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Comment Offloading IT cost onto employees (Score 4, Insightful) 232

Unless the employer provides ongoing cash payments to compensate the employee for use of thier device, this is a way of offloading IT cost onto the shoulders of employees. Add to that the fact that here in Canada, an employee of a company is not allowed to treat the cost fo a computer as a business expense (for tax purpoes), and the reduction in salary experienced by the employee is even greater than the benefit received by the employer.

Comment Re:I'm currently reading TFA... (Score 4, Informative) 223

I can tell you that I can't think of a single IT support org that uses this as a metric

Some years ago, I had a help desk in my organisation that did use this metric as part of how its analysts kept tabs on their performance. It was one metric in an overall package, and the whole team (all the analysts) reviewed the package every week. As I recall, other metrics in the package included Customer Satisfaction, Average Call Length, Number of Calls Back to Users per Agent, Incidents Resovled on First Contact, Incidents Escalated to Second Level, and others.

The help desk team very successfully used the overall metrics package as part analyst self motivation and peer motivation (as well as management oversight). Bob Lewis's piece is provocative journalism: devoid of concrete detail and full of high level innuendo. It doesn't contain sufficent detail (say, by way of actual detailed examples) to allow a typical reader to apply the thoughts he has expressed.

Submission + - Software To Flatten a Photographed Book? ( 1

crath writes: A little over two years ago, Slashdot was asked about "Software To Flatten a Photographed Book? (" Well, here we are in Nov. 2011 and from what I can determine we're worse off than in 2009: Snapter--the only commercial software offering--has been removed from the marketplace. Scan Tailor has release a version that does part of what Snapter performed; but, it's still not all there. Is anyone aware of a real soution? I have 400 pictures of a century old family scrapbook that I would like to finish processing; what's holding me back is a lack of software.

Submission + - New Telescopes Might See Alien City Lights ( 2

RedEaredSlider writes: Forget radio signals. Two scientists, Abraham Loeb, of Harvard University and Edwin Turner, from Princeton University, have said it may be possible with the next generation of telescopes to pick up the lights from cities on alien planets. On Earth, city lights are so bright they can be seen from space — and their spectral signature differs from that of the gases in the atmosphere and the sun. If one were looking at an alien civilization, one would expect to see the same thing.

The reason they proposed this is that aliens may not generate as much radio energy as their technology improves, given that on Earth we bleed less radio energy into space as we have moved to fiber optics.


Submission + - Meet the Saber-Toothed Squirrel (

sciencehabit writes: Researchers have discovered the fossil remains of a 94-million-year-old squirrel-like critter with a long, narrow snout and a pair of curved saber-fangs that it would have likely used to pierce its insect prey. The creature, pieced together from skull fragments unearthed in Argentina and dubbed Cronopio dentiacutus, was not ancestral to us or any living mammal. Instead, it belonged to an extinct group called dryolestoids, a cadre of fuzzy mammals that scurried about in the shadow of long-necked dinosaurs.

Submission + - NASA: If there was life on Mars, it was likely und (

coondoggie writes: "NASA issued a study today that said if life ever existed on Mars, the longest lasting environments were most likely below the planet's surface. The hypothesis comes from analyzing tons of mineral data gathered over the years from more than 350 sites on Mars gathered by NASA and European Space Agency Mars space probes."

Submission + - Facebook Easily Infiltrated By Bots (

itwbennett writes: "Researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) created a network of 102 bots designed to mimic humans on social networks, and released them on Facebook with the intent of befriending as many users as possible and collecting private information. After an 8-week test, the researchers found that they were able to defeat Facebook's fake account detection mechanisms 80% of the time. Not too surprisingly, bots using female profiles had a better chance of having their friend requests accepted."

Submission + - Best Android Apps For Boosting Battery Life (

snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp provides a look at the best apps for boosting the battery life of your Android device. 'The best place to start if you just want to survey your power usage habits is Battery Indicator. To follow that up with actual power management, Green Power and JuiceDefender are your best bets. 2x Battery is not a bad program, but it's limited to managing cell data and not Wi-Fi connections. If that feature were added in a future revision, 2x Battery would be a real contender.'"

Comment DO plan for a paywall (Score 1) 300

The hotel plans to provide this service for free, so there is no need for any type of billing management system

Business conditions can and will change, and at some point in the future management will decide to charge at least some of their guests for Internet access. My point is simply: be flexible. Don't go with a system that prevents charging at a later date. Your best strategy might be to go with a solution that handles payment, and then set the price to zero (i.e., free). Then, at a later date management can set a different price.

Comment Re:Most people don't know shit (Score 1) 567

Most people are not aware of too many things, ..., and aren't remotely interested in learning anything outside of their world view.

Steve Jobs came to this realisation many years ago and the Mac and its spawn are the highly successful result. 99% of computer users want to use a computing appliance (i.e., something like an iPad where even the applications are controlled). They have no inclination or interest in making efficient use of the device.

Take this thinking into another realm: automobile driving. Almost everyone on the road is an incompetent driver. They don't know the basic rules of the road, don't understand how their driving impacts those around them, and—frankly—they don't give a damn. They also don't have the first clue how their car works; nor, do they care.

While an appliance, like an automobile, should be usable without knowing how it functions, the reality is that a basic understanding of how something works often enables much more efficient (and more enjoyable) use of the appliance. By way of an example:

  • In an luxury car, the heating/cooling system is controlled by setting a desired temperature; the car then does the right thing.
  • On a cold winter day, when most drivers of these cars start their vehicle, they immediately turn up the temperature control to its highest setting in the belief that this will cause the interior of the car to more quickly warm up.
  • Their actions accomplish nothing, and if they had even a basic understanding that the motor must warm up before the heating system will be able to blow warm air, they might use the system in a rational manner.

Microsoft, in attempting to emulate Apple, has begun to make similar design decisions—probably, without understanding the “why” of the design approach. MS Office 2007 introduced the ribbon and a cursor pop-up menu; both of which override keyboard shortcuts. Most tasks now take 2 or 3 times as many mouse clicks or keystrokes to perform. For anyone attempting to make efficient use of MS Office, this is highly frustrating; but, most users don’t even notice the loss of productivity because they were never productive in the first place.

Most users are dumb as nails and like that state of being. Application and computing appliance designers need to realise this and design to it. That said, there is no reason that us geeks can’t also include efficient UI interaction mechanisms alongside mechanisms for the masses.

Comment Re:Online voting cannot be secured (Score 2) 405

Note: I am Canadian and live in Canada.

Your post is 100% correct; but, that won't change the fact that our inept politicians will go ahead and enact online voting (and other forms of equally insecure electronic balloting). What's missing from your post is the fact that most voters don't have the intellectual muster to understand the risks, and those that do don't believe anyone would subvert the electoral process---after all, "We live in Canada."

Individuals are smart; crowds are stupid. We will suffer the fate of crowds and cut our noses off in spite of ourselves.

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