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Comment: Re:Isn't the upshot the same? (Score 5, Insightful) 325

by The Mayor (#46637567) Attached to: FWD.us Wants More H-1B Visas, But 50% Go To Offshore Firms

This is exactly correct. Plus, H1B visa holders are tied to the company that issues the visa. If they leave the company, they must return to their home country. Tech companies like Facebook like to have such indentured servants.

H1B visas serve only to drive down wages for US employees. Additionally, they end up training foreign talent that are later kicked out of the country (after 3 or 6 years, depending upon whether the visa is renewed). They don't help the nation's interests, nor the public's interest. They serve only to increase the profit margins of the large firms.

Get rid of the H1B, and increase the green card slots available to foreign workers, especially the Indians. I've very pro-immigrant, but the H1B visa only provides for indentured servitude.

Comment: My story (Score 1) 201

by The Mayor (#45482133) Attached to: Microsoft Customers Hit With New Wave of Fake Tech Support Calls

I posted a comment/question to a support web page for the backup device I use. About 10 minutes later, I get a call from a support technician, asking me to do stuff on my computer to verify the problem. He asked me to go to the "Start" menu, and open up something inside the control panel. I told him I don't own any Windows machines. He hung up almost immediately.

I should have strung him along for a while to see what he was trying to do. Oh well...next time.

Comment: Not just in the last year (Score 4, Informative) 27

by The Mayor (#44653207) Attached to: The Pentagon As Silicon Valley's Incubator

One needs only to look at the origins of In-Q-Tel, and its connection to Peter Thiel, to know that the defense department has been funding some of the biggest and best known companies for the past 2 decades. Google, PayPal, Facebook, and Palantir all come to mind, although there are many others.

Comment: Re:What do you expect? (Score 1) 488

by The Mayor (#40375435) Attached to: U.S. Students Struggle With Reasoning Skills

Well, I think you're both wrong. There are very many states of matter. Not everything fits in neatly to those buckets. What is glass? a liquid or a solid? (A: neither, or both, depending on how you look at it) What about Bose-Einstein condensates? Superfluids? There are many others, too. Their properties don't fit neatly into one of the four states you mentioned.

Comment: it's tough (Score 1) 559

by The Mayor (#40281919) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Ambitious Yet Ethical Software Jobs?

I'm a career programmer that has dabbled with machine learning, map/reduce, big data, and would also love to make it my career.

Taking out defense and finance, and I think you'll find that you're taking out most of the jobs that consume these services. I assume you include the NSA under defense, but if not, they have tons of positions in this area.

There are other options, though. Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, and Google (among many others in the tech industry) hire lots of people to do these things. I imagine that sales and marketing are beginning to consume these services, although I am not familiar with that industry, nor do I know of any companies using such techniques in that field. Although you discount the medical field (due to animal testing?), you should look at the gene sequencing industry. They hire tons of people in these fields, and gene sequencing is pretty far removed from animal testing. Supply chain analysis is another area that hires people to do this sort of stuff--the airline industry, for example, has many companies that use big data to perform pricing analysis, flight scheduling, etc.

The hard part is finding such field that is close enough to one you already have experience in. It's tough to break into a new field doing this type of work, unless you're coming straight out of university with a degree in big data.

Comment: Re:Needs his organizers to stay on message. (Score 1) 745

by The Mayor (#40004367) Attached to: Ron Paul Effectively Ending Presidential Campaign

Except that, in the US, the Supreme Court sets precedents based upon the constitution, and they have repeatedly cited the term "separation of church and state". Since the law in the US is established by both the constitution and case law that interprets the constitution, the separation of church and state is well ensconced in US law. On this issue, Ron Paul is on the wrong side of the original libertarians, the founders of our nation (including Thomas Jefferson), as well as with the law itself, as evidenced by the extensive case history separating church and state.

Comment: Re:Wow... (Score 1) 630

by The Mayor (#29556765) Attached to: G20 Protesters Blasted By "Sound Cannon"

These weapons work at ultrasonic frequencies, where sound beams from the source in a line (because the panel producing the sound is larger than 1/2 the wavelength). Set up two of the sound sources spaced slightly apart, and the interference between the two waves produces a sonic frequency. The ultrasonic frequencies are designed to resonate the bones, so earplugs are indeed ineffective. In fact, the bone resonating feature of these devices at much lower volume levels can cause the sensation that the sounds are coming from within one's head. Modulate a signal on the interference between the two waves, and one can broadcast a human voice, making it sound like voices are coming from within your head.

Comment: whatever... (Score 3, Interesting) 148

by The Mayor (#27055193) Attached to: The Finns Who Invented the Graphical Browser

To tell you the truth, I had never heard of Erwise until today. A have a few questions about Erwise:
- Did it support graphics other that XBM?
- Did it render HTML, or some other markup language?

I did some consulting for a company called HyperMedia Corporation in 1991-92. As part of that work, I watched closely the development of HTML, NCSA Mosaic, and the lot. HMC's markup language was proprietary and binary. The first thing that struck me about HTML was the ease of editing--you didn't need a dedicated editor. Then, I remember seeing early builds of NCSA's browser (to become Mosaic) when they first added, IIRC, gif support. I remember being absolutely floored with the ability to create attractive content in only a few minutes. My first thought after seeing it was, "I need to find a new job!" Sure enough, within a few months HMC was out of business.

The end result is that there were many factors that led to the success of NCSA Mosaic and Netscape. First, Mosaic ran on platforms other than the X Window System, so it was more accessible. Second, it was among the first to support usable graphics (i.e. not XBM), at least on an accessible platform (Emacs' browser & WorldWideWeb.app had early image support, too, but both were on platforms that had very narrow distribution possibilities). Third, it used standard HTML.

Erwise might have had all of these, with the one caveat that it supported only Unix/X Window System. Hard to say from this article. However, I think it's a little simplistic to say that funding was the only thing holding these guys back from Netscape-like success.

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