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Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

enjar Re:Fix it teechnically. (183 comments)

Unless that RFID tag is implanted in the worker, that system is going to get faked out, too.

yesterday
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The Joys and Hype of Hadoop

enjar Apple - $3B on crappy headphones. $19B on WhatsApp (55 comments)

Apple bought out Beats for $3B and change. They make middling, overpriced headphones that come in a variety of colors. Facebook dropped $19B on an app that sends messages. Facebook dropped $1B on a company that makes Polaroids on your smartphone.

$2B of investments into multiple companies that are working on a technology platform that provides methods for sifting though vast amounts of certain types of business data, running on low-cost, commodity hardware and backed by an open source project seems positively rational in comparison. I recall similar "hype" regarding companies like RedHat, who were working to commercialize Open Source projects. Sure, some of them are going to eventually fold or shut down (or get bought out), but that's part of the risk of investing. I'd imagine that one of them will become successful at offering a very saleable product that is successful.

Hadoop is only on v2, and still has unpolished bits and weirdness. But there's a burgeoning collection of add-ons and tools, and there are plenty of people who are using it successfully in production. I recall other open source projects that went through similar growing pains and weirdness, but eventually matured very nicely.

2 days ago
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Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

enjar Re:What? (437 comments)

When I was growing up it was a pretty decent way to pass some time. My dad grew up on a farm, so we'd go back for visits and do some target practice with whatever old stuff we might find around the farm. I'd shoot .22 long rifle, my dad had a .38 pistol, and my uncle had a rifle and a .45.

3 days ago
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Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

enjar Re:What? (437 comments)

The article mentions that the house was in rural Washington. It's entirely possible that the neighbor's house was quite a distance away. My in-laws live in rural western New York on 10 acres of land. They are largely surrounded by farms and forest. It's very common for people to be out shooting guns, especially in hunting season. It's not unusual to hear guns going off, or see people in hunting attire walking along the road or in a field with a firearm. I've also lived in the southern and western US and similar behavior happens there.

I live in a suburban area of Massachusetts now, and this would NOT be common here at all, since the population density here is considerably higher than a rural area, to the point hunting is not allowed in the town limits because there is no place in town where you would be far enough from a dwelling to discharge a firearm safely. There are some shooting ranges in the town but they are very self-contained. If I would go closer to the city of Boston things just get more densely packed, and people would not be shooting guns for entertainment in public.

3 days ago
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Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

enjar Re:this is ridiculous (437 comments)

The cop in in a car is a little more obvious than a camera mounted on a pole. Depending on the size of the equipment (think: GoPro that's a small enough to hold in your hand), it could be effectively invisible, especially when compared against a Crown Vic with police markings, lights and a siren. Since it's evidently a rural location, even a unmarked car parked on the side of the road for a month would be rather obvious.

3 days ago
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Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

enjar Re:There are many more good questions now (240 comments)

I'm not saying that all corporate IT is dysfunctional, just that you can't pull the "Oz sitting behind the curtain and terrify the locals with your awesomeness" crap any longer. You need to have real answers to the very legitimate questions that are brought in by the commoditization and democratization of technology.

about a week ago
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Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

enjar Re:I don't care what the user has at home (240 comments)

the real reason to have a job; results. Not to say that every policy is reasonable ... let's not get out of hand about what having a job really means.

I did pass up a job opportunity when I discovered that everything was proprietary, everything was locked down and it was all "policy". It honestly sounded like getting the simplest things done were going to be a nightmare of request forms, meetings, etc. It's hard to get results when you aren't granted some level of autonomy as a professional, and being able to try things out and prototype.

Also keep in mind with the unemployment numbers where they are, anyone isn't going to have much of a problem filling a vacancy. The problem is going to be when the job market frees up again or when that hire gains enough experience, are they going to be out the door to somewhere with less administrative crap and bureaucratic oversight, taking their experience and institutional knowledge with them? In my office, it can easily take 3-6 months to being a new person up to speed to where they can start contributing -- not because they are an idiot but because they need to learn the codebase, the tools, the review process, the bug system, who does what, who knows what, etc. After they learn all that they become a lot more valuable, and after they have been doing it a few years, they are really valuable because of the human connections they make -- in addition to technical knowledge.

about a week ago
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Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

enjar There are many more good questions now (240 comments)

Back in the days of dial up modems, green screen terminals and WordPerfect, there were not as many questions and difficulties because there were just so few valid answers. As technology grew to answer those questions, of course it became more difficult to manage simply because things got better. I recall connecting to some places at 300 baud -- when you can watch text download in real-time, of course you want a faster connection. With green screens and non WYSIWIG computing, you wondered why it was such a pain in the ass to get a document to look right and why the computer couldn't just show you what it would look like so you could not have to waste reams of paper.

Nowadays, when you can get a decently fast Internet connection that delivers realtime HD video for less than a hundred bucks a month, is it so weird to ask why bandwidth is limited at work? When many providers will give you gigabytes (or unlimited -- services like CrashPlan) storage space for free for something around $10/month, is it odd to ask why there is a storage quota measured in megabytes? When you see commercial websites that regularly update their UI, why is it so weird that people want to know why no effort is being expended to update some godawful internal tool that hasn't been touched in more than a decade?

Of course, there can be valid answers to the above -- your industry may have reporting requirements, retention requirements, backup requirements, regulatory requirements and/or a grab bag of other things (reliability, testing, etc) that make your costs for providing services very high, and the change process rather onerous. But it doesn't make the questions wrong, you just can't say "we are IT and we control" any more -- you likely need to be more well versed in your industry, or be able to communicate clearly why you still have legacy systems or how much an upgrade would cost, or how much a decent storage array and backup system costs to run.

A lot of these changes also show that IT is fairly well integrated into our daily lives, and it's no longer a "mystery" to a lot of people -- which is good because it opens the opportunity for better partnerships with company departments to do cool stuff. Rather than sit around waiting for someone to suggest a project, why not get out there and ask the departments in your organization what you can do to help them be better? Projects that are co-sponsored by departments that make the money or make the product you sell are much more likely to get funded, and far more likely to be recognized as "strategic" and "revenue positive".

about a week ago
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U.S. Passenger Vehicle Fleet Dirtier After 2008 Recession

enjar Re:This isn't really surprising at all (176 comments)

Home repairs and children ... we also similar money drains in our house.

My dad was definitely of the "paid for is great" persuasion, our family cars were driven well past the 150K mark ... which was something of an achievement for automobiles made in the 80's. Not impossible to do by any means, but today's autos can really sail by the 150K mark a lot easier than their 80's counterparts.

It seems 3 years would be an awful time to trade in, you take an enormous hit the first year and then you likely just paid it off. You could pretty easily take it another 5-7 years with just basic maintenance, and likely no payment. Shove 5-7 years of payments into the bank and you'll likely have enough to pay for for two of the same car at the end of it.

about a week ago
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U.S. Passenger Vehicle Fleet Dirtier After 2008 Recession

enjar This isn't really surprising at all (176 comments)

My wife and I were both laid off within a week of each other during the tech bubble bursting in 2001. That was a real wake-up call to do things differently with respect to money and spending. She was lucky and got another job two weeks after being laid off, it took me seven months. During that time, we really cut back on a lot of stuff and really started watching the money coming in and out. When the economy was on the mend and our positions seemed pretty secure, we replaced our old cars when new ones -- mine in 2002 and hers in 2007. I'm still driving the 2002 (it just clicked over 200K miles) and hers is still ticking along fine at 120K. Both vehicles have a few cosmetic problems (scrapes, dents, etc -- general aging, nothing horrible), but are still reliable and have been fully paid off for years. We have cash in the bank to procure replacements when they need to be replaced. As long as they are reliable and safe, there's no real compelling reason to get new ones. Even when we have to sink some money into a repair (maintenance doesn't really count -- you'd have to do that on a newer vehicle, too), the money spent on repair is generally far less than the X number of months since we had to repair something if we had a car payment. I'm also reasonably handy so I can do a lot of the work myself, which keeps the cost down -- when the windshield washer motor went out recently, I was able to replace it for under $20, no paying a mechanic $80/hr plus $20 for the part. I do turn big jobs over to the mechanic (like the timing belt), but routine stuff I can do.

When the car starts having serious trouble (e.g. electrical faults, won't start reliably, etc), a major component goes (e.g. engine/transmission) or if it becomes unsafe to drive (corrosion -- we live in the rust belt, although rust isn't nearly as bad as it used to be), we'll get a replacement. But until then I'm fine putting money away and letting it work for me and driving the thing as far as I can without having to spend the money on a replacement.

So we soldier on with our 13 year old car and 8 year old car, that would have been rust bucket jalopies when I was a kid, but due to better technology they are still quite viable as reliable transportation.

about a week ago
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Apple, IBM Partnership Yields First Results: 10 Mobile Apps

enjar Linked article is kind of light on details (53 comments)

For instance:

- Are these apps installed via a custom store, or distributed/managed using a internal company server? I'm assuming they don't exist on the Apple store -- or do they?
- Screen shots of the apps?
- Names of the apps?

As it stands it's pretty much a press release that's not really "news for nerds" ... 10 more apps is a rounding error of a rounding error of apps already in the App Store.

about a week ago
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Twitter Should Use Random Sample Voting For Abuse Reports

enjar "it's fair to ask more of them". Really? (132 comments)

What are you going to do, Bennett? Call and ask for your money back? Demand to see life's manager and return the lemons?

What's original about your idea that you don't think the folks at Twitter don't already know about from places like Slashdot, Reddit, Google, etc? At this point, crowdsourcing volunteers by one method or another to help rate the quality of something isn't exactly an unknown way of doing things. Do you have any original ideas?

about two weeks ago
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Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

enjar How long is a "long bike ride"? (167 comments)

I've trained for (and completed) a marathon and done some long-ish bike rides (several hours), not to mention taken long hikes and hours of physical labor / yard work in both the burning heat and freezing cold. The water provided by a Camelbak or a couple bottles was enough to keep things together, and the extra weight wasn't exactly killing me or making the activity impossible. If you are decently hydrated to start with, doing an hour of reasonably difficult exercise is perfectly doable with no water at all.

Seems that this is kind of over-design for the vast majority of activity profiles -- people who work out for an hour a day are already rare enough, let alone people who work out long enough to have water weight be a significant part of the weight they are moving.

about 1 month ago
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Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

enjar Re:from the believe-the-worst dept (350 comments)

Clickbait is now the dominant business model for most of the internet, as far as I can tell. People don't really give a damn about debunking, they just hit the "Share" button and pass it on to the echo chamber of their $group_of_friends who echo it back to each other and agree wildly with each other.

It's pretty much the evolution of the chain letter -> MMF/forwarded urban myths -> google finds people just like me -> FaceTwitterInterest helps even more - BuzzFeed,Upworthy,et. al generate content from the echo chamber.

about a month ago
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Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

enjar Re:Breastfeeding? (350 comments)

apt-get install breastmilk

The following extra packages will be installed:
antibodies lipids fluids newdiaper nutrients

The following extra packages will be purged:
olddiaper poo pee

about a month ago
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Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

enjar Re:An interesting article by Bennett (350 comments)

Is it relevant to Slashdot's audience? No. Perhaps Bennett should go peddle his wares at sites where people care about racism and/or breastfeeding. What if Bennett tried shopping this post to engadget, Linux News or other popular tech/gadget/science blogs? He'd be told to go away and come back with something relevant.

If you buy that the survey methodology is relevant, you need to read a lot more about making relevant surveys. The world is awash in "studies" like this one, that would have trouble getting through a high school science fair.

about a month ago
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Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

enjar from the believe-the-worst dept (350 comments)

"Bennett Haselton writes"

Yep. Checks out. But I don't believe it.

I also don't understand the point of this post. Is Slashdot hoping to get picked up on HuffPo and on a bunch of mommy blogger sites? I don't really see how Bennett's keyboard diarrhea this week is anything remotely related to "News for Nerds".

about a month ago

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