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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Companies Won't Be Around In 10 Years?

Critical Facilities Re:Yahoo and HP (332 comments)

Hi McGruber.

Nope. Not even close. The airlines don't even remotely have the expertise. Of course they have their own IT department and CTO, what big company doesn't. When you get into the nitty gritty of the infrastructure that's in place in these places, you quickly realize that these places aren't going anywhere, and no, an airline trying to save money isn't going to lay out billions (yes, with a B) to try to buy a company and then operate it not only to their own agenda, but for the thousands of other clients of said company.I mean, you could make the same argument about any of the enterprise clients of companies like these.

I know it seems like I'm being obtuse and maybe even arrogant about this. I understand that. I thought the same thing when I started working in this business about 15 years ago. I couldn't believe that these types of companies existed, and couldn't believe the inefficiency. It seemed inevitable that someone, somewhere would buy the company and operate it for their own agenda. The only thing that happens is that these ITO behemoths sometimes buy each other, or merge. Although, when that happens, it's just the same thing with a different name on the paycheck.

Trust me, once you get inside on of these companies, and understand the infrastructure that's in place to operate these facilities, you quickly realize it's not as simple as it seems on paper.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Companies Won't Be Around In 10 Years?

Critical Facilities Re:Yahoo and HP (332 comments)

Yep, I have to say I agree.

I was with EDS prior to, and then through the HP takeover. I lasted a couple of years once HP had the wheel, and my experience was pretty much the same as yours. Lots of inefficiency, layer upon layer upon layer of "management" and "leaders", none of whom knew anything about the others. It was a poorly run, rudderless organization and at first, I was amazed that it was even functioning.

But, as you astutely point out, so much of the enterprise business simply can't be moved for legal reasons, or the cost to move the stuff is so immense, it would take many years of active, focused effort (and billions and billions of dollars) to move it. In my Data Center, we had a lot of the major airlines as clients as well as some of the financial and regulatory clients, so I know exactly what you mean.

By the way, for what it's worth, when I left HP, I went to work for another ITO provider. Another major, Fortune 100 corporation that you would definitely know (I just would prefer not to name them here). I can tell you that it's actually the same here, if not worse. No one knows which way is up, I can't believe the ship hasn't sunk, but there is so much money on the line and so many clients hanging on for dear life that we're golden. I do hope that companies like mine and like the HP's and IBM's of the world figure out that the current course of action isn't maintainable. You can't keep running your ITO organizations so poorly and expect to be able to stay competitive. True, today there are only a handful of enterprise grade ITO companies that can truly provide the service for gigantic corporations, and it does take a surprising amount of money to operate a company like this. But, it's only a matter or time before someone with some money decides to put together a REAL ITO company that is actually run well, and when that happens, goodnight HP, IBM, and others. I don't think it'll happen soon, because the market is still so dependent on legacy providers, but it's inevitable, I believe.

about a month ago
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US Strikes ISIL Targets In Syria

Critical Facilities Re:DAESH, not ISIL (478 comments)

Well by that raionale, would you consider the KKK to be Christian? After all, they espouse that their beliefs are based on biblical theology.

about 4 months ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

Critical Facilities Re:COBOL (387 comments)

Hang on a second. You're telling me that your Building Automation System or SCADA system is written in COBOL? I've been working in Critical Facilities Management for about 14 years, and I haven't come across that yet, and I find it fascinating. Would you be kind enough to share which system(s) you're using? I'd be interested to learn, as some of my facilities are definitely older, and while I am not aware of any of the code bases being written in COBOL, it is something I'd love to find out more about.

Now, with that said, even the bigger, more well-known BAS's are generally still proprietary (Siemens, Honeywell, Liebert, Eaton, etc), so there is usually still a dependence on a dedicated team or vendor to update and maintain the systems, so I don't know that your system being written in COBOL (and thus needing dedicated people to maintain it) actually puts you at any sort of disadvantage when you think about it. Plus, there are some very serious banking and insurance actuary applications that are running on COBOL code form the 70's that's still going strong, so it's not absolutely crazy that it might be in place in your facility because it just "works".

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

Critical Facilities Re:As painful as it is... (552 comments)

Agreed. I think if there is ANY chance of being able to communicate, it's a moral requirement to ask. And, while the poster states that so far, it is difficult for her to blink so far, perhaps that is something that will develop. Here is an excellent suggestion from a brilliant man who is also "locked in" but absolutely refuses to let it stop him.

Jason Becker Eye System

about 8 months ago
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Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights

Critical Facilities Re:a group representing independent musicians (197 comments)

Ha! Well if we implement this system, I believe Motorhead will be the supreme champions. I saw them live back in 1989 and I swear I believe my ears are still ringing.

about 8 months ago
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Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights

Critical Facilities Re:a group representing independent musicians (197 comments)

Yeah, um, NO. In this example, ASCAP is not taking royalties on songs that are not with registered members. They are also not denying funds to those who are. The fees that this particular artist is referring to are quite common, and it is one of the ways that various venues chooses to pay for the fees that they owe for allowing songs to be performed publicly at their venue. A different way to do it would be to simply generate an invoice for each artist who performs a song where a royalty is due and give it to that artist on the night of the performance, but that's not practical, so a lot of places will simply calculate a blanket fee and charge it as one of their terms and conditions in their contract. Notice, this is not ASCAP, this is each individual venue. This is not ASCAP's contract, nor is it their terms.

Also, the artist in the article is being very misleading. The claim is that money is collected from some, but given to others. That's not what's happening. The fact is, if you're a less well known artist, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that you may have to fill out a form to get your check if your song(s) were performed live somewhere. I don't think it's crazy that ASCAP, or BMI, or any of those bodies doesn't want to get into trying to track every single live performance of every single live song at every single venue, and scour their database in real time to find when/where a song in their catalog has been performed. This person writing the article is basically saying "WAAAHHH!! I wish I made as much money as A-list artists and had people to take care of all this annoying paperwork for me."


So, strike two, champ. You still don't understand how it works, and you remain clearly in the wrong.

about 8 months ago
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Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights

Critical Facilities Re:a group representing independent musicians (197 comments)

Citation please.

I have never heard of ASCAP collecting royalties for non-members, with no written agreement in place documenting the commercial availability of their work, nor have I heard of ASCAP denying anyone any shares collected on their behalf.

about 8 months ago
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Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights

Critical Facilities Re:a group representing independent musicians (197 comments)

As a composer and a musician, I totally, 100% agree with you. This really isn't a big deal. It's a non-exclusive agreement. If you don't like the terms, sign with someone else, or start your own thing. No one's being backed into any corners here. Plus, there's also the aspect of considering that even though it is alleged that YouTube is going to pay less than other services, the amount of traffic on YouTube compared to other sites could quite possibly generate significantly more "sales" to an artist, so really it becomes a question of price vs volume (sales volume, not sonic volume).

about 8 months ago
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Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights

Critical Facilities Re:a group representing independent musicians (197 comments)

This is just patently false. I've been an ASCAP member for over 10 years. I have multiple licensing agreements with multiple firms. ASCAP only gets involved where appropriate, and does not in any way control what I choose to charge or not charge someone to use my music. I've allowed my stuff to be used for free many, many times for independent, small budget productions or student films, and ASCAP in no way prevents this.

about 8 months ago
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Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

Critical Facilities Re: I don't like the control it takes away from yo (865 comments)

Incorrect. most manual transmission cars in recent history have an interlock where the clutch must be depressed all the way to engage the ignition circuit. My last vehicle was a 2002 Nissan with a manual transmission, and the vehicle could not be started without the clutch fully depressed to the floor.

about 9 months ago
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Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

Critical Facilities Re:I don't like the control it takes away from you (865 comments)

Why the hell do we have to have these obscure geastures like "turn on the ignition while holding down the brake" and "turn on the ignition while winding down the window" to do various things instead of having a simple multiposition switch (possibly a key switch)?

Seriously? Obscure?

You've had to hold down the clutch to start manual transmission cars for years. Also, many recent cars with automatic transmissions have required you to step on the brake before turning the key. I don't see the big deal, really.

about 9 months ago
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Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

Critical Facilities Re:I don't like the control it takes away from you (865 comments)

FYI, you can still switch it to the position to run the accessories and not start he engine. Just don't step on the brake, then press the button once, and you'll get just the radio. Press it again (while again not stepping on the brake) and you'll get the rest of the accessories/instruments, and a third press (again, without the brake pedal depressed) and everything turns off. Simple.

Now, my car is an automatic, so I have not tried the roll/start on a manual transmission with a push button ignition, but it seems to me that with all of the accessories and instrumentation turned on, I don't see why it wouldn't work. And, as far as your point of needing to crank it for a while, if that's the case, there are issues that need repairing, so it's not as if you're being deprived of some designed, intended function of the vehicle.

about 9 months ago
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SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals

Critical Facilities Re:Airbnb profiting on illegal activity (319 comments)

Well, what about those folks who own their homes? The article says that they're subject to these restrictions as well. So, if you own a 5 bedroom house, and you choose to rent out a room on AirBnb or VRBO, you'll be cited as well.

To me, seems like the solution should be simple. Just handle it the way a lot of paid escorts do. Offer your room "for free" to people visiting, and then if anyone wants to "offer" you some money expressly NOT for lodging (nudge nudge, wink wink), well then they're free to do that. In the same way that you're paying escorts "for their companionship" and specifically NOT for anything else, you could make the same argument about folks staying the weekend in your spare room. They're not paying you for lodging, they're paying you for your services of guiding them around the city, or cooking for them, or allowing them to use your washer machine, or whatever.

about 10 months ago
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Study: Exposure To Morning Sunlight Helps Managing Weight

Critical Facilities Re:Personal Experiance (137 comments)

And on a related note, this "study" says that 500 lux is the magic threshold, and goes on to suggest that this level of light is difficult to achieve indoors. From personal experience, this is not true.

I spent several years working in Commercial Real Estate Management, and one thing that was always a struggle was that we'd have folks in various office type environments arguing over whether or not it was too bright or not bright enough in the office (this was in addition to everyone fighting over whether or not it was too hot or too cold....another conversation entirely). Anyway, as a solution, I had my team buy light meters, and we used the OSHA thresholds for safety for egress lighting as well as the lighting designer's standards from the blueprints of the facility as a guideline, and I would instruct my team to ensure that the light levels were at LEAST 35 footcandles, and at MOST 90 footcandles (in most cases).

500 lux = 46.45 footcandles. I can tell you that the vast majority of the workspaces in conventional offices (from my experience) is usually in the 50 to 60 footcandle range. The point being, I disagree with the study claiming that it is difficult to achieve indoors, or that you specifically need to do something extraordinary to achieve this light level.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Facebook Building Data Center in North Carolina

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Critical Facilities (850111) writes "Facebook will build a data center near Forest City in Rutherford County, investing about $450 million and creating about 250 construction and mechanical jobs during the building phase.
“After a rigorous review of sites across the East Coast, we are pleased to locate our new data center in Rutherford County. The team we will hire here will help us provide faster, more reliable and more robust service to people around the world who rely on Facebook to connect and share,” said Tom Furlong, Director of Site Operations for Facebook.
North Carolina, as well as the Triad market, have emerged as leading markets for data centers, with site selection experts citing the reliability and affordability of utilities among the leading incentives."

Link to Original Source
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Man from the future arrested at LHC

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Critical Facilities (850111) writes "A man named Eloi Cole was discovered by CERN Security as he was rummaging through garbage bins at the LHC apparently looking for his "time machine power unit". According to the article, Cole claims to be from the future where "the discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone.". I've always been more of a Twix man myself, but I could adjust to a world full of Kit-Kats."
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Oracle President forced to admit affair

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  about 5 years ago

Critical Facilities (850111) writes "With some speculating that Charles Phillips is the heir apparent to Larry Ellison, the timing of the "affair first exposed on pricey billboards plastered throughout New York's Times Square, San Francisco and Atlanta" certainly raises some questions about the motivations at work here. It seems pretty suspect that such a "key player" should have this news be made public with the looming merger."
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Training Geeks to be 'normal' at Geek Heaven

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "Apparently, Neumont University, also referred to as "Geek Heaven" has implemented several programs which attempt to socialize/normalize their admittedly eccentric student body. According to the article, "The 6-year-old school places its graduates in high-tech jobs at such companies as EBay Inc., Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp. If trends hold up, more than 90% of the 59 students graduating with bachelor's degrees today will find work within three months...Administrators forced them to close their laptops in class, established social clubs and required them to take courses in interpersonal communications and public speaking."

As would be expected, there is a major shortage of women attending this particular university. In typical geek fashion, those women who do attend the school don't appear to be particularly appreciated by their male colleagues as evidenced by a quote from student Cameron Murray who is quoted as saying, "the women at Neumont "are more like dudes with long hair," which hurts the dating scene.""

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Ubuntu Comic Book

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "In what is either many geeks' dream combination or a sure sign of the apocalypse, it seems that Hiroshi Seo, has created something called Ubunchu which is, believe it or not, a manga style comic based on Ubuntu Linux. Like Dave Rosenburg states in this article, "I await the episode where Mark Shuttleworth flies his open-source spaceship to Japan to meet the students.""
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Rumors that IBM may lay off 16,000 employees

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  about 6 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "It may come as a surprise to some, but the rumors are continuing that IBM may be laying off as many as 16,000 workers during the week of January 19th. One IBM union member was quoted saying the rumor, "puts everybody in panic mode. People are worried if they get cut from IBM, where are they going to get another job?" Nothing is confirmed at this point, but with the state of the economy, as well as layoffs and potential layoffs at Mircosoft, HP/EDS, and Sun, it's not the most far fetched rumor I've heard recently."
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Formula to win the lottery?

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "Here's some news sure to make math geeks across the country jealous: Verlyn and Judith Adamson of Mount Horeb each claimed a $350,000 jackpot this week for having the winning numbers in the state SuperCash drawing last Saturday. Verlyn , an accountant, said earlier in the week that he's a big fan of math puzzles. He claims he developed a formula for lottery picks, but his winnings have been small until now."
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The Planet Offers to Migrate Customers' Servers

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "It looks like things are going from bad to worse for the poor folks at The Planet: "With the first floor of its damaged Houston data center still without power, The Planet is now offering to physically migrate customer servers to another data center it operates in the city. The dedicated server provider made the offer this morning after a generator failure delayed the restoration of power to the first floor of its H1 data center, which suffered extensive damage in an electrical explosion and fire Saturday night." Suffice to say, someone's got some explaining to do."
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Bush threatens a veto on new surveillance bill

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "In yet another showdown between Congressional Democrats and the Bush administration, President Bush said Thursday that the House Democrats' version of a terrorist-surveillance bill would undermine the nation's security and went on to say that "The American people understand the stakes in this struggle. They want their children to be safe from terror."
The law is intended to help the government pursue suspected terrorists by making it easier to eavesdrop on foreign phone calls and e-mails that pass through the United States. The law expired Feb. 16 after Congress did not quickly renew it. Bush opposed a temporary extension and has warned that failure to renew the law would put the nation at greater risk."

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What's the best programming language to self teach

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  about 7 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "After reading through this article and some of the comments, I thought a discussion might be interesting. I studied CS for a brief period in the early 90's, but left college for another field. During that time, I studied COBOL, RPG, Fortran, VBasic, MVS JCL, and a few other languages. I never got far enough into the courses to gain any practical programming chops, and while I don't work in the field, I'm still interested in learning how to do some programming for my own enrichment. What would most Slashdotters recommend as a good language to try to teach one's self, and what method(s) do you find work well? That is, apart from reading a book, what projects, courses, sample "homework", or other resources are out there to "try out" your developing skills? I have no business need to build an application, but would love to learn a language and make attempts at using it to write something so that I would gain the experience of thinking through the project."
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Stem cells derived from skin Cells

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "In an unprecedented feat of biological alchemy, researchers have turned human skin cells into stem cells that hold the same medical promise as the controversial embryonic stem cells. Scientists believe stem cell research will be able to cure numerous diseases and regenerate failing bodies. The new technique, however, doesn't require the destruction of embryos, or use human eggs or cloning. Thus, it sweeps aside the ethical objections to stem-cell research."
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Star Trek Home Theater

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "I stumbled across this story which should make any "Star Trek: The Next Generation" fan drool uncontrollably with envy. From TFA:

Someone thought it would be a good idea to model their home theater after the Enterprise NCC-1701D from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The result is super geeky, but actually rather cool. Named the best theme theater installation at CEDIA 2007, this Palm Beach County, FL home features motion-activated air-lock doors with series sound effects, and a "Red Alert" button on the Crestron TPMC-10 controller to turn all of the LEDs bright red and flashing.
I'm just interested as to whether or not the bartender has to dress like Guinan and if Starfleet Uniforms are required for access."

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Darth Vader Rules!

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "In a move sure to make him a candidate for "All time Star Wars Geek", Benoit Lambert trumped everyone at the International Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, N.M.

Belgian Benoit Lambert's hot-air balloon, in the shape of Darth Vader's mask, is harder to navigate than traditionally shaped balloons. But Lambert says he flies confidently because "the force is with us."
I guess this just goes to show what a true geek can accomplish when left to his own devices."

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Radiohead fans complaining about lower bitrate MP3

Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "There's apparently a feeling of being 'duped' by some Radiohead fans. Apparently, there is growing sentiment that the whole purpose of releasing In Rainbows via a 'choose your own price' downloadable format was to entice people to buy the CD. From the article:

"the album [would] come as a 48.4 MB ZIP file containing 10 x 160 [kilobits per second], DRM-free MP3s." To the casual music listener, the e-mail would be little more than an order confirmation (if not, you know, totally confusing), but to a segment of Radiohead's fanbase — aand to anyone who frequents file-sharing sites — it was a call to arms.
This begs the question if a nitpick like bitrate (particularly when it's better than most iTunes bitrates) really constitutes misleading one's fans."

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Critical Facilities Critical Facilities writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Critical Facilities writes "According to this story: Microsoft Corp. will soon submit a new photo format to an international standards organization that it says offers higher quality images with better compression, the company said on Thursday.
While light on the details, this is an interesting development that begs the question, is this another attempt to gain a proprietary foothold. That is, if this turns out to be true and catches on (and that's a big IF), would that mean yet another reason people would "need" Windows?"

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