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Comment Re:Eve Online (Score 1) 555

I second EVE Online. I've been playing it for better part of 10 months, and now I've gotten to the point where I no longer need to pay. in fact, I've bought the last four or so subscriptions out of in-game money I made working for the in-game empires. If you focus training, you can easily be self-sufficient in two months or so.

Comment Fingerprint scanners are rarely secure (Score 2) 481

Surprise, surprise. Fingerprint identification is rarely secure, some implementations can even be tricked using gummy bears. Really secure ones usually have rather steep costs and bulky supporting hardware associated (usually to check for blood flow to ensure the finger is a live one). Anything in a laptop or smartphone has no chance at real security whatsoever.

But guess what? This probably wasn't an exercise in security, but ease-of-use: being able to unlock your phone with a touch is easier than slide-to-unlock or passcodes. And it was a good exercise (not to mention fun when it was discovered that the software can even interpret a cat's pawprint). It was successful. So what if it can be broken easily, almost all of fingerprinting is the same.

Comment Neural scanning (Score 1) 374

I'm waiting for the day when truth content can be determined by a quick remote neural scan, integrated into a variety of appliances. This is one of the premises of the anime Psycho-Pass. It would also cut down on gun crime, since guns, like in the show, would only fire when pointed at one who has committed a crime, or is psychologically on the verge of committing one.

Comment Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (Score 1) 99

That part is actually a bit more complicated than that. And since there have been no cases in this topic before (and likely won't be in the near future), one can only guess.

One important point, though, is that the neutrality and non-sovereignty of space is a ius cogens norm of international law by now: it actually doesn't require a treaty to be upheld, but it's still a good thing to have one. Therefore, I think welcoming such a person would be only slightly less riskier than holding a welcome party for Osama bin Laden (albeit on a different, less physical level).

Comment Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (Score 1) 99

Technically, the 1979 Moon Agreement prohibits private persons and corporation from claiming ownership of celestial bodies. The problem is that the agreement is generally ignored, with few signatories, which include none of the space powers, and therefore it has negligible impact.

It would actually be interesting to see how the arrival of private companies to spaceflight and space resource extraction changes the legal regime: the 1967 Outer Space Treaty is badly outdated, and needs to be updated at the very least, but preferably scrapped and replaced with another, more up-to-date agreement, one that includes the private sector, and also regulates orbital weapons, with a special focus on orbital kinetic bombardment platforms, as well as settling the legal status of extraterrestrial resources and the circumstances of their extraction.

Comment Re:Other side of the coin (Score 1) 572

Look, dumbfuck, profit is a simple equation: (sales $ in) - (expenses) = (profit)

And if we were talking middle school arithmetic, that would be correct indeed. But we're talking about running a company, made up of several disparate organisational units, competing for resources allocated from a central pool. Therefore profits are not a simple x+y=z equation.

In this case, we have the revenue from sales, as our input, correct. But we also have grants, interest on capital, loans, payments from loans we put out, royalties, donations, and a million other income streams. Then we have your broadly categorized "expenses", which must be further split into advertising expenses, salaries, bonuses, insurance, payments on loans we took out, royalties, grants, fines, bribes, whatnot, including IT. And then to enable just resource allocation, we need to look at contributions by department: track how advertising affected sales and at what cost; how legal affected sales, how much we paid out in bribes, how many fines we avoided through legal, how much settlement money litigation brought in; etc, and somewhere in that gigantic spreadsheet, there's a row for IT: how much money it cost to run our website, our servers, our employee computers, how much it cost us to develop DRM for our gizmo, and how much money our DRM litigation enabled, how much ad revenue we got, how much did we save by using Word instead of pen and paper, etc. This number might be in black, but in the end, it's not income, it's a reduction in expense. And the two are not the same, no matter how much it looks like.

If it walks like duck, and quacks like a duck, it ... might just be a very good replica.

Comment Re:Other side of the coin (Score 1) 572

I understand your point, but you seem to fail to grasp mine. IT as a whole is indeed a savings center, but those savings materialize elsewhere, the IT department as such is a cost center. It may save more for other departments than its own costs, making a net profit, but that is only a "virtual" profit, not a "real" one, because unless your company is a tech company, IT itself generates no revenue, and as such, no profit. The real profit comes from the revenue of marketeers (or Sales, as someone pointed out, quite rightly), which is augmented by the savings IT makes for everyone, but themselves.

So in the end, IT itself is a sink, whose costs materialize as savings elsewhere (multipliers may vary by department).

Comment Re:Other side of the coin (Score 1) 572

I did not treat IT staff as if "they don't belong to the company", although I may have overstated when I said they are not making money [at all]. Let's make it into an example from the military: marketeers are the front-line soldiers, the ones doing the fighting; while IT is the logistic chain and the medics all rolled into one, not fighting as such, but still being indispensable if the war is to be won. But let's face it, while logistics is a force multiplier, an enabler, no war has ever been won with supply lines alone, if there wasn't an army to utilize those supplies. In the same vein, IT is important, but not as important as you think - it makes the others' jobs easier, or even possible in the first place, but you have to face the fact: an IT department alone is as good as dead, it desperately needs every other department to do the actual moneymaking. Even if many of those departments are just as equally dead without IT-support.

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