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Comment: Wrong Question (Score 1) 192

by EMG at MU (#48421573) Attached to: Is a Moral Compass a Hindrance Or a Help For Startups?
It is obviously a help for start-ups until the consumer gives a shit about what a company does ethically.

The question should be is a moral compass a help to society. Then the follow up is: What should we do given that we know a moral compass is a benefit to society but almost 0% of companies have one.

Comment: Degree is not carrer preperation (Score 1) 546

by EMG at MU (#47819695) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

While theory does have its place, the situation raises the question of whether colleges are teaching the right skills people need to join the workforce, and what its place is amid the rise of open source learning.

This part:

raises the question of whether colleges are teaching the right skills people need to join the workforce

begs the question of whether or not a university exists to train people to enter the workforce.

I do not believe this to be the case. I think that if you are resourceful, think critically, and learn quickly you are employable in many fields. You are ready to join the workforce. If you are all of those things we can basically train you on the job. Then why get an education at all? To build knowledge.

University educations exist to expose you to knowledge so that you can use that knowledge and your critical thinking ability to synthesize solutions.

Example: Understanding algorithms and data structures + critical thinking = knowing when to use a linked list vs an array.

You can tell a programmer: "use an array for faster random element access and use a list for faster element inserts at arbitrary locations". Great, he/she might remember, probably doesn't understand why thats the case but whatever. Now in some new standard library there is a Map. The guy who actually understands data structures is now gone and the programmer doesn't know what the fuck a map is nor how to use it. Thats not a good situation.

Now if that programmer had gotten a CS/CompE education he would have the tools to synthesize a solution based on the knowledge he as about data structures and his critical analysis of what is important in the problem's context.

The programmer could receive data structure / algorithm knowledge on the job but thats not what is going to make his company money. If he comes into that job with that knowledge then he can learn the domain specific knowledge of whatever his company is and then start solving problems.

I think it is really sad that people expect to be trained in a university. It is short sighted because that training will one day be obsolete and then your fucked, and it also allows the student to shift the blame when they can't find a job. The student can rationalize it as "my university didn't train me, now I cant find a job" instead of " I don't have the skills to be employable (resourcefulness, critical thinking ability, good learner), so despite the fact that I got a 4.0 and can regurgitate shit from a book I don't have the ability to synthesize solutions so I'm useless.

/rant, I'm just really sick of people bemoaning the university system when it is very clear that they just expected to be handed a great job despite lacking any kind of critical thinking or problem solving skills. In university you (largely) get rewarded for recitation, in a job you get rewarded for synthesis. If you cant turn your knowledge into solutions to problems you are just a walking book.

Comment: And Joe Schmoe wont care. (Score 5, Insightful) 364

by EMG at MU (#47419681) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere
Everybody with an IQ above that of a jellybean knows the main job of the congresscritters is to bring back the pork. The blue guys do it and the red guys do it.

The reason they can keep doing it and no one really gives a shit is because once you explain to Joe Schmoe that cutting program X or agency Y's budget means he or his cousin or his drinking buddy could lose their job, well Joe can rationalize keeping that program.

Americans all want pork cut everywhere except their home district. We are short sighted, have short memories, and aren't willing to endure short term discomfort in the pursuit of long term prosperity.

Anyone candidate that would be for cutting this kind of corporate welfare isn't viable on a national ticket. Eisenhower was right about this all by the way.

Comment: Web programmers aren't the only kind!!! (Score 1) 608

by EMG at MU (#47415377) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
He is speaking pretty specifically about web/app programmers and how there are a glut of convoluted and overlapping frameworks that seem to pop into existence overnight can discourage and confuse the average rube.

Just because thats where all the cool start up money is right now (see facebook, whatsApp, etc...) doesn't mean thats the only kind of programming. What about the people building this "internet of things", what about the people actually evolving the internet architecture, what about the people building the appliances to make sense of "big data"? None of those people should be "average". Joe Schmoe doesn't want to work on those things in his spare time.

Car analogy: out of all the makes and models of cars, this guy is talking about wanting Joe Schmoe to be able to build a backyard go kart. Fine, great, whatever. I suppose it would be cool if he could do that without goofy tools and processes.

There is nothing wrong with the "elites" building the BMWs though.

Comment: Will be the new credit score (Score 1) 353

by EMG at MU (#47408813) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies
With enough data these companies can compile a "Safety Score", kind of like how a few companies know everything about your financial life and give you a credit score.

Why wouldn't an apartment or condo community want to check your safety score? A lot of them do background checks and credit checks now, I can definitely imagine people wanting to live in communities where everyone has a safety score above some number. And I can imagine communities for the rejects. The more data companies compile on you the more they can begin to stratify their goods and services. If they do it right and it benefits more people than it hurts then it will work.

Comment: Plants grew fine without processors (Score 2) 66

by EMG at MU (#47352857) Attached to: The Internet of Things Comes To Your Garden
I'm an embedded developer and also have a hobby garden. So when things got cheap enough I got really excited about building a contraption to monitor moisture, ph, amount of sun and to adjust fertilizer and water levels accordingly. Then I realized that for hobby gardeners this really defeats the purpose. We garden for fun, and at least for me, I don't like bringing technology to things that don't need it.

On the other hand, those guys out in colorado growing pot will love this kind of thing.

Comment: Make the companies pay! (Score 2) 205

I use to have a retirement account with a certain financial services company. They stored my password in plain text. To recover your password they would physically mail it to you. This kind of stupidity should be illegal. It should be criminal and the company should have to pay fines for being asshats.

Companies don't fix underlying problems because management doesn't see any value in doing so. They also see no risk in having insecure products. Until there are real financial penalties for blatant incompetence regarding security nothing will improve.

Comment: Need to change the paradigm (Score 1) 90

by EMG at MU (#47262925) Attached to: Privacy Worries For 'Smart' Smoke Alarms
Smart devices are cool, the data they collect going to advertising companies and the NSA isn't.

It is obvious the paradigm should be changed. People love facebook, so why can't we make a distributed facebook where each member has a little roku type device sitting in their home on their network that stores all of their data? Each person that member connects with gets a key that is associated with contact so that you can form secure networks of friends and share data. Then as the owner of your data you can opt into sharing a limited set of that data with advertisers but only if they pay you to mine your data. That would be a positive paradigm shift.

I wouldn't mind having smart devices in my home, I just don't want them communicating to the public internet. They can communicate with a server in my home and I can control what the software on this server does. Smart devices don't have to all connect to the public internet, and we don't have to allow every smart device manufacturer to mine our data. Eventually there will be open source automation software for servers and open source software for the smart devices so we can control what they do (like tomato or ddwrt for home wifi routers).

Comment: Missing the point (Score 0) 483

by EMG at MU (#47077509) Attached to: Botched Executions Put Lethal Injections Under New Scrutiny
Everybody is commenting "Why aren't we using Nitrogen, Why don't we just use chemical X, why is it so hard to kill someone?"

Comments like those miss the point. It isn't hard to kill someone. It is hard to find trained medical professionals that are willing to be part of an execution. Not everybody agrees with capital punishment, and there is a strong correlation with being highly educated (like doctors are) and being liberal (who are typically against capital punishment). I'm sure there are enough doctors who support capital punishment, but they still have to maintain professional affiliations and relationships with organizations who may be more liberal and may not support capital punishment. It just isn't worth it.

Comment: "Social Incentive" (Score 1) 64

I think one reason people report poor conditions on Yelp a lot more than NYC's 311 number is because people get a sense of satisfaction reviewing things on yelp. You get little internet points the more reviews you make and you get to tell your friends (and annoy wait staff) by saying "I'm a big foodie, I have 173 Yelp reviews". This gives people an incentive to use Yelp that they don't have with calling 311.

Comment: Distraction (Score 5, Insightful) 208

by EMG at MU (#47070373) Attached to: NSA Surveillance Reform Bill Passes House 303 Votes To 121
Everybody wins here, a bunch of people get to say they did something in the fight against the NSA. The Executive branch and those in the house who support invasive domestic spying get to keep the majority of their surveillance programs, and most importantly there isn't much more meaningful oversight so who actually knows if the NSA is following the rules. The Executive still gets to hide themselves behind national security letters, "state secrets", and special secret courts.

However I do not feel like this caused any meaningful change. Hopefully the nation remains outraged at the NSA and this is just the first step in fixing our domestic spying programs, but I feel like we get a few meaningless bills passed and then this issue goes away until the next Snowden.

Comment: We should be making money from this (Score 1) 355

by EMG at MU (#47060281) Attached to: Google Foresees Ads On Your Refrigerator, Thermostat, and Glasses
I really think consumers should own their own behavioral data / preferences. I'll agree to put smart devices in my house if I control the data, I control who I give that data to, and I would only give that data out if it benefited me.

Think about it. Maybe a national grocery store chain or two and GE want to get together and offer a subsidised smart fridge. I agree to let them monetize my spending habits and food preferences in exchange for the fridge being subsidised somewhat and targeted discounts for what I like to buy.

Comment: Obviously because of lawsuits (Score 1) 373

by EMG at MU (#47048423) Attached to: The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say
This is obviously because when the company gets sued and the lawyers go through discovery they will look for anything that helps them show that GM knew of a problem. This doesn't mean that the engineers can't bring up problems, it means that they have to do it verbally or write it on a paper airplane and fly it across the room.

This is obviously unethical. However this is the state of the industry. I have worked at a company where we were told specifically not to write any invention related things down or anything that our competitors could use against us. We (company I worked for and competitor) would trade stupid lawsuits and each companies lawyers would get to read the other companies emails and although it is against law ethics to share proprietary information discovered in a lawsuit it happens every day anyways.

He who steps on others to reach the top has good balance.