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Comment I have issues with the TFA (Score 5, Interesting) 491

From the TFA:

* Sixty-four percent (64%) of survey participants found the transition to Agile confusing, hard, or slow. Twenty-eight percent (28%) report success with Agile.
- I'd like to see the number for success in waterfall.

* Overwhelmingly, 40% of participants that use Agile did not identify a benefit.
- How is 40% overwhelming? I though overwhelming meant much larger than a simple majority. What about the other 60%?

* We received some unprecedented scathing and shocking comments about the level of competence, professionalism, and attitudes of some members of the Agile movement.
- Having not met them, I can't vouch for the Agile leaders. However, we're using their product, not their personality.

* Be aware that the Agile movement might very well just be either a developer rebellion against unwanted tasks and schedules or just an opportunity to sell Agile services including certification and training.
- Sure, it's another developer rebellion... against bad practices. Agile does not mean you get to avoid the necessary tasks like documentation. And who doesn't want to make money? If that's what they do fulltime and it's valuable they should be able to earn a living. That's the pot calling the kettle black with them pushing their $150 report.

I'm not an agile fan boy but it's a better alternative than A) bad managers thinking they're managing a project correctly or B) planning a massive project and having it shift underneath you.

This just sounds like a smear to get attention.

Comment Re:Sending Info? (Score 1) 332

If two particles sent back in time arrive in the same order and at the same interval, then you could send information, even if you're restricted to morse code or something. I'd bet that the timing and ordering of the particles' arrival could not be controlled, but I would not complain if someone proves me wrong :)

Comment Re:Open source vs proprietary (Score 1) 792

I think that's a fine reason for a person deciding to personally not use proprietary software. I think it's a terrible reason to say everyone should only use free software. I'm a software developer, but I don't want to be told "add it in yourself" when I go looking for a new feature, most especially when that feature is already available elsewhere. Certainly, non-programmers do not want to get that answer either! It is unreasonable to expect that of the general population.

To give a concrete example, I choose to use iTunes and/or Windows Media Player because they are easy to use and provide all the features I need without any tweaking; I have never found this to be the case for any FOSS media player. (Quite the opposite.) Why should I spend my time fixing the deficiencies in one of a dozen FOSS media players when I can just use a proprietary one that I know works? "It helps everyone else" is a good ideal, but it is not a good argument. I have better things to do with my time than fix deficiencies in FOSS media players.

My problem with Stallman isn't that he doesn't want to use proprietary software, or even that he thinks proprietary software is inherently evil; my problem is that his reason for opposing cell phones is simply paranoia. Yes, there's a chance someone will use your cell phone to track where you are.The ability to track your location is inherent in the nature of the device - you have to be connected wireless to a tower, therefore you can be tracked with some degree of precision. Has Stallman suggested an alternative technology that allows mobile communication but prevents the device from being tracked? Is it his opinion that we should not use mobile communication devices at all, merely because they can be tracked?

More importantly, why is this small chance that someone will bother tracking my location so bad? It's not hard to find my home address; it's equally trivial to find the address of the building I work in. I must travel between the two locations, so my usual approximate location during commuting hours is obvious. Anyone passingly familiar with me knows I go to church on Sundays, and church building locations and meeting times are also public knowledge. That's all without ever tracking me through my cell phone. I don't care if people know any of that, so why should Stallman's problem with cell phones concern me? I'm not asking why I should care about privacy; I'm generally opposed to government policies that reduce privacy. I'm asking, why I should care that my phone reveals my location when my location is virtually always known anyway?

A good solution to the problem "I don't want to be tracked when I go to location X" that does not require giving up the benefits of having a mobile communication device is to not carry your device when you go to location X. It's a silly reason to abandon mobile communication technology entirely.

As for microphones theoretically recording me, I see no real reason for concern there, either. There is a very large difference between theoretical threats and likely threats. My computer could be recording me, too, in theory, whether or not I'm running open source software, but that theory does not mean I should abandon the use of computers, nor does it mean that computers are "tools of Big Brother".

I'll say this another way, because Stallman and many of my fellow Slashdotters apparently don't understand the concept: in any society, we must give up some degree of privacy in order to interact with one another. It is stupid to make interaction with each other much harder on the slim chance that someone might use a person's cell phone to track or listen to that person.

Yes, there's always the possibility that companies will screw up their software, or remove features, etc., like Sony with OtherOS. "Only use FOSS" is not the only solution, nor is it even the best solution in many cases. The most practical solution is to not buy from companies that do this. Companies aren't stupid; if they know removing features will result in a tangible loss of sales, they won't do it. (The problem with Sony right now is that they don't see a tangible loss of sales; we have nobody to blame but ourselves. I am seriously flabbergasted when people's solution to "Sony sucks, they took away OtherOS" is to buy a second PS3.)

I'm not opposed to Stallman having his own opinions, but he's really taking this to an absurd extreme. Supposing the hardware were "open source", that doesn't help; it's much harder to fix a hardware bug than a software bug, even if you have the schematics and the expertise. Other people can't get your fix merely by grabbing your changes from source control, and without expensive equipment and/or disassembling your device piece by piece, you can't even verify that the device you're holding matches the schematics. Open source hardware is only useful to a point.

As for Stallman's reference to Stalin.... I'm pretty sure there's a name for the logical fallacy where you invoke people's emotions to make your point, rather than actually making logical arguments. Let's look at what he said:

"It's Stalin's dream. Cell phones are tools of Big Brother. I'm not going to carry a tracking device that records where I go all the time, and I'm not going to carry a surveillance device that can be turned on to eavesdrop."

Yet he offers no evidence that cell phones are tracking devices which record where we go all the time (i.e. having a GPS does not automatically mean the device is recording our movements, let alone reporting those movements to anyone), nor that they are being used as remote surveillance devices. His only argument is the emotional one, playing on people's fear of Stalin's brand of communism, and the speculation (implied as fact) that the government will track your every move and listen to every sound you make just through your cell phone... merely because you have a cell phone. His argument is made even more stupid by stating that mobile devices running Android are just as untrustworthy as the rest merely because carriers include proprietary software on them, ignoring the fact that tracking is possible regardless of what software is on the device, as long as it is turned on, and ignoring the fact that you can simply remove the proprietary software.

In other words, the only basis for his argument that we should not use cell phones is pure and simple paranoia, and that, my fellow Slashdotters, is why I don't care one bit what Stallman says about cell phones (or really anything else).

Comment Re:There is plenty wrong with proprietary executab (Score 1) 792

If you use proprietary software, you get fucked, and that is the common case, not the rare case. It happens to most users at one time or another. Some of them realize what caused their problems and become "OSS geeks," and some of them don't get it, and repeat the mistake again and again and again, never ever learning how they set themselves up to become dependent on third parties.

And some of us got tired of having to dual-boot just to play games, of trying to hack various things together to get games to run under wine, of having a selection of high-quality games smaller than the selection available for OSX, of having distro updates hork the system (*cough*Ubuntu 10.10*cough*), of getting told "STFU and RTFM" when asking for help, of being told "you don't want to do that" when asking how to do something without being asked why I wanted to do it, of being told "recompile it with X, Y, Z flags" to solve various problems, of being told to "submit a patch" when asking about a bug or missing feature, of running software with fewer features for... what, ideological reasons? Should I go on?

I'm a software developer as a profession and as a hobby, but I have very little interest in fixing my tools (let alone my operating system!) as a prerequisite to working on the stuff I actually care about.

Honestly, I have no reason to fully switch back to Linux, and I will not have a reason unless (or, if you insist, until) I get somehow meaningfully screwed over by proprietary software. Thus far, the only times I have been screwed over by software in any meaningful way have been caused by problems with Linux (e.g. the aforementioned Ubuntu 10.10 update which pretty much made my system unusable).

IMNSHO, it's kind of stupid to refuse to use proprietary software on the chance that it will screw you over someday. If it works well, use it, and if it does screw you over (e.g. Sony removing OtherOS), then switch to alternatives - and that applies to open source software as much as it applies to proprietary software.

Now, before people flame me, I do like Linux, and I use it daily, along with several useful open source tools, but until the open source community can match a lot of the "evil" proprietary software out there, I have a very strong incentive to stay with proprietary software.

Comment Re:Technically... (Score 0) 1277

As another practicing member of the LDS Church, I second LWATCDR's objection to Cmdr Taco's tag line. We do not practice polygamy, and using a story tag to imply that we do is a deliberate participation in perpetuating that incorrect idea.

I'm also getting quite frustrated with the Slashdot editors' complete inability to do even a quick reading of the referenced article before posting a summary, especially when the summary is inflammatory like this one. The article makes no reference to political party affiliation as a motivation for the bill, nor does it reference the LDS Church in any way.

Why does Slashdot even *have* editors, if they're not going to fact-check?

Comment Re:Help me out here (Score 1) 541

I suggest you learn how to read studies, and then do so.

I'll start reading their studies when they stop selectively excluding data in order to produce the results they want.

I'll start reading their studies when they stop cherry-picking a time range for the study in order to produce the results they want. (The time range stuff is at the beginning of part 1; other issues are examined in that 4-part video series as well.)

I'll start reading their studies when they stop trying to avoid publishing in peer-reviewed journals, when they stop trying to sabotage the careers of scientists who disagree with them (same link), when they stop ignoring the objections of other scientists, and so on and so forth.

In short, why should I trust the conclusions of these "scientists" when they repeatedly demonstrate that they're interested in "proving" pre-determined results, often in exchange for large grants, rather than actually finding the truth?

Comment Re:Who? (Score 1) 580

We will not be able to properly explore deep space and survive our eventual destruction without complete openness in all aspects of our lives as well.

I think you're greatly underestimating the importance of privacy. Suppose you were put into juvenile detention for a few weeks for some relatively small offense, but did not commit even a traffic violation during the following 20 years. Now suppose this is true of 20% of the population. If each individual keeps this secret of his or her youth, would you argue that those harmless secrets prevent our survival as a race?

Or suppose you have a shoe fetish that you only indulge in your bedroom. "Complete openness in all aspects of our lives" certainly encompasses that, seeing as how it is an aspect of one's life; is it your argument that we cannot explore deep space or survive our supposed eventual destruction if we don't know about your shoe fetish?

I see absolutely no reason why "properly exploring deep space" or "surviving our eventual destruction" should depend on "complete openness in all aspects of our lives". It's a rather large leap of logic and an absurdly broad requirement, but you've provided no basis for the argument.

Comment Re:I thought it was... (Score 1) 308

I like the idea of issuing a baseball bat to every passenger at boarding time (to be returned at the destination gate) for that reason. Sure, a terrorist on board would have a bat, but he'll find it difficult to use when everyone else does too... That way there's no chance that most passengers simply won't have melee weapons with them.

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