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Comment: Re:yes, programming, like poetry, is not words, un (Score 1) 192

by Austerity Empowers (#48911149) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

I'd put it a different way. From TFS, they try to create an analogy between coding and composition, that just isn't remotely appropriate. If coding is the new literacy, software engineering is the new composition. Yet reading and writing, basic literacy, help billions of people who are neither authors, nor poets in doing their everyday job. Literacy enabled a huge revolution in the workforce, and life in general.

Coding is a tool, like a hammer. Anyone can wield a hammer, some people do so far more proficiently than others to great effect, while others merely pound the nail in that holds a house together. Similarly, anyone could describe the required actions to go from their front door, to backing their car down their driveway, and given the appropriate language could instruct a robot to do so.

If enough people understood properly how to command their computer, productivity would would increase by orders of magnitude and our lives would change again. Most of the produced code would be very utilitarian, poorly structured, utterly mundane but incredibly useful.

Comment: Re:But does it matter any more? (Score 5, Insightful) 145

Windows is unfortunately relevant. The question is whether the built in browser is relevant. I'm going to install firefox and/or chrome and use those exclusively anyway because i've been burnt too many times with MS's attempts to "add value" with IE to ever trust their browsers again.

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 4, Insightful) 430

by Austerity Empowers (#48909219) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

give all the money to the state

Donate it all to charity (that isn't the fraternal order of police, or some self-serving operation), mail it all to the north pole, but not the state. In some places the states or local governments have "arrangements' with the police to share this money. Further amongst themselves the police divide up roads for state, county and local coverage. You can tell because you can blow by a local cop on the interstate and he won't twitch, even if you're in his city limits. If it was about public safety he'd pull you over just to stop you, even if he was powerless to ticket you. The cat and mouse game around stop signs and traffic lights in some areas has reached epic proportions. There should not be a debate about whether you fully stopped, or almost stopped... only that you followed the intent of the intersection control.

Take away the money motive and I think police would start enforcing traffic laws based on actual danger, rather than what they think they can stick you with.

Comment: Re:Discussion is outdated (Score 3, Funny) 478

by Austerity Empowers (#48899837) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

The issue is that most of the time people doing this work are on the hardware teams, rather than the software teams. It's a hard world to live in, to be sure, the silicon & pcb guys think you're software (i.e. you write code that executes ON a processor, not code that creates the processor). The software guys don't speak the same language: they're hung up on methodologies, APIs, code style & the business of software, or else are more heavy in to the software research side of pure algoritms. It can be tough to fit in, but the job has to be done, it isn't any less essential, just a bit more niche.

Comment: Re:Why lay fiber at all when you can gouge wireles (Score 4, Insightful) 199

by Austerity Empowers (#48888951) Attached to: Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

No you misread. FiOS isn't AS profitable, it's profitable. Someone without a conflict of interest, willing to compete with wireless, could set up a business and make money, give good service, employ people and return value to an investor. Verizon won't, they see it as a cannibalizing their wireless market.

This is an example of all that is wrong with telecom.

Comment: Re:Time for a UNION! (Score 2) 263

by Austerity Empowers (#48868063) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

In my line of work, interviews are a panel of 6-8 people (the higher "experience" you are, the more people) on a grueling 8 hour interview process, followed by an obnoxious round table where we "collectively" decide who to hire. But we're not doing so based on our own motivation, we're doing so on behalf of our corporation and executives who lay out criteria and want us to put our badges on the line for those criteria.

None of us, individually, is the employer except perhaps the hiring manager. He sets the ground rules and promises up the chain (often up to a senior VP) that some candidate is going to meet our criteria. SVP will frequently, independently, interview said candidate himself. So we're kind of handcuffed in how we do our job. Many, many, many times the SVP has pushed back saying "You may not hire this person, he has no experience in ", even if he's otherwise smart and quite qualified. Ultimately I consider him the employer, we're just his screeners enhanced also with our own agenda.

Once a candidate is hired however, you cannot argue we are his employers anymore. He will usually be our peer on any org-chart, no matter how junior.

Comment: Re:Time for a UNION! (Score 4, Interesting) 263

by Austerity Empowers (#48867107) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

This is an INDUSTRY problem, not particularly an employer problem, though they certainly do a lot to fan the flame. A union won't solve all the problems and will make some of them much worse.

- Do not hire a person until existing employees are nearly 100% overbooked. No training or ramp-up time in the schedule.
- Want to hire the cheapest person who can barely get the job done
- Do not want to spend money on training or other activities that might increase employee value on the market (even though, in my opinion, that shoudln't be true)
- Do not significantly value sub E-level employees as investments, but rather fungible commodities to broker
- Vastly prefer to lay off people in position who have become expensive and hire H1Bs to replace them to cut payroll costs, essentially creating a glut of people with the same skillset.

Employees, particularly in Tech:
- Want to hire a drop in replacement. Look for someone with many years of experience doing exactly the job being hired for (i.e. create a niche/no-train, no hope environemtn)
- Tend to focus on job skills over job experience. Skills can be taught to any college hire, and ARE taught in low-cost regions, but tend not to be taught in western schools. Think languages (C), tools, mechanics. Things if you have the proper background and education you can pick up in a month or two. For any non-trivial job however, this is nearly worthless.
- Misapprehend "experience". Experience is not, or should not entirely be how long you've done a particular task. Most tasks can be mastered in well under 5 years. Experience is how many problems you've worked on and solved in your life. It's one thing to learn a solution (i.e. school), it's another thing to learn a problem. The more you've seen and internalized, the better you will be. Instead we interview for how well so-and-so knows how to write python, or how long as he been a python-engineer. Useless. I want to hear what projects he worked on, what solutions he considered and rejected, etc. I don't care what language he did them in, or if he was a cardboard-box folder for 5 years and has the audacity to apply to a plastic tub sealer position without any industry experience!
- In some fields, mine in particular, I have noticed people intentionally block candidates because they are not "in", simply because they are not already "in".

So in essence we are all responsible for creating this market we're in.

Comment: Re:building municipal broadband is prohibited (Score 1) 160

I couldn't give two shits about my state (the 10th I've lived in) of Texas, and am pretty sure even the idiots with the "Secede" bumper stickers feel more loyalty to the US than they do the old boy network that runs this place. I'm an American that happens to live in the region known as Texas. I sure wouldn't mind seeing all the anti-muni laws tossed out across the country. I would gladly fork $5k over to have true high speed broadband delivered to my house on the restriction that anyone could provide me with internet service at my own selection. The entire notion of independent states has not aged well and the populace as a whole is ignoring their states in favor of national politics, and doesn't even make sense anymore but to a few ill-intentioned libertarian interests.

With that said, I do have some doubts that the federal government has this right, that it can all be wrapped up conveniently in some verbiage in the constitution that never had conceived of this, without at least a protracted legal battle. This all smells like a politician trying to delude the masses into thinking he's helping while he's actually abdicating, or about to ignore his government doing something that is otherwise massively unpopular. For example what would we do if next month the FCC rules against net neutrality, but Obama & company get a law through congress that will (in 2 years) get overturned?

I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943