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Comment Re:Just how much documentation can you read? (Score 1) 216

A hearty "yes, but..." to that comment.

Trying to do process by hand will never work, for exactly the reasons you describe. Any non-trivial process with even a small amount of history is almost incomprehensible for any single human, and the amount of information exchange and handshaking required for a team to develop a hive-mind understanding is also significant.

The only solution is to do process automatically, bypassing the whole bottleneck of trying to get humans to follow the process by hand, and only involve the humans for approvals or for events which fall outside the process. That's where ITIL adoption falters: it's a huge overhead to do by hand, and IT departments are already under water with their current workloads. ITIL advocates can promise cake tomorrow as much as they want, but adoption rarely goes anywhere until the ITIL processes themselves get automated.

As per another sub-thread, many vendors promise this, but only a few deliver. Hint: the vendors who can do it are the ones who aren't scared to show you the tech, either in your own labs or at a real live customer. If they do golf outings or dinners as well, as a way of greasing the skids, that's fine, but IME (and I work for a vendor) the projects where one vendor is selected on a handshake basis are ripe for takeover by another vendor, using a more professional approach, within twelve to eighteen months. On the other hand, if the sales rep does their homework and gets proper support for a technical evaluation, the project is usually a success (barring SNAFUs) and the customer becomes an advocate for buying more $PRODUCT within his or her company.

Comment Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (Score 1) 660

slashdot have allowed me to turn off adverts, but I haven't.

Same here - I even removed AdBlock after a fit of guilt. I would like to ensure that my favourite content continues being made, and given that I only subscribe to one magazine and typically only read newspapers in airline lounges, thereby not increasing their reported circulation, viewing online advertising is pretty much the only way I can do that. Thing is, I don't mind even very direct advertising, as long as it has value to me.

Amazon's recommendation engine is a case in point. Their goal is pretty direct - sell me more stuff - but because the engine actually works, I have bought an absolute ton of stuff based on the Amazon recommendation. I even go in and refine the data so that Amazon can recommend even more stuff to me!

A counter-example are ads that appear over the top of content and need to be actively dismissed. Some of these are now HTML, not Flash, so just using flashblock doesn't stop them. I make a point of avoiding the products advertised, and if they get to be enough of an annoyance I might stop visiting the site that hosts them. I'm happy to view advertising and even to buy advertised products, but the ads have to keep out of my way.

Comment Re:Rules 1 through 7 of using a Cell Phone (Score 1) 585

I think that is in fact what happens in Italy, but it's not very effective at prevention, due to a) low probability of getting pulled over at random, and b) poor decision making skills of people in the newly-eligible-to-drive age group (speaking from memory of myself at that age, here).

I'd suggest having license scanners built into the ignition or similar tech fixes, but that would suffer from two problems: drivers would find a way to bypass it, and the gummint would get involved as well, with the usual horrible privacy violations that this entails.

Comment Re:Rules 1 through 7 of using a Cell Phone (Score 3, Interesting) 585

My preferred solution is to have tiered licenses. Bronze would get you econoboxes, lowered speed limits, and higher insurance costs. Silver would get standard cars and normal traffic laws and insurance costs, while Gold would give access to sports cars, lower insurance costs, and perhaps give an extra 10% on the motorway speed limit (not the city speed limit, of course). Each would require progressively more training and more frequent re-testing intervals.

The question is then how you would check that the Porsche barreling down the outside lane is actually being driven by a Gold-standard driver and not a Bronze-licensed script kiddy who r007ed his daddy's car's firmware...

This already exists to a point in Italy, where newly-licensed drivers are restricted to smaller engine capacities and lowered speed limits for three years. ISTR that there are also stiffer penalties for speeding and perhaps other offences. The enforcement problem, however, is similar: short of stopping every car not legal for new drivers, it's hard to enforce.

Comment Re:Yes indeed (Score 1) 585

My personal solution in situations where I can't talk, e.g. driving in heavy traffic or city, is to answer the call using one button, either on the steering wheel if I'm in my car or on my ear-piece if I'm not, and ask the caller to send me an e-mail about it so that I can read it at my leisure.

That said, hands-free systems and long motorway journeys make for some of my most productive phone times.

And no, I don't answer the phone in the restaurant unless it's one of /those/ numbers, in which case I apologize to my tablemates and go outside to take the call. The same applies if I am with someone else while not at the table. Trains - I generally travel in the "working stiff" carriages, where everybody is on the phone and/or laptop anyway, so unless you are shouting at the top of your voice it's completely unremarkable. No caller ID - that still describes a lot of landlines around here, so I can't just default to not answering.

I do on the other hand find it incredible how many people still use phones in their hand while driving, especially in city traffic. What makes it even worse is that where I live most cars have manual transmissions, so all sorts of juggling is required to steer and change gear while still keeping the phone against the head. When I come to power, everyone will be issued with paintballs to pepper the cars of people doing this.

Comment Re:Unauthoriazed Copy (Score 1) 865

Apple shut down the clone program because most of the clones were shitty computers. Jobs wanted to control the quality of the product, and he couldn't do that with the clones.

That's just a tiny bit inflammatory. At that time I worked for a national distributor for Umax, which was one of the cloners, and their hardware was at times even better than the Apple stuff (first SMP machines, for instance) and usually ahead on price/performance ratio.

Personally I suspect that the last factor was much more important to Apple in terminating that agreement. Certainly where that employer used to sell high-end Umax scanners (30k+ USD) and high-end Apple computers to run them, once Umax started making Apple clones the Apple business halved almost overnight. The license fee for MacOS was probably pretty scant consolation at One Infinite Loop.

Comment Re:Typical Bullshit (Score 1) 341

Have you looked at BladeLogic? (full disclosure: I worked for BladeLogic and stayed on after BMC Software bought BladeLogic) Official product page here.

BMC BladeLogic Operations Manager, to give the thing its full name, does multi-platform policy-driven patch management (Windows, RH, SuSE, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX) and makes it pretty seamless. No *BSD support, though, which may be an issue for you.

Comment Re:Haha, good (Score 1) 185

Come to that, I don't see iTunes store links, and I quite like the Genius playlists. They work just fine for me, and while I don't use them that much, they're better than shuffle for a drive that is longer than one album's worth of music.

Speaking of shuffle, I wish the motion sensor didn't turn off when the iPod locks. It makes the whole shake-to-shuffle feature much less useful, as the iPod is usually locked by the time I want to shuffle.

Comment Re:You cannot use viruses/bugs as an example of co (Score 1) 691

I did have my own fun with it. One of my systems ran Apache on Linux with Samba (server and client). I wrote a CGI with the name and path of the Code Red URL request. It returned a 404 response through Apache (as would a standard Linux system), but I had it generate a WinPopup message sent back to the offending system to the effect that it was compromised.

I did the exact same thing! My Apache on HP-UX servers were fine, but the logs were overflowing with crud from Windows webservers. I also got to find all the test boxes under people's desks which they had not thought to tell me about. Adminning for a department of developers is *fun*.

I also started writing a tool to remote-fix the affected systems automagically, but gave up after I realized it would be more trouble than it was worth.

Comment Re:Reloadable cards. (Score 1) 196

In Italy you can get reloadable Visa Electron cards from the post office. Lots of people use these exclusively for online purchases, since even if the card info gets stolen there isn't much that can be done with it.

Since they can't make money by delivering mail any more, the post office has branched out into banking and mobile telephony, and operates an airline as well.

Comment Re:Nuts (Score 1) 296

These are all valid points. However, they mainly apply to companies that are actually shutting down, whereas in this case at least the situation is that the parent company is still extant and operational, but the service in question is being shut down.

In this case the recovery service would be a guarantee that even if the provider got borged or ran out of money or simply changed their priorities, the users' data would still be available. This could of course also address your point about openness or backups, or in general other situations where people want to get data from service or platform A to B.

Your second point, that testing would be required, is fair and valid, but that is why I suggested data-escrow services companies running this, rather than the providers themselves. This would avoid the providers reinventing expensive, not-quite-round versions of the wheel, and with any luck allow at least some sanity-testing of the various implementations.

Comment Re:Nuts (Score 1) 296

How about this solution? When the service shuts down, the user's website is replaced by a single link. This would operate much like password reminders, generating a one-time limited duration FTP (or whatever) account and sending it to the user's e-mail address. In order to prevent abuse, the account would also be unique. That is, for as long as one account was valid for a certain user, no more accounts could be created. Provision could also be made for DVDs (or whatever) to be sent to users, and for these to be requested by snail mail in case a user lost e-mail as well.

Hosting companies send out warnings, and it seems that AOL did so in this case, but "your website will be shut off" can be ignored, or might be mistaken for spam. "Your website is gone, click here to retrieve its contents" gets a lot more attention.

Companies might even set up to do this type of data escrow on behalf of AOL and their ilk.

I am not so sure about requiring all this by law, but it seems like a good idea for a relatively small investment. Competition for customer satisfaction would drive other providers to adopt this if one did.

As for those who argue that it's the users' fault for relying on their provider to stick around, how is that different from DRM?

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