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Comment: Re:Database? (Score 2) 371

by packrat0x (#47697039) Attached to: Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

Very few software developers would be considered engineers - calling yourself one doesn't make it so. There is an element of rigor required in engineering that is typically missing in software development. Would you want the same level of competence that you find in Adobe Reader or Internet Explorer surface in a suspension bridge you're crossing or a skyscraper that you work in?

I see the same level of competence in first model year cars, as you see in Adobe Reader or Internet Explorer. And it is for the same reasons: Add these features. Get it out the door by ship date. We''ll fix the problems next year.

Comment: Re:Has this person ever read Slashdot? (Score 1) 299

by packrat0x (#47667127) Attached to: Writer: Internet Comments Belong On Personal Blogs, Not News Sites

This seems to hold true for most broad-interest sites like newspapers and magazines where comments can be downright awful, as opposed to sites like Slashdot with a self-selected and somewhat homogeneous audience.

If you read Slashdot at -1, you'll see plenty of horrid comments. Heck, people can be quite rude in +5 posts, although usually not both rude and stupid. Slashdot isn't helped by being self-selected or homogenous; it's helped by heavy moderation, both by users and by admins. Newspapers and magazines seem to leave their commenters to their own devices more. Rather than modding down the trolls, people reply to try to debunk them.

I normally read slashdot (well, skim) at -1, and the comments here are relatively decent. It really helps that I can browse as a single webpage. Compare slashdot to "news" sites, where the "noise" overwhelms the signal. And since slashdot has (had?) a reputation for tech articles, many of the commenters know how to type.

Comment: Re:over/under (Score 1) 218

by packrat0x (#47591745) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval

It's a conundrum-type problem, trying to find the sweet spot. You basically need to decide if the over-burden of regulation is going to cost more than what you are preventing. And that's if you're a corporation. If you're a government trying to please the public, you have a mess of moralists who don't care about economics and demand 100% perfection which requires a lot of rules and almost always costs more than accepting 5% graft.

Here in the United States, the cut-off is approximately 15% graft. I suspect this may be from the high costs of auditing and investigation quickly outpacing cost recovery.

Comment: chicken and egg problem (Score 1) 69

by packrat0x (#47373343) Attached to: ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers

"Without any hardware to test on, developers are leery of committing to supporting new hardware features. Without software that takes advantage of new hardware capabilities, customers aren't willing to pay for new equipment."

Is it not the manufacturer's interest to provide initial software / libraries? At least version 1.0?

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 465

by packrat0x (#47263169) Attached to: IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

I said "may" age out, subject to official policy and budget constraints. Alternatively, emails related to assigned case files need to be saved, archived on CD, and/or printed out for the case file. Emails with general instructions such as "Ask for more information from 501(c)'s which have to following words in their name..." are considered internal, and not case related. The email servers are for work only, so most email is plaintext or attached PDFs / Word DOCs. The emails probably use less space compared to what you would see from private accounts.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 465

by packrat0x (#47259331) Attached to: IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

Do these people not run Exchange or some other centralized emailing system? When I used to work as a systems administrator, none of the companies I worked for stored emails on the client side. It was all done through Exchange, held on the company servers and backed up to tape. If a client crashed, at most they lost a few minutes of unsyncronized drafts.

Yes, the IRS runs Exchange. Yes, they have back-ups of the servers. However, back-ups from more than 2 years ago may age out. Thus, if you wait 2 years and dd if=/dev/[zero|urandom|random] the harddrive, you can make emails hard to recover.

Comment: Cable company monopolies (Score 1) 210

They may not be de jure monopolies, but they are de facto monopolies. And it's for one simple reason: cable franchise fees. The county/parrish/city receives a percentage of the gross revenue collected within their borders. The more money people pay, the more revenue local government collects. An additional provider would only split the customer base, push prices lower, and lower total customer payments (at least in the eyes of government). There is no incentive for government to encourage another provider to enter the local market, and every incentive to discourage additional providers. And it doesn't matter if we consider this rational, it only matters if it's considered rational by local officials.

Comment: Cable customers shafted by state government. (Score 2) 90

by packrat0x (#46609939) Attached to: Charter Challenges Comcast/Time Warner Merger

"Time Warner Cable operates in 29 states, but thanks to the old system of regional and municipal cable monopolies, Comcast and Time Warner Cable don't compete anywhere."

This is your state government(s) shafting you. The states created laws which allow cable monopolies. Local governments collect a franchise fee on the gross revenue of the cable companies operating within their boundaries. In the eyes of local government, less competition means higher prices which means more tax revenue (without voter feedback). Local government passively discourages competition through regulations, filings, public meetings, disclosures, insurance requirements, etc. Some local (and state) governments *actively* discourage competition.

Comment: Re:I am torn! (Score 1) 455

by packrat0x (#46604965) Attached to: Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

refuse to accept it unless security is improved

Who would decide the point at which security had sufficiently improved, though? The chip-and-PIN system used in the civilized parts of the world is, of course, much better than magnetic swipe, and *should* become prevalent here in the states. Unfortunately, it would cost billions to upgrade the US's entire infrastructure to support it, and I honestly don't see anyone picking up the tab for any part of such an upgrade any time soon.

The chip-and-PIN system is used by processors to transfer fraud liability from the merchant to the user. EMV was written by committee, and it fails to provide the security it touts. Also, it is not a positive endorsement when "the civilized parts of the world" have a card system forced upon them by their governments.

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