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Management Reality

The Daily WTF - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 12:30

Merriam-Webster says that synonyms of stupidity include boneheadedness, brainlessness, denseness, dim-wittednes, dumbness, mindlessness, senselessness, thickness, vacuity and witlessness (among others). Perhaps they should add management to the list.

For some reason, managers tend to make leaps-of-faith in the realm of technology. If they think that they know the meanings of two words, then there must be a connection between those two words. Unfortunately, whether the connection is real or imagined, they seem to proceed as though it were always real.

A couple of years ago, Harold worked for a modest company. It was your garden variety organization with the usual amenities (a break room, candy and soda machines, etc.). In this place, strict adherence to the Dilbert Principle was the standard for hiring and promotion, and the CIO was a prime example of this rule in action. The powers-that-be believed this individual to have an in-depth understanding of how technology worked, and how different roles (e.g.: developer, QA, etc.) interacted, and so he was promoted to Chief Insipient Oaf.

The CIO had a very high opinion of himself and of his supreme knowledge and mastery of all things. After reading an article on the subject on the InterWebs, the CIO decreed that a new high-tech think-tank would be created to foster design, productivity and camaraderie within the organization.

This facility would have a certain Feng Shui to drive the layout and ambience. It would have a specific quantity of each of a certain type of computer. There would be erasable surfaces upon which new brillance could be scribbled. It would showcase successful projects, as well as industry awards. It would even have a high-tech table capable of dynamically expanding to match the number of folks in the room (e.g.: a dining table with additional leaves).

Teams would be able to brainstorm new solutions in record time in this conducive environment. Inter-team sessions would enable people to optimize work flow and productivity across departments. This new think-tank would elevate their performance to levels worthy of the word enterprise.

He even wrote about it in non-peer-reviewed magazines, without discussing it with anyone above - or below him in the organization.

One day, the CIO's minions were sitting around their department break room, reading and discussing their leaders' bragging about their new think-tank. In particular, since they'd never been told of its existence, they were trying to figure out where it was located. After all, they had no room that featured such computers, awards or successful projects, and it might be nice to leverage such a room for its intended purpose.

Fortunately, the CIO had mentioned enough facts in the article about the think-tank that the staff was finally able to deduce that he was actually talking about their break room.

One can only wonder what might have happened if someone had actually requested a brainstorming session in the think-tank...

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Categories: Fun/Other

New WiFi HaLow Protocol May Bring Old Security Issues With It

Slashdot - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 10:42
Trailrunner7 writes: Perhaps because smart lightbulbs that refuse firmware updates and refrigerators with blue screens of death aren't enough fun on their own, a new WiFi protocol designed specifically for IoT devices and appliances is on the horizon, bringing with it all of the potential security challenges you've come to know and love in WiFi classic. The new protocol is based on the 802.11ah standard from the IEEE and is being billed as Wi-Fi HaLow by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Wi-Fi HaLow differs from the wireless signal that most current devices uses in a couple of key ways. First, it's designed as a low-powered protocol and will operate in the range below one gigahertz. Second, the protocol will have a much longer range than traditional Wi-Fi, a feature that will make it attractive for use in applications such as connecting traffic lights and cameras in smart cities. But, as with any new protocol or system, Wi-Fi HaLow will carry with it new security considerations to face. And one of the main challenges will be securing all of the various implementations of the protocol.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

PostgreSQL 9.5 Does UPSERT Right

Slashdot - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 07:21
joabj writes: For years, PostgreSQL users would ask when their favorite open source database system would get the UPSERT operator, which can either insert an entry or update it if a previous version already existed. Other RDMS have long offered this feature. Bruce Momjian, one of the chief contributors to PostgreSQL, admits to being embarrassed that it wasn't supported. Well, PostgreSQL 9.5, now generally available, finally offers a version of UPSERT and users may be glad the dev team took their time with it. Implementations of UPSERT on other database systems were "handled very badly," sometimes leading to unexpected error messages Momjian said. Turns out it is very difficult to implement on multi-user systems. "What is nice about our implementation is that it never generates an unexpected error. You can have multiple people doing this, and there is very little performance impact," Momjian said. Because it can work on multiple tables at once, it can even be used to merge one table into another.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS Officially Released

Slashdot - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 04:06
prisoninmate writes: January 10, 2016, will enter in the Linux history books as the day when the Linux kernel 4.4 LTS (Long-Term Support) has been officially released by Linus Torvalds and his team of hard working kernel developers. Prominent features of Linux kernel 4.4 LTS include 3D support in the virtual GPU driver, allowing for 3D hardware-accelerated graphics in virtualization guests, a leaner and faster loop device that supports Asynchronous I/O and Direct I/O, thus increasing the system's performance and saving memory, and support for Open-Channel Solid State Drives (SSDs) through LightNVM. Phoronix also took a look during the newest kernel's development cycle, and has an overview of 4.4's new features.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Coast-To-Coast Autonomous Tesla Trips 2-3 Years Out, Says Elon Musk

Slashdot - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 00:56
Jalopnik reports that Elon Musk's predicted window for being able (for Tesla owners, that is) to call up your autonomous car and have it find its own way from New York to California, or vice versa, is astonishingly close: 24-36 months from now. From the article: As far as the summoning feature is concerned, Tesla plans for the 33-foot range to greatly expand—soon. Within two years, Musk predicted that owners will be able to summon their car from across the country. “If you’re in New York and your car is in Los Angeles, you can summon your car to you from your phone and tell the car to find you,” Musk said. “It’ll automatically charge itself along the journey. I might be slightly optimistic about that, but not significantly optimistic.” In getting from one place to another, Musk said autopilot “is better than human in highway driving, or at least it will be soon with machine learning.” If it’s not already better than human, Musk said it will be within the coming months. But right now, Musk said the car still needs a human around, just in case. “The car currently has sensors to achieve that cross-country goal,” Musk said. “But you’d need more hardware and software, you’d need more cameras, more radars, redundant electronics, redundant power buses and that sort of thing.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

How To Talk About Mental Illness Online?

Slashdot - Sun, 01/10/2016 - 23:51
An anonymous reader writes: Shortly after the death of Debian founder Ian Murdock, Bruce Perens, who succeeded Murdock as Debian Project Leader in 1996 and was also Murdock's employer for a period of time, claimed very publicly that Murdock died of mental illness, although no evidence has been provided. Without referencing Murdock or Perens, another prominent Debian Developer, Daniel Pocock, has asserted that discussion about who has or had a mental illness is a step too far. To be fair, it sure doesn't sound like Perens was trying to do other than express sympathy in light of a tragic death.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Ask Slashdot: Cheap and Fun Audio Hacks?

Slashdot - Sun, 01/10/2016 - 22:40
An anonymous reader writes: A few years back I discovered that even a person of limited soldering skills can create a nifty surround-sound system with the magic of a passive matrix decoder system; the results pleased me and continue to, It's certainly not a big and fancy surround system, but I recommend it highly as a project with a high ratio of satisfaction to effort. (Here's one of the many, many tutorials out there on doing it yourself; it's not the long-forgotten one I actually used, but I like this one better.) I like listening to recorded music sometimes just to hear how a particular playback system sounds, not just to hear the music "as intended." I'd like to find some more audio hacks and tricks like this that are cheap, easy, and fun. Bonus points if they can be done with the assistance of a couple of smart children, without boring them too much. I have access to Goodwill and other thrift stores that are usually overflowing with cheap-and-cheerful gear, to match my toy budget. What mods or fixes would be fun to implement? Are there brands or models of turntable I should look for as the easiest with which to tinker? Are there cool easy-entry projects akin to that surround sound system that I could use to improve my radio reception? I'm not sure what's out there, but I'd like to get some cool use out of the closet-and-a-half I've got filled with speakers and other gear that I can't quite bear to toss, since "it still works."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Google Claims a TOS Violation On RouteBuilder For Using the Map API

Slashdot - Sun, 01/10/2016 - 21:36
New submitter acm writes: RouteBuilder has been using the Google Maps API to help people share their routes (bicycling, hiking, etc) for a decade. Last week, Google sent an email demanding Routebuilder stop using the API: "In particular,your application violates clause 10.4(c), which does not allow developers to create a wrapper — an application that re-implements or duplicates the Google Maps website or mobile app, or any of the Google Maps APIs." Why did it take the Google Maps Team 10 years to decide they don't want pedometer-type sites to use their API?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

GM's New Bug Bounty Program Lacks One Thing: A Bounty

Slashdot - Sun, 01/10/2016 - 20:22
chicksdaddy writes with this news: General Motors (GM) has become the latest "old economy" firm to launch a program to entice white hat hackers and other experts to delve into the inner workings of its products in search of security flaws, The Security Ledger reports. "The company launched a bug bounty on January 5th on the web site of Hackerone (https://hackerone.com/gm), a firm that manages bounty programs on top of other firms, promising "eternal glory" to security experts who relay information on "security vulnerabilities of General Motors products and services." Despite a $47 billion market capitalization, however, GM is not offering monetary rewards – at least not yet. A page on Hackerone detailing how vulnerability reporters will be thanked reads "Be the first to receive eternal glory," but does not spell out exactly what rewards are proffered. Judging from the description of the program, the "prize" for reporting a vulnerability to GM appears to be a promise by GM not to sue you for finding it." However, the article notes that the program has garnered praise from security researchers Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller, monetary reward or not.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Why James Hansen Is Wrong About Nuclear Power

Slashdot - Sun, 01/10/2016 - 19:03
mdsolar writes: Climatologist James Hansen argued last month, "Nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change." He is wrong. As the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and International Energy Agency (IEA) explained in a major report last year, in the best-case scenario, nuclear power can play a modest, but important, role in avoiding catastrophic global warming if it can solve its various nagging problems — particularly high construction cost — without sacrificing safety. Hansen and a handful of other climate scientists I also greatly respect — Ken Caldeira, Tom Wigley, and Kerry Emanuel — present a mostly handwaving argument in which new nuclear power achieves and sustains an unprecedented growth rate for decades. The one quantitative "illustrative scenario" they propose — "a total requirement of 115 reactors per year to 2050 to entirely decarbonise the global electricity system" — is far beyond what the world ever sustained during the nuclear heyday of the 1970s, and far beyond what the overwhelming majority of energy experts, including those sympathetic to the industry, think is plausible.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

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