Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:not entirely false (Score 4, Interesting) 394

There is masses of half-assed, broken, wretched and downright brain-damaged open source code out there, and anyone who claims otherwise doesn't know what they're talking about. Much of it is written as a quick and dirty hack to solve an individual's problem and then released, with scant regard to long term maintainability. Yes, there are some gems, but they are hidden amongst many many times more garbage. The good thing is you can fix it, if needed, and the software will evolve. But typically commercial software has gone through that process several times before it gets to market, because despite what people here may say about microsoft, not many people will pay good money for completely broken crap that doesn't work.

Many companies have paid ridiculous amounts of money for code that doesn't work, particularly custom and semi-custom code. The NHS in the UK scrapped a >10 billion GBP - that's 16 billion USD - national healthcare system. Vertical integrators that have a stranglehold on certain professions are often full of horrible, horrible code. Insane amounts of spaghetti code have been made by cheap outsourcing companies to go into "commercial software". Closed source has its gems. Open source has its gems. But as a broad generalization it's the pot calling the kettle black, both have a huge spread. Often it's just good vs better or bad vs less mediocre and the question to pay or not depends on whether a $50k+ worker could be 1% more effective - that's $500 - with that tool or not.

Personally I find there's a difference of layers, closed source software doesn't sell unless it looks good on the surface with user interface and hand-holding documentation, comes with buzzword compliance, feature checklists and fancy demos of the capabilities. Open source is more grab it, put it through its paces and see if it works for you. Doesn't have to be so pretty to look at, but be a solid workhorse with detailed technical documentation but often a high learning curve. It's usually more about manpower though than anything else, often you realize there's five open source developers trying to compete with a hundred closed source developers and it's not so much a better of the quality of the coders but simply about being outgunned.

Comment Re:Firearms unit (Score 1) 292

Not to mention the perpetrator-victim relationship, in the UK and most of Europe a knife is enough. Depending on where you are in the US if you tried to rob anyone with a knife chances are you'd get the wallet while you're up close then get held or shot at gunpoint as you're trying to get away. If you have to assume your victim might have a gun (legally or illegally) the only "safe" way to rob them is to control them at gunpoint from start to finish. As I understand it guns are not that terribly hard to acquire here in Europe but they are usually overkill to commit the crime and they rarely let you get out of a situation you couldn't escape with a knife. Unless you intend to kill but most murders around here happens in close relations with victims in "stabbing distance", not gang violence on the street. And of course to an armed robbery you send armed police...

Comment Re:DOUBLEPLUS (Score 0) 292

Since you keep making these claims, you must have some evidence. Can you present it? Or is this just a crank theory of yours?

He's a crank. Sure, it might be possible that some things are not all as they seem but he's on a roll that everything is some sort of conspiracy or false flag operation. Nothing is as simple as crazy religious fundamentalists shooting up an easy low-security target for huge publicity and terror factor.

Comment Re:Old news... (Score 1) 96

Honestly, there is ZERO reason to force everyone to drive to one location for a conference except for the drinking and dining on the company dime afterwards.

I disagree. Strongly.

My company (Google) uses videoconferencing extensively; every conference room is a video conference room with high-quality screens and cameras, and every meeting that involves people in multiple sites is a video conference. The VC system (which is the same tech in Google Hangouts, er, Video Chats) integrates with the calendaring and room booking system so everything gets linked up automatically. Anyone can project their screen to the VC with a few keystrokes. The result is extremely productive, especially when combined with Google Docs.

However, I still fly to remote sites to meet physically with the teams I collaborate with, and do it on a regular basis. A couple of times per year to overseas locations, and at least quarterly to the nearer sites, and drinking and dining boondoggles have nothing to do with it (I abhor business dinners). Why, then? And why does the company gladly fund and even encourage these trips?

Because they're necessary. VC is great for exchanging information, but very bad for building personal relationships. Meeting someone in person, even if all you do is have exactly the same meeting you would have via VC, dramatically improves the working relationship -- even if it was good to begin with.

Why this is, I don't really know. I do notice that physical co-location reduces the formality of the interaction in subtle ways. I think part of it might be the unnoticeable but still present latency in VC communications. The lag may only be 30 ms, but I think that 30 ms matters in the spontaneity of interaction. I think most of it is probably just that people become more real to you when you shake their hand and smell their BO (or, hopefully, lack thereof). Whatever the basis, the fact is that it's hard to make a human connection with an image on a screen.

And, much as I hate it, a night or two out socializing and discussing things completely unrelated to work (bringing spouses along really helps to ensure that) does a great deal to cement those relationships.

Once you've made those human connections, VCs are great vehicles for communication. But until you have a sense of the people on the other end, VCs are inherently less effective even in the best of times, and when things become stressful and have the potential to become antagonistic, the human connections are what make collaboration possible.

Comment Re:A shining success (Score 1) 50

There are a number of solar-powered homes in my area, which isn't a particularly warm climate (Colorado).

There are a lot of houses with solar collectors. There probably isn't one house anywhere in the state that is Solar Powered. Check for a power meter or power lines running to the house before you make (or believe) ridiculous claims.

Bah. You have no idea what you're talking about.

First of all, a house can have power lines and still be solar powered. Many solar-powered homes use the grid as their storage facility. Most of them actually generate more power than they consume, net, but the grid tie is still very valuable.

Second, if you get out in the sticks (there are a lot of mountain homes), there are many houses which are not connected to the grid at all. Not that they wouldn't like to be able to use grid storage, but it's simply not available without paying tens of thousands of dollars to run lines out to them. These homes use large banks of batteries for storage.

Comment Re:Democracy (Score 5, Insightful) 264

Last I checked, Democracy is what gave us the Surveillance State.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

It's not exactly an accident that the NSA legitimized their mass surveillance through the PATRIOT act.

Comment Re:Good luck with that. (Score 1) 165

So it's a tall order but the NSA doesn't have infinite resources nor infinite clout particularly not outside of US jurisdiction. Infiltrators are always possible but also high-risk endeavors with huge political consequences. You can at least try to make the risk/reward ratio seem unappealing. After all, the current standards were made when strong encryption was neither computationally feasible nor publicly available. The main downside is that people don't want to carry around their encryption keys so I think you'd have to define at least three security levels:

1) The server does the decryption for you, trust the server
2) You download the encrypted message and your encrypted private key and must input a secure password (read: long) to decrypt, either once (stored on device) or every time.
3) You bring the encryption key yourself.

Honestly, already just the first one would be pretty damn good.... I want to email, the server asks for his public key and verifies through DNSSEC that I'm actually talking to then provides his public key back to my local client/javascipt webclient. I can verify the fingerprint, message is encrypted client side and sent to server. The server transports it over SSL to the destination server, not even metadata snooping unless you 0wn any of the servers or SSL itself. That's my side secure, the rest is up to the recipient and how paranoid he is. For example a corporation might feel their corporate email server and internal network is secure enough, there's no need to have personal passwords for every employee. The mail server at receives it, decrypts it and you collect it the old way.

The problem is getting the network effect kicked in, email has value because everyone else has email. If nobody has a clients or servers that talk the new protocol it won't go anywhere.

Slashdot Top Deals

Science may someday discover what faith has always known.