Facebook loses its members' email settings

It's on an O'Reilly blog, so it must be true: Facebook has lost some users' email settings » 11/25/08 4:50pm 11/25/08 4:50pm. The company had to send them an apology, and a request to reset things. Let me explain in sysadmin jargon: Not because Facebook's engineers failed at Backups 101, but because by now the Marketing department has figured out…

Can you really rent-a-coder?

Electronic Arts recently shut down Blueprint » 11/24/08 4:28pm 11/24/08 4:28pm, a strategic project to enable the company to develop more software without onsite programmers. Coding Horror blogger Jeff Atwood is a professional programmer who lives in Berkeley. That makes him biased against cheap-outsourced-programer sites like . But Atwood's — and…

NASA discovers its own scope management plan

NASA announced today that deadlines and budget overruns have forced them to " cut certain features » 11/24/08 1:19pm 11/24/08 1:19pm" from the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory. The feature? A "debris container" designed to "collect and store rock fragments for future study purposes." One small cost cut for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

Want to fix the economy? Fire your sysadmin

Sooner or later we need to slam shut the door on technical have-nots. Pew Research found that nearly half of adults surveyed » 11/20/08 2:40pm 11/20/08 2:40pm need help setting up computers and cell phones. Ars Technica : Kids are always fixing their parents' PCs. But they don't take these insights to the logical conclusion: It's time to fire the IT…

@vegasrocks: Do you *really* want to side with the shooter? Guy comes here and works really hard and does well - has a house in the Fremont Mission Hills - do you *really* want to say that he deserved to be shot? » 11/17/08 1:54pm 11/17/08 1:54pm

Microsoft does a victory dance on Sun's head

Redmond's biz-dev gorillas have strong-armed Sun Microsystems into bundling the MSN toolbar » 11/11/08 6:20pm 11/11/08 6:20pm as an optional add-on to Sun's Java downloads in the US. What does the -powered toolbar have to do with Java? Nothing! That's the genius of it.A dozen years ago, Microsoft broke Sun's run-anywhere Java technology, which was…

Traffic engineers pull a "Die Hard 4" on Los Angeles

Who pays attention to unions anymore? A bunch of carpenters picket your office because of a grievance with a contractor who works for the facilities department of the company on the floor below you. They might as well stencil WE ARE POWERLESS on their placards. But a couple of Los Angeles traffic engineers who work… » 11/06/08 4:00pm 11/06/08 4:00pm

PDFs now as rock-solid secure as ActiveX

It's a verified bug: PDF files can be used to take over your PC » 11/05/08 3:20pm 11/05/08 3:20pm. Adobe's mistake was adding support for ever-sloppy JavaScript inside the once-benign PDF format. Core Security, the company that outed the vulnerability, says, "An attacker could put malicious code in JavaScript embedded in a PDF and [...] could…

Dell wants employees to practice being laid off

Call it Company (Red). Michael Dell is asking employees at his computer maker to take five unpaid days » 11/05/08 11:40am 11/05/08 11:40am off and thus help the company trim costs instead of slashing jobs. Extorting your people by suggesting they take a small hit now as opposed to a larger hit later on isn't particularly original. “We’ve seen a slowdown…

You're all missing the point: take the job and then write a book in 18 months - call it the Web 2.0 version of 'The Devil Wore Prada'. Jobs can also be extreme sports. » 11/03/08 6:13pm 11/03/08 6:13pm

I remember working around the corner from these guys at 100 View in Mountain View and feeling jealous at how well they were doing, at least on the surface. Now that things have turned out this way and I left the startup I was working at that point I don't feel as jealous. » 10/30/08 6:10pm 10/30/08 6:10pm

Cisco concludes we're all breaking the rules

I'm a liar. So are you. The funny part is, we all know it. A new study by Cisco » 10/29/08 3:40pm 10/29/08 3:40pm just confirms it. The 10-word version: "Everyone breaks published security policy to get their job done." None of this is a surprise to your IT department. We long for the day we can punish problem users for violating the pages of…

Microsoft saves my job for the weekend

Hooray — another zero-day patch! » 10/24/08 8:00pm 10/24/08 8:00pm The financial sky is falling! The only good news is I'm used to hedge fund managers throwing themselves out the windows. If you're as familiar with zero-day patches as collateralized debt obligations, let me explain the difference to an IT guy. A CDO means I'm fired. A zero-day patch…

Gmail now idiot-accessible

The rocket scientists at Google have a solution for our death-spiraling economy: emoticons in Gmail » 10/24/08 12:35pm 10/24/08 12:35pm. The animated steaming pile of poo is especially classy. It transcends all words? Maybe at Google it does, but at Valleywag it only rolls downhill.

Is Sarah Palin's email worth $15 million?

There are ways to kill projects you don't want to work on » 10/20/08 8:00pm 10/20/08 8:00pm without saying no. You can give the project "death by price tag," as did Alaska's state IT guys when ordered to produce evidence that could only hurt their home state's image. Examining one state employee's inbox for emails sent to Sarah Palin's husband, Todd,…

Earthquakes seem funny now

Layoff, shmayoff –- I was 12 years old when the Loma Prieta quake hit 19 years ago. Sunny afternoon. An average Thursday and no reason to suspect anything was wrong. I had just gotten out of the shower and was about to get dressed when the shaking hit. It was far, far worse than I’d ever felt before. I dove for the… » 10/17/08 8:04pm 10/17/08 8:04pm

NASA's shame: Hubble Space Telescope runs on a 486 chip

Two weeks ago, NASA spokespeople acknowledged that the $6 billion Hubble Space Telescope had stopped transmitting data » 10/16/08 5:20pm 10/16/08 5:20pm back to Earth. Today, the optimistic news is that ground control technicians have remote-booted the telescope's . The Hubble's No. 2 system is built around a pre-Pentium Intel 80486 microchip. Five of…

Top 10 reasons to fire everyone now

As Wall Street's mistakes continue to spill over into the tech sector, nervous managers are scrambling for proven ways to cut their budgets. Tough times call for old solutions to new problems. But you » 10/13/08 4:00pm 10/13/08 4:00pm need to package them as new solutions to old problems. Here's a translation guide to analyst house — or at least to…

Why you should find a headhunter you hate

If your own company's future is as uncertain as Wachovia's, it's probably time to hook up with a few professional recruiters and go looking for work while you're still a hot (read: employed) property. The first thing you should know about tech headhunters is they're not tech people » 9/29/08 6:00pm 9/29/08 6:00pm. The second thing you should know is…

How to keep your IT department happy

The stories of Terry Childs » 9/23/08 5:00pm 9/23/08 5:00pm and — resentful IT workers who wreaked vengeance on their employers — make nontechnical managers wonder what they might do differently than the City of San Francisco's Department of Technology. What does it take to keep your IT resources happy?The core issue isn't compensation, it's trust.