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Comment: Re:Sex discrimination. (Score 5, Informative) 673

by CrankyFool (#46713127) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

You misunderstand the concept of a "protected class."

Employment law indicates that discrimination or harassment based on protected classifications is illegal. A protected classification is something like "gender," but not "being a woman." So if you discriminate against someone because she's a woman, that's illegal because you're discriminating based on a protected class (gender); and if you discriminate against someone because he's a man, that's ALSO illegal because you yet again are discriminating based on a protected class (gender).

Same thing about race, national origin, and a few other classifications (military service, in a few states sexual orientation, etc).

That doesn't mean, however, that you can't have a charity that focuses on one gender or race, or an organization focused on one gender (e.g. girl scouts or boy scouts); it also doesn't mean that an entity seeking to donate money must donate money equally to all genders -- protected classifications are an area in employment law, not every facet of life.

Comment: Re:Just get a Smart TV (Score 4, Insightful) 180

by CrankyFool (#46641503) Attached to: Amazon Launches Android-Powered 'Fire TV' For Streaming and Gaming

I won't pretend to give you a generalized answer, but rather answer it for myself and my household:

(Context: I work at Netflix, which may make a difference so it's worth noting. That said, I'm back-end cloud systems, with nothing to do with consumer devices).

I consume my media from several sources, including iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go.

I could get a SmartTV that lets me access them, but IME, smart TV manufacturers move pretty slowly; I also think of my TV as just a large display, and imbuing it with more smarts makes it more painful and expensive to upgrade to something else. By focusing on modularity -- this TV is just a bunch of HDMI ports with a big screen -- it lets me optimize the TV for display, and use another device for content access.

Which is why I prefer the AppleTV rather than a SmartTV.

(We could have another conversation about AppleTV vs Roku or the Fire TV, but that's outside the scope of this particular comment thread).

Comment: Re:Dialup? Windows 95? (Score 1) 126

by CrankyFool (#46574649) Attached to: Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

Typically, the way these patents are written, the pattern is "a system and a method to do FOO; here's one possible, but not exclusive or reference, implementation of our idea: BAR" where BAR (e.g. the win95 and modem stuff above) is meant to be an illustration of how an idea like this would work, rather than detailing the specific requirements for the idea to work. In other words, the fact they're using Windows 95 and modem is likely, largely, irrelevant to the actual meat of their claim.

Comment: Re:Not All Potential Employers (Score 2) 116

by CrankyFool (#46397011) Attached to: Popularity On Facebook Makes People Think You're Attractive

Why in heavens' name would I care whether or not someone I'm going to hire is playing Weed Farmer or -- let's just cut to the heart of it -- even an illegal drug user?

I've known enough people who've taken illegal drugs (pot, X, whatever) who were phenomenally good at their job that I fail to see how it's any relevant to me what they do in their off-hours. You could argue that there's a morality component (if I'm being honest I'm not crazy about hiring someone who beats their spouse non-consensually, for example) to hiring decisions, but even then, what's the morality of smoking pot? Why would I care?

Comment: Not All Potential Employers (Score 5, Interesting) 116

by CrankyFool (#46394901) Attached to: Popularity On Facebook Makes People Think You're Attractive

I'm a hiring manager at a tech company. We generally think that looking at a candidate's FB profile is a social faux pas. LInkedIn? Sure. Facebook? That's their business. I'm not friends with my direct reports on FB, I don't expect them to friend me, and whatever they do there is their business.

Maybe it's time to find a better class of potential employers?

Comment: Re:Interesting attack on Bitcoin (Score 1) 465

by CrankyFool (#46367277) Attached to: MtGox Files For Bankruptcy Protection

If it's government-protected currency, it's government-regulated currency. Bitcoin owners have been crowing for a while that Bitcoin's raison d'etre was to be independent of governments, and I'd say that I'm pretty comfortable with the JP government going "you don't want to play in the financial industry sandbox? You don't get to come in when your sandbox is wet."

Comment: Re:Roku has Amazon Video Channel already, so why? (Score 1) 104

by CrankyFool (#46317941) Attached to: Amazon To Put Android In Set-top Box To Compete With Apple, Roku

We're an iPhone-free house, and while my wife has my old iPad, neither of uses it.

We've had a Roku here, but we ended up standardizing on the ATV as our preferred streaming platform. Its ease of use and interface, for us, were superior to the Roku. We also consume a bunch of iTunes rental movies, which obviously aren't available via Roku. While the Roku lets you rent movies from other sources, those other sources (e.g. Amazon) didn't have the selection we wanted.

Comment: Re:Still abusive (Score 1) 511

by CrankyFool (#46279733) Attached to: Gabe Newell Responds: Yes, We're Looking For Cheaters Via DNS

This significantly changes the situation, I think, and makes it much more palatable -- you either opt in to the protections of VAC (and its attendant privacy breaches) or you opt out, but you can still play. I can live with that.

(I feel like I'm violating some sort of implicit slashdot rule by not flaming you for disagreeing with me; apologies).


Comment: Re:Still abusive (Score 5, Insightful) 511

by CrankyFool (#46276335) Attached to: Gabe Newell Responds: Yes, We're Looking For Cheaters Via DNS

This isn't quite the same as that old "well, just don't use it" canard.

Valve was engaging in a set of behaviors which you considered acceptable, and so "purchased" (more on why "purchased" is in quotes in a second) some games from them.

They've changed their behavior. Let's say you don't want to do business with them anymore. You could, of course, stop using Steam ... and lose access to all your games, which you probably thought you "purchased" in some sort of "I can use it for the rest of my life" sense, but actually just got a license to use for as long as they feel like it. This is different from a "service" where the expectation is that the benefit you're getting from them is recurring on some sort of cycle.

Someone will, doubtlessly, point out that you can put the Steam client into offline mode. To which I'll say that you can't do it indefinitely. To which they'll say "but Valve says you should be able to do that," to which I'll point to which basically says "Valve says they want to make offline mode work 'forever', but they're not there yet."

It doesn't really matter, IMHO, that the scope of what they did here was relatively minor. The issue is that Valve, much like Sony, feels like they can trawl through your computer in areas that have nothing to do with playing the game. Today it was minor because it makes sense to start small; but if they feel comfortable trawling your DNS history -- and Newell clearly says that he has no problem with this practice -- what else do they feel comfortable doing?

Comment: Re:they exist but do not have titles? (Score 5, Insightful) 312

by CrankyFool (#46243045) Attached to: Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

That probably came across somewhat cranky, but is entirely accurate.

I'm an engineering manager. Until a year ago, I was an engineer. I'm a decent engineer, though prone to quick-and-dirty hacks sometimes to solve problems rather than good long-term design. I got promoted to managing an infrastructure software engineering group (after the engineers in that group gave me the thumbs up) and in my first one-on-one meeting with each of my engineers I asked them "so what would you like me to be doing around here?"

And you know ... yes. It turns out that if meetings need to be attended, and we have a choice between a world-class engineer attending them and a manager attending them and then passing back whatever relevant information engineers want to know, my engineers seem to prefer that I attend those meetings (sometimes. Sometimes they just call their own meetings if they think they need to).

Generally, I consider my job to be "the stuff we need to do the engineers don't want to do" (e.g. recruiting). And I get paid less than about half my engineers (and I think my salary's a little below median for my group). Which is fair -- their impact on the organization is higher than mine.

Comment: The "Brains are Different" canard (Score 1) 545

by CrankyFool (#46162963) Attached to: Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

Turns out that telling women that STEM is just one of those things that men are better at tends to dissuade women from getting into STEM.

So the next time you're thinking of casually throwing around the whole "Oh, men are just better/more interested in this" argument ...

Remember you're part of the problem.

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner