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Comment: Re:Longtime employees? (Score 1) 74

by clodney (#48499901) Attached to: How the FCC CIO Plans To Modernize 207 Legacy IT Systems

No government agency should have longtime employees. It's supposed to be a service, not a career.. It's these oldtimers that are making all the problems we endure. The bureaucrats are the "secret government".. We must purge them completely every few years.

So right about the time people start getting good at their jobs we should fire them all? If your goal is to ensure that the old stereotype of government being incompetent at everything gets reinforced, then that is a great idea. If you value things like, you know, competence, this sounds like a horrible waste of my tax dollars. And in many cases I trust the bureaucrat to do a better job than the politician who has honed everything to a 10 second sound bite without any real substance behind their ideas. At least the bureaucrats have skin in the game, in that they have to implement the policies.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 294

by clodney (#46782271) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

like this will just make you look stupid and change averse to your employer.

No... it's obviously just aversity to excessive, unnecessary and crippling micromanagement. It's obviously some idiots in suits who are change averse and feel they need to justify their existence by "approving" or "disapproving" of each and every required security update or patch or system admin action.

In my experience, managers are lazy. If patches are going smoothly, with no unanticipated downtime and no obvious problems, it is unlikely that somebody will be pushing to implement a CAB, knowing it means more paperwork and more meetings. I suspect that there was some high profile downtime, or an unannounced outage that led to this.

Comment: Re:IANA Physicist, So... (Score 0) 630

by clodney (#46708897) Attached to: Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

The projectiles are also much less affected by gravitational drop and windage - I would think proportional to the velocity - so accuracy will be better.

Um, no. Gravity cares not how fast it is going. It will still start falling towards the earth the moment it is launched. Now it is true that while traveling at mach 5 the horizontal distance it drops will be much less over a unit of distance traveled than a slower shell, but it is still falling. I would be shocked if the targeting computers did not take gravity into account - unless they are skipping the computers and just using the force.

Comment: Re:Not Cost! (Score 2) 473

by clodney (#46219931) Attached to: Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry

All that said, I don't think the complexity or cost is the issue. I think the primary change is social. People returned from military training wanting to do some of the things they did in the service. So amateur radio grew, aviation grew, recreational shooting sports grew, sport diving grew... but if you look at the statistics today, there aren't as many who make the transition from military to civilian life. It ended when the draft ended --and those baby boomers are retiring and dying off.

Great post, and I agree that for aviation the reduction in number of military pilots is certainly a factor. But I am going to quibble about SCUBA diving - equipment has gotten vastly better and relatively cheaper over the last 30 years I have been certified, and I don't think people who were trained by the military has ever been more than a tiny fraction of the diving population. My impression is that diving is getting more popular, not less, but I admit that I don't have any statistics to back that up.

Comment: Re:NoScript (Score 3, Interesting) 731

by clodney (#45992631) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are AdBlock's Days Numbered?

If you take the view that the purpose of the website is to promote the company, and the purpose of the Ad is to, err, advertise (either the company, one of their services, or an affiliate), then the Adblock arms race will probably be ultimately won by that company's competitors:

That is fine for a site that exists to sell products or a service, and indeed in many of those cases you will find no or very limited ad presence.

The problem comes about when the site exists to sell advertising, with the content on the site being the hook to get people to the site to see the ads. This is the model for most every news site, even news for nerds. Paywalls have not gone over well in the market, and everybody wants content to be free, but the reality is that these sites have to pay the bills somehow.

Comment: Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (Score 2) 375

by clodney (#45978593) Attached to: Revolutionary Scuba Mask Creates Breathable Oxygen Underwater On Its Own

"Anyway, the tank could have some N2 in it to start with so the problem could be mitigated."

You don't want to be breathing any N2 at depth. Ever heard of the bends.

They used to use a Helium mixture for deep dives, I am not sure what they do these days

Outside of specialized mixtures for deep dives (well beyond the usual recreational dive limit of 130 feet), divers breathe either ordinary compressed surface air (80% nitrogen), or nitrox/EAN, which is a mix with increased oxygen content. Interestingly, the increased oxygen in nitrox is not there for its own sake (i.e. with healthy lungs there is no physiological benefit to breathing an increased fraction of oxygen), but rather as a cheap way to displace some of the nitrogen, allowing longer bottom times before having to worry about decompression stops or getting the bends.

Dive organizations love to push nitrox since it is another certification and an upcharge on fills from a dive shop, but in my experience it is used by less than 10% of the divers I have seen.


by clodney (#45880279) Attached to: CES: Laser Headlights Edge Closer To Real-World Highways

Springsteen is Mr. Mumbles. It's difficult to understand anything he sings.

While that particular lyric is indeed hard to understand (and for the record: "revved up like a deuce another runner in the night"), in general I don't think Springsteen is hard to understand.

But I will also note that the most popular recording of that song (at least in the states) is not Springsteen, but Manfred Mann's Earth Band

Comment: Re:Next! (Score 4, Informative) 103

by clodney (#45848921) Attached to: Unencrypted Windows Crash Reports a Blueprint For Attackers

Several times I have gotten the little popup in the tray of Win7 telling me that there is a fix for an issue that I have had. Usually it takes the form of a driver update or a hotfix.

At one point I worked for a company that used Windows Error Reporting in our app, and MS did indeed route the crash reports to us, which we did debug and generally fix.

Comment: Re:"in a few years" (Score 5, Interesting) 81

by clodney (#44972795) Attached to: Tesco: 3D Printing Will Come To Supermarkets 'Within a Few Years'

No one makes their own clothes, very few people have a computerized sewing machine and buy clothes plans, what makes you think that something more complex and more esoteric is going to catch on like this? Too much sci-fi?

This is an excellent point. 3D printing is a potentially transformative technology that is very much in its infancy. How many things are there that are made out of a single material, or even a small number of materials suitable for 3D printing?

Can you print chips? Capacitors? Can you make a metal latch on a plastic body? Right now I think the answer to all those things is no. 3D printing is great for modelmakers, and some specialty niches, but it is a very long way from replacing any significant manufacturing. And even when it evolves to that point I would be surprised if a capable printer would be something that it would be worthwhile to buy for your home.

Comment: Re:Can Someone Explain To Me The Difference... (Score 1) 259

by clodney (#44566449) Attached to: New York's Financial Regulator Subpoenas Bitcoin Companies

And that is the real problem goverments are having with bitcoin.

The FED doesn't have their say about it or get their cut. The IMF. Whatever the central agency of EU is..

Every country has that one group who is above the law because they control the money.

Bitcoin doesn't have that. Has no place for that. Thats why it'll end up being banned outright eventually. Unless they can figure out how to implant themselves into the bitchains and get their cut. keep control. monitor everything they want. and have their say about it's 'value'.

I really don't think it is that simple.

Admittedly the government can't control the money supply of bitcoins; it is not even clear that that is a good thing. The argument against the gold standard is that it takes monetary policy off the table. But aside from not permitting unlimited issue of bitcoins, what else would be different?

Suppose my employer paid me in bitcoins, and I was able to conduct all of my transactions in bitcoins. OK, my company contracts with ADP to do their payroll, who in turn do direct deposit to my bank. The bank holds my store of bitcoins. When my credit card statement comes, I tell the bank to transfer n.m bitcoins to the credit card company.

The point is, without a significant reworking of the entire financial industry, it doesn't matter what currency is used. ADP still knows how much I get paid (and have you noticed how ADP is cited as a source for unemployement data now, because they process so much of the payroll in the USA?). My bank knows which transactions have been made on my account, and report to the financial regulators in the same way. The credit card company knows what I am buying, just like they already do.

The only way that I see bitcoin making a difference is if the entire things is completely decentralized, taking banks, payroll companies and credit cards out of the picture. And you know what? I think of myself as a privacy geek, and all of that is too much hassle for me. What is going to be the motivation for the average person to completely dismember the financial services industry?

Comment: Re:On the shoulders of giants (Score 5, Insightful) 62

by clodney (#44551861) Attached to: Losing the War Data For Iraq and Afghanistan

The problem is that much of the existing data were collected in an ad hoc manner that reflects the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions.

With each generation the prior generation of technology often looks ad hoc or patched together. Given that these operations happened over a decade ago it's no surprise that the data was handled poorly by today's standards.

I find it hard to believe that anybody is the least surprised by this. Look around your organization. Surely there is some guy down the hall who has taken it upon himself to keep track of something that is not required but that makes his job easier or piques his interest. After awhile people start to realize that he has a list of which customer has been sent which update, something which for some reason is not tracked in the CRM, but is sometimes very useful to have. He faithfully maintains the list for several years, until he moves to a different job. Turns out his successor does not find the information as useful, so stops collecting it. 2 years later it is hopelessly out of date and it gets deleted.

There were *millions* of people involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. That kind of semi-official record keeping had to have happened thousands of times. Suppose I work for a battalion of engineers doing electrical grid repairs. The CO has to make a report to Brigade every month on various metrics. Some staffer compiles the info every month for a Powerpoint. After the tour ends and the CO is no longer reporting to Brigade every month, why would I continue to maintain the data? Who is going to come asking for it? So I delete it. Now repeat that for thousands of records.

Comment: Re:DOJ, pay attention (Score 2) 387

by clodney (#44252659) Attached to: Steve Ballmer Reorganizing Microsoft

Windows isn't done until Lotus won't run.

Expect to see more undocumented syscalls for Office Apps, IE, SQL Server, SMB, etc, etc.

-citation needed-
I have never yet seen any evidence that MS had more than trivial calls to undocumented APIs. Given the siloed nature of the company that is nominally being addressed by this reorganization, you would expect that the Windows group wouldn't cooperate with the Office group, and would not do anything to make life more difficult for ISVs, who after all are what drive much of the adoption of Windows.

Comment: Re:if.. (Score 1) 331

by clodney (#43964235) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Prove an IT Manager Is Incompetent?

you have the ability to assess and IT Manager, it means you must be able to be one yourself...

Not at all. Otherwise no professional sports team would be coached by former minor league players. Management is a distinct skill from any of the technologies used by an organization. That is not to say that someone who has no background in IT is going to be a successful IT manager, but as you go up the ladder the need to be conversant with technologies currently in use becomes less and less important. If that were not true, the implication would be that the CEO would be required to be competent to perform literally any job in the company, since all functions report to the CEO.

One of the hard parts about management is dealing with limited information and knowing how to assess the information you are given. You don't have the time to be an expert, you don't have time to understand the details, so you concentrate on putting together a staff that you do trust.

Comment: Re:rather have money (Score 1) 524

by clodney (#43789203) Attached to: Do Developers Need Free Perks To Thrive?

Honestly I would be fine with a simple we pay nothing until $X, then we pay everything. Somehow that does not seem to be available at all.

That seems completely backwards - you are pushing all of the routine care onto the insurer, and have no coverage at all for the catastrophic events. I would much rather have a typical HDHP - pays basically nothing until $X out of pocket, with that cost blunted by an HSA, and then it pays for everything.

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan