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Comment catch-22 (Score 2) 216

Estimate 4 weeks for the job. Then:

Finish in 3 weeks: "it was an easy project after all! Your estimate cheated us"

Finish in 5 weeks: "you're a crappy engineer! you cheated us by pretending you could do the job"

Finish in 4 weeks: "that's suspicious! you obviously finished early and then goofed off. You cheated us"

Moral: you can say how many or how long but never both! Or: it'll take between 2 weeks and 2 months, depending.

Comment Re:This is silly (Score 2) 322

There was something called apulse ( which allowed skype to keep working with alsa when they made skype pulse-only Maybe it would work with firefox too? I'm also a pulse-hater - my sound use-case is very simple. A single simple speaker or headphones and a single mike. Alsa works just fine for that. Why mess it up with a huge pile of code like pulse? They always had it the wrong way around - pulse should have been left as an optional install for those with advanced/complex sound needs. Even better solution would have been a re-write and simplification of alsa's arcane and baroque configuration logic.

Comment The business model (Score 5, Informative) 531

tl;dr; = short term gain, long term pain and shareholders should beware - it's not cost cutting, it's cutting off your right hand

capgemini, accenture etc etc all have a similar outdated business model. They offer to replace a $100k first world engineer with a third world engineer for $50k. In the short term this looks good for the CEO - he's a bottom-line hero, just saved the company $50k x # engineers per year.

Long term, it's a mess.

The outsourcing company only pays the third world engineer $10k and pockets the $40k. This was fine a few years ago as there was a huge number of talented engineers in eg India, Philippines etc who really could do the job. Today it's not so easy. The cream of them have already emigrated to the first world on the back of their talents. The local job market has risen so that really talented people can't be found for $10k any more, so the bottoms landing on the empty chairs are attached to increasingly mediocre talent. The better ones move on quickly.

Add to that the difficulties of working with the time zone difference, the language problems, the cultural disconnect and the profound impossibility of communicating the intricacies of a mature IT infrastructure - and you get a project that is quickly going nowhere.

My direct experience of these changes (I've seen a few) is that the organisation keeps going on momentum alone for a few years - the existing old IT systems soldier on with only minor maintenance work being done, just enough to lurch from week to week.

No major development is possible because the talent that put the system together has been sacrificed - so the company fails to respond to new challenges and does not innovate. Unless the enterprise's business is completely unchanging, it's a slow glide path to oblivion - but the ground is just as hard for all that.

Now the really important thing is that by the time the shareholders realise the dirty deed they've been dealt, the genius CEO who gave them that short term gain has moved on to more triumphs elsewhere, no doubt at ever higher remunerations.

Submission + - SPAM: facebook hacks

bhepple writes: facebook is seriously hacked. My wife tried to log in today and was required to identify a number of total strangers. Oddly, she was able to guess correctly for each one. Then a screen required her to upload a copy of her id card or passport. Oh really?

Comment Re:Misleading summary (Score 1) 460

Read Mr Poettering's own account of systemd at Features are listed in legions but only one tangible, significant benefit: it's supposed to be faster. Only one real benefit and then only to laptop owners. What would a server admin care if it takes 2 minutes to boot or 15 seconds or 10 minutes? Who cares? Now, if you google the first major distro to go systemd ie fedora-15, you'll see that it's not faster at all in practice. So all that change, all the obfuscation of hiding in compiled code what used to be clear (in bash-scripts), all the complexity, confusion, breakages, fear, uncertainty and doubt amounts to - no advantage at all. I'm not sure if it's enough to have me bail out of the fedora world - but surely this won't find its way into RHEL?!?!? Please tell me not!!!

Comment Partially sighted (Score 1) 1140

You young schmucks should listen up! When you hit 40-50 years old your eyes will seize up and you'll be able to focus at exactly one distance. You get glasses, then you have a choice of distance (TV or driving) and reading (books or monitors) as well as whatever your eyes can do by themselves. One thing you'll notice is that at the closer distances, the focal depth is very small - it makes a big difference if the monitor is 40cm away or 50cm - at one you can focus. At the other you can't. Brutal as that. Now sit down at a 75cm (30") widescreen monitor and WTF - if you can focus at the centre, you can't focus at the edge. Unless, of course you sit 2m away or more. That's why I'm sitting exactly 45cm from my good old 43cm (17") diagonal 1920x1440 Philips 107P4 CRT monitor. It beats the crap out of the Dell 2001FP 51cm (20") 1600x1200 monitor at work both in the quality of the image, the number of vertical lines of code in emacs and my ability to focus on it. When they offered me an upgrade to a rootin tootin 27" wide-screen, I tried it and sent it back - just couldn't focus all the way to the edges. If any monitor manufacturers are listening here, WE WANT VERTICAL PIXELS _AND_ A NICE COMPACT FORMFACTOR - around 43cm, thank you very much!! I'm not talking a small demographic here - it's the baby boomers!!

Why Are We Losing Vertical Pixels? 1140

An anonymous reader writes "Switching from 1600x1200 to wide 1680x1050 to HD 1600x900, we are losing more and more vertical space, thus it is becoming less and less simple to read a full A4 page or a web page or a function call. What's the solution for retaining the screen height we need to be productive?"

Comment Consistency is the only spice ... (Score 5, Insightful) 411

As said previously, scripts are scripts and don't often need a GUI. But for grep's sake, make them consistent!!! The only spicing up _really_ needed are some standards:

o output errors to STDERR; normal output to STDOUT
o include (-h, --help) processing - and send it to STDOUT so the help can be piped to 'less'
o use getopt(1) or process-getopt(1) so that options on the CLI parse in a predictable and standard way
o keep it terse except for errors so that the user can easily see if it worked or not without scanning vast output
o provide a --verbose option to help with tracking down those errors

... and the most annoying thing of all - make sure --help _always_ works, even if the script body itself can't - at least the user can then be told about what the prerequisites are.
Head over to for much wisdom on how to write better bash scripts.

Herschel Spectroscopy of Future Supernova 21

davecl writes "ESA's Herschel Space Telescope has released its first spectroscopic results. These include observations of VYCMa, a star 50 times as massive as the sun and soon to become a supernova, as well as a nearby galaxy, more distant colliding starburst galaxies and a comet in our own solar system. The spectra show more lines than have ever been seen in these objects in the far-infrared and will allow astronomers to work out the detailed chemistry and physics behind star and planet formation as well as the last stages of stellar evolution before VYCMa's eventual collapse into a supernova. More coverage is available at the Herschel Mission Blog, which I run."

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