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Comments

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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

Streetlight Changing MS's corporate culture will be tough (204 comments)

Changing MS's corporate culture will be comparable to driving a fully loaded mega oil tanker through the same S curves as Formula 1 cars traverse. In another word, impossible. By the time any minimal action is started in this area, Nadella will likely be retired or fired.

about two weeks ago
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Funding for iFind Kickstarter Suspended

Streetlight Were are the folks who started it? (104 comments)

Are these folks now in some country the US does not have an extradition treaty with?

about a month ago
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Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

Streetlight Why do we work (710 comments)

It seems we work for at least a couple of reasons. One is pretty obvious, that is, to earn income to support a hopefully comfortable life for ourselves and our family and provide a secure retirement. Maybe also something for our heirs. There's also the whole business of enjoying our work so as to feel accomplishment, contribute to our company's and society's improvement and success, and professional and personal associations with coworkers. What happens when all this becomes unbearable because over work compromises or destroys these features of work? You may be earning a living but without any joy not only affecting your personal life but your work and its quality. Is this burn out? Companies must begin to realize this and make changes.

about a month ago
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New Evidence For Oceans of Water Deep In the Earth

Streetlight 300 miles down... (190 comments)

At first I thought this might be impossible to build a well to get at this water as the well pump would require nuclear reactors to power it. Then again it might be hot enough down at these depths to get steam up the well, but what kind of material would line the drill hole to prevent its collapse? This water is not going to solve the need for water in California's Central Valley anytime soon.

about a month ago
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House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Streetlight The Democrats voted for the Tea Party guy (932 comments)

A CNBC commentator suggested that since the VA primary was an open primary results showed that the Democrats put the Tea Party guy over the top. We'll see in November if the Democratic candidate beats him. The same thing is happening in the Republican Colorado governor primary. The Dems are putting out ads for an ultra right wing republican candidate to insure a November victory for the current moderate Democratic Governor.

Ain't politics fun!

about a month and a half ago
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GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

Streetlight Re:Ignition switch not the main fault (307 comments)

I was thinking somewhat the same thing.

If the wheels are turning in the forward direction maybe above a certain speed, the air bags should be deployable. If the car is moving forward or backwards, the power brakes should be available as well as power steering. I'm not sure how power brakes and steering are controlled in today's cars; someone can comment. I know in older cars, power steering used a pump run by engine belts so if the engine stops, power steering stopped. Power brakes used a large vacuum reservoir that worked for a few pumps if the engine were off but probably would fail if a car were at high speed. On my Prius, power steering uses a linear electric motor on the rack and power brakes use an electric pump, so gasoline engine failure would not be a problem unless there were a catastrophic electrical failure. Of course the Prius gasoline engine does stop while driving down hill or while coming to a stop, so these features were necessary. One problem that also should be addressed is if the car is moving the steering wheel lock must be disabled. For many people with adequate muscle strength loss of power steering/brakes from a stopped engine may not be a problem controlling a car, but if the ignition switch locked the steering wheel column, directional control would be impossible.

about a month and a half ago
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GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

Streetlight Re:Welcome to the "Big Three" (307 comments)

I think it's more than the corporate culture although the corporate culture is also associated with the development of a committee hierarchy that produced the insulated silos at GM. I lived in the Detroit area for many years - did not work in the auto industry - and it was well known that at GM any decision required working through interminable committees to get an action decision. This is clearly the case with the ignition switch/air bag situation discussed in the report.

One of the conclusions in the report was that no one at GM knew completely how their cars worked. It appears that the department responsible for keyed locks was asked to design an ignition switch that used a printed circuit board for low voltage/current control of its output. It looks like it would have four output signals: one for off, one for accessory one for run, and one for crank-and-start. The switch output would go to a computer that decided what to do in each case, i.e., in run, keep the engine running, allow some lights to turn on, energize the air bag detectors, etc., in accessory, turn off the airbags, let the radio work, etc. The engineers, however, didn't know what the four signals actually controlled since the computer group was in a different department and the computer was obtained and programmed by Siemens. There was a wall between the two departments. Furthermore, another wall/delay was established because GM could only read very basic stuff from the computer and had to send the devices to Siemens after an accident to get significant output data. And there were two versions of the computer software, one for the Cobalt and one for some Saturns that stored less data even though both use the same ignition switch. This siloing of engineering responsibility prevented understanding what and how the device in one part of a car was controlling a device in another part of the car. Was it corporate culture that insulated the two groups from understanding the interaction between the parts made by each? Maybe. Corporate culture is surely responsible for never taking responsibility for any work you did or decisions you made, i.e., pass the buck.

about a month and a half ago
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GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

Streetlight I read the the document... (307 comments)

It took quite a lot of time, but the NYT posted the report and I downloaded it and read all the report up to the point it makes recommendations about reorganizing some of GM's administrative structure, which I skimmed. The folks involved in this debacle behaved like they were in a Marx Brothers movie. There's the GM Nod in which committee members all nodded that things would be done and when they left the room did nothing and the the crossed arms pointing which meant the individuals crossed arms pointing to others meaning they weren't going to do anything. There seemed to be hundreds of instances when folks couldn't remember what went on in the multiple meetings about the ignition switch issue. There apparently is an urban legend at GM that became standard operating procedure that notes were not to be taken at meetings as well as minutes. No wonder no one remembered what they were told or said. What's it called, probable deniability?

Just one situation out of many struck me as showing the engineers' incompetence: At one point it became clear that model year Cobalts after 2007 did not have the problem with the ignition switch where it would move from run to accessory just by brushing the key fob hanging from the inserted key with clothing. A couple of guys, including an intern, went to a junk yard to examine a car that had been involved in some kind of accident. The intern noticed that the ignition switched required very little torque to switch from run to accessory so the group got a fisherman's scale to measure the torque. They then got appropriate torque meters (Snap-on tools has nice ones which I have used) but only looked at the newer cars because they couldn't find any older ones to test. DeGiorgio had asserted there was no change in the switch torque from the initial design, so I'm guessing they just ignored the junk car result. My guess is they could have looked for old cars at used car dealers or car auction lots for testing or even got hold of the Michigan state motor vehicle department to find owners of older Cobalts. GM should also have a database of Cobalt VINs connected to registered owners. And of course, the ultimate incompetence was that no connection was ever made that when an ignition switch moved from run to accessory mode the air bag sensors were disabled and would have solved the mystery of why air bags did not deploy during accidents when the switch was turned.

This is a very interesting, fascinating and engrossing report and I encourage people to read it. I wonder if it might become required reading for discussion in engineering and law schools.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Products For the Over-Equipped Household?

Streetlight Re:Don't. (408 comments)

Agreed about inviting thieves to steal your Glock. I have a friend in the DC area who said he was going to get National Rifle Association (NRA) stickers and put them on all his windows as his defense against thieves, even though he didn't own any guns. I told him that that might be an invitation to the thieves to see what his armaments might look like and while inside peruse other valuables. I don't think he followed through.

An interesting aside: One day his wife was home and a couple of very big guys in suits with bulges under their left coat pockets came to the door and inquired about a couple of guys that lived down the street. Turns out they were FBI agents and the guys they were interested in allegedly robbed a bank in DC while double parked in front of the bank and their car was ticketed. Sounds like a plot from a Mel Brooks movie.

about 2 months ago
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Police Departments Using Car Tracking Database Sworn To Secrecy

Streetlight How About Using Public Transportation? (202 comments)

If you are concerned about protecting you privacy of movement, why not use public transportation? In many places it's cheaper and more convenient than owning a car provided it goes where you want to go, has a good connections and passes near-by your residence frequently. In my town, however, public transportation is very poor and and certainly in most rural areas and smaller towns is not available. On the other hand, with all these public cameras and facial recognition technology unless you wear a mask and wig, your whereabouts at a bus stop, subway station, cab or bus can be known.

about 3 months ago
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Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

Streetlight Re:Hanging (1198 comments)

From what I've read/heard, the long drop hanging may snap the neck, but does not kill those hanged. It may snap the neck rendering the hanged a paraplegic, but death occurs due to strangulation. It's not known if the hanged is conscious. In an interview with Johnny Carson, Truman Capote who witnessed the hanging of the In Cold Blood murderers it took at least 20 minutes for death to occur. Again, no one knows how long it took for strangulation to cause unconsciousness under these circumstances. Sometimes hanging goes wrong. The execution of the main characters in the Nuremberg Nazis, the hangman was incompetent and some were decapitated and the next up for the rope had to clean up the mess before they were hanged.

about 3 months ago
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Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

Streetlight 4% Not Guilty? The Innocence Project say 50% (1198 comments)

IIRC, it has been posited by the Innocence Project that 50% of persons convicted using eye witness accounts are not guilty of the crime of which they were convicted. Take a look at the number of people released over the past few years after dozens of years in prison who were found not to have committed the crime that put them there. One of the problems for the many innocent folks in prison is that there aren't many people willing to put in the effort to research their situation since there's little profit in doing so. And once an innocent has been put to death it's even less likely that the case will be reconsidered. So, what's the percentage of executions done on innocent prisoners? Who knows, but it's likely much more than 4%.

about 3 months ago
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Frigid Brown Dwarf Found Only 7.2 Light-Years Away

Streetlight Re:So this is Planet X? (142 comments)

Well, I hear the collision with the Andromeda galaxy will shake things up a bit in interstellar space in about 4 billion years...

And by then the sun will be a red giant with a radius as large of not larger than the earth's orbit. We're going to be pretty well fried by then.

about 3 months ago
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Intentional Backdoor In Consumer Routers Found

Streetlight Re:...er... (236 comments)

Open source code is only as good as its writer and those who check it. Apparently the Heartbleed got through to its users from an error by the code writer and the one person checking it didn't find it. Probably the same problem with closed source software. Why only one person checked the SSL/TLS code is a mystery to me.

about 3 months ago
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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

Streetlight What time zone is the 10:20 PM? (146 comments)

I love it when information gives the time of day but not the time zone. Is this 10:20 PM in Eastern Australia or U. S. EDT or what?

about 3 months ago
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Book Review: How I Discovered World War II's Greatest Spy

Streetlight Re:germany ran out of people (102 comments)

Maybe I have watched too many WW II movies, but here's my take on why Germany "lost" WW II:

1. Germany's invasion of Russia in September was a bad move because they ran into the Russian winter. Had they invaded in the Russian spring they would have had a whole summer for action against Moscow and maybe Stalingrad.

2. Germany ended up fighting a two or maybe it can be called a three front war: Britain and western most of Europe, Russia and southern Europe (Italy/Mediterranean/North Africa). If they had just conquered Russia first, then the West may have had trouble beating them what with the resources they may have gained from Russia including oil, steel works, technical know how, manufacturing capacity, and man power.

3. At the battle of Stalingrad Hitler split his forces - one to take the city and one to go for the southern oil wells. The Germans should have gone for one or the other but not for both. Of course, Goering promised he could supply the German army there, but that didn't happen. Of course, by item 1 above, a three or four month head start might have been successful considering the winter situation.

4. The Germans were in love with technology and size. The tanks developed and used in the Battle of the Bulge were enormous and inappropriate for the forested/hilly/river containing terrain on the way to Holland. These tanks couldn't cross bridges because they were either too heavy or too wide and they used a lot of fuel. The Sherman and successor tanks weren't the technological marvels of the German tanks, (and those of the Russians) but they were reasonably reliable and repairable by their crews, large in numbers, maneuverable and more fuel efficient. Other choices by the Allies about what to manufacture in huge numbers and appropriate quality were also important.

4. And of course the incredible cryptanalysis capability of Bletcley Park that resulted in the defeat of the U Boats and kept the supply chain running to Britain and Russia from the U. S. as well as the defeat of the Germans at Kursk the the Russian advance west.

I'm sure others can add additional "mistakes" made by the Hitler-German war machine that resulted in Germany's defeat including the nature of the German army's culture of following orders, even if they came from a mad man.

about 4 months ago
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Book Review: How I Discovered World War II's Greatest Spy

Streetlight NYT reports last of the Codebreakers dies 3/25/14 (102 comments)

Maybe off topic a little, but today (4/2/2014) the New York Times has an obituary for the last living Bletchley Park codebreaker. Jerry Roberts worked to break the code used for Hitler to communicate with the highest field military officers, Field Marshals. Apparently the Germans used an ultra type machine with as many as 12 rotors for that purpose rather than the simpler device with three or four rotors. The code he and his coworkers broke they called Tunny, not Ultra, as in tuna fish since one of the German operators was called fish.

It's an interesting read: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04...

about 4 months ago
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GCHQ and NSA Targeted World Leaders, Private German Companies

Streetlight Re:Good for the NSA (145 comments)

Not quite. The situation might be a good business opportunity for countries with high tech capability like Japan, Germany, maybe even Poland. Make the infrastructure hardware that's absolutely unhackable. That might put Cisco, Juniper, Dropbox, MS Azure, etc., out of business.

about 4 months ago
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NVIDIA Unveils Next Gen Pascal GPU With Stacked 3D DRAM and GeForce GTX Titan Z

Streetlight When Will Google Drive Go Away? (110 comments)

Google has a reputation for cancelling its services. When will Google Drive be pulled and I won't be able to get my stuff back since it would take more than my monthly data cap to do so?

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Streetlight Streetlight writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Streetlight (1102081) writes "Digital Camera Review (http://www.dpreview.com/) announced May 14, 2007, that they had been acquired by amazon.com.



"We're proud and excited to announce that Dpreview has been acquired by the world's leading online retailer, Amazon.com. Started as hobby site in 1998, dpreview.com has grown to be the number one destination for anyone interested in digital cameras and digital photography. Each month dpreview.com has seven million unique visitors (over 22 million sessions) who read over 120 million pages. 'We've worked very hard over the last eight years to deliver consistently high quality content to our readers', founder Phil Askey said. 'It will be fantastic to be able to expand and build on that without compromising our quality or independence. With the support and resources of Amazon we can achieve this.'""

Journals

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Amazon.com acquires dpreview.com

Streetlight Streetlight writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Digital Camera Review (http://www.dpreview.com/) announced May 14, 2007, that they had been acquired by amazon.com.

"We're proud and excited to announce that Dpreview has been acquired by the world's leading online retailer, Amazon.com. Started as hobby site in 1998, dpreview.com has grown to be the number one destination for anyone interested in digital cameras and digital photography. Each month dpreview.com has seven million unique visitors (over 22 million sessions) who read over 120 million pages. 'We've worked very hard over the last eight years to deliver consistently high quality content to our readers', founder Phil Askey said. 'It will be fantastic to be able to expand and build on that without compromising our quality or independence. With the support and resources of Amazon we can achieve this.'"

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