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Comment Re:Troubleshooting blind... (Score 3, Insightful) 208

When you are spending so long doing something awkward it's normally worth sitting back for a few minutes and reconsidering the goal and approach.

Goal: Recover documents off computer.

Solution 1: Spend hours writing down key strokes and working blind.

Solution 2: Plug harddrive into another computer and retrieve files.

Solution 3: Use VGA mode or any Windows install disk to recover drivers.

Most of the time when you are working hard it's because you are doing it wrong.

Comment Re:Lack of Ethics Training (Score 1) 769

I have issues with software engineering being viewed as a branch of engineering. In the modern workplace a software engineer seems to be applied to any sort of IT role.

A certified Engineering degree includes a compulsory ethics component (at least in Australia). Part of the compulsory professional development includes regular ethics training. It is also a component of the formal chartered engineering certification process.

That's not to say every engineer has the same view of ethics. Some design missiles and others design buildings. However all certified engineers will have thought through ethics of their actions and choices.

Comment Re:cultures AND pressures (Score 2, Interesting) 870

During one of the last tutorials before an electronics exam the lecturer was asked to explain a problem from a text book. There was a very noticeable pause when he read and realised the question. Enough to make all of us twig something was up.

Sure enough, the same question was in the exam with different values.

Not his fault though, the alternative, saying "I can't answer this question because it's in the exam", would have been even worse.

Comment Re:Freedom (Score 1) 304

Skipping your place in the ordered queue of customers by slipping money to the barman?

Maybe bars are different there, but in a busy bar here there is no line/queue. There's a mass of people huddled around the bar trying to get the bartender's attention. They pick random people from the crowd as they grab their attention to service.

When it's busy our bartenders move in one direction (generally right to left) down the bar. With a group of them working each tends to have a patch with 3-4 people that they cycle through. The crowd basically operates as multiple queues and people frown on and block anyone trying to push through.

It's not uncommon, if you reach the front out of order, to indicate that the person next to you got there first. The bartender will then serve them before you. Most people would uncomfortable being served out of order like your example, even if it was at the bartenders discretion.

The tipping culture of the US makes me uncomfortable. Australian bar staff rarely get tips and don't expect it. Instead they get a liveable wage.

Comment Re:IT as it relates to regular people (Score 2, Insightful) 462

I strongly disagree, typing should be learnt by everyone and it is possible to teach it. Saying that it should be learnt at home is great in theory but doesn't work in practice. You could make the same argument about reading but we still teach it in schools because people don't learn it at home.

A proper typing course as part of the curriculum will get over 90% of the class up to at least 25wpm in a semester. That's touch typing and not looking at the keyboard. I know because I used to go to a school that ran them.

Once people have the basics regular typing will increase their speed. Expecting people to just pick it up leads to people two finger typing at 20 wpm with multiple errors in every sentence. Imagine the productivity boost for society if everyone in an office could actually type properly.

Comment Re:Oh, it's still a technical problem too. (Score 1) 117

Wiring in a solar array to your household wiring is the work of professionals the same way wiring in a kettle is. Once it's common we will solve it the same way, you create a standard plug in a suitable location and just plug it in. The same thing is happening with roof lighting circuits. You used to have to get an electrician to wire each light in, now he puts a standard appliance socket near the hole in the roof and the light plugs in like any other appliance, now anyone can fit or change it.

5000 watts in a complete non-issue. In my country standard household circuits are 20 amps or 4800 watts. Often a 20 amp three phase circuit can be found in a house, that's 7200 watts. All these come with standard plugs that anyone can connect without qualifications.

Comment Re:In his defense... (Score 3, Informative) 545

He does have a problem with a bad password, there are some fairly clever javascript attacks that target exactly this situation, remote admin disabled and all.

The web browser is tricked to connect to a default router address (like with a default login (admin/password1) and changes whatever settings it wants, perhaps just opening remote administration. Because the connection to the router comes from the local PC this isn't "remote" administration. There are few enough possible combinations that you can brute force the default login really easily and enough people with default set ups to make it very worth while.

If Verizon has all of their customers with the same router, the same network setup and the same password... it would be negligent not to do everything they could to help protect their customers.

Comment Re:ABSOLUTLY NOTHING (Score 2, Insightful) 966

Yes. When times are good you don't need welfare.

Now imagine you badly break your hand sailing. Your medical insurer points out a clause you didn't see before exempting claims from non-standard sports activities or some such. The initial medical costs take your savings and force you to sell your car. No longer able to work you sell the awesome condo and move into a small house in the suburbs, you are trying to rebuild your career but become really depressed. Due to your moodiness and the negative change in lifestyle your fiancée leaves you. No longer able drive and living so far out your social life takes a nose dive, you end up cut off from most of your friends and support network. You are now one of life's losers.

The above scenario is just a general pattern and there are lots of outs, most require someone external to inject a large amount of funds. The central concept though is that when something bad happens you are relying on a medical insurer to fix it all for you, an insurer who's company model requires them where possible to avoid doing just that. Having a government based safety net that doesn't have that motivation means you get fixed, it may take a few months but it doesn't end your life.

Also note that living in a condo with a good career means you and everyone around you is in this lucky situation. Someone who is failed by the system will fall out of that circle. Just because you and your friends haven't needed welfare doesn't mean you won't in the future.

Comment Re:make sense? (Score 4, Informative) 266

The list of requirements sounds really fancy and uses big words but it's actually very simple.

* Agreement (Offer and Acceptance)
One party offers and the other party accepts. As they both signed this one is simple.

* Consideration
This is code word for money. Both parties must get something out of the deal, if only one party benefits it's a gift not a contract. In this instance Zuckerberg got paid and the other guy got ownership.

* Legal purpose
* Legality of form
* Intention to create legal relations
All of these are broadly the same thing, both parties must have intended it to be a contract. In this example the document has contract written across the top, check.

* Capacity to contract
* Consent to contract
* Vitiating factors: Mistates, undue influence, misrepresentation, duress
This are all unusual circumstance clauses. If you are mentally disabled, five years old or currently have a blowtorch being applied to your testicles you can't sign a valid contract. It doesn't seem like any of these apply or are being cited.

In general common sense goes a long way with contracts. If you intend to make a contract, both agree and both benefit you have a contract.

I am not a lawyer but have studied some law at a university level, primarily contracts. If you take legal advice from people on slashdot even if they claim to be a lawyer you are an idiot.

Comment Re:Which 90% ? (Score 1) 224

The discussion isn't about discarding the data, rather pushing it back to slower and cheaper storage with less frequent backup.

You could implement this like a cache. The front server interacts with the clients and holds 1TB of data, the back server(s) hold 10TB of data. You interact with the front server. When you read a file if the server has it you receive it quickly. If the server doesn't you get a 'cache miss', the server pulls it from the back store, caches it and provides it but takes 30 seconds to do so. Modified data is routinely pushed back to the back server with dirty flags etc. like most other caches.

From a users perspective the 30 second delay is annoying but they wouldn't notice if it only happened once a week. Keeping the incident rate of that down is where stats like the 90% come in handy.

Back to looking at your probability statistics. We don't have equal interest, that's what the entire article is about. Having 35% of this data needed again is fine, a quick reflection on standard work practices would suggest that these would be spread through time.

Comment Re:Hypocrasy (Score 2, Insightful) 237

That very recent United States policy is very pretty, but it only holds true until they change their mind. If someone invaded the continental United States, destroyed critical infrastructure and occupied US lands it would change very very quickly.

The simple fact is that there has never been a war between two nuclear states. There has never been an invasion of a nuclear state.

If your country was being routinely threatened with invasion and bombing why wouldn't you try and build a nuclear deterrence.

Comment Re:It's your own fault (Score 1) 285

But the twist is you don't have to have the toolbar installed in Firefox.

Having the toolbar installed in IE (even disabled) will result in it miraculously appearing in Firefox.

It's a little bit like an old school virus. Once you let it into one of your executables it takes it as permission to jump into them all.

Comment Signal quality isn't a comparable measure (Score 4, Informative) 114

Signal quality numbers are about as meaningful as CPU numbers.

A bigger number on the same device probably means you have a better signal. A 'two' on one device could be equivalent to a 'five' on another or a 'one' on a third. There is no standard that is used across the industry, or even across all devices from a given manufacturer.

When a device manufacturer gets customer reviews that say "I only get one bar with your phone but two from company X" the device manufacturer can either try and explain repeatedly that their one bar is better than X's two bars and that unlike X you can still make phone calls on our device on one bar. Or they can just double the number of bars reported on the next model so they don't look worse than X.

Which do you think they do?

To do a real test you need to use a constant antenna and location, attenuating the signal gradually until each device stops functioning. The amount of attenuation it can take is a crude indicator of the quality of the radio.

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Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson