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Comments

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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

jimicus Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (204 comments)

That was pretty much my point.

You'll find similar results at every level in every business: put simply, hiring good staff is so difficult that it's a totally unsolved problem.

Seriously.

Nobody knows how to do it with any degree of reliability. All those weird interview questions that seem to serve no purpose but to puff up the interviewer? Pointless. They might as well put everyone's name into a hat to pick who they're going to hire.

about two weeks ago
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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

jimicus Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (204 comments)

This is a fairly common problem, and it stems back to one thing.

Finding staff is easy. You or I could place an advert tomorrow and we'd be snowed under this time next week. Problem is, drill through those applications and you'll probably find that 60% of the applicants couldn't even be bothered to make sure the job was vaguely appropriate for their skill set - and most of the remainder have such shocking interviews that you wonder why you bother.

Finding good staff - people who will turn out to be a real asset - that is damnably difficult. And it's a problem that gets worse the higher up the management chain you go.

I suspect that by the time you get to the very top of a huge organisation, you run into a problem: the number of people on the surface of the planet who have the experience, skills and ability needed are so few and far between that you'll be lucky if there's half a dozen potential candidates in the whole country.

about two weeks ago
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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

jimicus Re:Wha? (204 comments)

Not a microsoftie, but my guess is that "flatten the organisation" refers to the organisational chart - he reckons there's too many layers of management.

He may well be right. Too many layers of management often leads to stagnation because you wind up with every little decision having to be scrutinised to ensure it passes muster at every level of the chain. Personally, if I was a middle manager at Microsoft right now I'd be looking very seriously at polishing up my CV.

about two weeks ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

jimicus Re:Why didn't they just listen to users? (681 comments)

Rumour has it - I don't know how true this is so take it with all the salt you think it needs - that Microsoft built a thumping great process around the idea of listening to their beta testers.

Huge. Vast. Really clever. And it only worked if you were testing on a computer that was connected to the Internet.

You think Metro is bad normally, think how much fun it'd be on a non-Internet connected PC.

about a month ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

jimicus Re:And here I'm hoping... (681 comments)

It can be 64-bit only without ditching 32-bit support; 64 bit Windows runs 32 bit applications just fine.

about a month ago
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Dell Exec Calls HP's New 'Machine' Architecture 'Laughable'

jimicus HP lost their way. Dell never had a way to lose. (173 comments)

The computer industry has been in a state of mild panic for several years.

Why?

I think Dell have a lot to answer for.

See, you go back in time twenty years, there was a lot more competition. Small computer stores in every town, larger companies doing mail order and such - you could pick up any computer magazine and 50-70% of it would be adverts.

But there is one small problem. Virtually none of those companies were run by people who had a fucking clue how to design or sell a product. About all they knew was how to assemble components into a functioning computer and flog the end result - they'd essentially industrialised the process of buying components and building your own computer.

Easiest business model in the world, on paper at least. You just had to get the components in, build your computers and get adverts in the magazines quickly enough that you could shift everything before it became obsolete and you were left with stock that you'd have to sell at a loss just to shift it.

There was just one small problem. There was precisely no imagination behind it. Pretty much the only selling point anyone could come up with was "We are cheaper than our competitors!". And if an entire industry spends twenty years using that as their selling point, sooner or later what will happen is it really will be the only noticeable difference. Once that happens, you are competing with the Wal-Marts and the Dells of this world and you're competing with them on their terms. A combination of mergers, acquisitions and wholesale business collapses has led us to where we are today - if you tried to resurrect some of those old print magazines and called up all your old advertisers to ask if they'd be interested in taking out an ad, 90% of them are out of business.

HP, it seems, have finally had enough. They're throwing in the towel in this race to the bottom - they've decided that rather than bet the company on being 2% cheaper than Dell on average this quarter, they're going to bet the company on doing the same thing but doing it better. Frankly, this is a refreshing change and one that the entire industry is in dire need of.

about a month and a half ago
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Sparse's Story Illustrates the Potholes Faced By Hardware Start-Ups

jimicus Re:Blatant Slashvertisment (103 comments)

Only barely a mention of some minor hiccups, that get treated as an industry problem, rather than the realities of an incompetent start-up that simply didn't know WTF it was doing.

I tend to agree with you on that one. The PSU was refused certification in the EU three times? How the hell is that even possible? The damn things use a USB charger, I cannot believe you can't just buy one off the shelf in bulk at a decent price that has already been through all the international certification process.

about 1 month ago
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Mad Cow Disease Blamed For Patient's Death In Texas

jimicus Re: Of course they have no concerns, they don't te (132 comments)

Traditional CJD can take many years to manifest. A variant came about some time ago and the variant only takes a few years to show symptoms.

about 2 months ago
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Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

jimicus Re:Fixed costs & whining (462 comments)

Their lack of engineering prowess.... is why they are where they are.

To be fair, it is Fiat we're talking about here.

about 2 months ago
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Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

jimicus Re:Raise the Price (462 comments)

Where do you live that fuel is charged by the hour? How does that work anyway?

about 2 months ago
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Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

jimicus Re:Raise the Price (462 comments)

I suspect "have to make X cars" means "have to make X cars available to purchase" as opposed to "have to build X cars and have them sit in a car park somewhere until some bugger buys them".

If they build them to order (not unusual in the motor trade), then Fiat haven't actually lost the money until the order is processed.

about 2 months ago
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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Experts Unable To Replicate Inmarsat Analysis

jimicus Re:I DON'T CARE! (245 comments)

Yes, you're partially right on that but in my opinion there are enough other incidents that can yield data - missing one is really not that major.

Not regarding the Boeing 777 there haven't. There's only been seven accidents, and only one prior to MH370 that involved any fatalities. And if the cause was a fault with the plane rather than human error/intervention, it's important to know because there's a whole bunch of other, more-or-less identical aircraft in use and it's entirely possible that one or more of them has the same problem.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says

jimicus In the right circumstances, he has a point. (589 comments)

The problem is less to do with the OS and more to do with the business application. There is no half-decent F/OSS accounting package, no half-decent F/OSS payroll package, no half-decent F/OSS line-of-business application for most specialised industries.

Inevitably, you wind up looking for commercial line of business applications. 99 times out of 100, these run on Windows on the desktop (even when they're nominally web-based - you'd be amazed how many developers heard about the idea of web-based applications and thought to themselves "Great! We'll get right on it! Now, let's see how many ActiveX controls we can require for our application!") and the main platform for the server is Windows-based.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says

jimicus Re:True Costs (589 comments)

You are technically correct, but you miss out one important fact.

99% of the time, that does not happen. The last time there were major incompatibilities between versions were in the days of Office '95 - there were interop issues between '97 and '95.

Assuming you are not using a version of Office that's old enough to vote, you can exchange documents between Office versions all day long and never see a problem. Oh, sure, it can happen, but it's rare. So rare, in fact, that I think you'd have trouble finding anyone who's ever found it to be a significant problem.

You will absolutely not have the same experience between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office.

about 3 months ago
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Consumers Not Impressed With 3D Printing

jimicus Re:Premature much (302 comments)

The cost of consumables for my printer works out about the same as taking the photos to Snappy Snaps for printing, and the resulting quality is about the same, but I much prefer a trip to the paper drawer 4 meters away to a trip to Snappy Snaps in town during opening hours whenever I want to print photos.

IME, this is only the case when your wastage (from "Oh shit I meant to put photo paper in there!", "Damn, there was a bit of dried ink in the printhead, better reprint that one" and "I'm sure I can make that come out better if I twiddle the settings just right") is zero.

I have never yet seen zero wastage.

about 3 months ago
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oVirt 3.4 Means Management, VMs Can Live On the Same Machine

jimicus Re:Still trying to wrap my head... (51 comments)

A couple off the top of my head:

  - You wouldn't believe the number of poorly written applications that will happily bring a server to its knees no matter how powerful. This way you can reset just that application, not the whole business.
  - An application that was never written with any sort of HA in mind can be made highly available without any changes.

about 4 months ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

jimicus Re:Replaced by what? (712 comments)

Because every environmentalist I've ever seen is never for anything. They've got nothing constructive to say, it's purely "Let's get rid of dirty power sources!".

about 4 months ago
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School Tricks Pupils Into Installing a Root CA

jimicus You are about to learn an important lesson (417 comments)

The important lesson you are about to learn is this: Pick your battles.

This is a battle you cannot possibly win.

Why not? Because you're still a pupil.

Virtually every argument you can come up with for why that certificate shouldn't be there - no matter how well-reasoned - is going to be dismissed by staff. Even if you can come up with a well-reasoned argument that no sensible adult would counter (you probably can't; there are very good reasons for a school to want to monitor everything that are likely to be perceived as overriding any concerns you have about privacy), you'll be crushed.

At this level, arguments like this inevitably wind up being less about who is technically right or wrong and more about who has the power. As far as the school is concerned, the person who wins the argument has the power - and there is no way they will ever let a pupil win such an argument because it means conceding power to a pupil.

In your position, I'd install some sort of plugin that allowed me to verify that my HTTPS session was using the "right" certificate - and if not, I'd tether my laptop to a personal mobile phone.

about 5 months ago
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BPAS Appeals £200,000 Fine Over Hacked Website

jimicus Re:Low hanging fruit... (104 comments)

Replying to myself, but.... £200,000 is a pretty big fine by ICO standards.

Reading the report, it seems that while the BPAS did everything right once the breach was discovered, the circumstances that led to it happening in the first place were caused by pretty blatant incompetence. They knew (or should have known) that the details of people who wanted to use their services would be confidential information, they sacked the firm that built the website over concerns for their ability but they kept the site without ever auditing it.

The fine isn't just based on how flagrant the data breach was, it's also based on how much the organisation being fined can afford without causing undue hardship.

I'm not surprised the CEO wants to appeal the fine. The circumstances that led to it suggest gross incompetence at several levels; if she doesn't appeal or the appeal is unsuccessful, I imagine her job is on the line.

about 5 months ago
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BPAS Appeals £200,000 Fine Over Hacked Website

jimicus Re:Low hanging fruit... (104 comments)

That's not how ICO fines work.

The way they work is this: If you suffer a data breach that the ICO hears off, they'll investigate.

Once the investigation is complete, they'll do a few things:

  1. Write a beautifully-worded press release explaining exactly what you did wrong and put it on the news wires.
  2. Write an equally beautifully-worded report explaining what you did wrong in explicit detail.
  3. Issue a thumping great fine.

It's important to note that they don't have to take an organisation to court to raise this fine. It's the other way around - if your organisation gets fined, it's down to you to raise an appeal.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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Simple, cost effective multiroom audio?

jimicus jimicus writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jimicus (737525) writes "I'd like a multiroom audio system but I'm thoroughly confused by the options available — and the difference in prices is huge. For instance, Philips have a wireless system which starts at around £280 — and Russound have a product which comes in around £1,000.

I've already got all my music as MP3s and it lives on a NAS box — I don't really want to repeat that process. I also have a perfectly capable amp and speakers in my living room, so I don't really need anything else there.

Whatever I go for has to pass the wife test — so something which requires a separate amp, speakers and PC in each room and requires a keyboard to control is right out.

I don't mind spending a little money but I don't really want to find that every little extra thing adds up to £thousands.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar problem? How did you solve it?"
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UK Police attack man who later died at G20 protest

jimicus jimicus writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jimicus writes "A UK newspaper has received video footage of a police assault against Ian Tomlinson, a man at the recent G20 protest in London. Tomlinson can clearly be seen walking away from the police when he is hit with a baton and violently pushed to the ground.

Moments after the assault, Mr. Tomlinson suffered a heart attack and died."

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