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Comment: Re:Competent (Score 1) 962

by EmperorOfCanada (#47514303) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry
I don't think that I have ever seen a female sysadmin, ever. But the job jumping is critical for paycheck success; but only for those that are good. Just about every programmer thinks that the company would fail without them but when they leave it is usually easy to fill their spot with someone equal or better. But when the really good ones go suddenly the company realizes that the company can't replace them with a single person or that they will need to massively pay more to fill the positiion. The result is that the new person benefits from this pay jump; except that the person who left has a good chance of jumping into the exact same situation; that is a company that has realized that they need to pay more for the vacant position.

I know one person (not a programming position) where the person left a after 35 years and a salary of $130,000 and after 6 months of searching they hired 3 people the top of the 3 is being paid $280,000 ($190,000 +plus massive benefits). But I guarantee that they would never been able to negotiate half of that raise short of something underhanded if they had tried to stay.

Comment: Competent (Score 1) 962

by EmperorOfCanada (#47512561) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry
If anything my experience female programmers on average are more competent. If they have any "failing" it is that they aren't blowhards which seems to actually work in many occupations. I don't know how many male programmers that basically claim "I came into that company and put a 2 year project to bed. Without me they would still be using punch cards." When the reality is that he worked as an intern formatting hard drives. Then when you look at his code it is the million monkeys with a million keyboards experiment done by a single programmer. Whereas the female programmers that I have met tend to take a task, finish a task, take a task, finish a task; no glory.

What I would say is that the worst male programmers tend to compensate for their terrible skills by being louder whereas the bad female programmers tend to either leave or find different jobs within tech.

But at the same time my experience within various organizations is that female programmers weren't treated any differently that I could see. It certainly wasn't ever a living episode of Mad Men.

So if I had to guess it is that any culture that sounds like what she is writing about comes from the top down. Programmers are rarely social gods; so if an asshole marketing type were running the company they might start taking their cues from him. Then I suspect it could get really bad really quickly.

Comment: Re:The medium is the message (Score 1) 154

I think the key problem is that most games and real life situations require that you focus one task at a time. When we walk down the sidewalk we just need to look where we are going, the same with driving and so on. Thus most games based on real life won't translate. A space battle will probably translate fairly well so maybe asteroids will be one of the first big VR successes.

Your novel idea would probably be pretty good if it is written so that more than one thing is going on at a time; and yes good luck with the controls.

One game that I also thought would have some VR traction would be "Don't get eaten" where you play small creatures in a world where just about everything sees you as a snack. (hence why small creatures have nearly 360 degree vision.)

Comment: Re:The more math the better (Score 1) 241

by EmperorOfCanada (#47488191) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning
Financial. Although another project that I am in charge of is a game which uses much of the math I have recently updated, but nowhere near as much. In that case it is linear algebra and the corresponding matrix related math. Although much of that is taken care of by fairly comprehensive libraries; although it is nice to know what is happening when I have the libraries do their (no doubt optimized) math on things like vectors and whatnot.

Comment: The more math the better (Score 3, Interesting) 241

by EmperorOfCanada (#47486917) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning
I went for years keeping my math and my programming separate. Often programming involves little more math than x++. But then I really buckled down and learned a pile of math which I now pile into my programming. Interestingly enough when I try to show my algorithms to other programmers they say, "I forgot all that math 1 day after exams." But these algorithms often are cutting thousands of lines of code away and result in answers that are instant instead of a more iterative approach that could take minutes or much longer.

The math that I am referring to is all pretty basic year 1 or 2 stuff. Basic Discrete, basic calculus, etc.

Comment: The medium is the message (Score 3, Interesting) 154

Changes in the medium can have massive changes in the message that is best sent through that medium. Before TV radio plays were huge, but TV simply was a better medium. It wasn't that radio plays sucked but that telling episodic stories was done so much better on TV. Also when TV first started much of it was simply radio plays put back into a stage format and videotaped. Moving the camera through the scenery with lots of outdoor locations were a while coming and again the flat play like structure is still used in sitcoms.

Within even moving our internet browsing and gaming to mobile devices has resulted in wildly different usage patterns, there are the obvious ones such as using map tools more but Facebook does not seem to have translated to mobile as well as instagram, or twitter. Also the first person shooter largely has failed on mobile whereas I don't think that Angry Birds would have gotten much traction in a desktop only universe.

So surprise surprise VR goggles aren't turning out to be a screen you wear on your eyes but a whole new medium. I am willing to bet that there will be a genre that takes off on VR and that genre might not even really exist right now. Something really different. A simple example of different was that Wii games had a wildly different flavour than anything proceeding them. I don't remember a game prior to the Wii where I stood on a platform eagerly flapping my arms to propel what looked like a guy in a chicken suit though the air. Yet the Kinect games never caught my fancy as the games were often too serious and made me feel like a fool flapping my arms. The Just Dance game was close but was probably too late.

I am going to throw this one out there for free: Maybe the VR goggles will take off in Colorado and Washington with the blockbuster title being "The Stoner Olympics"

Comment: Try that today (Score 1) 195

by EmperorOfCanada (#47476765) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train
Try that today and there would be not only bureaucrats in your way but bureaucratic engineers who would complain about the metal in the tracks, the wheels, the bearings, everything.

I find that so little of human accomplishment today is real, it tends to be more accountants and PR people who have a long checklist having to explain why their product is better. Elon Musk must make these kinds of people weep; by saying what he is going to do in plain English and then doing it. He doesn't have to explain why a Tesla is different.

Comment: What is BSD good for? (Score 1) 77

by EmperorOfCanada (#47472163) Attached to: FreeBSD 9.3 Released
I know that BSD lives somewhere in the guts of my Mac OS and I used it many years ago only to stop because of a single incompatibility (but a critical one).

So I am honestly asking, what is BSD good for. I presently use CentOS and I am perfectly happy with it but for some reason BSD has a magical "hard core" allure. So what I should ask is: what excuse do I need to use it?

Comment: Anyone heard of an override? (Score 1) 435

by EmperorOfCanada (#47469359) Attached to: FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars
Anyone doing anything that the police are worrying about it will turn off any overrides the police are demanding. This is about control, pure and simple. Driverless cars are going to thin the ranks of police and trash their budgets so now they are trying to rationalize their existence with ghosts and spectres.

Keep in mind that these are the same people who are buying tanks and have SWAT teams in some of the lowest crime areas of North America. It must be sad to be a cop when they see so many bogeymen hiding behind every tree (so let's cut down all the trees).

Comment: Social hacking? (Score 1) 280

The problem is that once you allow a hacker to penetrate a low value service it could give a hacker the threads needed to start unravelling through social hacking.

If I were some kind of hacker (don't have the time) it would be through the least secure systems and social hacking that I would start. I personally would think that attacking a core server that is most likely locked down solidly and is sat on by an army of paranoid administrators. I would much prefer if someone simply gave me the keys to the system.

Basically the two main hacks that I read about are either the above, or poorly maintained/secured systems with things liked default passwords etc.

For instance I have seen security checks where the admins will send a crude Phishing message to users that even include a warning about phishing attacks and the users proceed to send the data that the admins were phishing for.

So the above Microsoft advice might look good on a spreadsheet but in reality it is plaintext stupid.

Comment: The fools (Score 1) 163

Don't these bureaucratic fools realize that they are not able to control the internet, and that the relative lack of bureaucrats is what makes the internet strong? Yes they can control a company like Google through threats but the moment they create a distortion in the market by pushing the internet one way, there will be an opposite and equal reaction in the exact opposite way.

So the NSA pushes things like NIST one way and the result is that the hard core crypto world will now move away from NIST. If youtube is forced to censor then 100 uncensored video sites will show up.

People are told they can't get netflix so proxy companies pop up to sell what was otherwise a fairly speciality service. I mean how many people were buying international proxy services 5 years ago?

I am willing to bet that in some countries where the government censors are at war with the internet that it is a national sport to get around them.

On a side note, I can tell you that if my local government (Nova Scotia, Canada) ran the Internet that you would be paying $200/month for a 256k ISDN and that domain name "approvals" would take years. My government being typically bad it is great that the internet is fundamentally structured so as to make it difficult for governments to truly harm it. They can harm some companies within their reach, but they can't really grasp the slippery concept of the internet itself.

Comment: Bloatware can kill it in a heartbeat (Score 1) 381

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) 205

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?"

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.

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