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Comment: It has more to do with your IT department (Score 1) 510 510

by scamper_22 (#50003957) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Post-Install Windows Slowdowns Inevitable?

My home PC is running Windows 8, but started off as Windows 7. It is as snappy as the day I bought it.

The issue with your organization, as with more organization is they install so much crap on there that it slows it down. It would happen if they installed so much crap on linux or mac or whatever.

It just so happens that tend not to for those system. But if enough regular users switch to those, they will.

I hate my work laptop. It auto installs software, demands reboots at varying times, runs a really shitty custom backup that backsup/restores/sometimes overwrites my local files, runs slow enterprise anti virus software, endpoint configuration, reporting tools, software scanning tools...
Heck, just recently, they started doing HTTPS man in the middle monitoring. So even google throws cert errors when I use firefox/chrome. Heck, I'm not using Bing just to avoid google HTTPs. Officially we must use IE.

In my last job, if we got our PCs to use a test domain, we could avoid all the corporate crap. But not at my current company.

Long story short, there's nothing that will cause windows 7 or 8 to slow down in time. It is generally enterprise install bullshit or users installing bad software.

Comment: Re:Economic Externality (Score 1) 371 371

by scamper_22 (#49970533) Attached to: Recycling Is Dying

I agree with your general point.

Yes, the financial growth system is a mess.
The problem is that both the left and right are just as dependent on GDP growth. Heck, probably the only opposition you have to the financial growth system comes from the extremes on the left (occupy wall street) and the tea party (right). Everyone other movement basically believes in growth and the financial section.

Do you ever wonder why every big city (New York, Toronto, London) is 'progressive', while at the same time pretty much generating most of its wealth from financial games?

It's a big irony.

There's also a huge number of political ironies. One of the reasons you can eat so cheaply in much of the developing world is because you can pay people crap. I guarantee you, you make the minimum wage $2.00/hour in London and you'll magically start seeing lots of places serving fresh food.
But that brings all sorts of issues depending on your end of the political spectrum.

Probably the biggest issue right now is housing. Our politicians/bankers have convinced the population that increases in home prices increase their wealth. That this is somehow a good thing.

When in reality, you're still living in the same home you were 20 years ago when home prices were more reasonable. You get the same value out of the home. The only difference is all your citizens are trying to jump on the real estate train out bidding each other due to low interest rates.

In any case, I'll sneak this is there. I hate plastic and packaging. I can claim it from a moral angle. But it's also out of self interest. Every week, I take out the trash and my god is there a lot of packaging that takes up space. It's just me and my wife and there's so many bottles, cans, boxes... it's insane.
I actually started buying products with nicer packaging, just knowing I have to take this crap out.

At my supermarket for example, they sell croissants. But they package it in a big plastic container. Just think of the wasted space in my recycling bag. I stopped buying it and only grab it when they sometimes package it in a bag. Or even sometimes we buy the fresh cut fruit. That shit comes in a plastic container. Man, at least make it out of something better. It is literally used to hold the fruit for less than a week, but they package it in plastic that can last 100 years or whatever.

I don't know what it will take, but I want to see less packaging, at least in these obvious cases. I know some products needs to be shipped or need more packaging for security/anti theft... but there is so much low hanging fruit...

Comment: Re:Trimming the fat (Score 1) 96 96

by scamper_22 (#49931969) Attached to: Bank's IT Failure Loses 600,000 Payments

Forget about paying top dollar.

Banks spend huge amount of money on IT.
The problem is that it is really poorly allocated.

They'll spend massive amounts of money buying expensive products from IBM. Spend massive amount of money on IT contractors. Spend massive amounts of money on IT security scanning...

The problem is largely in the small space with dev and IT where the people who actually make the damn thing work day in and day out.

When it comes to banks, I'm sorry, I've worked in the industry. They have no shortage of IT money. It's just spent horribly.

Comment: I think you have it figured out already (Score 1) 257 257

It seems to me that you have already figured it out.

Get a developer/build VM Image and you're basically done.
Well, that and make sure to use open source / easily licensed tools so you won't ever run out of a license.

Are you worried that the x64 instruction set is going to disappear within the next 25 years?

I'd say that is highly unlikely.
When AMD when to x64, they made sure it still ran x86.

In 25 years, I doubt we'll be dropping x64 from mainstream support. You're probably safe there.

Not to mention, you'll probably be able to buy some old chips if that should ever happen. Just go on ebay and you can still find 386 chips :P

Not to mention virtualization.

Comment: Re:First Post with good info (Score 3, Insightful) 51 51

Yep, I had a very interesting talk with my wife's friend.
She's an accountant and she was just complaining about IT.

So I talked to her about our side, and it's amazing the disconnect there.

We talked and I mentioned how every IT project needs a maintenance budget. You need knowledge retention in case the service needs to be updated in the future. You need someone to support it... You know, just like any other project. You wouldn't build a washroom and budget someone to clean it.

So she asked, well why don't you include that in your estimates? So we can have proper costing for the project.

Then I thought about it. There is a huge gap in accounting and IT. In IT, we often view accounting as something in the way. Stupid time tracking software. Bah, I'll just charge all my time to my assigned project. I have to provide an estimate. I'll just provide an estimate for the development. It's not my job to think about knowledge maintenance or operations...

Now of course the average IT person should not think about this, but the upper IT folks definitely should by setting up the right groups and proper leadership on how projects are structured. It's their job to get the funding so to speak.

It's not so much a problem that all the heads want to know is budget, on time...
It's largely that IT accounting is very poor to not account for all the costs. And we're so used to delivering something even if it does not account for maintenance that they get used to it.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 4, Interesting) 225 225

It's often not even ignorance. Sometimes there is a mentality of correctness over keeping it running.

Never is this more of a debate that in exception handling.

I've worked in places where it was against the gods if you simply had a catch( Exception e). You had to *know* which exceptions you are catching and then catch each one separately.

The keep it running in me is annoyed because there's always some possibility of a runtime Exception or that we miss something and then it crashes instead of just failing that one operation.

The reason given was it is better for us to find out the exception and then fix the code, than to mask it with a catch all.

To each his own, but it's definitely not as simple as ignorance.
I've fought a lot of battles writing the software. I can tell its often the case of correctness versus keep it running.

Comment: They will still get their cut (Score 2, Insightful) 160 160

I'm in Canada and I've been moving away from cable. I've managed to get the wife down to basic cable. We still have Internet from our cable provider though.

Here's the thing though. The price of our internet has gone up. Even with Netflix, our Internet usage is barely 100 GB / month.

It's almost like they want their $130-$150 a month for cable/internet/phone. It almost doesn't matter if you from one, they'll just jack up the rates of the other eventually.

Such is the power of monopoly.

Comment: Re:Simplistic (Score 4, Insightful) 385 385

While this is true, when you actually look at people working, the number of jobs that 'truly require' a mind is much smaller.

Even jobs that people think require a great mind like say a doctor. In reality, the way a lot of doctors operate in the real world, it is rather routine.

A lot of diagnosis work can be pretty well automated. Simple stuff. For example, I'm on Thyroid medication. I get a blood test once a year. I've seen this happen first hand now. The blood lab does the work. The doctor gets an automated analysis of the results showing acceptable levels of thyroid... and the corresponding dosage. This entire process could be automated. Even things like radiology, which is very costly, could deal with a lot of automation. I worked briefly in the field about 8 years ago, and back then we were working on automated detection of anomalies in MRI/PET scans.

Two things have to be taken into account here.
One is that so much of a doctors work is routine that a lot of that can be automated. Then if there is an exception, you can have that handled by a human. Or you can do a human review on a positive case. For example, you can have 80% of MRI/PET scans automated for analysis. But before you decide on surgery, have it confirmed by a human radiologist.

The other is to actually look at real work. Theoretically, doctors can spend lots of time with their patients and this extra touch can lead to better analysis and treatment. Look, I'm in Canada, land of universal healthcare. Almost every doctor I've seen (both walkin and family) over the past 10 years has been running a tight ship. 15 minute appointments. Get straight to business.

I don't know if they could theoretically do better if they spent more time, but this is the reality of healthcare. I'd guesstimate you could automate a lot of the diagnosis and treatment. Of course like I said above, serious issues would need to get more serious approvals.

For automation to make sense, it simply has to make sense for a large number of cases. I don't think the automated system needs to beat the very best, because how many of the cases are actually done by the very best?
Again, back to
You also have other jobs that could be automated. Most of the tax system could be automated. I've been seeing it more computerized for years and years, but we're nowhere close. But really, there is no reason my taxes could not be automatically done. They have my income slips. All my investments are with major financial institutions who should be able to calculate my profit/loss...
If they simplified the tax code, it could probably be automated even better.

The more you actually dwell on it, the number of jobs that truly require a mind are simply not that many. Most can be automated. Even judgment style jobs can be automated and probably perform better than the average of human practitioners in the field.

Comment: Re:Unintended consequences (Score 1) 129 129

by scamper_22 (#49810819) Attached to: China Unveils World's First Facial Recognition ATM

Sure, that would put that kind of transaction in danger.

On the other hand, maybe that is a good thing.

And to top it all off, sending money to people is even easier these days. I'm in Canada and I've just gotten used to the email money transfers. $1.50 fee, but its worth the convenience to me.

I've heard that Asia is really big on mobile payments and transfers, so I'd imagine its much easier there.

Comment: Market versus Free-Market (Score 1) 356 356

I was on vacation this past week and at the hotel, they got great reception of Fox News. Just a preamble so you can ignore the rest of this :P

Anyways, there was a pretty good debate there on college tuition with some of panel saying it is a free market because it is based on supply and demand and another panel member saying it can't be a free market because of the subsidies. The cost would not be as high if there were no subsidies because the payout of the college degree is not that high for everyone...

Anyways, it got me thinking of where we are. In pretty much every industry today, you don't have anything that resembles a 'free market'. But you do have a lot of 'markets'.

Almost everywhere you look, you see heavy government involvement from direct subsidies, to investments, to laws, to regulations... that heavily distort any notion of a free market.

I'm not saying this is right or wrong, I'm simply saying what it is.

But then what surprises me is the outrage people get when it comes to subsidies to industries that make things.

I see this all the time. Even in Canada. Suddenly we turn all free-market when it comes to industries that make things. Oh god forbid Nortel or BlackBerry get direct subsidies. These engineers have to operate in the global free market. Meanwhile probably something like 70% of GDP is subsidy based (real estate, healthcare, education, finance...)

Alright, let's take it all at face value. Musk's companies have 5 billion dollars in subsidies. Seems like he is delivering with real jobs and real products.

Meanwhile, hundreds of billions and trillions are spent every year subsidizing the military, healthcare, education, real estate, finance, public sector...

I don't care which side of the fence you stand on. Free market or socialism, why complain about Musk? You want to complain about socialism, let's talk healthcare and education and military and finance and real estate first. That's the big money in socialism.

Comment: Re:This is possibly the dumbest things I've seen.. (Score 1) 68 68

I don't have a clue as to all the use cases the navy needs a data center for. I really don't.

But I'm pretty sure a lot of it can be sent into *the cloud* with vendors with decent credentials. I would hope the navy ensures the cloud location and physical security. Maybe they reach an agreement to post their own navy security for particular labs? This is not an usual agreement to have a dedicated physical location for big clients. This happens with corporations. I'm sure the military could get such an agreement.

Not everything is "Top secret plans to invade Russia.docx"
I'm sure there's a lot of boring logistical, hr, mundane reports, recruitment tools, videos... that you don't need that anything beyond good cloud security.

Not to mention, there are various kinds of technologies that allow you to encrypt data going into the cloud so nothing in stored raw.

It has to be done intelligently of course, but I don't see why the government should not use the vast array of cloud solutions available from a lot of vendors.

Comment: Re:Economics is a science! (Score 1) 335 335

by scamper_22 (#49721843) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

The problem with looking at the economy by numbers is that so much of the numbers are set by people (Governments, ordinary citizens, bankers...)

People want to treat it like a scientific physical system, but it simply isn't.

When when interest rates go up/down? Entirely a political decision.

How much demand is there for housing? Depends largely on government policies (immigration, proprety tax rates, green belts, urban sprawl policies...)

How much are people investing? What tax shelters are there ( TFSA, RRSP by the government)... Related to the interest rate... do people feel like they have to invest because their money is always losing money...

Taxes, investments, subsidies, big infrastructure programs... all decided on a whim by governments.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 529 529

by scamper_22 (#49711563) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

The biggest problem is that people don't want to give a gradual solution. Many of these programs want to assume everyone should have every opportunity and be 'equal' NOW.

I was talking to this person once and I mentioned how rich people can afford to make mistakes more than poor people. Some rich girl can afford to screw around and get pregnant. Some rich guy can afford to screw around taking arts classes and getting drunk. Chances they will both be okay financially.

Want to know the secret to Asian success? This is it. My parents came here with little, and I know a thousand other families the same. I worked in factories, warehouses, fast food, got my degree, now I work as an engineer. Could I have ventured into the arts? Possibly. But I went for the more stable outcome.

My kids. They will have a better life. I won't spoil them, but they will certainly be allowed more leeway.

I don't get why people are upset at harvard for anything to do with opportunity. Harvard is an elite school. Chances are the Asian/blacks that get into harvard are going to be elite anyways. Funny story, I knew a bunch of egyptians who were quite well off, who would classify themselves as African-American (technically true), who would then get preferential treatment. I suspect a lot of well off blacks to the the same. It's not helping the poor/struggling people in general.

You want to deal with getting people out of poverty, you don't worry about a school for the top people. You worry about getting people into community college, trades, state schools. You worry about single mother hood, family breakdown, dependence. You worry about getting kids to read/write/show up on time/discipline.

I spent a year or so teaching and it just blows my mind how much this equality crap hurts these kids. Half these kids in crappy communities have no discipline and lack basic reading and writing. Yet, do we let the teacher deal with that? No... somehow that is 'unfair'. You wonder why African-American communities are still crappy. Because the government still lives in a fantasy land where we can have the same programs/standards for everyone.

I have a better idea. How about you work on getting a generation to get any kind of half decent job. Once that is there, their kids will have a better future.

Comment: Re:One thing to keep in mind... (Score 1) 244 244

by scamper_22 (#49690035) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

This times a million.

Even in commercial software, for anything detailed, it is often better to just look a code. I don't trust the documentation to be up to date for anything detailed anyways. Enums, magic strings, detailed algorithm behavior... let me see the code (auto docs work good here as well)

But the one thing often lacking even in commercial projects is the big picture stuff. Showing all system, what is being called, big picture structure, where the important starting files are...

Comment: Re:Controversial because? (Score 3, Interesting) 284 284

by scamper_22 (#49681947) Attached to: Bill Gates Still Trying To Buy Some Common Core Testing Love

I'd like to know why people think there is an education system problem?

I'm in Canada, so maybe the situation in the US is vastly different, but even in Canada we always have people trumping the education crises.

Over the past 30-40 years we've tossed money after money in the education system, reforming this and that, and can anyone say we've done any better that just having a teacher in a classroom doing their thing?

Heck, does anyone find the irony that people trump up Asian/Indian education, when many of these places don't really spend a lot on education or have 'advanced pedagogy'.

For all the gripes about education system, we somehow still manage to raise some brilliant people. We somehow manage to have people keep doing their jobs and life keeps going.

I would humbly suggest that most of the problems people are trying to solve via the 'academic education' system are the wrong place.

We do have a lot of problems with behavior/family... I experienced this when I was a teacher. Really, what do you do with a kid whose parents don't even answer the phone from the school. Is it any surprise the kid doesn't really care about school?

This is much better addressed through social services and policy changes like empowering teachers run their classes with some discipline.

In all honestly, and this is purely anecdotal, the only difference from when I was a student to when I was a teacher is we lowered the class discipline and became paranoid.

The kids aren't any smarter, they don't think more critically, our lesson plans are fancier, but the output is the same, if not worse. I'm being generous here to the current system :P Sure, math is my day was mainly taught via the textbook and problems. Today, they're almost taking the math out of math. But the new way is more 'advanced' and has more 'pedagogy'

Similarly, most of the workplace/industrial issues are much better dealt with outside of k-12. Training of workers, retention of knowledgeable workers, pursuing advanced degrees... all have little to do with k-12 education and more to do with industry issues.

Why we even concerned with bringing more people into STEM, when I've seen very good STEM people leave the field. Some have become lawyers. Others into project management. Ponder that.

Just what is the education crisis? I just don't see it. As I said, I don't think we've advanced more than have a teacher in a classroom.

"Ninety percent of baseball is half mental." -- Yogi Berra