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Comment Kind of like a business analyst (Score 3, Informative) 87

It sounds like the start-up is in need of a business analyst (BA). And this could well be the role of your accountant friend. I am an experienced business analyst with a technical background, although I know many business analysts who have little or no technical background. The role of the business analyst is to work with the stakeholders (e.g. developers, users, management, etc) to design solutions (technical or not). The business analyst creates documentation (user stories, business requirements, business logic flow diagrams, etc) by working with the stakeholders. The developers and testers then use this documentation to develop the solution. There are many business analysis books out there, one of the most popular is the BABOK (Business Analyst Body of Knowledge), see It has many tools that a BA requires. But I don't recommend your friend becomes a full blown BA, but it may help to learn some tools and techniques described in the BABOK.

I always see the Business Analyst as an interpreter or go-between, between the business and the developers. And the Business Analyst uses tools (i.e. methods of documentation) to formally describe what the customers want.

Comment Re:The whole infrastructure needs to support this (Score 1) 654

I don't know where you get your figures from, but this well referenced wikipedia page has different stats:

Yes, the train journey did take twice as long (when there is no traffic) for my specific commute. But the train was always more reliable (since I did not have to deal with traffic), more comfortable (I could walk around and stretch my legs), less stressful and I could read a book or do work, or even sleep on the trains. In fact I could work in the train such that I could reduce my hours in the office. Often, between major cities it is much faster taking the train, between Bern and Zurich it takes 1 h 34 min by car (without traffic), by train it's always 55 minutes. It's great for business meetings, you prepare on the way there, and relax on the way back.

Comment The whole infrastructure needs to support this (Score 1) 654

I lived in Switzerland for many years. We did not have a car, but relied on public transport. But the public transport system there is fantastic, it was fast and efficient. I could purchase a pass to cover almost all the trains, buses, boats, cable cars, etc in the country. This pass was valid for a year and was not cheap, but cheaper than a car. It's the infrastructure that made this possible as well as the social situation. With one ticket/pass you are able to travel on all public transport providers, even if they are operated by different companies. It was possible to rent cars on an hourly basis (see, and these cars are available at all main stations and within 5 minutes walk from our house we had around 10 different cars available for rent. All public transport is clean and safe and it runs to time.

Not only does the infrastructure support this, many people use it. In fact the country is proud of it's public transport system. I found that when I took a bus in Los Angeles, it tended to be poorer people taking buses, it was delayed and dirty. In Switzerland all people use the public transport. If you want a bit more space, you can opt for 1st class and pay twice the price, 1st class tends to be devoid of families and tends to be quiter.

Comment Business problem != technology problem (Score 5, Insightful) 343

I agree it's a business problem. MS Office has some pretty good versioning support built into it and multiple people can edit a document at the same time, if you know how to set it up. There should a technical person in your wife's company that understands how MS Office and other tools work. They should train the staff on the capabilities and the staff should come up with a process that works for everyone.

With SharePoint you can have MS Office documents versioned, it is basic versioning, not like git where you can have branches and things like that. For other types of documents, it's a matter of defining a process and naming convention on how to keep a track of items.

Comment AMD support more recent versions of OpenC (Score 2) 110

Have a look at this talk, namely 8 min 30 seconds into the talk:

The talk was given at the recent Linux Conf Australia (in New Zealand). It shows that AMD supports OpenCL 2.0, while Nvidia only support version 1.1 (released in 2010). I spoke to the speaker after his talk and he said Nvidia are basically dragging their heals with regard to supporting more recent versions. Nvidia also request unconvential features be put into the spec, and then never implement those features. Obvisouly Nvidia are doing well with their own CUDA language and seem to be trying to create a walled garden. It sounds like if you are going for openness and not for speed, then you could look at Intel or AMD (both support version 2.0).

Comment One step back, two steps forward (Score 1) 415

One step back, two steps forward. This is how I see it. Battery tech will evolve and so will the energy efficiency of the devices. It may be slow with regard to today's pace.

It's like saying the browser is a step back from the standard desktop environment. It is, but it also allows you to do so much more.

All this from someone who does not wear a watch.

Comment Re:LastPass (Score 1) 191

I second that. I have LastPass on my mobile, on various WebBrowsers at home and work. Although the free version could be suficient for your child. I paid for the premium version which gives me the mobile option, and it's cheap, at only around $12/year (last time I looked). So for all websites I have different passwords which all have high entropy (think 16 characters, uppercase, lower case, numbers and special characters).

I only need to remember a few passwords which I don't store in LassPass, e.g. bank, email, etc.

Comment I have used change logs before (Score 1) 162

I worked in a large financial services company in Switzerland. We were one of the most intense users of a particular risk & control application. We understood each corner of this application and with each new release we analysed each change in detail. This was necessary to weigh-up the value of upgrading or not, or timing the upgrade appropriately. Some seemingly insignificant change could be a show-stopper for our users.

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall