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Comment: Re:Dial up can still access gmail (Score 1) 317

by grcumb (#47933627) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Remote Support For Disconnected, Computer-Illiterate Relatives

Gmail optimizes for low bandwidth links.

I didn't know that! Is it something I need to configure?

Good News: No, you don't need to configure anything.

Bad News: Yeah, it's as bad as you remember. The biggest difference is this really condescending message at the top of your screen, saying, "Hi! You're a second-class citizen, so we're sending you to a second-class interface using second-class bytes! NOM NOM!!"

... Or something - I can't remember the exact text; I just remember promising myself I'd find the developer who wrote that and emasculate him with rusted baling wire.

A decent mail client with GMail over IMAP is probably best. Only downloads headers unless you actually load the message.

Comment: Re:Ya, but... (Score 1) 391

by grcumb (#47922129) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

English lit. grads can do a variety of jobs, but wouldn't be my first choice for a programmer, unless they could demonstrate strong programming skills.

How very condescending of you. But I would say the same about engineers, CS grads, science and math majors as well. Mostly because I find them generally closed-minded, with a strong tendency toward binary thinking. It is a rare person indeed that is capable of writing truly good code. Those who are capable typically can maintain a balance between left and right brain, holding a wide range of possibilities in their head, visualising very complex models and fluid scenarios, and only in the last instance reducing them to computer logic.

It may seem paradoxical, but the only useful test of a good programmer is whether they program well.

The best team I ever worked on featured an ex-veterinarian, a chemical engineer, a Classics major, one who switched majors from music to sociology, one who did half a law degree, and myself, a theatre/English lit. double major.

The half a lawyer now helps to manage Google's international network. The chemical engineer manages the systems of a globally known company. The musician/sociologist is CTO of a successful SaaS operation. The vet is a senior application designer, and I'm Chief Technologist at a think tank. I'm sure you've done far better, but we haven't done so bad either.

Comment: Re:Ya, but... (Score 1) 391

by grcumb (#47921963) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

... employees with STEM degrees have critical thinking skills *and* STEM degrees. Just sayin'.

So... your point is that STEM degrees are intrinsically better prerequisites for all aspects of software development? Or that STEM degrees are intrinsically better in some way than liberal arts degrees? If either of those is your point, I suggest you check your assumption that completion of a STEM degree implies the presence of critical thinking skills. Because NO.

And if you think for a moment that a smart liberal arts major isn't capable of complex abstraction, conceptualisation and its expression in formal logic, then... well, once again, check your assumptions.

Comment: Re:Dual degrees (Score 3, Interesting) 391

by grcumb (#47921895) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

There's certainly a place for people with dual degrees in tech and liberal arts -- people who truly understand the tech they're discussing, plus have the experience in communication and argumentation to explain it, push for it, and lead it.

Hi there. I'm the Chief Technologist of a thinktank and do a lot of technical work, from application & systems design and development through to legislation, policy and regulation. I did a double major in Theatre and English Lit. when I went to university. It amazes me that the majority of 'engineers' or science geeks show such disdain for liberal arts majors. Do they not realise that smart people are everywhere?

The thing that really makes me chuckle, though, is that they don't seem to believe that someone with strengths in the arts could ever be an autodidact, in spite of the fact that most good geeks have this capability as a defining trait. In theatre, I had to learn basic electronics, electrical circuitry, technical design, how to build weight-bearing structures, basic colour theory, linguistics, aesthetics (which, scoff as you like, requires pretty heavy thinking about the nature of human consciousness) and about a dozen other disciplines. And English taught me a little humility about the power of expression. It taught me to harness it as well.

As my colleagues will tell you, I have a significant lack of mathematical ability; my brain is simply not wired to read equations (or musical notation - another great failing). I can do it, but I expend a great deal more effort than my math whiz friends. This puts some programming work outside my competence - algorithms especially. I understand perfectly the concept of big O, though, and with assistance, I can write highly performant code.

But... I can design, create palettes, do layout and describe workflows a fuck of a lot better than most engineers. I know enough typography to be dangerous, and I can outperform most people when it comes to interfaces.

I know the value of a good engineer. I learned it at my father's knee. But if anyone ever suggested that I fill my software shop with nothing but STEM grads, I would laugh them out of the room. No offence, all you engineers, but there's a whole raft of software design and development issues that you guys suck at.

Comment: Re:Talking Point (Score 1) 427

by Layzej (#47912953) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013
Hey Phlinn, In addition to my notes above, I just noticed that you can plot PDO in woodfortrees. Plot from 2002 and it shows negative:

The PDO cycle dominates over the short term, so if PDO is negative then atmospheric temperatures will be negative. PDO does not have a trend.over the long run so while it has a great effect on the 10 or 20 year trend, it has no effect on the long term trend.

Comment: Re:Talking Point (Score 1) 427

by Layzej (#47912731) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013
Hi Phlinn

HADCRUT3 has even less coverage than HADCRUT4. Why not use the latest and greatest? Regarding mathematical artifacts, replication over many different reconstructions using different methods and different data gives us confidence in the results. Regarding malfeasance, I'm not sure that the resignation of a journal's editor when it becomes clear that the journal is pushing an agenda at the expense of the truth is malfeasance. I'm not inclined to discuss conspiracy theories although I know these narratives are popular. Suffice it to say that I disagree.

Regarding plotting from 2002, yes the trend line is negative for some data sets. It is more negative if you plot from 2010. What does that tell us? Note that the data is consistently above the trend until about 2007. Note that the data cycles above and below the trend as PDO and ENSO wax and wane. What we are seeing is a steady upward trend with natural variability superimposed on top. We're below the trend line now and the indicators show that we should be. That means we will go back above when the indicators flip back to the positive part of their cycle.

When you look at the data, do you have any expectation that the next El Nino will not be the new hottest year on record? That's even with the PDO strongly negative. You can subtract ENSO and PDO from the trend with this tool and you end up with something closer to the real trend:

P.S. if you have kids then you should introduce them to Scratch. I've been showing it to my kids and I've become addicted :) Please pardon the Scratch evangelism :)

Comment: Re:Talking Point (Score 1) 427

by Layzej (#47910313) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013
Hi Phlinn,

Yes, the RSS is an outlier. Should we put our faith in the minority report? Woodfortrees will show slope if you click the 'data' link at the bottom of the graph.

Be careful if you are suggesting that the various groups analyzing station temperature are all colluding to show the same result - a result that agrees with the UAH satellite reconstruction compiled by skeptics Spencer and Christy. The adjustments are all documented in the scientific literature. They appear to be necessary in order to make the data more accurately reflect the true global average temperature.

CRU does not have global coverage. CRU has been shown to have a cool bias due to the missing data. Even still, it does show an upward trend of 0.1C over the period. Please look again:

Comment: Re:When the cat's absent, the mice rejoice (Score 5, Insightful) 286

The criminals here worthy of being described as scum and deserving confinement are the people involved in child pornography, not the investigator. At worst he seems to have exceeded his statutory jurisdiction in pursuit of actual crimes.

Allow me to quote the immortal words of Mr H.L. Mencken:

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

Now, on behalf of Mr Mencken, and all those who fight for human freedom, allow me to suggest you fuck off, and to remind you that just because there are a few scummy characters in the world, it still doesn't justify putting the entire state of Washington under surveillance, which is what happened here.

Comment: Re:Talking Point (Score 1) 427

by Layzej (#47874283) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

You can use to check for yourself. The folks you cited are using data sets without global coverage, and starting at the (then) 3 sigma El Nino anomaly. The missing data is important, but even still the trend shows a rise of 0.1C over the period:

I'm not sure why they drew a flat line through that data when the trend is actually up.

It is worth noting that the 3 sigma event that they chose as their starting point is now not that remarkable an event. Modest El Ninos will exceed that event at this point. Soon ENSO neutral years will top that event.

Satellite data compiled by skeptics Spencer and Christy shows 0.08C over the period:

The data they omit is important. Here is a data set with near global coverage. It shows a rise of 0.14C over the period:

Comment: Re:Are you fucking serious? Tell me you aren't! (Score 1) 198

by grcumb (#47869187) Attached to: UK's National Health Service Moves To NoSQL Running On an Open-Source Stack

Why the fuck are you storing the data if you don't give a damn about keeping it consistent?

There are thousands (and thousands) of cases where it is simply not reasonable to expect homogeneity in your data. Of those thousands of cases, a very large number of them not only have extremely heterogeneous data, they still need to be stored and queried. NoSQL is a useful tool in such cases.

Is it 'safe' — i.e. does it do all of the data integrity stuff we've come to associate with RDBMSes? No. Emphatically no. If you didn't code it into the right logic in the right places, you are probably worse than shit out of luck.

BUT... there are still thousands of cases where the pain of living with NoSQL far outweighs the pain (and in many cases impossibility) of living with your data inside an enterprise RDBMS.

And yes, I say this based on years of work with exactly these kinds of data sets. They were my bread and butter for a long time.

So, uh, holy fuck: Believe it.

Comment: Re:Simple change. What about round abouts (Score 1) 213

by Layzej (#47866627) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars
They are great for cars, but really bad for foot traffic. At a roundabout, pedestrians must wait until there is a gap in traffic to cross. There is no designated time for pedestrians to cross, like a walk signal, which means at a busy intersection you had better be quick if you want to make it through. You wouldn't want to place this anywhere people want to spend time. Only at busy intersections away from shops and destinations.

Comment: Re:Bikes lanes are nice (Score 2) 213

by Layzej (#47866235) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars
This same designated left turn lane came with bike lanes in Toronto and had the same effect. Prior to the bike lanes there was no dedicated parking. People would just park in the right lane - so effectively you only had one lane for cars and no room for a left turn lane. The bike lanes necessitated the designated parking which allowed for the designated turn lane. Traffic crawled before the bike lanes were implemented. It still crawls, but it crawls really fast now.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile in the real world... (Score 1) 427

by Layzej (#47863795) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013
Reminds me of Asimov: "when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir