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Comment Re:The problem isn't that they're old... (Score 3, Interesting) 94

Even making them less expensive doesn't seem to help. Young people have "upward potential", whereas an older person who is applying for a job that much younger people also applied for clearly is a "loser" with a dead end career... Never mind the years of experience that he brings. And young people "exciting new ideas and insights to the company", whereas old guys are "change-averse". True to some extent, but sometimes that is the benefit of experience as well. I worked in an organisation with a great mix of old and young, and every now and then some young manager would come up with a brilliant new way of doing things. To which the old guys often responded: "yeah, we tried that before, in '86, '95, 2001 and 2007, and it didn't work. How are we going to try this differently this time?"

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 80

We have cell phone shops that already did this for ages. They have trade-in deals on new phones, and sell the old phones on as "refurbished", wiped, tested, and with some form of warranty. Perhaps the manufacturers thought they could not compete well enough with this setup, or they did not want to tarnish their reputation as a premium brand. Apple might be sensitive to that, though presumably they are also gearing up for the refurb market with their yearly upgrade program. Maybe they will sell refurbed phones in bulk to retailers...

Comment Re:You Can't Learn To Program In A Classroom (Score 1) 85

A bootcamp sounds great though for an experienced professional to pick up a new skill. When it comes to IT stuff, my experience is that a focused approach with plenty of hands on works best. You don't learn a new development framework well by trying a couple of tutorials from a book, you need to do an actual project. You can try this on the job, which usually sucks royally for all involved (unless you set up specifically for this). Or you do this yourself but this requires time and focus that not everyone may be able to muster in their spare time. You'll lack feedback as well, unless you happen to find a suitable and active FOSS project to work on.

A boot camp is better, as long as it's not just paint-by-numbers coding; students need to create their own code, which is then inspected and commented on. When I wanted an app, I tought myself iOS coding which was plenty hard as an experienced coder, and I learned a lot by doing. But I learned the most from when others took a look at that code and suggested improvements (after they stopped crying, of course). I can see how such a learning approach could be condensed into an intensive n-week course. What a good boot camp gives you is purpose, focus, and feedback.

One time I tried to bring a boot camp approach to the job instead. We had a small project team, set up do work in an environment that none of us had a great deal of experience with (though no one was a complete noob in it either). So we brought on an experienced dev to help, and a trainer providing coaching and feedback during the first development cycle of 12 weeks, including individual coaching sessions as well as classroom learning with examples and exercises taken from the actual project. Expensive as hell, but thankfully the budget for this approach was accepted, and the results were astounding... the end result of the project was ok but probably a hell of a lot better than it would have been otherwise. But the real result was training the staff, who were taken from junior to medior level on that product in a rather short timeframe. The next project they did on their own ,effectively and with confidence.

Comment Re:Well (Score 1) 85

We've been here before in the 90's, when CS and CIS degree programs were flooded by people in the field solely for the money

Calling those training courses "degree programs" is rather generous. I remember those days, there was a serious shortage of skilled IT people, and I don't mean shortage in the sense of "let's pretend there is one so we can import cheap overseas workers"; it was genuinely hard to find staff of any qualification. What we had then is similar to the current boot camps, short track training to quickly get people up to speed. They enrolled literally anyone into these programs: housewifes re-entering the job market, jobless artists, high school students looking for a summer job... and the results were to match. Very few people stayed in IT very long, the exceptions mostly turning out to be decent project support staff or project managers rather than qualified IT techs.

Comment Re: Will Internet Voting Endanger The Secret Ball (Score 5, Informative) 219

Voting is meant to be anonymous; the process should be comprehensible to anyone, and anyone should be able to contribute to assuring that the ballot count is accurate. Paper based voting meets these requirements, and has the important bonus of being pretty resilient to tampering if enough citizens actually step up and help verify the results. The more you want to fraudulently influence a paper based vote, the more people you need to include in your scheme. Electronic voting on the other hand meets none of these requirements: anonymity is not guaranteed, the process is either sensitive to large scale fraud or hardened against fraud using encryption, making it completely intransparent to laymen. And auditing the count can only be done by experts, and even then fraud is pretty easy to miss.

Comment Re:Always one (Score 4, Insightful) 56

Compartmentalization carries its own dangers. The idea is sound: only give people access to the systems and documents they need access to. The problem is that you'll never know beforehand which systems and documents those are. So, you need access to Doc X? "I know it takes 2 weeks to process an access request for this folder, so why don't I just email you the thing. Or I can email my credentials so you can access it with those". If your security measures get in the way of people doing their jobs, they will work around it.

Comment Re:Time to update firewalls. (Score 1) 87

Firefox forces me to obtain the self-signed certificate each time afresh, so each time it could be intercepted. Making hacking the cert very much easier.

I never really could imagine what posessed them to handle self signed certificates that way. But isn't there a check? Does FF actually remember the certificate and warn you if a different one is presented? That would make more sense: warn you every time that the cert cannot be verified, but also guard against a MITM replacing the cert with his own.

Comment Re:So glad I don't work with her (Score 1) 290

But you'll also reduce the amount communication that way, which isn't necessarily a good thing. On my last job I got plenty of email but very little of it was actual spam. Most of it wasn't immediately actionable perhaps, and would have better been sent through another channel, but often was still useful for awareness.

The real problem is that most companies have a range of communication tools, but their employees generally have a very poor grasp of the best ways to use them. This idiotic voice memo idea only illustrates that point. This is a behavioural problem, not easily fixed by technology. At my job they did provide guidance of when and how to use each communication channel: face to face meetings, video calls, IMs, phone calls, emails, discussion forums, micro-blogging, web pages, and team or corporate Wikis. Plenty of people took those lessons to heart as they do not only help the recipients of your crap but also yourself. But even in a company with a culture of judicious use of communication channels did I get the occasional angry phone call about an email I had not replied to... sent 30 minutes earlier. Or the 50th iteration of a Reply-To-All email chain with little gems (replied-to-all, of course) like "Stop replying to all!!!1" or "Please take me off this email list"

Comment Re:Offshore wind is very uncompetitive (Score 4, Insightful) 215

Look at onshore wind turbines; they said the same thing about those a few years ago. But now they are pretty cheap and still getting cheaper, where in the past they needed subsidies to be viable. They got cheaper for a simple reason: thanks to the subsidies these things got built, and in the process we are learning how to build better ones. Compared to other sources of energy, there was and still is a vast upward potential in wind turbines to increase efficiency (in terms of kWhs generated per turbine), decrease production and installation costs, and greatly simplify maintenance which is another big cost driver. Newer turbines are higher, poking into a region where winds are more constant. The newest models do not even have to be stopped in heavy winds (current ones do, at some point the wind bends the turbine blades so far in they will strike the tower) which further increases overall production efficiency. The same applies to offshore wind farms. There's not many out there yet but already costs are falling rapidly due to innovations, like specially designed support ships and the use of inspection drones contributing to lower maintenance costs, a big factor in offshore wind.

Now is not the time to invest billions into large scale offshore wind farms. But an energy strategy aiming at replacing fossil fuels with renewables should, at this time, include subsidies for smaller offshore wind farms. See them as an investment into R&D to improve offshore wind farms and drive own costs, same as happened with onshore wind. This kind of R&D is not done in front of a blackboard or in a lab, it's practical engineering, making incremental improvements based on past experience.

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