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Comment: Re:Wonder how Elon Musk (Score 1) 262

by mikael (#47681335) Attached to: Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Many of the cities in the Bay Area were originally agricultural. Retirees moved there for the sun, peace and quiet and cheap rents. Then the tech industry started to grow. For every 100,000 square foot office block built, that's 1000 employees who want 4000 square foot lots for their homes. All the land got used up rapidly for roads, homes, offices, schools, hospitals and clinics. And those came at a cost. Retirees suddenly saw their property taxes go up and up to pay for all these services that they didn't use. The cities then get round this by granting permission for a company to build a new campus on the edge of their city, leaving the housing, schools and transportation access to their neighbors. The same retirees opposed high-rise apartment blocks because they lost their sunlight, and MVA (market-value assessment) meant their home was assessed the same value as the six unit triplex block next door. So they brought in a tax Proposition to grandfather in property taxes and block the construction of high rise concrete apartment blocks (also due to earthquake risks).

Comment: Re:how dark can it be on the ISS? (Score 1) 106

by mikael (#47638283) Attached to: Study Finds That Astronauts Are Severely Sleep Deprived

Maybe there are radioactive elements underground as well.

For me, the best the sleeps I had were in a hotel room which had air filtering, blackout curtains and was on the end of the top floor, well away from all the other guests banging and clattering their suitcases through the corridors.

But move to the same kind of room right next to the main hallway, and it was impossible to get a deep sleep, because there was always someone every hour who figured the best way to open a door that opened inwards was to hit it with a large suitcase. The same thing happens if the hotel room has emergency lights that come on whenever the main lights are switched off.

Air flow could be another problem. Even on Earth, sleeping under a lie-in (sloping part of a roof) always gives me a sore head due to the lack of air flow. The CO2 seems to build up. The only way I could stop that, was to sleep directly underneath the skylight window and keep it open. Maybe the shape of the sleeping pods leads to CO2 build up.

Comment: Re:Automation Resistance (Score 1) 228

by mikael (#47632043) Attached to: What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

You are doing bug tracking by hand??? We used to that back in the 1990's. I was given a three day task to sort, reorder, prioirtize about 200 open tickets in a single text file. Wrote a script in six hours to do this automatically, and had the report completed in minutes. Today, we would just use bug-tracking software like Jira

Comment: Re:How much have they spent already? (Score 2) 92

by mikael (#47607149) Attached to: Australia Rebooting Search For MH370

The first things we'd expect to find or see from satellite photographs are bits of wing and tail. The shock of a crash-landing would fracture them off. Then if the fuel tanks were ruptured, those would create oil slicks even if they were underwater. Live vests and seat cushions should also float, as well as bits of trimming from the passenger cabin. Then all sorts of passenger belongings should also float.

So the chances are the pilot aimed for a controlled landing in the ocean. There were witnesses who claimed to see a burning aircraft (from an oil-ring), and another who said they saw an aircraft flying low towards Garcia Diego.

Comment: Re:NIMBY at its finest (Score 1) 409

Samaritan's Purse, the employer of the two patients, is an evangelical missionary outfit run by Franklin Graham. My guess is that at least part of this trip is due to the Democrats not wanting to have to explain to the electorate why they let two of God's Favorites expire in some sweaty jungle hut. If it's really "for study," they could have flown a couple of African victims over months ago.

And yeah, it's a really stupid idea.

Comment: Re: Online in England, maybe (Score 2) 282

by mikael (#47579707) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

Their idea would be that you would use biometrics, SIM cards or ID cards to get access to any internet terminal (smartphone, desktop PC, laptop, netbook or tablet). Anything with a SIM card would have a registered user.

That has been the plan all along. They absolutely hated desktop PC's and laptops because home owners could always "uninstall" whatever spyware they tried putting on the systems. Netbooks, smartphones and tablets are better because they are single chip systems and it's impossible to modify components like storage and batteries even if you have a Torx toolkit. Stick on automatic updates of firmware and applications by wireless access, cameras, microphones and fingerprint readers, and the government basically p0wns these systems.

Comment: Re: Not Just Phones (Score 4, Interesting) 281

My smartphone (Samsung Galaxy II) started running slowly. Even after I removed all the unused apps that I had downloaded, movies and photos, it was still running slow. Then I started looking through every single folder. It seems that the trash-cah wasn't actually emptying, and that there was a directory called ".faces" which seemed to archive every single picture that the AI software thought was a face. After those files were removed, my phone regained it's original speed.

Comment: Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (Score 1) 272

by mikael (#47496273) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Bullcrap? The application developers there deserve to have every ounce of bullcrap that is lying on the field thrown at them before being given a hot jacuzzi in pig swill. Punching a hole in someone's system network firewall, then putting a steel cage and door around that hole so it can't be closed?

I have enough grief with various Linux packages that create their own VPN's, offer "built-in" ftp and email functionality as a "feature". Every time I install something, I have to check to to see whether any new servers listening on network sockets have been set up immediately, as well as see whether there are any daily or weekly crontab settings which do the same.

Comment: Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (Score 1) 272

by mikael (#47486905) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

I guess some people don't forget what Microsoft was doing 20 years ago. They were literally bashing everything and anything. They were bashing UNIX with slogans like "UNIX is legacy, NT is the future". They were doing the same with DirectX vs. OpenGL. Even now they still claim OpenGL is legacy. Then there was the Netscape vs. Internet Explorer war where Microsoft was pre-installing Explorer onto their systems and nothing else. If you wanted to read Email from a server, you needed to have Windows, even it is was a hardware board inside a workstation. If Microsoft announced they were entering a particular niche market, venture capitalists wouldn't fund anyone to enter that market.

Comment: Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (Score 1) 272

by mikael (#47486837) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

I hate that word "dead wood". Anyone who did have a degree, pass the informal interview, the technical tests, and team interview for a company, as well as continue to work in an Agile/Scrum environment isn't a piece of dead wood.

If a company discovers they have extra employees, then it is is usually because two or more products have been merged together, or all the development for one large project has been completed. Maybe they now share the same core libraries or features of one application duplicate another. But what to do then? Nobody is going to stay long at a company if they have relocated 1000+ miles for their dream job (say designing new applications) and then suddenly a month later, a PHB decides they want the most qualified engineer to move onto repairing broken widgets, and optionally advertise the original vacancy several months later because they realize they really do need someone to write new applications. So you need to keep people hanging around until you are sure all the problems have been fixed.

Some companies have internal vacancy lists where a job is advertised internally first. This gave employees a chance to move around if they saw something more interesting. Other companies just keep staff "frozen in place" where the only option is to leave.

The problem for Microsoft is that retraining isn't possible because they want workers who can bring in new ideas. If they had someone to train up someone for that vacancy, the trainer would be the person they are looking for.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"