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How G.E. Is Transforming Into An IoT Start-Up (nytimes.com) 35

Slashdot reader mspohr shares an article about "General Electric 're-inventing' itself as a software start-up." Jeffrey R. Immelt, the CEO of America's largest manufacturer, describes how he realized that data collected from their machines -- like turbines, engines, and medical-imaging equipment -- could be as valuable as the machines themselves. Now G.E. is hiring software engineers and data scientists from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google to try to transform the company into a "124-year-old startup" to take advantage of the Internet of Things and offer futuristic new services like predictive maintenance.

The Times calls it "the next battlefield as companies fight to develop the dominant software layer that connects the machines," adding that by 2020 there will be 100 times as much data flowing from G.E.'s machines. Now G.E. Digital is using the open source PaaS, Cloud Foundry, to develop Predix, a cloud-based operating system for industrial applications like monitoring and adjusting equipment in the field, whether it's an oil-field rig or a wind-farm turbine. To help transform the company into a digital powerhouse, they're building a 1,400-employee complex in San Ramon, California "designed to suit the free-range working ways of software developers: open-plan floors, bench seating, whiteboards, couches for impromptu meetings, balconies overlooking the grounds and kitchen areas with snacks." And they've also launched the Industrial Dojo program "to accelerate the ability for developers to contribute code that enables the Industrial Internet".

Comment Re:RAID is NOT backup! (Score 1) 164

That is not RAID. That is (mis-)using RIAD as a sort-of snapshot backup scheme. This idea can work in principle but has several problems:

1. raid-sync is often painfully slow and can take days for large disks
2. you always need to sync full disks
2. you need to know how to make the extracted disk a 1-disk RAID array for recovery (may be anything from trivial to very difficult)
3. you do not get verify and most data-loss in backups is because people did not verify
4. you need to handle naked disks safely
5. you can only do backup on disks that fit the RAID
6. you cannot do compressed backups
7. if you mess up, there is a real risk of killing all data on the raid
8. you can get an inconsistent filesystems state that way. Not really a problem with a good filesystem.

I am sure I have missed some things here. I tried this for a few weeks and found it to basically be the worst possible option. Still better than no backup.

Comment Re:Another reminder of why wait before buying (Score 1) 256

I did buy Fallout 4 as pre-order, including season-pass. I think I got excellent value for money so far and even if Nuka-World is a lemon, I am very satisfied with what they delivered. That said, I refunded "No Man's Skye" on Steam two days before launch, because it was amply clear at that time that it would not deliver.

The problem on customer-side is wishful thinking and an unwillingness to believe that they may be wrong. The problem on publisher/maker side is that they over-hyped beyond any reason and that is rightfully treated as fraud in the form of false advertising.

Comment Re:Art should never be paid for in advance (Score 1) 256

I very much support this stance and that includes most forms of entertainment. The other option is that you can decide to be a patron of an artist (e.g. by Patreon these days), but that is it. The only worth art has is derived by the quality of the experience it imparts. If it fails at that, it is worthless and should be treated as such.

Comment Fortunately, I am not a "thief"... (Score 1) 256

I canceled my pre-order 2 days before launch, because it was very clear at that time that the game was massively over-hyped and could not really deliver and was over-priced in addition.

That said, if Steam now refunds regardless of playtime, it must be a lot worse than I thought. They would not do that unless they have a lot of really angry customers. I think what was stolen here was primarily player time by promising the universe and delivering very little.

Comment RAID is NOT backup! (Score 3, Informative) 164

RAID is fine to reduce downtime, but completely unsuitable as a replacement for backup.

The RAID does not have the following things which you critically need from backup (the following list is not complete):
- resilience against operator error (accidentally delete/overwrite files, e.g.)
- geographic redundancy, usually not even safe against the box killing the disks, lightening, fire, theft, etc.
- too few copies: Usually 3 (!) independent backup copies used in rotation are considered the minimum. RAID1 gives you one and it is not independent.

My recommendation is to get at least 3 external USB disks, and establish a backup with them, because currently you have none.

- Select a backup interval. This represents the maximum time-interval for which you think losing new data is acceptable
- At the end of each interval, do the following:
      1. Fetch oldest backup disk from off-site location
      2. Put backup copy on it, making it the newest backup. Make sure to do a file-by-file comparison.
      3. Move disk to off-site location

For somewhat reduced reliability keep the oldest copy at home and do the following:
      1. Make backup, overwriting oldest copy. Make sure to do a file-by-file comparison.
      2. Move new backup to off-site location and fetch oldest from off-site location.

An "off-site location" can be anything from a garden-shack to a storage locker at work to an arrangement with a neighbor or a friend you see regularly.

If you think this it too much effort, then your data must not be worth much. This is pretty much the agreed minimum experienced sysadmins want. Of course, there are always those that never lost any important data and they almost universally think this is way too much effort. Many of them learn in time when whatever they do results in that loss.


Players Seek 'No Man's Sky' Refunds, Sony's Content Director Calls Them Thieves (tweaktown.com) 256

thegarbz writes: As was covered previously on Slashdot the very hyped up game No Man's Sky was released to a lot of negative reviews about game-crashing bugs and poor interface choices. Now that players have had more time to play the game it has become clear that many of the features hyped by developers are not present in the game, and users quickly started describing the game as "boring".

Now, likely due to misleading advertising, Steam has begun allowing refunds for No Man's Sky regardless of playtime, and there are reports of players getting refunds on the Play Station Network as well despite Sony's strict no refund policy.
Besides Sony, Amazon is also issuing refunds, according to game sites. In response, Sony's former Strategic Content Director, Shahid Kamal Ahmad, wrote on Twitter, "If you're getting a refund after playing a game for 50 hours you're a thief." He later added "Here's the good news: Most players are not thieves. Most players are decent, honest people without whose support there could be no industry."

In a follow-up he acknowledged it was fair to consider a few hours lost to game-breaking crashes, adding "Each case should be considered on its own merits and perhaps I shouldn't be so unequivocal."

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