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Microsoft Announces Office 2016 and Office For Windows 10 Coming Later This Year

clodney Re:No, its a bad design (146 comments)

My point is that the ribbon is just a glorified toolbar. People use toolbars all the time without being bothered by the noun/verb dichotomy, so the ribbon is no more difficult than a toolbar, which are utterly common UI elements. Add in the text on the ribbon, tooltips on the buttons, and grouping of similar functions, and I don't see the problem.

2 days ago

Microsoft Announces Office 2016 and Office For Windows 10 Coming Later This Year

clodney Re:No, its a bad design (146 comments)

So the toolbar icon for things like open, print, save, etc. shouldn't exist?

The issue of the ribbon showing nouns for things that represent actions has existed ever since the first toolbar was created. Toolbars display icons, and pressing the icon causes an action to occur.

Like or dislike the ribbon as you wish, but don't pretend it has broken new conceptual design. I like it, but given the trend to widescreen monitors, I wish they would have laid it out as a panel on the left side of the window, rather than taking up precious vertical space.

5 days ago

The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

clodney Re:It's about raising the mean... (263 comments)

Except layoffs are determined by job title & tenure, not quality of work.

Absolutely untrue. I have seen situations where a dollar reduction was mandated, and the decision was to drop 2 high priced people instead of 3 low priced people, but outside of the case of an entire department being swept out the door, the managers/executives always seek to maximize the work they can get done after the layoff, meaning that they will do their best to keep the best performers. That doesn't require any altruism, just a desire to keep the company functional after the layoff.

about a week ago

HOA Orders TARDIS Removed From In Front of Parrish Home

clodney Re:live by the sword (320 comments)

I live in a home with an HOA, and part of the reason why is that the HOA covers lawn work, exterior maintenance on the house, and snow removal. I could by an ordinary single family home and arrange to have all of that done, but I like letting the HOA take care of it. And just like you, I am on the board of the association because nobody else wants to be, and the same few suckers keep volunteering to keep the lights on.

No doubt some boards can be total asshats, and even worse, the nice laid back association you bought into can turn into asshats as soon as one or two busybodies decide they want to be on the board. But like you say, it is a form of local government. Go to the meetings, get a seat on the board, and speak up for being reasonable.

about three weeks ago

Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

clodney Re:Airline anaolgy is incorrect (448 comments)

If I want an alcoholic beverage on my flight, I HAVE to buy it from the airline -- I can't bring my own booze through security.

Calling airline costs "unbundling" is doing them a huge PR favor. Airlines are just price gouging, plain and simple.

Actually, the airline won't stop you from bringing your own drinks on the plane, that is the TSA. In fact, at Minneapolis airport there is a nice wine shop where I can pick up a sandwich and a bottle of wine to bring on the plane with me. I have seen the same thing at other airports as well.

about three weeks ago

WSJ Refused To Publish Lawrence Krauss' Response To "Science Proves Religion"

clodney Re:Yawn (556 comments)

I can also believe that the WSJ editors didn't want to start a flame war in letters to the editor, which discussions of God/creationism inevitably turn into, doing nothing but infuriating the true believers on both side of the issues and providing entertainment to those egging them on.

I haven't read either one, but I think the first error was printing the original piece, and they were correct to leave it at that.

about three weeks ago

How the FCC CIO Plans To Modernize 207 Legacy IT Systems

clodney Re:Longtime employees? (74 comments)

No government agency should have longtime employees. It's supposed to be a service, not a career.. It's these oldtimers that are making all the problems we endure. The bureaucrats are the "secret government".. We must purge them completely every few years.

So right about the time people start getting good at their jobs we should fire them all? If your goal is to ensure that the old stereotype of government being incompetent at everything gets reinforced, then that is a great idea. If you value things like, you know, competence, this sounds like a horrible waste of my tax dollars. And in many cases I trust the bureaucrat to do a better job than the politician who has honed everything to a 10 second sound bite without any real substance behind their ideas. At least the bureaucrats have skin in the game, in that they have to implement the policies.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

clodney Re:Nonsense (294 comments)

like this will just make you look stupid and change averse to your employer.

No... it's obviously just aversity to excessive, unnecessary and crippling micromanagement. It's obviously some idiots in suits who are change averse and feel they need to justify their existence by "approving" or "disapproving" of each and every required security update or patch or system admin action.

In my experience, managers are lazy. If patches are going smoothly, with no unanticipated downtime and no obvious problems, it is unlikely that somebody will be pushing to implement a CAB, knowing it means more paperwork and more meetings. I suspect that there was some high profile downtime, or an unannounced outage that led to this.

about 9 months ago

Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

clodney Re:IANA Physicist, So... (630 comments)

The projectiles are also much less affected by gravitational drop and windage - I would think proportional to the velocity - so accuracy will be better.

Um, no. Gravity cares not how fast it is going. It will still start falling towards the earth the moment it is launched. Now it is true that while traveling at mach 5 the horizontal distance it drops will be much less over a unit of distance traveled than a slower shell, but it is still falling. I would be shocked if the targeting computers did not take gravity into account - unless they are skipping the computers and just using the force.

about 10 months ago

Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry

clodney Re:Not Cost! (473 comments)

All that said, I don't think the complexity or cost is the issue. I think the primary change is social. People returned from military training wanting to do some of the things they did in the service. So amateur radio grew, aviation grew, recreational shooting sports grew, sport diving grew... but if you look at the statistics today, there aren't as many who make the transition from military to civilian life. It ended when the draft ended --and those baby boomers are retiring and dying off.

Great post, and I agree that for aviation the reduction in number of military pilots is certainly a factor. But I am going to quibble about SCUBA diving - equipment has gotten vastly better and relatively cheaper over the last 30 years I have been certified, and I don't think people who were trained by the military has ever been more than a tiny fraction of the diving population. My impression is that diving is getting more popular, not less, but I admit that I don't have any statistics to back that up.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Are AdBlock's Days Numbered?

clodney Re:NoScript (731 comments)

If you take the view that the purpose of the website is to promote the company, and the purpose of the Ad is to, err, advertise (either the company, one of their services, or an affiliate), then the Adblock arms race will probably be ultimately won by that company's competitors:

That is fine for a site that exists to sell products or a service, and indeed in many of those cases you will find no or very limited ad presence.

The problem comes about when the site exists to sell advertising, with the content on the site being the hook to get people to the site to see the ads. This is the model for most every news site, even news for nerds. Paywalls have not gone over well in the market, and everybody wants content to be free, but the reality is that these sites have to pay the bills somehow.

1 year,11 days

Revolutionary Scuba Mask Creates Breathable Oxygen Underwater On Its Own

clodney Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (375 comments)

"Anyway, the tank could have some N2 in it to start with so the problem could be mitigated."

You don't want to be breathing any N2 at depth. Ever heard of the bends.

They used to use a Helium mixture for deep dives, I am not sure what they do these days

Outside of specialized mixtures for deep dives (well beyond the usual recreational dive limit of 130 feet), divers breathe either ordinary compressed surface air (80% nitrogen), or nitrox/EAN, which is a mix with increased oxygen content. Interestingly, the increased oxygen in nitrox is not there for its own sake (i.e. with healthy lungs there is no physiological benefit to breathing an increased fraction of oxygen), but rather as a cheap way to displace some of the nitrogen, allowing longer bottom times before having to worry about decompression stops or getting the bends.

Dive organizations love to push nitrox since it is another certification and an upcharge on fills from a dive shop, but in my experience it is used by less than 10% of the divers I have seen.

1 year,12 days

CES: Laser Headlights Edge Closer To Real-World Highways


Springsteen is Mr. Mumbles. It's difficult to understand anything he sings.

While that particular lyric is indeed hard to understand (and for the record: "revved up like a deuce another runner in the night"), in general I don't think Springsteen is hard to understand.

But I will also note that the most popular recording of that song (at least in the states) is not Springsteen, but Manfred Mann's Earth Band

1 year,22 days

Unencrypted Windows Crash Reports a Blueprint For Attackers

clodney Re:Next! (103 comments)

Several times I have gotten the little popup in the tray of Win7 telling me that there is a fix for an issue that I have had. Usually it takes the form of a driver update or a hotfix.

At one point I worked for a company that used Windows Error Reporting in our app, and MS did indeed route the crash reports to us, which we did debug and generally fix.

1 year,26 days

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

clodney Re:Well... (796 comments)

I read Anthem in high school, and it remains the only Ayn Rand book I have read. Even as an idealistic 15 year old my conception of Ayn Rand was of someone who would object to laws regulating what side of the street to drive on as an intolerable infringement on her liberty.

1 year,26 days

Tesco: 3D Printing Will Come To Supermarkets 'Within a Few Years'

clodney Re:"in a few years" (81 comments)

No one makes their own clothes, very few people have a computerized sewing machine and buy clothes plans, what makes you think that something more complex and more esoteric is going to catch on like this? Too much sci-fi?

This is an excellent point. 3D printing is a potentially transformative technology that is very much in its infancy. How many things are there that are made out of a single material, or even a small number of materials suitable for 3D printing?

Can you print chips? Capacitors? Can you make a metal latch on a plastic body? Right now I think the answer to all those things is no. 3D printing is great for modelmakers, and some specialty niches, but it is a very long way from replacing any significant manufacturing. And even when it evolves to that point I would be surprised if a capable printer would be something that it would be worthwhile to buy for your home.

about a year ago

New York's Financial Regulator Subpoenas Bitcoin Companies

clodney Re:Can Someone Explain To Me The Difference... (259 comments)

And that is the real problem goverments are having with bitcoin.

The FED doesn't have their say about it or get their cut. The IMF. Whatever the central agency of EU is..

Every country has that one group who is above the law because they control the money.

Bitcoin doesn't have that. Has no place for that. Thats why it'll end up being banned outright eventually. Unless they can figure out how to implant themselves into the bitchains and get their cut. keep control. monitor everything they want. and have their say about it's 'value'.

I really don't think it is that simple.

Admittedly the government can't control the money supply of bitcoins; it is not even clear that that is a good thing. The argument against the gold standard is that it takes monetary policy off the table. But aside from not permitting unlimited issue of bitcoins, what else would be different?

Suppose my employer paid me in bitcoins, and I was able to conduct all of my transactions in bitcoins. OK, my company contracts with ADP to do their payroll, who in turn do direct deposit to my bank. The bank holds my store of bitcoins. When my credit card statement comes, I tell the bank to transfer n.m bitcoins to the credit card company.

The point is, without a significant reworking of the entire financial industry, it doesn't matter what currency is used. ADP still knows how much I get paid (and have you noticed how ADP is cited as a source for unemployement data now, because they process so much of the payroll in the USA?). My bank knows which transactions have been made on my account, and report to the financial regulators in the same way. The credit card company knows what I am buying, just like they already do.

The only way that I see bitcoin making a difference is if the entire things is completely decentralized, taking banks, payroll companies and credit cards out of the picture. And you know what? I think of myself as a privacy geek, and all of that is too much hassle for me. What is going to be the motivation for the average person to completely dismember the financial services industry?

about a year and a half ago

Losing the War Data For Iraq and Afghanistan

clodney Re:On the shoulders of giants (62 comments)

The problem is that much of the existing data were collected in an ad hoc manner that reflects the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions.

With each generation the prior generation of technology often looks ad hoc or patched together. Given that these operations happened over a decade ago it's no surprise that the data was handled poorly by today's standards.

I find it hard to believe that anybody is the least surprised by this. Look around your organization. Surely there is some guy down the hall who has taken it upon himself to keep track of something that is not required but that makes his job easier or piques his interest. After awhile people start to realize that he has a list of which customer has been sent which update, something which for some reason is not tracked in the CRM, but is sometimes very useful to have. He faithfully maintains the list for several years, until he moves to a different job. Turns out his successor does not find the information as useful, so stops collecting it. 2 years later it is hopelessly out of date and it gets deleted.

There were *millions* of people involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. That kind of semi-official record keeping had to have happened thousands of times. Suppose I work for a battalion of engineers doing electrical grid repairs. The CO has to make a report to Brigade every month on various metrics. Some staffer compiles the info every month for a Powerpoint. After the tour ends and the CO is no longer reporting to Brigade every month, why would I continue to maintain the data? Who is going to come asking for it? So I delete it. Now repeat that for thousands of records.

about a year and a half ago

Steve Ballmer Reorganizing Microsoft

clodney Re:DOJ, pay attention (387 comments)

Windows isn't done until Lotus won't run.

Expect to see more undocumented syscalls for Office Apps, IE, SQL Server, SMB, etc, etc.

-citation needed-
I have never yet seen any evidence that MS had more than trivial calls to undocumented APIs. Given the siloed nature of the company that is nominally being addressed by this reorganization, you would expect that the Windows group wouldn't cooperate with the Office group, and would not do anything to make life more difficult for ISVs, who after all are what drive much of the adoption of Windows.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Prove an IT Manager Is Incompetent?

clodney Re:if.. (331 comments)

you have the ability to assess and IT Manager, it means you must be able to be one yourself...

Not at all. Otherwise no professional sports team would be coached by former minor league players. Management is a distinct skill from any of the technologies used by an organization. That is not to say that someone who has no background in IT is going to be a successful IT manager, but as you go up the ladder the need to be conversant with technologies currently in use becomes less and less important. If that were not true, the implication would be that the CEO would be required to be competent to perform literally any job in the company, since all functions report to the CEO.

One of the hard parts about management is dealing with limited information and knowing how to assess the information you are given. You don't have the time to be an expert, you don't have time to understand the details, so you concentrate on putting together a staff that you do trust.

about a year and a half ago


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