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Comment: Re:depends (Score 1) 170

by Matheus (#47967543) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

Pretty much This. If an employer sends you toa conference then they pay all costs just like any other work trip. If it's something you are opting to go to on your own (no matter how topical it may be) then it is completely in their discretion whether they want to cover any/all expenses *including whether it is PTO or not (Having to take vacation or not is a non-trivial difference here).

I've been paid to go to 3 conferences. The first, and most expensive, was specifically described as a "reward" for our little team getting a project done in 3 months that our parent company had budgeted 3+ years for. Expenses were just over $10K making it a nice reward unless you consider the 6-7 figures we saved them to get there. The other 2 conferences were for a consulting company I worked for and we were specifically there to whore ourselves out so paid for as sales/marketing expense.

Alternative frequent practice: at least one company I worked for would send you to conferences but you had to bring back 'proof' that is was valuable. (A write up of new information gleaned, some certification, etc) for which you would be reimbursed for some/maybe all of your expenses. Since as Above poster mentioned most conferences are fluff they want you to justify the, typically considerable, expense.

Comment: Re:confused (Score 3, Insightful) 349

by Matheus (#47946173) Attached to: U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

This comment just ain't quite right. There's gems in there but a whole lotta muck to dig through.

1) Getting a record deal isn't that hard... knowing that you don't actually *want one is the challenge. Todays world means I can create, promote and most importantly distribute my music *without some massive company stealing all of the profits. I might not go multi-platinum without a big marketing engine but I've had no problem at all selling enough albums (tracks actually) to pay for the work.

2) The '90s? Yeah... lets talk about history. In the 90s it was still expensive to produce a CD. Burners were just coming on the scene and were slow and expensive (and a lot of players couldn't play burned discs) so you still needed a big distribution company to produce them. Move to the late 90's into the Naughts and I could produce a saleable CD for pennies but the most important thing is we quickly were moving to the part where the physical CD didn't matter. I could now sell my music digitally with $0 physical production cost beyond the studio. Even the studio is less expensive! Unless you buy some expensive producer studio time / hr has dropped as the digital studio has taken off. Honestly I have all the gear to do it myself (and the ear and tech skill) so my studio cost is down to my time.

3) "Local bars don't have live music anymore." Are you kidding me?! I don't know where you live so I'm really sorry if your hometown has a depressing scene but where I live (and everywhere I travel to which is extensive) there is an exact opposite problem. Every single bar big enough to have a PA-on-a-stick in the corner has live music. The clubs are blowing up even bigger (not even looking at the stadium and big theater scene). Local bands are having trouble making music because on any given night of the week the people who choose to go out have SOOO much to choose from. Minneapolis is my home scene and we're just plan ridiculous on most nights (at least 5/wk if not 7) you have competition in every single major genre (including metal) so a great band is playing for dozens instead of hundreds of people (or the 'great' ones are playing for hundreds and the small ones are playing to the bar staff). You want a gig? I can get you a gig tomorrow. I just can't promise anyone will come to see you play.

4) "You can't pirate a live show": Actually people "pirate" live shows all the time. I'm a recording engineer and technically that's what I'm doing every time I record a show and put it up for free download. The difference is the bands *want me to do that because they understand that the exposure counts more than any $ they may make off that recording.

5) "Play some gigs U2": Um.. you are talking about the band that just played a 110 show *stadium tour spread over 2 years. They just released this album so I imagine we have another one coming. They *spent $1M per day on that tour and were in the red for some large percentage of that making $ only towards the end. Honestly U2 is one of very few bands that could have even pulled off that tour. Even the stadium market is saturated but they had the universal draw to sell out stadiums around the world else they certainly would have lost money on that tour.

So anyway... sorry your band didn't do well but don't blame the industry on that. It happens. A lot.
Back to the original article: Apple and Bono are being stupid... since I boycott Apple already (for other stupid stuff like this) and get my U2 through other channels this really won't affect me aside from reinforcing why I boycott Apple in the first place.

Comment: Re:The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (Score 1) 270

by Matheus (#47931261) Attached to: College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

...and missing the point of the article. The article is saying that the average salary was higher by $10k/year. They didn't even say said salary was for a COBOL job! Not sure how salaries compare in the UK to here but GBP60K is about $100K and honestly that's pretty freaking sweet for a fresh grad in coding here.

Either way $10K difference in pay is probably not what a seasoned coder would refer to as "exciting" but for a fresh grad the difference between say $60K/year and $70K/year is pretty significant and maybe worth spending 3 credits on. Best if you don't have to even use it after graduation but knowing about it seems to be worth the pain.

I'm currently reading a lot of COBOL so if that bumps my next salary by 10K then I'll be pretty happy about it BUT I won't be taking any jobs writing COBOL any time soon :-)

Comment: Re:The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (Score 1) 270

by Matheus (#47930775) Attached to: College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

That being said... your average (I'd go WAY farther) tech employee only needs to wear a suit in an interview and honestly I don't even do that. Wearing a suit to an interview implies a certain level of dress code following and i don't want to send the wrong message :-)

"Nice" suits cost in the arena of hundreds of dollars. Your average employee doesn't want to be spending 4 figures on a selection of suits so they don't have to wear the same thing everyday. Add to that dry cleaning costs too. Since I go into an office everyday (at the moment) I do have to rise to a certain dress code but that means: Shoes (first time in 15 years I haven't been able to wear my sandals to the office and that's just because some b!tch I never run into whined about it), Long pants (Jeans in good shape are acceptable) and a nice shift (I've worn as 'low' as a nice unbranded T but generally this involves some buttoned shirt of some variety / polo.). Aside from my $100 shoes that I wear everyday so don't need a selection of my average outfit is in the $100 range so I can afford to have a closet full. My last suit cost me $600 (and that was no where near as expensive as I could have gone). My cheapest suit was closer to $350. I make good money so I can afford to have a selection of those BUT that's a large number that my budget would prefer to put into something else.

SO.. long story short if you feel like requiring me to wear a suit to work then you are not going to be my employer.. ever. I can make similar remarks about needing to pee in a cup, etc... none of that is keeping me from being well employed. The world is a different place than it was 20 years ago.

Comment: Re:So, a design failure then. (Score 1) 165

by Matheus (#47920161) Attached to: Developing the First Law of Robotics

This. ...but more:

First of all: In reality, when all factors are considered (give me variables... ALL the variables), equality is rarely the case. That person is .00000001m closer than the other so my choice is made. BUT, in the rare case where all of the vars balance out to perfect even, there is only the above solution or "random". I was severely pained by the description of "the robot wasted so much time fretting over its decision". Who da fuq coded that? Robots don't fret or at least don't have to. In absence of a clear determination (however subtle an advantage that may be as I already stated) the robot doesn't need to "fret". If the choice is a flip of a coin then you get busy flipping the damn coin and get to that first person randomly chosen. An algo that takes so much time deciding that both die is piss poor and this person doesn't belong in this research.

Comment: Re:Um (Score 3, Interesting) 391

by Matheus (#47919969) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

True on the response not on the original post. Look around any company that has gotten past the raw start-up phase and the balance shifts and shifts until there may or may not be even a majority engineers. Face it most companies are run and managed by non-engineers. Your entire H.R. department? Not engineers. Sales? Only if you're lucky (our last company had "Sales Engineers" to support the sales people and even most of them weren't *really engineers). Marketing, Shipping/Receiving, Maintenance, Finance... the list goes on.

Yes all of these people are paid less than us engineers but there are more of them and it's easier to get their job SO for someone looking to graduate and get hired for decent (maybe not great but certainly livable) pay then the math seems to lean toward the Liberal Arts degree unless you're going to be good at the STEM degree. You half-ass a STEM degree and you'll sit on the unemployment line looking for *that job. You half-ass an L&S degree and someone will pay you to push paperwork around because you're actually *applying for that job and there are more of them out there.

Just sayin...

Comment: Re:It's getting hotter still! (Score 1) 630

by Matheus (#47909833) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

I know it's a lot to ask on /. but if you plow past TFS and actually RTFA then you will find they say exactly why they think this is *realted to global warming not a contradiction of it.

"As the area covered in sea ice expands scientists have said the ice on the continent of Antarctica which is not over the ocean continues to deplete.

CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Tony Worby, said the warming atmosphere is leading to greater sea ice coverage by changing wind patterns."

Conjecture but they at least have gone down this road already...

Comment: Re:Linux, cryptography, HTML and JavaScript. (Score 1) 143

by Matheus (#47893205) Attached to: Harvard's CompSci Intro Course Boasts Record-Breaking Enrollment

(FIRST Rant: Since I wasn't asked for the damn CAPTCHA getting the message that I didn't confirm I was a human and throwing away my whole freaking novel of a post makes me think that the /. devs *really need to take this intro course again... grr...)

Honestly some of that list fits in an intro course but with clarification.. I certainly hope that's not an exhaustive list tho! Everything on that list should be "as well as" not core topics.

Linux: These kids, even these days, have a high probability of never having had worked (knowingly.. Android/MacOS/Bar gaming systems/ATMS/etc don't count) on Linux before. SO if that's the type of machines they will be working on (as was the case at my school) then the intro class will at least have to get their feet wet here... command line / ls / rm -rf / ;-) That might include a small amount of "What is Lunux and why do we care" but that's it.

HTML: The class might also include a sampling of various technologies these kids will be using in the real world... let's face it most of them will end up mobile or web devs SO this is useful but should not be more than a small touch.

JavaScript: See my comments on HTML but also this is being used more and more as a full blown language SO maybe that's what they are using as their training language? Even in my 4 years (long time ago) I saw the Intro classes go from Pascal > C++ > Java. I think continuing that > JavaScript is a poor choice but I've heard of worse.

Cryptography: I *certainly hope this is 30,000 ft view and they aren't implementing it BUT getting the right mindset in early and even including calls to default libraries in some of their projects might not be a bad idea... beyond that it's meant for a much more advanced class.

My impression of intro as provided by the one I took and how well it did the job is as follows: You have a first week of getting the students into the coding world which could include a lot of the above but most importantly guaging their prior knowledge and teaching them the environment/language they will be working in and getting started on their first code. After that you are teaching the starter algorithms to get their heads thinking right and giving them progressively harder programming tasks to make it useful and concrete for them. If the above 4 items are the entirely of the class then this better be a pre-Intro course (we had one where I went... CS majors didn't take it... History Majors did ;-) (hint it included time on the MS Office suite of products) leading up to a "100" class that is the real intro for CS.. else who knows... I didn't RTFA only TFS so maybe it was as usuless as typical and Harvard has the intro course their $60K/yr or whatever it is would promise!

Comment: Re:In Theory (Score 2) 386

by Matheus (#47862797) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

I'm currently *reading a LOT of COBOL (JCL, etc) We're doing a migration project away from the existing 370 mainframe to 'modern' tech. The requirements gathering was spotty at best so every time I get a new chunk to replace I'm reading lots of COBOL to grep for what I need my new code to do.

I'm very thankful I'm not writing any 'new' COBOL but I can read it fairly smoothly. I can say for certain that skill will never be on my resume.

On the topic as a whole: This article (or at least the summary) seem to imply you need to put all your eggs in one basket which is completely false. I've learned a new language for almost every job I've had. I am fairly fluent in Java which tends to shape the jobs I go after but every single one has required proficiency in some other language for some other reason. (Small example I wrote a library for a large international project in Java for my own purposes. It was useful enough that the rest of the project started using it so it bumped up against contractual requirements that everything "delivered" had to be in Java and C# SO I taught myself C# and ported the library to it. C# is *very similar to Java so this was pretty easy but a great example of learning a language on the fly.)

Learn em all I say! Sort it out later...

Comment: Re:quiet = powerful (Score 1) 116

by Matheus (#47821351) Attached to: The Quiet Revolution of Formula E Electric Car Racing

"Can Not" != "May Not"

The whole point of Formula 1 is that all cars are under a very tight parameter restriction so the race is in the hands of the driver more than it is the mechanics. (Not to say they are all truly "equal" but they could be.)

Electric cars are more than capable of going faster than that:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci...

Comment: Re:Probably not. (Score 1) 546

by Matheus (#47819939) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

I've got 2 side to this issue:
1) There's a LOT I didn't know after I graduated about "how to code". Given *when I graduated a lot of that was pretty immature and my school wouldn't have been able to teach me anyway (Version control is completely different now, Frameworks? What are frameworks? plus some countless design patterns that weren't as formal as they are now... oh yeah and the Web was on 1.0) but there were some aspects at the time that were definitely missed that would have helped me post grad (I'd never coded a UI before graduating for example... just never had the need with all of my profs being Unix/Command Line friendlies)) Honestly I'm not sure where that would have fit in anyway but even an advanced coding class beyond the Intro to Programming class we had would probably have been useful. All of my classes post that course were all teaching theory and just used the language as a tool to do so.

2) ALL of that I learned just fine on my own post-grad. Given I graduated right before the big bubble popped I saw first hand the hordes of "Learn to Code in 30 days" developers that absolutely swamped the job market. The degree on my resume meant something but most of the time I had to argue the merits. The real answer which many employers discovered the hard way (why I have no trouble finding jobs now) is the simple fact that it's easier to learn the practical on your own than it is to learn the theory. In our field we are learning new tools/etc every day or we are falling behind and losing our value. Yes maybe it would have been nice to have a few more under my belt upon graduation but all of that would be fairly obsolete by now anyway. The *Theory I learned rarely expires and helps me be a better *Engineer every day. If my job was just being a coder I'd be bored and honestly I have to work with people who that's all they can do more often than I'd like. (Like cream I rise to the top but honestly it'd be nice to to have to carry their load all the time)

Long story short: Yes my University could have taught me a bit more practical but in the long run I don't see that as a problem that really needs to be solved as what they did teach me was SO much more valuable.

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