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Comment: Know what you're going to do (Score 3, Insightful) 75

by wvmarle (#48441699) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

The summary is a bit short on detail, but one thing is lacking: a business plan. I've never run a software business, but am running my own business now so have a bit of experience in setting it up. What do you want to program? Who are your customers? Where's the demand?

You're already talking about hiring multiple people - this means you must have a decent outline of a piece of software to develop, and it's going to be a quite big project. Do you have customers for that already? Without customers, you're going to run dry very very soon, and you won't be able to get any funding. No customers, no future for whatever you want to do. Just saying "let's set up a software shop" is a one-way street to bankruptcy. You need to have potential customers before you start producing anything, really. You need to know the demand is there. You need to have your income sources. You'll have to find customers who need a product, and who believe you can deliver what they need at good price and quality.

Hiring people is very expensive for a shop without income. I've always started up on my own, do everything in house until you have too much to do that you have to start getting other people involved. In the meantime this also means that revenue is there.

Getting started is hard: no-one knows you, and hiring you (the new kid on the block) for some big, expensive software project (the kind a single person can't handle) won't happen. They'll go to the ones they know that can handle it. You'll have to start small, slowly get your way into the market, get your name out, get your product out, let the people know you're there and you're good. Then you may get bigger projects, then you may start hiring people and setting up an office that's not part of your living room.

Good luck with it all!

Comment: Re:UPS (Score 1) 122

by wvmarle (#48439491) Attached to: What is your computer most often plugged into?

What definitely helps is that hardware from around 2010 is a lot more reliable than hardware built before the year 2000. That alone may help to explain less hardware failures.

Getting better quality components (good chance you did that the same time you decided on a UPS), or simply luck also helps a lot.

I've barely had hardware failures over the past 20 years - and even if UPS would have prevented them all, it'd have cost me a lot more (need for multiple UPS units due to different locations) than to just replace the broken hardware which invariable was past its economic lifetime already by the time it broke.

Comment: Re:Alternative? (Score 1) 377

by wvmarle (#48375351) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

There is more to GM seeds than short-term feeding of people.

There's the patents - putting too much power in the hands of a handful of people. In the end we may be stuck with eating Soylent Green.

Then there's the problem of plants grown from hybrid seeds, which do not produce viable seeds themselves, so you have to buy seeds every time. You can't use seeds you harvest from your own crops any more. Cross-breeding between hybrid and traditional strains (this will happen, if only accidentally) introduces these hybrids to traditionals, so the traditional strains may lose their ability to produce good seed. In time, we may only have these hybrid seeds available. The genetic variation in the crops goes down, local varieties disappear as they can not produce their own seeds any more.

All that then has to happen is some plant disease to appear, against which the hybrid strains (we don't have anything else any more) is not immune, and we have a world-wide famine, with little to no option to recover.

Comment: Re:3.6 billion passenger trips. (Score 1) 48

by wvmarle (#48374741) Attached to: How Baidu Tracked the Largest Seasonal Migration of People On Earth

It's probably counted like that indeed.

But don't overstate air traffic - it's still quite low capacity compared to trains and buses, which are the transport method of choice for all those migrant workers. Even in the US, if 20% of your population is on the move, 90% of those will have to take other transport than planes.

Comment: Re:Presumably passenger journeys, not people (Score 1) 48

by wvmarle (#48374713) Attached to: How Baidu Tracked the Largest Seasonal Migration of People On Earth

I'm more used to hearing about numbers in the tune of 200-300 million people travelling over the New Year holidays - China's most important celebration. That's mostly migrant workers travelling back home, plus some tens of millions of tourists.

No matter what, this are huge numbers.

Comment: Re:I wish I'd thought of that (Score 1) 221

by wvmarle (#48250199) Attached to: Car Thieves and Insurers Vote On Keyless Car Security

I'm used to such numbers being inside the passenger compartment, under the rug - rather concealed places like that.

If the police would want to check on it (never heard they do), I'd have a hard time finding it. It'd require me to read the car manual to check on the location of it.

Comment: Re:I wish I'd thought of that (Score 2) 221

by wvmarle (#48250151) Attached to: Car Thieves and Insurers Vote On Keyless Car Security

In case of the challenge/response, the car knows what response to expect on the challenge it sent out. So the car and the key basically do the same calculation.

The lost key situation is very simple: reprogram not only the key, but also the car. The car can be reprogrammed after gaining entry with a physical key - this may be a traditional key, or a smart key, or whatever. Just a second key, that the owner receives with his car and which can only be used for gaining access for reprogramming purposes.

Now what if you lose that reprogramming key as well? Then the car owner will have to pay for a new window in his car, as the dealer will have to use brute force to access the reprogramming hub.

Now theft becomes a bit of an issue (thief steals reprogramming equipment, gains access to the car, reprograms it to match the thief's key), however this again can be mitigated by having the car lock up for some time (a few hours should be enough to deter thieves) upon reprogramming without reprogramming key.

The only issue may be that all the existing keys to the car (many people will have more than one key) have to be replaced.

Comment: Re:Internet vs meatspace (Score 1) 68

by wvmarle (#48247849) Attached to: EU Court Rules Embedding YouTube Videos Is Not Copyright Infringement

This is an interesting ruling because, currently in the US, playing a radio station over speakers in a business is copyright infringement. This is very close to the meatspace equivalent of embedding a copyrighted work

No, in fact it's nothing like that whatsoever. If the EU had ruled that it was legal to display youtube videos in a public place for the purposes of entertainment, then it would be similar. It isn't. There is no parallel here.

A web site on the Internet is quite arguably the cyberspace equivalent to a public place.

The display of a YouTube video on a screen in your shop, streaming from YouTube, is quite arguably the same as embedding it in your web site.

A lot will depend on the copyright license of the material in question. You're certainly allowed to play music in your store if you get explicit permission from the copyright owner of this music to use their material in your shop. Maybe they even come and play live in your shop. If you put a video out on the Internet, and explicitly add "only link, do not embed this video in any other site", and someone does embed it after all, you may still be able to claim copyright infringement as it's explicitly stated you don't want this.

Comment: Re:Justice (Score 1) 68

by wvmarle (#48247805) Attached to: EU Court Rules Embedding YouTube Videos Is Not Copyright Infringement

Now such a comment shows you have a serious problem - one with not thinking through the problem, and showing a thorough lack of understanding of even the basics of the concept of copyright. Note that every video, every work out there is copyrighted. Also your home videos. The whole notion of those anti-copying groups that say "don't share copyrighted material" is stupid - whether you can share copyrighted material with third parties depends on whether the copyright owner has given permission or not. Simply uploading to YouTube may very well arguably include an implicit permission to share, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

There is a general agreement that linking to material is OK, however this is much more than just linking - this is embedding. Linking is easier: it basically tells "look, over there you can find this or that, you may go have a look". Nothing from the original content is visible in your web site, clearly no copyright infringement.

Embedding a video goes a lot further than that. It is getting quite close to renting a video and showing it to all your friends and all other people that ask. Whether that is legal, generally depends on the copyright license of the rights holder.

If no restrictions on this, you could take all the content of your local newspaper's site, embed it in your web site (using frames or so, so you're not actually copying the news articles to your own web site), and you got your own news web site. I'm pulling it a bit more to an extreme, but it's basically the same: it's embedding. However now you must see the issues this may have.

As I understand it, YouTube has an option to indicate whether you allow your video to be embedded in another web site. If you allow this, there's no issue of course.

A complicating factor in this case will certainly be the fact that the uploader of the video is not the copyright holder of the original material... and that when I see videos from YouTube broadcast as part of a TV show, it very often says (C) YouTube - also something that I have bad feelings about, whether it is true or not.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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