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Comment: Re:Lots of highly paid folks (Score 3, Interesting) 122

Of course there's a lot of people who are highly paid. Chances are that those people are highly skilled, or at least have highly specialized skills as well.

Put another way: if you get a degree in computer science, or you are self-taught using common resources, you probably have a skill set that reflects that reflects the bare minimum that a company will accept and you have a skill set that the market is flooded with. Either way, you are unlikely to receive a good salary and you are probably going to face a lot of competition to get a job.

On the other hand, those who specialize may enter disciplines with less demand but they are also entering disciplines with far less competition for jobs. If that discipline offers a good return for the investment for a business, those people will frequently garner better salaries. Likewise, if you have that computer science degree but consistently put in the effort to perform beyond expectations chances are that you'll have more opportunities and reap better rewards.

I'm not going to say that it'll work for everyone. Motivation in the workplace and soft skills count too. Too many people hold themselves back due to psychological rather than intellectual reasons. On the other hand, if you prepare yourself to be a low paid cog you will almost certainly end up being a low paid cog.

Comment: Misuse shouldn't result in banning ... (Score 1) 325

by MacTO (#49778563) Attached to: Why PowerPoint Should Be Banned

Presentation software has it's uses. Do you need to present something visual that contributes to the discussion? This may be a graph or a diagram. If yes, then you probably need presentation software. Do you want to provide a visual representation of something that backs up your point? This may be an excerpt from a report, an equation, or a block of code? Presentation software may be useful here. (I'm not suggesting that it should be used for instruction. Writing things out is probably better in that case to pace the instruction.) Do you want to show where you are in a presentation? You have to be careful with how you use presentation software in this case, but it can be useful.

There are definitely poor uses of presentation software. "Reading slides" and serving as "notes" are among those poor uses. Yet those are failures of the person giving the presentation. That person would probably give a poor presentation even if the presentation software was removed.

Comment: Re:SimCity Cities: Skylines (Score 1) 86

by MacTO (#49755869) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

I enjoyed SimCity 4 more than Skylines, but I'll take Skylines for what it is because SimCity 4 did not age well. It's difficult to get running on modern hardware, and it is full of quirks if you do get it running.

As for the latest iteration of SimCity, no thank-you. It may be a good game, but it wasn't designed with people like me in mind.

Comment: Don't set and forget ... (Score 1) 1093

by MacTO (#49731511) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

The big problem with minimum wage is that it is usually set, then left alone for many years on end. This create a problem for people earning minimum wage, since their wages are not adjusted to reflect the cost of living. This is beneficial to businesses in the short term, because wages decrease in relation to other expenses. This is also detrimental to businesses in the long term, since it means that increases to the minimum wage tend to be large and create a correspondingly large jumps in expenses. It is much more sensible to link the minimum wage to the cost of living.

Comment: If ads were just annoying ... (Score 1) 618

by MacTO (#49711323) Attached to: Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

If ads were just annoying, he would have a point. The terms are you get the content at zero cost, but it is being funded by advertising. Violating those terms is a bit immoral.

The flip side is the immoral behaviour of advertising: they track behaviour the reader's behaviour across multiple websites (which is dangerously close to stalking). They behave irresponsibly by not vetting their advertising clients (which can pose security risks). They also don't consider the bandwidth costs for the recipient of the advertising (which is especially relevant for users of mobile devices).

I honestly don't think that they should be talking about morality given the nature of their behaviour.

Comment: Re:Hahah (Score 1) 246

This kid needs serious help. If serious help fails, they need to face punishment for their crime.

Consider: this is a premeditated crime, committed to accomplish a certain objective. It also reflects a series of mistakes, not a singular one, in order to reach that objective. It is not a prank to relieve boredom. It is not a singular mistake to get what they want. It is not a kid being a kid.

I'm not normally a fan of a heavy handed approach to punishing kids. Yet when a kid isn't acting like a kid, they do need to face the consequences.

Comment: There are still issues ... (Score 1) 254

by MacTO (#49501383) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society

Whether it is surveillance by the state, corporations, or individuals, the issue (in my opinion) is not with the collection of data. It is with how the data is used.

Let's say that you were at a party and did something unbecoming, albeit still legal. Someone got a video of it, but no harm is done because the act and the video fade into a distant memory. Except that it doesn't disappear. Perhaps someone digs it up as a funny story, or because they're bitter about something you've done, or because there is some sort of way for them to benefit from the situation. Now you have people looking at something that is a snapshot in time that doesn't reflect who you are, or even who you were. Perhaps the video didn't capture the context, or maybe the context was removed from it. It has the potential to be damaging.

Actually, it can be more damaging than a video captured by a police or business surveillance camera. In many countries, the police have restrictions on how data is collected and handled. If it isn't being used for an investigation, they simply cannot disclose that information. If a case goes to court, you have an independent judiciary body examining it as evidence. Businesses don't have the same restrictions, but they can get themselves into legal hot water if they use or disclose data in an inappropriate manner. Contrast that to individuals, who are much less likely to be conscious of the boundaries between private and public information or who may not be thinking of the consequences of their actions. Unlike institutions, a lot of what they observe will simply end up as gossip.

Comment: Comparing the girls and boys schools ... (Score 2) 599

The girls get a school which emphasizes a broad range of subjects, most of which are geared towards targeting gender inequality by creating a safe learning environment. Even if one of those emphasized subjects doesn't appeal to a particular girl, one of the others may. In other words, it will be labelled as an enrichment program.

The boys get a school which emphasizes a singular subject, most of which are geared towards targeting gender inequality by addressing low test scores. While English will appeal to some boys, it will not appeal to the majority of boys. That is true even if those boys are interested in fields that are traditionally dominated by women. In other words, it will be labelled as a remedial program.

I fail to see how this addresses gender inequality in any meaningful way. If the boys were offered a school geared towards the humanities and the arts, it may be possible to make such an argument. But that's not what's happening here.

Comment: Learn how to use Wikipedia ... (Score 2) 186

by MacTO (#49485553) Attached to: How Many Hoaxes Are On Wikipedia? No One Knows

Yes, there are pitfalls to using the Wikipedia. Many of those pitfalls can be avoided if you know how to use it. Examples include examining the history page, which is available for each article. It will give you an idea of the maturity of the article, if certain details are under contention, and whether something is likely to be a hoax or agenda driven. In many cases, sources are provided. Examine those sources. Determine whether the sources are reliable, and have been interpreted in a reasonable manner.

Oddly enough, people question the Wikipedia when it gives more information about the providence of the writing and content than virtually any other source, yet people insist upon making blanket statements about how unreliable it is. All that really says is that people want an authoritative source rather than a verifiable source. They want someone to tell them what is "true" rather than giving them the tools to assess what they are reading. That is dangerous, because it is far too easy to put yourself in a bubble of misinformation by choosing inaccurate sources that cannot be assessed.

Comment: Re:Speed isn't all there is... (Score 1) 101

by MacTO (#49475079) Attached to: Fifty Years of Moore's Law

Um, yeah. I had one of those, and elegant is not a word that was used to describe them, even when new.

Elegant depends upon context, and I would argue that those computers were elegant in the context of their era. Difficult to use, sure. Yet compare that to the technology that preceded it. If you needed to type something out, typewriters sure were simple. Needed to make changes, then you needed to use a correction tape. Except that wasn't always appropriate, so you had that thing called drafts. What about doing calculations? There were machines of various sorts that could handle that, yet you had to perform all of the calculations each time they needed to be done. Spreadsheets allowed people to do things that were burdensome before, like modifying a cell in a spreadsheet and telling it to recalculate the new scenario. Accounting software allowed people to input ledger entries and have the computer update all of the accounts. Even then, specialized software abstracted the data away from the process, so you wouldn't have to hire people with specialized knowledge or look up formulas in books.

The list could go on, but the simple fact is that the power of those computers with respect to automating processes was elegant. How people interacted with those machines may have been inelegant, but that is an entirely different aspect of the technology.

Comment: Implant it ... (Score 1) 446

Yeap, stick it under your skin. Five gigabytes isn't that much after all. It could easily fit on a uSD card, so you'll hardly even notice that it's there. If you happen to have an untimely demise in a house fire, it is no longer your concern. You can also be reasonably assured that the storage medium will melt when you combust, which further enhances the security.

Seriously though, decide upon your priorities. Your data is too important to store offsite. Yet it is too important to store onsite too. Which is it? If you decide to store it offsite, there are plenty of options that don't including storing it online. This includes placing it in a safety deposit box or giving it to a family member or longstanding friend. Just store the data on an SD card inside of an envelope, so that it can be filed away without being lost. Encryption will solve most of the trust issues. If something goes wrong on their end, such as them being a victim of a fire or burglary, remember that it is just a backup. You can create another backup to replace it.

Comment: Re:Worked with blind programmer (Score 2) 79

by MacTO (#48947057) Attached to: How Blind Programmers Write Code

For those small companies, I can foresee two ways to contribute to the GUI. One is to test for and implement accessibility features. Another consideration is that they can still learn about GUI fundamentals and implement them. While they won't be able to see the outcome (as well or at all, depending upon the limits of their vision), this is certainly a possibility in many development environments.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- Karl, as he stepped behind the computer to reboot it, during a FAT