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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

mikael Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (272 comments)

Bullcrap? The application developers there deserve to have every ounce of bullcrap that is lying on the field thrown at them before being given a hot jacuzzi in pig swill. Punching a hole in someone's system network firewall, then putting a steel cage and door around that hole so it can't be closed?

I have enough grief with various Linux packages that create their own VPN's, offer "built-in" ftp and email functionality as a "feature". Every time I install something, I have to check to to see whether any new servers listening on network sockets have been set up immediately, as well as see whether there are any daily or weekly crontab settings which do the same.

5 days ago
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NASA: Lunar Pits and Caves Could House Astronauts

mikael Re:Hmm... (156 comments)

There's just an opportunity in Siberia - just opened up this week. Current theories are giant sandworms, graboids, pingo's, ufo's or an alien missile base:

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/myst...

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

mikael Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (272 comments)

I guess some people don't forget what Microsoft was doing 20 years ago. They were literally bashing everything and anything. They were bashing UNIX with slogans like "UNIX is legacy, NT is the future". They were doing the same with DirectX vs. OpenGL. Even now they still claim OpenGL is legacy. Then there was the Netscape vs. Internet Explorer war where Microsoft was pre-installing Explorer onto their systems and nothing else. If you wanted to read Email from a server, you needed to have Windows, even it is was a hardware board inside a workstation. If Microsoft announced they were entering a particular niche market, venture capitalists wouldn't fund anyone to enter that market.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

mikael Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (272 comments)

I hate that word "dead wood". Anyone who did have a degree, pass the informal interview, the technical tests, and team interview for a company, as well as continue to work in an Agile/Scrum environment isn't a piece of dead wood.

If a company discovers they have extra employees, then it is is usually because two or more products have been merged together, or all the development for one large project has been completed. Maybe they now share the same core libraries or features of one application duplicate another. But what to do then? Nobody is going to stay long at a company if they have relocated 1000+ miles for their dream job (say designing new applications) and then suddenly a month later, a PHB decides they want the most qualified engineer to move onto repairing broken widgets, and optionally advertise the original vacancy several months later because they realize they really do need someone to write new applications. So you need to keep people hanging around until you are sure all the problems have been fixed.

Some companies have internal vacancy lists where a job is advertised internally first. This gave employees a chance to move around if they saw something more interesting. Other companies just keep staff "frozen in place" where the only option is to leave.

The problem for Microsoft is that retraining isn't possible because they want workers who can bring in new ideas. If they had someone to train up someone for that vacancy, the trainer would be the person they are looking for.

about a week ago
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Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

mikael Re:This kind of thing confuses me (214 comments)

Given that negative mass atoms repel each other, a negative mass planet would never form. Even if one did form, it would disintegrate rather violently within seconds. Probably be fun too watch.

So, negative mass atoms could only form thin gas clouds.

about a week ago
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Harvesting Energy From Humidity

mikael Re:energy? (89 comments)

There are ways of measuring the speed of flowing water through the small magnetic fields created from dissolved metal ions in the water. These are enough to distort the local magnetic field and allow readings to be made.

about two weeks ago
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Harvesting Energy From Humidity

mikael Re:5 Years Away (89 comments)

They would need to increase the surface area of the plates, probably using three-dimensional fractals. This would increase the ratio of surface area to volume in the same way that human lungs or fish gills work.

about two weeks ago
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Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek To Control the Internet

mikael Re:Ugh... (117 comments)

Always keep offline backups.

about two weeks ago
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German NSA Committee May Turn To Typewriters To Stop Leaks

mikael Re:So what? they can be tapped to. (244 comments)

A microphone placed on top of a PC, beside or behind a PC will pick up more noise from the cooling fans. Even if you are not use a combination of cooling fans and an open-plan PC case that work as a white noise generator for the whole room :)

about two weeks ago
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German NSA Committee May Turn To Typewriters To Stop Leaks

mikael Re:So what? they can be tapped to. (244 comments)

They could still hack into the nearest smartphone and listen to the clicks that way. Just about everyone has a smartphone on their desk. Or they could collect the used printer ribbons and read back the text that way.

about two weeks ago
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Walter Munk's Astonishing Wave-Tracking Experiment

mikael Re:Cheap documentary? (55 comments)

It's a feedback system. The wind displaces the flat surface of the ocean into waves. Then those waves catch more wind, create turbulence. You can download or view any number of GPU based ocean wave simulators.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

about two weeks ago
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Walter Munk's Astonishing Wave-Tracking Experiment

mikael Re:Cheap documentary? (55 comments)

Look at what happens when an earthquakes occurs in one side of the Pacific, creating a tsunami which travels all the way across the ocean. With a storm over the ocean, the waves can reach 100 meters or more in height, and stretch for hundreds of meters (determined by a mathematical equation linking amplitude to wavelength and ocean floor depth). And the storm is 100 miles across.

about two weeks ago
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Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

mikael Re:Not about jealousy, but ... (265 comments)

You could say the same about the difference between shopping malls and individual shop units. With housing, terraced homes are more energy efficient than detached homes since the common walls are usually at the same temperature compared to the outside.

Imagine you divided the space up into cubes, each the side of a shop. Each side of a cube can be outside air, insulated wall, uninsulated wall, open space. Suppose you have 1000 units. With individual stores, that's 5000 sides that need to be insulating. If you have one shopping mall, with shops side-by-side, there are only 500 sides that need insulating. Even with the extra floor space for plazas, staircases, that's still no more than a few hundred rooftops.

It's no different from an office block. Some modern designs actually have separate frameworks for the exterior walls and the floors, so you have a greenhouse architecture where each can be modified without affecting the other. It's just a dome but with flatter sides.

about two weeks ago
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Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

mikael Re:Not about jealousy, but ... (265 comments)

Ideally to power something like that, they'd really need to a giant massive solar power plant somewhere in the middle of a large desert, and maybe some energy storage based on pumped water.

about two weeks ago
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US Tech Firms Recruiting High Schoolers (And Younger)

mikael Re:Not new (253 comments)

Some companies only look for people with MSc's or a PhD, but then there are those companies which only consider those with higher qualifications for non-programming jobs. So it's something to think about if you consider doing a MSc as as "refresher" to learn new skills when the job market is tight.

about two weeks ago
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The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

mikael Re:Expert System (162 comments)

There was another variation where you could give the expert system a list of ingredients that you had available, and the system would tell you which drinks you could make and optionally how many.

Back in the 1990's, having a expert system that could generate the course timetables for the whole university was a holy grail of all AI departments. Most of the time it worked but every now and again it would generate courses that clashed, requiring some extra modification. Never knew whether they got it finally working.

about three weeks ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

mikael Re:Entrusting our lives to complex software (468 comments)

It's the last 2.5% which involves a controlled collision with a rocky planet which is the worrying part.

about three weeks ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

mikael Re:And when the video feed dies... (468 comments)

Instruments are rendered in software on generic high-contrast LCD monitors. If one monitor fails, they can switch over to another display. If engine power fails, they have an auxiliary generator. The only time all four engines have failed is when going through the ash-cloud plume of a volcano.

The patent describes a 3D view or holographic view. That's going to be interesting. Some sci-fi stories have described the idea of flying an aircraft using a 360 view dome/cylinder with cameras projecting images from each direction. The pilot would have a complete 360 degree view all around. With the latest projection technology, this would work with stereoscopic glasses. If the system could see infra-red, then it would be possible to see through fog, mist and haze.

about three weeks ago
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Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

mikael Re:Reputational Damage (346 comments)

Agreed. DOS mail clients from 20 years ago could handle hierarchical email discussions. But somehow 20 years on, we're back to a single list.
While you can create folders, you still have to move the messages manually, and then as soon as the title changes, it's back to the main list.

about three weeks ago
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Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

mikael Re:Reputational Damage (346 comments)

Then you could always CC the email to a company mail distribution list. There have been times where sysadmins have updated the mail client to do this as default, only to shut down the system once there was a category 5 mailstorm across the network.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Tony Benn, MP has died

mikael mikael writes  |  about 4 months ago

mikael (484) writes "The famous Labour MP, Tony Benn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Benn) has died at the age of 88. In his career which included Minister of Technology, he was responsible for the creation of ICL (International Computers Limited) and involvement in Concorde"
Link to Original Source
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Flu Pandemic may lead to websites being blocked

mikael mikael writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mikael (484) writes "While corporations and businesses have been advised on how to allow employees to work remotely from home, there is still some uncertainty on how ISP's would be able to handle the extra flow of traffic. The Department of Homeland Security is suggesting that ISP's be prepared to block popular websites in order to prioritize bandwidth for commercial use."
Link to Original Source
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Scientists discover how DNA is folded within the n

mikael mikael writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mikael (484) writes "Sciencedaily.com is reporting that scientists have discovered how DNA is folded within the nucleus of a cell such that active genes remain accessible without becoming tangled. The first observation is that genes are actually stored in two locations. The first location acts as a cache where all active genes are kept. The second location is a more denser storage area where inactive genes are kept. The second observation is that all genes are stored as http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/3d-genome.html ">fractal globules which allows genes that are used together to be adjacent to each other when folded, even though they may be far apart when unfolded."
Link to Original Source
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Volunteers recover Lunar Orbiter 1 photographs

mikael mikael writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mikael (484) writes "The LA Times is reporting on efforts of group of volunteers with funding from NASA to recover high resolution photographs of the Moon taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 in the 1960's. The collection of 2000 images is stored entirely on magnetic tape which can only be read by a $330,000 FR-900 Ampex magnetic tape reader. The team consisted of Nancy Evans, NASA's archivist who ensured that the 20-foot by 10-foot x 6-foot collection of magnetic tapes were never thrown out, Dennis Wingo, Keith Cowing of Nasa Watch and Ken Zim who had experience of repairing video equipment. Two weeks ago, the second image, of the Copernicus Crater was recovered."
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Cities plan to replace street lights with LED's

mikael mikael writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mikael (484) writes "The Pasadena Star News is reporting that a couple of cities including Pasadena and Los Angeles are planning on replacing sodium based street lighting with LED's. The new bulbs use between 40 percent and 60 percent energy and last four times as long. Los Angeles plans on replacing 14,000 street lights with LED's, while Pasadena aims to spend $528,000 to achieve this goal."
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Microsoft doubles reward for missing teenager

mikael mikael writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mikael (484) writes "The Toronto Star is reporting that Microsoft has doubled the reward for information about a missing teenager to $50,000. Brandon Crisp went missing since Thanksgiving Day after a dispute over a video game. Over 400 volunteers are helping in the search."
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London seeks own internet domain

mikael mikael writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mikael (484) writes "The Times is reporting that along with Wales and Scotland, London is seeking their own three letter domain (.ldn) in advance of the Olympic games in 2012. Could we see the start of every city getting their own domain?"
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National Library of Belarus

mikael mikael writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mikael (484) writes "In June 2002, the president of Belarus commissioned the construction of a new national library, which was completed June this year. Constructed in the shape of a spherical diamond and covered by reflective glass and chrome, it has gained the nickname of the "Death Star". Another feature of this building is that it is completely covered by colored lights on every side, which allows for some amazing animations. Perhaps they should offer programming competitions for the best animation. EnglishRussia has some photographs of the building in Summer and Winter, along with a timelapse video. Although, some residents would have preferred the money spent on a shopping mall rather than a national library."
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Nikko introduces R2-D2 entertainment droid

mikael mikael writes  |  about 7 years ago

mikael (484) writes "The register is reporting that a Japanese company Nikko is producing an integrated projector, DVD player, iPod connection, and media card reader, all combined into the shape of an R2-D2 robot. http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/07/25/r2-d2_mult imedia/ http://www.youtube.com/v/N1h6onXX0dM No mention if they are going to provide a C3PIO unit to serve cold drinks and popcorn."

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