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Comment: You need to look for win-win solutions (Score 1) 524

by scgops (#43793965) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Moving From Contract Developers To Hiring One In-House?

IMO, the main problem is that you are giving contract programmers an incentive to do the wrong thing.

If I am reading your submission correctly, you are paying programmers hourly only for time spent writing code before handing it over to you. If issues are found after handoff, you expect them to fix the issues without being paid anything additional.

If I were your subcontractor, the first thing I would do is hire a subcontractor of my own to do QA. And I would bill you for his hours plus mine. As things stand, your subcontractors have a strong incentive to take as much time as they need / bill you for as many hours as they want in order to ensure they give you perfect code.

If you want to keep a similar arrangement in place and improve code quality, you need to add a positive inducement rather than just pushing them to fix bugs without being paid. At present, you are asking them to take all the financial risk related to bugs while you get all of the potential reward from finishing quickly. Look for a way to flip that around, perhaps with a fixed dollar amount budget for bug fixes. If they spend fewer hours than expected fixing bugs, they get the bonus of a higher than expected hourly rate. If they have more bugs than you forecasted, they get paid a lower hourly rate but they still get paid something.

Comment: Casino surveillance cameras (Score 1) 220

by scgops (#39318461) Attached to: The Lytro Camera: Impressive Technology and Some Big Drawbacks

Seriously. That's where I see the most viable commercial opportunity for light field cameras. Today, casinos use a heaping ton of individual cameras in order to be able to focus on a lot of people / tables / cards at once. Replace that same quantity of cameras with light field cameras, and suddenly the video footage could be reviewed with the focus on a different player.

Comment: Re:Babysitters/firefighters (Score 1) 304

by scgops (#39111307) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deal With Priorities Inflation In IT Projects?

You are only half-right.

Top executives can be prosecuted and jailed if anyone in the company causes fraudulent financial information to be reported to the SEC. Generally accepted accounting principles now require change control and independent audits of any IT infrastructure related to financial records or reports.

The firewall that protects financial systems is generally considered "in scope." So is the LDAP database that controls who has access.

In a publicly traded company, giving executive babysitters free reign to fly fast and loose without change control very well could incur civil liability and lead to criminal charges. That is improbable, true, but not impossible.

What is far more likely, though, is that the auditors would report some important things in their findings. First, there are failures related to separation of duties. Rather than the network security team being the only people with access to make firewall changes, there is a separate group with that same ability. Rather than the IT sysadmins who participate in the hiring and firing process making all changes to the LDAP database, a separate group has that ability, too. Beyond merely having the ability to make changes, the separate group of babysitters has, in fact, made changes to those systems. The change control procedures were violated in that none of the babysitter group's changes were approved in advance or made during change windows. Combined, it becomes clear that the babysitter team has sufficient access to make changes that materially affect the security or fidelity of the financial record keeping systems, and that no one is overseeing them sufficiently closely to ensure that fraud does not occur.

As a result, the financial audit report could very well report that, although no evidence shows that actual fraud has occurred, the audit team is unable to say with confidence that fraud has definitively not occurred. As such, there is are material weaknesses in the company's ability to guarantee the accuracy of their SEC filings.

That could get IT executives fired and probably cause the company's stock price to drop.

Comment: Re:Step #1 (Score 1) 480

by scgops (#36048012) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Becoming a Network Administrator?

Actually, rent one. Two, preferably.

First, find a local VAR who knows everything there is to know about Juniper Networks switches, routers, firewalls, VPNs, etc. Juniper's gear is rock solid. Definitely not cheap, but solid.

Second, find a competing VAR who knows everything about a competing brand. The obvious choice for most people is Cisco, but they will overcharge you up front on hardware and every year on support contracts. For a small business, I would instead look at HP ProCurve or SonicWALL.

Have the resellers figure out what might be wrong with your existing network and recommend upgrade paths. Assuming they actually know what they're talking about, buy the gear from them and have them help install and troubleshoot.

Do not try to do it all solo without professional assistance.

Comment: Re:Author's intent vs. choice of words (Score 1) 1073

by scgops (#34788190) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

AC, you yourself do not know what you are talking about.

Huck still referred to Jim as a nigger in the final chapter. That's the only term that would be believable in the thoughts and speech of a youth with his upbringing. He wasn't rich/educated enough to conceive of Jim as "colored" and "black" wasn't part of the common parlance.

Comment: Re:Author's intent vs. choice of words (Score 1) 1073

by scgops (#34788134) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

"The use of the word 'nigger' is central to the book's meaning..."

I completely disagree. If that's true, then Huck would have stopped using the term nigger to refer to Jim by the end of the book. He never does, despite having found respect and admiration for Jim and becoming his friend. The people of Twain's time (and many decades afterward) simply didn't routinely use other terms to refer to black people. The use of any other word by Huck would have made the dialog sound artificial.

At the time I first read the book, in the 1970's, many whites in Connecticut near where Twain lived routinely referred to black people as niggers. Many still do to this day.Because of my own context, I didn't see the term as being immensely racially charged. And I'm quite confident that Twain didn't, either.

Comment: Re:Author's intent vs. choice of words (Score 1) 1073

by scgops (#34788100) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

I can tell you that the mindset of white folk in the 1970's in the vicinity of where Twain wrote Huck Finn was that people with black skin were niggers. Most didn't use other words, except perhaps negro. They weren't aiming to be especially harmful or shocking. That's just the word they used all day every day. It was part of the normal dialect, just as "African American" is today.

Is there any published evidence? Certainly. You can tour Twain's house and that of his neighbor, Harriet Beecher Stowe, to learn about their efforts to promote racial and gender equality. They thought that all human beings should have equal rights. Yet I'm not aware of any cases of Twain trying to change the nation's vocabulary to remove the word nigger from common usage.

On top of that, Huck is still referring to Jim in the last chapter, despite having become his friend. Huck doesn't switch to some other term in an effort to spare Jim's feelings because the term didn't have the connotations of being a deliberately harmful insult the way it does today.

Comment: Re:Author's intent vs. choice of words (Score 1) 1073

by scgops (#34788002) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

Insults don't help you make your case.

Regardless, you must have grown up in a different part of the country than I did. My home town had a population of about 6,000. Of those, only a dozen or so were not white.

Even in the 70's, many locals still used the term nigger to routinely refer to black people, as in "a nigger came into the store today." It was a common part of the local dialect. The usage of the word was certainly insensitive, but it wasn't meant to be malicious. Perhaps you find that hard to believe, but it's true. That's just what life was like in that part of the country not long ago.

Because of that, I don't believe that Twain's repeated use of the term nigger was intended to be harmful. That's simply the term that Huck would have naturally used given his upbringing. Anything else would have made the dialog sound artificial. If you go back and read the book, Huck is still calling Jim a nigger even in the last chapter. Despite being friends and having respect for Jim, he doesn't change to using some other term. How, then, do you back up the conclusion that Twain intended for the word to be viewed as intentionally injurious?

The book was absolutely meant to highlight the belief that everyone, even non-whites, should be free. But Twain wasn't trying to change anyone's vocabulary. And I don't believe he would care overly much about the use or avoidance of any specific words in his book other than free and freedom.

And before you go saying my hometown had nothing in common with the world Twain lived in, it was only 20 miles from where Twain was living in Hartford when he wrote the book. The people living there are exactly like the audience he was trying to reach when he wrote the story.

Comment: Re:because pretending bad stuff does not happen (Score 1) 1073

by scgops (#34787882) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

Perhaps I'll do that.

Meanwhile, try this experiment. Head to the nearest major metropolitan area. At night, go to the projects. Find a group of young black men. Go up to the biggest one and say, "Yo, nigger. Wassup?"

Let me know how he feels about hearing you say it.

Whether you want to believe it or not, words can have vastly different connotations depending on the context.

Comment: Re:because pretending bad stuff does not happen (Score 1) 1073

by scgops (#34787856) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

Have you ever been on the receiving end of blatant discrimination?

I'm white. I've been in the midst of a very poor, very non-white neighborhood with people walking up to me and demanding to know, "What are you doing here, white boy?"

That helped me relate to how black people feel about the n-word.

And I have a godson with cerebral palsy. Trust me, that radically changed the way I feel about the word "retard." It's not a term I want used around me or my family.

Emotionally charged words have power way beyond merely being a series of letters.

You might try empathizing with people who are upset rather than rushing to judgment.

Comment: Re:A plus and a minus (Score 1) 1073

by scgops (#34787832) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

"Removing [one word] from it removes the entire point of it having ever been written or read."

You really believe that? There's no value to Huck Finn beyond the repeated use of that word? I beg to differ. Among other things, there is still quite a bit about people becoming friends despite racial and other differences.

Comment: Re:because pretending bad stuff does not happen (Score 1) 1073

by scgops (#34779052) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

Hardly.

The issue here is that there needs to be an edition that can be used to teach children of all races and all ages.The original edition uses words that many people don't want to read and don't want their children to read. Twain was promoting racial equality, not racism. He wouldn't want his work to emotionally harm non-white children for generations.

Adults are more than welcome to make their own choice regarding whether or not to read the original. In the meantime, school-aged children shouldn't be forced schools to read words they find personally abhorrent.

Additionally, children are quite fond of repeatedly using new words that they have just learned. I can easily picture elementary school children tormenting classmates with the n-word after hearing it repeated over 200 times in class. That sort of behavior would get adults in the workplace fired. IMO, it makes sense to try to avoid that risk until high school when children can be more readily held accountable for their own actions.

It's reasonable to think that parents can work with their own children one-on-one to teach them not to use such words. It's not reasonable to think a teacher with 20+ students can get their entire class to behave acceptably. It only takes one threatened lawsuit "My Sally is being harassed ever since the class started reading that horrible book" to get it banned from a school. The edited version has potential to reach students who would otherwise never be given the chance to read the book and discuss it in class. That's important, because elementary school kids are not going to be able to guess at the larger context of the book or understand just how important it was simply by reading the original on their own.

Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.

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