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Sparse's Story Illustrates the Potholes Faced By Hardware Start-Ups

grelmar This product turns a profit??? (103 comments)

$160.00 for an over-designed, under-powered, pretty light made out of a couple of pieces of stamped metal, a lens, and some LED's???

Wow... Hipster bicycle wanks are even bigger suckers than Hipster cult of the Mac wanks...

Oh... Wait. My bad - subset of the same Hipster wank crowd. Carry on.

about 2 months ago
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After 22 Years, Walt Mossberg Writes Final WSJ Column

grelmar Re:A tragic waste... (100 comments)

Hey CohibaVancouver:

I spent two and a half years working the night shift at, what at the time, was the largest homeless shelter in North America, with up to 1,200 "clients" per night. Most nights were quiet enough that I had plenty of opportunity to sit down and shoot the shit with the guys, and got to know a lot of them quite well.

You are correct about how people end up in shelters - in general, they're people who've been screwed hard by life.

But here's the thing: Many of them, while they failed at fitting in with larger society, and usually had some form of mental illness or drug addiction (usually both), were, surprisingly, non criminal. They pan-handled, bottle picked, worked off the cash corners, or at worst did some "chip dealing" to cover their habits. Some even worked their way out of the pit they had dug themselves into, or had been dug into by a raw deal.

Some were petty criminals - small time dealers, shoplifters, etc. who wouldn't hurt a flea.

And some were just plain evil, fucking nasty, pieces of shit who would slit your throat for a grin.

Having a disadvantaged upbringing can make life hard, maybe inescapably hard for people.

But it is ZERO excuse for becoming a violent sociopath. I saw way too many people rise above their shitty, abusive upbringing to become decent human beings, even if they failed at life, to condone or offer any excuses for those worthless evil scumbags who used their childhood problems as an excuse for the evil they committed.

So kindly pull your fairy-tale viewing head out of your ass, get on with life, and vote conservative, mm-k? Because evil bastards don't get cured. They either get dumped in a concrete and iron hole for life, get the chair and save us the grief of wasting resources on them, or con some snivelling panty wasted "counsellor" and parole board into cutting them loose so they can go back to destroying the lives of people who work for a living and contribute to society.

Or, even better, seeing as your NIC indicates you're from Vancouver, go spend a couple weeks on urban safari down at Hastings and Main. I'll toss flowers on your grave when they pull your corpse off the street.

about 8 months ago
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Swiss War Game Envisages Invasion By Bankrupt French

grelmar Re:Not to worry! (245 comments)

Yah, and that worked so damn well in A-Stan that America eventually just quietly started wandering off the field after a decade and declared "Victory" by handing the problem off to a puppet government they created - knowing full well that all the leaders of said puppet government are going to be up against a wall within five years of the last American troops pulling out.

All that tech, and the American/NATO militaries couldn't defeat an insurgency supported by a population with a tech level roughly on par with 10th Century Bulgaria.

Why? Because if the locals don't want you, and have access to even rudimentary firearms, sooner or later, you gotta just leave.

And the Swiss have some very nice rifles, and also hold an annual nationwide marksmanship contest (the largest marksmanship contest in the world at 200,000 participants http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland).

Oh, and for reference on what a cranky old Afghan can do with an antique rifle vs. a highly trained Marine unit... http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=327_1301285726&comments=1

Quite playing COD and read a history book. Your perception of how warfare plays out is deeply misguided.

about a year ago
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The Canadian Government's War On Science

grelmar Re:And no one was surprised... (474 comments)

Mulcair and Trudeau are both highly inspirational leaders... In spite of neither of them being in power and standing no chance of getting elected, they're inspiring everyone West of Ontario and East of Van City to stockpile guns and ammo on a level that would make a Texan blush. (And I'm only partially kidding - if you live in the above mentioned region, go to a gun shop or range and take a look at what's on the shelves, then ask the clerk WTF? The main joke is it would be impossible to buy enough guns 'n ammo to make a Texan blush.)

about a year ago
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Sprint CEO Defends Company's Decision To Bet It All On the iPhone

grelmar Re:Tired of smart phones (187 comments)

You know, I'm looking forward to my contract running out so I can dump my iPhone for a "dumb" phone, but for different reasons - and for a phone I'm not sure I can get.

I just want a basic feature phone with a long battery life, that has a 4G antennae and bluetooth in it so I can use it to tether whatever real computing device I want at need. 95% of the "smart" features on my phone I don't use anymore, because they've been replaced by the same features on my larger screened Android tablet, and I also tether my laptop from time to time when I need a connection and a real computer when I'm out and about. All my iPhone serves as anymore is basically an internet hot spot for either, and (*gasp*) I use it to make phone calls. I'd much rather have a battery that lasts a week of regular phone usage on a much smaller flip phone that fits easily in my pocket.

more than 2 years ago
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$1.5 Billion: the Cost of Cutting London-Tokyo Latency By 60ms

grelmar Why focus on Trading when we talk about latency? (158 comments)

There are so many internet applications where low latency is a win. VOIP, remote systems management, two-way graphical applications that for various reasons are location sensitive (there's more of these types of apps then you realize - think proprietary software that would be either illegal or economically dangerous to physically locate outside of NA or the Eurozone, including geophysical analysis software for mining/oil exploration, among other things)...

There are lots of scientific applications where latency is critical.

But oh, that would be difficult to discuss. Much easier to relate everything to a vilify-able application.

Come on, for once, talk about the benefits of a mega infrastructure project.

Oh, right... Slashdot. My bad. That's just not what we do here.

more than 2 years ago
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Canadian Charges Against US Manga Reader Dropped

grelmar The Lesson To Be Learned Is... (298 comments)

When you have to cross a border, assume that the customs agent is going to be an under-educated, under-paid, bigotted, rule thumping misanthrope with an axe to grind who's job is essentially workfare for the distant relative of a petty bureaucrat.

I've traveled through North America, Asia, and Europe, and the above statement would apply to 95% of border guards/customs officials I've had to deal with.

1. Travel light.
2. Pack no printed material of any sort - if you're traveling for business, fax, email, or Fedex your documents ahead of you.
3. Computers/Laptops can and will be confiscated on the slightest pretext. You will never see it again. It's an early Christmas/Birthday gift for the Customs Official's kid.
4. Learn the etiquette of bribes for the country you are about to visit, especially in the "in some places its really dumb to try and bribe officials, in others it's an insult not to bribe them" sense.

more than 2 years ago
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Cloud To Create 14 Million Jobs? Not So Much

grelmar IT dpts won't shrink, services will increase... (264 comments)

I work as a systems and solution architect at a company that has been offering "cloud" services for 9 years - well, we only started calling it "cloud" a year and a half ago, but the product didn't change, just the marketing pitch. Sure, I may be a bit biased because "cloud" is providing an excellent lifestyle for my family and myself, but the reality of how it affects our customers on a larger economic scale is much different than "the sky is falling" opinions I'm seeing in here.

Our customers are primarily enterprise software developers and vendors, so our experience is going to be somewhat different than what the average mom & pop IT shop will see, but maybe not.

What we provide our customers is specialized knowledge and capabilities in one specific area of the IT sphere. Our infrastructure is located "in the cloud" as far as our customers are concerned, with iron racked in 6 different locations in a total of 4 different countries. We take a HUGE design, provisioning, and maintenance burden off our customers.

And we have cost the jobs of not one single person in the IT departments or Development teams of our customers.

And here's why:

What our provisioning of cloud services has allowed these companies to do is scale in a way that would have been too expensive otherwise. Over the long haul, this means that the existing IT/Dev staff within these companies get to have a 50 to 100 fold greater impact with the work that they do. In turn, this creates more income for the companies that employ them. The companies that employ them see greater profits and margins from the areas that employ our services, and do what is a very rational thing for corporations to due: they INCREASE the size of these highly effective departments. They take IT staff and resources from failing projects, and pump them into the projects that are effective and profitable. They hire extra staff to increase the size of the departments with this extra revenue and margin.

That's how big business makes money. They kill the week departments and shift resources to the strong ones.

The net effect of our services to our customer staffing levels is invariably an increase. Without exception.

I don't know about standard corporate IT. I've never worked in that space. But if you are working for a development house that isn't already leveraging cloud services, or at least looking seriously at doing it, then it's time to fire your employer, before they get run over by their competition and leave you holding the bag when your paycheques stop coming on a regular basis.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Money-Making Home-Based Tech Skills?

grelmar Server - Nagios/Cacti Babysitter. (332 comments)

First, to repeat what others have said - think local and network like crazy.

There are a lot of small-mid sized corporations that have a small (1-4 person) IT team but have an infrastructure that needs 24/7 monitoring. And if there's one thing that's universally despised by overworked sysadmins, it's being force to carry "the pager".

No matter how well you set up your Nagios/Cacti monitoring, there is inevitably a high number of Flaps going to the pager "WARNING!!! Agg!! I can't ping Server Z! Panic! Meltdown! The sky is falling" page goes out automatically to the pager. 5 minutes later after an automatic recheck "RECOVERY!!! Oh, never mind, it was just a network burp, the sky is not falling, the world is a calm blue ocean."

For anyone who's been through the "pager" rotation mill, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

The actual skills needed are "common sense" and responsibility. The pager goes off, you read the page, and try and determine whether it's something mission critical (ie: worth waking up the high priced help at 3am over), head to your keyboard so you can do a quick check of the detailed message/status, and fiddle and kill time for five minutes while you determine if it really is a flap. If it turns out to be something that's a) Important (something that can't wait until the morning) and b) not a flap, then you call the high priced help and they sort out the problem.

Equipment needed: A Cel phone with an obnoxiously loud ringer (the better for to wake you up), a computer/laptop with an internet connection (so you can log into Cacti/Nagios remotely), comfy sweatpants.

In a short time you can build yourself a rep for being reliable and trustworthy, you will have no problem increasing your income by adding more and more small customers.

more than 2 years ago
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Swiss To End Use of Nuclear Power

grelmar Re:Headline Misleading (470 comments)

I read through the Wikepedia on this, and it reeks of "best case" distortion math. "Best case Solar Cel Efficiency with 'current' technology' " + "Best Case Transmission with 'current' technology' " + "Best Case Weather Patterns" + "Best Case The Middle East won't self immolate in yet another political upheaval" + "Best Case consortium of European Governments/Societies agree to set aside 1500 years of pissing on each other, get along, saddle themselves with massive government debt to fund all the construction in the firm belief that the Wogs won't rise up and steal it after we've paid to build the thing."

This is Blue Sky engineering at it's best (worst). If you remove any one of the "best case" propositions, the whole thing falls apart.

more than 2 years ago
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Dutch Court Lifts PlayStation 3 Seizure Order

grelmar Yesterday's War (95 comments)

Spinning disks are yesterday's war. It's all just data, and there are better ways of moving it around. Let the behemoths slug it out over patents and DRM. They can fritter away their accumulated wealth on armies of lawyers in the courts until they get broken up and swallowed by the rapidly growing companies that understand that the medium is now broadband, not some overpriced, over-packaged chunk of plastic.

more than 3 years ago
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UK ISPs Profit From Coughing Up Customer Data

grelmar I wonder if this opens the ISP's up to liability.. (59 comments)

Not exactly sure about the UK, but I know here in Canada that FOIP (Freedom of Information and Privacy Act) has provisions that mean that ISPs aren't allowed to give out that info without a court order, and would be subject to Federal criminal prosecution if they did hand out the info to private 3rd parties. I had thought the laws were similar in the UK. It would be interesting if one of these users sued their ISP for unlawful disclosure of personal information. The privacy act in the UK can be nasty to those who break it. It all depends whether that information is protected or not. FOIP is the big reason why you don't see these types of lawsuits in Canada, that and a long history of the Canadian courts telling rights holders "tough noogies" when they sue people who make copies for personal use - we pay a blank media tax that gets divvied up amongst rights holders as a hedge against piracy.

more than 3 years ago
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Electronic Voting Researcher Arrested In India

grelmar Re:governments (188 comments)

You're IP has been noted and the Men In Black will be visiting shortly.

more than 3 years ago
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"Canadian DMCA" Rising From the Dead

grelmar Re:please be broad-minded (211 comments)

The current state of the political scene is working against the Conservatives here, so hopefully this will die another death.

The NDP will vote against this as a matter of policy. Heavy handed copyright just doesn't fit with their philosphy, and they know they would be in deep trouble with their core supporters if they played nice with the Conservatives on this. There really isn't any middle ground for them on this.

The Grits, in theory, could go either way. They've tried to push through copyright reform when they were in power as well (an failed). But they're lagging in the pols, so I would suspect they'll take the expedient, populist route (in fine Grit tradition) to try and close the gap a bit. Iggy's an academic, and the academic circles are almost universally opposed to this reform, so it would fit with his background to oppose the legislation. It might just be the podium he's been waiting to pound on the get some good press for a change.

The Bloq... Aww, heck, who knows. I suspect they'll oppose this just for the populist support in Quebec, but you never know. The Bloq is brutally unpredictable when it comes to national policy.

Overall, I'd say the chance of this passing is 51/49 against. But it's slim. If the Tories make this a confidence vote, it will really put the other parties against the wall, because a snap election works in the Tories' favour at the moment.

more than 4 years ago

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