Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Took an online trading company offline for a day (Score 4, Interesting) 284 284

I was hired as a firewall admin at an online trading company, then quickly discovered the director of IT was insane, but kept management happy because he made his numbers by keeping his team constantly understaffed; I was told to work on not just servers, but installing Sun servers in racks, running cable, and fixing just about anything plugged into the network.

I made the mistake of showing competence in networking, so was asked to "expand my role" (new title, same salary), and start working on the switches themselves, including executing an "upgrade" to stacked HP ProCurve switches with VLANs (replacing a hodge-podge of random manufacturer switches). The actual upgrade went fine, basic testing (ping) showed everything stable, but as soon as trading opened the next day, everything went to hell, performance dropped through the floor and customers started calling in about trades timing out. Long story short, turned out that Solaris HME cards were unable to negotiate properly with ProCurve switches, half the machines were dropping packets due to duplex mismatches. There's a reason people call the Sun interface cards "Happy Meal Ethernet"

Cost the company approximately $180,000 in direct and customer exodus losses, and was likely a factor in their eventual collapse. I wasn't fired, but management never trusted me again so I saw the writing on the wall, and quit to do consulting work at a (also doomed) dot-com online supermarket.

On the upside, I was able to make thousands in consulting income from installing those same "lock speed to 100 and duplex to full" Solaris scripts on servers for various customers who also had performance issues plugging in Sun servers to cheap switches.

Comment: Re:Accepting Responsibility (Score 1) 349 349

I wouldn't go as far as to say they are saying that black people aren't smart enough to understand the situation, but I will readily agree that people are trying to work this up into something that it really isn't.

News flash, given their skin color, it is easier for black folks to be mistaken for apes in an image processing algorithm than white people. This just shows the algorithm isn't perfect. Write up a bug and make a test case.

Now that I think of it, I wonder how non-technical folks think that image recognition works. Maybe if you were ignorant on the subject, you might immediately think "OMG, they have racist programmers at Google." Of course, this is where responsible media outlets would point out that computers have zero prejudice and that image recognition is hard work.

Comment: Re:Kids don't understand sparse arrays (Score 1) 128 128

What happens to your 'standard' linked lists solution when you have ten values scattered over an array which is 1000! (factorial 1000) in each dimension? For most genuinely sparse arrays, a hashmap is a better approximation of an efficient implementation. Of course, there will be corner cases where you want to do something different, but linked lists strike me as an extremely poor solution except in arrays where more than about 10% of cells have data.

Comment: Re:TRWTF: List is used instead of Map (Score 1) 128 128

I should have read the linked questions before replying...

Stupid, stupid, STUPID! Why have numRows and numCols in a sparse array? Things with unnecessary, arbitrary bounds annoy me. My implementation of Conway's Game of Life runs on a sparse array precisely because that allows the world to stretch arbitrarily in any direction a glider goes, limited only by the capacity of the bignum library and the total store available to the program.

And this is how we teach computer science?


Comment: Re:TRWTF: List is used instead of Map (Score 1) 128 128

Sparse array entries, in general, are not necessarily immutable, although they may be so in this case. Most spreadsheets are implemented as sparse arrays, for example. But your point about the benefit of a map is well made.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin