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Comment: Re:I don't need a study.. (Score 1) 392

by sugar and acid (#46546979) Attached to: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

The article mentions this, and solves your problem. Move out of Silicon Valley to a lower cost of living place. Some good sized mid-western city will be optimal. This only works if you have an established product and good procedures. Now if your start-up and need funding from VC etc then yes base yourself in SF, NYC, Boston or Chicago....

Comment: Re:It's the *Pot & Kettle Show* (Score 1) 187

by sugar and acid (#46461853) Attached to: CIA Accused: Sen. Feinstein Sees Torture Probe Meddling

Iran Contra is a good example of what is the problem with the CIA. They believe they are a covert military force and diplomatic wing of government, and NOT an intelligence gathering service. Because of this, after Iran Contra, they just pulled out of everything including the basics of intelligence gathering that would generate actionable intelligence.

The vietnam war murky start was due to it growing out of CIA lead military actions. In many ways a more up front decision decision in government about if there should be any military action in Vietnam could have saved many lives, with either a fully committed profession US force being deployed earlier on or simply not engaging in the conflict at all and coming out at the same result it ended in anyway.

If the CIA concentrated on understanding what is going on in the world and feeding that back to the government. With military actions left to the military, and diplomatic manoeuvring left to the diplomatic corp, the US just wouldn't get into half the messes it does.

Comment: And so where is the archimedes (Score 4, Informative) 111

by sugar and acid (#46328475) Attached to: The Ever So Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came To Rule the World

The article skipped over the whole development of the arm processor. It wasn't developed for the newton, the original architecture was for the acorn archimedes risc based computers, launched in 1987.

The key difference that set Acorn apart from every desktop PC type computer manufacturer at the time, is they went down the road of actually designing their own processors for the PC market. This is instead of using one from Motorola or IBM

I think what set the ARM apart going forward was they used modern for the time CPU design principles, but they aimed for a lower end consumer grade market instead of the higher end mainframe/server/workstation/supercomputer market. Because of this they were all about getting the most performance from cheaper slightly older chip fab technologies. All of these ultimately meant that the design constraints imposed early on translated well to mobile applications.

Comment: Re:or stop hiding... (Score 5, Insightful) 377

by sugar and acid (#46236711) Attached to: Assange's Lawyers: Follow Swedish Law, Interrogate Him In the UK

Assange's resistance to extradition to Sweden is I think because he believes he is more vulnerable to extradition lock away in a Swedish Jail, not because the extradition process is easier from there to the US than the UK, just that he won't be able to skip bail and the country locked away in a jail. EAW extradition proceedings from the UK to Sweden were in motion, he was out on bail when he skipped off into the Ecudorian embassy. If he had been charged in Sweden for rape, combined with the obvious flight risk someone like Assange represents, bail would have been very very high or not available. Assange's thinking is it would be at that point that the US would start extradition proceedings.

An interesting point here is it is implicit that Assange will not stand and fight any extradition proceedings if he can skip the country. It is a strategy that has left him imprisoned in an embassy in London. Also it has effectively accomplished what the authorities of many countries wanted to achieve, he is trapped, with a progressively smaller political voice.

Comment: Black mirror (Score 1) 241

Charlie Brooker's excellent series "Black mirror". Had exactly this idea in the episode "Be right back".

A company that would take all the tweets, facebook etc as input and create a bot of the deceased personality that you would be able to text with. The story had a pregnant recent widow start talking to her "deceased" husband. To extend it to the logical conclusion the company had upgrades that went from texting, through to phone conversation if audio input was put in, to finally an android based on the person that was fully functional.

The theme was that this was a really bad idea. The imitation can only ever be a imitation, with massive parts of the more private hidden personality missing. And for the people that care the most about the person, something deep in the uncanny valley. All it could really do was draw out the grief process with false hope, and that can't be a healthy thing.

Comment: Of course (Score 1) 185

by sugar and acid (#45753483) Attached to: 90 Percent of Businesses Say IP Is "Not Important"

Lots of business are just in the business of selling stuff. So there is very little IP to be had.

Similarly there is very little IP to be protected in the vast majority of services businesses. That's everything from dog walkers to hotel chains, law firms and banks.

The building industry has very little IP as well apart on certain widgets used.

That pretty much leaves high tech manufacturing, software, and something that is probably best describes as "media".

Comment: Static application is stupid (Score 1) 176

The static application of this, automatic charging while parked over a mat in a garage is not that interesting really. But what if sections of a similar technology was installed in interstates that could charge a car on the move? Cars with a receiving system, and a way to verify and bill the driver for the electricity while moving. We would then have electric cars with potentially infinite range.

That application we could take a bit of inefficiency for the convenience added.

Comment: Unbalanced (Score 5, Insightful) 383

by sugar and acid (#45593207) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Convince Management To Hire More IT Staff?

I'll be honest, you seem to have a large IT department. You have 4 programmers, and that seems out of whack. Now you are a manufacturer are these programmers actually working on internal business systems (so truly IT), or are they actually involved in developing end user software firmware etc (product development).

If it product development they need to be moved into the development department with the engineers, though the IT manager would then come underneath the product development manager which maybe politically problematic but needs to be done.

If it is just for internal systems development and support, frankly your doing too much customization of your internal system. I think you'll find that the payback with a company the size your described , for automating and streamlining every process, by heavy modifications to the ERP are actually not there. Get the IT manager to fight against further scope creep of the ERP, sack a programmer or 2 and get in more true IT support staff.

Comment: Re:London Oyster (Score 1) 196

by sugar and acid (#45535659) Attached to: Chicago Transit System Fooled By Federal ID Cards

Their is no advantage over a paper ticket with oyster for a weekly pass monthly etc. You still have to buy one at a window, shop etc. The real advantage is in the casual commuter. People making the odd tube or bus trip out of their normal zone or tourists. It massively speeds up boarding of buses with a lot less fumbling around for change.

You can easily share your oyster card with another person. The pay as you go is simply handing it over to them (I have several oysters for the visitors). For weekly passes, it doesn't matter if it is paper or card. In the UK they are tied to a railcard number with a photo. You strictly need both, but they they only check the ticket or oyster usually.

Also you can buy and use a pay as you go oyster anonymously.

Comment: London Oyster (Score 4, Informative) 196

by sugar and acid (#45532751) Attached to: Chicago Transit System Fooled By Federal ID Cards

The reason that everybody is trying to move to this type of things is the success of the London oyster card system. Not perfect, but good enough, and is widely adopted.

The key with the London system was the transit fare system was very well integrated to start with. If you bought a zone 1-4 weekly pass, you could take buses tube and trains everywhere within zone 1-4.

The trick to getting adoption was the cash "penalty" fare. For instance a cash bus fare is nearly twice the price of an oyster card fare. And if you buy a season ticket it gets loaded onto an oyster card. So anybody in London needs an oyster card, and so has one.

The other effective thing that was done was to only have oyster top up and ticket sales at stations and offered exclusively to local independent corner stores. The advantage to the store holder is 2 fold, it gave a small financial return to the store owner, but more importantly for the store owner it got people in the store. Topping up oyster cards and at the same time getting a drink or chocolate bar etc. So very quickly every store had one, and in London there are a lot of them so it was widely accessible with very little staffing costs.

Comment: Of course they are (Score 4, Insightful) 227

The "experience" looked for in a company looking to win a government contract like this is, well a track record in winning government contracts.

They know the tricks and hoops to go through to get to the end and win the contract. They probably also have good contacts that help them win it in the first place.

Ability to actually manage the contract and deliver the result. Pretty much irrelevant.

Basically good bullsh*tters, bad managers.

Comment: Re:do tell (Score 1) 233

by sugar and acid (#45427288) Attached to: ATF Tests Show 3D Printed Guns Can Explode

A properly manufactured weapon will fire thousands of rounds, with basic cleaning and maintenance. These printed guns can't make 10. They are not weapons, they are a political statement arguing that controlling the sale of guns is impossible because anybody can make one. It's not true, and the argument is literally blowing up in their face.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun