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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Dzimas Re:They need exactly 63 999 employees (272 comments)

They need exactly 63 999 employees

You must work in the marketing department of a hard drive company.

about two weeks ago

BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

Dzimas This is the third Blackberry with a square screen. (139 comments)

Both the Q5 and Q10 phones already have square screens, although they're extremely small because both units have kept the physical keyboard and traditional rectangular shape.

about three weeks ago

Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

Dzimas Re:Who cooks at 800C ? (228 comments)

Lead melts at 327.5 degrees, zinc melts at 319.5 degrees, tin a bit less than that. You could have some serious metalworking fun in the kitchen -- get it up to 1200 degrees and you could liquify gold, silver and even copper. I seriously hope that the numbers in the summary were just an awkward conversion error, because the notion of your very own kitchen smelter is terrifying.

about a month ago

Bye Bye Aereo, For Now

Dzimas Re:They where acting like the cable co / CATV (93 comments)

Why should anyone pay a fee to re-transmit free-to-air TV signals? I understand that cable channels rely on subscription fees to stay in business, but we're talking about the major networks - ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS - that are broadcast across 94% of the United States at no charge.

about a month ago

NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars

Dzimas Re:Why should we care? (206 comments)

A politician's speech is the best you can come up with to explain why we need to reach Mars? Oh, my. JFK was all hot and bothered to reach the moon because it would upstage the Soviets, not because it was a noble or even sensible endeavor. There are a number of good reasons why a mission to mars would be desirable: (1) it requires the development of long-range manned spacecraft, (2) it gets us out of low earth orbit, (3) (in the long term) it encourages the development of new forms of long-range propulsion and an important emphasis on interplanetary life support systems. I could scrawl down a few dozen more, but the *important* bit is that it encourages us to make tentative steps into the larger solar system. And -- once we can reach other planets and moons -- perhaps there's an economic opportunity to be found that drives further advances.

about 2 months ago

A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Dzimas Re:Sometimes the "idiot" isn't the problem. (255 comments)

Yes, of course I presented the user feedback as you suggest. I also provided solid use cases to illustrate how things didn't match the way their business works and what could be done to dramatically improve it. The problem was simply that the project manager had chosen to build a technical house of cards and didn't have the budget or time to change course. When faced with clear evidence that the system simply didn't work for clients, the easiest response was to discredit and kill the messenger. That only preserves the status quo for a short while, though. In this company's case, it was a matter of about 8 more weeks before an executive review killed the project and eventually the entire division.

about 2 months ago

A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Dzimas Sometimes the "idiot" isn't the problem. (255 comments)

I've had the delightful experience of being treated as the team idiot simply for declaring that the emperor had no clothes. It was one of those death march instances where a company decided to write a "version 2.0" of their extremely good program from the ground up. They brought in extremely skilled and expensive technical leads who developed a complicated new back end that was designed to be as "infinitely versatile" and then deployed a front end to match. The result was that they took a very good user experience and turned it into an arcane and slow -- but insanely flexible -- system. Client users absolutely hated the preview releases because they simply didn't let them do their work. I was the unlucky sap who had to provide feedback to the dev team. I decided not to pull punches and deliver a factual summary. The end result? The project lead declared that, "The consulting team simply doesn't understand how the system works" and proceeded to try to ice me out of the company. The organization ultimately failed because the project was such a mess. Unpleasant, but I'm glad I stood my ground and called a spade a spade. It took a while to regain my confidence after that, but my subsequent projects have all been successful and even award winning.

about 2 months ago

The World's Worst Planes: Aircraft Designs That Failed

Dzimas Re: Does not matter (209 comments)

No, it would have required the USSR to *pretend* to upgrade their air defences. The cold war is marked by repeated overestimation of Soviet capabilities and equipment, which resulted in trillions of dollars wasted.

about 2 months ago

Virgin Galactic Passengers May Just Miss Going into Space

Dzimas A long way up (203 comments)

50 km is 164,042 feet. That's a long way up. Only 543 people have reached an altitude of 50 km or higher.

about 2 months ago

The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'

Dzimas And battery life suffers. (243 comments)

My wife still carries a 4 year old Samsung feature phone with a slider keyboard. The reason? She doesn't like having to charge a handset every day or two. Her little phone will go for several weeks without charging, so she can just leave it in her shoulder bag most of the time. Her service is also dirt cheap because she doesn't have to worship at the altar of data -- she pays about $12/month. I really wish I could do the same and cut the strings; I'd probably save about $500 a year by going data-free.

about 3 months ago

Figuring Out the iPad's Place

Dzimas Re: Secretive Democracy Alliance Meeting (333 comments)

What those of us outside the USA find befuddling is that Americans truly seem to believe that the Democrats and Republicans represent a profound left wing - right wing split,when in the broader spectrum, both parties are profoundly right wing, with a heavy emphasis on capitalism and authoritarianism. Just because the current president is pushing the notion of socialized medicare doesn't mean that the country is teetering on the brink of a Marxist revolution.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Dzimas Some of the oldest trades become useful. (737 comments)

I have a neighbour who is a weaver. She most certainly has skills worth sharing. The post-apocalyptic world would also need blacksmiths, potters, carpenters, farmers and so on. Not to mention someone capable of swinging a sword and lopping the heads off marauders intent on dragging off the young women and torching the village. The challenge is that scientists and engineers do not necessarily have the skills most critically required in the first decade or two of a new civilization, but their knowledge is critical to helping a society advance rapidly later. Hence, we'll need monks well versed in the scriptures of science.

about 3 months ago

How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

Dzimas Re: "Is This News"? (206 comments)

I discovered that the backup systems for our local cell towers run about 8 hours before you lose phone service during a major outage. While that is a small comfort, the pots system continued to run for days because of more robust generator backup. I know which I prefer.

about 5 months ago

How About a Megatons To Megawatts Program For US Nuclear Weapons?

Dzimas doubtful. (146 comments)

Sadly, the military will strongly object, claiming they must retain the ability to annihilate civilization 50 or 60 times over. "To protect us."

about 5 months ago

Whatever Happened To the IPv4 Address Crisis?

Dzimas useless summary. (574 comments)

Dear Mother of the First Transistor and all that's holy, would it be too much to write a summary that actually summarizes -- "Remember the IPv4 crisis? It's still a problem, and we're going to run into trouble sometime this year." It's only a matter of time before tabloid-grade link baiting pervades every area of writing -- imagine the joy of reading summaries of scientific articles that conclude with, "Is there a statistically significant likelihood that your wife secretly prefers canoodling with carpenters rather than network engineers? Click HERE to find out."

about 5 months ago

Can Electric Current Make People Better At Math?

Dzimas Re: maybe, but . . . (112 comments)

As a child, I spent agonizing hours fighting to do long division and multiplication by hand. More often than not, I ended up with the wrong answer and came to believe that I "wasn't good at math" simply because of mild dyscalculia. It wasn't until I was older -- and allowed to use a calculator or PC -- that I discovered that my failures were simple mental processing errors ttjat could be overcome with help from technology. So, yes, on one hand I still stumble when performing elementary calculations by hand. On the other, I spend my days optimizing DSP algorithms. Thank goodness I have a computer to do the menial tasks.

about 5 months ago

Why the Internet of Things Is More 1876 Than 1995

Dzimas Re: 2014 won't be the year of Internet of Things (142 comments)

I'm not sure what decade you're from, but my washer and dryer both have digital countdown timers and chime when they need attention. Same goes for the oven. I most certainly don't need an appliance that's designed to last 20 years to be infested with a wireless communication standard that will be hopelessly outdated in five years.

about 6 months ago

Old cellphones, in my household ...

Dzimas sell it. (171 comments)

The best thing about buying an iPhone 4S a couple of years ago is that you can sell it today for 60% of its original price. That's enough to pay for a brand new Nexus 5. Ip

about 6 months ago

EA's Dungeon Keeper Ratings Below a 5 Go To Email Black Hole

Dzimas Re: Give Me Mod Points Slashdot, I fight for the U (367 comments)

The beta design simply doesn't have the information density of the production version. Instead of scanning for interesting comments, I scroll until I get sick of scrolling and then back out to the next thread. This isn't a situation in which users are grumbling because they don't like change; it's an instance where the redesign has a dramatic negative effect on the UX. That's a potential site killer.

about 6 months ago

US Cord Cutters Getting Snubbed From NBC's Olympic Coverage Online

Dzimas Re:Why? (578 comments)

NBC affiliates broadcast free-to-air across the United States, so why should they limit online streaming? Geolocation technology is good enough that it is possible to figure out where I am in the country so that the appropriate local video stream could be sent to my computer of tablet, providing exactly the same experience as if I were watching on a TV using rabbit ears.

about 6 months ago


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