Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:libelous and defamatory...bla bla, but is it tr (Score 1) 142

Roughly the same as the US, with detail differences. In both countries you can sue anyone for anything and tie them up in litigation. One province and a few states have explicit SLAPP statutes, and sharp judges will hit frivolous suits with costs against.

Comment Re:Uh, okay (Score 1) 142

Wikipedia is highly opinionated in the earlier paragraphs, and it sounds like the commentator is actually talking about the UK. As noted later, the person suing had to prove you said something defamatory (positive onus) and your defences are justification (the truth, same as the US), fair comment, responsible communication, privilege and innocent dissemination.

Trust CanLII over Wikipedia (;-))


Comment Conflict of laws (Score 1) 195

Besides financial issues, there are ownership problams and legal penalties to worry about.

it's perfectly plausible that at least the Irish courts will find that Microsoft doesn't own the customer's data, but merely controls it. Under that interpretation, they have a legal responsibility to protect it. In US judgements thus far, they're the owners and can use it for anything they feel like, but can also be ordered by a court to produce it.

They really want the US courts to say they don't have to produce it because it belongs to Ireland in some way. They definitely don't want the US courts to say they are holding customer's data and have limitations on what they can use it for.

Conflict of laws is a fun problem for a lawyer, and can produce lots of billable hours. It's much less fun for a client, and double-plus ungood for an importer, exporter or multinational. It's perfectly possible for a client to be required by law to do two contradictory things in two different countries while they wait for the courts to sort it out, and be fined by either or both courts for every day they obey the other.


Comment Re:Simplify the problem, use a metrics based appro (Score 1) 64

Convert your metrics into time units so you can say something like "I need 6 CPU/S per 100 users at nor more that 80% utilization" . The math is less weird than trying to work in percentages of something you're going to replace with a CPU that's 12% faster (;-))

Comment For anything expen$sive, we use TQ (Score 5, Interesting) 64

I used to work for the (late, lamented) Sun Microsystems, and when we needed to give a credible answer to a price-sensitive customer, we used Teamquest Model. It pulls time-based info out of production-systems stats, so it doesn't add to the load, and then off-line does a classic queuing-system model of the system, working all in time units. That then allows the customer (really meaning me!) to ask what to expect from some specific configuration, and compare different systems for their price-performance tradeoffs.

For common setups, we have spreadsheets based on what Model said, so the salespeople typically don't know there's a cool mathematical model behind the scenes (;-)) That's probably true of other vendors who use TQ models: it runs on anything modern, so lots of vendors use it.

I have nothing to do with the company: they just allowed me to save $1.2 million once for a new datacenter, so I'm really really impressed by them.


Comment It takes four magic words in the first sentence (Score 2) 479

Hi, I'm an enraged customer, I'd like to speak to your escalations manager.

It helps to say that in the kindest possible tone, too.

"Escalation manager" is the normal term for someone who talks to "enraged customers". It may or may not be what your ISP uses, but the two phrases in the same sentence tend to get you to the right manager.

Did escalations for a while at Sun, some of the problems were real fun. Others weren't.

Comment Re:"stealing just like stealing anything else" (Score 1) 408

Imagine if a company in Virginia had, in their terms and conditions, a line prohibiting a citizen of Massachusetts from purchasing their product or service? One requiring they buy it from a specified licencee in Mass?

Can you say "criminal conspiracy in restraint of trade" ?

Comment Epic fail: someone always matches (Score 2, Interesting) 129

This scheme will work for one branch in Lesser Nowhere, Sechwan Province, with a finite and small set of pictures, and a small number of crooks. Once the number of faces increases, the probability of a false positive explodes, roughly as (N 2) (select every two out of N), where N is the size of the pools of pictures + the person being scanned.

The well-known example is the "birthday paradox", in which twenty-three people at a party increases the probability of two of them having the same birthday to fifty-fifty. That particular case was because the actual probability was multiplied by (25 2) = 25! / ((25-2)! * 2!) = 6900 comparisons being made, times 1/365 chances of a hit.

The German federal security service considered using one of my then employer's recognizers for airports to catch terrorists, but ended up facing the problem of accusing grandma of being part of the Bader-Meinhoff gang (;-)) No matter how accurate we were, a few more people in the pool would give us false positives. We'd need roughly an accuracy of 99.9 followed by roughly as many decimal places of 9s as there were powers of ten of people.


Comment many recruiters are hired off the street (Score 1) 227

A sister company did recruiting, and a then colleague said "I asked for a MVS and Unix person in a particular state with experience in a package", and got hundreds of names, none of whom knew all those things". The didn't know the difference between "and" (3 candidates) and "or" (3000 unqualified candidates). I still get requests for things I only ever did once, with co-requisites of things I've never done...

Nonsense. Space is blue and birds fly through it. -- Heisenberg