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Comment: Re:And if it doesn't work? (Score 1) 251

by nine-times (#47433903) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

No offense, but that's not a very sensible response. Your job may require off-hours work, but that depends largely on the needs of the company your supporting, and what you negotiate your job to be. Regardless, there's no reason why you shouldn't try to diminish the amount of off-hours work, and make it as painless as possible.

For example, let's say I have to do server updates similar to what this guy is describing, and my maintenance window is 5am-9am. The updates consist of running a few commands to kick the updates off, waiting for everything to download and install, rebooting, then checking to make sure everything was successful. Because the updates are large and the internet is slow, it sometimes takes 3 hours to perform the updates, but only 10 minutes to roll things back.

It's an exaggerated scenario, but given that basic outline, why wouldn't I just script the update process, and roll in at 8:30 with plenty of time to confirm success and roll things back if needed? What, I should still come in at 5am just because an Anonymous Coward on the Internet decided it was "part of the job"?

Comment: Re:Idiots (Score 1) 139

but rather a bunch of fire and brimstone nonsense about the signal-stealing piratepocalypse.

And I think you're implying this, but all of the pirateocalypse nonsense, whether it's regarding Aereo or Bittorrent-- all of it really comes down to "we want to maintain our current extremely profitable business model in the face of changing technology which renders it obsolete." Like record labels and news organizations and all the other forms of media and information-related industries, they will need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the Internet age.

Comment: Re:Turing test not passed. (Score 1) 281

by nine-times (#47424239) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

I think more to the point, at least as far as I understood it, the Turing test was not meant to be a real test for whether an AI was actually intelligent.

The point of the test was essentially this: If a machine becomes able to imitate intelligence well enough that we can't tell the difference, then we may as well treat it as actual intelligence. As much anything, Turing was making a philosophical point from a pragmatic point of view. It doesn't make sense to ask whether a machine is "actually intelligent", but only whether it's capable of behaving as though it has intelligence.

So it's not really about fooling a certain specific percentage of people, or having the test go on for a specific point of time. Those are just issues of how you might hypothetically conduct an actual test, but what you're testing for is whether the effects of the machine "intelligence" have reached a level of being indistinguishable from human intelligence.

So really, the point was to have something like a "blind taste test". You say you can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, but if I pour Coke and Pepsi into identically glasses, can you tell the difference? If not, then maybe you shouldn't express a preference. Similarly, if I can put a series of questions to a person and a computer, and no matter what questions I ask, I can't tell the human's responses from the computer's responses, then maybe we shouldn't think that the computer is less intelligent than the human.

Comment: Re:Already Happened (Score 4, Insightful) 86

Yeah, I'm a bit confused because I thought this had become common practice. For a few years now, I've seen a bunch of games where you get some special content (a different outfit, or starting the game with some bonus or special gear) when you pre-order from a specific store. Since it's different "special content" for different stores, you'd have to buy multiple copies of the game to get all of the content. Then, after some period of time, the game releases all of the special gear as "DLC", and then it's also is included in the GoTY edition (or whatever they feel like calling the edition that includes all the updates and DLC).

Is there a difference between that and what we're talking about? I'm not sure I really see the problem. These bit of "special content" are usually kind of stupid, like maybe you start with a extra bit of body armor and some shotgun shells or something.

Plus, honestly, I usually wait until the "extra special edition" is on sale on Steam before I buy games these days. Not that I would expect everyone to wait, but it's kind of great. I avoid the hype machine and get to see what people think after the hype has died down, you get all the DLC, additional content, and bug fixes all at once, and you get it for 40% off or something.

Comment: Re:Windows 7 end of life... (Score 1) 673

I think that the examples you cite are bad decisions on Microsoft's part, not because of what they did, but because they simply did it too soon.

I'm not saying that you can't drop backwards compatibility. It just seems like Microsoft sometimes screws up compatibility with older versions of their software to force you onto the upgrade treadmill, which is what was originally being discussed.

Comment: Re:Windows 7 end of life... (Score 1) 673

BTW, when has MS ever created incompatibilities with old versions for no reason? I assume you're talking old versions of software?

I don't remember what I had in mind when writing that, but the first thing that comes to mind is Microsoft Office formats. There were a few years where they would release a new version of Office with incompatible versions of their Office file formats, which meant that if one person in the company upgraded, every file they touched suddenly became unreadable in older versions. That was a few years ago, but they've gotten so much flack for it that they've stabilized the formats after Office 2007.

IIRC they did similar shenanigans at some point with WMA/WMV files, where they released a new version of Windows Media Player that automatically used the new version of their codec, which was unsupported on older versions of Windows Media Player. That would be fine, since Windows Media Player was free, except that they didn't allow you to install the new version of Windows Media Player on older versions of Windows. They've done similar things with DirectX and IE.

Comment: Re:A better list than expected (Score 4, Funny) 283

by nine-times (#47408179) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers

It doesn't happen very often anymore, but for many years I kept hearing people say things like, "The story of Bill Gates shows what's so great about our country. The guy started out poor, he had absolutely nothing, but he was pretty much the best programmer in the world. Using nothing but his programming skills, he managed to become the richest guy in the world. It's a great success story."

Yeah, Bill Gates got rich by being a brilliant programmer, and Steve Jobs got rich by being a really nice guy. Meanwhile, Ballmer just skated by on his good looks, social graces, and beautiful head of hair.

Comment: Re:They failed to realize... (Score 1) 246

Even if they used it now, I'm not sure they'd sue. It would make them look pretty crappy. As it is, they got a request to use their logo on a statue of a murdered child, and they were like, "Eh... we'd rather not." It's really not that hard to understand why DC wouldn't want to be strongly linked to child abuse and murder in such a potentially long-lasting medium, given the choice. How much trouble they'd go through to stop it, though, is another issue.

Part of the question, I'd imagine, is whether they're denying the use of the logo via copyright protection or trademark protection. I'm not sure it makes sense for them to claim trademark protection here, but if so, there are some legal requirements for them to protect their trademark, so they might need to at least send a cease and desist letter. I'm not a lawyer, but that's my understanding.

Comment: "Why are we doing this?" (Score 5, Insightful) 131

by nine-times (#47376615) Attached to: Employees Staying Away From Internal Corporate Social Networks

Whenever you set off to do something like "setting up an internal corporate Intranet site", you should always be very clear about your answer to this question: "Why are we doing this?" As in, what problem are we solving? How do we actually imagine this being used?

Lots of people will start something like this and think, "This application looks cool. It's like Facebook, but private and we can control it." And yeah, it may be fun to set up, but why are you doing it? What problem does it solve? Does it serve a purpose in disseminating information in a way that a normal website or email mailing list would be less effective? Does it aid in collaboration somehow? Once you have a clear answer, then you have to have a plan on how to get buy-in from employees. How are you going to get them to think it's a good way of accomplishing whatever it is that you hope it'll accomplish? Why should they bother with it at all? You need to convince them and then remind them to follow through.

But none of that works if there's no purpose in the first place. Is the intention just to socialize? First, they can do that in Facebook. If they want a more professional setting, that's what LinkedIn is for. Beyond that, lots of those people are sitting in the same office building anyway, so they can meet face to face. Throw them a little cupcake party on the first Friday of every month. It'll be cheaper, and people will like it more.

Comment: Re:T-Mobile's Reponse (Score 1) 110

by nine-times (#47367997) Attached to: FTC Says T-Mobile Made Hundreds of Millions From Bogus SMS Charges

I feel like I'm being a little paranoid, but I had the same thought. And after all the NSA revelations and whatnot, I feel like paranoia is justified.

It's an industry that has always tacked on weird semi-fraudulent charges to your bill. The industry has always tried to hide what you're actually being charged for, advertised different prices than what you're actually charged, charged you for add-on services without consent, and charged for unexpected overages without warning. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has been shaking up the industry with simpler billing, making their charges more clear, and doing away with overages. Why would the FTC be going after them specifically?

Comment: Re:True of any job. (Score 1) 121

by nine-times (#47363409) Attached to: Happy Software Developers Solve Problems Better

Being unhappy tends to lead to increased awareness of details and a more cautious/pessimistic approach to problems. While that can be a handicap in many situations, it can be helpful when the shit hits the fan. "Stress" is itself a biological state that is priming us for bad situations. Stress can be helpful in dangerous situations. The problem is, in our relatively safe modern society, we have a tendency to enter a state of stress, and then never leave.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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