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Comment Re:He is correct (Score 1) 364 364

Agreed. There will be a movement over the next 10 years to locate software development in "the business". "Corporate IT" as you describe it will administer the infrastructure and operate the environment. They will also set common standards to ensure consistent architecture and best practices across the enterprise.

We'll be making progress when the CIO is viewed as essential to the organization as the head of facilities.


A Hyper-Velocity Impact In the Asteroid Belt? 114 114

astroengine writes "Astronomers have spotted something rather odd in the asteroid belt. It looks like a comet, but it's got a circular orbit, similar to an asteroid. Whether it's an asteroid or a comet, it has a long, comet-like tail, suggesting something is being vented into space. Some experts think it could be a very rare comet/asteroid hybrid being heated by the sun, but there's an even more exciting possibility: It could be the first ever observation of two asteroids colliding in the asteroid belt."

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Comment Re:customer? (Score 1) 321 321

Good examples and your points are valid - especially the last paragraph, which I think is IT's responsibility whether they are dealing with a customer or a colleague. Frankly, I'd be thrilled if the internal people at most companies were held to standards you're holding paying customers to.

Comment Re:You're, right mostly (Score 1) 321 321

As a manager in a service desk, I always have to remind everyone that the metrics are the start of the conversation, not the end of it. It's easy for people to substitute the number for the reason why you measure the number, and as soon as that happens, stupidity isn't far behind. All numbers can be gamed, so it ultimately comes down to someone actually paying attention to how well IT is serving the needs of the business as judged by the key decision makers in the business.

The fact that most people substitute "help desk measurements" for "IT measurements" freely in their minds is a sad commentary on the state of IT/business relations. IT should be doing a lot more than resetting passwords and replacing keyboards - they should be helping the business develop products and services that lead to success for the company.

Comment customer? (Score 1) 321 321

You make many excellent points, yet I have to strongly disagree with this statement:

"everyone in the company is treated like a customer"

Unless you provide IT services to someone outside of your company, you're not working with customers, you're working with colleagues (simple test - how much is the person you're talking to paying for service?) This is a very different dynamic as a customer has less responsibility than a coworker - other people in your company have to follow policies and adhere to guidelines that customers don't. There's no real difference between someone asking for a new computer when their current system is perfectly fine and someone asking HR for an equal amount of money, yet the second request gets laughed out of the building. The real customer is the person who can make the decision whether to outsource IT or not.

Fixing this perception would get us a long way towards a better relationship between IT and non-IT parts of the business.

Comment Re:Yeah... (Score 1) 581 581

In a concrete example, imagine a bank owns a formerly AAA-rated residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS) composed of Alt-A loans, which are better than sub-prime but less than prime. About 5% of the loans were delinquent, and there are no high-risk option ARM (above prime rate-mortgages) in the security. It is offered at 70 cents on the dollar. If you bought that security, you would be making well over 12% on your money, and 76% of the loans in the portfolio of that security would have to default and lose over 50% of their value before you would risk even one penny.

Let me say that again: seventy-six percent would have to default.

This would only be the case if the RMBS consists of whole mortgages. My understanding is that each mortgage was split into various income streams, with a stream getting the first x% of dollars obtained either through payments or foreclosure, one getting the next y% of dollars, and so on. Therefore, if your tranche only gets the last 10% of the repayment of the mortgage, getting less than 90% through a default where the property resale price + payments made falls more than 10% short means this tranche is worthless.

In your example, the sale of that RMBS at 70 cents on the dollar should have forced an immediate markdown of assets to show the worth of similar tranches at that value, but they are not forced to sell because of this. If the markdown forces them to sell assets to meet margin calls, there are sovereign wealth funds and other investors with money that would be willing to buy something below what it is worth so they should be able to sell if for market price which would be 70 cents or higher.

The fundamental issue is that these banks are considering tranches to be level 3 assets that do not have a market price so they can claim they are worth whatever their models tell them, whether their model is close to reality or not. These institution's models are so far from reality due to faulty premises that even a single sale considered to be non-distressed of these assets would require writedowns that would wipe out all of their capital. Their inability to sell these securities is in reality a refusal to accept the actual worth of these products, so they want their rich uncle to pay an inflated price for them.

42 *IS* The answer to Life, the Universe and Zeta 316 316

Venusian Treen writes "In their search for patterns, mathematicians have uncovered unlikely connections between prime numbers and quantum physics. The gist is that energy levels in the nucleus of heavy atoms can tell us about the distribution of zeros in Riemann's zeta function - and hence where to find prime numbers. This article discusses this connection, and introduces two physisicts who tell us 'why the answer to life, the universe and the third moment of the Riemann zeta function should be 42.'"

When Virtual Worlds Collide 228 228

Wired is running an interesting article on the realization of past predictions with regards to online gaming and where we are headed for the future. The author predicts that the separation between online worlds like Ultima Online and World of Warcraft may be headed out of style, making your in-game persona as pervasive as an email address. From the article: "Because the current metaverse evolved largely out of videogames, it makes sense that it should be composed of fiefdoms - after all, you wouldn't expect a Grand Theft Auto crack dealer to drop in for a barbecue with the Sims. But there is reason to believe that the divided metaverse is merely a transitional phase, and that its component worlds will coalesce."

Zelda On The DS, Sega on the Revolution 263 263

At the Nintendo Keynote today, Company President Iwata reiterated the same 'think differently' ideas that he espoused at last year's GDC. This time he had concrete data to back up his industry disruption message, detailing the millions in sales their 'Brain Training' line of games have racked up. Along with his message, he announced a new Zelda title on the DS, and the fact that Sega Genesis games will be on the Revolution, a part of the online library of games they're offering.

Five is a sufficiently close approximation to infinity. -- Robert Firth "One, two, five." -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail