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Journal: Slashdot just isn't "it" anymore 2

Journal by Safety Cap

My current gig is working on a major newspaper's website. Now that I have access to logs and stuff of a MSM, it is very interesting to see where the traffic comes from—and slashdot doesn't really figure into the mix, even though we've been linked.

The three biggest sources of hits are Drudge, Digg and Fark, in that order, with Drudge being larger than #2 by an order of magnitude.

Least you think this is a small-time site, the whole enchilada gets 6 million hits a month by users, sans bots.

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Journal: New Blog

Journal by GigsVT

http://www.gigstaggart.com/blog/

I'll probably be writing there more than here.

User Journal

Journal: Ron Paul for President 2008 1

Journal by GigsVT

Ron Paul is in the race for president in 2008. Lets make sure that someone who believes in liberty is on the ballot. I gave $50. I only wish I could afford to give the maximum.

You may not agree with every position Ron Paul has, but he's the most libertarian republican I've ever seen. If he runs I'll vote for him even if the big-L Libertarian Party runs someone else. I'd hope they would be realistic and not run anyone if Ron Paul winds up being the Republican nominee. There's no need to divide the vote for liberty when Ron Paul is a very strong candidate.

https://www.ronpaulexplore.com/

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Journal: 20 replies 12

Journal by GigsVT

20 flaming replies for daring to suggest that most of the math they often teach with CS is useless to most programmers later in life.

There's a ton of cognitive dissonance there. These people worked hard (or are working hard) slogging through these useless math courses, therefore they must be valuable.

That sort of cognitive dissonance seems to be almost instinctual, part of our natural preference to defend our "group". When I attack the excessive and useless math taught with CS, I am also attacking their identity, striking deep.

It's hard to have a rational conversation about something when people are that invested in it.

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Journal: Fallacious Intuition 2

Journal by GigsVT

This morning I find myself wondering how much of what we consider human intuition is simply the application of fallacious logic.

An example, post hoc ergo prompter hoc. It wouldn't be a notable fallacy if we, as humans, weren't prone to draw conclusions based on it. Obviously when there is a causal relationship, post hoc is always true. While not sufficient evidence alone to "prove" anything, it is a datapoint that shouldn't be ignored.

I wonder if the creation of "real" AI will require us to use fallacy as a tool. Maybe one of the hallmarks of true intelligence is the ability to give weight to what is, on its face, a fallacy.

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Journal: Libertarian Success Story: The PC

Journal by GigsVT

The commodity PC is one of the great libertarian success stories of our age. People often concentrate on the technical aspects of what started the PC revolution, but in the end it was the good old invisible hand at work.

The PC revolution never really took off until there was an open platform to build parts for. Interchangable parts are obviously not a new idea, the concept had been around since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Consistantly, companies that have embraced an open standard have found great success with it.

The invisible hand punishes those that produce proprietary products. Even Apple, the counterexample that is no doubt lingering in your mind right now, has seen their marketshare fluctuate nearly in sync with their amount of openness.

Microsoft is an interesting case. They have ridden the coattails of the open hardware revolution, making huge profits in the process. Their current strategy is hurting them, however. MSFT profits are nothing like they used to be, and the stock reflects that.

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Journal: Why OOP sucks. 5

Journal by GigsVT

I know what you are thinking, "How can you pick just one reason why OO sucks?". Well, let me preface this by saying: this is just one of many reasons. It just happens to be the one I'm think about today.

OO assumes the programmer can design well right from the start, yet lures the beginning programmer into thinking they are making meaningful abstractions, when in reality their code is crappy and poorly abstracted.

Early "optimization" of abstraction can lead to serious problems. By forcing guesswork abstraction into the initial design, OO causes this premature optimization of abstraction. This causes more refactoring later on, or more commonly, the code just grows unmaintainable as the classes and methods become less and less meaningful.

In an ideal world we could draw nice charts and then code them into the computer and everything would be planned and would work. Unfortunately for non-programmers that want a piece of the pie pretending to be a "software designer", it doesn't work that way.

Software development is a best realized as highly iterative process, with a tight loop. OO discourages this good design by forcing abstractions before they can be meaningfully made.

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Journal: Management by example? 2

Journal by Josh Lindenmuth
An old adage states that "the best way to lead is to lead by example". In technology related fields though, this is a tricky act ... as one could readily tell after reading comments in November 25's Can a Manager Be a Techie and Survive? story.

From my perspective, the reason it's so challenging to manage a technology team is that everyone on the team expects something different from a manager. This plethora of expectations seems far more diverse than for non-technical teams (or at least compared to Management Consulting, my prior career).

For example, I've found that:
  • 1/3 of tech employees want a manager who is an expert in their field so they can utilize them for assistance
  • 1/3 of tech employees want a manager who is completely non-technical so that they can focus on solving the problem however they choose
  • The other 1/3 of tech employees don't want a manager at all. To them, a manager is always part of the problem and thus should be marginalized if at all possible

Do you agree with this, and what tactics do you (or your manager(s)) utilize to effectively handle these expectations?

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Journal: Europe's slide toward fascism. 8

Journal by GigsVT

NPR is running a story about how many countries in Europe are "moving to the right".

Surely it is to the "right" but more specifically, it's moving toward fascism. NPR, with their neo-liberal leanings, wants to frame this stuff as "right wing" when it's clearly the beginnings of fascism.

The uniting force in this movement is a hate for Islam, a fear of Muslims that are immigrating to these countries.

What is interesting is that it is the most socialist countries that are moving this way. This reaffirms the theory that neo-liberalism inevitably leads to socialism, and socialism inevitably leads to fascism.

The logic of the voters confirms what many Libertarian (or classical liberals) have said all along. They interviewed one former socialist voter from France. She said (paraphrased) "The government needs to do something about these immigrants, I don't like this guy but I'm going to vote for him anyway because he'll clean up the country".

The slide of socialism to fascism is a logical one. If the government is providing lots of services to the residents of the country, then every immigrant becomes an issue of national concern. Every immigrant is a potential leech on the fruits of "my" labor. No one can be free because everyone has to be accountable to everyone else. When things go bad, this transfer of wealth breeds hate, hate against any identifiable group that has immigrated and can become the scape goat.

The only solution is to let people control the fruits of their own labor. Socialists want to make everyone interdependent, "as long as those dirty Muslims aren't getting any of my money". Freedom can never coexist with a system of coerced wealth transfer.

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Journal: The curse of negativity? 3

Journal by Josh Lindenmuth
Have you ever wondered why the impact of negative actions is so much greater than those of positive actions? For instance, I've seen seemingly loyal and happy employees quit in rage after a single negative comment by a briefly inconsiderate manager or coworker was directed towards them. On the other hand, it seems to take hundreds of compliments and positive statements to create a similar level of fanatacism towards an organization.

How does the saying go ... trust takes a lifetime to build and a moment to break? How different the world would be if we could instantly build trust that would take years to destroy ...
Hardware Hacking

Journal: What's the most interesting thing you've ever built?

Journal by Josh Lindenmuth
What is the most interesting gadget, product, or device that you've ever built on your own? Cool computers, cars, hovercraft, handheld devices ... I'd love to hear what /. readers have built!

My own:
In high school I was involved in an engineering competition where we needed to create a machine that could move 100 lbs of groceries from a disabled person's car up and down a set of stairs, and then into their kitchen. It was probably the coolest thing I ever built (there were only 3 of us on the team), even though the wooden treads started splintering halfway up the stairs (we didn't have a metal shop, so it was made entirely out of wood, spare boat parts, and conveyor belts) and then it completely destroyed the stairs on its way down (it weighed over 300 lbs).
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Journal: Foamy-esqe rant.

Journal by GigsVT

It's Linden Lab, not Linden Labs. For every person that uses the incorrect name, I will kill one (1) cuddly kitten. That is all.

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Journal: The End of Second Life? 1

Journal by GigsVT

Over the weekend, Linden Lab announced price increases effective Wednesday for simulators (1 CPU that runs one simulator). The old price was $1250 + $195/month, the new price is $1650 + $295 a month. This steep increase with little warning has shocked many residents that were planning on buying simulators.

On top of all this, Linden Lab announced 150 simulators available at the old price would be put up for sale on Wednesday at 1PM, PST. When 1PM rolled around, there was the expected huge rush of orders, then Linden Lab announced that there was an unlimited supply at this price, available until the 15th. Many who bought islands based on the information that the availability was limited are very upset. It was also announced that the islands would be charged the new price on transfer, after the rush was over. Previously, users were assured the monthly payment would be locked in at the old price.

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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