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Comment: Explain your limits and how it relates to business (Score 1) 383

by rcastro0 (#45593241) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Convince Management To Hire More IT Staff?

You should track how you and your staff spend time for a week or so (a typical week). Then you should point out how much effort (FTEs) mundane support tasks are taking, and how much is left for system development, programming.

When you do that, do point out the extra penalty for efficiency due to constantly have to answer support request. (assuming it is inevitable)

Then list all requests for system improvements, what are the benefits of each when looking from a business perspective (bottom line impact). Do a rough estimate of development time, vs your limited capacity, and thus how long (if ever) the request pipeline will be cleared.

You should then lay three options for management: forsake a part of the $ benefits from improving the system, out source development or hire more staff. You can compare the cost of each alternative to make the decision of easier... (opportunity cost in the first alternative)

+ - MIT Wristband is a personal climatizer

Submitted by rcastro0
rcastro0 (241450) writes "What looks like a CPU's heat sink worn around the wrist apparently may be able to make you feel cool even while it is hot — or warm while it is cold. As Wired reports, this termoelectric device explores human physiology and how we perceive temperature to fool our body and make us comfortable. The device is called Wristify, and a prototype has been developed: Mashable has a video. Can this be the most efficient alternative to air conditioning ever?"

Comment: Re: *happy campers* (Score 1) 121

by rcastro0 (#44368743) Attached to: Atari Facing $291 Million Debt Claim From... Atari

This is a sincere tip, but sure to sound like a spambot: If you liked Starflight you should definitely take a look at FTL, "Faster Than Light". It is a modern indie game with retro graphics and Starflight 's soul, though game play has a different, more tactical flavor.

Back in the PC XT era I had access to a pirated copy of Starflight but no crack. The copy protection method was such that after so many turns it would ask a question that a pirate couldn't answer and then halt the game. Very frustrating, as by then you' d have a full tripulation and would be just starting the fun.

Comment: When they find Fort Knox (Score 1) 107

by rcastro0 (#44146633) Attached to: Google Maps Updated With <em>Skyfall</em> Island Japan Terrain

They will know we were around (if not anything else). I am pretty sure most of our stainless steel (eg knifes and forks etc) would survive indefinitely, and point to us, spread everywhere.

And something else. Look at the top of every electricity transmission line pole or tower, and you will see fairly large ceramic pieces. They are the dielectric, and they are built to last ages - extremely hard to destroy, very resistant to nature. Archeologists of the future would find nice patterns of those things connecting human dwellings.

+ - Sagita Displays Hot Air Powered Helicopter

Submitted by rcastro0
rcastro0 (241450) writes "Gizmag reports on the Sherpa, an interesting helicopter design at this year's Paris Air Show. As the article explains "Rather than driving the rotors directly, the Sherpa's engine instead powers a compressor with an air intake at the rear of the helicopter." There's no tail rotor. This approach is supposed to be more efficient, more reliable and more affordable than the traditional. A one-fifth scale model was shown to fly. Sagita, the 2008 startup behind the project, has yet to build a full scale prototype. They plan to sell a Sherpa two-seater for around US$ 200k in 3 years."

Comment: The key conclusion, if you won't RTFA (Score 4, Informative) 159

by rcastro0 (#42838999) Attached to: Can Legacy Dual-Core CPUs Drive Modern Graphics Cards?

To save you a few clicks, here's the key conclusion (and much better said than the summary from /.) :

  Intel Core 2 Q6600 chips aren't available new these days, but Ebay has a ton of them, regularly priced between $50-$70. (...) Is a new CPU worth the price? I'd say yes --especially if you've currently got a dual-core CPU in the 2.2 - 2.6GHz range. The combined cost of a used Q6600 and a GeForce GTX 660 should still come in below $300 while delivering far better performance than any bottom-end desktop you might assemble for that price tag.

Comment: Re:WHy are you majoring in CS... (Score 1) 606

by rcastro0 (#36209054) Attached to: Professor Questions Sink-Or-Swim Intro To CS Courses

> Helped that she was a friend of the instructor.

So what you are saying is that there was even more luck involved than whether or not you were wealthy. Look, I too learned Turbo Pascal in the eighties, when I was 15/16. I had learned basic before (on a Sinclair ZX 81) when I was around 13.

However, I will promptly admit it has less to do with my will than with a set of fortunate coincidences including:
1) I had the intellectual predisposition towards the theme;
2) My parents had the philosophy of investing in education (if a child wants to study/practice, he/she will (be it music, languages, computers, sports, whatever)
3) My parents were wealthy enough to go far in point number 2 above;
4) My father was an engineer and brought home a computer at a time very few people did;

I remember well the time. It was 1986/87, I was already crazy about computers when I went as an exchange student to the US. I met several american families. Not one (back in 1986/87) had an IBM PC XT at home. (if you want the stats, I saw two families with Commodore 64s, one with a TI-99, two with Apple IIc's (brand new at the time) and one guy with an IBM PC Jr. Several had no computer. Before retuning to my country I purchased an IBM PC XT (through Computer Shopper, how else?). I also got the Turbo Pascal 3.0 full package -- which included Turbo Tutor and a bunch of coding examples, such as Gameworks, Editor Toolbox, etc. Oh the memories, it looked like this http://bit.ly/lkxM6D or this http://bit.ly/is74Id

Anyway, I would not be so blasè, and say "Where there's a a will..." I believe my experience and your experience are exceptional and the result of a series of factors that came together by chance.

Comment: Re:There would have to be changes about sex (Score 1) 467

by rcastro0 (#35520048) Attached to: Scott Adams Says Plenty Would Choose Life In Noprivacyville

> The result is that all successful world leaders and business leaders are sociopaths. And I make that statement not as a generalization, but as a fact. There are probably some exceptions such as, perhaps the Dalai Lama, but that is the only exception I can think of. (Can you think of more?)

Well, I wouldn't make such a broad generalization, though I certainly think power and sociopathy correlate with each other. I have a few business heroes, they include Warren Buffet, Bill Gates (yes, him), Steve Jobs. The first two donated so much for charitable causes, their whole fortune is going to help people. The last one came through so humane and sensible in that Stanford graduation video... it is really hard for me to picture them as sociopaths/psychopaths.

Comment: Re:There would have to be changes about sex (Score 1) 467

by rcastro0 (#35503494) Attached to: Scott Adams Says Plenty Would Choose Life In Noprivacyville

I think your comment is spot on, and sexual privacy in face of societal pressures is one of the greatest issues when considering privacy. I remember some time ago couple who got divorced in Germany because a speeding ticket camera caught the guy with his woman lover in the passeger seat. The guy later sued the city for violating his privacy. Our two faced attitude towards sex must be confronted/discussed at length as society evolves. Progress is being made (with homossexuals being able to go out in public and all) but this is an evolution that will likely take many generations.

Yet for all that agreement, I'd like to point what I think is a misconception in you post:

I am not saying that opposing man's own nature is a bad thing entirely -- there is a place for asserting limitations or else we would all kill one another and there would be no progress at all.

The idea that violence and disregard for other people's life is natural, and that education and police is what prevents us from destroying each other is actually false. I recommend taking a look at the work of primatologist Frans de Waal, in particular his book "Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals" link Essentially we are hard wired to feel empathy, and empathy compells us to do good to others (those of us who are not psychopaths, of course).

Comment: He was not advocating it -- but it is inevitable (Score 1) 467

by rcastro0 (#35503182) Attached to: Scott Adams Says Plenty Would Choose Life In Noprivacyville

So many commenters apparently did not RTFA. So, let me make a summary of Scott Adam's position, as stated in TFA:

I know you don't want to live in that city. I'm just curious what sort of price, in economic terms, and in convenience and in social benefits, we pay for our privacy. My guess is that it's expensive. (...) I get it. This is just an economic thought experiment.

As such, he brings a very interesting proposition:
(1) Privacy has a price, in terms of a society's economy and institutional efficiency;
(2) If that price were made clear, how much would you be willing to pay?

Put it that way it seems a fair conclusion that, left to market forces, in the end privacy will lose. Because the price of privacy is unevenly distributed in society -- some people will gain nothing ("I have nothing to hide") some people will gain the world ("I really really really want to smuggle these cuban cigars") -- and those opting for privacy, once a minority, may well be discriminated as "having something to hide".

To those that can't imagine how the lack of privacy can help, let me remind you of two examples that are paying off very well for our willing exposure:

  • Ebay - The reputation of buyers and sellers is generally (and voluntarily) open for everyone to see -- nothing is under the sheets. Some people try to game the system, but are quickly flushed out. Users should recognize that public (not private) reputation is critical for it working at all.
  • LastFM - You let them know every song you listen, they let you know what songs you should probably listen. It works, it is great. The Google search engine in part does the same thing -- letting "the hive" and its exposed usage data refine search results. Have you once clicked at your search history to see how much Google remembers about you? (go ahead, try it https://www.google.com/history/ )

Comment: Re:Big Empty Space (Score 1) 608

by rcastro0 (#34576462) Attached to: Should Wikipedia Just Accept Ads Already?

Here's a hint: the money to run Wikipedia comes from somewhere. If it came from advertising dollars, that money would ultimately be reflected in a increase in the cost of products (...)

Here's another hint: advertisers want to buy "impressions", or exposures of their product/brand to eyeballs. Having a greater supply of these impressions (by Wikipedia starting to supply them) would decrease (not increase) the cost of advertising. It's the old supply and demand dynamics.

When you work at the marketing area of a large corporation you see that they set the advertising budget first (usually using a % of revenues metric comparable to their peers) and then (only then) look for where they will spend it. At that point they will seek the most efficient way to advertise, and the existence of yet another venue to advertise on (such as Wikipedia, or a new cable channel) will only impact the efficient solution, not the advertising budget.

Comment: Re:You have 100 years? (Score 1) 351

by rcastro0 (#34055848) Attached to: NASA Reveals Hundred Year Starship Program

If I may add, the fact that the earth is finite is not a restriction to world growth. Think about cable TV. It is there, stuff you can buy, interesting stuff -- but not really consuming the earth. Think fiber optics, which gives you broadband, fiber optics is glass, and glass was all sand -- like silicon waffers. We are making GDP and "stuff to buy" out of sand, energy and technology. The fact that the earth is finite is not a restriction. Read "the bottomless well" (http://amzn.to/9LpiEH) for an excellent argument on why energy in the long term will not be a problem.

Comment: Re:You have 100 years? (Score 1) 351

by rcastro0 (#34055756) Attached to: NASA Reveals Hundred Year Starship Program

> AC is not right. What i am saying is that if money is suppose to represent what you can buy, then "growth" means there must be a lot more "stuff" to buy/use etc. Yet earth is very finite. The idea of perpetual growth is as crazy as perpetual motion.

That is a provocative thought. Yet... When you invest in a stock it is like investing in a company. Over the years the value of the stock grows because the company itself grows (making more "stuff" or servicing more needs, in this service economy of ours) and also because the money the company generated in that interval gets invested in other companies that will, themselves, grow. The money you invested is fueling the coming into existence of more "stuff" to purchase.

So it is not a zero sum game. And yes, it is restricted to the reality of how much stuff there is the world. Unbelievably as it may be, the world GDP (= the total stuff available to buy)does grow exponentially. Developed countries grow at about 2% to 3% per year, developing countries grow 7%-10% per year. In total the real growth is around 3% to 5% (excepting a few recession years).

See
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=total+gdp+history
http://www.indexmundi.com/world/gdp_real_growth_rate.html

Of course you can't flap your arms and fly to the moon. After a while you'd run out of air to push against.

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