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Comment: Sounds like the plan is working (Score 1) 292 292

high-quality research much more expensive to do, so there is less of it

Good. Fewer polls means fewer people trying to intrude on my time. I don't know why pollsters think they have a right to rudely cold-call people and take up their time - without giving anything back. But it does seem that more and more people are becoming resistant to their interruptions.

If fewer polls means less punditry and less time talking about inconsequential "what-ifs" on TV in the seemingly years long run up to elections, then that can only be a good thing for viewers and all us ordinary people. Sadly the demise of political polls seems to have been taken over by equally pointless and even more trivial time spent debating what political whimsy happens to be trending on Twitter. I guess the political programmes will always find ways to fill up their hours with mindless banter.

Comment: Re:Yes, it's called redundancy (Score 4, Informative) 107 107

In a modern data center you would be able to shutdown the servers not used for a longer period and restart them automatically when the load rises.

Many businesses that rely on servers (i.e. all of them) will be running hot standby systems - ones that can automatically take load if there's a hardware failure or software problem.

One major (world-ranked) international company I consulted at was legally required to have 100% failover capacity - so it was inevitable that they would automatically have 50% of their production servers performing no functions - except for the twice a year when they were "flipped" just to make sure that each set of servers worked as expected.

Although the source paper does specify physical "zombie" servers, if you need failover VMs, the same basis is applied there, too.

Comment: Sauce for the goose ... (Score 4, Insightful) 337 337

... is sauce for the gander.

So if any one country arbitrarily gives itself the right to globally police the internet, decide what should be allowed, prosecute (according to it's national laws) content it deems unlawful, and punish people - even people in other countries - for things that happen on it, then every other country cannot be denied.

Comment: Re:.pst? probably doesn't matter (Score 4, Insightful) 203 203

Whatever format you dump it in, it's unlikely that your successor will bother reading through it. Either they will be skilled up in whatever it is you were doing and will spend the first few weeks slagging off your name for not leaving any coherent documentation (a not unreasonable option: look! all he left was a pile of emails! It'll take months to make head or tail of all that crap!), or the company will recruit someone who hasn't a clue and will re-invent the basic functions. Or (more likely) your company will dump the whole thing and realise that there are other ways of doing what you did. Ways that are both supportable and easy to recruit people to do.

Comment: Re:Linux Mint gets it right. (Score 1) 155 155

a lot of the time you have change your printer etc because the supplier won't update the drivers

Total nonsense. Unless you're still running 10 y/o kit, almost every device that's sold NOW is supported on Windows. That can't be said for more than a small sample of printers, webcams or anything else under Linux.

The reason I have a W8.1 box sitting next to my LMDE x64 machine is to support all my hardware. In fact, I find that I'm using Windows more and more these days ...

Comment: Re:Linux Mint gets it right. (Score 0) 155 155

Home users who only need a computer for Internet-based activities don't need ultra-specialized software that's only available on Windows

People still need to connect their printers, cameras, webcams and other bric-a-brac to their computers. If you think either that Linux / Ubuntu supports more than a small fraction of these (and an even smaller fraction of contemporary devices) -- or that people are willing to dump whatever they already own and run out to buy a special device merely for the pleasure of running it with "free" software (think of the cost saving!), you're deluded.

Comment: Squeezing the balloon (Score 1) 80 80

"A better understanding of criminal behavior will help us reduce opportunities for crime in our neighborhoods,"

And as soon as one form of crime is understood and deterrents introduced, won't the (successful) criminals simply move their attentions to another neighbourhood, modus operandi or equally illegal field of endeavour?

This initiative doesn't seem to address the basic issue of the number of criminals or their need to indulge in criminal (as opposed to legal) ways of making money.

Comment: We don't need no stinkin' testing (Score 4, Funny) 366 366

when some bug like this makes it through testing

Testing? what testing? If it compiles, it works. Every hacker knows this.

I have to say, when I read that the spacecraft ran Linux and had died, I naturally assumed that someone had left the auto-update enabled and it was busy trying to apply about 50 million kernel patches.

Comment: A massive exaggeration - author should be ashamed (Score 1) 396 396

The "story" is merely a leaked email that the project exists.

There is no information about what its remit is (past looking at the consequences of a BRexit). There is no information about the project's findings - as there haven't been any and there is nothing about what recommendations or actions would / could / should be taken.

In the end this is just a piece of sensationalism and I greatly resent the author of this /. piece hyping it up far beyond any factual basis.

Comment: Sensaltionalism (Score 3, Insightful) 71 71

When you read the story it comes down to one report from someone who suspected that someone was using a drone for this purpose. Everything else in the article is FUD, inaccuracy, scare-mongering and supposition (and possibly impressionable people watching too many crime / caper movies).

This is strikingly similar in tone to the stories circulating a few years ago that anyone taking photos of buildings in public places was (obviously!) a terrorist.

Comment: Patently impossible (Score 1) 287 287

The reason IBM "lost its throne" is because it either didn't have the inclination to patent every single little aspect of the PC hardware (making clones impossible) or it had the foresight and wisdom to not go down that route.

With computerised, self-driving cars there will never be a standard that everyone across the industry adopts unless one manufacturer becomes dominant in the field (just be dint of numbers that would probably be a chinese company) or the auto makers take a similar stance and forgo patent protect and allow everyone to use the best available software, processes and hardware systems.

Comment: Re:OSS needs technical writers more than coders (Score 1) 244 244

It isn't hard to write good documentation. It just takes time.

Good documentation IS hard. That's why there is so little of it.

The biggest problem is that so many FOSS coders can't think of anyone apart from themselves and only care about the fun part - not all the stuff that needs professionalism. They are unable to put themselves in the position of another human being, approaching their "baby" and they have no comprehension, whatsoever, of the assumptions they are making or what they tacitly expect the reader to already know.

As an example, there are many - maybe even the majority - of FOSS websites where the entry page has no explanation at all of what the program / app actually does. Instead of a simple description of: "FlungerMunger is a tool to help Mungers do their flunging", it contains news about what's changed in the new Beta version, or lists of bug-fixes and doesn't even bother mentioning what platforms the software runs on or who would possibly want to use it.

Far too many developers assume that once the source code is tossed over the wall to the user community, the job is done. In fact that is usually the simplest, most trivial part of producing successful software. The hard part which takes the self-discipline is beating that code into a usable state: a job that sometimes the FOSS distros will pick up - but mostly never gets done at all.

Comment: Part learned, part personality (Score 1) 425 425

it [programming ability] is just a bunch of skills that can be learned

That is partly true. However to be a great programmer you need the right mindset, experience and maturity. A great programmer isn't one who knocks out the most lines of "code" in a day - any fool can do that or someone who writes mind-bogglingly complicated structures (all fools do that on a daily basis - and seem to take pride in it). No a great programmer is the one who can get to the nub of a programming problem and solve it in a robust and clear way and then describe succinctly why that is the best approach.

Sadly most of industry today subscribes to the "rock star" mentality - not just in code hackers, but in most walks.

In practice, failures in system development, like unemployment in Russia, happens a lot despite official propaganda to the contrary. -- Paul Licker