of it, in fact - has been abandoned as unneeded to feed us, or to saturate the export market. By far the majority of arable land is no longer cultivated, out of lack of need, unless you count tree farms.

Comment: Re:Change Jobs (Score 3, Insightful) 268

by lgw (#47950377) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

I have found that asking the following about a potential workplace is a remarkably good predictor of the entire work culture and acceptability for devs:
* What version control tool is used
* What bug tracking system is used
* What technological measures are in place to prevent anyone breaking the build, with no need to back out changes
* What automated testing infrastructure is in place, and are new check-ins automatically sanity-checked immediately

You can really learn a lot from the tools used. Are the tools in place those that devs would choose, or some horrible crap sold to management by a good sales guy? Did projects to make dev life better by automating the programmer workflow get funded, or get blocked? How short-sighted is management when it comes to productivity?

Software dev as an industry is out of the downturn. Demand is way ahead of supply right now, mostly because devs still think there's no point in looking. Well, times have changed, and a dev has a lot of "pricing power" right now. E.g., my team has quite a few open positions, no one with experience seems to be looking, and we're definitely not going to lose anyone qualified we actually manage to find due to being cheap!

Most companies do not do this, they force people into management,

Sign of an engineering field that hasn't matured yet. Most big companies do have engineering promotion paths all the way up to VP-equivalent now, so that's something, but you still don't see as many devs in paygrades equivalent to senior management as you see senior dev managers. They're not really taking that career path as seriously as high-tech "real engineering" jobs yet. But, yeah, at least find a place that has a non-management paygrade above the one you're applying for!

Comment: Re:No, It Won't (Score 1) 319

by lgw (#47950215) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

We can trivially feed 11 billion today. The farmland once used in America alone could do it (though that would be a bad approach for many reasons).

Your ideas about nutrition are way off. Calories are key to survival, and meat is not where you get calories, carbs are. Meat is a tasty luxury that requires more farmland per meal than eating vegetarian.

Fresh-water availability, as I already said, is only an issue in large cities that insist on drawing down their aquifers (well, and a few low-population areas with regular drought). Cities tap their aquifers only because it's cheap compared to proper sewage reprocessing. No magic technology required, just infrastructure spending. There are very few big cities that actually lack the surface water (e.g., Dubai), but they have desalination already. Wikipedia has some notes on the plants currently under construction and operating around the world. Again, it's not high-tech, as long as you're on the coast.

nd while economic development might wind up with individual families having fewer kids, that doesn't mean total population goes down

Native-born net population change is either negative or barely positive in every industrialized nation. Many places with high barriers to immigration are in population collapse right now (e.g., Japan). America is only growing due to immigration. It's a common pattern, well, researched and well understood. People have enough kids such that enough survive to help them in old age. Pre-industrialization, that's 10 or more. Post-industrialization that's 2-3, or fewer once a good retirement safety net is in place. There's a one-generation blip seen in most places during industrialization when people are still having 10 kids, but all of them survive to adulthood, so population explodes.

The news that population was expected to peak at 11 billion is at least 10 years old - not sure why it's a /. story, but we do like old news here.

Comment: Re:why does the CRTC need this list? (Score 1) 318

by lgw (#47950129) Attached to: Canadian Regulator Threatens To Impose New Netflix Regulation

Sure, sure, preventing discrimination is good, but that's a somewhat limited excursion into regulating who can do business that ensures more people can participate in the economy. But what we usually see is government doing the opposite granting monopoly, and otherwise excluding people form the market, instead of busting trusts and otherwise enabling participation.

We see this in spades in the entertainment industry in the US, with cable monopolies being granted like localities were competing in "monopoly granting" as an Olympic sport or something.

But anyway, none of that has anything to do with giving the government access to what books you read, or what movies you watch, or the like. Governments just need to stay the Hell away from that data, even if it would be convenient for the government, well, too bad!

Comment: Re:why does the CRTC need this list? (Score 2) 318

by lgw (#47948625) Attached to: Canadian Regulator Threatens To Impose New Netflix Regulation

No, really, why is it anyone's business at all?

Governments' legitimate interest in regulation is in product safety and fraud prevention, not in deciding who gets to do business with whom and at what price.

We've had far too many "regulation: good vs bad?" debates here on /., and we should really stop that, as that's a silly question. The interesting question is "regulation: what scope?".

Is there any legitimate reason for a government regulatory body to inspect and control subscriber lists for an entertainment product? Any good reason for it to examine who has watched what? I can think of only evil reasons: to target people with the wrong tastes in (legal) entertainment as anti-government dissidents: likely troublemakers to take pre-emptive action against. That's an old song that many governments have seen before, and one we don't need ot hear in Canada or the US!

Comment: Not Coincidence, it's the point (Score 4, Insightful) 231

by SuperKendall (#47942203) Attached to: Apple's "Warrant Canary" Has Died

Apple double-pinky swearing that they'll never, unh-uh, not ever unlock your iPhone

That's not what they said - they said the've altered it so they CANNOT unlock your iPhone, even if they want to.

Given how the technology works, that is a quite reasonable assertion. iOS devices have had full device encryption for some time, without that key you have nothing.

All this "canary" bullshit begs the question why, if Apple really cared one little bit about their customers, don't they just come out and say what they have to say.

That just shows a misunderstanding of what companies are legally ALLOWED to say. Once you get the order you CANNOT talk about it, thus the device of the canary.

Comment: Re:No, It Won't (Score 1) 319

by lgw (#47940409) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

We could easily feed 11 million today - modern farming is really quite efficient. No miracle new technology needed.

Water is a problem mostly in older large cities that have been wantonly drawing down local aquifers faster than they naturally refill. But since that's not the only way to get water, it's just a matter if infrastructure cost, not of some miracle new technology.

However - Africa's population quadrupling is really going to suck, as in most areas the technology that makes high population density easy in the West just isn't there. 86 years is a long time, though, time for plenty of economic development. And that not only makes it practical to support higher populations, it reliably winds up with people having fewer kids.

Comment: All that matters on the phone too (Score 1) 97

by SuperKendall (#47931577) Attached to: How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

Photography on a cell phone does not equate to photography with a digital camera -- knowing what f-stop is, or shutter speed, or focal length, or a LOT of the other of the fine-grain minutiae

1) the technical aspects are not really photography - they are details of a tool. They are not composition nor lighting nor mood nor concept.

2) The iPhone with iOS8, and version of Android for a while I think let you control all of those aspects in advanced camera apps (well focal length you had to add adaptor lenses, but lots of people do use those).

Comment: Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (Score 1) 950

by lgw (#47931573) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Life is not black and white. Actions are not ever wholly good nor evil. There is always evil associated with war, or violence in general, which is why deterrence is so much better. But ISIS is pretty damned close to "wholly evil", and military action against them could well be better on balance than giving them free reign.

To quote John Kerry, recently taking Code Pink to task for protesting a military response to ISIS:

âoeyou ought to care about fighting ISIL because ISIL is killing and raping and mutilating women. And they believe women shouldnâ(TM)t have an education ...

Thereâ(TM)s no negotiation with ISIL, thereâ(TM)s nothing to negotiate. And theyâ(TM)re not offering anyone healthcare of any kind. You know, theyâ(TM)re not offering education of any kind. For a whole philosophy or idea or a cult, whatever you want to call it, that frankly comes out of the Stone Age, theyâ(TM)re cold-blooded killers, marauding across the Middle East, making a mockery of a peaceful religion.

And thatâ(TM)s precisely why we are building a coalition to stop them from denying the women and the girls and the people of Iraq the very future that they yearned for.

It would be a great moral flaw for us to simply let ISIS do what it wills. They are the worst sort of theocracy: the sort that's willing to ignore the moral code of their own religion, using it only as a crutch for power.

Comment: Whoosh (Score 2) 97

by SuperKendall (#47931457) Attached to: How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

Flickr already missed the boat on being the social media image sharping app of choice.

They are not the social media sharing app of choice.

They ARE the primary choice for sharing images from people who are photographers, and also happen to primarily use smartphones. Yes, even over sites like 500px... Flickr has far more volume.

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