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Comment: He Who Pays the Piper (Score 1) 550

by Walt Sellers (#41105867) Attached to: Should Developers Be Sued For Security Holes?

Too many people forget the liability is about the possible consequences. The consequences in your analogy just don't compare.
- If a bridge collapses, there are real damages such as deaths, injuries needing long-term care, injuries needing short-term care.
- If software fails, information gets copied.
These are not the same.

You say its time to demand professional behavior. Then do it. Buy your software from the better behaved company even if it costs more.

Comment: Revenge of Peopleware (Score 1) 405

by Walt Sellers (#40162171) Attached to: Do Headphones Help Or Hurt Productivity?

Sad to say that we have headphones because we work in cheap space that does not shield us from noise or each other. If you had a better way to control noise, you would not need them.

Relate this to the recent article about productivity boosts due to working at home and think about it from a noise perspective. You have more ability to control noise in your own home.

You might say the headphones allow us to guard the quality of the hours we are working, so we don't have to increase their quantity.

Comment: PeopleWare Strikes Back (Score 1) 117

by Walt Sellers (#40105331) Attached to: Mobile Workers Work Longer Hours

What? People more productive?

Why? They are only:
- away from noisy cubes.
- away from hallway meetings.
- saving time from a commute.
- saving aggravation from a commute.
- a few feet from their private bathrooms and break-rooms. (Not several hundred feet down a long, busy hall.)

BellSouth (now AT&T) also discovered a productivity boost among employees allowed to telecommute during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Comment: Holding a Tiger Family by the Tails (Score 1) 515

by Walt Sellers (#40090883) Attached to: FCC Boss Backs Metering the Internet

(Arguments always seem weaker to me when started with "IF"...)

The largest numbers of customers will consistently choose a flat-rate plan over a metered plan for very simple family reasons as well as economic reasons.

People buy data services for the whole family or household to use. If Dad has to start yelling at family members about using too much, then Dad will shut it off or quickly switch to a flat-rate plan. (Anyone else pay more for flat-rate texting for kids' cell phones?)

Surprise bills put stress on relationships as well as wallets. People don't like them. And in uncertain times, they will be a hard sell.

Comment: The Exploiter's Dilemma (Score 1) 515

by Walt Sellers (#40090469) Attached to: FCC Boss Backs Metering the Internet

A big problem for us is that there are usually just 2 players with the ability to deliver "the last mile" of connectivity for broadband. And data is NOT their main line of business.

The cable company main business is delivering video. Data was an add-on they could do because they have wires to the home. Now they want it to make money the same way as the main business.
The phone company main business is delivering voice communications. Data was an add-on because they have wires to the home. Now they want it to make money the same way as the main business.

What we really need is a company whose main purpose is data services with wires to the home.

Comment: Wag the Dog (again) (Score 5, Insightful) 515

by Walt Sellers (#40085027) Attached to: FCC Boss Backs Metering the Internet

Over and over we go through this.

Metering has the eternal problem that ends with a enraged customer calling customer support over the shocking bill at the end of the month. AOL used metered services for years. When they finally went flat-rate, their business exploded with more customers than they could handle. When AT&T shifted from metered and offered flat-rate data for iPhone, they got more customers than they could handle.

Metered services can be good alternatives or add-ons to a flat-rate service, but they will be filling specific needs. A serious gamer may want low-latency. A serious file sender may want high-bandwidth on-demand. (I need to get this huge file sent to the office NOW.)

Metered services also have one big sore-spot: the meter itself.
      - when do you get to see the meter? Just once per month at billing time?
      - who verifies the meter is accurate?
      - how are ISPs prevented from abusing the meter? Recall that long ago, laws had to be written to stop phone companies from charging for calls before they were actually answered.
      - how are bytes being counted? Bytes are not counted like phone minutes. Packets are re-transmitted out of necessity. Do they count twice?

Comment: Never Ending Stories (Score 1) 372

by Walt Sellers (#39891465) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Comic Books To Start My 3-Year-Old With?

I grew up reading early because of comics. I did read appropriate ones with my children, but also read a lot of novels to them (Harry Potter for instance.)

It felt strange to find that their favorites were not mine. I did find that smaller publishers did better with them than Marvel and DC.

My daughter loved titles like "Elf Quest" by the Pini's.
My son liked "Dynamo Joe"

You are lucky that many comics are available cheap or free on the internet, but appropriateness varies sharply. I have quite a few in the iPad Comixology app, which has deals with both DC and Marvel as well as others. (You can get more freebies in Marvel and DC's own apps however.)

With electronic comics, there is no collectible, but it usually is cheaper. And you can share without worry about anyone destroying a paper collectible.

And of course, you can get huge collections on the cheap via ebay and Craig's list.

Comment: Google to the Center of the Earth (Score 1) 93

by Walt Sellers (#39799515) Attached to: Google and the Future of Travel

Google's real travel project: an ultra-deep, very large tunnels, starting with San Francisco to Dulles, VA.

Once complete they will have
- Self-driving, high-speed long-range passenger "delivery", as long as synthetic light for 8 or 10 hours is tolerable (great wifi though)
- Same for freight delivery.
- Just as a bonus, easy to build long-haul network connections.

Comment: Speed and Time (Score 5, Insightful) 438

by Walt Sellers (#39720415) Attached to: Will Write Code, Won't Sign NDA

The sheer amount of time required to just read NDA's required me to find a way to stop that, or at least get paid for it.

I charged an upfront fixed fee to evaluate all NDA's or other contracts. At the time, I also offered to refund the fee on completion of the first milestone of any project they pay for. (Now I'm a regular employee again.)

Then I offered the option to hear the idea for free with verbal promise to not steal the idea provided I had not already worked on it. Some people took the option.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.