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Comment: Re:yes obviously you are right (Score 1) 160

by Ionized (#49331365) Attached to: Energy Company Trials Computer Servers To Heat Homes

so here's the cool thing about heat. creating heat is one of the few things that we can actually do with amazing efficiency, nearly 100% in fact.

so i'm not sure what you think thermodynamics has to do with this, but even a 7th grader could tell you that running a computer is actually a very effective and efficient way to generate heat from electricity.

now, when sending servers out to a bunch of different locations and keeping track of them, i would say that a logistics manager is pretty darn useful. here's the definition, in case you aren't clear:

when it comes to creating a distributed system of servers that handle programming tasks and then report their findings back to a central source, i'd probably want a hot-dog vendor to plan that out for me. wait, no, i'd want a programmer, that's right.

what are your qualifications, oh anonymous coward?

Comment: yes obviously you are right (Score 5, Informative) 160

by Ionized (#49330443) Attached to: Energy Company Trials Computer Servers To Heat Homes

clearly you are an expert in this field and have done all the necessary research to determine whether this could be pursued in a trial rollout.

unfortunately, the project is not being run by experts such as yourself, it is being run by random dudes that just troll the internet posting drivel in comment threads. they are doomed!

Comment: Re:discussion (Score 1) 522

by Ionized (#49329837) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

sure, i'll play along, even though you already know the answer to your own question.

I don't think anyone would argue that men and women are physically equivalent. men are, on average, bigger and stronger. so men and women have different leagues.

so that's your argument - programming is analogous to sports, that women are inferior coders? because their brains aren't as strong as men's brains?

Comment: Re:discussion (Score 1) 522

by Ionized (#49329553) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

It's a terrible metric. The test would pass if a female developer wrote a simple function and other female developer called it somewhere else. The function need not even do anything at all or be in anyway important to the project. The simple function and the call to it may be the only code contributed to the project by those individuals.

Do we get to feel good about our project and pat ourselves on the back for being progressive after passing this test even though it's utterly meaningless?

no, you should feel like an asshat for trying to game the system, and missing the entire fucking point. it's not a test in the sense of, 'oh you passed the test, move on to round two'. it's more of a tool for self-reflection. it's a way to see if your company/project/whatever is anywhere near gender equality.

Any industry which does not appeal to ~half of its prospective workers might want to spend a bit of time trying to figure out why, instead of getting all defensive and blaming everyone and everything else for the issue.

Why? The logging industry isn't likely losing any sleep over the lack of female lumberjacks and I doubt the child daycare industry cares one iota about the lack of male workers. No one seems to be jumping on their backs about any kind of sex-based disparity and trying to shove inane tests like the above down everyone's throat is going to do more harm than good because it just serves to alienate people.

neither the logging industry nor the child care industry are particularly prestigious, well-paying, or difficult to break into. aka, nobody cares about those fields, they just aren't important enough to worry about, when there are more important conversations to be having.

Comment: Re:I just don't care (Score 1, Insightful) 232

by Ionized (#49303623) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

except that robbing banks is a crime, while ordering your search results however you like is not.

they made the product, they can decide how it functions. if they want to put google products first, that's their right. if you don't like it, use bing.

btw, i imagine that if you search on bing you will find MSDN, MSNBC, etc tends to dominate the rankings for their respective categories.

+ - Book Review: Lauren Ipsum

Submitted by MassDosage
MassDosage writes: Lauren Ipsum (A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things) Book Review by Mass Dosage

As the full title to Lauren Ipsum (A story about Computer Science and Other Improbable Things) indicates, this is a book about Computer Science but what’s surprising about it is that it manages to be about Computer Science without actually ever directly referring to the subject or even to computers at all. It is in fact a fictional story about a young girl called Lauren who gets lost after wandering into a forest near her house after an argument with her mother. She stumbles into a world populated with all kinds of strange creatures and colourful characters some of whom she befriends in order to figure out how to get back to her home. The “figuring out” part of the plot is where things get interesting as she has many attempts at solving this problem with different characters giving her often contradictory advice and Lauren then has to decide what exactly she’s trying to do and which of the various possible solutions is the best. This involves a fair amount of trial and error, learning from certain mistakes and trying different approaches. If this is starting to sound familiar to those who have written software then that’s the whole point. Lauren Ipsum is cunningly littered with references to Computer Science and in particular to things like algorithms, logic puzzles and many other of the theoretical underpinnings of the subject.

In the course of her adventures Lauren encounters characters like Xor the chameleon, Hugh Rustic the shop owner, a flock of round Robins and a Wandering Salesman. Anyone who knows a bit about computer science will be aware of the topics that are being alluded to here. This is also evident in some of the places she visits — a forest made up of red and black trees, the Island of Byzantium and a Garden of Forking Paths. All these insider references are obviously more enjoyable if you know the subject but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t get them as the story itself is separate from all the in-jokes. It’s also almost certainly the intention of the authors to stimulate people to look up some of the things they refer to and thus learn more about computer science. Lauren Ipsum can thus be read on two levels — one as a straightforward adventure story and the other as a “find and research the hidden references” book. The title of the book is itself a play on words of “Lorem Ipsum” which I’ll leave you to read up on on your own.

The chapter I enjoyed the most was one that covered building up a solution to a problem by breaking it down into smaller pieces and then combining these to come up with the final answer. In the book Lauren first learns how to draw a line and then that she can then draw and connect four of these to make a square. Even better is the discussion of the seemingly simple task of how to draw a circle which demonstrates that there are different ways of doing this, each having their own pros and cons. The solutions can be easily described as a set of steps and the question of how to control the size of the circle can be specified separately from the steps themselves. This is done without referring to any of the technical terms directly (one of the first chapters in the book is all about avoiding jargon) however what is actually being described will be instantly recognisable to anyone who has written some code — namely algorithms,algorithmic complexity, variables and parameter passing. This is quite a different way of illustrating programming concepts instead of the usual manner which involves lots of theory and code examples. Lauren Ipsum’s approach offers a much lower learning curve with simple story driven metaphors that can then be applied practically later.

The target audience of the book is probably children from around the age of 8 and up with the intention being to spark an interest in computers without the intimidation and possible connotations of boredom that a textbook might evoke. The story is entertaining but relatively simple and most of the more serious subject matter is just touched on in passing. There is an Appendix at the end which covers a few of the topics in more technical and mathematical detail but there is plenty that isn’t covered and it is up to the reader whether they want to find out more in their own way.

I found Lauren Ipsum an entertaining read, even though some of the computer science references are a bit forced. I ended up looking up a few things I wasn’t entirely sure about and learnt something new in the process and I can imagine this being even more the case for someone new to the subject. Even if the reader isn’t an aspiring geek-to-be there should be enough in the story here for them to enjoy and maybe help convince them that Computer Science can actually be fun or at the very least give them a taste for why problem solving is interesting and useful.

Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book free of charge by the publisher for review purposes. They placed no restrictions on what I could say and left me to be as critical as I wanted so the above review is my own honest opinion.

Comment: single payer yes, but baby steps... (Score 0) 211

by Ionized (#49096115) Attached to: 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

I surely hope that we make it to a single payer system in my lifetime, but there is no way in hell that you could have gotten something like that passed out of the blue.

think of obamacare as a road towards single payer. a shitty road perhaps, one filled with potholes, but one that i am happy to take nonetheless.

Dead? No excuse for laying off work.