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Comment: Re:You make it... (Score 1) 519

by Tony Isaac (#47211857) Attached to: Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Job insecurity is a good thing. It has a way of motivating people to do what they have to do, to keep their job. Sure, some schools will have stupid expectations of teachers, and will fire them for the wrong reasons. But there are SOME schools with leadership that is insightful and wants the best for their children. These schools will try hard to keep good teachers, and let bad ones go. The old system tied the hands of administration at these schools, meaning they had to keep the bad teachers. Tenure rules made sure that ALL schools would have to keep bad teachers, even the ones that do have good leadership. The schools that have bad leadership...the children at those schools are screwed regardless of tenure.

Comment: Try getting free technical support for your car! (Score 1) 253

Your check engine light comes on. See how much help you get calling GM! They'll tell you to take it to a dealer (which, by the way, is not part of GM).

Oh, so you got a "free" 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty? Oh yes, you paid for that, and it wasn't cheap. You just weren't allowed to opt out.

Why do we expect free technical support for computers?

Comment: Google is just giving people what they want (Score 1) 108

by Tony Isaac (#47080955) Attached to: On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google

Personally, when I search Google for something, I get what I want on the first page of listings, Usually, what I want is the first or second item in the list. Google has gotten really, really good at figuring out what people want.

And it's not MetaFilter.

In this case, I think MetaFilter's problems are more related to their own inability to stay relevant, than anything Google did.

Comment: Only a few big names (Score 3, Insightful) 154

by Tony Isaac (#47062977) Attached to: Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.

Yes, there are crazy amounts being paid for certain lucky tech companies. SnapChat turning down $3 billion, for example. Sorry, the company simply isn't worth more than half of the S&P 500. So in the sense that some social media-related companies are being bought by the giants for huge dollar amounts, there is a bubble.

But the bubble isn't extending to the bottom of the food chain. In the 90's, anybody who could say "Java" could get six figures, and any guy with a hair-brained idea and a few programmers, could get VC money from rich guys who did random things to choose where to sink their money. It's not like that now. These days, you have to actually be able to write software, to get a good job, and you have to have a viable business, to get VC dollars.

Comment: Computers already deal with slow humans (Score 1) 189

by Tony Isaac (#47029823) Attached to: Understanding an AI's Timescale

In terms of processor cycles, it takes a LONG time to type any kind of command for the computer to execute. It doesn't mind, it just spins happily, waiting for the end of our slow key presses.

Just as we can interpret input that comes in the form of visual cues, speech, or written words, any future AI is likely to have all of these capabilities as well. And that AI, being built by humans, is going to be well-adapted to human speed. Why would we make AI that was NOT suited to interaction with humans?

Comment: Re:Incorrect Timescale (Score 1) 189

by Tony Isaac (#47029785) Attached to: Understanding an AI's Timescale

Great point. Interestingly, speech recognition is also a massive undertaking for the human brain, we just don't notice, because our brains don't have just one processor, or even eight or sixteen cores, but millions of neurons processing audio data at the same time. It's going to take a while before inexpensive computers can match that kind of processing power.

Comment: Re:Anti-competitive (Score 1) 238

by Tony Isaac (#47025439) Attached to: Apple To Face Lawsuit For iMessage Glitch

This assumes that Apple engineers are smart enough to do this intentionally. I suspect the problem is more due to incompetence than evil intent.

Domain registrars are another story. If you've tried lately to renew a domain name registration even with Network Solutions, the original registrar, you'll find it really, really difficult to just renew, without buying some additional service you didn't want. And once you do, good luck trying to get your money back!

Comment: "Somehow"??? (Score 3, Insightful) 564

"Somehow" makes it sound mysterious and inexplicable. I'd be willing to bet that the truth is far less sensational. I could see a student tech assistant doing something like this on a dare, or a low-skilled admin just clicking OK one too many times, without actually reading the warning message.

Comment: Re:Different industry, but ... (Score 2) 232

by Tony Isaac (#47023421) Attached to: Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up

You didn't say what industry you were describing. In every industry, experience generally leads towards higher productivity. But in software development, experience often leads to productivity that is orders of magnitude higher. A competent older software engineer can run circles around a younger worker, even if that younger worker puts in lots of hours.

Comment: Just recognizing the reality (Score 1) 490

The Idaho stop law just recognizes the actual behavior of bicyclists. This is what all traffic laws are supposed to do anyway. Speed limits, for example, are in most states required to be set according to how fast motorists actually drive.

The only places I've ever seen bicyclists obey stop signs or lights, are in very busy intersections, where they would be crazy to flout the signals. But I admit, when I'm riding my bike around the neighborhood, I don't stop for any stop signs, and you probably don't either.

Comment: Re:Preventable! (Score 2) 231

by Tony Isaac (#46915141) Attached to: How To Prevent the Next Heartbleed

No doubt. So why didn't YOU take steps to prevent the Heartbleed vulnerability? The same reason everybody else didn't: time. Finding bugs takes time. Sure, you can automate, but that automation also takes time. So we are caught between two desires: 1) the desire to add or improve functionality, and 2) the desire to avoid vulnerabilities. The two desires compete for the amount of time that is available, so it becomes a trade-off.

It's also an arms race. There is real financial incentive for finding vulnerabilities that can be exploited, far more incentive than there is for software authors to prevent exploitation.

Given that it's not FUN to find vulnerabilities, unless you are the guy trying to exploit it, there are always going to be vulnerabilities.

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy