Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re: 'Genuine' is how luxury brands protect themsel (Score 2) 189

Having worked with a chinese company that did this sort of thing before, the 'easiest' way to do it is just use the same assembly line, machinery, and workers to roll off a duplicate version with the exact same materials from the exact same material providers.

That's not always the way, but it is the easiest.

Comment 'Genuine' is how luxury brands protect themselves (Score 1) 189

I have very little insight into the world of fashion, but I do know that since there are no laws against creating the exact same dress, shirt, purse, or whatever, luxury brands tend to plaster their name or logo all over their products. You can't copy the name because that's trademarked.

As a result, you have folks seeing the popularity of an item making knockoffs. These vary in quality, of course, but in some cases, they're made from the exact same materials, in the exact same plant that the originals are made. The only difference is they have to print a different brand name on them or risk criminal activities, so a Coach bag becomes a "Loach" bag, with the mark spelled out in the same font with an extra curvy 'L'. Sure, technological devices are usually protected by more than trademark - patents and such which are often ignored by certain eastern markets - but since a piece of paper half a world a way isn't an actual barrier to producing a physical product, so it often comes down to the same thing.

The funny thing here is that even with off brands that may exceed the quality of the item, the original brand is still much more highly prized. Why? Because of marketing generating a social expectation that a 'genuine' object affords prestige. It could just be that it's expensive, or that it's advertisements paradoxically indicate that you must both be beautiful enough to wear it and simultaneously that you must wear it to be beautiful (like Abercrombie & Fitch, for example). It says, "Even if it's not as high quality, I both went through the trouble to find it AND paid more, and I passed through the filter that says I'm worth owning this, and that says something positive about me as a person!"

Sound like any company you know? Starts with an A, ends with A -pple, nothing in the middle?

This is just Apple selling it's product not as a piece of technology, but as a lifestyle accessory, as they've done ever since they realized that was the way to success. The claims of technological merit are just fluff, but necessary fluff to keep up their brand pretension and justify their walled garden environments.

Comment We lack the altruism to avoid revolution (Score 1) 884

As I posted before in 2013, again in 2013 and latest in 2015

I'll summarize it for you all though. In order to avoid a situation where the majority are unsustainably poor and ready to revolt, we'll need to meet the following criteria:
    - Every country in the world needs to be at about the same technological level at about the same time
    - Every government in the world (and all the people within them) embrace strong socialist beliefs that make current socialist states look like anarchists
    - We need to abolish the concept that work is directly related to value, and in turn, diminish the concept that scarcity and demand have real impact on value.
    - We have to accept that there is going to be a sizable number of people in the world who add no value to society or the world, and simply exist as consumers

The average person would have a trade skill that they use when they feel like it, perhaps no more than 1-3 hours a week, live in a house or home they like, and their things (clothing, devices, transportation, food etc) would be freely given to them with only limits placed on quantity by need - for example, no one needs more than 1 car, but you might - from time to time- need a truck or a motorcycle. There'd be no such thing as money, private ownership of property (items & land) is almost completely gone, and naturally limited resources would be metered out by some merit plus popularity based system, so not everyone would have a starship, for example. ... but the reality is that we're probably going to have to go through at least one, if not more cycles of horrific violence or strife, to the point that it forces us to radically redefine our thoughts and behaviors. We're just too caught up in concepts of justice-as-defined-by-the-beholder, us-vs-them, and so on to do it right now.

Comment Re:Tinfoil hat? (Score 1) 550

Pretty sure the description indicated that it's a locking mechanism similar to that in clothing stores. You have a plastic chit with a magnet in the right place, slide it over the 'locking disc' and it slides off. Obviously the 'phone-free zone' would have ushers or whomever at it's borders, applying and removing the 'yondr' case, in the same way they might hand out and collect 3-d glasses at a movie theater. Why have a complex, error-prone technical solution when a manual solution is cheaper, easier, and more reliable?

Comment This suggests the *current* expected max age (Score 3, Insightful) 290

From the article, this is not an estimate of upper max based on species capability, biological understanding of the aging process, or knowledge and subsequent realistic & accepted explanation of the limitations. They just graphed the current max age on a year by year basis and noticed that the last 20 years or so, there seems to be a plateau. At least in the countries that keep good track of age of citizens over the last 150 years or so.

Even with poor or missing data, we can see that if we used this same technique in say, 1700, the expected max age would look a bit different. At one time, our expected max age was 30!

Using a study like this to claim knowledge about the limits of age is like using a crime statistics study in the us to prove that certain minority groups are *genetically* prone to be criminals, and about exactly as useful.

As mankind progresses and continues to innovate in the fields of medicine, biology, sociology, psychology, and technology, we'll keep pushing this limit, perhaps in fits and starts, but it'll continue to advance. That is, unless there's some difficult-to-impossible ACTUAL limitation that we hit. A study of statistics like this might hint at *a* current barrier, but this doesn't identify, describe, or explain it. It certainly can't claim it's the *final* barrier.

Comment Fixing the wrong problem gets you nowhere. (Score 1) 290

The problem isn't email or voice mail or voice mail called 'voice memos'. It's people, man. It's always been people.

Look, if you're bad at communication - either producing it or receiving it - you're bad at it. Having a smart phone app that you use to take notes during your commute (plus the ambient noise and pauses from distraction) that you send out at 7 pm, expecting your employees to have linked their personal phone to company email and IM services, and ready to listen and respond ... it's not going to fix things, it'll just move the apparent source of conflict around, spread it out, exacerbate it, obfuscate it, or some combination of the above.

In any given day, the amount of time you should devote to whole-group communication should probably never be more than 15 minutes. If it's taking longer than that, try fixing that issue first, because that IS an issue. Get better at communicating, not just filling pages or airwaves with low-info-density content.

Here's a hint to achieving this: there is no technological mechanism that yet exists which is as information rich as a simple 2-way, face to face meeting. Even video chat isn't as good. You want to communicate with most efficiency, you need to do face to face. So schedule meetings at least a day before (and if you can't, then fix your scheduling problem too!), sit down, look them in the eye, remain focused, and then get back to work.

Comment Re:Shying away from OOP(s) (Score 4, Informative) 674

I had to work under a lead who had "Design Pattern Prejudice". Every class had to be named based on the pattern it took after, and everything had to come from factory factories that worked off interfaces to abstract parents at every step, everything had to be immutable, and in any given review, he'd point to a section of code and ask what design pattern this followed. If you couldn't specify one, he'd fail the review, and if you could, he'd want you to rewrite it to use at least 2 or 3 more patterns.

Granted, he'd spend a whole week writing code, fail to complete any of his issues, and check in around 40 new classes & interfaces, but not one of them had any business logic in them at all, and then demand everyone refactor their code to use his new architecture.

We only got things done when we started ignoring him.

Comment Really.... (Score 1, Insightful) 37

"It's incredible that this community is still going so strong after so long."

I checked the Tiobe index and I guess they're right, it IS on the rise. They're almost more popular than Visual Basic .Net, but they've got a ways to go to catch up to Perl.

To be fair though, they've more than doubled in popularity since a low in early 2015, going from sub 1% to over 2%!

Comment Maybe focus on the problem, not the symptoms? (Score 1) 1144

The problem scope:
    Some people in any given society are given to illegal and violent actions that cause harm to the society they're in and the people and infrastructure within it. We don't want them to do those things.

There's two real solutions:
    - Make people think in a different way which precludes this sort of behavior
    - Eliminate the root cause(s) which engender this sort of behavior.

Technology can't really help much here, not as the magic bullet people desire. These are all long term issues where 'technology' can help, but no one in the world is very good at making people think in specific ways or changing how societies work, even when they're the guys in power. In the end, eliminating poverty, sickness, and not just need, but the larger human problem of 'want' are very hard issues indeed. They won't fit in sound bites or a single person's elected term.

Which brings us to the the bigger problem: the current round of political turds are trumpeting their curealls when they're really only addressing symptoms:
    - Identify individuals prior to their negative activity and remove them from society
    - Remove any tools which could be used to harm society from society

Technology may be able to say something about theses in the short term; loss of privacy and elimination of encryption may allow law enforcement to track criminals more effectively. To be fair though, mandatory lobotomies for presumed anti-social/society individuals would also work pretty well, if you consider medical science to be a technology. All the blathering about the ill-defined 'assault weapons' while handguns are the deadly weapon of choice - and the majority of firearm deaths are from suicides to boot? It's all just hot air. No interest in solving problems, only winning political points. It's the same security theater we see in the airports writ large across the nation. Lots of visible frenetic activity but results - nope. Lots of hand-waving and sound bites instead.

Not that I want to be all negative, I do have one constructive suggestion for these short term issues. A guideline that will help us reel in these claims that, for example, encryption should be criminalized, and 2 hours in a security line at every public venue is considered reasonable. The guideline is this:

Do not believe, for a second, that you can eliminate terrorism, domestic or otherwise. Instead, realize that the best you can do is mitigate the risk.

Look, as soon as we say we're going to eliminate it, that no cost is too high to make the world safe for every citizen, there's no end. It's like citing the will of god in a religious debate, you can never refute it, and it's an 'answer' that can be used to justify any deed, no matter how horrible. If you instead focus on managing the risk, putting an actual value on it, and using that metric to assign resources, you'll come up with a more reasonable solution.

Maybe hire an economist to explain the hard facts without any sort of emotional or moral outrage?

Comment This is already the law! (Score 1) 347

There's a broad category of self-assessment taxes you're supposed to be paying : use tax and their ilk.

State laws almost always indicate that it is the responsibility of the purchaser to account for this. Generally, they require that you pay the taxable difference by percent between the point of purchase and the state of residence.

Example 1: You purchase a good on the internet from out of state. You pay no (sales) tax on it at the time of purchase , but if you were to buy it in your state, you'd be assessed a 10% tax. You now owe your state a 10% tax.

Example 2: You live in one state, but purchase a car in another. Autos are taxed at 10% in your state, and at 5% in the state where you purchased it. The tax for the state of purchase IS collected, but you still owe 5% tax in your state.

The reason this doesn't come up very often is that most of these sums are very very small. Certainly far smaller than the cost of litigation to investigate, find proof, and litigate remuneration of those sums. The states still want that money! They can't afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars to recover two dollars from an individual, but they're willing to spend a hundred thousand if it brings in millions. So they target specific retailers because it IS cost effective for them to force THEM to collect the sales tax as if they were in-state sellers. Thus Amazon now collects per-state tax.

The short version is that the state wants money, and they'll keep creating laws until they can both legally take it, and it's cost effective (and easy) to do so. The same idea drives universal fingerprinting/ID and encryption backdoor initiatives. There are laws that cover the situation, but they're too hard to enforce. So they add more laws simply so it's easier to enforce the other ones.

Comment Re:Lack of leg-room and ergonomics (Score 1) 68

I was surprised to find out that the most comfortable position for me at a desk for long periods of time is actually with the top of the desk more or less in line with the middle of my sternum. From shoulder to wrist, my arms are almost entirely horizontal.

No idea of the ergonomics of it, but I seem to be managing to avoid fatigue and feel comfortable, even if I usually have to resort to putting the chair to the lowest level.

Comment Standing desks provide no health benefits (Score 1) 68

Remember - the studies show that standing desks may actually incur more, and more serious health problems, much more quickly than sitting - in weeks instead of months or years. We DO know sitting for long periods of time is bad, but as per a previous slashdot story. there's no indication standing all day is any better.

I wrote about this before here too, but the summary is this: the idea that standing desks provide health benefits is based more on well-intentioned ignore-proof-or-lack-thereof feel-good rationalization than the anti-vaxxer movement.

Just make sure if you're getting a standing desk like this or others, that you're not just buying into hype. Remember how it went when everyone raved about how awesome Ruby was? ... yeah.

Comment We already knew this (Score 1) 134

I posted about this last year, here

The summary version is this:
    - Sitting too much is associated with certain health risks that take a long time to appear and are common with a sedentary lifestyle (so may not be caused only by sitting)
    - Standing too much is associated with certain health risks that occur fairly rapidly (relative to sitting)
    - We don't really know how much standing is enough to ward off the dangers of sitting,
    - We don't know how much standing is too much and will result in health problems.

There's probably an optimal healthy point, but we don't have any studies that show where that optimal healthy point is on average, much less how it needs to be adjusted for an individual. The only real advice to come out of this is that you should take a break and walk around every once in a while and outside of work, maintain an active lifestyle with exercise and properly sized nutritious meals.

Comment So we need a Ministry of Truth now? (Score 4, Insightful) 292

A quick perusal above shows where people's heads are at on the 'right to be forgotten':
    "We enjoyed that right until google came up. before that, everybody could simply be forgotten by moving to the next village"
    "Before that, if you wanted to be forgotten, you simply moved and adopted a new name."

        No, it was not a 'right' then, as there was nothing in the law to provide it, nor was it considered an unstated right assumed by society.
        No, you were not forgotten, rather, new individuals were ignorant.
        No, name changes were public record and so too were most criminal complaints – simply not having a trivial way to search them does not equate being inaccessible, and certainly not to being ‘Forgotten’.

Why target google searches alone? Shouldn’t someone need to go through the police records, newspaper archives (and any microfiche for places still using that at the time of the offense), magazines, comedians routines, and song lyrics (if the crime was public enough) - and any recordings thereof – to eliminate the references? As per 1984, you’re going to need a whole department working 24/7 to censor or rewrite all the data there ever was if you’re really pushing for ‘forgotten’ status.

Really though, this isn’t about a right. It’s about restriction of rights. What advocates of this restriction are really trying to do is eliminate access by society at large to public records. Since the very nature of public records is that they are publically accessible, they’re instead attacking the ability to search the records, in an attempt to make the data useless. Basically, it’s the same sort of political machinations you see in attempts to do end-runs around laws in US politics today: so called sanctuary cities deciding not to check the residency status of illegal aliens, or requiring state ID to vote to drive away minorities. It’s folks deliberately doing an end-run around the law.

What it really comes down to is this: If we’re not supposed to do something, be it identify someone as an ex-convict or other, then why can we do it through every other channel allowed except for a single one singled out simply because of it’s current popularity and ease of use?

Comment Re:Odd title (Score 1) 237

My problem is with the strongly opinionated frameworks. You know, the ones where you use framework 'X' and now you have a 'X'-website or 'X' application? Where the framework's author makes the majority of architectural and project organization decisions. Sure, they make 80% of the common usage patterns easy, but that almost always results in making 10% of what's left hard and the remaining 10% near-if-not impossible.

In a world where the programmer makes the rules, this is fine - they can find some awkward workaround, like forcing a second login or putting validation logic only on the client side. Unfortunately, in the business world, the customer is the one making the rules, and the customer always wants 100% of the product working the way they want it to work.

They seem to flourish - at least until the next fad framework - thanks to their low barrier to entry and focus on the intuitive space the article author references.

Hipster coder though? I don't know. Almost every dev I know has some subset of interest in new languages, frameworks, libraries, and so on. It's their toy language or pet project. In fact, the biggest violators I see are actual experienced programmers who do know what they ought to, but don't want to spend time reinventing that same tired ground when they just want to play around.

In fact, not having to reinvent that same solution is exactly what they're interested in.

That's why you'll find a Karaf server running a Camel app in a Microsoft shop, even though there's no one left at the company who knows OSGI. Or find an external build script dependency in the form of a Rust script from out of nowhere. The people who should know better just want to play, and the easiest way to do that is to make it part of their day to day job.

What this article and experience tell me is that more than ever, we're in need of technically-competent managers who can evaluate, triage, and reign in individual developer output and provide focus.

At least, in a business environment, where product delivery, support, and maintenance are more important than playing around.

Slashdot Top Deals

"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H.L. Mencken