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Comments

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The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

david.emery Re:Let's use a sailng metaphor (270 comments)

Fair enough, and that begs the question whether the passengers on the ship could ever tell the difference...

about a week ago
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The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

david.emery Let's use a sailng metaphor (270 comments)

The new captain has set a new course, one that veers away from the rocks. But this ship will take a long time and a lot of leeway to make that turn.

(Of course, I thought the old captain should have been 'relieved for cause' years ago, but since personally I'm neither a customer/user nor a direct shareholder in MSFT, it really wasn't my business :-)

about a week ago
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Teaching Calculus To 5-Year-Olds

david.emery Boolean algebra & number theory in 5th grade (231 comments)

My school had a one afternoon per week gifted students program. Among other things we did programmed/self paced instruction and classroom work on boolean algebra and basic number theory. This was in the late 1960s in a middle class school district in suburban Pittsburgh (Avonworth.)

The other thing worth noting is how most mathematicians make their breakthrough discoveries before age 30. (Sorry don't have the reference for this, but I've seen it widely discussed.) So that means the earlier we expose kids "with the math gene" to more complex topics, the greater the possibility that stuff will 'stick'.

about a month and a half ago
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Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

david.emery Gartner can't add (487 comments)

From http://appleinsider.com/articl...
"The most glaring inconsistency is a disconnect between Gartner's 70.4 million iPad sales and Apple's self-reported 74 million unit sales for 2013. From the first quarter — Apple's second fiscal quarter — to the fourth, the company reported iPad sales of 19.5 million, 14.6 million, 14.1 million and 26 million, respectively. The total: 74.2 million iPads sold during 2013. "

Note these numbers are reported by Apple on SEC filings, not on press releases.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

david.emery My list for Macs (531 comments)

If I'm configuring a laptop that I'll use for both work and vacation:

Default Folder (an add-on/replacement for the Open File dialog)
Graphic Converter (photo manipulation application)
Aquamacs (very well done MacOS version of EMACS)
HDRtist Pro (HDR processing application)
OmniGraffle (Mac equivalent to Visio, drawing package)
Aperture (Photo organizing)
1Password (Password safe)
DiskWarrior (File system maintenance)
Syncovery (front end to rsync)

This doesn't include the stuff I find essential that's built into Mac OS X (and its Unix foundations, such as ssh and bash.)

And for what it's worth, I've been using Graphic Converter and Default Folder for at least 20 years, back to Mac OS 7 days. It says something about the quality/utility of these two applications that they've "stood the test of time."

about a month and a half ago
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Book Review: Sudo Mastery: User Access Control For Real People

david.emery I'm going to be elitist (83 comments)

and say anyone that doesn't understand EBNF probably doesn't need to be granted SuperUser privilege. If there are specific actions that should be permitted for trusted but unsophisticated users, set up scripts to do only those actions.

And I'll demonstrate my age by saying that Unix derivatives, including Linux, BSD, etc, etc, -have a long way to go- to match VMS for a truly useful/administrator-friendly privilege model.

about 2 months ago
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Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

david.emery Re:*sigh* (312 comments)

True, but if your company's product is, for example, software - and that software company is being run by someone with a legal, financial, hardware, operations, or non-software engineering background, the problem is much more difficult. And that's what I'm seeing. First the engineers need to be able to think in terms of business objectives (one of the best courses I ever had was a grad course in "engineering economics"). But second, the management community (starting with the business schools) need to figure out how to train CxOs that actually -understand the business they're in-.

For the last 30+ years, I've been in the large scale systems business. Most, but not all of that has been on projects for the US DoD. I've been appalled by the number of senior executives, military/government, large industry, small industry, who fundamentally don't understand software-intensive systems. As my earlier post said, their software experience is encapsulated in some small-scale programming task, rather than in large scale software engineering. On the one hand, they expect software to perform miracles because "it's software, you can change it," while on the other hand they refuse to invest in software. For the former, the best quote is from a former co-worker, "The software engineer is the system engineer of last resort."

I'm reminded of a system I once reviewed where they had a 'software problem'. But it turned out they had a -networking problem-. They were trying to move large volumes of images over a 10BaseT ethernet connection, and wondered why they weren't getting system throughput. Their ethernet was usually well over 50% loaded and couldn't handle the data. But they expected the software to 'fix' this.

about 2 months ago
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Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

david.emery I've worked for good engineering managers (312 comments)

I've had the good fortune to work for several good managers, either as direct supervisors or as senior managers, up to the Corporate VP level. That includes people in small companies, in Fortune 500 companies, and even active duty Army officers.

What I've observed is that the top levels of management DO NOT want to listen to what the good engineering managers try to tell them, about topics like staff training and retention, schedules or resources (e.g. hardware/capital expenditures.) Instead, the CxO level people promote those who tell them what they want to hear. It's not universal, but many of the good managers I've had are products of deliberate leadership/management training, rather than being promoted from 'nerd' to 'boss' and left to figure it out on their own. Part of that training is how to talk to the CxO level and how to make arguments in terms of corporate business case, objectives, etc.

The only good news is that at least in this millennium, the number of top managers/CxOs who actually know something about software, has increased. They're still a minority, but you may well find a VP who understands that software isn't "that crappy stuff that always makes our systems late, so we'll 'fix' it by throwing more cheap bodies at it." (I got really tired of the engineering VPs whose experience was in hardware, and whose ideas of software systems engineering was framed by "that FORTRAN course I took in college...")

One interesting model that was popular in the early '90s may deserve another look. Some research labs* split managerial duties, separating technical leadership from administration. Where some organizations got into trouble with that model was not treating both classes of managers as equals. The technical leaders too often got marginalized, because the administrators were the ones that talked about the kinds of stuff CEO/CFO wanted to discuss. It takes a tremendous investment at the CxO level to institute a program that recognizes and grows technical leadership as distinct from, frankly, beancounting.

* It runs in my mind that DEC's Western Research Labs was one of the organizations that implemented this approach successfully.

about 2 months ago
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China's Jade Rabbit Fights To Come Back From the Dead

david.emery It took Chinese New Years off (76 comments)

and was recovering from all the partying and travel back to the Moon.

(Seriously, great news!)

about 2 months ago
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Real-Time Face Substitution in Javascript

david.emery How soon before "Mr & Mrs Everywhere"? (63 comments)

As predicted by John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_on_Zanzibar ): a video system where your face is superimposed on the screen, showing you visiting exotic locations, participating in dramas, etc, etc?

about 3 months ago
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David Pogue and Yahoo's "Normals" Problem

david.emery Re:No RSS feed? (213 comments)

Well, I have no use for Twitter, so I guess that rules me out as a customer for the site. Unlike some others here, I actually like David Pogue's writing.

about 3 months ago
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David Pogue and Yahoo's "Normals" Problem

david.emery No RSS feed? (213 comments)

Am I the the last person in the world who uses RSS readers to browse news sites for stories that I actually want to read? After all, 90% of everything is crap and I'm looking for efficient ways to find the 10%.

The visual clutter on that site is appalling, I thought Pogue had more taste than that.

about 3 months ago
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Comparing G++ and Intel Compilers and Vectorized Code

david.emery Re:Very different code (225 comments)

Obviously you believe you're more qualified in contract law than the lawyers who were involved. Good on you.

about 4 months ago
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Comparing G++ and Intel Compilers and Vectorized Code

david.emery Re:Very different code (225 comments)

We bought support. But to get support from organization X, that organization has to first admit it is -their problem-. Please re-read my post to see that no organization wanted to take ownership of the problem.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Target's internal security team warned management

david.emery david.emery writes  |  about 2 months ago

david.emery (127135) writes "According to this story, Target's own IA/computer security raised concerns months before the attack: http://www.theverge.com/2014/2... Quoting a story in the Wall Street Journal.)
But management allegedly "brushed them off."

This begs a more general question for the Slashdot community? How many have identified vulnerabilities in your company's/client's systems, only to be "brushed off?" And if the company took no action, did they ultimately suffer a breach?"
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Samsung's comparison of Galaxy S to iPhone

david.emery david.emery writes  |  about a year and a half ago

david.emery writes "In a document from the ongoing Samsung/Apple trial, provided in both English translation and Korean original, Samsung engineers provided a detailed comparison of user interface features in their phone against the iPhone. In almost all cases, the recommendation was to adopt the iPhone's approach.

Among other observations, this shows how much work goes into defining the Apple iPhone user experience."

Link to Original Source
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"CdrTaco" on Internet immortality

david.emery david.emery writes  |  about 2 years ago

david.emery writes "Rob Maida, founder of Slashdot.org and now working for the Washington Post, made it to the Op/Ed page of the Post with a piece on 'reblogging,' including some comments on the Slashdot.org community."
Link to Original Source
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Least stressful jobs: programmer, SW engineer

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 2 years ago

david.emery (127135) writes "Time's "NewsFeed" Blog claims that Computer Programmer and Software Engineer are among the 10 LEAST stressful jobs. Guess they've never had to debug someone else's code to meet an impossible management deadline...."
Link to Original Source
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Amtrak: 12 hours for 'computer upgrade'?

david.emery david.emery writes  |  about 3 years ago

david.emery writes "Amtrak is warning its customers that its reservation and status system will go down at 03:00 Sunday morning "for an upgrade" and will be up by "early afternoon."

That's an Awfully Long Time for a mission-critical reservation to be down."

Link to Original Source
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AAPL - amateurs beat the pants off pro analysts

david.emery david.emery writes  |  about 3 years ago

david.emery writes "Bottom Line: The pros suck at predicting Apple performance, particularly when it comes to Earnings per Share and Revenue, when compared to the amateur blogs that provide financial analysis of Apple."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft, Toyota to collaborate on smart cars

david.emery david.emery writes  |  about 3 years ago

david.emery writes ""Microsoft and Toyota on Wednesday announced a $12 million partnership through which the companies will create an advanced digital information and communication system for the Japanese automaker's cars." Apparently it also includes connections to Microsoft's Cloud ("Azure") servers."
Link to Original Source
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Another insider critique of Wikileaks

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 3 years ago

david.emery (127135) writes "WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange went from being "imaginative, energetic (and) brilliant" to a "paranoid, power-hungry, megalomaniac," a former colleague charges in a new book out Thursday. Further we read: Domscheit-Berg "damaged" WikiLeaks infrastructure and "stole material," WikiLeaks said Wednesday, and the website said it is taking legal action against him-- though Domscheit-Berg denied that. (I'm not clear on what it would mean to 'steal material' from something like WikiLeaks...)"
Link to Original Source
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Assange on risks of informants

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 3 years ago

david.emery (127135) writes "From the story: The title said he told international reporters: 'Well, they're informants so, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it.' The book continues: 'There was, for a moment, silence around the table.' The allegations were made in a new book published today by the Guardian timed to coincide with another title released by the New York Times. It also reveals that Assange was so worried that he was being followed by U.S. intelligence services that he disguised himself as a woman, it has been revealed."
Link to Original Source
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CNet Analysis on RIAA-Tenenbaum - appealbait?

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 3 years ago

david.emery (127135) writes "CNet's Greg Sandoval provides his analysis/spin on the Tenenbaum decision reducing statutory damages. Among other items, it claims the Tenenbaum decision will make negotiating settlements harder, and is likely to be appealed with an assertion that the judge exceeded her authority. As seems to be typical in these cases, the litigation can go on and on until one side drops out through exhaustion."
Link to Original Source
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Affidavit for 'lost' iPhone unsealed

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 3 years ago

david.emery (127135) writes "Wired.com has obtained and published a copy of the search warrant for Jason Chen. This details some pretty funky behavior on the part of Brian Hogan (iPhone finder), such as tossing flash cards into the bushes, dropping off computers at churches, and some snarky emails from Brian Lam to Steve Jobs. This adds more detail to what increasingly looks like anything but 'innocent behavior' in this case. Regardless of what you think about publishing photos of the iPhone, it's really hard to view this behavior as "someone trying to return a lost item.""
Link to Original Source
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Signatures for a zero-day webserver hack?

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 4 years ago

david.emery (127135) writes "I'm seeing the following in my server logs:

[Tue Feb 09 02:55:33 2010] [error] [client 96.244.84.154] Invalid method in request \x95\xba\xbc\x9f\xe3\xcd\xef\x959\xe1^@\x9fq\xa8

[Tue Feb 09 08:13:21 2010] [error] [client 24.211.249.162] Invalid method in request I\xfa\x9f\xf7FEq\xa14c\xd6\x82$\x89\x97z\xfbR<\xbb\xe0-\xb0\x7f=;z\xe3:\x0e\xc7\xd8\x92\x04\xc6C\xb9\xa5\xe0\xee\xc9\xfc\x84

Sure looks like some sort of "maliciously crafted" string to me. Anyone else seeing this? What is this targeted to?"

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Intego issues 'Year in Mac Security' malware repor

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 4 years ago

david.emery (127135) writes "MacOS and iPhones that haven't been jailbroken fare pretty well (although vulnerabilities exist, there's not been a lot of exploitation). Apple does come in for criticism for 'time to fix' known vulnerabilities. Jailbroken iPhones are a mess. The biggest risk to Macs are Trojan Horses, often from pirated software."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft says there's a 'tax' to use Macs

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 5 years ago

david.emery writes "A CNet column by Matt Asay cites an interview between Microsoft's Brad Brooks and CNET's Ina Fried (http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-10064580-75.htmll). Asay points to the comments by Brooks to the effect that not using Microsoft products constitutes a 'tax' for alternatives. Here's a quote

There's going to be an application tax, which is if you want choice around applications, or if you want the same type of application experience on your Mac versus Windows, you're going to be purchasing a lot of software.

and Asay's analysis/commentary:

In other words, it's cheaper to continue paying the Microsoft tax, wherein companies give up any hope of future innovation or industry competition, than to try that dreaded, costly thing called "choice."

Particularly with things like Open Office, is there really a problem with alternatives to Microsoft? How much does choice really cost?"
Link to Original Source

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Yahoo DNS poisoned???

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 5 years ago

david.emery writes "Yesterday I got a strange email bounce from groups.yahoo.com, and something didn't look right in the headers about where the message was going. nslookup on groups.yahoo.com yielded the following: ; > DiG 9.4.2-P1 > groups.yahoo.com a +multiline +nocomments +nocmd +noquestion +nostats +search ;; global options: printcmd groups.yahoo.com. 43 IN CNAME groups.yahoo3.akadns.net. groups.yahoo3.akadns.net. 68 IN A 209.73.164.118 akadns.net. 37394 IN NS use3.akadns.net. akadns.net. 37394 IN NS eur1.akadns.net. akadns.net. 37394 IN NS zd.akadns.org. akadns.net. 37394 IN NS usw2.akadns.net. akadns.net. 37394 IN NS zb.akadns.org. akadns.net. 37394 IN NS use4.akadns.net. akadns.net. 37394 IN NS za.akadns.org. akadns.net. 37394 IN NS asia9.akadns.net. akadns.net. 37394 IN NS zc.akadns.org. asia9.akadns.net. 33620 IN A 220.73.220.4 zb.akadns.org. 1087 IN A 12.183.125.5 zc.akadns.org. 608 IN A 124.211.40.4 zd.akadns.org. 1270 IN A 65.114.105.4 eur1.akadns.net. 32741 IN A 195.59.44.134 use3.akadns.net. 35723 IN A 204.2.178.133 use4.akadns.net. 29133 IN A 208.44.108.137

Today I did the same, and got something that looked a lot more correct: ; > DiG 9.4.2-P1 > groups.yahoo.com cname +multiline +nocomments +nocmd +noquestion +nostats +search ;; global options: printcmd groups.yahoo.com. 142 IN CNAME groups.yahoo3.akadns.net. yahoo.com. 66848 IN NS ns8.yahoo.com. yahoo.com. 66848 IN NS ns6.yahoo.com. yahoo.com. 66848 IN NS ns1.yahoo.com. yahoo.com. 66848 IN NS ns3.yahoo.com. yahoo.com. 66848 IN NS ns2.yahoo.com. yahoo.com. 66848 IN NS ns5.yahoo.com. yahoo.com. 66848 IN NS ns4.yahoo.com. ns5.yahoo.com. 154843 IN A 119.160.247.124 ns6.yahoo.com. 150553 IN A 202.43.223.170 ns8.yahoo.com. 62351 IN A 202.165.104.22 ns1.yahoo.com. 63924 IN A 66.218.71.63 ns2.yahoo.com. 63924 IN A 68.142.255.16 ns3.yahoo.com. 63864 IN A 217.12.4.104 ns4.yahoo.com. 63781 IN A 68.142.196.63

This wasn't just me. My ISP's sysadmin did nslookup yesterday and got the same weird results (akadns.net) last night. So, is this evidence of DNS poisoning? Did someone somehow get the wrong data into the larger DNS infrastructure? Enquiring minds want to know!... dave"
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Google to invest in Geothermal energy

david.emery david.emery writes  |  more than 5 years ago

david.emery writes "CNN has a story about Google investing in geothermal energy: http://greenwombat.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/08/19/google-invests-in-drilling-for-geothermal-energy/ Could we see data megacenters relocating to geothermal areas? But aren't those geologically sensitive, e.g. prone to earthquakes? How hard would it be to engineer an earthquake-proof "data bunker"? The story mentions an effort to map geothermal resources in the US, could this be the start of a new energy land rush?"
Link to Original Source

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