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Comment Re:We'll see what Microsoft has planned (Score 1) 90

One thing about Microsoft these days is their relentless push to stop you using their software on-premises, or at least out of their control. "Cloud first" means local datacenter last, so I'm expecting that they're going to be slowly increasing prices to a point where the MBAs have every argument they need to move the company to Office 365. Their hosted email is admittedly very good, but it's still not "yours" and not reliable in the case of network failure, Azure hiccups, etc. I'm definitely not cloud-averse, but I do know that it really doesn't cost that much to run an Exchange server in house -- the architecture has changed enough such that it's not total black magic anymore, and the majority of the day to day admin can be done by regular help desk guys or automation tools. So, most normal-sized places with simple email requirements can get away with one guy who's good with Exchange, and it doesn't have to be their full time job until you get to a certain number of users.

Management accounting is weird -- it makes more financial sense for a company to pay and pay for years on end for a service in a subscription format, rather than buy and hold onto a software license. Same thing goes for assets -- every big company is falling all over themselves to sell real estate only to pay someone else for the privilege of occupying what was their building...all because of accounting tricks. It's so strange because it's backwards compared to personal accounting. People usually want to pay off their cars or houses and live in them without a mortgage or car loan, for example. Businesses seem to want to go to software companies and say, "Please, let me pay you forever to use your software."

Unless you need to customize your software on the database level it's going to be cheaper to host your products in a cloud environment, long term. These cloud companies can offer it cheaper based on existing infrastructure than what most small or even large companies would need to purchase in house.

Comment Re:Racism v. Bias v. Intelligence (Score 1) 444

Imagine if most the poor white trash in the US were to move to China, Brazil or India to do the shit jobs that the people there didn't want to do at the pay being offered. Not very many of their offspring would likely end up in gifted programs in those countries either. That is the large percentage of those from Latin America who are in the US: the poor, uneducated folks that couldn't earn a living at home. That's one of the reasons why many people who immigrated legally to the US from Mexico don't want to be associated with those who did it illegally. You will also find many individuals in Latin American countries that are very European in appearance due to not having any or very little Native Americans as ancestors. These also tend to be well educated and more on the wealthy end of society. They aren't going to be the ones who sneak into a neighboring country to do shit jobs for low pay. Like you said, it all boils down to heredity.

Not everyone can be Matt Damon.

Comment Re:My money is on.... (Score 1) 86

If the NSA's intrusive powers, constitutionality aside, are all about terrorists, what in God's name are they doing passing normal crime info on to the FBI and DEA?

I don't think this revealation is all that secret. I recall some extra special terrorist power being granted to the FBI late Clinton era, and they immediately used it to bust drug people. They didn't even bother with the sophistry that drug distribution is a kind of terrorism.

No, when asked directly, they said, "Well, I know what we promised to use it only for terrorists, but the law doesn't actually state terrorist investigations only, so tuff." They lied to get it through Congress, then immediately began misusing it in a way only a lawyer or someone planning to throw a coup would find reasonable.

Yes, or course. I remember back in 2001 or 2002 discussing all the new powers the government gave itself with a friend of mine. He actually believed it would only be used for terrorism cases. I was stunned by the naivete. Anyone with any sense should have known that any new powers will be used for any damn thing the Feds want.

Aside from paranoia do we have any real cases where the government has abused this surveillance footage? Did they call your wife and tell her you were looking at porn? Or are you just afraid they could do so? One is abuse, one is the perception of being abused.

Comment Re:The engineers knew what was happening (Score 1) 618

Management may have ordered the crime but the engineers were the ones that carried it out.

How about management did not order anything? How about engineers were trying to keep the engine within EPA standards so they would receive their bonuses? Not a single manager would need to know this if a small group of engineers (two, maybe three) decided to conspire in order to make their bonus targets. Not all managers are bad, and it only takes a few rogue engineers to insert something like this. If an engineer is skilled enough to cheat on stuff like this, he or she is probably skilled enough to obscure the evidence and hide it from peers or co-workers. And don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming anyone. All I'm saying is that I read a lot of armchair investigation here, from people who don't know the facts. At this time everything is possible, from a direct order from the CEO, to a rogue engineer.

Hell, a bonus doesn't even need to be involved. It could be a matter of keeping your job by making a deadline. In that case you definitely tell no one.

Comment Re: Professional Engineers have the power to say n (Score 1) 618

I find it odd to hear how programmers seem so abused by PHBs. Maybe it's an American thing, but in the UK, I've always found that employers want to keep hold of skilled people like programmers, because new ones are hard to find and take a while to get up to speed. This means that saying no is always possible.

(Nothing to to with official engineer status and ethics. There's no general requirement for engineer certifications for programmers here.)

Pure exaggeration. Developers who don't want to make a change, feature, etc always blame their manager for making the decision. Product not going the direction you want? It must be the PHB's fault.

Comment Re:This wasn't an engineering decision... (Score 1) 569

There's a difference between a substance being bad (which has been empirically demonstrated) and it being dangerous at the concentrations being suggested. There's research that shows drinking too much water is bad for you, but we're not going to start making laws about water consumption for obvious reasons. What if we made the current emission standards two orders of magnitude more strict? Obviously that would be even better for the environment and human health, but if the current regulations are already to a point where the amounts being released have a negligible impact on health, pollution, etc. then making them more strict does not amount to much real good, but adds potentially significant costs. The point raised is an interesting one as at one point in time it would have been unethical to not return an escaped slave. While it's obvious that there's a gulf of distance between the ethics of vehicle emissions and that of slavery, it cuts to the point lgw was trying to make in that if the standards themselves are meaningless (an open question that neither of you have presented actual evidence in support or contradiction of) then the only reason to stay within their confines is because it is the law, which says nothing about its usefulness in and of itself. The crux of the matter is how good the law actually is. If it's a regulation that requires $10 of cost to prevent $1 of harm, it's a poor law and is wasting resources so that someone can satisfy their own sense of morality. If it's a case of $10 of cost preventing $100 of harm, then it's a good law that prevents damage to society or shared resources. If we have a bad law, then it should be broken through acts of civil disobedience because a bad law is more harmful to society than the behavior it seeks to prevent. We'd be better served putting aside notions of whether the behavior is ethical, feelings about corporatism, and stances on government environmentalism so that we can objectively examine whether the emission laws that exist are reasonable because they do reduce harm or whether they're simply the result of someone deciding that they get to choose what's best for everyone else. Only then is it fair to answer whether the behavior is ethical, else we're just arguing assumptions or semantics.

You don't get to decide what the value of human life is. Neither do the engineers. When the standards were agreed upon which is not only saving the planet but human life then it's done. Deciding whether it costs $1 to cure someone you poisoned versus $100 is not the company's choice to make. Hell we could pin Terrorism on them while we're at it since you're technically selling chemical weapons to the public without them knowing it.

Comment Re:Exxon MADE the hard decision (Score 1) 255

No, people filling up their tanks made the decision for them.

Exxon could have stopped refining oil and nothing in the world would have changed.

yeah, if they had gone into the solar panel business, we could be selling solar panels to china, but no.

For like what, a week? Once they reverse engineered the solar panel they would create their own.

Comment Re:And so what, people still drove cars (Score 0) 255

To be fair, there was great uncertainty about those findings at the time. We have struggled to build good models to the day.

Their research into where to drill for oil also had great uncertainty, but that didn't stop them.

Drilling was never the problem. Transportation of the product was.

Comment Re:Don't forget people (Score 0) 69

This is the court case where Samsung presented Apple blue-prints showing the entire iThing UI and hardware design was lifted from Sony, who strangely haven't sued Apple. The documents were too inconvenient and the judge ordered they be removed from the record citing they arrived too late. Yes, too late, despite rendering Apple's case moot.

Can't have those slitty eyed eastern types showing a trendy US corporation ripping off the nations that build their products, then pretending to have invented it. Ban the gooks!

It doesn't matter. Apple can't innovate anymore so they are in the litigation stage. Samsung is killing them.

Comment Re:Theory... (Score 1) 591

I grew up in the South, and I don't think I ever heard "evolution" or "natural selection" ever even mentioned in school by a teacher. The closest thing I remember to it was another student asking my middle school biology teacher about evolution once. She basically told us she wouldn't talk about it because she didn't want to lose her job. And that was that. I had no idea how these process even worked until I read about them later and started to understand their importance and implications.

That's kind of crazy. In the Minnesota public schools we were taught this back in the 80's. I guess it just shows us how different each state can vary on what students are taught.

Comment Re:Kanye West on Security (Score 0) 58

I'm pretty sure Kanye West would put an end to this pointless and extremely intrusive surveillance trends sweeping the world right now. Yeezy for President!

Kayne West would use his wife's ass to send subliminal messages to the American public. Anyone who didn't worship him would be killed by drones.

Comment Re:People can be leeches (Score 1) 842

When I was in college, there was a guy who was really wealthy (no idea how much, not billions, but millions I'm sure) --- his parents died young, I think it was an accident of sorts, and he inherited a fortune, or got a settlement.

Anyway... people used him for free beer, parties, food, anything they could get from him. I knew him tangentially because he was a pen and paper gamer, and ran some D&D sessions so we had some common friends.

The poor guy seemed miserable, knowing most people were only hanging out with him for his money, etc. Seriously, he was just a sad sack, seemed depressed and lonely in that existential kind of way. I know people say 'aw.... poor little rich boy', but I really felt bad for the guy. He seemed like a decent enough person, but the money didn't seem to make his life really that much better. Sure he didn't have student loans like I did, didn't have to work like I did -- but I had some good friends, who certainly didn't hang out with me for money (or lack thereof)

I grew up with someone in high school like that. He was 15 and already experienced this because he was inheriting a lot of money from his parents. His father owned a factory which produced an expensive chemical compound. His father bought him a very expensive car at 16 which he had no choice but to drive. In hindsight I recognize why he tried to keep his $$$ unknown and would get mad when we called him moneybags.

Comment Re:billionaire is a hard set of shoes to fill (Score 1) 842

No, he doesn't. When you are a billionaire, you are not free to do whatever you want to. You cannot travel freely, you need an armed security detail EVERYWHERE you go. You need to live in a secured house/building/whatever. You are very limited in who you can meet and hang out with as most people will freak out and start acting differently when they find out who you are. Your prospects for love and dating are very limited unless you just want a gold digging trophy wife. Also, there is a real question about your life motivation, when you are a coder with a lot of money. Presumably, he enjoys coding, but why would he do it now that he can hire 100 better coders to do anything he can think of? It makes it hard to want to get out of bed in the morning when you simply don't have any reason to. Notch, if you are listening, figure out what give you joy in life, and then use the money you have to create and influence things in a good direction. Also, go talk to Bill and Warren about joining their charity or found your own to do some real good for people who have nothing. There are a lot of them in the world.

I would hire Tiger Woods to teach me how to play Golf. Both on and off the course!

Comment Re:2 for me, 2 for others (Score 1) 842

For others, I would create two charities: 1) Art foundation that provides housing to artists in a major city (probably Detroit, for various reasons), in exchange for art. Ideally, 10 years from now the foundation will be self-supporting by selling some of the art from the artists that happen to become famous. 2) Education foundation that provides free BOARDING school to children of high risk adults - i.e. homeless, drug addicted, criminal convictions. Because normal public school can't help the kids if their parents are the problem.

For me I would do the following: 1) Take a whole bunch of classes - how to do EVERYTHING. Dance, defend a client from a lawsuit, simple surgery, how to play a piano, how to build a car, how to carve a wooden boat. You name it, I want to learn it. 2) Creating a publishing house that makes the decisions on which new book to publish via a combination of crowd sourcing and AI, rather than the current system.

Detroit? They would shoot you and take your money.

Comment Re:Very sad - but let's get legislation in place N (Score 2) 706

not changing anything about how corporations have to secure data, or even (god forbid!) be punished for having sloppy security.

And why should it? For the sake of argument do you think the government should tell you that you MUST install a home security system, have dead bolts on every exterior door, require exterior doors be steel or solid wood, limit the side of windows to no more than 1" by 1" or require bars? If you violate any of these rules on your structure fine or punish you? Should we lighten up the sentences for "breaking and entering" or even burglary?

Personally I think with certain exceptions like public Utilities etc that already enjoy a special relationship with government and a captive market, that companies ought to be allowed to have whatever security posture they like. They should simply have to be honest about it with consumers. Government ought to do one of the few things its Constitutionally supposed to do and set some standards of measure.

Develop some NIST definitions for overall information security postures. If companies then want to claim they have a 'Double plus good can't hack me bro' rating there is a way to prove that. Then if one of these breaches happens and its done in a way that should not have been possible while in compliance like 'plain text data on laptop found on bus' we would all be able to go after them for contract fraud or false advertising etc.

Additionally we should have some disclosure laws, just like food labels there need to be some standardized categories and forms companies that maintain any information that is personally identifiable other than firstname, lastname, current address, billing address, and primary phone number, should be required to disclose that on a standardized and both electronically readable and human readable format. Maybe a nice TML or INI like file.

The government already requires permits, inspections, specific codes you must follow for wiring, water, heat, etc when building a house. If these don't pass inspections your house doesn't get built. If you add to your house and don't get a permit you can pay massive fines and possibly have to rebuild it. In hurricane prone cities they have increased requirements for buildings. So yes, it sure does make sense. It also make sense when you collect and maintain personal data of others. If your house was hit by a Tornado and someone walked in the next day and stole all your customer data you would be liable. Whether it involved putting it in a safe or encrypting it electronically it's your job to secure this info or don't collect it at all.

How come everyone's going so slow if it's called rush hour?