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Comment Requirements (Score 1) 430 430

Programmers, some of them at least can write programs. Deploying a solution requires more. Architecture, human resource management, scheduling, testing, triage, review, marketing and documentation user support and product management, for example. There are reasons there are such specialisations. Business Cases and Functional Requirements should provide use cases or stories, which inform your testing and provides the skeleton of your user manual. You do start a project/phase/update/maintenance by understanding the requirements, right? You accept the output by validating it against the original impetus. And then you describe it in something of a narrative. Whether you sprint, spiral or fall over water, this works.

Comment Herd Immunity (Score 1) 84 84

I have worked in ICT ops & triage in the richest countries and the poorest. Without doubt the higher malware rate is a function of a lower standard of systems configuration and maintenance. It has nothing to do with the capital cost of the systems and everything to do with the availibility / cost of skilled administration. This scarcity means that functionally, the herd immunity threshold for malware in the localised information ecology is rarely crossed. As in epidemiology generally, different localised conditions favour different transmission profiles. So for example in less developed locations USB memory sticks are the most common infection vector, as telecoms are less accessible. The prevalance viruses and malware in LDCs is akin to the global Windows server ecology in the late 1990s, or home PCs of the late 1980s. In these two historical examples different vectors flourished as a function of the immaturity of configurations and configurers with respect to the threat.

Comment Re:LAMP (Score 1) 141 141

Just build yourself a LAMP setup, with workers feeding a database, and web GUI to access/update. Sync data from other sources into that, to provide a single converged view of whatever item (customer, router, location, network link...whatever). (Don't forget copious use of memcache btw)

Trust me....this works really well and scales to millions of customers :-)

Yes, like an MS Access database.

Input Devices

Why Are Digital Hearing Aids So Expensive? 727 727

sglines writes "Over the last couple of years I've been slowly getting deaf. Too much loud rock and roll I suppose. After flubbing a couple of job interviews because I couldn't understand my inquisitors, I had a hearing test which confirmed what I already knew: I'm deaf. So I tried on a set of behind-the-ear hearing aids. Wow, my keyboard makes clacks as I type and my wife doesn't mumble to herself. Then I asked how much: $3,700 for the pair. Hey, I'm unemployed. The cheapest digital hearing aids they had were $1,200 each. If you look at the specs they are not very impressive. A digital hearing aid has a low-power A-to-D converter. Output consists of D-to-A conversion with volume passing through an equalizer that inversely matches your hearing loss. Most hearing loss, mine included, is frequency dependent, so an equalizer does wonders. The 'cheap' hearing aids had only four channels while the high-end one had twelve. My 1970 amplifier had more than that. I suppose they have some kind of noise reduction circuitry, too, but that's pretty much it. So my question is this: when I can get a very good netbook computer for under $400 why do I need to pay $1,200 per ear for a hearing aid? Alternatives would be welcome."

"Gigantic Jets" Blast Electricity Into the Ionosphere 168 168

New Scientist has an update on the so-called "gigantic jets" first discovered in 2003 — these are lightning bolts that reach from cloud tops upward into the ionosphere, as high as 90 kilometers. (There's a video at the link.) What's new is that researchers from Duke University have managed to measure the electrical discharge from a gigantic jet and confirm that they carry as much energy skyward as ordinary lightning strikes carry to the ground. According to the article, "Gigantic jets are one of a host of new atmospheric phenomena discovered in recent years. Other examples are sprites and blue jets."

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