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Comment: Re:I don't watch black & white movies anymore, (Score 1) 175

by MadKeithV (#49679535) Attached to: The Decline of Pixel Art

Because it's not a technology, but an art-form?

It's like saying that painting is old-hat and only digital-photography can be done from now on - why would anyone "paint" or "sketch" or "draw"? God, what heathens!

No, it's like saying that digital photography with the first wave of digital cameras is more artful than digital photography with the most recent professional cameras. What the author actually means to say is that his "art" in working within unnecessary limitations to produce a very artful result is not appreciated by people who mostly think "that picture would have been much better at a higher resolution".
I read TFA (I know, I know) and the whole thing basically boils down to "good art is better than bad art, but most people don't recognize bad art". It has always been that way. Even more, most people these days will have trouble appreciating even the classic black-and-white movies, even though they know a-priori that it is art. Past a certain point it's very difficult to see past the outdated technological limitations.

Comment: Re:I would pay $1 a month (Score 1) 167

by MadKeithV (#49671453) Attached to: How Spotify Can Become Profitable

And that's the problem with services like this. You don't really need that much music. 50 years ago people heard songs on the radio from time to time and were happy. I have enough good music stored on my HDD (most of it ripped off of CDs I bought) that I don't really need more.

Just because you personally don't need that much music doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people who do. I'm one of them, and that's why I'm a Spotify Premium user. It is a very useful service for me, especially because my taste varies from melodic rock over technical death metal to classical, and I can find 90% of the kind of stuff I like right there, right then, add it to a playlist, and download it to a device that I can then listen to offline. I have it on close to 8 hours a day.
And I really like the "discover" feature that allows you to check out music that is considered similar and/or liked by the same people. I have found some great things that way that I'd have been unlikely to hear of any other way.

Comment: Re:Simple question (Score 1) 425

by MadKeithV (#49627533) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

how many developers does a 10x programmer have to drive away before it is a wash?"

By definition, 10. Perhaps being able to figure things like that out is what separates 10x programmers.

As long as the 10x programmer is making less than 10x the salary of a 1x then ceteris paribus it is financially impossible to become "a wash". You can never match the productivity per cost of the 10x with "level 1" programmers. That is scary, because it means that no sensible company with a serious productivity need should hire 1xers unless they really had no other choice.
Say a 10xer commands triple the salary of a 1xer, then the 10xer is still less than a third of the cost of 10 1xers for the same productivity, or you could have triple the productivity for the same money (and still give yourself a single 1x salary as a bonus for being so clever).

Comment: Re: News? (Score 1) 425

by MadKeithV (#49627437) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

When it comes to programming, nearly all problems seem simple at first.

I think this is one of the most important things to hammer into software engineers - never assume anything is simple. There are a great many things that seem extremely simple to humans but turn out to be much less simple when trying to get a computer to do it. The example I tend to use is shoelaces - e.g. do you know how you tie your shoelaces?.

I've long lost count of the number of times a customer has said something along the lines of "but you can just see how it's done!" when describing a difficult problem, often involving parsing of vision and heuristics to find a probable solution.

Comment: Re:We warned France not to follow our mistakes (Score 3, Insightful) 195

by MadKeithV (#49627351) Attached to: French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law

These actions are being taken in response to real threats that really killed real people.

Real threats by people they already knew were potential terrorists and yet they failed to stop them from carrying them out. In other words, they had all the intel they could have wished for and it didn't help. This push for more intel/less privacy has bugger all to do with stopping terrorists.

Comment: Re:"culturally incompatible" (Score 1) 553

by MadKeithV (#49619013) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

And we get the job done where those young whippersnappers just give up and throw their toys out of the pram.

The converse was true were I've worked. I've seen more older people walk out on jobs than young people. The young people kept throwing themselves at practically impossible tasks until they burned themselves out. The older people warned three or four times and then quit when their warnings went unheeded.
The interesting thing is that both approaches have their place: in nearly all cases the older engineers were right in the long-term and the project they left ended up being a very expensive failure. In some of the young people's cases they ended up against all odds finding a solution to the problem. I'd estimate that 9/10 times the old guys were right, 1/10 times the young ones were right, but the company got blinded by the success of that 1/10, ignoring the many people that had been lost along the way.

Comment: Re:"culturally incompatible" (Score 1) 553

by MadKeithV (#49618991) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

These companies are missing the flip side of the coin, that the over-50s are highly motivated (saving for retirement!,) often highly skilled, and generally have done that before, several times.

I'll add one: I've always enjoyed working with the few "older" engineers in the places I've worked. They were never stingy with advice or stories and generally had less "me against the world" attitude - they knew their value and were past their own insecurities.

Though they do command the big salaries.

And that's wrong. The job and how good a person is at it should dictate the salary, not the person's age or "years of experience". As we get older we MUST let go of the idea that our income evolution can only be in one direction.

Comment: Re:Not enough information. (Score 1) 95

by MadKeithV (#49178945) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Wireless Microphone For Stand-up Meetings?
You can fix the room without drilling holes in anything.

The really cheap ghetto solution is to buy bales or rolls of rock wool, just leave them in the plastic, and stack them in the corners of the room. Ugly, smells a bit funny, and not everyone likes the idea of being in the proximity of bare rock wool, but it works.

More expensively you might get something like Auralex Promax stands and put them in the corners.

It kind of sounds like you might all be on the same side of the microphone, or at least have that option by moving where you stand or moving the microphone. In that case you could get one of the Reflexion Filters (e.g. the Fame Reflexion Screen Premium for a cheap option) to screen off half of the room. I've used one, and they work surprisingly well.

+ - Driving Force Behind Alkali Metal Explosions Discovered->

Submitted by Kunedog
Kunedog writes: Years ago, Dr. Philip E. Mason (aka Thunderf00t on Youtube) found it puzzling that the supposedly "well-understood" explosive reaction of a lump of sodium (an alkali metal) dropped in water could happen at all, given such a limited contact area on which the reaction could take place. And indeed, sometimes an explosion did fail to reliably occur, the lump of metal instead fizzing around the water's surface on a pocket of hydrogen produced by the (slower than explosive) reaction, thus inhibiting any faster reaction of the alkali metal with the water. Mason's best hypothesis was that the (sometimes) explosive reactions must be triggered by a Coulomb explosion, which could result when sodium cations (positive ions) are produced from the reaction and expel each other further into the water.

This theory is now supported by photographic and mathematical evidence, published in the journal Nature Chemistry. In a laboratory at Braunschweig University of Technology in Germany, Mason and other chemists used a high-speed camera to capture the critical moment that makes an explosion inevitable: a liquid drop of sodium-potassium alloy shooting spikes into the water, dramatically increasing the reactive interface. They also developed a computer simulation to model this event, showing it is best explained by a Coulomb explosion.

The Youtube video chronicles the evolution the experimental apparatuses underwent over time, pursuant to keeping the explosions safe, contained, reliable, and visible.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:About half are below average.... (Score 1) 809

by MadKeithV (#49065239) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?

This, of course, depends significantly on whether by "average" you mean the mode, median, or mean, which in a non-bellcurve distribution such as a programmers or software engineers can be very different.

It's assuming spherical software engineers in a frictionless vacuum, durr.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 677

by MadKeithV (#49045571) Attached to: Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"

There may be a better pattern, but in a few cases, I found Goto a lot easier to read than 20 layers of nested If statements..

That's a straw-man argument: no-one would seriously argue that having 20 layers of nested conditionals is good code so even shops that religiously avoid goto would rewrite that code to something that doesn't suck.

It's not an optical illusion, it just looks like one. -- Phil White