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Comment Facebook is Prior Art (Score 1) 214

This was actually a feature of Facebook for a while, at least when I joined up. The number one driver for me to create an account on facebook was that I already had a sort of ghost account created by the people I knew. Even though I didn't have an account, people could still tag me in photos (prompting an email), view collections of photos that I'd been tagged in, and a few other basic functions. I joined solely so that I could change my privacy settings.

Comment Re:Stay Classy Microsoft (Score 1) 304

Gotcha -- thanks for that.
However, that still has a workflow where you edit my file directly, and diffs are tracked by revisions. Is there anyway to make it so that I have to accept/reject changes, or where changes are managed on a change-by-change basis?

As for passing copies of files around, I think it's a fine workaround to put a doc on a file share, in sharepoint, or in source control. Google Docs is actually way better for simultaneous collaboration though, I have to agree with that.

Comment Re:Stay Classy Microsoft (Score 1) 304

"Usually she agrees, but not always, and she can always see exactly what I did and easily revert what she doesn't like."

I've started using it a ton for collaboration, but I haven't been able to find a reasonable replacement for Track Changes that you'd find in Word.
Sure, I can comment, or I can just change the text. But, if I want to make changes to the text and have someone be able to see what was changed and accept/reject, I can't seem to do that.

Comment Re:So much for returns. (Score 1) 184

I think Microsoft's strategy is to generate revenue by accepting licensing payments from android manufacturers. This is good for their bottom line as they are making steady income from other people.

Apple's strategy, I think, is to damage their competitors. By keeping android in court, they are hurting sales numbers directly (samsung products being banned for sale, even for just a few months), or indirectly (third party developers question whether android is the right platform; manufacturers reducing their focus on android phones).

They aren't making any money directly from their legal action, but if you look at the whole picture, I'll bet they are doing at least as well as Microsoft. The iPhone still has a hefty market share - which is important for Apple because they make the bulk of their iPhone related money on the iTunes store commissions. If they took licensing payments instead, they would get some money from the manufacturers, but potentially lose their cut on movies, music, apps, etc.

Comment Change up the problem domain, or methods (Score 2) 165

Given the restrictions that you have (keep doing what you're doing, but more advanced) then I would suggest one of two things.

[1] Change to a completely new set of problems. If you've been working in business software, change to games. In this way you will still be doing dev, but the kinds of problems that you are trying to solve will be completely different, which will lead to new challenges.

[2] Try changing up the 'how' of what you're doing. For example, look for a team that's using scrum methodology, or test-driven-development. Alternately, new tools, programming languages, platforms (Mostly focussing on windows? Go mac/mobile/unix/web.). Even just somewhere with a vastly different release cycle could be interesting - by last employer measured their dev cycles in years; my current employer in weeks. If you put the focus on the skills, instead of the work, it can be really rewarding. See Software Craftsman movement for related inspiration in this direction.

[3] Move. I'm on my third country now, and I can tell you that doing the same thing in a different country totally changes the game. French engineers do not think the same way as Canadian engineers. So much of our work is about problem solving, and being able to transform real world problems into software. It's been very cool to working through a problem with someone with a totally different world view.

To use an analogy: You are a great French chef; you've worked in a wide range of sit down restaurants from very small to very large. And you've always felt successful, but you now feel you're only option is to start your own business. I'm recommending that you [1] go work at a japanese restaurant, [2] try a catering company or 'fast food', or [3] try working in Vietnam.

Comment Consider hiring a technical writer (Score 1) 114

Have you considered hiring a Technical Writer on contract?
From the work you describe, someone with the right experience should be able to pull all of that together for you in about a month -- maybe a bit longer to make sure that it's usable for you in the long term. Writers spend a lot their time summarizing, re-organizing, and pulling together disjointed pieces of information. I'd consider hiring someone to get you running, and then having them show you a few things for how to keep the wheels greased in the long term.

It'll cost a bit extra, but it's likely to get done faster than if you DIY, and you won't have to take as much time off from your existing IT duties.


Mozilla Issues Do-Not-Track Guide For Advertisers 74

angry tapir writes "Mozilla has issued a do not track field guide to encourage advertisers and publishers to implement do-not-track (DNT) functionality. The guide contains tutorials, case studies and sample code to illustrate how companies use the DNT technology. Mozilla aims to inspire developers, publishers and advertisers to adopt DNT and wants to put the control over Internet tracking into the hands of users. The browser maker wants to put a stop to behavioral targeting and pervasive tracking on the Web. The guide can be found here (PDF)."

Comment Similar to Bruce Perens article from 2009 (Score 1) 210

There was a similar article from Bruce Perens a few years back:

He describes his reasons differently, but arrives at the same conclusions. For those of you worried about the missing option of the BSD license, he does talk about this a little bit. But only a little bit -- it's quite a short article. Worth a read for an alternate take of the same point of view.

Comment Re:As usual, it depends (Score 1) 235

I can tell you what happened, at least from the people I know in doc and training.
You mostly got it right, btw.

Documentation used to be a big investment area.
Then training came along. Training made money; Documentation cost money.
Companies started by de-investing in doc, and investing heavily in training departments.
After a while, organizations would start to ask their doc teams to intentionally include less information so that customers would be 'encouraged' to buy training.

But, there was a problem. Where did the training teams get their information from?

Documentation fills the role of a primary researcher for the training departments. They know what's going into the product, how it is supposed to work, and what it actually does as soon as the product is released. Training teams follow a several month lag, as they need to train what's installed on the customers site, not what's in development. Without the source material coming from Doc, it's a lot harder for trainers to pull together great content. They now have to do both the primary and secondary research, but with the added difficulty that the developers are now working on the *next* iteration, and aren't really that interested in talking about the last release.

Comment Re:as always depends on the person (Score 3, Interesting) 557

"otherwise we'll be like europe where if you don't do well on the high school tests they give you will never go to college and never have a chance to change your life in the future"

When I first moved to France, it was the season when test results were just coming out.
A major paper ran a story about 'What do do if your kid doesn't get into a Top 10 school?'
The answer: enroll them in an IT program, or ship them to America.

Kinda took the wind outta my sails a bit to read that what I'd considered a good career choice (Ok, I went to a Canadian school but still) was the second rate choice here. After spending two more years here, I've realized that it was only partly a jab. While it's true that IT careers are not typically highly regarded over here, it's also true that in both North America, and IT worldwide, your test scores are not considered a primary qualifier for success.

Comment Highly educated, yes, but were they using it? (Score 1) 622

Let's be open here -- these people were highly educated, yes, but where they using their education in this role?
I think not.

What they were doing was simply reading through mounds of material looking for something that could be interesting to the case. It requires some deduction, some common sense, a good grasp of the concepts of the problems they are trying to solve, etc. But, it does not require a law degree. This is grunt work. One could easily imagine a situation where several legal assistants do the same work, and report into a senior person who really does need that education.

From other job sectors, one could make this distinction between Nurses and Doctors. (Yes, i know Nurses are also skilled, but not as much so as a Doctor for most definitions of 'Nurse'). You don't need your MD to answer a slough of 'Does this rash look funny to you?' questions at a health clinic. Just a simple 'No, put this cream on it' or 'OMG, what did you do? You need to see a Doctor' will suffice. Four good nurses and one doctor is as effective as 5 doctors for most family style medicine, and a heck of a lot cheaper.

Or, closer to home, you don't need someone with a degree and 6 certifications to work Tier 1 tech support. Tier 2 or 3, perhaps. But not Tier 1.

Comment Not completely evil (Score 1) 584

This does make some sense, if you think about it.

Apple charges a 30% tarrif on things sold through their store. Part of this is the cost that the developer pays to have crazy amounts of customer visibility. (Think: Walmart takes a cut to cover operational costs, and their own profits, in trade, the manufacturer gets a ton of views.)

So, the last thing that Apple, as a company, will want to do is allow you, as a manufacturer, the ability to use Apple's platform to give away an app that is essentially a platform of it's own. Amazon, as an example, will give away the app on the appstore, and take 100% of the profit through their own book site. They get all of the benefits of Apple's appstore, without any of the costs.

Comment Very short term review would be useful too. (Score 0) 167

I don't know about savings ads for a long time, but I would love a queue of the last 100 ads that I've seen pass my screen.
So many times I've clicked a link on a web page and at the last second seen some interesting looking ad out of the corner of my eye. When I hit back on the browser, the random-ad-generator hates me, and won't show what I've just been looking at.

Sounds stupid, but it would be really super useful.

Slashdot is actually one of the biggest offenders here (that, and a few of the webcomics I frequent).

Yes, I have the "Disable Advertising" option.
No, I don't use it.

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