Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Note: You can take 10% off all Slashdot Deals with coupon code "slashdot10off." ×

Comment Re:End the H1b program (Score 1) 492

At my former employer, I once worked with a foreign national named Vignesh who was very good at what he did and was very pleasant to work with. He did a great job, and everybody liked him - he was just the kind of employee (er, "associate") that every employer would want.

One day, my wife pointed out a job ad from our employer that related to the specific field I was in. When I read it, it seemed to be a very specific description of Vignesh's job. I though, "Oh no! - They're trying to replace Vignesh!"

Later, I found out that they were advertising his job for legal reasons to be able to say that no American could fill it. The gimmick was to describe his job so specifically that virtually nobody but Vignesh had the exact expertise to fill that exact job today. Of course, anyone with related expertise in his field could step into his job and come up to speed in a reasonable time. But no one could be hired who already knew the exact things he knew today.

I was happy for him that he got to keep his job, and I can understand that my (former) employer would want to do whatever they could to keep him. But this story does illustrate how the system can be gamed. I bet other employers do the same thing.

Comment Re:First... (Score 1) 67

First "Correlation is not causation" post!

Righteo. Specifically, assuming Google's PageRank algorithm is at work, a more "popular" candidate presumably would get linked more. So, is the popularity creating the links, or are the links producing the popularity?

As someone whose websites have experienced link spamming (by misguided bots that weren't smart enough to realize that my sites aren't popular enough to bother with), I can imagine a future political scandal in which some politician - or more likely a bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed aide - gets caught hiring a bot farm for this very purpose. For those who would like to play: maybe Hilliary Clinton's former email administrator could get that set up for you. (Chris Christie, are you listening?)

Comment Moderation in all myths (Score 4, Insightful) 273

The Great-Man Myth may well be a bit of a myth, but there also must be some truth to it. Rather than describe Steve Jobs as an "inventor," I think he could better be described as an "innovator." I'm not sure he invented much of anything: he didn't invent the Apple I and Apple II (Wozniak did), and he didn't invent the GUI (Xerox Parc and others did.) Instead, he brought emerging technology together in an innovative way to create new categories of products such as the Macintosh, iPod, iPad, and iPhone. Each of those were composed of a set of inventions created by others but brought together under Jobs' direction. Likewise, he didn't invent computer animation at Pixar (which was already doing that when he acquired it), but he guided Pixar through the process of creating the first feature-length computer-animated movie.

So, for a serial innovator like Jobs or Musk, there seems to be an element of greatness in the fact that they have a vision and organize others to implement that vision. But its likely that they get more than their share of the limelight in the process of the media simplifying and glamorizing their stories for consumption by the masses. Edison actively encouraged that sort of thing in the media of the time, by promoting the idea that he was the great inventor, whereas he actually ran the first industrial research laboratory - which itself is one of his primary inventions.

In the case of the Apple I and II, Wozniak seems to get his fair share of credit since he did all of the engineering himself, but for other things, a team of people is involved, and it's rare for them to get much credit. Except in the case of the first Macintosh, where the designers got to sign the inside of the case.

So, like most myths, there's some truth to the Greate-Man Myth, though it's also, of course, a bit of a "myth."

Comment Re:"there was no acknowledgment that ..." (Score 1) 279

Suddenly imitating competitors out of desperation, at any cost, has been done many times before. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Microsoft was late to the party on browsers and various other things but managed to catch up (more or less) in that case and many other cases. In some cases, though, they poured a lot of money into things that didn't work out, and in retrospect, didn't really make much business sense. For example, there's the Zune player and the more recent Nokia acquisition.

There must be an element of denial-of-reality in such cases. In the Nokia thing, for example, couldn't Microsoft reasonably anticipate that it would turn into a giant write-down? So why did they do it? You can just imagine the conversation, "We've got to make Microsoft Phone work at any cost, or our entire business will suffer. We'll just buy Nokia and sell phones ourselves, if we have to."

This same thing can happen at Google or anywhere else. More recently, the trend has been to just buy your way into whatever you're afraid of. I think that explains why Google spent three billion and change on Nest (for a thermostat?!) and why Facebook spent a billion on Instagram. If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em.

Comment Re:Easy Stuff! (Score 1) 279

Several years ago, when Facebook was less ubiquitous than it is now, I was amazed when our local news broadcast would tell us each night to go to their Facebook page. It was the only form of advertising that they gave away for free. Oh, except for telling us each night to follow their reporters on Twitter. But I never once heard them mention Google+. I guess that's the networking effect in action.

Comment Re:Moor? (Score 1) 179

My guess is that this new technology would fill some spot in the memory hierarchy somewhere between two existing technologies. For example, it might be used between current flash-based SSDs and DRAM to provide persistent memory that's faster than flash (but presumably more expensive) for system startup. Of course, the actual spot in the hierarchy would depend on factors such as speed, endurance, and cost. This is analogous to the fact that many magnetic hard drives now include memory caches.

Of course, the spot in the memory hierarchy could change over time as the parameters of the new memory evolve, notably cost. The new type would only replace some existing memory type when it is better in every way than that type. This happens rarely. For example, the ancient technology of magnetic tape is still with us because of its extremely low cost per byte, which is a compelling feature for certain applications such as archival data storage, despite its long access time.

Comment Re:It's IBM's fault. Everyone copied the PC. (Score 1) 698

IMHO, the IBM PC-AT keyboard was the best there ever was on a PC (or compatible.) It took me quite a long time to retrain myself when they moved that beautiful from that single large Ctrl key in the right place to two small keys in the wrong place. Worse, they put the Caps Lock in that prominent spot, leading to it getting hit a lot by accident - which I still do to this day: I think I hit it more often by accident than I do on purpose!

Comment Re:Alt summary? (Score 3, Funny) 16

Is there an alternative summary available where I might know what any of the nouns mean? In particular, why is it assumed that anyone knows who these companies or people are? I just about got "MLB" = "Major League Baseball".

In response to complaints about all these mysterious acronyms, EdX will host a second MOOC to explain MLB to those who have a background in R and SQL but not MLB. Topics covered include ERA, RBI, OBP, IP, and BB. See this page for a full list of course topics.

Comment Re:It's not worth it any more (Score 1) 84

Maybe you and the GP are both right. It looks like they think spending money on architecture will yield more bang-for-the-buck of performance at the moment than yet another geometry shrink. You'd think they would have played all the architectural games possible by now. Bu now that everybody already has more cores than they can use, maybe more can be done at the architecture level to make better use of the same number of cores. (Just a guess.)

This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.