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Comment Re:WRONG (Score 1) 117

- - - - I forgot to note that HP did gave serious software development and consulting operations for a long time. How do you think the got HP-UX and MPE going. Then, OpenView, Allbase SQL and many more.- - - -

Those are all infrastructure components however. Much as I love infrastructure, software and systems that actually execute large-scale business processes are an entirely different branch of the evolutionary tree. And generally much, much harder. HP developed the HP3000 and MPE, but it was ASK that wrote MANMAN.


Comment Re:I'm confused.. (Score 2) 66

- - - - - . The SCADA-related stuff is, in fact, properly air-gapped. - - - - -

Used to be possible through about 2000. Essentially impossible today, since most industrial systems vendors - just like everyone else - provide the vast majority of their support via Internet services. You want assistance debugging that control function giving you problems? Open up a support connection to the vendor. Can't do that? The vendor would be happy to send an on-site support tech at $2000/day, but of course he will need Internet access for his laptop.

And the vendors can't be blamed for this, as their customers will no longer pay the type of prices (first sale and support) that that did in the 80s and 90s [1], so the vendors have had to reduce costs everywhere.


[1] Before that most control systems were serviceable by a knowledgeable technician with a VTVM, scope, and catalog of discrete parts.

Comment Re:We NEED Processor Competition (Score 1) 331

Well, you are assuming that there are never dis-economies of scale. Which in my personal experience at least is not the case. Not always, and certainly a task such as designing the 787/A350 takes a very large entity. But I have seen many cases where the optimum entity size was exceeded and inefficiencies increased exponentially.


Comment Re:Project Gutenberg (Score 1) 54

- - - - Back when.home.computing was stillyoung, years before there was a google, there was.Project Gutenberg [] , where volunteers donated their time and typed in and proofread books. - - - -

Last I checked, however, Project Gutenberg only captured text of books that were clearly in the public domain under the various copyright acts in force in the US and Europe since 1800. The complaint of many authors about Google and its proposed "settlements" is that Google is taking their work that is still under copyright without their permission.


Comment Re:I really don't know who to root for here. (Score 2) 54

- - - - Google's been scanning old books & magazines, stuff that's been out of print for ages and probably by rights already should be public domain, depending on the copyright date. - - - -

Uh, no. That may be the basis of the scanning project, but Google has been putting a lot more stuff than just "old" scanned books into Google Books. And by the way, many works whose authors have died are still under copyright according to the various laws that were in effect at the time of their publication.


Comment Re:Side with better access for the public (Score 2) 54

- - - - As with most fields of business, if you want to collect money owed to you, you occasionally need to chase it up yourself (as your example demonstrates, if the putative author is having difficulty getting royalties from his existing publisher; maybe he'll have more luck if he contacts Google). - - - -

Many authors characterize that as "stealing from the helpless". Isaac Asimov wrote quite a bit about the difficulties he had extracting his royalties from various publishing houses, and that was at a point in his career where he was famous, reasonably wealthy, and could afford good lawyers to fight the thieves.

I'm fascinated by these romantic notions that people have about Google Inc. It did start out as an interesting research project by its founders. However, those founders then took venture capital money to "monetize" their research, indenturing themselves to the venture capital providers, and transformed their business into a gigantic advertising and personal data mining operation. They then took their business public, and today Google Inc. is a corporation publicly traded on the US markets whose stock price has risen from $100 at offer to $700. Its officers have a fiduciary duty to make money for their investors regardless of what the founders may have going in the way of small projects. And frankly, I have seen exactly zero public evidence that Page and Brin have any qualms about the money-vacuuming side of Google; certainly neither they nor Mr. Schmidt have any concerns about the affect of their actions on personal privacy.


Comment Re:Side with better access for the public (Score 2) 54

- - - - Also, the authors of a significant fraction of these books cannot be located.

Hmmm... incentives tend to matter. Under the Google archive plan, who has the incentive to go out and search diligently for the legal holders of copyright and publishing rights? 80 year old author starving in a garret, never received his last royalties due from his publishing house, who is going to work their butts off to find and pay him before they start selling his work from the archive?

The key point that much be brought up in these discussions is this: Google is a money-making machine. Period. It exists to make metric tons of money for its owners and officers. Period. It might do some interesting things, even some nice things, along the way - but it exists to make money. Who is making the money on this scheme, how, and what are the incentives to pay whom? Be helpful to get some straight answers to those questions.


Comment Re:Measuring results (Score 3, Informative) 285

- - - - Then I can only conclude you've been working in the shrinkwrap software industry, or whatever they're calling it this week. In businesses where software is part of the infrastructure rather than the sole product, then yes, specifications are very real, and tend to be stable. - - - -

Hasn't been my experience across a half-dozen entities of varying sizes, but YMMV. (excepting very precise software such as nuclear control or avionics, but that's an entirely different world from business code)

Except for one entity that had used the same process for 40 years and wrote excruciatingly detailed specs for every change they made, and QA'd the heck out of the changesets and the developers. Problem was that it was taking them 9-15 months to get any of the changes spec'd and deployed, and their industry had evolved from one with three year change cycles to a fast-paced fashion-type industry with major market changes every 6 months. Getting your heavily spec'd, perfect software deployed in 12 months wasn't really helping when the competitors were updating their web sites and methods of selling every six weeks.


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