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Comment Hubris! (Score 1) 237

One of my very most favorite old-timey sins! Hubris.

"The DRM is supposed to thwart copyright infringement by stopping people from ripping video and other content from encrypted high-quality streams."

Sounds an awful lot like "The Titanic is Unsinkable" doesn't it?

Comment Re:Too many stories (Score 1) 299

Oh man! Good times. I had an experience very similar to your #4.

I was a consultant for a securities group, doing PC maintenance for college money on the side. Owner was a know-it-all type. He had a Novell 3.11 server holding all his corporate data. Ran out of room, so he had me span a second disk onto his virtual volume. I wasn't a Novell expert but I gave it a go. It was my first time on this particular system. I explained to him how this created another point of failure, you need to do backups, and so on. And soon, because the other drive was "singing". You know the sound, the sound of a platter drive that's getting ready to die.

I talked him into buying a tape drive. Did they ever use it? No. I made a script to make it easy. One command. Still no.

His PC had a tape drive. I set that to automatically back up the Novell server after hours. He figured it out and disabled it.

One day they get a card in the mail. It was the local power company. "We will be performing line maintenance for your block at 10am a week from now. Please turn off all of your electronic equipment while we perform our maintenance."

I'm sure you know how this story ends. =)

Comment Re:About 15 years ago, but I'll never forget him (Score 1) 299

Yup, afraid so. A large-ish company with about 3-400 employees making a popular product you probably have heard of if you're into cars.

It was right after the dot-com bubble burst. If you were in IT you were lucky to be working at all, at least in my neck of the woods anyways. I was laid off when they hired me in and considered myself lucky. It's also the only job I ever quit without giving a two week notice.

When I quit HR called me in to lecture me about how unprofessional that was. A few months later she also quit without putting in a two week notice. Her and the company's CFO went out drinking margaritas at lunch...and just never came back.

Everyone has one stain on their resume, that place is mine.

Comment About 15 years ago, but I'll never forget him (Score 3, Interesting) 299

My first day, Monday. I'm being brought around to the other programmers and board designers and introduced. "Hey this is X, he's our new guy in software." Almost every person I met looked up and said "Hi." In the tone of voice you usually use when you find your car has a flat tire. Some didn't even try to shake my hand. Some didn't even look up at me.

Took me 3 months to find out why everyone was like that. I made some friends there and they finally told me what was up one day while we were at lunch.

Our manager had a meeting the Friday morning, previous. He told the entire IT staff that he was having some work done on his house over the weekend, and that he would like the entire team to move shingles up to his roof. Right now. And oh yeah, did I forget to mention that all vacation requests have to pass my desk for approval? See you all at my house.

It gets better, or should I say worse.

He made them all take a vacation day to do it.

Comment You don't (Score 1) 196

Your engineers already have a job, doing electrical design or mechanical engineering. To me, your question sounds a lot like, "We have a team of highly talented airline pilots. What can I do to make them all brain surgeons?"

Software design is its own discipline. And doing it well is a full-time commitment. If you push your engineers through some software classes or workshops, all you're going to get from them is - at best - half-assed stuff you'll need an actual software engineer to fix later on.

Do it the right way. Hire a professional, spec out the software you need, and have your professional write it for you. It will save you time and it will save you money. Consider how much your engineers are making. Now think about how many hours they'll lose in productivity trying to be software engineers and writing lousy code. Now think about how much time the software engineer you'll eventually have to hire anyways will take fixing it all. Budget that against what it would cost to simply hire the software guy in the first place and do it correctly the first time. You'll see why your idea is the wrong one.

Comment The current model is broken (Score 5, Interesting) 542

Hollywood can't help but do this now. It's all that's left to them.

Every film nowadays has a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly thanks to Hollywood accounting practices. To invest that kind of money you have to be able to show the principals an expected return on that investment. You need to do market analysis and show that you have an audience large enough to get that return.

The only way to do that is to copy older blockbusters and assume the returns will be in the ballpark. Hence, reboots.

Look at Deadpool if you want to know about risk aversion. The studio did NOT want to make that movie. It was "risky". Imagine living in a world where you would think that a Deadpool movie was too risky. That's why they're going for The Matrix. The two sequels were garbage but still made bank. So they know that this reboot will too.

It's the beginning of the end for Hollywood, IMO. Their model can only support smash blockbusters, and now they're out of them.

Comment I disagree (Score 5, Insightful) 246

It is the job of the CIA to collect intelligence. Central Intelligence Agency, right there in the name. It's not their job to post software patches.

I think what Cindy Cohn meant was "it would sure be nice if the CIA had let us know about the problems rather than keep them secret", and I agree that would have been awfully nice of them - but wanting the CIA to reveal tactical information that helps it do its job is silly.

They're a spy agency, folks. This is what spies do.

Comment It's a dumb question to ask in the first place (Score 1) 383

What would happen? Why worry about it? It never will happen so it's not worth taking your time to think about.

And the answer why is right there in the article blurb. I want you to really consider what it would be like trying to control a complex 3D cad program with a Playstation controller. Or a dinky touchscreen-only interface on your phone. Picture how bad that would be.

It will never happen because nobody sane would ever want this.

Comment Do we really? (Score 1) 382

We need carbon based fuel in the now.

Don't know about you, but gas is under $2/gallon where I'm at. Natural gas is holding steady over the last 5 years. Hard to justify any desperate we-need-it-right-now measure.

Let's produce it here. Make jobs here.

The Keystone pipeline takes oil from Alberta, Canada and moves it to Port Arthur for sale and shipment. Apart from building the thing, how would this make jobs here?

Global warming is a far more pressing problem. We don't need more oil, we need less. Any money put to this pipeline would pay far greater dividends in renewable energy sources. Wind, solar, tidal, hydroelectric. Oil was great in its day, but just like coal - it's rapidly becoming unnecessary.

Comment Which makes more sense? (Score 2) 382

Even if all electricity were to come directly from coal, which do you think would add more pollutants to the atmosphere? A million cars, each with a little dinky catalytic converter on them, or a few coal plants with gigantic industrial scrubbers that are not limited by size/space/weight constraints?

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