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Comment: Face-to-Face Communication Matters (Score 4, Interesting) 133

Many years a go I was coordinating a group of developers that was somewhat larger than yours and possibly even more distributed. E-mail and phone conferences were fine, but they were no substitute for face-to-face communication. At some point I just decided that we all needed to get together for a 2-day meeting every month, which meant everyone else had to fly in, except for those in Asia, who joined by videoconference in spite of ridiculous time zone differences. No objections from upper management. It definitely helped (and later learned that people regretted when I stopped holding the meetings.) The key is to make sure you work in a place where it is a non-stop flight for everyone else.

At the moment I am working on a project where the center of activity is two time zones away. Coming up on a review, I realized that there was a big disconnect in how the people in charge thought my part of the project would work - this in spite of our having even more advanced online collaborative tools to communicate. On my own initiative, I flew out to where the rest of the project is located. It was for 2 days, and it was extremely productive - indeed, essential.

There always seems to be a mandate in organizations that people travel too much, and it needs to be cut back. I look at it the opposite - people don't travel enough.

Comment: On the other hand ... (Score 2) 116

by sk999 (#49193225) Attached to: Anthem Blocking Federal Auditor From Doing Vulnerability Scans

The place I work is required to allow itself to be scanned, both from outside and inside the network perimeter. However, whenever the auditors show up to do their inside scanning, we have to disable a number of security systems so they can "do their job". Kinda defeats the whole purpose, but whatever makes the auditors happy.

Comment: Re: Sony should return to its roots (Score 2) 188

by sk999 (#49098011) Attached to: Why Sony Should Ditch Everything But the PlayStation

The real roots were tape recorders. Those were the first Sony (consumer) products I saw. Also, transistor radios. Next came portable (B&W) TV's - ones that would fit on a small table. My brother bought one and then invented the world's first remote control - it was a long stick with wooden attachment that let him change the channel while remaining in bed. Lazy SOB. I did have a Trinitron for a while, and while awesome for its time, it has long been shipped off to recycling.

Comment: Really? (Score 1) 393

by sk999 (#49070553) Attached to: PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth?

"Consider this: In the past 10 years has the distribution you run changed significantly in what it offers over other distributions? I think you'll find the answer is largely no."

Unfortunately, the answer is yes, and in a negative way. Distros got better for a while, but then they maxed out around 2001, and it's been a gradual decline ever since. Luke may have the best of intentions, but his solution is no solution.

Frederick Brooks had it right - there are no silver bullets.

Comment: Re:Uh, I've worked for Big Blue . . . repeatedly. (Score 1) 190

by sk999 (#49043459) Attached to: Five Years After the Sun Merger, Oracle Says It's Fully Committed To SPARC

"Employees now are issued laptops with a rebranded version of RHEL installed."

Why not SCO Linux? Given that SCO and IBM are such close business partners. Typical example:
http://prwire.com.au/pr/4550/i...

"IBM DB2 Version 8.1 Certified on SCO Linux 4.0 ..."

Comment: Re:We need a distributed Tor immedietly (Score 1) 215

by sk999 (#49035745) Attached to: Russia Seeking To Ban Tor, VPNs and Other Anonymizing Tools

Thanks for the feedback. I've been to China once (several years ago) and back then, while the "Great Wall" was evident, it was not omnipresent. Since then I have been blocked by "Great Walls" imposed by hotels and conference sites (all in the US) that were far more oppressive, and which got me into looking at VPNs. I now have 5 VPNs to choose from (none of them from a commercial provider) but I understand what you are saying - given enough time, the mole-holes will get filled in.

Comment: Re:We need a distributed Tor immedietly (Score 4, Funny) 215

by sk999 (#49035219) Attached to: Russia Seeking To Ban Tor, VPNs and Other Anonymizing Tools

"China started assaulting VPNs recently as well."

China has been blocking VPNs since 2011. It seems like an annual ritual. Here is a typical article from back then:
http://www.theguardian.com/tec...

Eventually the blocking eases, or people figure out another way around. It becomes a game of "whack-a-mole".

Comment: Before the typewriter ... (Score 2) 790

by sk999 (#48783991) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

The scratching sound of a quill pen against paper - done in by the typewriter.

The sound of a hammer and chisel carving Latin into marble tablets - done in by the quill pen and paper.

The squishy sound of a reed stylus forming cuneiform symbols in clay tablets - done in by hammer and chisel.

Don't know if any of them had a song.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin

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