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Comment Drinking Water Isn't So Easy As You Think (Score 3, Interesting) 247

When I was a kid I did Unicef collection every Haloween. We got an orange cardboard coin box at school, and collected donations to it along with our trick-or-treat. Unicef used these funds to build water wells for people in Africa who had only access to contaminated surface water.

A decade or two later, we found that many of these wells accessed aquifers that were contaminated by arsenic. And that thus we kids had funded the wholesale poisoning of people in Africa, and that a lot of them had arsenic-induced cancers that were killing them.

OK, we would not make that mistake again, and today we have access to better water testing. But it caused me to lose my faith that we really do know how to help poor people in the third world, no matter how well-intentioned we are.

And we had better not go around curing disease withoput also promoting birth control. Despite what the churches say, and the local dislikes and prejudices. Or we'll just be condemning more people to starve.

Comment Re:The Toyota Way (Score 4, Insightful) 610

Your post demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of what JIT manufacturing (i.e. lean) is and what it tries to accomplish. Hint: it's not about doing more with less. Further, you either willingly fail to mention Kaizen (continuous improvement) or just aren't aware that THIS is the heart and soul of the true Toyota Way.

Whatever the reasons they failed in software engineering, neither JIT nor Kaizen would be to blame because neither of those try to nor should they translate to "engineer badly".

Comment All roads may run ill... (Score 5, Informative) 227

Been there, done that, wondered "What were we thinking?"

In selecting an instrumentation framework for a test system, we went through a careful process of defining what was important, listing the pros and cons of each competing option, ran some tests to see if both would run the instruments we needed, ... Aaaand chose the worse option of the two, as events ultimately showed. The choice was evidence-based, reasonable on the basis of what we knew at the time, and suboptimal. The system worked, but we had to do some ugly stuff to make it work.

Sometimes you just can't outwit Murphy.

Comment Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (Score 1) 466

My experience is that seats that offer legroom in the economy cabin go very fast including the premium economy seats on transcontinental flights. Seems people are willing to pay a 300 to 500 extra for that comfort if they're going to be stuck in that seat for a while. Business class adds just too much cost to be as attractive.

Comment Re:Ubuntu good for linux? (Score 4, Insightful) 143

It's not rocket science. Rightly or wrongly Canonical has decided that the future of general computing is in the mobile space and they are working on getting Ubuntu there and bridging the gap between the mobile computing experience and the desktop computing experience.

In simplest of terms, they're trying to make a distro that can be both a phone and a desktop all in the same device. Again -- rightly or wrongly -- they have decided that they needed to move certain things in house to best accomplish that goal (Mir) and needed a specific interface they were in control of to scale between display form factors (Unity).

If you are a person that thinks this direction is wrong and will hurt Linux in the long run, then you belong in the "bad for Linux" category. I'm a person that thinks this is absolutely the best way for Linux to finally have its "year of the desktop" similar to how Apple made their comeback but with a twist -- by providing a compelling mobile experience with a device that just so happens to be able to double as someone's desktop when they want a bigger screen.

Pay attention to plunging desktop sales numbers. As people find ways to make mobile devices and tablets their only computing devices, this strategy will start to look smarter and smarter. Whatever else you think of Canonical (and by extension Ubuntu), this will either make them or break them.

Comment Solution looking for a problem (Score 3, Interesting) 178

Having the batteries centralized like in the Tesla is a GOOD thing. They keep the center of gravity low on the car making it almost impossible to roll (seriously, the NHTSA had to specially design a scenario to get it to roll) and they make it possible to swap batteries for a quick charge which is going to be necessary unless the capacity of batteries can be increased by a factor of 10 with charge speeds doubled or tripled.

This is a step backwards in many ways not to mention the least of which is to necessarily increase the cost of mild accidents to replace the battery integrated pieces.

Comment Re:Er, wait, what? (Score 5, Insightful) 140

Well, nuclear reactions that we can turn off like laser-initiated fusion are a lot nicer than the alternatives. The inside of your car engine is a raging inferno shot with electric sparks and compressed with inexorable steel cylinders. That doesn't keep you from going on a nice drive with your sweetie.

Submission + - Aereo required to testify about non-public patent info

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In ABC v Aereo, a copyright infringement action against Aereo, the Magistrate Judge has overruled Aereo's attorney/client privilege objection to being forced to divulge non-public details about its patented technology. In his 15 page decision (PDF) he ordered the continued deposition of the company's CTO and CEO about their patent applications. My gut reaction is that this sets a very dangerous precedent, giving the big copyright plaintiffs yet another 'in terrorem' device to use against technology startups — the power to use the lawsuit as a chance to delve into a defendant's non-public tech secrets.

Comment Re:My company changed software too (Score 4, Insightful) 101

This is a bit of an overblown notion.

The need for system admins isn't going away anytime soon. The only thing that might go away are heavily specialized admins that don't diversify. Hint: if your resume title is "Notes Admin" then yeah, you are working on borrowed time.

There is still longevity in system admins for those that have diverse skill sets. Just browse job listings and you'll see it -- qualification listings are getting longer and longer. This DOES mean, however, that the number of admin positions that could be open at any one particular time is probably not growing as fast as other jobs.

What I personally have noticed is that the mid-range jobs have just about dried up. Companies either want someone fresh out of college that will work long hours for peanuts or they want seasoned experts that are worth the money. Maybe it was this way before the dot com era, but that's when I hit the workforce, so I only know how things were from then to now.

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