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Comment: Re:There's something touching about that comment (Score 2) 102

by hey! (#47500515) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

It's not the human *touch* that people crave in a complicated interaction with a system. It's human *versatility*.

Thus more personnel does no good, if those personnel are rigidly controlled, lack information to advise or authority to act. The fact that they're also expected to be jolly and upbeat as they follow their rigid and unyielding rules only turns the interaction with them into a travesty of a social interaction.

What would work better is a well-designed check-in system that handles routine situations nearly all the time, along with a few personnel who have the training and authority to solve any passenger problems that come up.

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 1) 662

by DaHat (#47498265) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

Oh shut your mouth stupid Americans, ask Kiev to release the confiscated ATC record and explain why MH17 deviated over 500km from its usual flight path? And why was is requested to drop from 35000ft to 33000ft before it got hit?

Vladimir, is that you? Would you care to offer any sort of citation for the claims you have made?

Comment: Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (Score 1) 271

by mikael (#47496273) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Bullcrap? The application developers there deserve to have every ounce of bullcrap that is lying on the field thrown at them before being given a hot jacuzzi in pig swill. Punching a hole in someone's system network firewall, then putting a steel cage and door around that hole so it can't be closed?

I have enough grief with various Linux packages that create their own VPN's, offer "built-in" ftp and email functionality as a "feature". Every time I install something, I have to check to to see whether any new servers listening on network sockets have been set up immediately, as well as see whether there are any daily or weekly crontab settings which do the same.

Comment: Re: The issue is big publishing (Score 2) 191

by hey! (#47493819) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

I can only go with the experience of my friends, who've gone both routes successfully.

It's true that traditional publishers expect mid-list authors to shoulder most of the promotion efforts these days. I never said they didn't. Fiction authors are now expected to maintain a platform, which used to be a non-fiction thing. Certainly traditional publishers have become more predatory and less supportive than they were twenty years ago. I don't have an inside track on why that is, but I suspect there are several causes. One is that POD allows publishers to make an reliable though modest profit from their mid-list authors, which ironically makes them more risk averse. But publishers still provide production and editing services on a MS that'd cost you maybe ten thousand dollars if you were contracting those services out. They also get your book in bricks-and-mortar bookstores, which is a bridge too far for most indy authors, even the successful ones.

A lot of the bad feeling that publishers get from indy authors comes from two sources. First, a long history with rejection. Second the lack of respect indy authors get relative to traditionally published authors. We can see it in this discussion elsewhere, where one poster puts "authors" in quotes when referring to indy authors. And it's easy to see why because most indy authors just aren't good enough to get traditionally published. *Some* indy authors put out a product that's every bit as good as the mid-list authors from the big publishing houses, but most just dump their terrible manuscripts on Amazon with a clip-art cover and no copy editing, much less developmental editing.

The statistic that most indy authors make their investment back plus 40% didn't impress me, because (a) that counts the author's labor as free and (b) most indy authors don't invest much cash in their projects. The percentage of indy authors that clear, say, five thousand dollars in profit are very small.

It's not that indy publishing doesn't have its points, and my traditionally published friends are certainly thinking about dipping their toe in the water. But it's not as cheap as it looks if you want a comparable product, and you give up certain things. I was in Manhattan recently and went to the 5th Avenue branch of the NYPL. My traditionally published friends' books were either on the shelves our out circulating. The NYPL had *none* of my indy author friends' books, even though at least one of them has made the New York Times best seller list.

Comment: Re:The issue is big publishing (Score 1) 191

by hey! (#47492489) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

I don't think it's as simple as Amazon is good or Amazon is evil. Amazon is powerful, and that needs watching.

Now I have a number writer friends, one of whom is published both with traditional imprints like TOR and with Amazon's new in-house publishing imprints. She has good things to say about Amazon's imprints, but one thing you have to take into account is that nobody will stock your book *but* Amazon if you publish with them. That's giving up a lot, so they treat authors reasonably well. But that doesn't mean the corporation actually cares about authors. Amazon needs reliable mid-list authors to make their publishing ventures a success, and by cutting out the middleman can afford generous royalties. But if Amazon succeeds in putting a stake in the heart of traditional publishing, I wouldn't care to speculate on what will happen to authors.

Nor should what traditional publishers do for authors be underestimated. I have friends who are successful indy writers, but it's not like being a writer, it's more like running a small publishing house yourself. They hire story editors, copy editors and artists, and manage promotion and publicity. It's a lot of work; that plus actually writing pretty much precludes a day job. It's not for everyone.

It's a lot like being an engineer. Engineers are smart people who usually have a lot of insight into the companies they work for, but that doesn't mean that most engineers want to run businesses. Some do, but most would rather have other people take care of that stuff so they can concentrate on what they feel they're best at.

Many writers choose the indy market because it's the only way they'll ever get published. They just dump their manuscript on the market without editing, design or promotion and hope for the best. They rarely succeed. Others choose the indy route because they thrive on running and controlling their own small business, the way some engineers step naturally into the role of entrepreneur. They're well positioned for the future. But most writers need support to reach their full potential.

Comment: Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (Score 1) 271

by mikael (#47486905) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

I guess some people don't forget what Microsoft was doing 20 years ago. They were literally bashing everything and anything. They were bashing UNIX with slogans like "UNIX is legacy, NT is the future". They were doing the same with DirectX vs. OpenGL. Even now they still claim OpenGL is legacy. Then there was the Netscape vs. Internet Explorer war where Microsoft was pre-installing Explorer onto their systems and nothing else. If you wanted to read Email from a server, you needed to have Windows, even it is was a hardware board inside a workstation. If Microsoft announced they were entering a particular niche market, venture capitalists wouldn't fund anyone to enter that market.

Comment: Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (Score 1) 271

by mikael (#47486837) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

I hate that word "dead wood". Anyone who did have a degree, pass the informal interview, the technical tests, and team interview for a company, as well as continue to work in an Agile/Scrum environment isn't a piece of dead wood.

If a company discovers they have extra employees, then it is is usually because two or more products have been merged together, or all the development for one large project has been completed. Maybe they now share the same core libraries or features of one application duplicate another. But what to do then? Nobody is going to stay long at a company if they have relocated 1000+ miles for their dream job (say designing new applications) and then suddenly a month later, a PHB decides they want the most qualified engineer to move onto repairing broken widgets, and optionally advertise the original vacancy several months later because they realize they really do need someone to write new applications. So you need to keep people hanging around until you are sure all the problems have been fixed.

Some companies have internal vacancy lists where a job is advertised internally first. This gave employees a chance to move around if they saw something more interesting. Other companies just keep staff "frozen in place" where the only option is to leave.

The problem for Microsoft is that retraining isn't possible because they want workers who can bring in new ideas. If they had someone to train up someone for that vacancy, the trainer would be the person they are looking for.

Comment: Re:Mispelling in Headline... (Score 1) 41

by hey! (#47466965) Attached to: Breaches Exposed 22.8 Million Personal Records of New Yorkers

It's actually 'Breeches' and now we finally know Step 2.

Years ago, when static electricity was bad news for computers, I had the idea for a "data processing shoe" that would have a little conductive ribbon that would drag along the floor and ground out static electricity. Such a thing is of course no longer needed, but given the apparent popularity of data breeches these days maybe the concept could be resurrected as a fashion statement.

Comment: Re:He cant or wont? (Score 1) 382

by DaHat (#47460759) Attached to: White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

Still, legally a separate distinction from a "Declaration of War" or other incidents of just "Going to War".

Semantics, I know,

Explain please then how what you call a 'semantics' difference is also 'legally a separate distinction'.

We aren't talking the difference between murder & manslaughter (both legally defined in law as well as their conditions that must be).

Care to point out which section of the US Constitution or other bit of international law which legally shows the difference?

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll