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Comment: Re:To all you leftist science geeks (Score 1) 71

by Baba Ram Dass (#42907115) Attached to: CERN's LHC Powers Down For Two Years

If a project like the LHC were really producing useful results, the free market would jump to fund it.

Actually, businesses rarely looks farther than 5 years in a business plan.
If a research project can't make a profit in that time, they don't pursue it.

Untrue. Many businesses spend many many many years in research and development before getting any return on that investment. For example, on average, it takes about 10 years to get a new drug onto the shelf. Pharmaceuticals not only invest a decade into each new product, but they also sink about a billion USD by the time they start recovering those costs (if they do at all, not every medicine is a home run).

The fact is the market not only could but would step in to fill some first rate research, and do it faster and cheaper by most accounts, if it were given the chance, i.e. when the competition doesn't receive such an ungodly amount of head start subsidized funding, making any kind of practical attempt comical.

Comment: Could it be... (Score 5, Interesting) 67

by Baba Ram Dass (#42105411) Attached to: Google's Manual For Its Unseen Human Raters

First off, didn't read the article. Yeah, I said it. So if the article dispells this just ignore me.

What if Google actively uses the human ratings as a comparison/benchmark against which they measure those fancy algorithms? In other words, the users are rating the algorithms more than they are the websites. Makes sense they would improve search results algorithms, a highly technical and scientific method of ranking sites (which is of little use to a human in and of itself), by constantly striving toward an unscientific and untechnical (e.g. "quality") method... humans... which afterall is, you know, who uses the engine in the first place.

Amazon probably does the same to improve their suggestions model.

Comment: So what? (Score 2) 566

by Baba Ram Dass (#41500423) Attached to: A Suicide Goes Viral On the Internet

Maybe I'm just a desensitized product of the times, but I fail to see why this is a big deal. The video isn't disturbing to me. There's no blood or brain matter shown, no audio. A far cry from something like the detailed Bud Dwyer suicide that aired live sometime back in the 80s I think. I still cringe when I think about seeing it.

Suicide is a reality. As a society we need to drop the taboo and understand suicide, genocide, war, etc. are all too real. I'd argue it is society, not me, who is really desensitized. Out of sight out of mind as a previous comment stated. The problem won't go away if you bury your head in sand. These things are shocking, sometimes disturbing, but they should be. Rather than ignoring them we should shed more light on them instead of living in a round corners, padded, molded plastic half true reality.

Comment: Re:Competition (Score 5, Insightful) 561

by Baba Ram Dass (#41480877) Attached to: Why Apple Replaced iOS Maps

You miss the point. Most Android phones have Google Maps preinstalled. Imagine if iPhones started shipping with something else. Doesn't matter if it's a custom Apple app or if they used MapQuest. The ubiquity of such a product would immediately provide significant competition to Google Maps. As an Android user I would love that if it means my Google Maps improves somehow as a result.

Comment: Stick with Java (Score 2) 409

by Baba Ram Dass (#40198033) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Tips For Designing a Modern Web Application?

First, I'd like to say whoever thinks there's no serious web development in Java simply doesn't know what they're talking about. Probably the same kind of person who believes Java is incredibly slow. This isn't 1998. Things have changed a lot.

Second, I actually came from a PHP background. I think PHP gets a bad rap because it's so easy to learn, so there's TONS of "developers" out there who never took the time to learn how to properly design and develop software with it. But it can be done. If you go this route, look into an MVC framework. Zend has some really cool stuff.

Finally, I would personally recommend sticking with Java. Like many here probably, I make my living with Java and so I'm most definitely biased. I work on a "real time" Java team at a major corporation, and we deal with anything that is real time and deals with Java. This obviously includes web development, which is my personal area of expertise. If you name it, we've developed with it. I've used many different frameworks, both server and client side.

For the server side, I think the best Java framework hands down is Spring. Its MVC module is a dream, and the framework itself is very well designed. The API is well documented. There's loads of resources too. It's really a developer's framework; made by developer for developers. The Spring guys really know what they're doing. For the view, I'd say stick with JSP. The newer versions have a lot of powerful features over their earlier incarnations, and you keep full control over the HTML. Learning how to debug JSF/RichFaces/ICEfaces/etc is a pain in the butt, especially if you're still learning web development with Java. Other good alternatives for view would be lightweight templating frameworks, like Freemarker or Velocity (which Spring has good integration with).

For client side, you need to brush up on HTML and DOM. You need to make yourself familiar with a good JavaScript framework, my personal favorite is jQuery. Learn how to keep your markup (HTML), your functionality (JavaScript), and your styling (CSS) logically separated. I hate to see these things embedded into one another like a nasty hodgepodge of bad software design.

Comment: Re:In Communist China everybody is Far Right (Score 1) 639

by Baba Ram Dass (#38458414) Attached to: In the simplistic left/right divide, I'd call myself

I live in the States and [...] I pay ludicrously high taxes because not that I'm starting to earn

I doubt you know what "high taxes" are ...

An americna complaining about taxes sounds completely retarded for the rest of the world, sorry, no offense intended.

Really? This was marked 'informative'? What is so informative about that? 'Pithy' and 'cute', sure... but informative? Wow.

Regardless of your intention, you are coming off offensive and your point is probably being lost on those that need to hear it most. (Sad face.)

That said, everything is relative. There's absolutely nothing incorrect about an American bitching about high taxes. Or gasoline prices. Or [whatever]. Relative to what Americans know, these are all true and valid grievances. It's like a soldier complaining his arm was blown off in combat... then you come along and smugly point out the fact BOTH of your arms were blown off. Sure, you may be in a worse position, but his complaint is still valid.

FFS, this popular urge to condense down very complex ideas into a pretty soundbite ("I doubt you know what 'high taxes' are. *rimshot*") is part of a much bigger problem re: politics at large.

Comment: Local + Cloud (Score 1) 499

by Baba Ram Dass (#37557888) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Long-Term Video/Picture Storage?

Keep the files locally on a spinning disk, and subscribe to a cloud-based storage service, i.e. Mozy or Carbonite.

If your house burns down then you can restore from the cloud, and if the cloud goes down (or rather, these days it seems... WHEN it goes down) you'll have your local copies.

This solution is simple, easy, and inexpensive and still provides very good reliability. For my personal files, this is the route I take; my laptop holds 90% of my "important" files, and my unlimited plan at Carbonite gives me piece of mind should something happen to my laptop.

The point is never rely on one single solution. And you want your data to be physically redundant in case of a physical catastrophe--fire, theft, user stupidity--so you'll have the other physical location to fall back on. There's always the chance both your laptop will catch fire and Mozy's servers crash, but data reliability is focused on mitigating risk; removing the risk completely reduces the options available that fit into easy, simple, and/or inexpensive categories.

Comment: Don't rule out online storage! (Score 1) 680

by Baba Ram Dass (#34948706) Attached to: How Do You Store Your Personal Photos?

Seriously, online storage is the way to go. Mozy and Carbonite both offer unlimited storage for $55/year. Both are incremental, so after that initial transfer backups are executed extremely fast. They're in the background, and you can set it to work only when the machine is idle, so you won't even notice it's there. I swear by online backup, personally. It's the cheapest and easiest solution for most people.

Comment: Re:Been there. (Score 1, Interesting) 436

by Baba Ram Dass (#34302128) Attached to: How the 'Tech Worker Visa' Is Remaking IT In America

I agree with everything except your conclusion regarding it not benefiting the economy. Competition on the global scale does indeed benefit the global economy. Global is the keyword. Proof is the rising wages in the countries where outsourcing work is going. You've got to remember that there is an enormous wage gap between the western world and the more poverty stricken world. Competion--in this case of labor--is doing what comppetiton does best: making the commodity more efficient to produce on the whole.

That's not to imply it doesn't suck for us developers in the States. But the fact is a $3 cut in our pay doesn't have anywhere near the effect a $3 increase on pay has on someone in India or China.

In the end globalization will benefit everyone in the world. It's like when computers became popular; no one can deny they were good for everyone ultimately. But in the beginning it sure did suck for the people who made and used typewriters.

Comment: Re:What a shocker (Score 0) 342

by Baba Ram Dass (#34217660) Attached to: The Monopolies That Dominate the Internet

The idea is that to make a higher profit, to be more efficient, one has to serve the demands of the customer to gain the business required to make a higher profit. The instances where this idea stands at odds with those in the "real world" are usually examples of sectors that are highly regulated by the government, raising the barrier to entry and preventing competition.

Take hot dogs... you might be able to make your machines more efficient at making hot dogs than the next guy, but that won't help your profit margins if your hot dogs taste like dog shit. The nasty tasting hot dog manufacturer might then use the strong arm of government to enact legislation outlawing one of his competitors' ingredients. (In the end, all hot dogs are pretty fucking unhealthy, but that point is missed by the politicians wanting to look health-conscious to their constituents.) The nasty tasting hot dog manufacturer might also push to have its brand of hot dogs be served exclusively in schools for the lunch entree on "hot dog Tuesdays".

Take out the corporatism element of government-sanctioned monopolies, and you get the best tasting AND most affordable hot dog becoming "top dog" as it were. Does "top dog" afford some luxuries not existing in the mom-and-pop businesses? Sure. But as long as the barrier to entry is low, regulation is not crippling, the market will tend toward the collective desires of the customer.

The problem is so often the collective customer is an idiot.

Comment: Re:Voting options out of order (Score 4, Insightful) 465

I wouldn't want a robot autonomously performing surgery, I want a doctor with years and years of experience in control, even if he's overseeing the robot based on his preprogrammed instructions rather than using the scalpel with his own hands.

Could you not forsee a time when computers and robots have become so advanced that they contain all the knowledge, experience, and wisdom of several human doctors, thereby being programmed with theoretically hundreds of years of real world experience? Humans make mistakes; computers can too, and when they do sure it's really really bad especially if they're cutting you open, but given the right engineering and advancement so that the chances of a robot screwing up is infinitesimal small compared to that of a human screwing up, I'd take a robotic surgeon over a human one any day. Of course I'd want the robot supervised to throw an abort switch in case the bastard goes into an infinite loop or something.

No two humans are exactly the same inside, and repairing a human is different than servicing a machine with thousands of identical models.

The logic and decision-making skills that doctors learn that give them the ability to work on many different, although basically similar, "models" could theoretically be programmed into the robot. Along with robot precision and speed, the choice is obvious to me.

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