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Comment And the MMM is not just about software projects (Score 1) 270

Having managed projects ranging from R&D, defense systems, construction, and software development.. the MMM is all about work teams. Most successful project managers learn this sort of thing from experience (read pain and failure). Everybody thinks they have some sort of 'new concept' that is the magic bullet to 'solve software development problems'.

Forgetting that the one common element is... people. No matter WHAT methodology you claim to follow, I guarantee at least half of your team will think it's bullshit, and begrudge the paperwork that is getting in their way of just getting the job done.. THEIR WAY.

The best thing a good manager does is remove restraints and barriers, and filter bullshit. And let the team gel and get their shit done.

Comment Obvious to the most casual observer (Score 1) 303

Some years ago my home network was zapped with a lightning strike that came in via the coaxial cable. Modem, router, and two switches died to save my computers. In military designs, we used opto-isolators to shield sensitive circuits from attack.

Despite the hysteria, this is not a 'broad attack threat'. The attacker needs physical access to the network, and will probably only compromise part of the network due to the energies and damage modes involved. Unless he's Nikola Tesla and carrying his own lightning bolt. Then all bets are off.

I do recommend that you isolate your network from power threats with surge suppressors on your coax line or RJ-45 line from your ISP, and of course your power lines.

Comment Re:This is just the looong tail of the distributio (Score 4, Insightful) 122

Absolutely agree that it's much ado about nothing. AND bad statistics ! CERN as an example is a lot of nonsense... it's a HUGE project with a HUGE population of PhD's, grad students, undergrads, managers, technicians, and everybody else. All working towards a common goal. And the science developed by those thousands of authors is an enormous collaboration, enabled by ... yeah, you guessed it, the World Wide Web. Which was INVENTED at CERN to enable... Collaboration.

WSJ, you look like a bunch of idiots. Stick to talking about stocks and rich people stuff. You suck at science.


Microsoft Creates an AI That Can Spot a Joke In a New Yorker Cartoon 66

An anonymous reader writes: For over a decade Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at the New Yorker, and his assistants have gone through 5,000 cartoon entries for the magazine's caption contest each week. Needless to say, the burnout rate of his assistants is quite high, "The process of looking at 5,000 caption entries a week usually destroys their mind in about two years, and then I get a new one," Mankoff says. But now thanks to a collaboration with Microsoft, Bob may finally have found the perfect helper. Researchers have been working on an artificial intelligence project to teach a computer what's funny. Fortune reports: "Dafna Shahaf, a researcher at Microsoft, used the database of cartoons to train the program to understand commonalities and differences in the millions of cartoons, which lets the AI run through the entries the New Yorker receives each week for its back-of-magazine cartoon caption contest. About 55.8% of the time the humans agree with the captions the AI selects, which is a pretty good percentage."

Comment PDP-8 ! (Score 1) 620

At work we have a PC Board component inserter robot that runs off a PDP-8. Programmed with paper tape. Yes. Paper tape. OK, well, plastic punched tape. There is a short stack of 'spare' PDP-8 rack units sitting in the crib just waiting for a failure. But you know what ? Digital Equipment made some rugged machines.

And in my old job in the defense industry we used a surplus Nike-Ajax missile radar, that was run off a synchro computer. I designed a digital interface to run it off a Z-80 processor.

Comment Better idea: Think VAR/Dealership vs. Tesla sales? (Score 1) 287

One industry that died with direct PC sales (Yes, you Mikey Dell) was the entire Value Added Reseller industry. There are a few still around, but the serried ranks of 'experts' went poof. This can be equated with the attempts to bypass the Auto Dealership model by Tesla.

I encourage this. The idea that consumers are too stupid to buy cars without expert assistance is as dumb as the idea that consumers needed help to buy complicated computers.

Comment Re:wha? (Score 4, Informative) 65

Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte (Systems, Applications, and Products).


Basically it's one of the two the largest Enterprise Resource Planning software companies in the world. Oracle is the other one. And since most SAP systems are run inside a highly protected corporate network, the self-promoting hysteria from this article is so much bullcrap.

Comment Re:No they don't (Score 2) 226

Since anti satellite technology is quite mature and tested, anyone who thinks that such a system would not have the equivalent of a few dozen nuclear shotguns permanently parked near it is... clueless. Of course the effect of having to destroy that would effectively make Earth orbit a no-go zone for decades until someone started sending up sweeper robots.


Billionaire Teams Up With NASA To Mine the Moon 214

schwit1 writes: Moon Express, a Mountain View, California-based company that's aiming to send the first commercial robotic spacecraft to the moon next year, just took another step closer toward that lofty goal. Earlier this year, it became the first company to successfully test a prototype of a lunar lander at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The success of this test—and a series of others that will take place later this year—paves the way for Moon Express to send its lander to the moon in 2016. Moon Express conducted its tests with the support of NASA engineers, who are sharing with the company their deep well of lunar know-how. The NASA lunar initiative—known as Catalyst—is designed to spur new commercial U.S. capabilities to reach the moon and tap into its considerable resources.

Comment Re: Add noise (Score 3, Interesting) 86

Properly shielded equipment uses different methods to 'break the cage'. It's been many decades, but some of the heavily shielded designs I did in the 80's involved opto-isolators. Yes, that's right. Want to avoid radiating information ? Use light.

Keep in mind that the structure of the faraday cage depends on the frequency of the data being transmitted. It does not have to be unbreakable tin foil. Properly sized metal mesh will also do the job. Just ask anyone who tries to get a Wifi signal through an old wall with expanded metal lath and plaster.

Comment Misleading- Good will is common accounting (Score 5, Interesting) 255

The implied assumption in the article and in the commentary indicates a deliberate misdirection or a simple understanding of the accounting principles involved in how a business accounts for a BAD DECISION. Every business has the ability to use this 'loophole'. But it's not a 'loophole'. It's a simple recognition that a capital purchase that turns out to not be a good deal should have the loss (cost of the purchase price minus the fair market value of the asset) amortized over the book life of the asset against the income produced by the asset.

Kids, this is basic accounting 301 (Intermediate management accounting). Most accountants will tell you that having good will on your books means you made a dumb decision at some point, and paid more than something was worth. The title SHOULD read:

"Ballmer pays twice what Basketball team is worse, can't write it off immediately, has to wait 15 years."

Comment Glad to see you use the term 'assemble' (Score 4, Interesting) 391

Because I BUILT my first personal computer in 1976. This involved individual IC's, a wire wrap board, making my own PC boards for power and display, lots of soldering, switches to load and store programs, and LED's. 6502 processor and 1,000 bits of RAM, baby ! I mock anyone who thinks that plugging in a few parts is 'building a computer'.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.