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Comment: Re:"Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture (Score 1) 390

You can ask a technical person to achieve a very specific, tightly scoped technical task during an interview and if you know the question well quickly get a feel for how good they really are.

Along with that, with techies it's a lot easier to weed out the bullshit and outright lies on their resumes. I wish I had a dime for every candidate that listed something obscure on their resume to puff it up, and then couldn't answer basic questions that anyone familiar with it should know.

"I see here you've got some extensive VMS system administration experience and show it as an area of expertise."
"Yes."
"That was a really cool OS - I liked how DEC implemented file versioning. Can you tell me how one would distinguish different versions of the same file?"
"Umm...it was a long time ago, I don't really remember...."
"Okay, can you give me one of the hardware platforms supported by VMS?"
"I'm pretty sure the system I worked on was a 486."

After 30 seconds you can tell the guy doesn't have a clue, and the entire resume is now suspect.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 390

You're comparing your salary to one at a fucking bank, companies so famous for absurd compensation packages that it triggered street protests ....

None of the compensation packages I've read about involved IT staff - it was all executives and brokers. My experience with banks is that they'll screw their own non-executive employees just like they will anyone else, but if you have cites otherwise I'll read them with great interest. The only IT folks in the financial sector that I've ever seen willingly get offered noticeably above-average money are HFT architects and coders.

Comment: Re:If you can be replaced for $10/hour... (Score 1) 390

Furthermore the per-capita US income is in the top 5 in the world. How sustainable do you think that is? I suggest you learn about regression toward the mean.

Or, as it's better known, "the race to the bottom". Domestic workers demand more because it's substantially more expensive to live here than it is in India and other countries popular with outsourcers. A well-paid programmer in India will do work sent to him for $15K/year and live quite well - here, that's approximately the federally mandated minimum wage, which isn't enough to do much more than meet one's essential needs, and often isn't even enough to do that. Are you seriously arguing that skilled workers with years of experience should be working for minimum wage?

Manufacturing in the US is alive and well and anyone who says otherwise has no idea what they are talking about.

Really? Tell me where I can buy an American-made DIMM or LCD panel. Just because we still do make things in the U.S. doesn't mean that it hasn't completely destroyed other manufacturing centers here.

Comment: Re:There are 6 of them now? (Score 1) 388

by NormalVisual (#47730211) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater
That number is just what the film distributor's marketing department *claims* they lost.

Never trust what anyone involved with the movie industry says about profits and losses. I don't necessarily disagree with this individual facing some kind of punishment, as I feel limited and reasonable copyright legislation helps more than it hurts, but I do agree that one needs to take the losses stated with a very large grain of salt.

Comment: Re:Nobody else seems to want it (Score 1) 689

by NormalVisual (#47716421) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'
So individual apps had to be aware of the individual drivers.

For some drivers, yes. Drivers that defined block devices just showed up as a drive letter and were available to any program without any device-specific code needed in the user app itself, although there occasionally was a system EXE that needed to be run as well to provide the functionality. Examples include CD-ROM support under DOS (with a device-specific driver + MSCDEX.EXE to read the filesystem on the drive) and RAM drive support (RAMDRIVE.SYS).

Comment: Re:This is ridiculous. WRONG WRONG WRONG (Score 1) 146

by NormalVisual (#47716237) Attached to: Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners
Or, in the real world, do X anyway as secretive as possible and hope the courts don't order them to stop.

The courts don't mean much to these people - the FISA court's own statements about being misled by the NSA proves that. The only thing within the law guaranteed to stop them is to start jailing those responsible or cutting off their funding.

Comment: Re:That's awesome! Taxpayers get fucked! (Score 5, Interesting) 229

by NormalVisual (#47710637) Attached to: $125,000 Settlement Given To Man Arrested for Photographing NYPD
I think it needs to come directly out of the affected officers' pockets, in the form of an individual professional liability insurance policy similar to what doctors carry. Make that coverage a condition for employment in a law enforcement capacity. If the cop does his job right, his premiums stay low. If he screws up too much, his premiums will get so high that he can't continue to work in that field, or won't be able to find an insurer to cover him. No insurance, no job. A side benefit is that as the percentage of claims that get paid out rises, the cost is spread over the entire profession, which gives cops a financial incentive to keep their own in line.

Comment: Re:Too much surplus (Score 1) 264

I meant effective measures, as in holding those in law enforcement personally accountable. Not their departments, not the city, but personally. This business of giving police officers, district attorneys, and judges near-absolute immunity for their actions needs to be looked at a lot more closely.

Comment: Re:Too much surplus (Score 1) 264

Complaining about actual or alleged abuses by this or that police officer or department doesn't change the role of the police in the criminal justice system and their function of law enforcement.

It doesn't change the intended role. In reality, that role is often not adhered to, and when it's not, there is usually precious little the populace can do about it while remaining within the confines of the law.

Comment: Re:Blame HR ... (Score 1) 277

by NormalVisual (#47656455) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are Online Job Applications So Badly Designed?
They're designed to allow HR and recruiters to select the specific set of buzzwords they're looking for but have no understanding of, all while doing the minimum amount of work and the least amount of understanding.

The bolded statement sums it up. These application systems are intended to offload as much data entry work onto the candidate as possible. From the company's perspective, why should they pay HR to do data entry when they can get the candidates to do it for free?

Comment: Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (Score 1) 364

by NormalVisual (#47655225) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording
If you do anything across state lines it falls to the Feds which are 1 party.

Courts have gone both ways about that. In Lane vs. CBS Broadcasting, the federal court held that in the absence of explicit stated intent to the contrary, complete federal preemption only applied in cases in which state law was less restrictive, and otherwise the state's law applied. In my state (an all-party state), I don't think your statement is something I'd want to bet a third-degree felony conviction on.

Comment: Re:Not true! (Score 1) 291

by NormalVisual (#47654761) Attached to: The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer
I find web development rather simple in comparison to trying to write a basic thread manager for a PIC18F uC, not saying you're wrong, just different views.

I should probably elaborate on my statement - I find web development more challenging because of the variety of stuff beyond my control that I have to account for. Different OSs, different browsers, different interpretations of the HTML/CSS specs, etc., whereas in the embedded world, you generally have pretty tight control over the platform you're working with, and you can say with some degree of certainty that the processor is going to take X number of nanoseconds to run a particular block of code or respond to an interrupt. If I'm writing something to run on a microcontroller, almost any problem I have with the code not running properly is going to be the result of a something that I've screwed up myself. While I can certainly screw up in a higher level environment, there are constantly issues to deal with involving inconsistent or undocumented behavior of the platform, or component bugs not of my own doing that still have to be identified and worked around. You don't get stalled by unexpected garbage collection when working on a PIC in assembly, and you don't have to be familiar with 18 zillion frameworks just to get text out to an LCD.

I will definitely agree that embedded work demands a much more complete understanding of how the machine actually works and the ability to decompose a solution into much more detail, but it's much less fatiguing for me because there's a lot less crap getting in the way of getting stuff working. It's also a lot more fun. :-)

Comment: Re:Not true! (Score 1) 291

by NormalVisual (#47653401) Attached to: The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer
A real programmer interfaces at the hardware level and tells a computer how to do it's job without having to use bulky objects, interfaces and abstraction.

Ah, a variation on the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. A "real" programmer is familiar with a wide set of tools and the knowledge when to use each. There are times when that tool set includes the ability to read schematics and an oscilloscope or DMM to verify proper operation of hand-written assembly, and there are times when huge enterprise projects require tons of abstraction in a high-level language in order to keep the complexity manageable.

Frankly, I find web development a hell of a lot more challenging than embedded work.

Comment: Re:How do Americans' minds work? (Score 1) 117

by NormalVisual (#47639301) Attached to: New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight
"by zapping with electricity water bubbling through a matrix of iron oxide"

To me, the original statement implies there's a special kind of water called "electricity water", while the paraphrased version offered is merely awkward. I think a better way to phrase it would have been "by applying electricity to water bubbling through a matrix of iron oxide". [shrug]

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