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Comment: The natural outcome of the 'outsourcing' business (Score 5, Informative) 306

by The Famous Druid (#31642820) Attached to: NYC Drops $722M On CityTime Attendance System
For those4 of you who are lucky enough to never have worked on such projects, here's how I.T. outsourcing works...

1. Client calls for tenders on a vaguely-defined project.

2. Outsourcing companies put in bids that are _very_ keenly priced. It's not unusual for the initial big to be a break-even, or even a loss-maker for the outsourcing company.

3. Client chooses lowest bidder - even if other bidders are clearly better-qualified to do the job.

4. Contract is signed, including a clause where any variance to the original spec is to be billed at $X per hour (typically several times the rate for the original work).

5. Every frakking thing in the contract is then gone over with a fine tooth comb, and if any part of the necessary work wasn't explicitly specified, it becomes a variance. Meetings are called with the client to discusss these variances. At every meeting there will be 2 or 3 client representatives, and 6 or 8 contractor representatives, these meetings are billed to the client at $X per person per hour. The longer it takes to agree on the revised specs, the more the contractor makes.

6. Actual work then commences. Inevitably, more ambiguities or outright bugs in the original spec are discovered. This leads to more very profitable (for the contractor) meetings.

7. When the project is half way finished, there's a change in management at the client, and the new manager feels the urge to "make his mark" by having an organizational re-structure. Everyone gets new job titles, new business cards, new reporting lines. This requires changes to the software, which requires more meetings....

The above describes an outsourcing project I worked on where the client was a large private business, where the client is government, you have a whole 'nother layer of bureaucracy adding far more opportunity for highly profitable (for the contractor) meetings.

Comment: Low volume items cost more (Score 1) 727

by The Famous Druid (#31467620) Attached to: Why Are Digital Hearing Aids So Expensive?
The device my company makes is about as complex as an iPod, has similar materials costs to an iPod, but sells for several thousand dollars per unit.
Are we ripping our customers off?
No.
Apple sells millions of iPods, in a good year we sell a few thousand of our product, and we do a lot of R&D, so our cost per unit is quite high.

Comment: In movies, it's a Morality lesson (Score 5, Insightful) 398

by The Famous Druid (#31026212) Attached to: Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot
The guy who draws first is the agressor, we can't let the agressor win.

That's the same reason that the guy on the roof of the saloon, aiming to shoot the someone in the back, always gets shot just as he's taking aim, and falls impressively to the street. Snipers and back-shooters are bad guys.

Comment: Re:Woman can't stop texting, wrecks 3 cars in 3 ye (Score 1) 406

by The Famous Druid (#30959708) Attached to: Phone and Text Bans On Drivers Shown Ineffective
>People like this woman will keep driving even after losing a license. They "need" to for blah, blah, blah.
>There really is no rational remedy for habitual dangerous drivers in a car-centric society.

Where I live, if you prove to be a completely irresponsible driver, they take away your car, for 48 hours the first time, then for 3 months, then forever.

Comment: Re:More than a million? (Score 1) 395

by The Famous Druid (#30803462) Attached to: Lines of computer code written in my life:
>A million lines means 100 lines of code every working day of every year for 50 years.

Um, no, that would be 1,250,000 lines of code.

I've been in the biz for 30 years, a million lines of code works out to about 128 lines per weekday. Not hard to do, if you avoid jobs where you spend most of your life in meetings.

Comment: Extroverted people are rated as 'smarter' (Score 5, Interesting) 928

by The Famous Druid (#30347032) Attached to: How Men and Women Badly Estimate Their Own Intelligence
Another study of teachers, asked to estimate the IQ of their students, found they overestimated the IQ of extroverted kids, and underestimated the IQ of quiet kids. Males tend to be more extroverted than females, so that could explain the perception of males as 'smarter'.

Comment: Remote access to specialists (Score 2, Informative) 398

by The Famous Druid (#30280832) Attached to: Harvard Says Computers Don't Save Hospitals Money
I recently showed up at the ER late at night, with a broken wrist.
The ER doctor looked at the X-rays, then called the fracture specialist at home, who looked at the X-rays on his home computer, and passed on his advice to the ER doctor.

Let's see them do that without computers.

Comment: Contrast this with WD's approach... (Score 1, Offtopic) 405

by The Famous Druid (#29740885) Attached to: EFF Warns TI Not To Harass Calculator Hobbyists
When they found out that hackers had found a way to bypass the web interface on their MyBook NAS, and gain access to a Linux shell prompt their reaction was...

...To issue a firmware update that had a "Enable SSH access" box in the setup page.

Lots of geeks I know are buying the WD box precisely because it's hacker-friendly.

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder

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