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Comment: Bet their code sucks (Score 1) 562

by nicolaiplum (#41979219) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: AT&T's Data Usage Definition Proprietary?

Telco billing platforms are well-known to be shoddy and inaccurate, both because this is a hard problem to get right and because the engineering quality is low. I have personally worked on several that I know gave wildly inaccurate bills to some customerrs (high or low - I referred to this as our "double or quits" feature).
So I am confident that part or all of AT&T's reticence is because they do not want it to be known how low the accuracy and quality of their billing platform is.

Comment: Wear good casual (Score 1) 432

by nicolaiplum (#40844987) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is There a Professional Geek Dress Code?

My attitude to this is to wear interesting T-shirts (complex attractive design or image, or attractive band logo, or amusing slogan, or so on, but not offensive) in good condition, newer good-condition black jeans (always looks smarter than blue), and smart shoes. I've never been poorly groomed, but I have not become worse groomed either.
This puts me in the category of people who dress casually, but care.

Another way is to mix some more or less formal clothing, such as very good shoes with casual jeans and shirt, or wear an over-shirt open if that fits your image, or so on.

Comment: Google Maps on iPad still behind (Score 1) 197

by nicolaiplum (#40796639) Attached to: Google Outs 3D Maps For iOS Ahead of Apple

Yet Google Maps on iPad doesn't even have a distance measure, nor support offline map fragments (even as uselessly as Android). It also doesn't look vector-based yet, it's still tile-based. Google really have some catching up to do, and shouldn't be focusing just on minority new features for Google Earth.

Comment: What about the people next to the road (Score 1) 402

by nicolaiplum (#39665619) Attached to: Audi Gives Silent Electric Car Synthetic Sound

What about the people who live next to a road? Or people walking along a separated pavement (sidewalk to the Americans) next to a road? Quieter cars benefit them all - in fact the reason we have maximum noise restrictions on cars at all is to reduce noise pollution to others.

Why should we require noise pollution?

Is this going to be some attempt to legislate that urban areas have as much vehicle noise in future, as they do today and no less?

Comment: CEO organisation leadership fail (Score 1) 82

by nicolaiplum (#33558882) Attached to: Salesforce Uses Chatter To Monitor Employees

If you are the CEO of a company and there is an inner circle of influential employees driving your business and you do not know about them you are not doing your job as CEO.

It is completely reasonable and often a good idea to have an inner circle of high-ability influential employees to drive your business (see, for example, Good to Great, J Collins). It is entirely incompetent of the CEO to not know who they are and not to be using them to build a successful enterprise.

Comment: They didn't aim it at Sharepoint (Score 1) 350

by nicolaiplum (#33156224) Attached to: Why Wave Failed

Wave did not take off because there were no Wave servers worth a damn that weren't Google.
Wave protocol is a Sharepoint killer. It's not a new cool social medium, it's a workgroup and corporate information sharing system.
And I want to kill Sharepoint, because the stupid thing only works with Windows.
Many organisations do not want, or cannot, share their information with Google. Google doesn't even use any translucent database techniques to help users keep their data private. Google being a Wave server is useful for some public publishing, but there must be your own private Wave server for Wave to be usable by most of the target market. The target market is the market of Sharepoint, larger organisations who are always more careful with their data.
So Google's error was not to make something noone wanted. It was to make something none of the interested people could use, because they did not release a free Wave server to use inside your organisation.
They will make the same mistake, of assuming people will share their data when they won't, again in future.

And I really don't care that people, usually from Google, say that Google can be trusted not to read users' data. That's not relevant; they can be compelled to reveal it to random other authorities without the users' knowledge or consent, and if anything like that does happen, they don't give any information out as a matter of policy.

GNU is Not Unix

Software Freedom Conservancy Wins GPL Case Against Westinghouse 225

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the do-the-dance-of-joy dept.
fishthegeek writes "The Software Freedom Conservancy has received a judgement against Westinghouse Digital Electronics for $90,000 in damages, $50,000 in costs plus a donation of all of the offending HDTV's that were using BusyBox in violation of the GPL. Given that WDE is nearly bankrupt it's likely that most if not all of the cash will disappear in a legal 'poof,' but it is a victory regardless."
Hardware Hacking

Mobile Medical Lab — the $10 Phone Microscope 54

Posted by timothy
from the repurposing dept.
kkleiner writes "Aydogan Ozcan of UCLA has developed a microscope attachment for a cell phone – turning the device into a sort of mobile medical lab. It's both lightweight (~38g or 1.5 oz) and cheap (parts cost around $10). The cellphone microscope can analyze blood and saliva samples for microparticles, red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and water borne parasites. Ozcan and his team have recently won three prestigious awards for the device: a Grand Challenges award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (worth $100,000), the National Geographic Emerging Explorer award (worth $10,000), and the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation ($400,000). With these funds, Ozcan plans on starting case studies in Africa to see how the microscope can help revolutionize global medicine."

Ubuntu Will Switch To Base-10 File Size Units In Future Release 984

Posted by Soulskill
from the stay-above-the-belt dept.
CyberDragon777 writes "Ubuntu's future 10.10 operating system is going to make a small, but contentious change to how file sizes are represented. Like most other operating systems using binary prefixes, Ubuntu currently represents 1 kB (kilobyte) as 1024 bytes (base-2). But starting with 10.10, a switch to SI prefixes (base-10) will denote 1 kB as 1000 bytes, 1 MB as 1000 kB, 1 GB as 1000 MB, and so on."
XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Posted by Soulskill
from the by-reading-this-you-bequeath-me-all-your-possessions dept.
Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."

Comment: Business problem, not tech problem (Score 2, Insightful) 362

by nicolaiplum (#29408007) Attached to: eBay Denies New Design Is Broken, Blames Users

This is not a technology problem. This is a business problem. If you are running a shopfront, online or offline, in a competitive marketplace, you need to make it as accessible as possible to all the customers you want. For eBay, that is "everyone" (for a hot-dog stand, it is also "everyone"; for a Rolex dealer, it's only people who can afford a Rolex). The higher you make the barrier to entry, the fewer customers you will have.
Now if you're a person wanting a partner to sell your stuff with, do you want the stupid partner, or the smart one?
If you're a customer wanting to buy, do you use the easy website that works, or the one that doesn't work right? What incentive is there for you to use the hard-to-use site?
eBay thinks they have incentives (product range, large base of existing users, etc) to overcome these things. They may be right. They could be wrong. It's their business choice to make it work less well for some people. If they are unable to make it both work better for some people and well enough for others, they may have a serious business problem; if they choose to make it better for some people and worse for others, that's a courageous business choice. If it makes them, or their sellers, less money, it's stupid.

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354