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Comment Re: No dude... (Score 1) 199

Those have been able to build out of much smaller systems over time though.

And lots of them don't work right away... if ever. I wouldn't count delta and their half a million flyers a day (so presumably half a million reservations a day) as a shining example of a successful system. They've had a new system for a year and it still breaks constantly.

Banks yes - but then how much money are we talking about spending on IT. If you spend 500 million dollars to do a project that's going to cost a billion, and then it doesn't work you shouldn't be surprised. That doesn't mean it was easy - to the contrary it was much bigger and more expensive than you anticipated.

JP morgan spends ~ 2 Billion dollars a year on IT (

Comment Re:No dude... (Score 1) 199

Well kinda, they need to interact with many dozens of insurance companies potentially, but ya, that they undershot capacity is a huge problem (and it's possible the there are capacity issues with the databases they need to talk to but don't control). With an MMO you just sell less copies until you have servers, with a website.. you don't really have that option.

Comment Re:No dude... (Score 4, Insightful) 199

There are so many websites out there that do far more complex operation, and they seem to have very little problem.

Not really at least not that worked at this scale from day one. The closest you're going to get to needing to support millions of unique users on the first day, and hundreds of thousands simultaneously are things like MMO launches and WoW expansion packs or something like google+. And most of those can scale by replication and sectioning people off so it's highly parallel, or are built on already substantial infrastructure. If you crunch the math, there were only 90 days from launch to end date, and you need to enrol about 25 million people or something in that time (the uninsured who don't live in states with their own exchanges), so the daily load is actually quite high, particularly with a large number of people hitting the site to browse and decide. It's also quite likely that they gambled on more states setting up their own exchanges... and lost.

The backend of games and google+ of those is trivial compared to, which not only needs to talk to databases from federal agencies, but it needs to connect to dozens of insurance companies with multiple sets of rules and regulations. Sure an MMO needs to do math, but one designer with no technical training can decide what equations to use and if they get it wrong no big deal. When you're dealing with money - and we're talking about healthcare that's going to be worth a couple of hundred billion dollars bought through this site, even a 1% error rate is going to cause no end of problems.

is that it's a simple matter of input from the user, and then a matter of storage of that input, and maybe some calculations along the way - all very basic stuff for today's world.

Input from the user that needs to be checked against multiple databases that aren't yours, that have private information in them. Then talking to multiple insurance companies in multiple jurisdictions with slightly different rules etc.

I'm not saying that excuses about 2 months of failure, but one should not assume this is a simple project, that they somehow did not realize that this would require probably 10x the server capacity they had is a complete failure. But other projects that are huge and stable have spent a lot more than 500 million dollars to get to that point, over a lot of years. These guys were trying to solve a problem no one else has ever had to solve on this scale. That they didn't recognize that is pathetic, but we shouldn't suppose this is an easy project.

Comment Re:Mod Parent Down (Score 1) 141

I can't speak to the job sites in the US, but here we have recruiters coming to classrooms, and seems to be working quite well as an aggregator.

I think we've got about 35 new engineering positions a month in the city I'm in, of 400k people. It sounds to me like you're searching wrong. At least assuming you have an actual engineering degree, and not a technician diploma or a degree in physics - those guys are screwed.

>A 70k job without benefits in Boston or Silicon Valley is basically equivalent to a minimum wage job in other parts of the USA. You can live on it, but its got no future.

70k starting salary for an undergrad is pretty good anywhere. Even in the valley.

And as I say, we're not even a great school. Good schools you've actually heard of can command much more.

>Cool, temporary worker, I don't have to provide benefits

Good luck trying that in canada.

Comment Re:Mod Parent Down (Score 4, Interesting) 141

I'm in canada, and we can't keep our engineers bottled up. Their 3rd year co-ops started paying more than starting faculty positions, so we had to change the rules and forcibly limit them to about 26 an hour.

Our graduates are going all over in canada and the US, starting salaries 70-80k. And we aren't a particularly spectacular engineering school. Electrical, mechanical, I don't know about civil, computer and software. (I've never had anything to do with the civil people as I'm in CS and our cross courses that I have been involved in are only with the others).

If you can't find work either people don't think your degree is legit, or you're doing a terrible job presenting yourself. Hell, our graduates who can barely communicate in english are getting great jobs.

Comment Re:oh boy... (Score 2) 230

Bill Gates, I think somewhere in his brain he wants to be altruistic for some philosophical reason, but his charity really just pumps M$ products and tries to make teachers be paid by performance.

And you know, curing polio, fighting AIDS, TB and malaria, etc.

Lets not leave out the the stuff that saves hundreds of thousands of lives a year.

Comment Re:Second one? (Score 1) 214

Or that someone was throwing him a freebie job until another one opened up (and they could hopefully find someone better for this one).

Scenario: We have a clusterfuck. And need a new person to head it. But we have no idea who it is.

So we hire some guy who's a business CEO and economics type - clearly completely wrong for the job - but not 2 months later he gets a job suited to the CEO/economics type - as an economics advisor. And we spent the time he was 'in charge' hiring someone who appears to maybe have been exposed to IT projects before.

It solved the theatre problem of needing someone new right away, give him a cushy job for 2 months while the real job you wanted him for became available, and gave you time to find someone who might actually be useful.

Comment Re:Not Surprising (Score 1) 59

Indeed, that is our experience (at a university) as well.

Students taking online courses through the university are expected to be as proficient as the regular students - if they aren't we need to fail them or employers lose faith in our degrees.

If you already have a degree (or most of a degree) and a job then online courses can be a great way to augment your skillset, even if you never do the the homework watching the lectures will tell you a lot of stuff you'll need to look up and learn if a particular type of problem arises.

But actually relying on online open courses as the basis of your credentials is still problematic, and likely will always be. University degrees are in large part a trust relationship between employers and universities - our job isn't to train you for a specific job, but if you get a degree with an 80% average in computer science you should be reasonably proficient in computer science. If we let you buy your degree, or have your friends take your tests for you or the like then we may as well be some corrupt institution no one has ever heard of in Bangladesh or Nigeria.

Comment Re:Speak Your Mind (Score 1) 96

Honestly, I suspect BT figured they could get everything they actually want from him for free from his security blog or with occasional contracts, particularly if he's willing to take up an academic or otherwise similarly public gig where his main work and discussion all ends up public anyway.

He can probably make a lot more money running around collecting speaking fees than BT would want to pay him.

Comment Technology first, business second (Score 1) 370

Did no one wonder about that business-model bit in the beginning

No of course not. That's idiotic.

You can't make money or a business model without potential customers and you can't get potential customers for a product they don't know exists and don't even know what would be, and asking for money up front will just drive them away. You build underlying technology and solutions first, then figure out how to make money. If you want to do it the MBA way go invest in a radio station. The rest of us are trying to define new markets.

Comment Ask Legal for what compliance means (Score 1) 310

Lots of what other people have said is good.

Approach legal and tell them about our many violations of COPPA?

Ask legal what framework you should be working under, and what laws and compliance are going to be required as part of doing your job. You aren't really sure what your personal obligations are in this regard, because you understand that there are regulations but you aren't sure who is responsible for implementing what exactly, and you've gotten conflicting or confused responses from your superiors.

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