Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Why do we need more of the damned things... (Score 1) 377

by Crazy Taco (#49352209) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

If this trend continues, we're going to be awash in smart financial or medical people. Y'know, stuff that's harder to outsource so easily.

I understand why medical is hard to outsource, but I would think finance would be incredibly easy. I'm pretty sure Excel and calculators are plentiful in other countries.

Comment: Re:Disincentivized (Score 2) 377

by Crazy Taco (#49352189) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

The implication of that post seemed to be that "I wanna make games" = "not serious", and therefore less likely to learn a "serious" language like C++. I just thought it was an odd thing to say when C++ happens to be the language of choice in the videogame industry.

No, he's right. The "I wanna make games" crowd is usually not very serious. The "I make games" crowd is where the serious skill is at. But only a tiny, tiny subset of the "I wanna make games" crowd is actually serious enough to make it to the "I make games" crowd.

Side story: I was a senior year computer science / computer engineering double degree student at my University. My senior year, I happened to move onto the floor in the dorm for the computer science learning community (something I had never lived in myself). Learning communities were a place where freshman sharing a major could live together and learn/study together. Anyway, all these CS freshman, about 30 of them, all were in CS because they "liked video games and wanted to make games". They would run around dressed like medieval people with spears playing Dungeons and Dragons, playing video games, etc. None of them understood that programming is challenging, requires a lot of theory and math, etc. I kid you not, I don't recall even one of them making it to their sophomore year as computer science majors. They all switched, and it was pathetic.

So that's what he's referring to when he talks about the "I wanna make games" crowd. They are a dime a dozen and not serious at all. The "I make games" crowd, on the other hand, is extremely skilled and respectable technically.

Comment: Re: finger pointing (Score 1) 377

by Crazy Taco (#49352163) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Stop hiring Indians and Chinese.

Ridiculous. Actually, part of the problem is that due to wealth transfers (Welfare and tax credits), government handouts to unions (especially federal union jobs), etc, have made it so that engineering take home pay gets held down through taxes, and some other jobs get paid more than they should. It's not that I want lower wages for some people, but, when the disparity in earnings gets artificially reduced, a lot of people may not be willing to take the much harder STEM career path for only marginally higher earnings. In countries like India where engineers make ten times the average wage, EVERYONE lines up to be in STEM.

Here, you can have government or factory jobs making 45,000 a year, and starting engineering jobs being 55,000, and while there is probably more upward potential with engineering, it takes way more work and leaves a lot less time for goofing off in college. If the government makework job paid a more realistic 25000-30000 and the engineering job started at 75000-80000, you'd see everyone with any ability flooding into the STEM courses, and you'd be more likely to reach a supply/demand equilabrium when it comes to STEM talent.

Note: STEM jobs also take a very considerable amount of constant lifelong learning to keep up with technology changes. Constant studying, test taking and certifications are often the norm, whereas other fields you learn how to do a job and then you never crack a book again for 20 years. Tech is a tough treadmill to be on, and if you want people to go that way you have to make it worth their while by not monkeying with wages and wealth redistribution.

Comment: Re:Yep (Score 4, Insightful) 377

by Crazy Taco (#49352115) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Pay us well (and give us raises as we gain experience so we don't have to job-hop to be paid market rates).

Treat us well (no more 70 hour weeks, no more rollout-on-weekends-with-no-comp-time, no more demand to fix bugs on our own time, no more keeping us in meetings all week then wondering why work didn't get done on time, etc).

Give us job security (no more you-are-useless-if-you-are-over-40).

Do that, or even some of that, and the workforce will swell with tech workers.

Wow, these are all so true. I was at a company I really liked... really liked the people and my boss. I was the lead engineer on a team of 15, but was the second lowest paid guy. Everyone coming in got to negotiate, but I couldn't. Went to my bosses, they agreed I deserved the same wage, fought for it, but HR shot them down. I guess HR didn't think I'd leave or something. But I did. I have a young family of five to support, and I can't afford to be underpaid. At the end, the difference between my pay and the industry average was $30,000. I left and immediately ended up at the average. Now they have to replace me with someone who doesn't have eight years of experience with the company (and new people are always a risk), and they will have to pay the market rate I was asking for. And I actually wanted to stay and would have if they had just paid me what they WILL now have to pay the external hire. Why are idiot HR departments so short sited?

And yeah, the meeting thing is so true. Seriously, STOP the meetings. If I have five hours of meetings and three hours of emails being sent to me each day (many of which turn out to be FYIs that I didn't need to be copied on that waste my time), how can I get anything done? I truly believe the fix is agile for infrastructure: pick what you are doing for your two week sprint, and work solely on those items for two weeks. Instead of that though, most places give you an annual list of 15-40 projects that you work on simultaneously (impossible), and you have the overhead of having to go to status meetings and send constant emails about them every day/week, even though you really aren't working on most of them in a given week. Such a waste... it's like a computer that has too many processes and spends all its CPU time doing context switching rather than actually processing meaningful work. I really think the ideal number of projects at a time would be about 3. If people were allowed to work on a small number at a time, knock them out, and then move to the next thing, I think they'd actually get more total projects done in a year than the "work on them all at once" method that seems way to common.

Sidenote: IMO, the "do them all at once" method is nothing more than a crutch for bad managers. They don't want to tell anyone their project is less important and needs to wait until mid-year to start, so they pretend they are going to start it right away. They don't care if having 20 active projects at a time bogs everything down in project overload and everything takes longer, just so long as they can make themselves look good because they are "servicing" it.

Comment: Re:Suck it Millenials (Score 5, Insightful) 377

by Crazy Taco (#49352063) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Makes me glad I'm one of the leading edge Millennials, one of the ones that grew up with Windows 95/DOS and all the associated bugginess and user-unfriendliness of the applications of that era. We actually had to learn how our computers worked and how to really get in and fix things. These later edge Millennials that got iPhones in middle school and high school have utterly no idea how any of this stuff works.

For reasons I don't understand, the media continues to refer to the trailing edge Millennials as technology whiz kids who have grown up with technology and are "technologically savvy", but to my way of thinking they really know nothing about technology at all. It takes absolutely no skill to use some Apple store approved iPhone app with a super simple, refined UI. It did take skill to try to install and run old DOS games and get all those crazy, primitive drivers to install, work, and not have conflicts with each other. Those issues led to a curiosity about computers, which led to me learning programming, which led to a computer engineer degree and ultimately a good career in IT, but had I grown up with an iPhone I wonder if it would ever have happened.

Oh, and let's not forget leading edge Millennials are phenomenal typers too, because we grew up with Instant Messaging clients, not texting with our thumbs. Not a bad skill to have in IT.

-Born in late 1983.

Comment: Re:I actually read TFA...gasp..and no they didn't (Score 1) 68

by Crazy Taco (#49293045) Attached to: Nintendo To Announce Virtual Boy 2

Actually no, they didn't announce a damn thing you completely inaccurate headline and summary. They very well might but that is just one article speculating at what they might announce based on what other companies are doing.

I knew the summary was full of baloney when they called the Virtual Boy an ill-fated "peripheral". A mouse or an add-on device is a "peripheral". Virtual Boy was not a hardware add on to something, it was a full blown console in and of itself (I still own one).

Comment: Re:greedy liar (Score 1) 451

by Crazy Taco (#49292985) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future

Main disadvantage? Sometimes there's no car nearby, and of course the usual parking space hunt in the city.

You think THAT is the main disadvantage?

I suppose to people who are used to public transportation, your idea makes sense. To the rest of us who don't ride public transport, it is a horrible idea.

Bleah, getting into a car that 500 people have been in? NO THANK YOU...

Just not gonna do it, it isn't a tech issue, it is a "I like my car because I'm the only one who drives it" issue...

Actually, I'd argue that is not even the main issue. I need to get to work on time, every day, at the same time. At least other public transit options like a bus are fairly reliable and have set schedules. With this, you have no idea if a car is around that can quickly get into range. I can't afford to depend on a "best effort" service that may or may not be there when I need it.

Such a service *might* be ok for primarily young single people who live in the urban core and have a lot of time on their hands, and have all their relatives and friends living in the urban core, because they can take the bus everywhere when a car isn't available, and if they need to go to IKEA to pick up something bigger, maybe they can wait an hour or two for a suitable vehicle to become available. But as a parent who just entered my 30s, I can't afford to be waiting around on cars. The kids can't wait to go to IKEA for two hours... that might interfere with nap time. Or one of them gets sick at school and I need to go immediately pick them up, etc. And I have almost no relatives in the urban core... they are in the suburbs or rural areas where these cars won't be. In short, like most people, I need a dependable car that is available on my schedule, not the other way around.

Someone else made the comment that these are like a low transaction way to get a rental car. That's another thing... I need a car every single day. I'm guessing it's going to be cheaper to buy a car than rent one every day. So yeah, self driving cars may be the future (although I will NOT be an early adopter, given my life depends on the car software), but I don't think that's going to make car share supplant private ownership as the primary way people operate a vehicle.

Comment: Re:Clinton followed a Presidential trend... (Score 2) 609

by Crazy Taco (#49234617) Attached to: Clinton Regrets, But Defends, Use of Family Email Server

So the defense now is "Bush did bad things, too?" "Hey - Nixon engaged in obstruction of justice, too! We have precedent!" Let's see how that one goes over.

Agreed. And to be fair, apparently the Bush administration at least tried to do the right thing by issuing people a government email account and a secure device on which to use it. Not only that, but considering the Clinton claim that Bill only sent two emails the entire time he was in office, then the Bush administration was the very first to try to figure out how to do email right.

I'm not trying to excuse the Bush administration if staffers failed to do email correctly, but the overall point is this: it's not the 2000s anymore, it's the 2010s. Standards and rules about using government servers are even tighter now than they were then, and government IT is much more experienced at security. And yet we have Hilary not even doing things as well as they were done in the 2000s, violating state department rules, using only a personal email account, putting it on an insecure server, etc.This is not a new technology anymore, and there's no excuse for this kind of rule breaking. Especially not the excuse that "well staffer x or staffer y wasn't perfect a decade ago so it's ok".

Comment: History Repeats itself (Score 4, Insightful) 392

by Crazy Taco (#49226459) Attached to: Does USB Type C Herald the End of Apple's Proprietary Connectors?

First, it's effectively PCIe - that should already start brewing ideas. Instead of crappy USB-to-serial adapters or parallel adapters that barely work, a Thunderbolt variant would work just like a real connector on your PC (and is practically driverless). Thunderbolt also has the uncanny ability to hook up huge daisy chains of drives without losing too much speed between the first and last drive - most of the loss in speed comes from having more devices on the line than the actual order of them. If you want to deal with big ass external arrays, Thunderbolt makes that all the more convenient.

While all this is true, back in the day we heard the same sorts of arguments about Firewire being awesome for disk arrays, daisy chaining and video camcorders, and it never really gained any traction against USB, and instead flickered out. USB will no doubt just create a v4 standard to address shortcomings *just enough* to keep the protests at bay, and then with its wide install base and cheaper cost will no doubt trounce thunderbolt, and Apple will eventually drop it just like firewire.

History always repeats itself when it comes to connectors in the consumer space, because most consumers don't see enough benefit in their use cases to justify the high cost. Most are not running big arrays of disks in their closets. As a result, the cheap, widespread technology wins, not necessarily the most feature rich technology. Thunderbolt's best hope is that it can continue to live on in the enterprise space somewhere and not die completely.

Dear god, do not drop Thunderbolt support based on the silly musings of a bunch of people buying the cheapest crap hardware they can possibly buy and then being pissy they don't have the same functionality. Fortunately Apple doesn't generally listen to a bunch of whiners on slashdot.

They do, however, eventually listen to the market. Where are the firewire ports on your Apple?

Comment: Re:It's a vast field.... (Score 1) 809

by Crazy Taco (#49049215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?

I've had very competent developers who had next to no clue about how DNS works. They could do their job just fine with that. Me? Personally, I'm not up to snuff with the finer points of SQL queries and all the joins that exists and when it makes sense to create an index, etc. Could I find out? Most likely, but I haven't had the need to recently.

I think that's true, and not every developer out there will know everything anymore. It's just too vast a space.

That said though, I do find that there is a general dumbing down of the development community overall with the advent of high level frameworks. It used to be that you had to be pretty technically competent in order to program. Now, things have been simplified so much that a lot of people who would never have been able to program back when the popular languages were C/C++ are able to get jobs as app developers. That's not necessarily a bad thing since the frameworks shortened app development time and made it so there are more people to fill jobs. But, it does mean that if you have a job that does require that strong, deep knowledge of how things work you are going to have to look harder. The same kinds of strong technical types who could have been very able C programmers 20 years ago are still present today in the web development landscape, but think of it like signal to noise ratio: if they are the "signal", there's a lot more noise to sort through now.

As a good example of this, I worked on a web hosting team for a very large company. Our average time from posting to hiring was actually about a year. There were plenty of developers around, but we needed the kind who understood (or could be trained to understand) lower layer technologies, such as HTTP, DNS, some of the auth technologies like basic or Kerberos, the web server itself (IIS), F5 load balancers, and that sort of stuff. Those are the kind of things that have to be in place for web apps to run. And as it turns out, many people can slap together a website with high level frameworks but a much smaller percentage are able to learn the underlying technologies at a deep level. And unfortunately, of the internal developers we knew could handle it, most said "No, I don't want to worry about that low level stuff... that's why we like have you hosting guys around to handle it for us!" So we would always have to post externally, and it would take about a year, almost never less than six months.

So if you've got a need for someone to just write basic apps, you can fill that fast, but if you need a "deep" programmer just expect that it's going to take a very long time to find one, but if your compensation is adequate you will probably get there eventually.

Comment: Re:Enough (Score 1) 288

Stop trying to spend money to get girls to code.

I would also argue that it's hypocritical to spend money trying increase female presence in CS if we aren't going to spend similar amounts erasing the gap in other male dominated fields, such as garbage collecting, construction, being an auto mechanic, plumbing, etc. And for that matter, where's the money pile for encouraging men to become nurses?

But yes, I agree, we should stop spending money on this. It doesn't work anyway.

All the simple programs have been written.