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Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 102

How is this any different than calling them up and telling them what is broken?

I can answer that. I've had a lot of experience fixing up information flows in public agencies. The difference is in what happens to the information in your call once it's in the hands of the agency. It often falls into an irrationally complex morass of criss-crossing processes. Watching a government or non-profit organization respond to a new piece of information can be like watching an individual pachinko ball drop through the machine's forest of pins, only you can be sure that it will eventually drop into the right slot, the question is will it make it there in time? The morass into which your request falls isn't designed; it has evolved, and chances are nobody has ever had the job of seeing whether what it has evolved into makes any sense -- until a new system is planned.

One way to think about an organization is to compare it to the best organizations of that kind. And the best governmental organizations excel at performing routine tasks. None that I have ever seen excel at reinventing themselves; that takes the introduction of an outside force. It also takes the eyes of an an outsider with a knack for seeing which processes generate value and which processes simply support other processes. That's not always clear. I've had clients, with a simultaneously smug and hopeless air, hand me a fat ream of "critical reports" that a system absolutely had to generate. The first time this happened I was alarmed given my slim budget, but I quickly learned to ask this question: which of these "reports" do you actually use to make decisions with? Inevitably causes the ream of "reports" to slim down to a half dozen or so.

But if the hundred or so other things in that stack aren't things the organization uses to make decisions with, then what are they and why are they produced? Inevitably the answer is that they're produced to carry data from one process to another -- something that a computer system can do without any marginal input of labor. That means that upwards of 90% of the office work can be eliminated.

The result of eliminating that work isn't (as is often feared) that jobs disappear; it's that the organization becomes orders of magnitude more responsive. I've worked with mosquito control agencies that went from sending an inspector out days or weeks after the report of a problem (by which time it is certainly past) to sending out an inspector the same day and if necessary a spray truck that very night. I've worked with non-profits where donations took weeks or months to be deposited go to depositing the check and sending out the thank you letter the very same day. It's not hard to be responsive when you have a system that gets the right information to the right person immediately; it's impossible when your systems take weeks to get you information you need right away.

How do things get that bad? Not because you have bad people. You start with inexperienced people who learn how to do their jobs from the people who came before them; and since nobody has a full view of the entire system they come to see their job as keeping the system running more or less as it has been. That's not because they're bad or stupid; it's the best anyone can do under the circumstances. When there's was a problem in their part of the system the do their best to patch that part so the problem goes away.

Experienced programmers will recognize this anti-pattern; it's called "lava flow". Eventually the system becomes more patch than productive process and the effort to keep it running approaches or exceeds the effort spent on doing things that are intrinsically valuable.

So yes, I absolutely believe installing a system, particular a system with mobile data input, can have a massive impact on a public agency's responsiveness. I've seen it happen repeatedly. Imagine you're in charge of dispatching workers to deal with problems, but all you have for information is a half dozen printed spreadsheets some of which have no data that is newer than a month old. Now imagine the difference if you can pull up a map of any kind of complaint -- abandoned car, pothole, litter, dead animal -- and the data is current as of a few minutes ago. You can now send your road patching crew out to that cluster of potholes; your animal control officer goes straight to where there were reports of strays today rather than weeks ago. Just in time saved criss crossing the city, often in vain, is a massive force multiplier.

Comment Re:US to be Blamed (Score 1) 264

Oh sure, but if you look at it the Democrats have always been sucking the Entertainment Industry's cock more than the Republicans have. Republicans deregulate the banking industry, Democrats push copyright extensions. Still looking for a party that wants to regulate the banking industry and shorten copyright duration. *shrug*.

Comment Re:That's one way to do it (Score 1) 202

Ask a Mom or Joe six pack which he uses Facebook more on? The answer is their phone followed by an ipad.

Better graphics, battery life, starts instantly etc. MS has to make the surface and surface laptop which has ssds, thin, boots quick, has 200 dpi, and modern chips are more power efficient.

Sorry phones are innovation. PC is mainframe and lame for the users.

Comment Re:That's one way to do it (Score 2) 202

The faster based on specs fuel innovation is looking at it thru a 1990s glasses. PC makers don't get it.

What is innovation? Apps that do new things, smaller, power efficient, shareable work flows, cloud integrated, high dpi, more mobile, better asthetics, etc

Compared to phones pcs suck!! 100 dpi in 2015 wtf . Bulky plastic, mechanical disks, etc

Office 2016 you quote? HUGE upgrade. Shared editing in real time with integrated Skype and chat is sweet for college students and groups. You can write a paper in real time and see others writting while having a video conversation. Functions are now searchable too. Yes Google Docs ripoff. :-)

I own a surface 3 pro which slashdot tees LOVE to bash as the coming of the anti christ with systemD as it's prophet. Truth be told it is night and day compared to a bulky core laptop with battery life and boot up time thanks to ssd and efi booting. Metro actually works. Lenovo yoga, HP convertables, and surface pro rock.

Comment Re:No. It won't be (Score 1) 144

I had a 4 processor ARM workstastion with NT. it was the most unstable piece of shit ever made. Windows NT for ARM was so half assed it barely ran, but it had an advantage, it was mostly hacker proof and served as a gateway to our SCADA system back then. Virus proof, hacker proof for the most part as the only break in we had they kept trying to run X86 executables on it. after that we used a single direction ethernet cable to make it completely hacker proof. Yes, 100% hacker proof. the best hackers on the planet can not defeat the security of a unidirectional ethernet cable. (RX wires snipped, TX only and all data sent to the office systems was UDB broadcast.)

Comment Re:No. It won't be (Score 1) 144

And nobody will buy them. There is a buttload of cheap china windows 8 surface tablet clone out there that are cheap, and they run linux very well and easily. so nobody in their right mind would buy a arm based android tablet. you want to stick with something that is far morepower and power sippy like what all the current android tablets use.

Comment Re:computing device performs optimization for user (Score 1) 290

Saw an analysis the other day that boiled down to:

Site with ads: 5.5mb
Same site without ads: 50k

Yes, 90% of the bandwidth was used by ads. This was for some major newspaper or magazine on the order of Business Week, not a site that exists solely to serve content-free advertising.

How is this fair to people who pay by the byte? I've seen phone data usage rates as high as $100/GB!!! and even if you're paying a more reasonable $5 or $10 per GB... it adds up fast. I've found that just for ordinary browsing on my PC, I can easily use as much as 1GB/day even without visiting YouTube.

Methinks it's time to start metering and billing advertisers who consume bandwidth that users have to pay for. Surely someone can code a phone app to do this.

My computer can beat up your computer. - Karl Lehenbauer