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Comment: Too many incompetent interviewers (Score 1) 809

by DidgetMaster (#49052159) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?
I am a highly skilled engineer with over 30 years experience. I once had a headhunter call me and want me to interview for this "wonderful job" at a major company. At first I wasn't interested (I already had a great job) but I finally agreed to an interview out of curiosity. One day, while running errands in my car I got a call from the HR hiring "screener" at the company who wanted me to do an on-the-spot interview over the phone to see if I was "qualified" enough to merit a real in-person interview. I reluctantly agreed to answer a few questions. He proceeded to ask a bunch of questions about algorithms I haven't thought much about since college (i.e. bubble sorts, tree balancing, etc.). He wanted me to basically quote him coding syntax over the phone as if I were typing on a computer. I'm sure my answers didn't sound the greatest on the other end of the phone. What a joke! He ended the short conversation probably convinced that I don't know how to code even though I could probably write better C++ code in my sleep than he ever could. I never heard from them again and certainly have a bad taste in my mouth about that company (even though I'm sure there are lots of really smart engineers working there).

Comment: Nonprofit != Charity (Score 1) 274

by DidgetMaster (#48509323) Attached to: A Mismatch Between Wikimedia's Pledge Drive and Its Cash On Hand?
Wikipedia is a business. Donations to it should be viewed by the donor as paying (although voluntarily) for service. It's not like giving money to the Red Cross and then finding out some administrator make a million $ per year. The staff can use the donations for anything it chooses. If you don't like how they are spending the money you give, don't give and don't use their product. This whole open source movement has created the idea that all software should always be free for anybody. Unless you always have an army of software engineers who want to use their talent for no pay (thus decreasing the value of that talent), then you have to pay something to get quality stuff. While you might get something for nothing for awhile, I doesn't work over the long haul.

Comment: Put the SMART stats to the test (Score 2) 142

Take all the drives that have signs of failure, put them in a testing environment where you can read and write them all day but don't care about any of the data on them and see how long it takes for them to really fail. That will give you an indication of how reliable the SMART stats are at predicting real disk failure.

Comment: Re:no (Score 1) 268

by DidgetMaster (#47910675) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?
Somehow, I don't think we are talking about old Hollywood movies sold in VHS format here. Probably home movies of weddings, vacations, etc.. The cloud can help you get your stuff archived and accessible from anywhere, but it can be expensive and takes forever to push a ton of data to someone's cloud storage. Even then, it becomes a data management headache..."now where did I put that video of little Billy's 10th birthday it on Dropbox, Apple's iCloud, company XYZ's cloud, or ???"

Comment: Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (Score 1) 144

by DidgetMaster (#47729889) Attached to: It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights
I think I read somewhere that traffic lights are designed so that it is impossible for both sides to get a simultaneous green light. They have some kind of physical switch that enforces this. In other words, even if the system is hacked, you can't make cars crash by changing all the lights to green. That doesn't mean that a hacker can't cause some problems by making the lights stay red for 10+ minutes or other such mischief.

Comment: Free stuff doesn't necessarily mean it's good (Score 0) 430

Free software The people who wrote it don't get paid. That means they generally only want to do the "fun stuff". In my experience as a programmer, all the grunt work (error checking, documentation, well formed error messages, etc.) is generally avoided by coders until the company says "you have to do X, Y, and Z before we can ship this product and customers will pay for it. You do it because you are paid to do it. FOSS software has no such motivations so all the "not fun" stuff goes largely undone. Some free software is great. A bunch of it is garbage. Without a profit motive, why should anyone be surprised that most of it is half-baked at best.

Comment: Re:Quality assurance (Score 1) 291

by DidgetMaster (#47501085) Attached to: Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be
...And why don't companies spend as much time and money making sure the software is working? It is because no one wants to pay for software anymore. We will shell out big bucks for fast processors, flashy screens, tons of memory and disk space...but we want complicated software for ZERO dollars. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of open-source software and it can be a good business model, but when there is no money to be made in good software development anymore, why are we surprised when its quality is low on the priority list for companies that make it.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Why is it so difficult to find basic database speed information?-> 2

Submitted by DidgetMaster
DidgetMaster writes: I am developing a new general-purpose data management system that handles unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data well, so it has features found in file systems, relational databases, and NoSQL solutions. I am a file system expert so it is very easy for me to see how my system outperforms traditional file systems (e.g. search is 1000x+ times faster), but although I have moderate DB experience it is tough to tell just how my database features compare to the likes of MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, etc.. I have tried to find simple performance metrics on sites that compare various database products, but none of them seem to give any basic information.

I realize that every setup is different and you can tune most databases to get benchmarks to make a particular product look good against the competition, but something simple like "good performance today means you can insert 10 column rows into a table at a rate of 25,000 rows per second" or "a simple database view for finding all customer names that start with the letter 'B' on a 10 million row table should take 3.5 seconds or less". Using my software on a desktop system (intel i7), I can read, parse, and insert 5 million rows (10 columns each) into a table in 1 minute 6 seconds. Queries against that table (e.g. SELECT * FROM table WHERE customerName LIKE '%au%';) usually take less than 2 seconds. (My custom database is a column store that de-dupes all data and does not need any indexes.)

It seems fast to me but is it really? I tried doing the same thing using MySQL Workbench and it always took much longer (sometimes 17 seconds or more for each query), but I can't tell if I am just not doing it right. How long should it take on a desktop machine to import a 5 million row, 10 column .CSV file into a database table? How long should it take to execute simple views against that table? I don't need exact millisecond numbers, just ballpark figures.

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Comment: Re: In otherwards (Score 1) 664

by DidgetMaster (#46144015) Attached to: Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash
...And if every gas company just happens to coincidentally charge $20 for each gallon of gasoline, then we are all in trouble because we would have to pay it, right? And if every worker just happens to coincidentally demand a base salary of at least $100,000 then small businesses would have to pay it because they would need the workers, right? No. The real "free market" does not work that way. Someone will decide to sell you gas cheaper, and then everyone will compete on price until the price reflects the true market value. Likewise, enough workers will settle for less until the right price for labor is reached. Businesses who adopt "antiworker policies" will lose them to companies with better policies. (Until the government starts demanding all kinds of regulations that drive out competitive behavior...)

Comment: Double edged sword (Score 1) 168

by DidgetMaster (#45168387) Attached to: Black Death Predated 'Small World' Effect, Say Network Theorists
The "small world" nature of modern travel is a double edged sword. Yes, infectious diseases can spread rapidly and can quickly affect people over long distances, but because societies are constantly interacting with other societies, a large segment of the population is able to develop immunities to a large number of pathogens. When Europeans first came to the Americas, large numbers of the native populations were decimated by smallpox and other diseases. Because they had never been exposed to these diseases before and had no immunities built up to defend against it, a whole villiage would be wiped out within a short time. I have heard that far more Native Americans died from diseases this way than were ever killed during wars.

Comment: Re:"Global" losses? (Score 1) 39

by DidgetMaster (#44609857) Attached to: McAfee Regrets "Flawed" Trillion Dollar Cyber Crime Claims
So by your reasoning, if someone steals your car, phone, computer, isn't a loss...because it was someone else's gain??? Even by your calculations, there are real global losses when individuals and companies figure out that their property rights are not protected and thus fail to produce something of value in the first place because the chance of it being stolen are so high.

Comment: Replicate expensive things, not cheap ones (Score 1) 322

by DidgetMaster (#44450389) Attached to: Study Finds 3D Printers Pay For Themselves In Under a Year
These things will really take off when you can easily reproduce that $500 part that is broken in your oven, dishwasher, furnace, or AC unit. You know the parts that only cost about $10 to manufacture, but because only the appliance maker can make them, they charge an arm and a leg to replace.

Comment: Re:hierarchy (Score 2) 142

by DidgetMaster (#44428193) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Tags and Tagging, What Is the Best Way Forward?
This is exactly the problem that lead me to develop a whole new data management system. It turns files into objects called 'Didgets' (short for Data Widgets) and lets you tag them any way you want. Unlike extended attributes on files, these tags let you find your data fast and easy without something like Spotlight or Windows Search indexing all your metadata into its own database (taking a few hours to do each time). I can import my whole boot volume (about 500,000 files) and can then find anything in a second or less. "Find all JPEG photos with tags Vacation=Hawaii and Year=2011" will give me all my photos with those two tags in less than a second. It can do that if there are 5 photos that match or 50,000. Check out for info and video demonstrations.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Do you want a local object store (i.e. a flat file system)?->

Submitted by
DidgetMaster writes: "Object stores have been around for a while now. For example, Amazon S3 storage is a set of buckets in the cloud in which you can store millions of files as "objects". Local file systems have been around much longer. For nearly 50 years now, we have been stuck with the traditional hierarchical file system storage model (e.g. a tree-like structure of folders or directories). Both systems make it easy to store a ton of data and to find a single item very quickly if you know its unique ID (full path for files, key for objects). But both systems are terrible at searching for all data that have certain features. If you have 2 million files on a file system volume and you want to find all pictures (*.jpg, *.png, *.ico, etc.), then it takes forever to scan the whole system looking for them. Cloud systems are not any better at search. Adding extra metadata (e.g. tags or extended attributes) can help distinguish one file or object from another, but searching for things based on those is even slower. "Find all documents where Author=John" is only fast if all the metadata has been collected and stored in a separate database, otherwise go to lunch while you wait for the results.
The Didget Management System wants to change all that by introducing a new object storage model designed to replace file systems. A Didget (Data Widget) is like a file that can contain any unstructured data stream up to 16 TB in length, but it is also like a row in a NoSQL database table where lots of searchable structured tags can be attached to it. Structured and unstructured data can be stored side-by-side within the same container and both types can be returned as the result of a query. Note: this is NOT like other indexing systems like Spotlight or Windows Search. See the 5 minute video demo at
Is the ability to instantly find "All photographs taken in Hawaii in 2011" when there are 100 of them among 5 million other pieces of data, enough for you to want to replace your file system with something new?"

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+ - Ask Slashdot: Should I consider a Kickstarter (or other) campaign?->

Submitted by
DidgetMaster writes: "I have over 25 years experience writing data management solutions — file system drivers (DOS, Windows, OS/2), disk utilities (PartitionMagic, Drive Image), custom file systems and online backup to the cloud. I have invented a revolutionary new data management system that is build from the ground up (block-based management, I/O, and cache). It has a great feature set and it can replace existing file systems and many database solutions. The architecture has distributed properties that will enable it to compete with Hadoop, CouchDB, MongoDB, and other "Big Data" NoSql solutions. A few friends and I are now two years into its development and we have a lot of the features working. It is blazingly fast and is designed to appeal to everyday consumers as well as large enterprises (it scales really well).

My problem: I have run out of seed money (self-funded) and I need to raise capital to get the rest of the features finished in a reasonable time. Most of the finished features are necessary for a consumer product, but the enterprise features need the most work. I am considering starting a Kickstarter (or other crowd-funding) campaign to raise the funds. That can be a good way to get cash without having to give up a huge chunk of equity. On the other hand, if we get a bunch of regular users that need to be supported it may take our focus off the enterprise features (the most fun stuff). If we can find an angel investor, we can work undistracted and get a good enterprise product out in about a year. Anyone wanting to know more can find info and links to video demonstrations at

What do you think is the best route to raise the funds?"

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