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Comment Re:Is Cisco interested in non-enterprise markets? (Score 1) 180

I think Cisco was interested in the consumer market. Perhaps they saw what Apple did with the iPod or the iPhone and thought that they could build high end consumer devices for a decent margin. They bought Linksys and Flip and released a couple of other produce lines targeted at the consumer market. I think that the strategy changed a couple of years ago. The recession was in full swing. Cisco's enterprise hardware wasn't meeting its targets, and I think that they told the analysts that Cisco would refocus on their core market. It's a good idea to diversify, but if you simultaneously fail at new markets and start slipping in your core market, something has to change.

Comment Re:If we're going to survive long term (Score 1) 352

Mental illness...I chose "the human mind," but I didn't choose it so that we could fix stupidity, whatever that means. I would like the next 150 years to see the kind of progress in mental health that we've made in physical health over the last 150 years.

If you've ever known someone with a mental illness, maybe something as simple as OCD, you'd know how life affecting it can be. There are millions of people out there who have their own goals and ambitions, but they're wasting much of their lives just trying to cope with their illness and get through the day. It doesn't help that a large percentage of the population doesn't really believe that mental illness exists. The responses I've heard are often like telling a deaf person that they'll just have to try to hear harder. I feel like we're still in the pre-germ stage of medicine when it comes to mental illness. Diagnosis is imprecise. Response to medication is highly variable, and with an uncertain diagnosis, patients can waste years trying different variants and dosages.

Another problem is that people think of the body as a shell with a magical thing inside that is you. They have a hard time thinking of the brain as a complex organ that can malfunction or be damaged in many ways. Those problems can have a profound effect on perception, alertness, attention, mood stability, etc.

Comment Re:Misleading summary (Score 1) 459

Regarding number 3: This is the most interesting one. What if the scientists had predicted the quake (as at least one individual did, albeit as more of a guess)? What would everyone have done differently?

Apparently, some residents were sleeping outside until the reassurances from the scientists on the panel.

Comment How to "manage" the project? (Score 1) 403

Managing a project with everyone in the same office is difficult. (Evaluate candidates. Hire employees. Make sure everyone understands the requirements. Balance workload. Figure out dependencies so that no one is blocked. etc.)

Managing a project where some of your programmers are remote is more difficult, even if they live in the same country and speak the same language.

Managing a project where some of your programmers are in a different country with a different primary language and a different business culture is even more difficult.

If your company is failing at managing local projects, I doubt that you're going to succeed at managing offshore projects.

If you're a small business who wants to use offshoring, I would recommend involving an onshore company to manage the offshoring. It won't be the lowest price, but if they take your project, the results will probably be much better. For example, I would recommend my friends who run this company:

Good luck!

Comment Re:Odd claims (Score 1) 138

Yes and no. I mean, no one wants to buy a crummy product. On the other hand, producers need to be able to sell the product with specific volume and price points to make the profit margins that they plan years in advance. There are some very careful trade offs involved in that kind of work. In business, it's possible to launch and sell a profitable product line and still fail because you came in at a profit margin of 10% instead of 30%.

Isn't that sort of the core of the discussion over HP's WebOS tablets? They can make and sell them, but their desired price point didn't produce the volume of sales that they needed. The product that was crummy at one price point became awesome at another. Can HP find a price where they'll get the sales that they need to make enough profit to make it worthwhile? Even if they can sell the tables for a tiny profit, HP may prefer to focus their time, people, and capital on other, more profitable businesses.

Comment Re:Odd claims (Score 1) 138

Compared to some other companies, I'm actually impressed with the length of Cisco's technical track. It's possible to a long technical career within the company with regular pay increases and promotions without switching to the "business" side. In many companies, promotions quickly push technical people into management or technical sales or something. I haven't seen that at Cisco.

Of course, I still expect that the people who are closer to sales and major product decisions (VPs and SVPs) to make more than the senior engineers. Fortunately, I've also seen that Cisco is willing to fire upper management if they make too big or too many bad decisions that hurt margins, product quality, etc. Listening to the message Chambers has been putting out, part of the restructuring seems to be aimed at increased accountability in upper management. It's no use to build awesome products if the company can't sell them or can't sell them at a profit.

Comment Re:Shame about the Flip Video Cameras (Score 1) 138

I believe that smartphones with video overtook the Flip faster than Cisco expected. The Flip was a good little device, but it was too expensive for a single purpose device once smartphones started including HD video recording. Cisco would either have to drop the Flip prices and work for much smaller margins, or it would have to kill the division. It chose to do the latter so that it could use that money on its core products.

Solar Car Speed Record Smashed 72

An anonymous reader writes with word from Australia that "There's a new world record for the fastest solar-powered land vehicle: 88 km/h average speed over one kilometre in a lightweight car that uses about the same power as a toaster." As the article goes on to explain, this solar racer, built last year by students from the University of New South Wales, managed to nab that speed record earlier this month on an Australian navy base airstrip.

Comment Re:We used to call it "imagination" (Score 1) 267

Just don't watch the movie too many times. Eventually you'll forget, and you can go back to imagining whatever you want. This infection of someone else's image isn't a new problem. People have been making realistic paintings and drawings for centuries.

And instead of just bemoaning the lack of imagination, we should think about what is missing when the consumer doesn't supply something himself. I think that it's neat that the technology is advanced enough that Mr. Jackson can show me what he was imagining. But there are things that are difficult to show, and I think that Shelob is a better example of that. After they did a pretty good job with the Nazgûl and the Balrog, I was hoping for more with Shelob. I was disappointed that they just seemed to present her as a big spider. I always wondered how they'd try to convey a sense that she was the "last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world....who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness."

I think that's really hard to convey in a movie, but it didn't seem like they even tried. It's hard to show someone what a complete, oppressive, and malevolent darkness is like. Something that makes your mind forget what light is. Shelob isn't a big spider. She's more like a demon in current terminology: the embodiment of an ancient evil. With good writing and a good imagination in the reader, Shelob becomes much more terrifying than a big spider.

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