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Comment Re:If it bother you that much (Score 2) 944

Rich idiots in privileged settings, my foot. Power delivery in India is truly horrible. Yet everyone in India has florescent lamps. They prefer it because it is brighter, is a more natural light than incandescent, is cheaper in the long run and lasts longer. Seeing the prevalence of incandescents in the US was one of my WTF moments, when I first came over.

Comment Activist cyber attacks now cyber "terror" attacks (Score 1) 413

Of the types of Cyber attacks motives -- Activist led, state sponsored espionage and ones driven by criminal activity, activist is a tiny fraction compared to the other two.
Also of the three types, activist attacks are the least sophisticated while state espionage attacks are the most sophisticated. Its funny how activist attacks are considered as "terror" attacks.
Yes there will be attacks because of Snowden, but they will be insignificant compared to the daily business of government led attacks

Comment H1Bs are a quick fix - there are deeper problems (Score 3, Interesting) 361

In the past few decades, the change in norms removed a lot of cushions that were there:
1. There are fewer entry level jobs -- few companies are willing to train people.
The buzz from Jack Welch was to treat team members like pro athlete stars -- pay the alpha performers well and get rid of the beta performers. The problem is that almost all new comers will under perform for a while. Why hire them?
2. There is less loyalty towards an employer.
Again this hurts entry level jobs. The norm used to be that employers used to train people, and the people would stay with the employers for a few years, even if the pay was less. The loss in productivity and the training costs from an employers perspective would more than be made up by the long term savings. From an employees perspective, skipping from job to job made you appear unreliable and would hurt your job prospects. Then with the dot com boom, everything changed. People used to join a company that offered training and then immediately jump ship to get even a slightly higher pay. Jumping from company to company became the most reliable way to get a pay raise. Most companies saw their investment in training wasted and eliminated or severely reduced training.
3. There is no loyalty towards employees and long term planning is no longer considered.
IT is typically a cost center. The norm today is to look for saving by cutting payroll where ever possible. Strategically employers look for a cheaper alternative, even if the long term risk to the business increases. incentives for managers are based on short term performance, so even star employees are at risk of layoffs. Salaries are often cut, irrespective to the damage to the morale of the workforce, because by the time the effects are seen, the people responsible for the cut would have moved on.
4. The geographical mobility has decreased in the past 30 years.
The drag caused by having ever larger mortgages, and complexities of ensuring both the husband and wife have a job, often prevents people from moving to places where there are new jobs.
With constant layoffs a new fact of life, the risks of moving, particularly to smaller markets and single company towns has risen. In a larger metro like NYC, folks can look for new jobs more easily if they feel their job is at risk, and even go to interviews in their lunch breaks. In a small town, this becomes much harder.
5. The move towards orienting IT personal to a project at all times creates a need for an ability to hire and lay off people at all times. As the projects becomes larger, at times there is a glut and times there is such a shortage that the project is moved offshore.
6. The need to restrict liabilities, reduce fixed costs and deflect responsibility is leading to more outsourcing. (Outsourcing != off shoring.) This in turn leads to a need for a more mobile workforce. Just pouring money into these issues will not make it go away, and often the cost could be too high. The solutions for these problems -- rethinking at will employment, tort reform, rethinking home ownership as a primary method to build equity, rewarding long term performance over short term performance are complex, difficult to implement, and will require a ton of time, and right now these problems are not even on the public radar. In the mean time business must go on.
H1Bs offer a quick fix to many of these problems by creating a more mobile, more employer dependent workforce. They are a crutch, and do not solve the long term issues, and they do have a downward pressure on wages. But they also buy time for US society and business to get its act together. Whether this time is used properly, I have no idea.

Submission + - Robotic Skin Lights Up When Touched

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have designed a super-thin flexible skin that lights up when touched. 'Thinner than a sheet of paper, the skin is made from layers of plastic and a pressure-sensitive rubber. A conductive silver ink, organic LEDs, and thin-film transistors made from semiconductor-enriched carbon nanotubes are sandwiched between the layers. Applying pressure sends a signal through the rubber that ultimately turns on the LEDs, which light up in red, green, yellow or blue. Instead of using the material to create bodysuits for Burning Man or other illuminated party tricks, scientists suggest that it might be used for smart wallpapers, health-monitoring devices, or in robotics. The type of interactive pressure sensor developed by the Berkeley scientists could also be useful in artificial skin for prosthetic limbs'

Submission + - Significant security flaw found in SIM cards (www.cbc.ca)

iONiUM writes: From the article: "A German cryptographer has uncovered a security bug in mobile phones that could enable hackers to remotely attack at least half a billion phones." More technically, from the register: "Pedigree security researcher Karsten Nohl has apparently discovered two unrelated flaws in implementations of the GSM standard that (when combined) could leave millions of SIM cards vulnerable to attack."

Comment Formally find out why deadlines are missed (Score 1) 221

After you miss your next deadline and/or push out a bug riddled release, task the initiative and get your group and sponsors together to formally find out why deadlines are missed.
As discussed by commentators above, the reasons are definitely a lack of a change management process (and possibly a lack of a clear scope / requirements definition). But somehow people are more receptive to the obvious when it comes from a discovery process, rather than being told.
After you set up a change management process figure out a way to get an estimate of how much the impact will be. So the next time some change comes up, tell them how much the release will be delayed up. front and ask them if they would want it for the next release.
Remember, the more time you spend on management, the less time you have to develop, so factor that into your schedule as well.

Comment Re:No Shit (Score 1) 442

Not really, that's a construct that you probably picked up from Hollywood propaganda.

Luke Skywalker in Tatooine - stays? no - runs.
Sarah O'Corner when t100 finds her - stays? no- runs.
Indiana Jones in front of boulder - stays? Heck no - runs!
Mad Max, Roger Rabbit, James bond, John McClanne,Spideman, Superman, Batman, Ethan Hunt, Rambo
Heroes ALWAYS run, in Hollywood as much as in real life.

Comment Re:Metric should be number of tickets, not revenue (Score 1) 364

With the ever-increasing number channels of viewing movies, using number of tickets sold is grossly inaccurate, as it as it erroneously omits the effect of higher ticket prices on demand and ignores the home theater, dvd, and online streaming boom.
If you compare the cost of a 1939 ticket ($0.25) in todays prices, it would be only $4 -- which would make movie going far more affordable than $12-16 that a ticket in a major metro like NY costs these days.
It would be more accurate (though still not completely accurate -- after all the previous generations hardly had the options of home entertainment from video games to the Internet that we have ) to use the inflation adjusted revenue as the basis for judging whether all time records have been broken.

Submission + - Secret Chat between Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt published by Wikileaks (wikileaks.org)

milkasing writes: Via The verge (http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/19/4241486/eric-schmidt-and-julian-assange-conversation-published-on-wikileaks)

Google chairman Eric Schmidt and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange secretly met in 2011 and held a lengthy interview, according to a transcript published on the whistleblowing site. The leak is surprisingly timely — Schmidt was apparently conducting research with Jared Cohen for the pair's book The New Digital Age, which is set to be released on Tuesday. Assange was under house arrest in England at the time the five-hour conversation took place. The conversation is a fascinating look into the minds of the two men, both of whom have had immeasurable impact on issues surrounding technology over recent years.

Comment Essay grading machines have been in use for years (Score 3, Interesting) 253

All your GRE essays are evaluated by a machine and have been for years -- the e-rater. http://www.ets.org/research/topics/as_nlp/writing_quality/
The rating is also done by humans. It works well in practice and ensures that essays are graded fairly. If there is a significant discrepancy between the two ratings for a essay, that essay is examined further by another specialist. It prevents students from being victims of someone having a bad day at the office, and also does not encourage writing an essay to beat a machine.
The significance of the EDX news is not the concept of automated grading, it is that that such software is now free and opensource.

Comment Re:Obligatory car analogy (Score 1) 284

That. Every system can only do so much. Ultimately, even the best designed system depends on having people do the right thing, and accept changes that makes the system more secure
What use is it if you build a closed environment, with restricted access and rely on two factor authentication, if some CxO gives his RSA token and password to his unvetted summer intern to do some trivial task without supervision?
Is security awareness training the end all of IT security? Of course not. But frankly, it is a trivial part of a security budget and it does have real benefits.

Comment Got to wonder what the product managers at MS do. (Score 2) 588

The product managers seem to have forgotten what it is for someone to just go in and start using a product. To really find out how much a feature is worth. There are so many things they could have done...
1. Just deleted the recovery partition to begin with..
2. Provide a cheap recovery USB stick with the recovery OS and apps on it
3. Pre-load surface with a 32 GB micro SD car
Personally I feel surface Pro would have flopped in any case (a 4 hour battery charge for something specifically meant for mobile use is nonsensical), but things like this make it seem that the folks at Microsoft are not even trying to market to the customer.

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