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Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

scamper_22 Re:Best of 2009? May be, but we live in 2014. Righ (131 comments)

It's sad, but BB is doing a lot of things to make up for its lost years.

BES 10 didn't support older BB 5,7 devices. That was one of hte biggest blunders. They are fixing that now in BES12.

Back in 2009, there was nothing really wrong with BB phones per se. They just needed a new OS with better app/dev support. you can't go back in time and there were issues with adopting Android, but that is basically what they are doing now with Android app support...

Yes, years late, but a lot of enterprises still have BB7 devices and the old BES. This is their upgrade path that should have been there in 2009.

It is probably their best play as far as plays goes.
Continued and enhanced android support will basically let them make a corporate/secure/managed version of android.

Consumers could latch onto it as well if they like the keyboard and build/branding.

3 days ago

Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

scamper_22 Re:Does the job still get done? (664 comments)

The problem is always going from here to there. As you say, there are plenty of dystopian possibilities as well.

I haven't met too many people who don't see this as our future. Heck, they were probably writing it back in the 70s on how we would have all this free time and leisure because computers would do everything.

Here's where empirical evidence as in what actually happens is important.

If the theory is that computers makes labor more efficient so that we can have more free time, has that been the case in the past 30-40 years?

The answer is basically no.
We have invented and mandated work. I'm not saying this work is not useful. I'm simply saying efficiencies and using it to free up people's time, government/business have instead used it to keep people working.

You'll often hear the term service economy or something like that. What it has resulted in is the government employing people (currently massively in healthcare/education), and then having a service economy around that (entertainment, food, real estate...).

We have simply not chosen some kind of egalitarian free-time society.

When the housing bubble popped, did we as a society take that to mean, we should transition to a different economic model? Or did we take it to mean, we must go all-in and pump in billions and trillions to keep the current system going and make sure home prices keep going up...

I can honestly say, living in Canada for the past 20 years, I haven't seen piece of public/economic policy that has been implemented that would make it appear that public leaders would rather give us freetime than keep us hardworking.

Everything is about work. Oddly enough even feminism comes about at a time of supposed decreasing need of labor due to computing, and suddenly it is government policy to ensure this half of the population is working full time jobs?

I'm not sayng it won't happen. There are places with better welfare and attitudes towards work where this transition might occur. But the powers that be... I'm not seeing it.

5 days ago

Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

scamper_22 They will still make their money (delivery charges (280 comments)

I'm in Ontario, Canada.
Electricity as everywhere else is not some total free market system. It is some quasi semi regulated monopoly. It's public/private nature depends on the region.

This is my sample utility bill:

Electricity use:
on peak = $15
mid peak = $17
off peak = $30


Regulatory Charges:

Debt Retirement Charge:
The actual electric cost is less than half my bill.

The same is true of water. We had a big campaign years back to use less water. Whooops, they realized they were not taking in as much money. So they upped the 'delivery' aspect for water.

The utilities themselves will be okay as long as people/governments expect to be connected.

And then the big generators themselves will be okay because everyone wants a stable grid, so government will pay them some fixed rate to keep it all profitable.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

scamper_22 Re:Please don't get an MBA (317 comments)

True, but most fields have some kind of common methodology behind the,

You can disagree to your hearts content how MBAs are trained to run a business. But that is how most businesses are founded and run. You want to have influence, you have to speak their language and run things in their methodology. If they want a project cost, you have to do it their way.

You can definitely do something different and there are plenty of businesses who do different things, but that means they have to start their own thing. Eventually some of these practices might make their way into 'standard business' and into MBA folks.

So yes, if this guy works for a firm headed by finance folks who basically run things in a standard business MBA way, then he can and should get an MBA to get things done.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Convincing My Company To Stop Using Passwords?

scamper_22 Why STOP using password? Add the others. (247 comments)

I've yet to understand this mentality of stopping the use of passwords.

I understand all the flaws, but here's the question.

If improving security is the goal, why not ADD to the security process.

Add a token generator (like the RSA keys most work places have for VPN)
Add fingerprint/iris scan (for convenience)

People are already used to passwords. As long as the second authentication method is easy and convenient, they will accept it.

about two weeks ago

Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

scamper_22 Re:No clue? (237 comments)

Regulating is not stupid. Governments have historically been very active in these cases.

Railroads being the common use case for monopoly regulation and preferential treatment.

Generally, when politicians say, they cannot do something, it means they don't want to or it is not really their priority.

Let me give you a simple example. Transit. I'm in Toronto, Canada. Transit is something people use day in and day out. Politicians always talk about how they'd like to improve transit, but there is no money.

Well... let's see. When they want to spend money on a pretty well funded education system, they have no problem finding money. When they want to spend money on healthcare, they have no problem spending money (around 50% of spending goes to healthcare). When they want to spend money on the Pan AM games on e-health, or cancelling a gas plant... suddenly the money is there. So I don't believe them when they say there is no money for transit. It is simply that transit is not worth pushing for them.

Regulating Google is the same thing. When politicians want to regulate something ,they will do it. They wanted to ban drugs, they did it. Obama wants to have ObamaCare, he did it. They want to regulate toboacco/alcohol, they do it. They want to put in a minimum wage, pensions, labor laws... they do it. They want to go to war, they do it. They want to heavily regulate medical drugs/doctors... This is not to say nothing gets pushed back, but they can get most of what they want.

Just like regulating ISPs. Look at all the regulating governments do. You don't think they could have the ISPs publish their network management rules? You don't think they could get Google to publish it's ranking algorithm or even parts of it related to particular sites... or demand it be audited?

They could if they wanted to. They just choose not to. Oh sure, there are 'reasons', but as I said, look at other areas when those 'reasons' are magically not barriers and the politicians get things done.

about three weeks ago

Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

scamper_22 Re:Its a global thing... (454 comments)

There's actually nothong wrong with wanted that.
Knowing MySql 5.2 exactly and being trained on it is a pretty good thing.

Here's the thing. In every other industry knowing such specific skills costs a crapload of money.

Generally companies provide training for such specific training to help develop people. I have a few friends in the trades. The training they receive on a per device/install type is pretty amazing. You don't get to work on anything until you get that training.

As I say, if anything, tech workers have actually spoiled their employers by delivering so much value with so little training that they come to expect this. This is especially true of super stars or hard workers who grind though everything, delivering results even if basic training would have made the whole process easier.

about a month ago

It's Not Developers Slowing Things Down, It's the Process

scamper_22 Knowledge (186 comments)

I'm surprised knowledge is not listed on there.

I guess it depends on what you work on. But in many places I've worked, you are interacting with other pieces of software both old and new. Often times interacting with these is a bit of a void and you end up having to figure it all out, which is error prone.

Knowledge maintenance is not something that is accounted for in the process. Heck, you could probably even get accounting on board with that one.

The other part of it is a lack of devops.

A big part of the blame here lies with developers who think of themselves as rockstars, compensating with late night heroics to solve problems that really should not happen in the first place if the process was done and funded properly.

about a month ago

Microsoft Azure Outage Across the Globe

scamper_22 Re:Yawn ... (167 comments)

I really wonder how people make these arguments?

Your in-house servers have never been down?
Every company I've ever worked for has had their in house server go down (email, collaboration, web servers, git...).

Pure anecdotally, but as I've seen cloud services used more, I've experienced less downtime. Yes, Google may go down for a few hours. Yes, Azure may go down for a few hours. Yes, hosted git (BitBucket) may go down.

But these downtime are much less frequent than the internal server. Sure, it might cause some greater anxiety as it is 'out of your control', but overall, I've only experienced more reliability by using cloud services from good providers.

Yes, I'm pretty sure Google, IBM, Amazon, and even Microsoft know more about IT infrastructure and how to keep it running ad scaled one that a regular company.

Much the same with any other service. You could run your own home generator to power your house. I'm not sure what planet you live where you think you'd get fewer blackouts/brownouts than relying on the grid we use. You'll run of gas at some point. Your generator will break down. You won't have backup generator in place...

about a month ago

HTML5: It's Already Everywhere, Even In Mobile

scamper_22 Re:Can someone expolain what's so great about HTML (133 comments)

There is nothing great about HTML. There is really nothing great about almost any modern web language/platform.

We've been solving the same problem for the past 20+ years.
It's all just an API

Print text, drawing graphics, networking api, database api.

The issue has never been about anything great, but about somehow getting this API to be supported and adopted across all devices/platforms.

Heck, if we all used Windows, the whole web could have just been activeX controls and we'd have all had the same API as windows desktop programming. Or QT, TCL, Java applets, or any other language/platform.

So yes, absolutely nothing great about HTML5. Whatever it supports has been available in the past on other platforms.

But WHAT IS GREAT, is most major browsers and mobile platforms now agree to support HTML5 by in large and have kept it relatively speaking, up to date. So we can add more APIS (database, caching, graphics rendering...) to HTML5 and away we go.

In a way, it is the second coming of C, because no matter what platform you have, C will probably be supported :P

about a month ago

The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat

scamper_22 Re:Be the Change You Wish to See in the World (438 comments)

As an Indian, Gandhi didn't really accomplish much. India gained its freedom, but so did virtually every other British colony. It had little to do with Gandhi and everything to do with a collapsing British empire. As a person, well, read a bit on Gandhi.

It is very hard to get people to act ethically, when they're a sucker for doing so. It is one of the reasons the 'system' much ensure itself to be fair, so that people can act ethically.

Even in the western world, students feel the right to cheat. Afterall, getting an education is just about getting the piece of paper and little to do with the job. Or it has to do with entrance into a post bachelor degree like med or law school. Or the job market is viewed as all about connections or we're all victims, or the education is viewed as not being tied to the job; just hoops you have to jump through.

Be the change sounds nice, but it isn't really proven to work. Better to actually make better laws and better governance structures.

You can be outlier and be honest in a system where everyone is cheating.
You can be an outlier by scheming in a system where generally everyone is acting fairly.
But if a large number of people find something harmless or something that can be justified, it problem probably lies with the government.

about a month and a half ago

China Plans To Build a Domestic Robotics Industry

scamper_22 Re:Comforting to say, but matters not. (67 comments)

I am truly puzzled by people who talk about education solving these issues.

There's almost no empirical evidence to support this.
There's almost no thought experiment to support this.
Yet, people keep claiming it.

America has about 300 million people. There's more than enough 'educated' people to do any number of tasks.

The truth is that you really don't need that many smart people to do amazing things; especially with computers. You only need a few really educated people.

Just look at a company like Google. Google has 50000 employees. It shoulds like a lot, but its really small. These folks can build entire industries to support the entire world (email, search, word processing, networking, IM, smartphones, OS...) not to mention their new ventures in automated driving, and lord knows what else.

Yes, you definitely need some number of well educated people. But you don't need a very large number. It's actually why America has traditionally done well in innovation and still continues to do well.

Education simply does not help that much with competition these days. If you actually look at the countries, there are definitely more likely parameters.
Trade protection
Government supported industries
Tie in with trade school
Different union/industry cultures
Relative industry pay
Industry focus ....

Like I said, general education is important, and most Americans or any western country already has this.

Advanced education for the few is also important for competitiveness. But this is for a very small number of people.

about a month and a half ago

What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?

scamper_22 How about no-fault (320 comments)

It is naturally a legal question of who can be held liable should an accident happen.

People want to assign blame to the car manufacturer, to the driver...

There are valid cases that can be discussed on an individual level for each one. If a manufacturer has a bug in the code that results in a crash and did not do due diligence, that is one thing.

But there is another solution that many people don't consider.

This is how it is in Ontario, Canada. It has it's flaws, but the concept is really good and I think would work really well with automated cars.


Basically, you get your insurance from your own insurance company and they cover your losses.

Person A and person B get into an accident.
A gets damages resolved from A's insurance company.
B gets damages resolved from B's insurance company.

A doesn't care about getting money from B or dealing with B's insurance.

Generally what happens here is your insurance premiums go up the more risk you take on (fancy red sports car = more risk) or the more claims you've had in the past.

So we could easily see insurance companies evaluating automated cars. Cars with better ratings/systems can get lower insurance premiums...

Again, this does not mean other liability causes are out of the window. A person who disables their auto system and crashes or a does not maintain scheduled maintenance, or a manufacturer who has a bug...those are separate issues.

about 2 months ago

Confidence Shaken In Open Source Security Idealism

scamper_22 Re:Yes, it really is so different. (265 comments)

It would probably not be much different, just on the basis of 'open source' alone.

Both open source and closed source can make their case that their way means better software.

Open source basically claims code is available for anyone to see/fix/build on top.

Proprietary software claims their software is more controlled, they can formalize review processes, and they have paid people attending to the code.

But in reality, the open/closed nature of a project is probably one of the smallest factors in terms of affecting quality.

There are open source projects that no one really looks at, there are projects that people use that no one thinks of going into the depths of...

For closed source, often time legacy software/libraries get abandoned, support handed to people who know nothing about it, they go bankrupt...

It really just depends on the company/team/organization assigned to working on said project.

about 2 months ago

Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

scamper_22 Re:Worse is worse (240 comments)

I had an interesting talk with an accountant friend of my wife. Being on the accounting side, she was completely puzzled by IT projects. Time isn't book properly on projects, budget overruns, time overruns, no one can give proper estimates because no one knows the backend...

We had a really good discussion actually, and one thing that actually came to my mind is there is a real accounting deficit on the engineer/IT side.

Here's the example that we both really understood.
She wanted some field added to some web application. In her head, it's a simple field... you know like adding a new column in Excel.

She goes to IT. They say, it's complicated. They need to interface with some backend system that no one knows anymore. It takes like 6 months.

The real issue here is a lack of accounting on the IT side. When this backend system was commissioned, it was viewed as a 'project'. Like building a building. You build it, and it is done.

Yet, maintenance is not really accounted for, when it absolutely should be. There should be an accounting cost for every piece of software so someone 'knows' that software. So that when a field needs to be added, there is a person there that knows it.

I gave the crude analogy that basing IT on a per project basis is like building a washroom, and not planning for cleaners. It's going to result in a lot of sh*t.

There is a similar cost to maintaining interoperability. Somehow, because it is 'software', people seem to think they have a natural right to simple 'upgrade'. When you buy a new Honda Civic, there is no general expectation of being able to update to a new engine. Yes, you can do it if you're a modder or really into things, but the general expectation is you buy a new car.

Now I understand all too well that providing such cost estimates is beyond my scope, but I can surely tell you there is such a cost.

Honestly, the most I've seen is 'agile' when it works properly, which is basically assume a fixed cost (fixed number of developers/tests... and hours) and then do what work can be done using those resources. And that's basically accepting the reality of not being able to properly cost things out, which might very well be a good solution, but it's not how most places operate.

Similarly, there is a cost to not hiring long term engineering minded people to think about compatibility, interop...

about 2 months ago

Former GM Product Czar: Tesla a "Fringe Brand"

scamper_22 Read the full quote (267 comments)

"He thinks that the company will remain a "fringe brand" until it introduces its next generation of cars, the smaller and less expensive Model 3 currently planned for a late 2017 introduction.

That's pretty much a reasonable statement. Telsa gets a lot of buzz and I'm sure a lot of wealthy people have them. Yet, it is not a common person's car until the less expensive models come in 2017.

There's a lot of anticipation with Tesla and we all wait and see to see how it impacts the regular person with respect to delivery, service, cost, warranty, scale...

The test of Tesla is coming soon to the mass market. The big auto are already ingraining their hybrids and all electrics.

Who knows what they will have by 2017.

Tesla has the benefit of a fresh start. But the rest have all their service centers, branding...

about 3 months ago

Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

scamper_22 It is still magical enough (94 comments)

Seriously, if you ran your own server, you think you would never have to reboot it?

Yes, the cloud will have downtime. Just like we sometimes have blackouts/brownouts from an electricity outage.

BUT, chances are that downtime is LESS than the downtime you'd have running things on your own.

In every company I've worked in, there have been days the internet goes down, some intranet app goes down, exchange goes down... things need to updated and are down for a few hours.

about 3 months ago

Why India's Mars Probe Was So Cheap

scamper_22 Re:I'm gonna go with (200 comments)

I'm not sure what connotation you are implying, but this is a good thing.

That the general public and general worker is not accustomed to bribery is a good thing.

Yes, it would be better if the upper crust didn't bribe as well. But understand that bribery for the average person is horrible.

Being pulled over by police looking for a bribe.
Getting your passport takes a bribe.
Teachers take bribes for grades. ...

Those are issues that would affect and ruin most interactions of most regular people. Thank god, us regular people are 'not allowed' to bribe. Most of us who grew up in countries like that know what kind of environment it is.

Let's face it if it is a choice between BIGCORPA and BIGCORPB getting a big government contract and there is bribery involved, it doesn't affect the average person on a day to day level. Yes, it is wrong. Yes, it should be fixed. But you cannot compare this high level corruption to the day to day corruption that infects your daily life.

about 3 months ago

How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

scamper_22 Re:The article is more extreme than the summary (795 comments)

Well he is on to something and has a good point.

There is a real problem with the public's perception of science. From a sociological point of view, it very much does resemble a priestly cast like religion.

Let me give you a rather mundane example. Transit is a big issue in my home town of Toronto. Now there is a very real debate to be had here in terms of subways, rapid bus, LRT, regional rail...

But there is a certain class of citizenry that takes it's beliefs from the people who 'claim' science by stating the answer is so obvious because it is in this REPORT.

You will often hear in Toronto for example this report clearly says that light rail is the answer. Here's the catch... ever read into these 'reports'

Allow me to summarize:
Create a bunch of weights (subjective criteria)
- average travel time (x %)
- people near stop ( y %)
- cost ( z %) ...

Then do the calculation and come to a conclusion. The problem is you basically already know the answer by choosing your weights.

For example, in light rail versus subway, the real choice in the reports is actually based on people near a station. Light rail in their report using shorter stop spacing which means more people near transit. Subways, typically have fewer stations/fast travel time, but of course have less people near a station. You might have to walk more.

Again, a perfectly reasonable debate that can occur based on what you value or what you think is best or what you can afford.

But there is this undeniable group of people who decide to adhere to a report, unaware of what is actually in the report... how things were weighted, unaware that most of it is basically subjective based on the values assigned in the weighting process, unaware of the restriction of options, etc.

But again, no need to have a discussion or admit a simple difference of opinion. Afterall, a study showed it is the best option, and you must just be anti-science if you disagree with it.

And yes, it is very hard to know the context of each study without actually delving into the details. It is very much like religion in the sense that the average person gets their understanding from a pastor/organization of some kid.

science gained a great reputation largely because it had little power. Sure, I'll use science to investigate the law of gravity...

But now 'science' is being invoked on how to spend billions in healthcare, transit, decide the taxation policy, manage human made systems like the economy...

In my view, science will not cure politics... politics will infect science.

The more people see 'science' being invoked into all these subjective areas, the less they are likely to believe the institution of 'science' in other areas.

From a layman point of view, it is the same body that tells one global warming is an urgent problem and that light rail must be chosen over subways.

about 3 months ago


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