Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Is it just a bad idea? (Score 1) 403

I neglected to complete my comment - sorry! When I said "where the outfit is from", generally speaking: India and Pakistan are usually the cheapest, but have the most serious quality issues - they tend to say "yes" to everything, but in my experience they consistently under-perform and under-deliver to the point that the work has to be done all over again by qualified workers "elsewhere". Again - I'm not saying that's how ALL the Indian/Pakistani shops are, just the (many) ones I've dealt with over time have all fit that pattern.

Comment Re:Is it just a bad idea? (Score 1) 403

I wholeheartedly disagree. It depends strictly on where the outfit is from and how competent an outfit they are to begin with. The problem with the selection of outsourcing options is that most of the time, the decision makers focus on cost more than on quality (because it's more expensive).

A band of idiots will do a crappy job regardless of where they're from - homegrown or foreign. The difference lies in selecting the band of non-idiots to do the job to begin with. You'll find that things go much smoother then. Then again, the non-idiots are less cheap and sometimes that can be a turn-off for decision makers who are more focused on the bottom line than on the quality of the work.

Comment Tablets themselves (Score 1) 210

The tablets themselves as first screens should be the most disruptive of all. The ability to stream TV shows live onto your tablet while you relax outside on the porch would be tantamount to having your cake and eating it too. No more having to plan a living room around a TV: except for those larger events like the superbowl, or for the movie freaks who like to have a home theater setup for a "movie experience". However, those are "specialized applications" of the television signal - for the "base application" of the tv signal, display on a tablet would be good enough for most use cases methinks.

Comment Re:10 years ago... (Score 2) 134

The interesting thing is that the whole system had been proposed and led by doctors. They knew the benefits and seemed to actively want them. Perhaps most crucially: the system didn't take doctors out of the loop - humans could still override the computer's warnings/indications/whatnot as necessary (obviously this would be well-audited).

I agree that the risk of replacing humans with technology is still there. And yes - hacks are always possible as long as humans are in the mix of creating the computerized system. However, even if it lowers the number of fatalities due to PAEs by half, it would be a huge win money-wise for insurance companies, etc. (which begs the question: why hasn't it been done on that basis alone? We all know ca$h makes the world go round...) - despite the risk of hacks or tampering.

Just sayin'... maybe we should build a F/LOSS platform for this so that it can be widely audited and its quality can be more transparently verified... volunteers?

Comment 10 years ago... (Score 5, Interesting) 134

I worked on a hospital system 11 years ago that would provide this sort of cross-referencing functionality. It always baffled me why their use wasn't widespread. Back then there were (evidently) no smartphones, etc, so the whole idea of having barcodes on patients' wrists was revolutionary, as was the concept of having computer systems perform the drug-to-pathology matching and medication interactions analyses.

From what I learned working on that project, this sort of system can lower the costs of operation, staffing, and evidently lower risk inside a hospital. Does anyone out there know why they've not seen widespread adoption (besides the "obvious" tin-foil hat doctor-nurse-conspiracy theories)?

Comment Re:and where is exactly the problem? (Score 1) 915

Had God wanted me to be follow a set of rules to the letter without question or hesitation, he wouldn't have given me the use of reason or, at least, would have severely restricted it. The alternative is that I was given it, but the giver was unable restrict it it, in which case - why call him God and thus why follow "him"?

It follows then that if he does exist and gave me the unrestricted use of reason, clearly it wasn't with the intent that I forego or restrict its use.

If that's not the case, then the only remaining possibility is that God doesn't exist, in which case reason is all I have.

Therefore, religion (theology in general) has no place in my life, and although I respect others' rights to live and believe as they choose, I also believe it should have no place in anyone else's lives either. It breeds nothing but regression, ignorance and hostility.

So let's kill all the religious-types we come across until we've converted everyone to follow only the use of reason!

Comment Protection film (Score 2) 514

Where I live, there was a rash of smash'n'grab jobs (primarily against women) in traffic jams. Thieves would drive up on a motorcycle, hammer the window, and grab the purse on the seat. Since the victim was on a traffic jam, the bike could get away rather easily while the victim was helpless.

As a result, a vendor began importing film that can be applied to car windows to protect against such smash jobs. The film doesn't keep the glass from breaking, but instead keeps holding it together making it very very hard to actually make it PAST the glass in a short amount of time. Thus, the effect of the "smash" part of the operation is broken: smashing the glass is not enough to make it past it. And obviously you're concerned about protecting the data and the time and effort lost if the laptop is stolen, so an investment in this sort of passive protection system might be warranted - even if you throw in the price of a new (set of) window(s).

This is an example of just such a technology. I'm sure there are others and more than likely at a better price. The flipside is that in the event of an accident, it might increase the chances of injury (just a guess), or delay emergency personnel from prying your damaged laptop from your cold, dead fingers.

Comment Rebuild (Score 1) 424

The truth is if it's that fragile, then recovery or repair are not options because you never know when you'll be done. Your best strategy is to rebuild. Organize the rebuild jobs from smallest (simplest, or least-complex) to biggest, and start from the smaller ones.

Importantly, you need to understand what your infrastructure does and why (which you claim you're already trying to do). However, the most critical point is that your superiors understand what you're up against and the risks they bite into if they choose to not go forward with the rebuild(s).

Once you understand what it is you need to rebuild, then you can do it properly: document the strategy to be followed (and incredibly important is that you document the key reasoning points behind the decision process), and plan out the implementation. If your superiors find that it consumes too much of your time, try to talk them into hiring (one? two?) more folks to help you hold the fort while the rebuilds are in progress so the day-to-day isn't left in the lurch. I had to go through this type of a situation recently and the end result of the rebuilds was that the previously inevitable downtime went away almost completely (only ISP outages were an issue). Deployment of new servers was cut down by 95%, and tons and tons of other benefits. Biggest of all: by the time I was done, everything essentially ran itself and even on the end-user support things were almost automated (granted, 99% of my audience were tech-savvy so they didn't need much help anyway). 95%+ of my time was spent just scouring logs and servers to ensure everything was running smoothly (which it was).

Then again, the key point was selling my upper management on the fact that my predecessors had done such a lousy job of setting everything up that trying to fix it was more expensive than a from-scratch rebuild, and that they were one fly's fart away from a catastrophe. You don't need to scare them shitless, just point out where they are and what they're up against if a rebuild isn't even done (even rebuild of only SOME of the systems can make a huge difference). Make sure it's clearly stated in writing (a "big" e-mail explaining the situation clearly to get the ball rolling usually takes care of that).

Key thing: DO NOT try to fix or recover the old stuff - if it's really as messed up as you suggest, you will consume comparable amounts of time to a rebuild, with none of the benefits and the added risk that you didn't fix all the problems because you couldn't spot some of them.

One other thing that served me well in terms of plotting my strategy: take the approach that I'm building something and going to be fired the day I'm done, and whatever I build needs to be inheritable and clearly understandable by my potential successors. This angle will encourage you to keep it simple, stupid, well documented, and easy to maintain/audit. In the end, this is why your predecessors sucked: they didn't think they'd eventually (be) move(d) on - but in IT, that's the one constant: staff rotation.

Comment Re:Exercise (Score 1) 235

Seconded. I've recently dropped ~70lbs (yes, I have pictures to prove it!! haha) in the span of about 9 months, and have not significantly decreased my time in front of the computer. What I have changed is that I exercise much more (~2h/day), and obviously eating right (but that's not what this is about).

My point is that with exercise, your body will keep itself aligned and tuned up (so to speak). Make sure that whoever your trainer is or "gym guy" is, knows his stuff - mine has made all the difference b/c he was able to spot all of the little "deformities" and "inconsistencies" in posture and movement that I had earned from ~20 years in front of a computer with marginal exercise. For instance, I have a bad knee injury which for the better part of 15 years has plagued me. I'm now able to play sports in spite of not yet having the surgery I need because of all the other corrections in posture and joint movement. Point is: it won't make you a jock, but it will make a HUGE difference and you'll be less vulnerable to "bad" or "un-ergonomic" equipment.

I'm now able to play sports again (like in high-school and early college), and my posture is near-picture perfect (still some things to tweak). I sleep better at night, and have no aches or pains anymore other than the occasional bruise from football (soccer, for the gringos in the house!) contact.

I do have this keyboard (but ONLY the keyboard), but that's because I'm used to the curvature. Other than that my equipment is fairly standard.

One important detail: proper posture of your back when you sit - regardless of the chair - is CRUCIAL. Always sit with your back up straight, no slouching, and your weight on your buttocks and adductors (back of your leg), with your knee making a ~90 degree angle (can be slightly more or slightly less, as comfortable, but the closer to 90 you are the better). You can relax this position occasionally for short periods, but never more than as a "break".

Comment Re:You're a virgin! (Score 1) 735

I would have to disagree with much of what you say here, at least in the case of smaller companies. I've been fucked as much as the next guy (I think). And while I agree that your thinking is accurate when dealing with larger or somewhat politicized organizations, most smaller shops haven't yet succumbed to the corruption you speak of. If you've not been fucked, then don't act like you have... this is just me trying to see the glass half-full until proven otherwise (innocent until proven corrupt, anyone?).

I for one know of a small shop that got acquired a couple of years back in deep financial trouble. Everyone got fucked one way or the other. And I mean EVERYONE. Yet because of how things are run and their ability to insulate themselves from the parent company's policies, idiocy and bureaucracy, they are still fanatically loyal to each other as a group because they still run the shop the way they like it. That's an exception to the general rule of acquisitions, I know, but it also highlights the example that just because your cherry has been popped, you shouldn't assume everyone walking behind you has their dick in their hand waiting for you to drop your guard so they can play poke-the-stinker.

Comment Two questions (Score 1) 735

There are two questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Will the company show YOU the same loyalty you're showing the company?
  • Will you be happy enough on the new job that you won't miss the old one?

In the end it all boils down to quality of life, a.k.a.: happiness. Does your current job make you happy? Do you look forward to going into work every day? That your job makes you happy may sound naïve to some, so let's sum it up as this: does going to work amount to a positive experience for you that you are (at least!) content to partake in?

To me, for example, the happiness is the kicker - if you can't guarantee yourself that you'll be happy enough in the new job that you won't miss your old one, then don't leave. Sure you'll be getting more money, saving on gas and time, and not dealing with the "long" commute... but if you're going to be miserable doing it, all you'll really be doing is giving up quality of life - and that tends to be fairly hard to come by once given up.

Note that I didn't mention how you would measure "happy with your current job" - that's something deeply personal that only you can ascertain. The key thing is: the level of happiness you expect in the new job must be sufficient that you won't miss your old one. Note that I don't say that you must be as happy as, or happier than... you just have to be happy enough that you won't want to go back.

Comment Naive though it may sound, Zeroing it? (Score 1) 1016

A while back I remember a challenge being put out to any company specializing in drive forensics to recover ANY data from a drive that had been wiped using a simple dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda or what not. Something in the order of a million dollars or some other huge(ish) prize.

I also remember that there ended up being no takers for what would have in theory been a free meal if we're to believe the prevalent hooplah around drive forensics. Given how widely publicized the challenge was it was taken as many in the know as a sign that despite what the science behind the magnetic data on the platters says, once wiped to zeroes it becomes either impractical or impossible to reliably recover the actual data that was once stored there.

Again, this is just conjecture based on partially-informed observation, and incomplete recollection of that event. I didn't track it enough to know if there ended up being takers after all, how they fared, etc. I do remember it being publicized here on /. so you might search the archives for it. It was some time ago - years maybe, months definitely.

Comment Communism didn't fail per-se (Score 2) 1271

In reality, the "communism" of the world isn't/wasn't true communism. True communism is a philosphy WILLINGLY adopted by THE MAJORITY (and, eventually, totality) of a given society. In the numerous (failed) implementations of Communism, the ideology has been a thin veil for the authoritarian regime that simply wanted an excuse to assume power.

Communism, true communism, isn't a bad thing in and of itself. The problem is that others used its promises to seduce the masses for their own ends. Had it been implemented true to the original philosophy, there wouldn't have been a need for a repressive system to be in place because EVERYONE would have willingly embraced the philosophy.

However, given the overall maturity of humanity as a whole, it's also a philosophy that is doomed to fail because we're not yet "advanced" enough in our thinking to WILLINGLY embrace the principles needed for a successful *TRUE* communist state to be constructed. We're still covetous, fearful, greedy, petty, and envious - no matter how much we deny it. Those are qualities that conspire against us building a better society. The politicians know this full well and are masters at exploiting those 5 negative emotions for their own ends (much the same way the communist "leaders" of yore did, with their respective peoples). That's what I mean by "advanced" - until we overcome those shortcomings, we will be unable to aspire to a better system of government.

Hence why communism is often referred to as a Utopia. The problem in the US is that "communism" == "authoritarianism" == "anti-american", and no consideration is paid to the truth of the philosophy - only to the failed dictatorships of old.

Comment Re:Not so bad to have different systems. (Score 1, Insightful) 2288

Your argument about being able to convert from one system to another is valid - but why bite that bullet before we have absolutely no other choice?

Is it OK/beneficial to have different standards on how some things are done/built? Yes: those differences may make one method better than another for a particular set of applications. Ideally, though, those different processes should be condensed into a single process that covers them all applications well enough that we can all standardize.

Having said that, I fail to see a reason why ANYONE would need more than one *MEASUREMENT* system.

Are there any technical benefits to having more than one measurement system? (besides having one more way to confuse PHB's and morons out there). Tolerance for other's preferences/cultures aside (i.e. this isn't exactly a "burkas vs. miniskirts" debate)

Slashdot Top Deals

Memory fault -- brain fried