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Refresh Types

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The hardest refresh requires both a Mac keyboard and a Windows keyboard as a security measure, like how missile launch systems require two keys to be turned at once.
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drjan
66 days ago
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London, United Kingdom
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3 public comments
tdarby
89 days ago
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lo
Baltimore, MD
Covarr
89 days ago
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Hard Reset - PC reset button - causes SEGA to fight SOPA.
Moses Lake, WA
alt_text_bot
89 days ago
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The hardest refresh requires both a Mac keyboard and a Windows keyboard as a security measure, like how missile launch systems require two keys to be turned at once.

Time Flies: Levitating Nixie Clock

jwz
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This is amazing:

Once set up correctly it will hover above the base for as long as it is powered, displaying the time and date on digits of glowing metal and glass. Needing no batteries, the nixie clock is powered from the base without wires and will operate without interruption for months or years. No charging is required, it just floats and works.

I think it's a little weird that they went with 5 tubes instead of 6, and are spending a whole tube on punctuation. But it still looks like magic.

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drjan
414 days ago
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London, United Kingdom
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Seriously, Make a Better eCigarette

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This isn't rocket science. You're close, but you can't get it quite right. You, Juul: I heard you're doing something to fix the nicotine delivery. That's good, but your device looks like crap. It's not a cigarette. I'm not here to talk about the assholes who picked up vaping as a hobby and carry around ...
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drjan
476 days ago
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London, United Kingdom
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Outsourcing makes sense if you think "software" is a fad

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[This piece gets kind of dark. You've been warned.]

At the recent DOES15 conference (which was a great conference) many of success stories included the admission that outsourcing had been a big mistake. In some cases outsourcing had nearly sunk the company. What saved them? DevOps, in-sourcing, and vertical integration.

If you aren't familiar with the term "vertical integration" it is the MBA term for "if you want something done right, do it yourself."

The reason outsourcing had been such a disaster was not the skill of the outsourcing companies or the people. It was the fact that if you don't own your process, you can't control the quality. Quality comes from taking responsibility and ownership to make sure it happens. Without quality, you lose customers and go out of business.

Imagine trying to drive a car with someone else controlling the steering wheel. Now imagine that their incentives are perversely the opposite of yours. They get paid by how many turns they make. You get paid by how fast you get there. It just doesn't work. They control the wheel.

Outsourcing makes sense if you think "software" is a fad that will go away or if your MBA skipped the chapter on "vertical integration". If software was a fad and would be going away soon, you could ignore it and use outsourcing to get through the year or two that you had to "do software" until the fad dissipated.

However software isn't a fad. It drives your business more and more. If you are an auto dealer you might think you are in the business of selling cars. You are wrong. You manage the process that brings customers to you, takes their order, gets the car from inventory, and delivers the car to them. All of that is driven by software. If you don't control that software, what the fuck are you doing?

Therefore when software was "new" companies should have recognized the new challenges and asked: How can we develop the new skills required to be better at software than our competition?

Ironically the sales pitch from outsourcing vendors included the warning that technology was becoming more and more important. It just walked people to the wrong conclusion. They scared CEOs by telling them how important technology is, how it is only going to become more important, and then walked them to the ludicrous conclusion that it was so important that you shouldn't try to do it yourself!

That's like saying breathing is so important you shouldn't learn how to do it: live on a respirator that someone else controls.

These success stories told at DOES15 conference (which, again, I repeat was a great conference) boasted how DevOps had enabled them to do vertical integration, which improved quality and velocity. Oh, and those are the things that improved profits way more than cutting budgets. It turns out that "cost savings" is bullshit compared to the huge profits that resulted from having better products and services than the competitor.

The speakers on stage were so excited and proud to say that their company had overcome the terrible, terrible, terrible results of outsourced IT. The audience was happy for them.

And now... I need to get this off my chest.

I, however, had mixed emotions. I wanted to be happy for them but the feeling I felt was more along the lines of vindication. I'm embarrassed to confess it wasn't a happy kind of vindication. In the 1990s outsourcing craze, we warned you people that all of this would happen. We were mocked and made to feel like outcasts. Outsourcing companies were telling CEOs to fire anyone that got in the way of their outsourcing plans because "you don't want to go bankrupt after not outsourcing because a couple nerds were afraid to do it". Lucent's signed their outsourcing contract in secret, without telling anyone in their IT groups, so that "troublemakers couldn't get in the way and stop it." The contract didn't include a lot of basics things like data backups, which then had to be done at the much more expensive "out of plan" hourly rate. There are plenty of other stories I could tell... I'll save them for future blog posts.

My point is: Every damn prediction we made came true:

  • Outsourcing will strangle your company by making you less flexible, slower, less able to compete.
  • Tech is too important to leave to outsiders and should be a competency we develop throughout the company.
  • Outsourcing will be much more expensive than you expected.
  • Any cost savings from efficiency will go to the provider, not you.

Every time I hear a company talk about outsourcing being a mistake and how glad they are they've gotten out from under the dark times I become a two-faced asshole. On the outside I smile and say "congrats". On the inside I'm thinking: Fuck you for not listening to the people that tried to warn you. Fuck YOU.

Want to see the real "revenge of the nerds"? It is the trail of bankrupted companies that ignored us when we told you that the future was coming.

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drjan
688 days ago
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London, United Kingdom
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Argentinian Presidential Duties include:

jwz
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Being Godfather to Werewolves.

In the early 1900s the legend of the 7th son transforming himself into a werewolf was so widespread and believed that it was causing a lot of children to be abandoned or given away for adoption, and it is said that in some cases the parents killed their own son. Because of this, the president passed a law in the 1920s by which the 7th son of a family automatically receives the godfathership of the president of Argentina! Through this, the state gives him a gold medal on the day of his baptism (when the president officially becomes his godfather) and a scholarship for all of his studies until his 21st birthday. Supposedly, this ended the phenomenon of people condemning their children for fear of the werewolf. The law is still in effect, and it is popularly known, and the presidents have always attended at least some of the baptisms, especially during election season.

Werewolf scholarships. Not to be confused with the Chewbacca Defense.

Previously, previously.

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drjan
986 days ago
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London, United Kingdom
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jimwise
995 days ago
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...

Some day I will reactivate my Killdozer Army

jwz
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After excavating your mega-basement in Holland Park, it's cheaper and easier to leave the JCB entombed down there with the pool, personal cinema and staff quarters.

A new solution emerged: simply bury the digger in its own hole. Given the exceptional profits of London property development, why bother with the expense and hassle of retrieving a used digger -- worth only £5,000 or £6,000 -- from the back of a house that would soon be sold for several million? The time and money expended on rescuing a digger were better spent moving on to the next big deal. [...]

How many of these once perfectly functioning and possibly still serviceable diggers are petrified underneath central London, like those Romans preserved cowering in the corners of houses in Pompeii? Estimates vary. One property developer I asked reckoned at least 1,000; another put the figure at more like 500. In some of London's newest luxury conversions, "sub-basements" are being tucked beneath the existing basement conversions. But developers are stumbling on a new kind of obstacle as they burrow deeper still: abandoned diggers from the last round of improvements.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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drjan
1188 days ago
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London, United Kingdom
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