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Comment Re:Your crack isn't the best at hardware support (Score 1) 350

Hey.. this is /. You are going to be banned if you keep spouting your pro-Microsoft mumbo jumbo. No one here cares about reality. Who cares that you can't use an Excel macro, people here think that VBScript is worthless and you need to use C, C++, assembly, or Perl to get anything done. Just use the data from the Excel sheet and write some code you lazy bafoon. Also, in a discussion about piracy who would actually be buying games, aren't we supposed to just d/l them?

Thank you for actually living in the real world, its refreshing to see that there are real people who actually get the world we actually live in on /. from time to time.

Comment Re:Property... tax... property tax? (Score 1) 350

If copyrights and patents are property, then why don't copyright owners and patent holders pay a property tax?

In the US the federal government has no property taxes, usually that is a state tax. States vary but where I live property taxes are for real property which is essentially real estate. We also pay a tangible tax and an intangible tax. The tangible tax is for hard physical assets the company owns such as PC's, copiers, vehicles, etc. We also pay an intagible tax for intangible assets such as patents, trademarks, goodwill, etc. So we pay taxes on patents and copyrights but they aren't called property taxes, they are called intagible taxes. Every state probably has different rules, this is just how it works in Florida.

In essence companies do pay taxes for copyrights and patents, they just aren't called taxes, they are called fees. It can't cost anywhere near what the fees are to obtain and maintain a patent for a patent clerk to review an application.

Wireless Networking

Submission + - SPAM: Sales of Wi-Fi key-cracking kits hot in China

alphadogg writes: Dodgy salesmen in China are making money from long-known weaknesses in a Wi-Fi encryption standard, by selling network key-cracking kits for the average user.

Wi-Fi USB adapters bundled with a Linux operating system, key-breaking software and a detailed instruction book are being sold online and at China's bustling electronics bazaars. The kits, pitched as a way for users to surf the Web for free, have drawn enough buyers and attention that one Chinese auction site, Taobao.com, had to ban their sale last year. With one of the "network-scrounging cards," or "ceng wang ka" in Chinese, a user with little technical knowledge can easily steal passwords to get online via Wi-Fi networks owned by other people.

The kits are also cheap. A merchant in a Beijing bazaar sold one for 165 yuan ($24), a price that included setup help from a man at the other end of the sprawling, multistory building.

Link to Original Source

MIT Unveils First Solar Cells Printed On Paper 125

lucidkoan writes "MIT researchers recently unveiled the world's first thin-film solar cell printed on a sheet of paper. The panel was created using a process similar to that of an inkjet printer, producing semiconductor-coated paper imbued with carbon-based dyes that give the cells an efficiency of 1.5 to 2 percent. That's not incredibly efficient, but the convenience factor makes up for it. And in the future, researchers hope that the same process used in the paper solar cells could be used to print cells on metal foil or even plastic. If they're able to gear efficiencies up to scale, the development could revolutionize the production and installation of solar panels."

Comment Do your job right (Score 1) 1

If you do your job well you shouldn't get too many 3:00 AM calls...

On a more serious note, if you want to keep your job you may have to carry the burden of being on-call. There are laws governing compensation for on-call positions but it is entirely legal for an employer to make being on-call a job requirement. Being on-call 100% of the time seems a bit unreasonable to me and I would probably start looking for another job, but I am not in your position and don't know all of your circumstances and could see where I would be willing to take on the extra responsibility.

With that said I am a partner in a small company with 25 employees and therefore I am always on call but as an owner it is not the same and I wouldn't expect my employees to be on call 24/7/365. We are not a tech company but I am the IT departement along with a few outside contractors I use. With that said I have worked in IT departments (at one time for a state agency in Florida) and it was quite common to have a number of employees who were expected to be on call 24/7/365. In large corporations and governments the upper management types expect the lower management types to be on call 24/7 but in many smaller businesses like mine the employer actually cares about his/her employees. In my company our 8 empoyees perform the same duties for different clients so it is easy to swap the employees in and out of the hot seat. I could see where there would be a need for one employee to be on call 24/7/365 but I would not force it on someone after they are already an employee, I would either make it clear before I hired the employee or if the need arose with a key employee I would have to renegotiate their contract and make sure they are okay with it as an unhappy employee is much more likely to cause all sorts of problems.

While we are not "IT tech support" we are a customer service company which maintains properies so we have a very similar structure to an IT call center. We have 8 people who rotate the on call duty for our clients on a monthly basis. My company is flexible and allows employees to swap schedules and if something comes up while someone is on call it is never a problem to put someone else in the "hot seat."

Submission + - On Call for 24/7/365 Tech Support? 1

xoundmind writes: I work for a technology services agency in the South Carolina state government. My boss is thinking of getting me a cell phone in the event of an after hours server crash. The only problem is that I am the only person in the agency that can provide the appropriate support. So I would essentially be on call at all times.

How do folks here handle that sort of thing? Is this even legal?

Comment Re:Wha? (Score 1) 520

We have tried to combine your idea of a a central common area with the private work space. I my office we have an open floor plan with L shaped desks which back up to each other. Each desk has a high (6') cabinet. This means that two people can turn around to talk to each other so if you have mini teams they can work together well and you can just shout across the room if you need to talk to someone else. There are 8 work spaces in the plan. I see pro's and cons with this set up. Colloboration is very easy and people are able to learn alot from each other. Some poeple seem to love this setup. Not one of them would rather be in a cube farm. All is not perfect in this enviornment either.

One major problem is that one employee is loud and can distract the coworker behind her. I have also had employees in the past which have had a hard time tuning out the noise from the multiple conversations which can be going on at the same time.

IM and EMail are great productivity tools but do little to foster a sense of team. From my experience building a coherent team requires more than building a paper trail to CYA as another poster mentioned, in fact this can be destructive toward a team enviornment as it allows people to place balme which I rarely try to do as a manager. I accept mistakes are going to happen and try to find a way to prevent them in the future by fixing a process or trainging, not by punnishing someone. The best teams actually do things together like going to lunch, pulling pranks, even occasionally going to a bar or something after work. A bad team does everything to avoid any additional contact with each other.

I guess what I am really tring to say is that everyone is going to have a different preference and forcing a working enviornment on someone can have very negative effects. I can't imagine putting a team of programmers at a round table. Our layout would probably be better than that situation for most developers but it really comes down to the attitudes and work preferrences of each employee.

I would ask the employees before doing anything, if they like the idea of a round table it is probably good but remember that they may not be there too long either and the next guy may be a great developer but not work in this environment.

Comment Re:Yes (Score 1) 349

In a perfect world, economics would be simple enough for anyone to handle it without needing an accountant. The "better save you lots more than he/she costs" is hiding the issue a bit, because regardless they ARE costing money, and that money has to come from somewhere. Under the current system, a good accountant will save you more money than they cost and therefore from YOUR point of view you've saved some money, but overall the money had to come out of somewhere, so someone has to be losing out of the deal. IF we could find a system where accountants weren't needed, this money would be distributed more appropriately.

I'm sorry but accountants are not economists and really aren't there to help someone understand economics. Most people think of accountants for their work in public accounting like tax prep and audit but that is not the most powerful part of accounting. Cost accounting is a vital role for any organization, it helps those who don't have the time or understanding of the numbers understand what is profitable what is loosing money and where there is waste in the system. This is where an accountant can really help an organization out even if the organization is a not-for-profit. In a perfect world there may not be a need for a tax accountant or someoone to perform an audit but there would still be a need to analize the numbers and understand how to figure out what is worth doing from an economic perspective. The cost accountant would probably be the one responsible for the so called "perfect world" as their one and only goal is to allow someone to manage a business unit with information which is one step closer to "perfect information." This is not quite a function which is there to fix a flaw, it is a function to keep flaws out of he system.

The same is true for all of these other "professionals" you are criticizing. I am not a fan of lawyers but they do provide a usefull service in many cases. They add value to the system on a regular basis. If you try and dumb down laws to make them easier to understand the language being used in them becomes too vague and allows for more loopholes. Just think about writting laws in plain english using common terms which when you go to the dictionary has ten different meanings? How does a jury sort that out?

Comment Re:How this works (Score 1) 601

The Obama administration did encourage more release of records under the FOIA and a relaxing of exemptions. The idea was to assume that any record could be released unless an exemption prevented it. The previous directive was to presume that any record could not released and then try to justify it. If they couldn't justify denying it, they would grudgingly release it.

I wish that I could believe you but the minimal evidence in the TFA is giving statistics which counter your argument. I think you may have drank a little too much of the Democratic Party koolaid. Obama hasn't followed through on one campaign promise yet. Yeah, he has an Open Government Directive which isn't being followed.. who's to blame? I think the buck stops with him.

I'm not saying that Obama is really worse than Bush, just that he isn't showing that he is better either.

Throw 'em out in '10... all of them in both parties. Now that is change I do believe in.


Submission + - Is the CPU dead? (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: As Intel continues to roll out its superb 32nm Westmere processors, you might think we’ve reached the pinnacle of computing technology. Certainly, Intel presents its new CPUs as the very heart of next-generation PC systems. However, not everyone agrees. Nvidia is gearing up to launch new graphics hardware, codenamed Fermi, promising not only to deliver next-generation visuals but also to rival – and even shame – the computational power of the conventional CPU. Nvidia's persuasive technical arguments demonstrate how the power of a GPU can now be used for much more than gaming. Could 2010 be the year in which the CPU is overshadowed by graphics hardware?
Input Devices

New I/O Standard Bids To Replace Mini PCI Express 31

DeviceGuru writes "LinuxDevices reports that a group of companies today unveiled — and demonstrated products based on — a tiny new PCI Express expansion standard. Although it's somewhat larger than the PCI Express Mini Card, the tiny new 43mm x 65mm FeaturePak card's high density 230-pin edgecard connector provides twice the number of PCI Express and USB 2.0 channels to the host computer, plus 100 lines dedicated to general purpose I/O, of which 34 signal pairs are implemented with enhanced isolation for use in applications such as gigabit Ethernet or high-precision analog I/O. While FeaturePaks will certainly be used in all sorts of embedded devices (medical instruments, test equipment, etc.), the tiny cards could also be used for developing configurable consumer devices, for example to add an embedded firewall/router or security processor to laptop or notebook computers, or for modular functionality in TV set-top-boxes and Internet edge devices." The president of Diamond Systems, which invented the new card, said "Following the FeaturePak initiative's initial launch, we intend to turn the FeaturePak specification, trademark, and logo over to a suitable standards organization so it can become an industry-wide, open-architecture, embedded standard" (but to use the logo you have to join the organization).

Submission + - Whose tube is in anyway? (nytimes.com)

luehringf writes: Damian Kulash Jr complains that EMI is preventing his fans from embedding his latest video on their sites.

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