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Comment: It's all about the business (Score 1) 361

by bingbong (#45405895) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Communication Skills For Programmers?

So the bottom line is you are being paid to perform a certain function. That function is designed to add value to the organization you work for.

Over the years I've learned the importance of being able to translate from Geek to Suit. The best way to do this is:

1) understand that the organization strategy in how they want to use technology to grow the business
2) understand how your piece fits into this

When talking with the specific individuals:

1) understand how their role fits into the whole
2) understand what is important to their success
3) communicate in this context.

On the actual communication:

1) make sure your suggestions can align to the various strategies
2) focus the discussion on topics like 'reducing risk', 'improving customer experience,' or 'improving processes to reduce costs.'

Yes these are dorky business concepts, but ultimately the business is run by people who think in these terms. Learn their language and you'll find promotions, responsibility and heading your way. Execs are always on the hunt for people who 'get the big picture.' The best way to stand out from the herd is to do this.

Basically the 'suits' in your business are always looking for technical people who understand 'the big picture.' Once you have a good grasp on the overall strategy, you'll find that some of the asinine things that are going on make more sense and you'll be less frustrated.

Remember,

Comment: The title is rather misleading... (Score 4, Informative) 358

by bingbong (#44444169) Attached to: NSA Director Defends Surveillance To Unsympathetic Black Hat Crowd

I attended both this morning's keynote with the general and he also spoke at the blackhat executive summit.

This morning there were a few thousand people in the ballroom for his presentation. There were at most 2 vocal 'hecklers' - though really I think it was just one person. The heckling was met with very limited support, maybe a dozen or two people clapped. However, when the general countered the heckler(s), his comments were met with applause from most of the crowd.

For the record, I'm not commenting on either side of this debate. I am just arguing against the artistic license taken by the author of the story. As I said, I was there for both talks and the alleged tension and heckling was dramatically overstated.

Comment: But there are more than two choices in the US... J (Score 5, Insightful) 279

IMHO, the biggest problem with democracy here in the US is the mistaken belief you have two choices.

While the solution would take 2-3 election cycles, two duopoly can be easily changed by encouraging people to vote for the party that actually represents their views. Sure they won't win, but consider what happened when Nader got a ton of votes back during the Bush / Gore election - either the big parties will change their approach (as happened then) or the US will evolve to a multy party system.

The challenge is convincing a society bent in instant gratification that this doesn't 'waste' your vote - rather it is a strategic long term investment.

Security

+ - FAA denies vulnerabilities in new ATC system->

Submitted by bingbong
bingbong (115802) writes "The FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization plan is at risk of serious security breaches, according to Brad Haines (aka RenderMan). Haines outlined his concerns during a presentation he gave at the recent DefCon 20 hacker conference in Las Vegas, explaining that ADS-B signals are unauthenticated and unencrypted, and “spoofing” or inserting a fake aircraft into the ADS-B system is easy.

The FAA isn't worried because the system has been certified and accredited."

Link to Original Source

Comment: mitigating 'fire' risks (Score 4, Informative) 326

by bingbong (#40951449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best On-Site Backup Plan?

If you're going to put things in a fire rated container, there are a few things to consider. Those containers are not "fire proof" by any means. Get one whose rating is reasonably high as they will buy you some time.

Most house fires are either a basic 'room and contents' or a much more involved fire where whole floors are exposed (and largely consumed) by flame.

When you put your fire rated container somewhere, consider that fire burns upwards, and the thermal difference from floor to ceiling is around 400 degrees F on average. Before you put the container in the basement corner, remember that firefighters use water to put out fires. Lots of water. 150-200GPM per handline and 1000-2000GPM for the big pipes on the ladder trucks. Most of the damage in a house fire is from water. You'll get us much as 6-12 inches of flooding per floor (until the firefighters cut holes in the floor to drain it so the floors don't collapse.

Also should the roof or ceiling collapse, the best places to have things are near the corners of the load bearing walls.

This is my long way of saying store your fire rated container on a solid hardwood (not particle board) or metal shelf, about knee height on a low floor near the corner by load bearing walls. This way in the event the whole house is a write off, you still have a reasonable chance of saving some of your data and personal effects.

Comment: Re:Did I miss something? (Score 1) 409

by bingbong (#40840927) Attached to: Australian Billionaire Wants To Build Jurassic Park-Style Resort

A couple points,

a) to date no dinosaur DNA has been found to have survived.

b) if you were to take some DNA from a mosquito trapped in Amber (a la JP) and clone it - you would just get a mosquito.

c) Jack Horner has an excellent TED talk that discusses this point nicely:

http://blog.ted.com/2011/06/07/building-a-dinosaur-from-a-chicken-jack-horner-on-ted/

Comment: Due Process vs Legal Process (Score 1) 530

“The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process,” said Attorney-General Eric Holder... ( http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/holder-defends-obamas-view-of-due-process/article534036/ ) - granted this was in response to Obama's "Hit List" (i.e. the ability for the Executive Branch to execute American citizens who they deem to be a national threat without legal process).

However it pretty much shows the mindset you'll get on Pennsylvania Ave and the Robert Kennedy Building.

As long as there is a process - they feel they are within the constitution.

Comment: Teachers already have too much to do... (Score 1) 568

by bingbong (#39558543) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't Schools Connected?

My ex-gf is a high school language teacher (spanish and french). She has approximately 110 different student in various grades.

Technically, teachers are paid from around 7am(ish) to 330pm (ish). She spends a 2-3 extra hours _per day_ reviewing lesson plans, grading work and doing other admin stuff. She also spends several hundred dollars per year of her own money to purchase extra materials to enhance the quality of the lessons.

While the concept is certainly sound - I don't believe that with the current workload that teachers face, it is feasible. They are already over worked.

And as for IT, typically there is 1 poor IT guy per school (in the wealthier districts).

Great idea, but who can implement it?

Comment: The Well of Soul Series (Score 1) 1244

by bingbong (#39275093) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?

I strongly recommend 'Midnight at the Well of the Souls' (and the subsequent series) by Jack L Chalker. The original set of books was pretty hard to find. It is by far my favourite sci-fi series.

It is often funny, sometimes sad but always thought provoking. It's a series of books that ultimately makes you think about Life, the Universe and Everything (except for the lack of restaurants, dolphins and floating couches).

From wikipedia:

Nathan Brazil is the captain of the interstellar freighter Stehekin. While transporting three passengers, Captain Brazil receives a distress call from an uninhabited planet and makes a detour to investigate. There, they find the remains of a research team murdered by the rogue scientist Elkinos Skander in order to conceal his discovery of how to control Markovian technology. While exploring the planet, they are inadvertently transported to the Well World, where they must track down Skander and his equally brilliant and insane pupil. In addition, they must deal with being changed into bizarre alien creatures.

Comment: vendor agnostic environments... (Score 1) 523

by bingbong (#37129548) Attached to: Why PCs Trump iPads For User Innovation

I'm the security director for a mid sized global company. I'm the guy behind locking down the desktops. I won't reiterate the eloquent arguments my colleagues made about the tradeoffs between security / useability and costs.

I will say that we are in process of virtualizing our business applications such that all the users will need is web browser to do the work (a la mainframes). Our tests are showing that they are a) very receptive to using whatever they want for their systems and b) our costs will be lower. The idea is the keys to our kingdom (our IP, data, code etc) are locked up pretty tightly, and the user side of the network is more open. It's an approach that seems to be doing well.

Our users are using win, mac, linux (me) and various flavours of tablets. For the apps we have virtualized, it's going well.

It is a good way to balance control and freedom.

The Courts

Judge Berates Prosecutors In Xbox Modding Trial 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-uppance-has-come dept.
mrbongo writes with this excerpt from Wired: "Opening statements in the first-of-its-kind Xbox 360 criminal hacking trial were delayed here Wednesday after a federal judge unleashed a 30-minute tirade at prosecutors in open court, saying he had 'serious concerns about the government's case.' ... Gutierrez slammed the prosecution over everything from alleged unlawful behavior by government witnesses, to proposed jury instructions harmful to the defense. When the verbal assault finally subsided, federal prosecutors asked for a recess to determine whether they would offer the defendant a deal, dismiss or move forward with the case that was slated to become the first jury trial of its type. A jury was seated Tuesday."
The Almighty Buck

ATMs That Dispense Gold Bars Coming To America 482

Posted by samzenpus
from the leprechaun-industries dept.
tetrahedrassface writes "As the US economic woes continue unabated, a German company is bringing gold-bearing ATMs to Mainstreet America. The machines accept credit cards, and will dispense 1 gram, 5 gram, 10 gram and 1 ounce units, as well as various gold coins. The company hopes to install 35 bullion machines in the United States this year, and will hopefully have several hundred up and running by next year. The machines will be decorated like giant gold ingots and be over two meters tall. Physical gold has both pros and cons, but from a safety standpoint would it be fine to have a couple of ounces in your pocket while walking around the mall? The giant, gold-dispensing ATMs will monitor the market conditions for gold every 10 minutes in order to reflect spot price changes as they occur." We already covered similar machines installed in travel hubs across Germany.

Comment: it's a new implementation of an older concept (Score 1) 216

by bingbong (#33223004) Attached to: The Vending Machines of the Future

Back in graduate school I made a proof of concept vending machine whose goal was to be able to vend beer within the local council's licensing laws.

It was a combination of the early smartcards (8k), biometrics and micropayments.

The idea is a person would register showing proof of age, have their thumb print scanned, and purchase electronic 'tokens' which were then loaded into the smartcard with the user's print. To buy a beer, the user would insert the card, validate the print - the server would then authorise beer dispension based on time/day (local licensing laws) and if the user had a token (a digital hash value).

We did a proof of concept, but my lasting regret is a) i never published and b) i didn't get sponsorship from Guinness.

A mixed blessing I suspect.

Image

Open Sarcasm Fighting Copyrighted Punctuation 155

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-language dept.
pinkushun writes "SarcMark is a copyrighted punctuation mark, that claims 'It's time that sarcasm is treated equally!' Pretty damn cheeky while they're charging for their software, which only inserts their punctuation through a hotkey. Open Sarcasm is destroying SarcMark by advocating a new punctuation mark (not displaying here properly — alt+U0161) as the new open and free sarcasm symbol. Either way, this will be one interesting turnout. With bad unicode support across the web, displaying the characters properly might be an issue. PS Left out sarcastic end sentence as Slashdot doesn't display the U0161 character."

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