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Comment Re:Yes and no... (Score 1) 430

Examples from the 50s and 60s are no longer applicable. Those people just loved computers, people shifting these days love money.

20 years of corporate climbing tells me she was a competent politician.

20 years ago was 1997. People didn't love computers then?

Honestly, considering /.'s audience, I think you're making the wrong argument here. This thread is filled with tons of people saying "I'm a music major and a programmer" or "I work with music majors who became programmers." Your insistence that a piece of paper from a decade or more ago determines competency is misguided and contrary to tons of available evidence.

Comment Re:the Sonic Projector (Score 1) 215

I wonder if there was actual sound involved, or if that was just a symptom of nerve/brain stimulation, for example by radio or microwave stimulation.

Even if it were sound, it seems to me that strong enough intensity pressure waves could indeed cause cell damage as they passed through the skull - especially if there were infra-/ultra-sound involved, so that the "agonizing sound" was actually a fringe effect of much louder inaudible sounds.

Comment Re: Intentionally poor headline (Score 1) 435

1 year is a pretty short warranty for a $50 handsaw, much less a $500+ phone with only a handful of mechanical components that could easily be made extremely durable.

And if the electronics are made well, they'll still be going strong a decade from now.

The battery is pretty much the only thing that has an unavoidably short lifespan, and it would be easy to exclude from a more respectable warranty.

Comment Re:Yes and no... (Score 1) 430

There are no doctors without medical degrees. There are no lawyers without law degrees. Yet somehow, tech seems to be the one place where a degree is considered near irrelevant (in fact, according to Slashdot, having a degree in computer science may very well disqualify you from professional programming). The reason most often suggested for this difference is that technology isn't as important as medicine or law.

Or, it could simply be that programming is a new field. Three hundred years ago, there were plenty of doctors without medical degrees - the first one being given in only 1703. Law is an older established field then medicine (at least from a professional perspective - there were plenty of shaman and the like before professional physicians), but the first JD program wasn't until the late 1300s.

The first "lawyers" were really persuasive scholars. The first "doctors" were naturalists who were really interested in dissection. Many of the first programmers were hackers and tinkerers. There will likely eventually be professional degrees and licensure, but the fact that there aren't currently is more a sign that it's a new field, than that it's "not as important".

For a closer parallel in professional engineering, the first people messing around with steam engines and the like were scholars. Professional licensure didn't come till much later.

Comment Re:Yes and no... (Score 1) 430

Yet, basic things weren't done on her watch. Keeping your servers patched is very basic, but it's the kind of corner a non-technically proficient manager, like her, will cut.

Proof of the pudding and all. She's done and deserves to be unemployable.

Well, yes, certainly. None of this says that she's a good engineer or manager. Just that having a music degree rather than a CS or MIS degree doesn't automatically make her a bad engineer or manager.

Also, bear in mind, for the scale of issues that Equifax has, there's apparently incompetency from the top to the bottom. We're not hearing that she's got a crack team of programmers who were trying to solve all of these problems for years but were overruled - apparently, everyone who touched this was terrible.

Comment Re:Yes and no... (Score 2) 430

Unless you are getting hired directly out of school for a tech job, whether or not you have a degree in tech means almost nothing. It's your experience that counts. If Mrs. Mauldin majored in music, graduated, found that was a dumb idea and worked her way up through the ranks over 20 years before landing the Chief Security role at Equifax, I have no problem with that.

This... I, too, majored in music, but focused on audio engineering. I ended up building and maintaining radio stations, including repairing solid state and analog transmitters and rewiring audio consoles, building multi-site audio and data links, building automation computers and maintaining data networks, etc. In the course of doing that, I studied electrical engineering and programming, passed the FE, and eventually become a patent attorney specializing in communications and security.

If she had no experience, that'd be one thing, but from her resume, it looks like she's spent at least 15 years in the industry.

Comment Re: It doesn't make sense to use Apple (Score 1) 136

I'm aware of the various unofficial options; which work alright as long as the application you are trying to use doesn't actually rely more or less heavily on Google Play Services-provided APIs, in which case things tend to go downhill; but that isn't really an option if you are large enough for legal exposure to be a problem.

As for 'isn't really designed to be turned into an end-user-ready phone"; I agree that it can be done; and the experience can actually be pleasant in a minimalist sort of way; but without at least hitting F-Droid or the like, AOSP is pretty spartan; and there is a fairly long history of feature development in AOSP freezing in time at whatever point GPS started doing that feature; so stock AOSP is about as solid as Android gets in terms of being an OS; but can be kind of a history trip if you try to use the included applications.

Unless you just have to run every random thing in the Play store; you can certainly do without; and for purpose-build business widgets like the stuff in this article it's certainly more than viable as a convenient platform to dump your application on; but I'd stand by the assessment that someone who had previously only experienced commercial Android handsets would find an AOSP build to be a bit of a surprise; and note that while some of the 3rd party additions that really save the day are perfectly legal; the various 'and this is how you bodge in the Google components' FAQs aren't really an option outside of XDA.

Comment Re:Devaluing useful barriers (Score 2) 116

Used to be. Now it's getting increasingly difficult to find non-contract janitorial work that offers basic benefits, much less a career path.

Besides, you only need one senior janitor, maybe a handful for a sufficiently large facility, so it's still not a general solution. Which was my original point - there's very limited room at the top, and even the middle class is shrinking rapidly. If your answer to people wanting a decent wage is "climb the ladder", then you're implicitly saying that it's right and proper that vast swaths of people will never be able to make a decent wage no matter what they do.

We need to bring the respect back to low-skilled jobs - if they're worth having done, then they're worth paying someone a living wage to do.

Comment Re:Contracts (Score 1) 116

And the appropriate wage will be exactly the same, because it hasn't gotten any more difficult to find someone qualified to do the job. All you've changed is the number of people who are also now qualified to do more skilled jobs. But demand for those skills doesn't increase, so now those skilled jobs *also* pay shit wages, because there's a long line of janitors wo will be happy do those jobs rather than cleaning toilets.

Comment Re:Contracts (Score 1) 116

>Wages are still commensurate to skill and experience

That's a comforting thought if you're making decent money, the only problem is it's not true. Wages also don't depend on the value your provide.

The *only* thing that determines your wages in a free market economy, is how expensive you are to replace. i.e. the number of viable job candidates, versus the number of jobs that need to be filled.

Comment Re: It doesn't make sense to use Apple (Score 1) 136

Yes and no: the breach was down to a password, rather than an exploit; but designing with security in mind means keeping the weaknesses of your materials in mind:

Apple's enthusiasm to make iCloud the has-all-your-stuff-and-controls-all-your-devices cool convenience hub was understandable in terms of creating a feature that users who barely know about backups, much less make them, would find valuable(especially in the context of mobile devices which get replaced/lost/broken/stolen a lot and don't tend to have "insert flash drive, drag and drop 'my documents' level backup/transfer features).

From the perspective of security, though, putting all that high-value stuff behind a single password(with basic cheap 'n awful consumer password recovery options) is sort of like building a safe with no bottom; then arguing "it's up to the customer to put it on a floor at least as breach resistant as the safe!". Doesn't mean that the lock on the door is flawed; but it isn't a good design.

At any scale(even a small business IT operation); users periodically fucking up passwords/getting phished/etc. is just something you have to expect and design around. Apple's iCloud security arrangement really didn't do that.

Comment Re: It doesn't make sense to use Apple (Score 1) 136

Unless Target is developing their in-house(or contracted; but with more say over the product than your basic shrinkwrap consumer) against Google Play Services (or, even more foolishly, some OEM's pet extensions); they aren't really all that dependent on Google.

AOSP isn't really designed to be turned into an end-user-ready phone; and lacking Play store, the various Google apps and services, etc. is typically a deal breaker unless you swap in your own (as with Amazon); but if you are treating it as a substitute for the WinCE that historically powered these sorts of fancy-inventory-scanners; or as an easier-to-go-from-BSP-to-graphics-and-a-well-known-platform alternative to rolling a custom Linux frmware; you don't really depend on Google much.

They don't develop AOSP terribly openly, it's pretty much periodic dumps of their project and their plan; but the licensing is open, so you can just keep using it until you can't get hardware for that version anymore, or doing your own security patches gets to be too much; and the AOSP base isn't missing anything particularly glaring for supporting network, barcode scanner, QR/other interpretation from the camera, some dodgy frontend application that supports talking to your inventory system and displaying bits of your web site.

Once you connect something to a network, you aren't going to get nigh-endless support without paying a vendor to care(since the cost of just ignoring security flaws is so much higher); but, especially if you are only using a subset of features, AOSP doesn't exert much control over you if you use it as a base for your firmware.

And, given the specific requirements of retail inventory(durability, battery life, high speed barcode scanning, etc.) you are probably pushing the bounds of what makes sense to try to COTS with just a custom phone case of some sort(unless you are running an operation small enough that the low prices and economies of scale persuade you to forgive a few sins in exchange for being able to buy replacements in quantity one at any cellphone pusher.

At least with POS systems, this seems to have been much what has happened: Square and their imitators blew the bottom out of the market by allowing you to turn normal phone into a cellular card processing terminal(normally a surprisingly pricey item); and there are some mostly small-business focused "iPad embedded in stand/card reader" products; but your Micros and NCR and the like seem to have substantially gone with clearly tablet inspired(and tablet component based, I'm sure they appreciated having touchscreens become cheap and ubiquitous; even if Elo almost certainly didn't) custom hardware running some generic Android based firmware that does nothing except support their application. Once you stamp out enough of them, being stuck with somebody else's product launch cycle, endless changes, and irrelevant features just doesn't make up for the low cost of small quantity orders.

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