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Comment Re:Standardized settings management (Score 1) 476

You are thinking of OS or bundled "system" apps, aren't you? An independent app would invent an independent way of managing features.

And even though those devices might have a standard GUI for finding and editing them, each vendor either has a different way of importing/exporting them, or provide no easy way, period.

Plus, if they were standardized in an open way, you could install a different "settings browser" with fancier search, find, compare, query, report, alarm, etc. features.

Comment Re:This! (Score 1) 151

Offshoring and automation have essentially cheapened the value of much of human labor. However, all this automation and outsourcing has also made stuff cheaper. Ideally their slide rate would both match more or less, or even provide a net benefit for regular folks.

However, salaries overall seem to be slipping backward*. So, why are they not balancing out? Because the owners of capital and corporations rigged the rewards of cheaper labor/automation to go them THEM instead of us, and lobby heavy to keep it that way.

* Wages for existing jobs are stagnant, but if you lose your job, often you end up going back to work at another org for less. Thus, on average salaries are sliding backward when inflation is factored in.

Comment Re:Hire a lawyer (Score 1) 170

Why civil courts? What he's doing is a criminal offense.

Since the Finnish kid was a minor at the time, it seems the criminal system used kid gloves against him (even when it was able to convict him of a crime). That's probably why civil court was suggested as a better option. That, and civil court has a lower standard of proof.

That being said, the problem seems to be much bigger than one Finnish guy. He may have incited others to hate his target, but it would seem he's not the one committing the bulk of the crimes. And that's really the main problem here that gets glossed over by the article. If the hacker friends of the Finnish guy don't reside in Finland, then it means you have to track them down and convince an entirely new set of law enforcement officials from another country to take these SWATTING incidents seriously and invest enough resources to investigate the case, to in turn SWAT the hackers themselves, confiscate their computers, and do the necessary forensic analysis work on what they find.

And this kind of work is not cheap. In this case, the kid was investigated most probably because he attacked Sony and Microsoft as well, but if he had not gone after such high profile targets, he probably would never have been prosecuted in the first place. After all, who's got time to listen to the complaints of an ordinary family halfway across the world (with a not-so-innocent hacker kid of their own)?

Comment Re:Why would Disney do this? (Score 2) 215

You've never been to Disneyworld, have you?

The entire fucking place is one giant network, down to the RF wristbands ("magicbands") used by guests to do everything from unlocking their rooms, paying tabs everywhere throughout the entire resort, getting on rides, entering the parks, everything.

And let's not forget that pretty much every ride and attraction runs or is directly dependent on computers. It's like Steam, but connected to animatronics.

Disneyworld is the most IT-driven place I've ever been to.

Comment Re:most things are older than previously thought. (Score 5, Interesting) 73

The Greeks were amazing thinkers. They also used complex wrapping of rope around poles, pulleys, and pegs to program automated plays--mechanical TV's essentially.

Too bad they never leveraged it, probably due to the abundance of slaves.

William Wilberforce, a UK abolitionist, may have sparked the industrial revolution more than the steam engine and technology.

A steam engine was invented by the ancient Greeks. However, because slaves were so common then (usually captured enemies), they didn't think much about labor saving devices. Their gizmos were mostly considered show pieces, and thus there was little incentive to improve on their efficiency or utility.

William Wilberforce's pressure on UK politics reduced slave usage, making machines a more attractive alternative, thus propelling advances in manufacturing machinery.

Comment Patent reform can fix this problem (Score 1) 322

We can fix this problem and get patent reform at the same time.

After 3 years, patents issued to foreign based or owned companies can't be enforced against US owned companies making products in the US that utilize them. Patents issued to American owned companies using the patent to make a product in the US can enforce them for the normal time against anyone.

This solves the problem with obnoxious multi-nationals hoarding patents by making them only useful for a very short time. It discourages US companies from "inverting" for tax purposes but largely remaining American corporations (and thus benefitting from taxpayer provided legal, diplomatic and protection but skipping out on the taxes). And it encourages businesses to make products in the US.

Of course companies with insanely good and hard to make products may choose not to sell them here because of this, but the upside is there'd be an incentive and means to make them here by other means and for the most part, willfully refusing to sell in the American marketplace is like throwing money away.

There's no reason that the patent system couldn't be used as a tool to encourage business in America and discourage evading paying for the very civil society that makes business work. Hopefully now Pfizer will be utilizing the vast resources, long reach and deep influence of the Irish government to enforce their patents, lobby governments when they don't get the treatment they want, when, say a new drug is copied in China or India or when the FDA doesn't approve it.

Comment Re:Institutional Knowledge (Score 1) 151

True, but the "Darwinism" of the market place will filter out the biggest dummies. I'm generally talking about a trend, not a revolution. Companies and managers that find a way to leverage fungible staff by having relatively clean work processes will expand and/or survive recessions better than those run by pure PHB's.

Comment Re:Pay peanuts (Score 1) 191

Those who make the decisions often focus on superficial things. I don't know a fix for that.

I've seen people take sloppy shortcuts to put something visually snazzy up quick, and the clueless people who evaluate it think they are a Web-God.

If one points out potential security, ADA, performance, maintenance, device-dependent problems, they are painted as jealous nay-sayers. It's happened to me many times.

And those making the decisions expect to get promoted or hired away fairly soon; the long-term is not their concern.

Chimps are drawn to shiny objects, not smart objects. That's just the way it is. It's not a technology problem, it's a people problem.

Who knows, maybe I'm making similar mistakes with things I know little about like plumbing, car repairs, bank accounts, etc. Maybe civilization is just growing too complex to manage well. We cannot all be subject experts in everything because the subjects keep growing.

Comment Re:Institutional Knowledge (Score 1) 151

You are constantly explaining and re-explaining how your business works, and bugs are repeatedly entering codebases because the developer hasn't spent years understanding the business and its workflows.

Based on experience I generally agree. Domain knowledge is very useful and seems undervalued by the industry.

However, perhaps the changing economy will weed out companies with convoluted work processes, favoring those that keep their business rules, data, and work-flows clean and logical.

It could push co's toward pre-packaged infrastructure systems such as ERP suites and off-the-shelf HR software. That way one can hire an expert on the given infrastructure product and they won't walk in clueless to your operations.

Things are not changing for just workers. If you want the advantages of standardized plugs, you have to also have standardized ports.

Comment Personal experience, rough on families (Score 3, Interesting) 151

I used to "gig around" a lot, and found it difficult to co-raise a family under. If you are single and can hop all over the country and/or globe, that's great! But it's hard on families.

During good times you may be able to stay mostly local, but good times rarely last. The boom/bust "business cycle" of capitalism has been going on long before the USA existed, and has yet to be solved.

If gigs paid very well, then perhaps one could live with more gaps by saving up. But I have not seen a significant lasting pay advantage, especially during recessions.

Maybe a few "elite" workers with speedy eyes and eidetic memories can pull it off and come out ahead of traditional salaries, but by definition, most of us are not elite.

Comment Re:One huge problem still (Score 1) 163

I would argue that such a Grim Reaper (molecule or construct) would have reached Earth at some point already...

I would also, but that's not a 100% certainty. Should we still gamble if it's a say 99.99% certainty?

Maybe the deadly stuff doesn't travel in space debris well. Mammals* don't, for example. Just because SOME microbes can survive in blasted rocks doesn't mean all do.

it is MUCH more likely that we find something inimical to human life here on Earth- for instance, very deep in an ocean

Not sure about that, but that's still not a reason to tempt fate. The fact that Fred is more likely to bop you than John is NOT a reason to agitate John.

Earth life has been exposed to Earth life and the attacks and immunities evolved together. Mars could offer us an ugly mismatch. Cross-continent "invasive species" have shown surprising destruction to native life. Mars could give us a magnified version of this poorly understood phenomenon.

Our species will ultimately go extinct without space travel- this is a fact!

True, but we don't have to rush things. In the future when we are ready for inter-stellar travel, we'll probably know more about biology and cures.

* Humans may be just such a "grim reaper" creature from Mars life's perspective.

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