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Comment We underestimate kids (Score 3, Insightful) 170

One reason people seem not to "get it" is that we have a tendency to underestimate the ability of kids to learn things like Linux. Many primary school children are not at all phased by a Linux shell, and they're already expert in googling things and working stuff out for themselves. Perhaps because older geeks didn't grow up with the tinterweb, we can't imagine how easy it is for kids to learn geek knowledge at a young age.

All hail the coming Pi generation. I, for one, welcome our young Linux-hacking overlords.


Comment Re:Evil learning (Score 2) 170

> Linux won't be around forever (at least not close to its current state), but math and science will.

No, but you can bet it will outlive all of us, and hence it's worth using.

An OS should mostly be transparent to a *user*, but not to an *engineer* learning Computer Science.


Comment Re:-cloud +outsourcing (Score 1) 241

> Can we please stop the re-hash of old ideas with buzzwords attached? This is a site for engineers, not MBA idiots.

Outsourcing and cloud computing are different concepts.

Outsourcing usually refers to the practice of having someone else host and administer your IT infrastructure for you.

Cloud computing includes the practice of rental of infrastructure from others, whilst the administration of that infrastructure remains under your control.

Cloud computing is not just a buzzword. Try reading O'Reilly's "Cloud Application Architectures Building Applications and Infrastructure in the Cloud" for more information.


Comment Re:12.5% Corporate tax? (Score 1) 626

> The EU is very fond of harmonising the pain to its citizens. It should have a minimum corporate tax rate to ensure that companies pay their dues...

Such inter-government cooperation may well turn out to be the counter-balance to globalised multi-nationals. Government often lags behind, but hopefully the financial crisis will remind them why letting small groups of executives and bankers dominate world politics isn't a very good idea.

Comment Re:Rich people are most dependent on government (Score 1) 626

> We really need to make sure people understand that ALL wealth comes from government. Government makes sure your employees are educated instead of brain-dead religious morons, that roads/trains/airports exist to deliver your products to customers, that the banks holding your money don't have disappearing bank accounts, and on and on.

I that's an exaggeration. I get your point though.

I think the answer is that some people do understand that their wealth would not have been achievable without their government, but they *don't care* about being selfish and not giving back. It's a difficult concept for many of us to grasp, but it seems fairly self-evident in the behaviour of the rich and powerful. Maybe those people lack empathy or some other emotional intelligence, but it seems more likely to me that the process of becoming rich or powerful somehow distorts their perspective; they see lots of people who aren't rich and assume that the difference is that they were somehow better, smarter, or worked harder (as opposed to luckier, for example) and that they did it on their own.


Comment Time to start taking the Cloud seriously (Score 4, Interesting) 349

There's an awful lot of scepticism on slashdot about the cloud, which is healthy in a way, but I think in general people are hugely underestimating the impact that cloud computing is going to have on IT deployment. It is going to affect us all; software as a service holds huge challenges for the free software movement, some skillsets such as traditional IT support are not going to be as useful, and the way we write software is going to change further.

I'm no cloud zealot, I've just been reading about it a lot and talking to Cloud providers (some large, some medium-sized) and academic experts. I've tried to answer the many points that have been brought up here:

-- "We've been down this road before."

We have, but things *are* different now. Firstly, we have sophisticated and mature virtualisation technologies that allow efficient coresidency and management of VMs. Costs per CPU hour have dropped. Internet access is incredibly pervasive. The "post-PC" era of tablets and smart phones are producing a huge demand for cloud-based storage and services. Does this mean cloud will automatically be successful? No. Does it mean that comparisons with previous era's are not necessarily correct? Yes. If you want another example, tablets didn't 'work' in the past... but now they do.

-- Moving to the cloud won't change anything.

Yes, and no. We will still need IT to manage the cloud services, and engineer bespoke cloud products. Users will still require support. But you're no longer talking about rolling out O/S updates across your company, or installing the latest version of Word. No more capital investment in some server hardware, no more long-term planning of purchases of those servers. If a thin client is broken, you just replace it, and maintaining those thin clients is a hell of a lot easier if they're dumb.

-- Bespoke solution X won't work on the cloud.

No, it won't. But your Exchange server certainly can be moved to the cloud quite easily. In fact, many companies start their move to the cloud with Exchange, and then migrate to live apps... the point is, that you don't have to move *everything* to the cloud in order to make savings and find other benefits.

My advice is, go learn about cloud computing, start looking at the architectures that cloud applications use. Read up on Amazon Web Services and try it out. Take a look at Google App Engine. Read a few books looking at the business case for the cloud before you dismiss it.


Comment Re:What a bunch of useless buzzwords (Score 1) 349

> And it's *always* cheaper to in-source (provided you can find the appropriate resources). You can either do it yourself, or you can pay someone their cost, which could be your cost, plus 20% or more overhead and profit. So outsourcing costs you a minimum of 20% more than doing it in house. But all the consultants swear it's better to outsource - to their company. That's like hiring the Fox and Co security company to guard the hen house.

Simply untrue. I'm an academic writing and reading a lot about cloud computing right now, and I can tell you that studies and anecdotal reports both show that outsourcing in its traditional and cloud-based form are both cheaper - *provided* that you are starting from scratch. Migration is another issue entirely.


Comment Re:You are the one sporting misconceptions (Score 1) 732

I really don't think you're being balanced here, although the previous poster wasn't either. No need to flip the other way (I am a Mac / Linux user):

> You can run anything you like on any Macbook. And as other responders have noted it DOES solve the "too many models" problem, there is a limited selection of base models. It's basically, do you want an air or not and how much memory (RAM and storage) with reasonable defaults so you cannot go wrong simply ordering default configurations.

Yes and no. In reality, things that work and/or look nice or work well on Linux, just don't cut it on a Mac. For example, Inkscape.

> If you help someone buy a Mac you can simply say "try the Apple store Genius Bar first". Chances are they can help, they generally are pretty competent and pretty technical.

Yeah, I do this too. But going to a store can be a pain (for example, if you live too far away from your nearest store, or it is very busy). The last city I lived in, the nearest Apple store was 70 miles away. And you're not going to visit the store for every small problem you have.

>> You still have software problems with upgrades.
> Actually that is REALLY rare, and again - Apple Store, not you. I have not had upgrade problems in years with any Mac software updates.

Really, this is not rare at all. Particularly with the last OS X upgrade, many people I know had lots of different problems, for example with Wifi and networking.

>> People still need to search some forum from time-to-time to figure out how to fix some strange new issue.
> Or have someone help them for free, at an Apple Store. Are you starting to get what makes a Mac such a great idea for non-technical users? How is a non-technical person supposed to search forums for "odd problems" anyway? They cannot.

In reality, Mac users I know, even those who aren't geeks, do spend time searching the web and looking through forums to solve their problems.

>> Ever try and build something from Ports only to have it *not* friggin work when you upgrade?
> Come on man, that's not something the original poster is going to find a problem. If you are compiling UNIX utilities yes you may have some hiccups, but even then you can usually just recompile!

Honestly, if you're doing techie hacking, the reality is you can't beat a Linux box. The main reason is that most UNIX hackers run Linux, so it's the first thing they support or test. Of course, if you're not a geek, then this doesn't matter to you.

>> Apple has gone to great lengths to make the use experienced top-notch, but it still has it's problems just like Windows
> That is the biggest misconception. I still have to help people with modern (Windows 7) pc's from time to time. Macs do NOT have problems anywhere close to what non-technical windows users have every day.

Probably not, but they still do have plenty of problems. OSX has lots of bugs and quite a few poor UI design decision. Linux and Windows also have lots of bugs, although Linux distros have a much worse UI in general.

> To even think about buying a non-technical user a Windows box and all the inherent baggage that comes with it is simply cruel to my mind - and it's a cruelty that as I said will be punishing you as well as the recipient.

I agree that Macs are generally a better choice than Window boxes, although you've got to take cost into account.


Comment Re:Funding schmunding (Score 1) 165

> From all the gripes I see the problem is finding the little buggers.

> Has anyone here actually held one in his sweaty hand?

I registered with RS at 10am on the day of launch. They neglected to notify the mailing list that it was launching, so I was late. I finally got to order just over a week ago, and was told it should arrive within 3 weeks. I think they're close to clearing the backlog of orders, as the Pi's are now in serial production.

By my reckoning, you should be able to order sometime next month without a place in the queue.


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