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Submission + - Gore Misquoted on Hexametric Hurricanes (

jamie writes: In a story on Thursday, Slashdot and its readers had a little fun at the expense of Al Gore, who was quoted as saying that the hurricane severity scale was going to go to 6. A correction was made the next day. The author of the piece that Slashdot linked now writes "I retract the balance of my criticism." Turns out Gore was misquoted.

Luckily for Gore, this is the first time he's been ridiculed for something he didn't actually say. Well, except for Love Story, Love Canal, farm chores, and everyone's favorite, inventing the internet.

(The original Slashdot story is at and its central link now includes the Washington Post's correction.)

Comment Re:Those who do not study the past (Score 1) 135

Hold my hand out like barbers, and electricians, and mechanics, and cooks, and baseball players, and housewives, and bricklayers, and makeup artists, and painters, and a myriad of other professions have been doing throughout all of recorded history? It's obviously possible to use your arms all day long, so clearly the UI designers are not designing touchscreen/gesture interfaces properly.

Agreed that the Gorilla Arm syndrome is being misstated regarding Human Factors.

Comment Re:Can't wait to enroll in Musk University (Score 1) 135

Brilliant my ass. He's just a well-schooled salesman who paints himself the next Steve Jobs. Technologically inept to know 99% of the crap he's shoveling is the equivalent of The Jetsons and 1% smart enough to hire talent to tell him that 99% is bull shit, but that 1% can be feasible.

My old boss, Steven P. Jobs, would never pull the asinine stunts this guy continues to rack up. You under sell and over deliver. This guy pictures himself Kurzweill as a visionary salesman. He's attempting to create his own RDF without ever having the charisma to generate one. The Tesla is a hot commodity, for now. He isn't pragmatic. He's not schrewd enough to realize his tepid steps into the waters of business are just temporary, unless he can make a firm footing for those charging stations nation-wide. If not, the Tesla will be known as the biggest electric car bust in history. He needs to focus on a few ideas, refine them and grow them. Instead, he's PT Barnum and that will bring him down.

Comment Re:the wisdom of youthful folly (Score 2) 329

That came off slightly more cynical than I intended. In truth, I have nothing but gratitude for much of what hippie Google chose to do. My point at this juncture, however, is that that was then, this is now.

In much the same way that the terrorists succeeded in reshaping America in their own image (two crushed fingers was all it took), Facebook has succeeded in reinventing Google in their own image. Zuck, like Bill, was way ahead of his time right from the get go.

As far as I'm concerned Google+ is hardly any different than America+. Any symbol that leaves you asking "plus what?" is not to be trusted. What of this unary additive? Those who know are not entitled to say. Happily, that's as much as we need to know to guess what shape that mark will take once it reaches adult height, wreathed in flames.

Comment the wisdom of youthful folly (Score 1) 329

Corporations grow up, just like children.

If you're not a liberal when you're 20, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain.

This much-laundered sentiment originated with Francois Guisot (and not as widely believed the sock-prophet Winston Churchill). The genius of Bill Gates was being twenty years ahead of his time. Unfortunately, the life expectancy of a brainy conservative is twenty to thirty years (tops), before the grizzled Ebenezer-in-Chief is forcibly defenestrated.

Roughly twenty years from now, the legacy of Brin and Page will be facing its own mop reduce. Brilliant strategy on their part to postpone the day of reckoning with a youthful sojourn into saccharine Dr Evil.

Comment Re:They just don't seem to get the message (Score 1) 212

Once the model of advertising-supported services arose, people in the third world could have nice things like e-mail and entertainment in spite of their countries' lack of means or an infrastructure where individuals could pay for whatever they used themselves.

You know that is only true because advertising is imprecise, right? Those people have no money to buy crap anyway so advertising is completely wasted on them. If the advertising people could figure out a way to avoid paying for ads targeting people like that they would and that would quickly mean that the service providers would drop them too. Kind of like how streaming video sites use geo-location to block them now.

So it isn't really a benefit so much as an accident that may be corrected at any time. We would be better off coming up with another way to get the poor online instead.

Comment Another Job for RequestPolicy (Score 2) 212

The RequestPolicy add-on should handle this too. RequestPolicy blocks cross-site references by default and lets you whitelist individual cases. If you don't even talk to the tracker websites then they can't track you.

If the main website you access tracks you via etags the risk is limited to tracking your actions on that website which you'd have problems avoiding anyway since they can track you via ip address or if you have an account on that website.

Comment kudos to Vanity Fair (Score 2) 406

I read that article yesterday. It's an extremely well done article. Unfortunately, it doesn't actually say what the summary claims.

At the center of the cultural problems was a management system called âoestack ranking.â Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewedâ"every oneâ"cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees.

When the millionaire mint ran dry, the problems began:

And so, the bureaucratization of Microsoft began. Some executives traced the change to the ascension of Ballmer, but in truth Microsoftâ(TM)s era of fast cash was almost certainly the actual driving force.

Empowered by a dysfunctional incentive culture instigated by His Billness, though some defend it.

The Case for Stack Ranking of Employees

From the posts I read, the stack ranking at Microsoft is political and not based on valid accepted metrics that define performance. But Iâ(TM)m inclined to fault the measurement system more than stack ranking.

What a complete idiot. He presumes that such a metric must exist, and completely misses the boat on absolute rather than relative performance norms. As soon as the norms become relative, you're tying your sneakers to outrun your team mate. If that's not political, I don't know what is. There are people who might not be star performers by any specific metric, but who enhance the productivity of any team they join. Guess what other company adopted stack ranking? Enron.

I believe I once read an essay by Drucker where he said if the person who was worth hiring in the first place is underperforming, most likely that person's boss has failed to put that person into the right context.

And software is the worst of all industries to institute such metrics. Any crank an employee can turn at 1000 rpm is better off scripted. The surest route to efficiency is repetition (the athletic model from he cherry picks his favourite aspects). Human repetition is bad repetition, yet metrics never catch up to non-repetitive cultures.

Comment Re:Hugging and Stretching (Score 4, Interesting) 406

they never excelled at anything

Bullshit. They excelled in maintaining backwards compatibility with BINARY legacy applications coded with all kinds of brutal behaviours under the hood. Often almost beyond the bounds of reason. This was one of the big reasons Apple had so much trouble clawing itself back into the game. MS worked very hard never to give visionary CIOs a good pretext to clean house of horror show legacy applications.

Embrace, extend, and eternalise.

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