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Comment: Please do not transform /. into a link-bait site.. (Score 3, Interesting) 242

by boethius (#43029829) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can Quickoffice On Chromebooks Topple Microsoft's Office?

PLEASE.

If you've seen sites like TechCrunch or Business Insider they are fond of writing articles with salacious titles like the one above. The article titles are deliberately inflammatory and custom-designed to create click-through traffic as well as troll-ridden "comments" where people heatedly argue about the merit or lack of merit (almost always the latter) of the article's poorly-researched content. For those reasons I've deliberately chosen not to follow those sites any more.

The OP assumes so much it's ridiculous. Office is the Sun; QuickOffice is a microscopic dot on the Sun. Of the Fortune 1000 how many, realistically, use Chromebooks? Or Google Apps, even? It's creeping up there surely, but so few it's not even a statistical aberration yet.

Long-term there is no question more and more office functions will move to the web and they will be used by more and more companies - probably mostly the small, sub-1000-5000 employee companies. The apps are getting very good but there will always be a large percentage of corporations who did not want any apps or data sitting outside the company LAN/WAN, period. In 10-15 years we may laugh about how silly we were to use apps installed on our computers but for the foreseeable future it's MS Office for the VAST majority of large-ish companies and the business community out there.

Comment: Not surprising, at all... (Score 1) 617

by boethius (#42950675) Attached to: Large Corporations Displacing Aging IT Workers With H-1B Visa Workers

I worked for a small manufacturing company that was acquired by a much larger Fortune 500 multi-national (actually, it was acquired by a larger company and that company was in turn acquired by this F500 corporation).

Right as we were purchased the F500 company hired a new CIO - they'd basically been without a formal C-level IT executive for several months. What was the first thing he did? Outsource the IT help desk. Within 6 weeks of his hire date he had shuttered the entire Austin, TX-based North American help desk in favor of Wipro. Shortly thereafter application support went offshore to Satyam (who some may recall later got embroiled in a major CEO-led accounting scandal).

The company at the same time was also driving its FTEs in IT to telecommute, proclaiming it saved the company money when users telecommuted. When I first went into the IT office building in Silicon Valley most of the people there were FT employees (and, not to be racist but more as a point of contrast, mostly white). About 8 months later when I went down there for a meeting - like everyone else in IT I was by then working 99% of the time from home - the IT building could have passed for a call center in Bangalore. Instead of saving money as they proclaimed they were filling it up with offshore programmers, admins, architects etc. working onshore for different Stateside projects.

Comment: Not surprising, at all (Score 2) 185

by boethius (#42915773) Attached to: California Cancels $208 Million IT Overhaul Halfway Through

California of course is a behemoth of State agencies spread everywhere, not to mention hundreds more various County and Municipal agencies and departments. Just within the scope of the State of California there are massive agencies like the DMV, Health and Human Services (i.e., Welfare), State Parks, Department of Insurance, Franchise Tax Board, and dozens of regulatory agencies and sub-agencies, and the Legislature itself. Across these numerous agencies and departments there are hundreds of thousands of employees and a huge and frequently antiquated technological infrastructure. Most agencies are running independent IT silos and there's very little, if any, connectivity and coordination between these usually very large IT groups. In spite of all this for years the State's CIO was only in his position part-time (huh?) and, while he has since been replaced with a full-time CIO (probably a few times over, by now), none have been successful overhauling the State's horrific IT issues. The State's payroll system is among the most notorious in the nation and believed to be at least 30 years old and running on rock-solid but extremely EXTREMELY antiquated hardware. This is why certain mainframe programmers and administrators will NEVER lose their jobs - lifetime, guaranteed employment maintaining an archaic piece of hardware. It's so bad that when then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened an across-the-board 20% pay cut to State workers to balance the budget (don't laugh; the State HAS to have a balanced budget but you know what it does? Never passes a budget or passes it 6-12 months after it was supposed to). State Controller John Chiang fired back, proclaiming the State's payroll system "couldn't handle" an across-the-board wage adjustment. Can you imagine? Over the last 10-15 years you're easily looking at billions thrown at overhauling California's ancient IT infrastructure, with likely tens if not hundreds of thousands of unique, probably very hard to support applications "vital" to its hundreds of State departments and agencies. The progress it has made with these billions? Save the overhaul of the HHS system - a huge, mega-hundred-million expense that was also fraught with major major problems - the State is showing no signs it is making serious progress to refine its systems and infrastructure.

Comment: I remember when I got a loaner V480 once... (Score 1) 281

by boethius (#42868431) Attached to: Of the Love of Oldtimers - Dusting Off a Sun Fire V1280 Server

... and the data center operator literally ran to my cabinet after I fired it up proclaiming I was now well over the 80% of the 20amp circuit I had. Ran it anyways for a couple weeks. I don't think the machine ever really served out its intended purpose - to be a burly web/database server for a product launch that never quite happened - but it was still kind of fun to play with it at the time.

Comment: So.... (Score 3, Interesting) 665

by boethius (#42767187) Attached to: As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow To a Trickle

We're using an "avant cello" artist to make a point about how dismal fractional royalties are? Should we also be outraged if a "classical banjo" artist or "neo-Accordionist" also aren't making a sustainable living on completely passive revenue streams like Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, etc. etc.?

While we're at it why doesn't the guy who races dirt-track on the weekends complain that he's not making a sustainable living at what he does. What about painters, sculptors, writers, actors, and other artists... perhaps they should be complaining too that someone isn't providing them with a sustainable living.

Should they, realistically, be making $50-$80K a year selling streaming music? More importantly is there even a remote shot that an "avant cellist" would have made that kind of money in the pre-Internet days? I'd say the chances are essentially zero that an avant cellist would have a break-out year and make even a sustainable living. There's an occasional break-out classical artist - VERY occasional - but most of them make money from performing not from CD sales.

The truth is that artists - even the most talented - from time immemorial have had to do something else to make a real living and pay the bills. Perhaps not the best example but I was watching a little thing on luxury RVs - ah, my idle TV watching habits - and they interviewed Bret Michaels. He spends over 200 days a year on the road performing. THAT is how he makes a living - by working his butt off. If this gal expects to make survival income from just creating music and watching the big bucks flow in from Pandora or Spotify she's just dreaming. If she really wants to make a living she'll have to do it by building a reputation performing and, as the article indicates, that is very, very hard to do.

Honestly $2000 for 6 months of doing absolutely nothing to promote your music - ESPECIALLY "avant cello" - doesn't seem like a bad chunk of change to me.

A fairer perspective might be huge artists like the Rolling Stones or Rihanna or Katy Perry or Justin Bieber - what kind of money are they making on these services? No doubt it is much much more and are they and their business managers content with the revenue streams from these sources? Probably.

Comment: Re:This article is bullshit! (Score 0, Offtopic) 404

by boethius (#42650507) Attached to: Will Microsoft Sell Off Its Entertainment Division?

I see nothing embedded in the article or Ballmer's statement that smacks at all of what King, who was devolving deeply into socialism toward the end of his life (hence the very unsurprising quote you provided), said. To imply that there is at best short-sighted and foolish, compelled by the same coffee house liberalism King would have been quite fond of today.

Generally I am repulsed by those repulsed by the profit motive, by those who imagine there is some artificial Utopian third way other than capitalism that would advance society in any meaningful way. The pursuit of money to its own end may be evil but with the right motives it is certainly not a bad thing to make money, build companies, provide jobs, etc. etc. Communism and socialism and their numerous derivatives have all proven historically to be unmitigated social, economic, and cultural disasters, yet liberals still cling to this bizarre, unwavering belief that there is a warm fuzzy alternative to capitalism that is a heavy dose of socialism with "just enough" capitalism so that some people can have jobs and the rest of us can live off the work product of those people - or just have the country continually spiral into deeper and deeper loads of debt (i.e., the U.S., France, Italy, Greece, the U.K., among many others) that ultimately kills the country financially and socially, anyway and leads to war, rioting, revolution, etc. Or, perhaps, have everyone just work for the government and/or live off government benefits - or both.

Whom do you believe Ballmer - or indeed any company President or CEO - is protecting when they strive to have their company succeed? Ultimately they are protecting livelihoods and, if they are publicly-traded companies like Microsoft, their shareholders, which ultimately trickles down to individuals and families. And I've been laid off and been out of work enough times to know that there is no grand altruism to almost any corporation. They do what they have to do in tough times and grow in good times. They didn't owe me a job in the first place so if I'm let go, so be it. Move on to the next job the next company and see how it goes.

Comment: Ah, yes, China... (Score 1) 202

by boethius (#42560683) Attached to: All New Homes In China Must Have Fiber Optic Internet Connections

... that bastion of open access to the Internet.

Very, very few Chinese even have homes that would warrant this. Look at the Australian documentary on China's "ghost cities" to see the sheer volume of unfilled condos that are vastly too expensive for about 99.9% of all Chinese to afford.

 

Comment: Re:Good Advice (Score 1) 316

by boethius (#42540175) Attached to: Boston Declares Health Emergency Due To Massive Flu Outbreak

"Most workplaces don't have paid sick leave"

Really? I've been in the workplace for almost 20 years now and maybe one position of the many I've held over the years DIDN'T have paid sick leave. Of course I've generally been employed as a salaried employee where benefits packages tended to be pretty decent.

I suppose menial-type positions - Taco Bell, McDonald's, etc. - that don't offer much in the way of benefits may rarely offer paid sick leave.

Comment: Re:Bollocks (Score 1) 206

by boethius (#42365943) Attached to: How the Internet Became a Closed Shop

100% spot-on. You've articulated exactly how I feel about Internet reporting and how it's declined the state of "journalism" terribly (though of course yellow journalism has existed since forever and was basically the same thing). The quantity of inflammatory "link-bait" that links to bloviating and predominantly fictitious and/or editorial reporting has grown exponentially in the last 5 years especially to the point that about 98-99% of all reporting is basically geared to simply attract clicks.

Comment: Well, it's hardly just automation... (Score 1) 510

by boethius (#42298317) Attached to: Automation Is Making Unions Irrelevant

Unions have been irrelevant for a very long time really.

When the U.S. was the global center for industrial manufacturing might - steel, automobiles, electronics, raw materials of all kinds - the confluence and manufacturing hegemony allowed unions to proliferate and create in tandem with big corporations an artificial middle class. Blue collar labor lifted with the waters of America's financial superiority and power into the middle class.

Yet fundamentally this rise was not the product of capitalism but more of communism, which all unions fundamentally derive their labor ideology and history from the American Communist Party.

Now, with globalization and the utter reversal of the U.S.'s fortunes - yes, it is still probably the center of the global economy in most respects, though obviously China, India, and Russia, among others, are coming up quickly - the relevance of unions has substantively disappeared. You can't negotiate a collective bargaining contract demanding middle-class wages and Cadillac health and retirement benefits when the company can either ship the jobs overseas - as they often do, now - or simply shut down the operation (see Hostess' recent bankruptcy and liquidation for an example of a union-fueled demise).

Unions do not innovate nor do they create positive relationships with employers; indeed, they are embedded adversarial relationships with employers. Sure they and the employees can "demand" higher wages and better benefits but the simple truth is that globalization has removed their bargaining chips. Instead, labor becomes just what it should have been all along - market-driven.

Comment: Why didn't he work with Microsoft FIRST? (Score 1) 308

by boethius (#42218901) Attached to: Hit Game Makes £52 In First Week On Windows RT

I mean, perhaps he tried to, but it doesn't really sound like it. He moans and complains on a public forum then of course MSFT has to respond yet it's quite possible they were willing to help all along. You don't have to like MSFT and they have a huge, huge uphill battle against Android and iOS but they do have very good developer relationships.

Comment: Having worked for a corporation that bet big on .. (Score 3, Insightful) 164

by boethius (#42205787) Attached to: A Twisted Clean-Tech Tale: How A123 Wound Up In Bankruptcy

... so-called "green/cleantech" I can say unreservedly it was about 99% hype and 1% reality. They dropped at least $2B in their attempt to diversify their portfolio into greentech and acquired a number of companies - including the one I worked for - to buy their credibility in the solar panel marketplace.

As it turned out, said marketplace - and greentech in general - was and is a bust. Rich yuppies are basically the only ones that can afford to purchase, install, and maintain solar panels even with massive State and Federal government subsidies both in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere. Given the very poor efficiency of solar panels and their very long term ROI, those yuppies are the only ones with more money than good sense.

For all Al Gore's, the UN, and pro-globalists' hand-wringing over AGW (and I'm not here to get into THAT debate), the reality is that most people and therefore most businesses aren't particularly concerned about climate change. When the economy tanked in the 2008-ish time frame, the corporation I worked for - the world's largest semiconductor equipment company - said they had, in their 30+ years in business, NEVER see demand drop off a cliff the way it did. Consumer demand for electronic gadgets quite literally disappeared and did so almost overnight. It was a stunning hit to the solar plexus of that industry. Needless to say, a year on I was laid off.

Greentech far from saved them - and, thankfully, at least it was mostly THEIR OWN dollars they spent on greentech investments -- and it turns out the vast majority of the dollars they dumped into those investments turned out to be giant loss. It was nearly all hype and very little reality.

On a mundane level I don't have a huge problem with the Federal government taking big bets on cutting-edge technology that private industry typically can't afford. Note: NASA, the Military in general (from whom we have GPS among many other military-to-private sector innovations to thank for), and of course DARPA from whom we may not have this little thing called the Internet.

Even if there was no real skepticism around climate change I don't believe it would matter. The money the UN wants from the major nations to "fix" climate change would end up being a giant slush fund for lavish UN diplomat expenses. I'd bet big money not a dime would go to any good or positive net effect to supposedly fix or even seriously address climate change issues beyond expensive committees filing expensive 500-page reports and jet-setting between Dubai and New York and London and Tokyo to confab with like-minded global elitists. Climate change isn't something that will be fixed on a macro scale. That, among many other reasons (i.e., the general massive corruption and ultimate pointlessness of the UN), is why so many nations are resisting funding this cluster. Many people are struggling to merely survive in this world - in fact, the vast majority of the global population is in that bind - and concern over how many hydrocarbons they're pumping into the environment is of zero to less-than-zero concern.

fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.

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