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Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 1) 293

by drstevep (#48663151) Attached to: Hotel Group Asks FCC For Permission To Block Some Outside Wi-Fi
You obviously have never traveled on business. Most business travel for most of the business travelers I know works like this:
  • Pick a hotel chain that has points and is within the company's budget (that is, how much you can bill to the client).
  • Stick with that hotel chain forever and accumulate points to your personal account.
  • Use the points for your vacations.

We bill out the cost for our consultants. As long as the client is paying and it is within the contract budget, everyone is happy. And all of the hotels cost about the same, kind of like all of the gas stations at a corner costing the same. For company-supported travel, we establish a budget (yes, we are reasonable, we like to keep our employees happy) and go from there.

Comment: Re:Beards and suspenders. (Score 1) 637

by drstevep (#47619393) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?
Eww Octal??? My gosh, the PDP-11 is the purest of the pure! It is the excuse, the reason for Octal to exist!

Kiddies who haven't experienced the PDP-11, go find a primer on it. Learn its assembly code. Learn its addressing. Learn the octal form of its instructions. And you will be enlightened.

Comment: Re:Good luck with that. (Score 5, Funny) 317

by drstevep (#47565723) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive
Yeah yeah, I do it all the time. My car is my primary CD ripping device.

I take my CD out, rip it, then disassemble the car's audio system and pull the hard drive. Take it to my home computer and upload the files.

Piece'o'cake, why do you think I bought my car, anyway? Driving? Hahahahahahahaha.....

Comment: Arduino! (Score 1) 372

by drstevep (#47521475) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'
Pick up an Arduino and start playing. It's like a return to the 70s or early 80s. A simple, clean environment. An incredibly large number of frobs. Interface libraries and code is FREELY available by the ton. And you see a problem, you piece together sensors and effectors, and you solve it. Then you give the code away.

For me, a breath of fresh air.

Comment: Re:Almost as retarded as patenting 2 primes ! (Score 4, Informative) 264

Did you seriously read the patent? The patent is using the numbers in one of the claims as part of a mechanism. Schalfly is not patenting the numbers, just their use in a particular process. He is patenting the process, which involves using a designated set of primes to perform iterative calculations to compute "partial modular reduction of cryptographic variables."

The concept (using a designated something as a component in a patented invention) was the same in patent number 1. In this patent, gears and cogs were used to improve the efficiency of locomotives going up hills. What was patented was using gears and cogs in a particular configuration to accomplish a goal. Gears and cogs were not patented. The construction was patented.

The same thing here. The primes are not patented. You are free to use them however you want, as long as you do not use them in this particular machine to compute "partial reduciton[s] of cryptographic variables." Go ahead, use them as seeds in the dice roll generator for your RPG. Use them as dimensions of your mansion's living room. Print them out and use the paper to light a fire. You're allowed.

Comment: Re:Ivy League = theroy loaded classes with skill g (Score 1) 197

by drstevep (#46442707) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Online, Free Equivalent To a CompSci BS?
...until you have to write a truly complex system. Then, knowledge of correctness, algorithmic complexity, graph theory, functional and operational paradigms, etc., will separate the low end code generators from the people who actually design and build the system.

The skills you need are related to how to think about the system, find an appropriate approach to designing and implementing the solution, and being able to demonstrate that it is effective. Putting it into a language is a last step.

I can't tell you HOW MANY TIMES I've run into people who think they know how to build a system because they know a tool. And they are fine, until I ask them about timing and randomness, data complexity, parallelizing on a massive scale, and so on. And then I have to explain the CONCEPTS so they'll even begin to understand the questions I'm asking.

Learn the WHY of what's going on. You can always pick up a tool.

Comment: Re:rsync -- look at Unison! (Score 5, Interesting) 168

by drstevep (#46197641) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Distributed Online Storage For Families?
Rsync is a one-way synchronization. Check out Unison; it readily performs a bidirectional merge. You might have to do a little compiling, but hey, isn't that what the Family Geek is for?

I've been using Unison to sync a pair of Synology boxes that act as my cloud. (One in my office, one at home, each with a RAID-1 array.) I've also gotten it running on a pair of DLink DNS-323 boxes (yes, also RAID-1'ed). The Synology has cloud software; might be a good choice if you want to invest in a cheap small light unobtrusive (Linux) NFS/cloud/music server/etc box.

Comment: What makes a good manager? (Score 2) 249

by drstevep (#45850639) Attached to: Do Non-Technical Managers Add Value?
A good manager keeps invasive outsiders away and makes sure that the workers have what they need.

Bidirectionally, this means understanding (of the needs of each group) and communication (both listening and answering). To the outsider, this means understanding their issues and communicating meaningful replies in terms they understand. It means making appropriate requests and supporting the requests using concepts that the outsiders understand. To the insider, this means understanding their needs and being able to re-frame them in a business sense (for the outsider). It means being able to answer why the insider can't have everything. It means being able to explain business needs and how the technology can meet it. Within the team, it means managing the dynamics of the group without being a babysitter or kindergarten teacher.

A business-oriented person who understands the implications of the technology can make as good a manager as a technical person with a strong understanding of the business needs. The most critical factor is the ability to translate and communicate.

Comment: TSA-quality thinking (Score 2) 349

This is exactly the level of thinking the TSA uses to design its so-called security protocols. Figure out what was done. Design something that looks like you are looking at it. Then do it.

Meanwhile, terrorists move ahead to different protocols, different targets. Such as (as has been written), using Google Mail and cross-editing mail drafts to pass information. The drafts are never sent. They are an ongoing, live document. Let me repeat, the drafts are never sent. No emails are generated.

So all that we are left with is a bloated, monstrous governmental organization that monitors the citizenry but not the terrorists. And justifies its own existence and growing expense.

Life by fear.

Comment: Data caps aren't about data caps (Score 2) 568

by drstevep (#45222063) Attached to: Top US Lobbyist Wants Broadband Data Caps
Data caps are about charging for what is popular.

No company has ever really demonstrated a shortage of cell phone minutes, text bandwidth, connection count, data [bandwidth latency voluume]. The companies have only demonstrated a need to maximize revenue based upon what was in vogue.

In the early cell phone days, it was "minutes". Suddenly, minutes became cheap to unlimited (especially as a marketing tool: "friends and family", etc.) and we moved to extensive charge-by-the-text-message. Now, phones are more versatile as data engines (pictures, streaming music/video, GPS, etc.) and we are offered unlimited text and voice, with caps on the things we use the most. Excuse me, extensive charges.

Mostly in the major providers. At the same time they boast of the best and fastest and most capable networks. "We have the most but you can't use it."

Same thing with the home data providers (internet providers). Capacity grows beyond use, perceived need/use increases, and now we are seeing the two financial vampires appear: data caps and bandwidth limitations (no network neutrality).

There is no shortage. This is not a supply-and-demand curve model. This is a monopoly-and-demand model. With limited suppliers acting in an unstated collusion, we have the movement towards pricing models that focus on today's usage patterns. "Last year we drummed up the demand by offering unlimited data, now you want it so we're going to create an artificial scarcity and charge you for it."

Sadly, as monopolistic as these services are, they are not treated as utilities. They should be. A quarter-century ago they were a nicety. Now they are an essential part of the functioning/growing society/economy, and should be treated accordingly. Doing so would increase stability, access, and overall functionality.

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