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Comment: Re:Bad title (Score 1) 405

by nine-times (#49622311) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

That's cool. Sounds about like what I said: We don't really know if warp drives would be possible, or if they are, exactly how they could work. We don't really know that this drive does anything (though it seems to), and if it does, quite how it's doing it.

But if this drive does work, and it works the way some people suspect it does, and warp drives are possible, and they would work the way some people suspect they would, then this drive might be doing something like what a warp drive would do, supposing that the measurements are all accurate.

Or any number of other things could be going on. We don't know.

Comment: Re:Measurements (Score 1) 410

by nine-times (#49620295) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

Those conflicting motivations could easily create a bimodal distribution (between programmers who are passionate, and those who are just doing a job). I don't know if that's happened because I haven't measured, but it seems plausible to me.

That would be a great argument if you're talking about measuring programmers' attitudes, or maybe even the quality of their code. It seems that what's being talked about here is "talent", which is often (generally?) thought to mean a kind of innate ability.

Comment: Re:Proxy? (Score 1) 302

On the other hand, my work has 30,000+ computers that communicate through no more than ten public IP addresses, so if we weren't using a corporate solution for Windows activations then we might pop up in much the same way.

The summary makes it sound like Microsoft is suspicious just because there are hundreds of activations from the same IP, but I don't think that alone would have attracted the same kind of attention. Because you're right, it could simply be a company with incompetent IT people, or even just a computer fix-it shop that is installing and activating Windows for people. The article says:

Microsoft says that the defendant(s) have activated hundreds of copies of Windows 7 using product keys that have been “stolen” from the company’s supply chain or have never been issued with a valid license, or keys used more times than their license allows.

So it's not an issue of "Microsoft thinks these activation are suspicious because they all come from the some IP address," but rather, "Microsoft knows these activation are suspicious because they're using faked/stolen license keys. A lot of them are coming from the same place, which makes Microsoft want to know what that place is."

Comment: Re:Bad title (Score 1) 405

by nine-times (#49616491) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

I don't know. The first article I read quoted some scientist saying something to the effect of, "The effect is consistent with what we might possibly see if it were a warp drive, according to what we guess a warp drive might possibly do, which is all kind of cool. But I don't actually know what's going on here." I thought that's where all the talk of warp drives came from.

But it didn't sound to me at the time like the guy who said it, whoever that was, was even really positing that it was a warp drive. Just more like, "Well the whole thing is kind of neat. We don't really know how warp drives would work, if we assume they're possible, and we also don't know how this thing is working, if we assume it's not experimental error. However, with as little as we know about warp drives and as little as we know about this thing, this thing could technically be a warp drive. It's total bullshit speculation, but fun to think about."

Comment: Re:Bad title (Score 3, Insightful) 405

by nine-times (#49616343) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

It's premature to throw a Singularity party but it's definitely premature to declare the device to not be a warp drive.

I guess you're right in the sense that if we don't know what's generating the thrust, it's premature to declare it to be *not* much of anything. It's premature to declare it not-a-time-machine or not-a-perpetual-motion-machine. It might be premature to declare that it's not witchcraft. But on the other hand, it's a pretty safe bet that it's none of those things. If it really does work, it probably works via some very reasonable mechanism.

The author is right: we should reserve judgment until there's something more substantial. From what I've read so far, it sounds more like a couple of scientists played with it and said, "Huh, this is actually pretty cool. It does seem to generate thrust, and we're not sure how. Wouldn't it be cool if it was a primative warp drive? Yeah, that'd be cool. Oh well, we need to test it more before we're even sure that it's generating thrust." The whole warp-drive thing is wild speculation, picked up by fanboys who desperately want it to be true.

Comment: Re:Outdated (Score 1) 210

Not sure why you're being dense. Both managers and project managers "manage", and so there's going to be some overlap in what they do. The biggest difference between a project manager and a manager in that a project manager has specific projects, with specific scopes of work, and essentially only has purview over those specific projects.

A manager may also manage projects. That doesn't mean it's the same job. If you treat them like the same job, you're going to do a very bad job at one of them, if not both.

Comment: Re:Outdated (Score 3, Interesting) 210

I've worked for one company that I thought did a rather smart thing: They separated out the "manager" and "boss" roles.

So they had one person, a "manager", keep an eye on people, keep an eye on projects, allocate resources, and basically manage the group. The "boss" was a rather technical guy who was not good at managing, and did not want to manage, and who mostly worked as part of the team. The "manager" was treated more as a resource to keep the group working effectively, and really wasn't "in charge". For any substantial decisions, the manager would discuss it with the boss, and the boss would make a decision.

Admittedly, it was a small company doing a rather niche set of work, but it worked really well. There seemed to be something to the idea.

Comment: Re:The good news is... (Score 2) 210

Yeah. I've been a manager before, and if I'm being honest, I think I did a pretty good job at it. Relatively. Mostly.

But the guy who said, "It's too easy NOT to be." doesn't know what he's talking about. It's really easy to make a dumb managerial decision. It's really hard to be a good manager. For example, he says;

Instead of the once-a-year-review aim for the every-2-weeks-review. That way you will remember all the reasons why the main project was delayed.

So great, now instead of being the absentee manager who doesn't know what's going on, you're the micromanaging asshole who calls constant meetings. As a result, you remember all the reasons why your project is delayed, but what are you going to do about it? Do you let the project be late? Do you cut back on the project goals? Can you throw more resources into the project to meet deadlines? Sometimes more resources don't work.

Sometimes you can push your people harder and get more work out of them. You don't want to do that all the time, because it has diminishing returns, and your people might hate you for it. They probably will hate you for it, but in doing so, you might be saving their jobs.

Now upper management calls you in. They're upset that the project is going wrong. You know it's because little bubble-headed Billy screwed up again. Billy is bad at his job. How much do you protect Billy, knowing that he really ought to be fired. Maybe you could throw him under the bus and get everyone else out of a jam, but that seems like a shitty thing to do. You prefer to be the type of manager that says, "This is my responsibility. The buck stops here."

But does Billy need to be fired? If you want to fire him, you're going to need reasons, and this could be one. He's a nice guy, and people like him. You're afraid of ruining the guy's life. You'd like to see him do well. Maybe you could sit down and have a talk with him, give him some help, and get him on the right track. That sounds great to you. You'd be a little bit of a hero, if you took this guy who's a bit of a fuck-up and helped him become a big success. You have a little fantasy about the whole thing: Someday, Billy is a big-shot millionaire, but he owes it all to you. That's a nice thought. Of course, you've tried the same thing with Peter last year, before eventually firing him. You really should have just cut your losses earlier, because everything you did to try to help Peter just fell flat. Ultimately, he wasn't motivated. Maybe Billy will be like that too, and you'll look back and say, "I wish I'd fired Billy earlier."

.... and Sorry about that. I went down a rabbit hole there, but I wanted to try to illustrate that these decisions aren't particularly easy. There are a bunch of competing interests, and there's not a clear "correct" answer. You can read books about management, with all their trite aphorisms. They might give some good examples of where other managers succeeded or failed, but the reality is that those examples worked because of context and chance. Often, the real lesson is that you have to be aware of all of the details and subtleties of your situation, sometimes ignoring conventional wisdom, try to find a solution that works in that exact, particular context, and hope for the best.

Comment: Re:This is not a matter of neutrality (Score 2) 437

by nine-times (#49585351) Attached to: Rand Paul Moves To Block New "Net Neutrality" Rules

If telcos decide to meddle with anything above they should - lose common carrier status and become co responsible. - not call it internet. Youtubenet facebooklink flixnet for netflix or whatever, sell it at reduced price and get the new generation of imbeciles on board there and off the real net.

It's a win/win.

No, I think that's insufficient. The real issue here is that we need real, fast, high quality, unfettered telecommunications infrastructure. It's an economic issue, an issue of technological development, and First Amendment issue. There can be no compromise there.

Unfortunately, infrastructure development can only be left to the "free market" in limited ways. We can't have businesses developing completely independent roadways. Cities can't have a bunch of different electrical companies all laying down cables. We can't have a free market for water, with many different companies laying independent pipe networks throughout our cities. It's not practical and it doesn't make a bit of sense.

Companies like Verizon and TWC keep trying to re-frame the whole thing as though the Internet is an entertainment service, and we shouldn't regulate it any more than we regulate companies that make socks. They keep trying to re-frame it, and we keep letting them. They pay corrupt morons like Rand Paul to champion their causes, and we vote people like him into office. We should stop doing that.

The Internet is telecommunications infrastructure. We need it. We can't allow businesses to control and subvert out ability to communicate for their own short-term business goals. Net neutrality is not like telling a sock manufacturer how to set their prices. Net neutrality is like telling a company, "You're not allowed to own all the ink and paper in the world, and then decide which news stories get printed, and which personal letters get sent." It's like saying, "We can't let a company buy all of our roads, and then decide who gets to drive where, when, and in which car."

Comment: Games? (Score 4, Interesting) 174

by nine-times (#49547273) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

Ars has an article about the difficulty of making games for the Apple Watch

Honestly, I think games are a bit of a stretch. Maybe I'm just a stupid old man, but I kind of feel like smart-watches should do very little, but everything they do, they should do in a simple, obvious, transparent manner. If you want to play games, just pull out your phone.

Now of course someone is going to say, "What's wrong with extra functionality? If you don't want it, just don't use it." All I would say is, if I had my say in the design, I'd make the UI as simple as possible, and make the battery last as long as possible. Adding a bunch of unnecessary features and games that require a bunch of processing power are likely to run contrary to both of those goals. If you gave me the choice of being able to play Angry Birds on my watch, or shaving off a couple of ounces while extending battery life for 5 hours, I'd definitely choose the latter.

Comment: Re:Dubious (Score 1) 686

by nine-times (#49535983) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

I am well beyond millennial status and I approve of what Snowden did so I am not sure I believe the survey results.

Nobody is saying the survey conclusively proves that nobody approves of Snowden's actions. That's not how these things work. The summary says:

Among those aged 35-44, some 34 percent have positive attitudes toward him. For the 45-54 age cohort, the figure is 28 percent, and it drops to 26 percent among Americans over age 55, U.S. News reported.

So even if this survey is accurate, that still leaves a significant percentage of people in those age ranges who do have positive attitudes. In that context, it doesn't really make sense to say, "Well I'm in that age group and I have positive attitudes, so this survey must not be accurate." Maybe you're just part of the minority.

Of course, the survey could be inaccurate or misleading. Most polls are.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?