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Comment: The biggest problem... (Score 2) 306

by goathumper (#46812729) Attached to: Our Education System Is Failing IT

Are the business leaders and their "collusion" with the vendors. It's all too easy to require new IT talent to be "Cisco-certified" or Java-certified or this-or-that certified. Think about it. Cisco wants their certified engineers to be "recipe-followers". If they run into a brick wall, they're supposed to run home to mama so the business can buy Cisco support time and contracts. Likewise, the business doesn't want to risk it with someone who isn't Cisco-certified because that gives Cisco an out in case things go wrong (i.e. "your guy messed with something he shouldn't have messed with, covered in clause 32-a-X-35-b-VII-(x$^32) in the support contract, written in 2 point Arial font in white ink. Pay us more or fuck off.").

The same principle applies to other technological areas. I'm not defending them, simply pointing out their (twisted, so-so far gone) logic. It's about risk management and having someone to blame (or sue). That's what the suits care about. It's the single, solitary reason M$ was never in any real danger from Linux on the desktop - corporate IT departments were NEVER going to move away from being able to point the finger at Redmond when shit went down. It's all about self-preservation, really.

Remember that in business (moreso in BIG business), the higher up you are, the more important it is to cover your ass, over being good at your job.

Comment: Two things to note (Score 1) 582

by goathumper (#46761365) Attached to: How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

"Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" has proven true time and again. The key point in the phrase is "enough eyeballs". In this particular case, the affected software was OpenSSL. Let's examine that for a second.

OpenSSL is a cryptography library. Cryptography is, by definition, a very "exclusive" field of development due to the complex mathematics and rigorous rules that have to be followed in order to successfully contribute. It then follows that the audience that is both capable and willing to contribute to the project is very, very small in relation to the audiences readily available to other projects such as Apache Tomcat or GNOME.

This is where the "enough eyeballs" comes into play: clearly, for the longest time, there weren't enough. The reason is understandable and explained in the above paragraph - the vast majority of software developers out there are probably not able to contribute meaningfully to a project such as OpenSSL.

However, and echoing on other comments that have already been posted, the good news is that because it was open source the vulnerability was detected and corrected. Had it been closed-source it might never have been found - let alone acknowledged or even fixed. I'll take that over a walled garden any day of the week and twice on Sunday. That - to me, at least - reinforces the argument that open-source is safer and more secure than closed-source, not the other way around as some would like to believe. This is by the simple fact that larger number of eyeballs can be brought to bear on a piece of software in order to eventually shallow out the bugs.

How many closed-source companies are willing to make that level of investment in their software quality if they can still be profitable without having to do it? Further still, what if making that investment would bring profitability into question? Would they still make the investment? I think not...

Comment: Prior Art (Score 1) 160

by goathumper (#46631083) Attached to: Apple Patent Could Herald Interchangeable iPhone Camera Lenses
Would the concept modular phone that was floating around some months ago constitute prior art? I remember it had just such a concept. It should at least be proof of non-originality (not that this would really matter legally speaking, unless it's actual prior art). How would this be affected by the recent patent changes where it's now "first to file" vs. "first to describe"?

Comment: SteamBox (Score 5, Insightful) 107

This has nothing to do with competing with Mantle or even improving the DirectX technology stack. The target here is the Steam Box, and Linux+OpenGL to a lesser extent. M$ can't afford to let the Steam box become the dominant PC gaming platform (or at least a major player) as it's threatening to become. The news that Linux+OpenGL could run some Source games much faster than Windows with lesser hardware did not sit well in Redmond, and this is their response.

Comment: Re:The best defense... (Score 1) 622

You're right, but that's all the more reason to go public. The establishment can only crush "vermin" (in their eyes) when it's anonymous or unknown (i.e. one more brick in the wall). That would be the strategy: remove yourself as a target by making it too costly to come after you. There is nothing politicians despise more than bad PR.

Comment: The best defense... (Score 5, Insightful) 622

At this point, the best defense is a good offense. They know by now their identities are compromised to their employer, so whatever they said that could be construed to be negative against the TSA will be used against them. Otherwise, it's just a waiting game to find out how much harassment and attrition will be leveled against them to force them to resign, if not downright fire them.

Except if they go public with it. In unison. Loudly. Right now.

Turn the tables. Then again, that approach will be heavily dependent on how the media will cover it, and what the spinsters have to say. Yes - there are risks. Yes - these are probably people with families and commitments and responsibilities that would be at risk. Then again, as of this raid, they already are.

In my mind, this was a stupid move by the establishment. The whistleblowers now have nothing to lose. Absolutely nothing.

Comment: Re:Is it just a bad idea? (Score 1) 403

by goathumper (#40030327) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Outsourcing Development a Good Idea?

I neglected to complete my comment - sorry! When I said "where the outfit is from", generally speaking: India and Pakistan are usually the cheapest, but have the most serious quality issues - they tend to say "yes" to everything, but in my experience they consistently under-perform and under-deliver to the point that the work has to be done all over again by qualified workers "elsewhere". Again - I'm not saying that's how ALL the Indian/Pakistani shops are, just the (many) ones I've dealt with over time have all fit that pattern.

Comment: Re:Is it just a bad idea? (Score 1) 403

by goathumper (#40030261) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Outsourcing Development a Good Idea?

I wholeheartedly disagree. It depends strictly on where the outfit is from and how competent an outfit they are to begin with. The problem with the selection of outsourcing options is that most of the time, the decision makers focus on cost more than on quality (because it's more expensive).

A band of idiots will do a crappy job regardless of where they're from - homegrown or foreign. The difference lies in selecting the band of non-idiots to do the job to begin with. You'll find that things go much smoother then. Then again, the non-idiots are less cheap and sometimes that can be a turn-off for decision makers who are more focused on the bottom line than on the quality of the work.

Comment: Tablets themselves (Score 1) 210

by goathumper (#39159401) Attached to: Your Next TV Interface Will Be a Tablet

The tablets themselves as first screens should be the most disruptive of all. The ability to stream TV shows live onto your tablet while you relax outside on the porch would be tantamount to having your cake and eating it too. No more having to plan a living room around a TV: except for those larger events like the superbowl, or for the movie freaks who like to have a home theater setup for a "movie experience". However, those are "specialized applications" of the television signal - for the "base application" of the tv signal, display on a tablet would be good enough for most use cases methinks.

Comment: Re:10 years ago... (Score 2) 134

The interesting thing is that the whole system had been proposed and led by doctors. They knew the benefits and seemed to actively want them. Perhaps most crucially: the system didn't take doctors out of the loop - humans could still override the computer's warnings/indications/whatnot as necessary (obviously this would be well-audited).

I agree that the risk of replacing humans with technology is still there. And yes - hacks are always possible as long as humans are in the mix of creating the computerized system. However, even if it lowers the number of fatalities due to PAEs by half, it would be a huge win money-wise for insurance companies, etc. (which begs the question: why hasn't it been done on that basis alone? We all know ca$h makes the world go round...) - despite the risk of hacks or tampering.

Just sayin'... maybe we should build a F/LOSS platform for this so that it can be widely audited and its quality can be more transparently verified... volunteers?

Comment: 10 years ago... (Score 5, Interesting) 134

I worked on a hospital system 11 years ago that would provide this sort of cross-referencing functionality. It always baffled me why their use wasn't widespread. Back then there were (evidently) no smartphones, etc, so the whole idea of having barcodes on patients' wrists was revolutionary, as was the concept of having computer systems perform the drug-to-pathology matching and medication interactions analyses.

From what I learned working on that project, this sort of system can lower the costs of operation, staffing, and evidently lower risk inside a hospital. Does anyone out there know why they've not seen widespread adoption (besides the "obvious" tin-foil hat doctor-nurse-conspiracy theories)?

Comment: Sounds to me... (Score 1) 202

by goathumper (#39074835) Attached to: Google Accused of Bypassing Safari's Privacy Controls

This sounds to me more like a defect in Safari's cookie handling than a problem on Google's part. Sure it's a dicey practice anyway to overtly try to circumvent those security and privacy features, but if the browser in question had implemented them properly in the first place this would be a non-issue.

Comment: Re:and where is exactly the problem? (Score 1) 915

by goathumper (#39006985) Attached to: Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet

Had God wanted me to be follow a set of rules to the letter without question or hesitation, he wouldn't have given me the use of reason or, at least, would have severely restricted it. The alternative is that I was given it, but the giver was unable restrict it it, in which case - why call him God and thus why follow "him"?

It follows then that if he does exist and gave me the unrestricted use of reason, clearly it wasn't with the intent that I forego or restrict its use.

If that's not the case, then the only remaining possibility is that God doesn't exist, in which case reason is all I have.

Therefore, religion (theology in general) has no place in my life, and although I respect others' rights to live and believe as they choose, I also believe it should have no place in anyone else's lives either. It breeds nothing but regression, ignorance and hostility.

So let's kill all the religious-types we come across until we've converted everyone to follow only the use of reason!

Comment: Protection film (Score 2) 514

by goathumper (#38386126) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Protecting Tech Gear From Smash-and-Grab Theft?

Where I live, there was a rash of smash'n'grab jobs (primarily against women) in traffic jams. Thieves would drive up on a motorcycle, hammer the window, and grab the purse on the seat. Since the victim was on a traffic jam, the bike could get away rather easily while the victim was helpless.

As a result, a vendor began importing film that can be applied to car windows to protect against such smash jobs. The film doesn't keep the glass from breaking, but instead keeps holding it together making it very very hard to actually make it PAST the glass in a short amount of time. Thus, the effect of the "smash" part of the operation is broken: smashing the glass is not enough to make it past it. And obviously you're concerned about protecting the data and the time and effort lost if the laptop is stolen, so an investment in this sort of passive protection system might be warranted - even if you throw in the price of a new (set of) window(s).

This is an example of just such a technology. I'm sure there are others and more than likely at a better price. The flipside is that in the event of an accident, it might increase the chances of injury (just a guess), or delay emergency personnel from prying your damaged laptop from your cold, dead fingers.

What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do.