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Comment: Here's a suggestion (Score 2) 384

Figure out what you'd need to get the job done. That might be an additional person, not a replacement person in order to make up for the deficiency. There may even be someone else in the company that could "assist".

Go to your client and tell him that this is what you'd need to get the job done because you'd assumed a certain skill set.. If the client won't go for it, regretfully let him know that you're not the right person for the job under these circumstances and that his "expert" might be able to suggest someone else. Or maybe you can and then you've solved the problem, even if you're not the solution yourself.

In any case, walk in with a solid proposal for fixing the problem that doesn't paint the "expert" as a complete idiot - just say that the skill sets don't line up right - and be prepared to lose the client. But if it's really that bad, you might be better off losing it now than getting dragged into a giant fight over breach of contract or cost overruns.

Comment: Re:Not sure why this article made the cut. (Score 1) 202

by The Second Horseman (#45077229) Attached to: No FiOS In Boston? We'll Make an Ad Anyway

And the wireless solution sucks - WNYC did an interview with a Verizon VP (he was at home), and he was barely intelligible over the wireless link connection that he was claiming was just as good as copper.

Of course, things like credit card readers in small businesses won't work over them. But hey, who cares, right?

They really are a shitty, shitty company.

Comment: Re:A FiOS (Score 3, Interesting) 202

by The Second Horseman (#45077205) Attached to: No FiOS In Boston? We'll Make an Ad Anyway

They put in just enough fiber in a few states to claim that they tried to put in high-speed networking in exchange for regulatory relief, stopped as soon as they could, and allegedly cut deals with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, etc that they wouldn't push into more areas, as long as the cable companies didn't push into providing mobile service. AT&T did the same thing.

Comment: Wait - it's NOT a $6000 MA. (Score 3, Informative) 163

by The Second Horseman (#44604083) Attached to: Big MOOC On Campus: Georgia Tech's $6,600 MS In CS

It's a $7000 MA for people hand-picked from Georgia Tech's corporate partners, funded by the $2 million dollar donation from AT&T. So, assume that's covering a large chunk of the cost. The press release says that it's "initially" expected to be under $7,000.

So if you actually want the degree, it's currently not available to everyone, and it's eventually going to be more expensive.

Comment: He should be careful what he wishes for (Score 3, Insightful) 490

There's a very short distance between what he's advocating and the government-sanctioned murder of journalists, dissidents, conscientious objectors and whistleblowers.

Given that the DOJ is now going against companies that give classes in evading polygraph tests, I can only imagine the number of other things that will be made illegal over the next decade to serve the security state. And this guy seems to be a cheerleader for it.

Comment: It used to be easier for a number of reasons (Score 1) 236

by The Second Horseman (#44599813) Attached to: The Death of the American Drive-in

Part of the problem is that they're seasonal in a lot of parts of the country. Who wants to go to a drive-in in the North in the middle of winter? It also occurs to me that cars aren't as convenient for this as they used to be - larger cars, low bench seats up front so you could get several kids up there, plus the people in the back could see over better, more convertibles, etc.

At the same time, I'd love to see them become more popular again in places with a lot of seasonal visitors, etc. Why? Because people can talk to each other as much as they *(@@# want in their cars.

In the 1970's, there was a drive-in in my town in Rhode Island - the same family owned that, a cinema in what had been a USO club (now gone), and another (single screen) in what had been an actual theater. No first-run movies - but you could go for a $1 to $1.50 depending on the night. The drive-in closed well ahead of the two theaters. Then again, the town still had two soda-fountain drugstores in the mid-70's, so it had a certain "time capsule" feel to it.

As a side note, whenever I hear about drive-ins, I always think about this O. Winston Link photograph: http://www.linkmuseum.org/images/collex/NW-1103.jpg
(I'll also put a plug in to visit the Link Museum if you're ever near Roanoke, VA - it, and the Virginia Museum of Transportation - are great)

Comment: Re:Whiner (Score 3, Insightful) 146

by The Second Horseman (#44147959) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Spending In Engineering?

Outsourcing: "We Cut Corners, So You Don't Have To!"

That's why management likes it - they can ink a deal, have some SLAs in there for a few critical things, and cut the budget overnight. Sure, the provider doesn't actually have interests that align with your organization's, and after a year or two - when you've had to pay them extra to do everything that your in-house people would have just done - it'll end up costing more per year, and maybe the firm is actually cutting corners in a way that would screw your business if something goes wrong. But senior management has deniability!

It's the same thing that leads clothing companies to contract with a supplier that contracts with dangerous factories in places like Bangladesh. A few steps removed, and it's not your fault that hundreds of people died in a fire or building collapse. How were you to know?

Comment: Re:confusion (Score 4, Insightful) 180

Actually, I'm glad they're leaking these a bit at a time - in some cases, it's exposing the denials as BS. For example, we've known about the FBI CALEA infrastructure for years. The fact that it's being used to wholesale grab information and pass it to the NSA shows the hair splitting that's going on in the denials.

And actually, the FBI probably does have some CALEA hooks into providers. Google Voice and Skype are almost certainly set up to handle requests, even as the FBI is attempting to get CALEA formally expanded. That's likely not being handled at the ISP level. Further evidence of that? Microsoft wanted to provide statistics about how many requests they get for each service, and the government said "no". The "unnamed sources" complaint from inside Microsoft is that the government doesn't want people to know the extent to which Skype is being targeted.

Comment: Pearson, and companies like them, are a nightmare (Score 3, Insightful) 232

Forget the iPads - Pearson, and these other parasites are going to do more to cripple education in this country than anything else. Private profits from the public taxpayer's dime, they're going to be unaccountable. We'll certainly blame the teachers when this canned curriculum crashes and burns, but Pearson and their ilk? They'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

You know what's worse than government? Government contractors and suppliers.

Comment: Re:thats what you get for being stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 173

by The Second Horseman (#44080117) Attached to: Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Halts USD Withdrawals

The steady erosion of Glass-Steagal through the 20th century, culminating in the 1999 GLBA which repealed sections 20 and 32 certainly had a big part to play in this. Without that, the interdependence effect we saw would likely not have occurred to the same degree.

The fact is, a lot of people in finance aren't bright enough - or cautious enough - to understand or care exactly what risks they're taking, especially with other people's money. To use an old analogy, the modern financial system is like the ferry service in an impoverished coastal country. Everyone uses it, because it kind of works. It's overcrowded, run by greedy people cutting corners, and every once in a while a ferry sinks, killing somewhere between 800 and 1000 people. But the next day, the rest of the identical ferries are out, and people are lining up to get on board because they don't have a choice.

At least after the S&L debacle, people got prosecuted. This time, they were let off the hook.

Comment: Re:Driving Performance (Score 1) 262

by The Second Horseman (#43596887) Attached to: Siri's Creator Challenges Texting-While-Driving Study

People's perceptions of how good they are at mental activities generally rely on complete ignorance about how the brain actually works. And they nearly always overestimate their own abilities.

For example, the fact that small changes in physical sensation can alter how you react to a stranger.

http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/23/heart-warming-news-on-coffee/?ei=5070&emc=eta1

And then there's the MRI scans showing that decisions are largely made before we're aware of them:

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/mind_decision

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke

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