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Comment: Completely agree (Score 4, Insightful) 87

by zollman (#27391813) Attached to: Managing Humans

It's easy as a technical employee -- developer, architect, administrator -- to know your job much better than your boss. Once you've reached that point, it's equally tempting to believe you know *more* than your boss, and to question why they insist on continuing to waste your time.

This book is an excellent first step in explaining what it is managers are supposed to be doing, and what it is that management is supposed to accomplish with the standard management tricks -- meetings, one-on-ones, reviews -- that can seem like such a waste of time when all you want to do is write good code. Even if you never want to go into management yourself, but especially if you do, it's worth reading.

Plus, the book is an easy, engaging read that makes a lot of sense even the first time through.

Highly recommended.

The Internet

+ - Creating a sustainable website community for free?

Submitted by
SamClark
SamClark writes "During the production of my latest website I was considering how I was going to advertise the website and get it off the ground for free. My first thought on the matter was that a new website had to have enough content in order to keep new visitors interested. But how do we get that original content stream on a community based content driven website?

One of the ideas I have been trialling are free website advertisers like "Tag A Cloud". You submit your link to their website, and then link to it from your own. The more links you pass through to them, the bigger your link gets on their website. This should in theory send more visitors to your website over time. Over a three week period my website has currently received 27 unique visitors, 22% of which left the website immediately upon their visit. Is this method really worth the time and effort I put into it? Maybe time will tell.

The most successful link to the website I have put online so far was in Wikipedia. The website gets around 100 visitors per week from this link, however we lose around 70% of the visitors immediately upon arrival, therefore making this method only 8 visitors more profitable than the free advertiser, but at least we are getting our name out there to a lot of people.

During this experiment I also added the website to the main search engines and these have also proved a good marketing tool. Google alone has sent 442 visitors in the past three weeks.

One of the main problems the website has faced is lack of user submitted content. And as such, users don't return to the website, is there a certain amount of users a site needs before it becomes sustainable and then grows exponentially by word of mouth? How high does the threshold of registered members need to be before the website can hold itself together?"
Math

+ - AES may be breakable (and/or have a trapdoor!)->

Submitted by nodrog
nodrog (31300) writes "A preprint at the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) claims that AES may be susceptible to a new cryptanalysis technique. From the article abstract: — We describe a new simple but more powerful form of linear cryptanalysis. It appears to break AES (and undoubtably other cryptosystems too, e.g. SKIPJACK). The break is "nonconstructive," i.e. we make it plausible (e.g. prove it in certain approximate probabilistic models) that a small algorithm for quickly determining AES-256 keys from plaintext-ciphertext pairs exists — but without constructing the algorithm. Even if this break breaks due to the underlying models inadequately approximating the real world, we explain how AES still could contain "trapdoors" which would make cryptanalysis unexpectedly easy for anybody who knew the trapdoor. If AES's designers had inserted such a trapdoor, it could be very easy for them to convince us of that. But if none exist, then it is probably infeasibly difficult for them to convince us of that."
Link to Original Source
The Media

+ - Congress considering more low power FM stations->

Submitted by Skapare
Skapare (16644) writes "According to a ReclaimTheMedia article The Local Community Radio Act of 2007 [PDF] would remove the artificial restrictions imposed on LPFM by a 2000 law passed at the urging of corporate radio giants and NPR, claiming that small community stations would interfere with the signals of larger stations. If passed, this bill will pave the way for educational groups, nonprofits, unions, schools and local governments to launch new local radio stations across the country. More coverage is at Prometheous Radio Project, Free Press, and Expand Low-Power FM. More info via Google."
Link to Original Source
Communications

+ - Rescuers often can't find 911 callers

Submitted by Radon360
Radon360 (951529) writes "A new report by a public safety group throws into question the ability of police and firefighters to locate people through their cell phones when they dial 911 in an emergency. The study is believed to be the first independent evaluation of wireless location technology and sends a clear message: Do not assume rescuers will know where you are if you call 911 from a cell phone."

Comment: Re:Seriously (Score 4, Interesting) 767

by zollman (#18090666) Attached to: 4 GB May Be Vista's RAM Sweet Spot
Of course, unlike 15 years ago...
  • people watch and store videos and music on their computer -- sometimes simultaneously. (MIDIs don't count. )
  • they use websites that have active content beyond animated "under construction" gifs (flash isn't just for pretty intros anymore -- it's critical to real interfaces and applications);
  • they store and expect to quickly search through significantly more data (years and years of email, with attachments);
  • the security environment has become much more complex (and that's not all Microsoft's fault);
  • people use encryption (SSL and DRM, for example), without even noticing it;
  • people run many more applications side-by-side... even if it's just two IM clients and a browser with a stack of open tabs;


And that's just the mythical "average user". Operating systems have to support more than the average user -- they have to support the guy writing apps for the average user (development and debugging have gotten significantly easier); the office of the average user (managing a large userbase); the folks writing content for the average user (both professionals and YouTube).

Many of these things are transparent. And, yeah, I could go back to using pine, bash, rxvt, and WindowMaker (although that's only 10 years ago, not 15), grep through my emails when I needed to find something and use IRC to talk to my friends.

But you know what? This is better. A lot better.
Networking

+ - Agile deployment of networks

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "My employer is in the process of acquiring a number (50+) of small retail locations nationwide. Each location will need 1 to 15 PC's running windows and a mix of applications. Internet access is necessary, and the machines will be on our network. 100% uptime of the network is a must — the machines will constantly be sending data back to a central database. Every minute lost represents thousands of dollars of revenue. I'm told we will likely be adding (and subtracting) locations rapidly throughout the year. We will not have technical staff at each location.

Does anyone have any suggestions for the best way to manage this technically (hardware & software)? Any heads up warnings? I'm looking for any advice, on any topic. Everything from "use VMWare to deploy standardized vmdk's to new machines as you need to scale" to "put them all on a vLAN using so-and-so's VPN hardware/software" is fine. Wireless thoughts? It seems attractive, but there may be issues with existing networks (interference issues).

I'm looking to create a scalable, agile, *reliable* network that's inexpensive/easy to maintain. I've personally never planned for this degree of change in such a short period of time. We have an open position to hire someone with more experience in this area, but I'm curious to know what the Slashdot community thinks."
Space

+ - NASA Sees Glow of Universe's First Objects

Submitted by Damek
Damek (515688) writes "New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope may show the universe's first objects.
"We are pushing our telescopes to the limit and are tantalizingly close to getting a clear picture of the very first collections of objects," said Dr. Alexander Kashlinsky... "Whatever these objects are, they are intrinsically incredibly bright and very different from anything in existence today." Astronomers believe the objects are either the first stars — humongous stars more than 1,000 times the mass of our sun — or voracious black holes that are consuming gas and spilling out tons of energy. If the objects are stars, then the observed clusters might be the first mini-galaxies...
"
Internet Explorer

+ - IE7 Anti-Phishing To Hurt Small Businesses?

Submitted by
hobo sapiens
hobo sapiens writes "Looks like IE7's Anti-Phishing feature will have some unintended consequences for small online businesses. The problem is that IE7 will visually indicate, via a green address bar, which web sites are certified as legitimate. Sole proprietorships are currently not elgible for such certification.

Of course, just because a website is not certified doesn't mean it is not legitimate, but will people tend to stay with "certified" sites? From the article, "'Yes, they will,' says Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner Inc. and an expert on online payments and fraud. 'All the business is going to go to the greens, it's kind of obvious.'"

Is this an attempt to steer consumers to large businesses, or is this merely an unintended consequence of a well intentioned feature?"
Communications

Journal: Cell Phone/PIM integration? 1

Journal by TopShelf

OK, /. - help my marriage make it through the holidays. The wife is ready for a new phone (Sprint network), and is looking for something that can integrate easily with a calendar & task list application. She's currently using Hotmail for her main email, and she's open to switching to Gmail instead, but when looking through the cell phones that are available, the choices are many and the detailed information on how they interact with PIM's is slim. So what do you folks

Programming

+ - Visual Studio vs Eclipse C++ Development Tool

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "This article provides a brief step-by-step procedure for migrating Microsoft Visual Studio C/C++ (MSVC) projects to Eclipse. It compares and contrasts the benefits of MSVC and Eclipse CDT. It looks at C and C++ development in both Visual Studio and the Eclipse C++ Development Toolkit (CDT) and provides a comparison of their strengths with respect to C and C++ application development for Windows."
Television

+ - No more analogue terrestrial TV in the Netherlands

Submitted by
MavEtJu
MavEtJu writes "The Netherlands is the first European country which has switched off its analogue terrestrial signal. According to Signaal op digitaal (dutch for "The signal is going digital") and Screen Digest (a good explanation in english), it won't be a lot of fuzz: Only 74 thousand households will be affected and have to buy a digital decoder because they are still using their own antenna. Is the rest of the Netherlands so apathetic towards television? No, the infrastructure for television has been very centralized: Instead of an atenna on every roof, since the 1960s every suburb had its own big antenna in the middle, with cables going from it to all houses. Later, in the 1980s, the big antennas were replaced by city-based or region-based receiver stations which could pick up both terrestrial and satellite signals. See the dutch Wikipedia for more information about the history of the client-side of the dutch television infrastructure."
United States

+ - Hiring For The First Time

Submitted by
Rick Zeman
Rick Zeman writes "For the first time ever, I have to interview and hire (I'm not management, so an exception is being made) what we call a "PC Technician" which is an entry-level IT person. While actual computer knowledge and how we do things can be taught, how to think, and the aptitude for troubleshooting can't be. Question: In the readers' experiences, what are the best (legal in the US!) questions to ask an entry-level candidate to really evaluate them? They don't have the resumes, the skills, or the experience yet, so I think they have to be judged on other factors that are harder to qualify."

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