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Comment Re:Why is the sky blue? (Score 1) 161

Perhaps explain evolution next. If you can make a small child understand, you've got some hope of making an adult creationist understand...

The primary difference here is that a small child might want to understand, while the creationist prefers to ignore logical explanations. Most creationists would be capable of learning and understanding if the desire were present.

I absolutely love the concept of these challenges to develop really good explanations of science related concepts. Children generally want to know why things are they way they are. Giving them clear lessons to their questions will only result in improved scientific literacy and interest. Very few things are as discouraging as an incorrect or poorly constructed explanation. For instance, my 5th grade science teacher (also a sports coach) totally screwed up the explanation of how the phases of the moon work, basically confusing them with eclipses. I'm sure that damaged several of my classmates.

Comment Re:Universities should NEVER outsource email (Score 1) 172

Your scenario is not always plausible. Small private universities and rural state run universities may not have the required budget to acquire properly trained or capable personnel to implement and maintain your solution .Would you perform the tasks you describe for an annual salary of $35,000 to $45,000 with at most two people handling implementation, support and maintenance? Would you move to a small 10,000 person town that is at least 100 miles away from any metropolitan area to take that position? That is why many end up running Exchange along with spam blocking appliances. I previously worked at one of these locations. We started with Unix/Linux based Sendmail but moved to Exchange because of features that our administrative users needed, which weren't available in the Open Source community at the time. Additionally, it wasn't difficult to find employees who were competent enough to handle some of the normal support and maintenance tasks. Eventually we added our students to the Exchange system to prevent the IT staff from maintaining two completely separate platforms.

Later on, we looked at outsourcing student email to Google or Microsoft. There were several reasons for this. Among them were 1. Collaborative tools for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that would be beneficial to the students; 2. Reduced storage and server expense;3. Zero licensing costs vs. upgrading client access licenses for the next version of Exchange; 4. Reduced administrative effort to support email; and 5. Built-in Disaster Recovery/Business Continuance operation of email.

In conclusion, each situation is different. If there is an abundance of technically competent and skilled IT workers in the area, a university might be able to do email the way you described. Otherwise, that approach becomes less feasible, opening the other options. As you stated in #2, a university that can't do what you say is in fact evaluating its IT capabilities by finding the most cost-effective and functional option available to it.

Comment Re:Morale of the story... (Score 2) 91

Not quite. Picking winners =/= winning at gambling. Margin of victory, aka the spread, comes into play. That is a bit harder to account for in these types of situations involving so much human variable. Granted, being able to identify some potential upsets could allow someone to bet big on those and become potentially rich.

Comment Re:As a sports fan (Score 2) 91

I didn't read the article (yet), but I put together a game result predictor a couple of years ago that I ran against the tournament field with about an 83% success rate for the whole tournament. It was in the 93% range for the first two rounds. My algorithm utilized season long team statistics to get a team's baseline and then incorporated strength of schedule and seeding components. Just like you mentioned about how far a team has historically progressed from a specific seed, I used historical analysis of seed matchups as another component. Essentially those historical #12 beating #5 type of matchups included a slight scoring boost to the worse seed. In some pairings, that modifier kicked the scoring over the top, but in others it didn't. It turned out to be quite accurate and even predicted the Murray State win over Vanderbilt, among others.

I might make another run at tournament prediction this year using some different statistical metrics that are game pace independent rather than the raw scoring and defense that I used before. Game prediction simulators present unique challenges and are quite fun to work on, especially for nerds who also like sports.

Comment Re:Old Pot/Kettle drama (Score 2) 337

You're right about the barrier to entry for serious contention. Look at how many GOP debates have invited Buddy Roemer during this presidential primary cycle. That guy is a former governor and also served as a member of the US House of Representatives, and he can't get in the room for a debate. His only presence has been on the internet, twitter, and random TV interviews that generally have him comment on the other candidates.

BTW, I'm not advocating the guy in any manner. He just seems like a really good example of your counterpoint.

Comment Re:I like his IRS plan! (Score 1) 2247

I doubt private industry would have ever invented the internet. Private industry prior to the late 90's had very little or no interest in sharing information. That was a purely military and academic interest. It was only the advertisement angle that got them to adopt any type of internet presence. I suspect at this point in time, if we were depending on private industry, we might have a few separate walled-garden AOL type of sites run by cable companies that have no inter-connectivity - basically like having Microsoft Encarta through cable access instead of a CD as in the early to mid 90's.

Comment Re:It was always Dell=1 Customers=0 (Score 1) 51

I had a similar experience with a backup solution purchased through Dell. This was about 9 years ago. My employer put me in charge of fixing our backup infrastructure which was previously based on ArcServe running on a couple of servers with HP DDS-3 drives attached. It only protected Windows servers, and did it badly. I decided to go with Dell for an automated tape library. They were one of our approved vendors, which was important at the state funded university for which I was working. On the front-end, we discussed our specific requirement with the Dell sales "engineers", explaining that we needed a software solution to pair with the library that could backup both Windows and Linux hosts. After some bad advice from them, we ended up with great hardware for the server and library, but software didn't meet our original spec since it didn't have any linux backup capability. Since we had a written list of specifications, we were able to get Dell to make it right. To their credit, they ate a significant cost difference between the software they started with and the Commvault Galaxy sent as a replacement. Getting sales and support on that software was a nightmare with Dell when we had to purchase additional client agent licenses or just get basic support. The Commvault software was great for us, and got even better when we started getting direct support through Commvault. Because of that experience, we later decided against purchasing a SAN through the Dell/EMC partnership.

Comment Re:Fortunately this will never happen to the iPhon (Score 1) 272

Yes, you can use EAS or IMAP/CalDAV/CardDAV to get an iOS, Android or WM/WP device to work, but none of them are anywhere near as secure or manageable as BES. For the consumer or light business user, yes, EAS is fine, and geeks can suffer with IMAP+DAV and it's limitations, but as you increase either the number of users or the security and manageability requirements, they don't scale. Anyone who says otherwise has never actually used BES and has no idea what it does.

I disagree. I manage BES and ActiveSync in an enterprise environment. Some may like BES, but I don't see any real advantage in scalability in my environment. It is much easier to provision an Activesync device since I don't have to provide full access to the user's mailbox to a third party (BES service) user account, not to mention the security implications associated with a privileged account that can access everything in every BB users' mailboxes. If I need an audit trail on a user's mailbox, I would prefer all access to be done through the user's specific account. I find it just as simple to perform a remote wipe for a device through Exchange ActiveSync as I do with BES.

That said, as soon as someone duplicates what BES can do on iOS, Android and/or WP, BlackBerry is dead to the enterprise. It'll be Symbian all over again, and RIM will be left selling featurephones to teenagers, third-worlders, and third-world teenagers.

We're already there. MobileIron, Air-Watch, and Air Patrol are a few options out there. They cost money, but they have the functionality.

Additionally, the C-level administrators generally love the iPhone and iPad unless they have been long-term Blackberry users. Even those are frequently leaning toward the Apple devices. RIM has fallen behind in the usability department, and I am not sure they can catch up.

Comment Re:Like the alternative is so much better (Score 1) 315

I have a hard time believing that BoA wouldn't have a geographically dispersed and replicated SAN. I work for a large regional bank that has this capability, and we test it frequently as part of SOX compliance. I'm not ruling that out, but it could explain the slowness in site response if they are running on secondary site hardware that isn't designed for the scale of the primary site.

Comment Re:So 1:3000 that it will hit somebody? (Score 1) 168

That simple calculation doesn't consider geographic clustering of people. Since many people are clustered in large population centers that are outside of the predicted possible impact locations, you shouldn't include the entire world population in the reduction of personal odds to generalized odds. For instance, if it is predicted to impact the southern hemisphere, you could rule out all people except those on the African, South American, and Australian continents and islands south of the the equator.

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley