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Comment It would be more useful.... (Score 1, Insightful) 246

... to just take that $4 billion, and cut a "bonus" check to every IT worker in America.

The problem isn't that women don't know how to program as well as men, it's that the field just isn't as attractive to them. Woman tend to value job stability over income, and it's hard to find that kind of stability in IT. IT requires a lot of brains, a lot of hard work, isn't very social, has a lot of guys with behavioral issues, and their job might get outsourced to India so the MBA middle manager can get his quarterly bonus and afford some more blow.

IT and the medical field require similar levels of intelligence and work, yet medical jobs don't often get outsourced to China, the demand for medical skills is relatively constant, and while there are behavioral issues, they usually fall along the Doogie Howser Dipshit Doc/Nurse axis rather than the male/female axis.

Do you want to attract women to IT? The best way to do it would be to change it in ways which also make it more attractive to men too: 40 hour work weeks, reasonable pay for the work/brainpower involved, job security, etc.

Comment Re:I like AMD... (Score 2) 174

I bought the Intel i5-4960 because, having done high-performance computing for over a decade, current Intel CPU's absolutely maul AMD CPU's when it comes to numerical work. It was my first new computer in almost a decade, and I wanted a "no excuses" gaming box. Games *can* be good on AMD, but many top tier games require various trade-offs.

And I'm not an AMD hater. Once upon a time, we had 100's of AMD Opteron's in our compute cluster. But it's been several years since they have put out a competitive chip. I am hopeful that 16nm + Zen will make them competitive again, if only to make Intel more competitive on pricing.

Comment I like AMD... (Score 5, Insightful) 174

My work desktop is AMD, my home fileserver is AMD, and both my parent's desktops are AMD. That's because in those use cases, AMD is "good enough". Web browsing and email don't require a lot of horsepower.

That said, my gaming/transcoding PC is an Intel i5-4690, because AMD's top line CPU can barely compete with Intel's I3 line. CMT didn't pan out, and they've been held hostage by TSMC/GloFo's failure to produce a sub-28nm lithographic process.

I love AMD's engineers, they have some impressively smart people working for them, and I hope Zen + 16nm heralds a new beginning for them. But today, they aren't "competitive", merely "good enough".

Comment Ultimately Intel's fault... (Score 1, Insightful) 115

I'm curious why my previous post was marked a troll. I *have* worked in academic HPC for over a decade, have assembled dozens of server motherboards over the years, and over two dozen for myself and family. I'm not exactly a newb here.

Intel consumer-grade OEM heatsinks (as of Haswell at least, perhaps they fixed the issue on Skylake OEM heatsinks and I'm unaware) are boat anchors. On two quality Haswell motherboards (Asus H97M and H97I) I have, the OEM heatsink fails to mount sturdily in the motherboard, and pops out with only the slightest jarring.

Third-party heatsinks would be much less necessary if the OEM heatsink would actually do its job.

Comment It's Intel's fault (Score 2, Interesting) 115

This would matter less if Intel would include a usable heatsink with their CPU's. I have worked in high performance computing for over a decade, so putting a heat sink on isn't exactly some exotic task to me, but I couldn't get either of my home OEM Haswell heatsinks to hold onto the motherboard, they would both pop off after the slightest bump. So I *had* to use third-party heatsinks.

Intel should make backplates with threaded mounts mandatory, and should ensure that their OEM heatsink is capable of actually staying on the motherboard and keeping the CPU from thermally throttling during a Prime95 run. If the user needs a third-party heat sink due to overclocking or unusual case geometry, that's fine, but their OEM heatsink should work properly for 95% of users. But it doesn't.

Doing the right thing at Intel's scale couldn't cost more than a dollar (a little extra aluminum/steel in the right spots), yet they mysteriously cheap out. Even AMD's stock heatsink is better.

Comment Re:I'm a pretty nerdy computer guy ... (Score 1) 492

Afraid we don't have any openings at the moment. You can go to hr.vanderbilt.edu, click on "jobs", and search for "accre" every few weeks, we post jobs there.

If you're looking for a foot in the door, you can search the jobs website for jobs involving R, Matlab, C, Fortran, Perl, Python in other departments and find a position that will get you some experience.

David Lipscomb has a small "Big Data" department, but they smart people and big ambitions, and I was quite impressed when we took a tour. You might also check those guys out.

There are several local Meetup groups devoted to Big Data, R, etc. You might look some up and try to network. Afraid that's the best advice I can give you.

Comment I'm a pretty nerdy computer guy ... (Score 4, Interesting) 492

... and I'll never understand the lure of Silicon Valley. I live a couple of miles outside Nashville in the country, in a very nice house I managed to pay off in 10 years. I make a decent living doing high-end computer work (academic HPC) which is pretty fun. Ambitious but realistic 40-hour week schedules, with co-workers as smart as any I've met at the Supercomputing conferences. I can eat out, go to the gym, go on a date, or just go home and watch a movie with my cat in my lap any time I want. I'll probably be able to retire in my 50's should I choose to do so.

Why, other than the hope of becoming an overnight millionaire, do people choose to work in Silicon Valley, with the insane hours, cost-of-living, commutes from hell, and a lack of any social life? Because if money is all they wanted, they can buy Powerball tickets in most states.

Comment Re:Why not eat meat? (Score -1) 317

Our bodies may have evolved over millions of years to crave meat, but they also evolved to die of old age at 25 too...

One, strictly from a moral perspective, I desire to eat vegetarian offerings, even though I do crave a good burger. I don't see how this hurts.

And as a guy who hit 40, when you get a little older some things, like digestion, just don't work as good as they used to. And processed bean protein will almost certainly digest easier than red meat.

Have more options beats having fewer in this instance.

Comment In the Age of the Robocar... (Score 2) 106

Most cars will be owned by large corporations, not individual pwople. Lyft, or Thrifty Rent-a-Car, or possibly automakers like Ford themselves. (I'm curious how it shakes out, for investment purposes, but bet the automakers will try to corner the market).

At that point, when a car has a problem, it's not Joe Smith on the phone shaking a hand, it's the Big Owning Company with Lawyers who is. I expect the consolidation of purchasing power into a fewer, much bigger hands will make this unlikely to occur, at least more than the one time it takes for the surviving firms to understand the cost of lying.

Comment Their incentives are wrong... (Score 2) 403

I woke up yesterday at 5 am for a call with a colleague in China. Fifteen minutes from quitting time, a critical system died, and I was here until 1 am fixing it. A mile from home, achingly tired and needing a bed, a police car pulled me over for having one brake light out. After 10 minutes of staring at incredibly bright, flashing blue lights in the mirror, they let me go with a warning. Got home, and because of said flashy bright lights, I couldn't go to sleep. So here I am back at work, hour 34 of wakefulness.

From her perspective, the police officer was trying to protect and serve (I know her vaguely through friends and she sounds like a decent person) From my perspective, I'm probably more dangerous to my fellow drivers due to my lack of sleep during rush hour commute than I would be for having 1 (out of 4) rear lights out at 2 am a mile from home. From my perspective (and almost certainly from society's perspective), her actions *did not* protect or serve either myself or society very well.

I don't think the leaders of the NSA, CIA, etc are a bunch of Dr Evil wanna-be's. I suspect they are in fact decent, well-intentioned people. But what from their perspective seems rational, can be contrary to the greater good.

In that, their job is somewhat like mine as a sysadmin. I have never once had someone email me and say "Hey, everything was working great this morning, just wanted to say good job!". But when something breaks, there are a hundred people complaning loudly. There's a fundamental asymmetry there, and it can lead to personal incentives that are in conflict with the greater good.

The NSA/CIA/etc are graded on "how successful they can defeat/thwart the bad guy", and not "doing what is in the best interest of society". Perfect is the enemy of the good, and it's better for society to preserve our hard-won freedoms, even at the cost of the bad guys winning occasionally. But they get yelled at (Congressional hearings, public firing etc.) when they do the right thing, so they do the "right" thing instead.

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