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Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

ALeader71 To everything....turn, turn, turn (283 comments)

IBM's demise has been coming for a long time. It started when they didn't see the PCs potential. It continued when they stuck with proprietary (Micro channel), or unpopular (802.3) technologies. The 90s reorganization and switch to services helped but they were one of the first solutions companies. Now IBM is one of many competitors, and apparently they aren't the best. IBM isn't the only company to fall from grace. Compaq and HP merged to avoid oblivion. Microsoft lost ground in mobile and has yet to gain a meaningful foothold in tablets. Yes they make money but they are hardly a Wall Street darling. Oracle and Red Hat decided they weren't wealthy enough, so they switched to an expensive M$ style license model. RH is way overpriced considering they're bundling a bunch of free software. Oracle is competing with (and loosing to) free Hadoop, and NoSQL solutions. But that's how it goes. Some company does well. Makes a lot of money, but doesn't make a profit. Cue venture capital and the IPO. A few years later, maybe they turn a profit, maybe they don't. Venture capital takes their profit, so does Wall Street. Everyone assumes the company is dead because the stock price drops and Jim Cramer is smashing his "Sell, sell, sell" button like he's playing wack-a-mole. Yet the company goes on. Sometimes they die, sometimes they live on (like Amazon). Sodastream is still around, but the stock? Ditto for Keurig. Every company dies eventually. Sometimes they continue to exist. They may even expand into new markets.

about a month ago
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Apple Yet To Push Patch For "Shellshock" Bug

ALeader71 Homebrew anyone? (208 comments)

Is it me, or am I the only one who used Homebrew to replace the installed version of bash?

about 2 months ago
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Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

ALeader71 What's Wrong with DC Drivers? (179 comments)

Like all things DC related, we've become accustomed to a lower level of service. When you have single party rule, or you eliminate consequences and risk for the elected, you get lax leaders.

about 2 months ago
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Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

ALeader71 With a name like "use-less-d" (469 comments)

Should we take this seriously? The name is "use-less-daemon." Thoughts?

about 2 months ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

ALeader71 Yes, Humans can culture too.... (937 comments)

One of the things I hated about TOS, TNG, etc was while the other species have centuries of culture, humans had none. Maybe it was Shatner's vision: Earth had a cultures 'reset.' Humanity became largely docile. Starfleet seems to be for those who didn't quite fit in, but even those humans abandoned history as abhorrent. Most enjoyments were alien in origin. Pets were imports from another planet. No one played basketball or soccer, two games that should be easy to export to starships with artificial gravity. TOS used history for morality plays but never tied it to their present day beyond "oh there was a nuclear war.' Yes TNG had poker. Riker was into jazz, but who else? Secular Humanism as depicted in Star Trek was pretty sterile, and civilizations are never that clean.

As for this view on atheism, it's the same sterility mistake. Being Atheist doesn't mean you worship science. Being a scientist doesn't eliminate your ability to appreciate spectacle, beauty, art, or music.

Being an Atheist doesn't protect you from false beliefs. There are Atheists who prefer anecdotal evidence over rigorous scientific testing. They follow politicians as if they held the keys to enlightenment. They may look the other way when a professional athlete slaps his wife around or destroys a drive through window because he didn't get his hot sauce.

Even Spock required regular pon farr.

about 2 months ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

ALeader71 Re:Does anyone blame them? (306 comments)

True, Germany has similar problems. Of course they import most of their fossil fuels (well natural gas anyway) from Mother Russia! So the PV push is understandable. Germany may impose an electrical infrastructure fee to keep the grid maintained and healthy. Something we're unlikely to do in the US. As with bridges, roads, levies, dams, and other parts of our infrastructure, we're content to allow them to fail then blame whomever is in the White House at that time.

Personally, I'd love to make petroleum a minor bit player in our transportation industry and old things like coal and gas something you only see in movies. This is one area where independents have to work where they are allowed, then force the issue with public support in the hold out states. We've seen a similar thing happen with gay marriage and insurance reform a.k.a Obamacare.

about 4 months ago
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Microsoft Surface Drowning?

ALeader71 Could've had a V8 (337 comments)

Agreed. Windows RT was a dumb idea from a company that, like IBM before it, played host to a lot of dumb ideas.
M$ should have scaled up Windows Phone / Windows Mobile / Whatever and cranked out free Phone and Tablet compatible versions of Office. The hardware, from a design perspective is great, with a few flaws they should have fixed long ago: The membrane keyboard, Palm Check (why is it that Apple is the only one who got this right?), and a stylus that charges from the tablet's own charging port.
I've played with a few Surface tablets at a couple of Microsoft stores. Even the sales staff had a hard time with them.

Which is why I carry a MBP. I get Office. I don't have to carry a mouse and disable the trackpad. When I carry a tablet, I carry a Galaxy 10.1. I rarely carry both.

about 4 months ago
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What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

ALeader71 Three kinds of lazy (228 comments)

After reading a few responses I thought I'd share my observations on workers, and the "Three Kinds of Lazy:"

The Plugger: Doesn't like the drudgery, but rationalizes it with victimization and anxiety.
The Troll: Doesn't like the drudgery, does a barely passable job. Jellously guards all knowledge of how to do said task under the idiotic assumption that this will make them indispensable and thus impossible to eliminate.
The Neckbeard: Hates drudgery. Will spend enormous amounts of time learning whatever scripting language is available to automate everything possible. Doesn't document anything. Get angry if anyone asks.

Who should you be? The Neckbeard who 1. Shaved that thing off, or at least adopted a modern style. 2. Documented everything, then found a new job leaving this now unnecessary position to someone making less money.

Yes, I know. "It's impossible for me to move withing my industry in ! I need to be lazy to keep employed! Besides, no one could do MY job, they don't have the experience! This is completely wrong and here is why:
Eventually, each of the "Three Kinds of Lazy" gets fired. The Plugger falls victim to the first rule of Capitalism: "There is always someone willing to do it for less." The Troll and the Neckbeard push the wrong person too far and get fired. Someone else is hired and picks up the pieces. All three types of Lazy have a hard time finding a new job because they rarely keep their skills up to par with the industry.

So automate all of the things. If your company is cheap, invest in your own training and look for a better company with your next job in mind. If you have to move, move. This isn't the Middle Ages. You are perfectly capable of moving away from your village. So is your spouse. If the Earth was dying and the best chance of survival was moving to a terraformed Mars, would you stay on Earth just to know what the stubborn looked like as they died?

about 4 months ago
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What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

ALeader71 Re:Automate it (228 comments)

Wow, sounds like you've been burned! Honestly, in our industry why wouldn't you automate the drudgery, then move on to other tasks? Or perhaps use the experience to seek a better job?

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

ALeader71 Darknet. TOR router. (208 comments)

Build a darknet. Maybe a TOR router? Donate CPU time to charity or some great number crunching project.

about 4 months ago
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US National Archives Will Upload All Its Holdings To Wikipedia

ALeader71 Cue the takedown notices! (108 comments)

If Wikimedia Commons can handle this onslaught, will all of the content pass muster with our never ending corporate copyright regime?

about 5 months ago
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Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

ALeader71 Making this happen... (311 comments)

For this to happen, it cannot occur in the public sphere. There are too many rice bowls involved. Not to mention the decade long fight over which party gets credit or moves their agenda along by NOT allowing the other party to take credit.

No, this would have to occur using a local coalition of the willing:
A place where those with cash can see and drive over it.
Some place you can destroy the existing infrastructure without a bunch of NIMBYs blocking construction. Maybe a new development or a re-development.
Detroit has massive infrastructure problems, but do they get enough sunlight?
Can San Francisco quite fighting long enough to allow construction?
Maybe Texas who couldn't give a darn about their environment but has a lot of tech industry types with business ties to the area?

Long term: This could be the "smart grid" we heard so little about in 2010. For this to work, you have to generate enough electricity to keep the roads clear during a harsh winter. Think big snowstorm from a slow moving low pressure system.
We will need electricity generation in far flung sunny states and countries in the same way LA needs most of the Western US' water supply. Electricity must be able to travel transcontinental distances the same way cargo and people do now.
We will need large amounts of electricity storage. I don't know what that would look like. It could be batteries. It could be fuel cells using hydrogen and oxygen from desalination plants or captured rain water from spring floods -- oh that's an idea! Build massive conduits to divert excess rainwater into the West's emptying aquifers. Is it practical? I have no idea.

A project like this will require a skilled workforce and decades to complete. Sorry Southern US. Your hatred of "schoolin" and your love of cheapness and a romanticized agrarian fantasy still won't bring or keep jobs to your towns. Maybe once you see the rest of the country has moved a century past you, we'll see a Great Vote Out occur and you can join the 21st century. As a Southerner I hope but don't believe it's possible outside of our few successful cities. There's a reason why poverty is still such a major part of the South, and it's entirely our fault.

So while I think solar roadways are a great idea. We can't rely on our leaders to facilitate this conversion. This will have to occur bottom up while those at the top have to leap out of the way. Good luck to this endeavor!

about 6 months ago
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

ALeader71 So if ISPs are like the Post Office.... (343 comments)

Wouldn't that make ISPs a "necessary public service" like MaBell once was? Let me pontificate:

If that's true, then ISPs should be heavily regulated to ensure reliable service is provided to the entire country.
Since Washington love to re-use past legislation (stimulus packages, gun control, etc) why not require so-called "nationwide" ISPs to provide broadband service down to the smallest farm in the United States? I believe we're already paying a federal tax which once offset this cost.

Other ways to make this happen:
Congress passes legislation that Obama/future President would actually sign. -- Unlikely unless 2016 is the Year of the Great Vote Out.
Obama (unlikely) / Future President (80% unlikely) could order the FCC's lobbyist chairperson to start requiring Broadband availability in the same way we once required AT&T to run copper phone lines to every house, farm, factory, and barn in the United States.
A massive anti-trust lawsuit turns over all existing right-of-way monopolies. This is the most likely scenario, but I don't know if our money-is-speech Supreme Court would take the case.

Thoughts?

about 6 months ago
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Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts

ALeader71 Hard to verify (548 comments)

I found two non-fringe or slightly suspect news links: EFF.org. The article completes the circle back to sites like reason.com and The Guardian. The other is CNBC.com. It links to entertainment sites like Perez Hilton. Not the sort of thing you expect to find when a secret government operation like this is uncovered.

What I don't see, is anything linking directly to information about the DOJ's Operation Chokepoint. The list of targets is a bit broad and the tactics are a little suspect. You wouldn't think of a far left liberal like Obama as someone who is anti-porn. We'll have to watch this and see how things develop. Maybe someone will find a few hard government generated facts and write up a 2600 article?

about 7 months ago
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Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

ALeader71 Re:He's right! (581 comments)

True, coding is not for everyone. Just as welding, writing, and accounting aren't for everyone. However, people don't understand the tech they use on a daily basis: i.e. Snopes Microwave Article. People don't need to know how to write software anymore than they need to know how to assemble an engine, or build a stove. They do need to understand that it isn't a magic box. They do need to know how to spot bad science and emotion targeted arguments. The coal miners Bloomberg would put out of work would be screwed. Not only would they have to move to a new state, they would have to start over with an entirely new set of skills while having expensive responsibilities most of us didn't have when we were starting out.

I should point out: Coal itself is playing out in several parts of the US. Coal, like pop music, is eating itself.

about 8 months ago
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Damming News From Washington State

ALeader71 Re: WTF? (168 comments)

Agreed. There are supposedly well educated people who believe none of the public works projects like Hoover Dam used private companies to build them. Thankfully a simple search proves them wrong.

about 9 months ago
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Damming News From Washington State

ALeader71 Re:O.M.G (168 comments)

So we should follow North Korea's example and have a government enforced "lights out" policy? No thanks. I prefer the 21st century over the 18th.

about 9 months ago
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Face Masks Provide Chinese With False Hope Against Pollution

ALeader71 This used to be us (156 comments)

This is what US and most European cities looked like in the 19th century. It's the face of unfettered capitalism.
Any activity that enables our baser nature is destructive. It's what I believed in back in the 90s but after Bush and Obama, don't believe in now. Bush started it when it became clear that while we were willing to accept another quick mid-east war our leaders largely didn't care how long we stayed, Obama showed me how hollow and phony our two party political system is by continuing most of the same Bush policies knowing people would stop complaining once he moved into the White House.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

ALeader71 My favorite apps (531 comments)

Multi-platform:
Firefox, Chrome

OS/X:
Terminal, Outlook, Word and Excel, Dropbox, Evernote, Geektool, todo.txt, Rido

Android
Feedly, Maps, Beat the Traffic, Evernote, bar code scanner, my grocery store's app, Rido, Sonos

Windows 7:
Putty, WinSCP, Notepad++, Rdio, Sonos Linux: vim, terminal, ssh, keystore, apt-get, yum, the list goes on.

about 9 months ago
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Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation

ALeader71 Re:First blacks, (917 comments)

Personally, I think allowing businesses to post anti-gay signs will make them easier to boycott and drive out of business. Let their imagined victory be the yoke that drags these businesses into the grave.

As for Americans and racism. At least ours is out in the open. France bans Arabic head scarves in schools. Former Warsaw Pact countries are full of centuries old hatreds and revenge fantasies. Yugoslavia. Hungary. Europe buries it's hatred and covers it up with not so polite humor.

The US has somehow manages to isolate it's most vocal racists in tiny enclaves. Even the Tea Party, for all of it's bluster and nearly Christ free Christianity, found its power limited by the very Constitution they claim to uphold. The Defense of Marriage Act is the latest example. A Supreme Court with several GOP appointed justices struck this law down. We've allowed women on Navy ships and combat aircraft since the 90s and women (officially) in front line combat roles today. We aren't perfect but we are progressing. Our system is designed to prevent one person or group from obtaining too much power but it also means change happens slowly, and that's a good thing. A nation the size of the United Sates shouldn't be turned on a dime. It happened in the Weimar Republic in a destitute Germany and look how that turned out. Imagine a newly elected radical President with the same authority granted to him or her that was given to Hitler.

about 9 months ago

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