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Comment: Bloatware can kill it in a heartbeat (Score 1) 212

by EmperorOfCanada (#47440371) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?
Basically I want a smartwatch that will free up my momentary pulling my phone out. So time, changing songs, checking messages, simple navigation, seeing who is calling/called, etc. I really don't want a whole lot more than that. So any attempt at fitness/appstores/games/etc that are best left on my phone then yuk. Any bloaty things that are best left on the phone MUST be left on the phone. Any slipshod half assed crap that don't work well will just waste menu space memory, capacity, and even the time that the company should be using to make the rest of the phone better.

The other key is that customization will be key. If I don't want messages, then I want messages clean off the phone.

But I have little hope that the first few rounds of smartwatches are even going to come close. They will load up the features which will result in abysmal battery lives. They will have complicated menus so that if you want to see a recent message you will have to scroll through 30 screens. But worst of all the MBA types will say, "Hey we have some valuable realestate on these fools' wrists that we can sell. So they will have all kinds of stupid things that sell sell sell such as music stores, app stores, and overlarge reminders that you have a Samsung product or some crap.

My prediction is that in the end there will be two winners. Eventually Apple will come out with something and unless it is total crap they will sell zillions for a huge profit. But some other Timex (maybe even timex) will come out with the simplest and dumbest smartwatch out there for a reasonable price. But it will be small, tough, cheap, and do exactly what it needs to do and not one transistor more.

In the super long term the watch will end up being so smart that it will replace the phone but not for a long while. For now it must be Robin to the Phone's Batman. "Batman the bat phone is ringing..."

Comment: My daughter (Score 1) 200

I have a daughter born in 1999. I suspect that in the years 2200+ that she will encounter problems (assuming a long life) with the 256bit operating systems of the next century when an int could easily encompass every millisecond since the big bang, yet they will still use two digit numbers. With most programmers being very young I don't think that many can think of a whole century as being something a computer must deal with.

Comment: Re:Non-competes should not make you unemployable (Score 1) 272

by EmperorOfCanada (#47383699) Attached to: Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job
So (and I am not completely joking) maybe to get your P Eng you have to work a month as a New York cab driver and you don't graduate unless you get into the top 25% of driver complaints for aggressive driving and abuse of pedestrians.

Basically some sort of assertiveness training. Where the moment an MBA says, yes lets split this bonus evenly 90/10 that the engineer will basically dangle his career over the balcony until the MBA signs over the entirety of the bonus.

Comment: Yes and no (Score 1) 131

Almost every social network offered by companies that I have seen were stupid, so oddly enough they failed. There would be "messages from the president" or tripe from HR reminding employees not to grope each other along with other passive aggressive crap about someone not following the rules that some asshole thought they could enforce about trash can etiquette. What these sites tend to have in common is either they are ego driven or they are very complicated.

But at the same time I have seen some awesome simple sites that worked really well. One company that I visited had a site with basically 3 sections. One was the useless section from HR. The second section was a discussion group as to how to make the company better (and had reddit style up down voting). And the last section was an internal craigslist buy, sell, and trade thing. Needless to say the HR drivel was 100% ignored with zero comments except from HR. The improving the company section had animated discussions that were very detailed and I was told resulted in many changes from an ink recycling program that saved millions to moving a light pole that more than halved the time to park a truck in their loading bay. But the spectacular success was the buy and sell. Quite simply people seem to prefer to deal with people they know so the deals were almost non-stop.

On a side note one other company(very large) that I recently visited basically had their own Linkedin which was just a giant circle jerk of people posting their accomplishments "Most TPS reports filed in 1 week." And that was it. I very much doubt that the company or the employees derived any value from it making it a net loss for the company after all the time and money that would be wasted on it.

The single best corporate social network that I have recently heard of is an app where you can rate your co-workers. I presume that it is going to be an eye opener for some ego-maniacal bosses who find out that they are reviled. But more importantly it will allow companies to identify their most controversial employees who need further investigation. "Doug in accounting smells really foul and leers at all the women. Bert in the warehouse lives way to well on his tiny salary, does that explain the stuff that is always missing? Susan thinks she is sexy but isn't and needs to stop hitting on the interns. Ralph is a hidden gem, I wonder if the higher ups know his boss takes credit for all his work? I wonder if Ralph knows that his boss assigns him all the blame for his own screw ups?"

Comment: Broke the rule before anyway (Score 1) 128

I always broke the rule before anyway. I listened to lectures and audiobooks starting on my ride to the airport, through the airport, an interruption at security, then in the gate, then boarding the plane, taxiing the plane, take off, flight, landing, taxiing, arrival, and the drive to my destination.

So nothing is really going to change. Maybe, just maybe I might have a video based lecture that I will watch starting before take off. So now I can do that.

I suspect that I wasn't alone, in that many people probably listened to at least music. So the number of devices active during take off and landing was probably already quite high.

Comment: Re:Non-competes should not make you unemployable (Score 1) 272

by EmperorOfCanada (#47373453) Attached to: Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job
I find that under modern management structures there is a near hatred of highly skilled technical employees. Over and over I see MBA types desperately eliminate the fantastic programmers by replacing them with a room full of mediocre programmers. Then when the project ends up smashed on the rocks, the same MBAs will baulk at paying a top notch programmer a multiple of what the mediocre programmers would get.

My favorite personal experience was years ago I had a ready to go solution for a finance company but I demanded some serious coin for it. The MBA in charge of the recently failed project walked into the next room and said, (when he thought I was out of earshot) "I won't pay any nerd more than someone who went to business school. So they said, no, and did the Indian outsourcing thing. Then around a year later, after it blew up, they offered me exactly, to the penny, half of what I asked. I said, no. Then they slowly worked their way up, halving all the way up to my original price. When I said no even at that price they got angry. That is when I told them that a week after they turned me down a year earlier, that I had exclusively sold the system for about triple what I had asked them for and had it up and running at one of their competitors in under a week. The funny thing was that they laughed and said, "Well your system can't be that good if it only took a week to get it running."

Two other funny things were that they sent a letter from a lawyer demanding that I tell them which competitor was using the system (keep in mind I had never signed anything with them at any point ever) and they then did a Russian outsourcing that royally blew up about a year after that. So here was a company full of MBAs who spent more than 3 years without a system that was fairly critical to their business simply because they refused to give a non MBA real money.

BTW during the original negotiations they tried every which way to rip me off. They tried to make offers where they would cut me in for a percentage of profits, they tried to "lease" the software including source code with the option to terminate with a weeks notice, they tried to have their people do a "code review" before they bought. All this after I was able to run the system right in front of them doing exactly what they wanted. The company that did buy it had economists not MBAs running it and the only complication with their contract was the faster I installed it the more money I made and they wanted the source code in escrow (after the offer they made I gave them the source, which ended up being a win as their internal programmer loved my code so much they got me to do other things).

So that is my long winded way of saying, that trained economists are able to analyse value and thus have a high chance of recognizing value. But MBAs are trained to extract/exploit value, so if they think they can work an angle they will try to work an angle even though in the long run all that sleaze will generally end up biting them in the long run. But I think the MBA mentality is similar to a casino addict. They point to their stupendous wins and say, "Look at me, I am the man." But in the case of MBAs the are at the casino playing with other people's money. Whereas economists look at the casino and say, "Unless we are the ones running the casino the math is terrible."

Comment: Re:Non-competes should not make you unemployable (Score 4, Interesting) 272

by EmperorOfCanada (#47370269) Attached to: Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job
Actually in Canada there was a recent Supreme court decision where they said that you could even contact former customers as long as it was reasonable for you to have naturally remembered their contact information. So I couldn't leave with a list of 100,000 contacts, but 40-100 would potentially be reasonable.

Basically how this broke down was that it was against the charter to tell you where you can and can't work. Also it was against the charter to tell you who you can and can't contact. Thus any contract clauses that violate the charter are void.

I was blown away with the contacting former customers being allowed. Oh and this particular decision also cleared pillaging former employees.

Comment: Do they own him? (Score 2) 272

by EmperorOfCanada (#47370217) Attached to: Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job
I love how this makes sense to the corporate minds at Amazon. This guy worked for them and thus they can now control his life? Employees leaving is a part of life. Oddly enough a specialist in such an industry is going to go to a competitor. Any contract that somehow demands that they get to control you after you quit is absurd and should be thrown out with extreme prejudice. And before anyone says, "Well he signed it." Can you list 4 consecutive words from the terms and conditions of Slashdot? Did you know that Clause 18 section B allows slashdot to demand that you donate any or all compatible organs if they need a transplant for any of the executive?

If you look at a recent Supreme court decision in Canada involving RBC, you will find that they basically struck down most of the concept of an employment non-compete as violating a charter right to live and work where you chose. While this might seem irrelevant to the US courts, I went to a talk given by a supreme court justice who said, that due to the nature of many western countries having a British based legal system that they do look at the thinking of the highest courts in other former British colonies. Not only to see what they were thinking at the time but to see if there were unintended consequences to similar decisions.

Comment: Corporate interests (Score 1) 228

by EmperorOfCanada (#47362437) Attached to: The New 501(c)(3) and the Future of Open Source In the US
Hmmmmm.... would this benefit corporate interests? When the government makes any decision that is the only question that needs to be asked. The only time the answer is in doubt is if there are no corporate interests or the corporate interests are exactly balanced.

So while I agree with the sentiment about this being deeply unfair, this is not thereal issue. If anyone wants to be upset about this issue and is willing to do something about it then join the movement to get corporate money out of politics; full stop.

Comment: Re:See also Dr. David Goodstein on the Big Crunch (Score 1) 538

by EmperorOfCanada (#47359513) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job
I think to sum up your comment I'll say, "Yup"
It it one of those things that puzzle me (like why politicians who have a good heart and a public mandate go straight into office and immediately forget who elected them). But the arguments for having boatloads of impractical and practical science research go on and on with zillions of examples of how letting scientists free along with other variations such as grand prizes for specific technologies have resulted in massive benefits. Yet politicians love to point to money being wasted studying goat sex or some such as an excuse to cut all science. (Even with historical evidence that the benefits from even stupid sounding science can prove fruitful)

The other thing that bothers me is that the remaining science is more and more bureaucratic. It seems that a well stocked modern lab would have 3 salesmen, 2 PR people, 2 lawyers, 2 MBAs and maybe 1 scientist or maybe an accountant would be better. Then there are the strange educational requirements. I was recently talking to a Dean of Medicine who was bragging that the new BS medical sciences degree applicants(at the same uni as his medical school) had a HS average of 98%. I asked him if he had a 98% leaving HS? If I were picking doctors I would much prefer people who had a proven interest in medicine with fairly good marks as opposed to kids who just wanted to be able to say they were in med school and had a combination of studying way too hard and easy marking teachers (I say that as I had a few teachers who thought that anything over 90% could only come from extraordinary effort basically precluding a 98% average)

Then the last bit is that when I was in Uni there wasn't a whole lot of science going on. There was exactly one professor who was doing what I would call real research with real money and he came to the university with that money. The difference between him and the rest of the science professors was night and day. It was amazing. The rest were paper pushers that were one step above highschool teachers and he was something completely different. When you walked into the other professor's offices the conversations were about football or politics. But the one real professor would be having a discussion where they were wailing away on the 5 whiteboards in his office.

Another university that I visited had a working cyclotron, working in that it would work if anyone knew how to work it. But nobody in the living memory of the staff had operated it. Not that a cyclotron is going to allow you to replicate a higgs boson experiment, it was that the students and staff weren't sufficiently nerdy to want to spool it up.

But the worst of them all was that I attended an 3rd year electrical engineering robot competition. The robots had to negotiate a simple maze (maybe 9 turns to success); not only did nobody succeed but basically all the robots did one of two things, they ran straight into the first obstacle or they made one turn and ran into a wall. The most successful robots had the engineers who gave up on their sensors and simply programmed their robots to run the motors as a series of timed on off cycles to follow a probable path. But these were big dirty old DC motors so they don't respond identically to any given series of power cycles so within a few turns the robots were off course and would quickly get stuck. I am fairly certain my 12 year old nephews could have done better with that lego kit. BTW the PIC microcontroller was a capable little thing along with fairly good sensors so they should not have had much of a problem. Needless to say that engineering school isn't entering any Darpa challenges soon. But somehow the bar is so low that they don't even seem to realize (through youtube videos) that this is unacceptable.

So you are correct. This is not the space race, Richard Feynman and his gang seem to have taken much of the zest with them to their graves. But my simple question is why? I have a few guesses. One is that science/technical universities should be kept separate from liberal arts universities. In the EE example above that was a separate technical school which was assimilated by a larger mostly arts university. The one I attended was a university where the priorities would be Football, Business, Football, Student Union, Football, Arts, football football football, and then everything else as an afterthought. Then you look at MIT which isn't very artzy or footbally. A friend of mine attended one of Canada's more respected Engineering programs which was under regular attack by the woman's studies program. Quite simply the woman's studies program should have zero influence on an engineering program unless the engineering program is being weird and not accepting women or something.

If I were a zillionaire and being philanthropic, I would set up a technical/science university that literally had zero arts. And BTW I am not against the arts, I just think they should be a separate institution entirely. But to broaden the students the idea might be to have the occasional(and optional) arts lecturer.

Comment: Another disturbing theory (Score 5, Interesting) 304

by EmperorOfCanada (#47354185) Attached to: Ninety-Nine Percent of the Ocean's Plastic Is Missing
Plastic has lots of energy (try burning it) and thus could be a food source in and of itself. Thus there could be a bacteria that is eating it. Where this is disturbing is that we like to put useful plastic things into the water such as fibreglass boats. Could there be a bacteria evolving that will start corroding our plastics?

Also the fish that eat it may now have a gut bacteria that will break it down.

Whatever the truth turns out to be I suspect it will be fascinating!

Comment: Exposure (Score 3, Insightful) 113

by EmperorOfCanada (#47340411) Attached to: Is K-12 CS Education the Next Common Core?
I think that there should be more exposure to CS, CE, EE, CE, ME, etc. But not full on long term courses for any but a few faithful. It takes a certain mindset to enjoy computers and engineering; many people don't have this mindset so foisting it upon them is probably bad news. But for those who like it they like it a lot. I would have loved way more time in the computer lab during my youth.

What I would have much preferred instead of a rigorous course that actually might have put me off CS; especially if taught by a bad teacher or two; Would have been a computer club/technology lab where we would be given the tools and tutorials to better understand what we liked and could do.

Then when kids go to university and are learning fairly abstract concepts they would be able to regularly have "ah ha" moments where they could realize that this abstract knowledge could have solved problems they had back in the lab.

Now I would like to see a bit more tech ed as (hard to understand for slashdotters) but there is a huge percentage of the population that simply has no idea what happens to make a light switch turn the lights on and off; let alone how the hell a 3 way light switch works.

For instance in my children's schools they have chemistry labs that look like they were awesome 30 years ago. But now they are art rooms because of the great sinks and the fume hood is good for stinky art. So again nothing outside of a textbook(other than me) has ever shown my daughters how soap works.

So before schools should make some foolish large attempt to impose their interpretation of CS they should look at the entire sci-tech teaching issue.

"Morality is one thing. Ratings are everything." - A Network 23 executive on "Max Headroom"