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Comment Fundamental difference in trust between industries (Score 1) 247

There's a fundamental difference in trust between the two industries. Technology companies place little trust in users. Good software requires thinking of all of the dumb things a user could do to break it. Good hardware requires thinking of all the dumb things a user could do to break it. Good technology infrastructure requires identifying lots of critical paths and either automating, simplifying or building redundancies because failure will happen. Car companies are the opposite. Sure, they engineer their product as best as they can, but really we're not talking about an industry that thinks radically different than it did 70 years ago. The user is expected and required to make lots of decisions about using the product an given lots of options for customization. Having said that, I think a piecemeal approach could work. If you can get the car to drive autonomously on the Interstate that would be huge. I don't think it's realistic to expect a driver to remain attentive enough to grab the wheel in a split second though.

Comment My first: 1.2.13 kernel (Score 1) 136

When I first went to college in 1993 I was fairly inexperienced on computers. I'd had a Commodore 128 and spent hours upon hours keying in programs from Ahoy magazine, but later in high school never really worked on a PC or a Mac. So when I got to college and was thrust into needing to use the computer labs, I quickly got frustrated by having to wait in line to use a computer.

I quickly noticed that these engineering workstations in the corners were almost never used - these were the SunOS days and most of them were Sparc 5's, 10's and the rarer 20's. I quickly started using those and fell in love with Unix and how it worked. The commandline seemed really natural. After that when I needed to use a Mac or PC it just seemed to suck.

So, fast forward to late 1994 or early 95. My first Pentium 75MHz PC I put together needed Linux, so I downloaded Slackware to floppy and off I went.

Comment A better option is to be VP... (Score 1) 458

There's no way LL can get the name recognition he needs to raise the funds to be loud enough to get his message out. That's a shame in our society and one of the problems hopefully he could fix.

A better option would be to approach Bernie Sanders and ask to be his VP. They could run the same campaign and the same platform. As VP a majority of LL's time could go to implementing the changes needed once elected. A president simply does not have the time to focus 100% of their time on "fixing things". And honestly, given the framework of the constitution, I have no idea how you could ever do such a thing without the legislature helping - there's no way that would happen right now.

The only way to really make these changes is to get amendments added to the constitution and do that via a direct vote of the states/people - something that's never been done before. Things like campaign finance reform, procedural rules in congress, lobbying/lobbyists, voting, and gerrymandering pretty much all need to be addressed. To get it done, everyone needs to drop the labels of liberal, socialist, libertarian, and conservative. It takes elements of all of those overrated vague concepts to get it done.

Lastly, the candidate that wins this election will spend over $1 billion. The 2016 election will very much be bought. If Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and George Soros all got together they could purchase this election.

Comment waitbutwhy article (Score 1) 104

So with all the recent fuss over AI and some respectable folks being scared to death of it, I happened to stumble on this great article on waitbutwhy:

It's a long two parter, but well worth the read. If you want the tl;dr part, skip to part 2 and search for "Robotica". With that in mind, we're going to end up with a planet of mile-high stacks of Magic: The Gathering cards.

Comment Budget games (Score 1) 117

So there's a small subset of IT managers out there who get stuck with lousy budgets. I do a bunch of consulting and get into different businesses and some managers play a game:

Step 1: ask for a bunch of money as a capex expense to migrate servers. Let that request get denied.

Step 2: do it again the next year. Let it get denied again.

Step 3: wait until it's absolutely critical - show management articles on the pending doom that will happen - request a lot more money.

Step: Use all the extra money on all the extra IT projects they can't otherwise get approved easily.

I saw a large site that had a lot of XP workstations and the IT manager didn't push too hard to get Windows 7 licensing. Right before XP went out of maintenance he got a large expense approved to not only upgrade to Windows 7 but to actually replace all of the workstations. I saw the same thing with Windows 2000 and a company using that as an excuse to get into virtualization and purchase all that hardware.

Comment Politics - Internet Party and the TPP (Score 4, Interesting) 205

So you've recently taken a foray into politics with the formation of the Internet Party. What are your thoughts about what's needed to actually improve New Zealand politics? One of the stated goals of the Internet Party is to review the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which has recently become a hot topic in the US as well. What are your thoughts on the TPP?

Comment start a side business (Score 2) 227

Want some insulation? Start a side business. A friend and I both started separate businesses about 18 months ago. Him, because he wanted to. Me, because I had to. His business, really a side business, is beekeeping. Mine is IT consulting, but I have a very specific focus based on a specific thing here. We're both doing really well and last weekend we compared notes. We've both kind of knew this, but this is the conclusion we came to: His day job isn't the most thrilling and has ups and downs through the year, but he loves his side business. Me, I have a stable new business, but I might consider getting full time employment somewhere just to make my commute easier, however I love the business so much I'd have to keep parts of the work as a side business. Most people in other parts of the world seem to work like this. End result - side business is f*cking awesome and most people just seem too lazy to do it.

Comment Long Now Foundation - check it out (Score 1) 403

If you haven't heard of the Long Now Foundation, check it out - I think the whole paradigm is pretty cool - civilization has been in existence for 10,000 years, so let's build stuff now that will last for another 10,000 years. Surely by then any civilization will wonder what the hell we were thinking. Anyway, one of their projects is the cryptically named "Long Server". Now, assuming humans just disappeared tomorrow, it's completely possible that Hoover Dam could run for 50-100 years and thereby entire data centers could stay up and running. That's a blink of an eye in geologic terms though.

Comment Waiting for Ara (Score 1) 484

I've got a Moto X 2013 that I love. It might not be the phone for everyone, but it does exactly what I need in the way I want it done. It's standard Verizon firmware, nothing too fancy, and fairly stable - maybe one crash or reboot needed every other month. My contract will be up in less than 6 months and the timing seems like it might be right to wait it out for one of the Project Ara phones - the modular Google phones. Part of that is because there will likely be a Nexus reference spec phone that I can just use on a pay-as-you-go plan. I think I'm ditching the whole contract thing - I think I'd be much happier with an MVNO.

Comment HR considerations - they need to be in the loop (Score 1) 279

First off, backups are the solution to this - don't let important things be stored locally. (Not that it matters, the new hires always like to reinvent the wheel.)

However, a bunch of things need to be solved from an HR perspective. You need to make a checklist for HR on how to handle IT things. Things like, "Get the PIN code to their iPhone" or "Make sure social media accounts have documented passwords" that'll make your life easier.) Basically you have 6 different situations:

  • Senior/Upper Management - resigns - be nice. If some knowledge might be needed later, HR should have a policy to hire that person on a consulting/1099 basis if needed. Even if they're disgruntled, it should make them happy to hear that. Treat them with respect, cut off IT access as early and quickly as possible, but realistically that probably means their last day. Get their laptop and phone (if its not BYOD) their last day and check and double check accounts (VPN, Dropbox) they might have set up.
  • Senior/Upper Management - fired - be careful. If you're terminating senior management and they've been there a while, you need to specifically ask HR if they're going to be malicious. They probably won't (I've never run into it), but cut off account access immediately and redirect emails to somewhere appropriate. Tell HR that severance needs to be withheld until you know things are ok if you think it's appropriate.
  • IT staff - resigns - be nice. I always like to try to treat them like I would senior management. I've hired many a former employee on a 1099 basis later.
  • IT staff - fired - be paranoid. Ok, this is where you do everything BEFORE HR sits down with them. Accounts cut off, especially remote access, change admin passwords, etc. Have them go clean something the hour before you all them in and quietly take care of it all. When a regular employee quits, you don't worry about them walking into the lobby later with a laptop loaded up with vSphere Client and wirelessly deleting VM's. Check backups.
  • Staff - resigns - be nice. If you can handle the situations above, you can handle this. I agree with the other post about cutting off access as quickly as possible - take away shared Inboxes, etc.
  • Staff - fired - be careful. Get the laptop and phone, turn off access.

I remember working with a telecom guy who installed a campus wide fiber network. When he was terminated I was slightly concerned he was going to take a pair of boltcutters to a fiber ped.

Comment I agree (Score 1) 295

I'm just chiming in to agree. NetSol sucks beyond belief and is a small nightmare to work with, to top it off, you get to pay extortion level rates for poor service. I suspect their business model at this point is to basically rape and pillage fees from customers they still have from fifteen years ago when they were the only game in town.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.