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Comment Re:Then go Open Source with it... (Score 1) 6 6

What does whether a piece of software is open source or not have anything to do with the question asked? Plenty of software in both camps (closed or open source) is very slow and inefficient. Too many programmers think, "If it works, then it is done. Who cares if it is 10x slower than in needs to be?" This seems to be the attitude with new programmers these days. I asked the question because that attitude is completely foreign to my way of thinking and I was wondering how many people out there share my point of view.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is it true that software performance is not important anymore?-> 6 6

DidgetMaster writes: Naturally, everyone wants faster hardware and software; but if you had to choose between two software packages, how much emphasis do you place on speed?

I am building a new kind of general-purpose data management system that uses new data objects that I invented. It has some cool new features that other systems lack, but speed is one of its primary selling points. It was originally designed to replace file systems for managing unstructured data; but it handles structured data so well that I think it can replace relational databases and NoSQL solutions too. It also has distributed architecture to compete with Hadoop and other distributed systems. It is able to find things thousands of times faster than a file system and is more than twice as fast as MySQL at basic table operations in my testing without needing an index. (See http://youtu.be/2uUvGMUyFhY for a demo video)

As I approach potential investors for funding, I have had more than one person say "speed is no longer important". They seem to think that everything can be solved with faster hardware or distributed processing. I am "old school" and think that speed is VERY important. Not only is time important, but better algorithms require less hardware (and thus less power and cooling) too. Am I the only one who still thinks this way?

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Comment Too many incompetent interviewers (Score 1) 809 809

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) 274 274

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) 142 142

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) 268 268

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 party...is it on Dropbox, Apple's iCloud, company XYZ's cloud, or ???"

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

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) 430 430

Free software is....well...free. 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) 291 291

...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.

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

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) 664 664

...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) 168 168

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 39

So by your reasoning, if someone steals your car, phone, computer, money...it 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) 322 322

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) 142 142

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 DidgetMaster.blogspot.com for info and video demonstrations.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.