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Comment: Been at Both Extremes... (Score 1) 170

by W. Justice Black (#49755263) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

My take is that those that are truly successful in CompSci have both a love of the utility that computers have AND the escapism that they enable through games and play generally.

Back when I was 8 or so, I had my first exposure to video games at the hotel we happened to be staying at in Anaheim outside of Disneyland. Asteroids, mostly. I was hooked. Within the next 2 years, I'd found a way to buy my first computer (a used Tandy Model 1 with tape drive--yep, like I said, I'm old). I whiled away my afternoons loading games off of tape and editing their sources to figure out how to cheat at them.

Later I traded up to a Commodore 64, then a Mac SE, and HyperCard got me through high school (along with a very early Casio graphing calculator). I wrote little games, demos, and all kinds of other mostly-worthless junk in BASIC and HyperTalk. I wasn't a particularly great student (in particular, I was spectacularly lazy), but I got a fair start learning the first three of what I call the five basic CS topics:

By the end of HS:
1. Substitution - Using variables in place of concrete values
2. Iteration - things like for...next loops
3. Problem Decomposition - breaking things down into component parts like functions/subs/whatever

Not until later:
4. Object-Orientation - binding data with its associated configuration (aka code to everyone else)
5. Recursion - writing routines that call themselves and enable decent into hierarchies

(Feel free to argue whether things like algorithm analysis, data structures, state machines, and whatnot are separate or fall into these categories--the reader obviously knows how I feel about it)

So by the time I was done with high school, and almost entirely without any kind of formal training, I was decently grounded in 1-3 mostly on my love of video games as a motivator. Soon after, however, my ridiculous lazy streak kicked in, and you really can't get to advanced topics while being profoundly lazy. I got to university and had my proverbial ass handed to me--brick walled on differential equations, too lazy to write anything of any substance, and what killed me utterly was that it was clear I had no clue how to sell my ideas to others and make them a reality (thanks to the Intel internal bureaucracy for that). ...So I dropped out and sold computers for a year. I did pretty well at it, and figured out how to sell stuff (a skill which has since served me well in professional life). I fell out of love with computer games, however, as it made little sense to spend so much money buying hardware to pirate games and fight win95 when the PS1 made playing games SO EASY (and it made more money for the retailer anyway--margins on computers were razor-thin). But I loved this Linux thing I started messing around with back in 1993--you could examine the code if you want and run sessions for a dozen people off commodity PC hardware (which itself could just barely run Win95). It was awesome--efficient, productive, and open to all who had the skill. ...and I really didn't have the skill, but I again had the motivation to get it. I took networking classes, moved to Silicon Valley during the dot-com boom (you mean I can work with Linux FOR A LIVING? Sign me up!), and preached my gospel of computer gaming being a waste of time and resources for several years until one day a coworker said the following:

"I like computers, but if I don't play games, then computers become entirely work and then I won't like computers anymore."

It wasn't just about productivity and efficiency anymore, and it wasn't about being a timesuck and an escape, either; it was about maintaining moderate motivation--to love computers for both their own utility AND for the entertainment value of loving a good hack and getting sucked into a different world. Both, not either by themselves, and they're not mutually-exclusive.

I eventually restarted my college career and graduated with my CompSci bachelor's from San Jose State in 2008--16 years after starting at Arizona State in 1992. But I was motivated by BOTH a love of computers for their utility AND that escape into another world. At the end, I was named SJSU CompSci's 2008 Graduating Senior of the Year, was a Software Engineer for a while, and now run a team of incredible software engineers. And I still hack code almost daily (silly management responsibilities get in the way sometimes, though).

What's the story, then? Motivation in moderation. If you see computers too much as a tool, you can't maintain your motivation on will alone (though it will take you decently far). If you see computers entirely as entertainment, you can't maintain your motivation on that either. The trick is to balance the two and maintain your love of tech from both angles.

+ - UMG v Grooveshark settled, no money judgment against individuals

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: UMG's case against Grooveshark, which was scheduled to go to trial Monday, has been settled. Under the terms of the settlement (PDF), (a) a $50 million judgment is being entered against Grooveshark, (b) the company is shutting down operations, and (c) no money judgment at all is being entered against the individual defendants.

Comment: Re: Welcome to the 90's, USA (Score 1) 100

by W. Justice Black (#49045395) Attached to: Starting This Week, Wireless Carriers Must Unlock Your Phone

Seconded. For $180 unlocked no-contract, the 2nd gen moto g is the best there is (for now). And Motorola's service, support, and radio design are without peer. Google ownership was definitely a positive influence (we'll see about Lenovo).

Not affiliated with Motorola; just in love with my G...

Comment: Re:It would do them good. (Score 1) 223

by W. Justice Black (#48707819) Attached to: US Army Could Waive Combat Training For Hackers

This.

Basic training means different things to different branches--field-stripping a rifle is replaced with using Wireshark or disassembling some code or basic drone flight (even for pure (h|cr)ackers) in the theoretical ChairForce (LOVE that term).

Probably still a bit of a physical fitness/discipline requirement (arranging into squads, e.g.),but no need to be so intense. Or more accurately, time-consuming with all the march-20-miles stuff. Maybe 30 mins/day of calesthenics and certain minimum proficiency for simple "you're likely to get sick enough while on-duty to be a net liability"-type mitigation. Doubly so if there is the occasional expectation to use stimulants to maintain vigilance during long duty shifts (we never give our footsoldiers or pilots stims, right? :-p ).

Comment: As a Hiring Manager... (Score 2) 45

by W. Justice Black (#48656573) Attached to: Using Your Open-Source Contributions To Land a Full-Time Job

This. 1000% this.

Especially for new grads, folks entering a branch of coding they haven't done professionally before, or folks looking to change careers (or come back to tech after some time away).

I see resumes from students all the time with all the same projects (because they were assigned that in school) and two things make you stand out:

1. Doing stuff that clearly you have a passion for (or at least an interest in). That may mean running a soccer stats website that scrapes other sites and amalgamates it, or it may mean contributing something to an existing OSS project, or it may mean putting something up on github.

2. Being able to speak intelligiently about why what you did was any good (or that you at least recognize why it sucked). Many students in particular have trouble eludicating design details and/or the "why" of their choices--even a "we chose PHP because it's what the other team members knew" is OK, as long as there is a reason and a defense.

Contributing to OSS is terrific because:

1. I can look at your code to see if it's any good, and
2. The code is open so I don't have to worry about possible legal encumberances to talking about it, and
3. I can be reasonably confident you know how to use source code control and/or play nice with other developers.

If you're not VERY confident in the other stuff on your resume, OSS contribution is the best thing to put in a portfolio.

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48265833) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

You know that you don't have to just add useless and uninteresting words to something that already had substance, right? At least borrow some quotes from Socrates' Dialogues to spice things up: There is admirable truth in that. That is not to be denied. That appears to be true. All this seems to flow necessarily out of our previous admissions. I think that what you say is entirely true. That, replied Cebes, is quite my notion. To that we are quite agreed. By all means. I entirely agree and go along with you in that. I quite understand you. I shall still say that you are the Daedalus who sets arguments in motion; not I, certainly, but you make them move or go round, for they would never have stirred, as far as I am concerned. If you're going to say _nothing_, at least be interesting about it, post anonymously, or risk looking more clueless / foolish. This is why the moderation system is in place, and mods typically don't listen to inanities like "Well said" when deciding on what to spend their points.

1. I'm too busy to sit around thinking up additional words to throw in so I can score "mod" points

2. The people I like on Slashdot are too busy to read a bunch of additional words I only threw in so I can score "mod" points

3. It's not in my nature to waste words, or to waste time

Comment: Re:Great. (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48265487) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

If other posts here on Slashdot are any indication, "Mr. Councilman" is just as likely to lose political points by supporting the poor.

Actually this particular councilman represents an extremely high-rent district--Manhattan's upper east side. I doubt there are many wealthier neighborhoods in the world. He's not doing this to 'score points', he's doing it to do the right thing.

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 3, Insightful) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264991) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

It is my opinion that poverty is partially systemic. Our economic system depends on there being a pool of available workers (unemployed and underemployed). So as long as there is capitalism and a functioning free market, there will always be poor people. That being the case, we have a responsibility to make sure the basic needs of everyone are met. Increasingly in order to succeed in school and in life, Internet access isn't really a luxury.

Well said

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264925) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People

shutup. just shut the fuck up. you neither know you are talking about, nor have any valid point to make. its not about solving the digital divide any more than the housing thing is about solving poverty. its been widely and clearly shown that there is an increase in opportunity and outcomes between homes with and home without internet access. you're essentially complaining about improving someones potential opportunities to enrich themselves and make their life better and maybe even get out of that housing you mock. but again, you have no valid point, so therefore theres little sense in talking sense, like pointing out to you that without subsidized housing many of these people would be on street, homeless, increasing both crime rates and homeless and deaths among the impoverished. Theoretically we are a civilized nation. But a civilized nation doesnt advocate intentionally making it harder if not impossible for those most disadvantaged to improve themselves, nor advocate for them to die quickly and get out of the way.

Well spoken, bro

Comment: Re:Just like "free" housing solved poverty! (Score 1) 262

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#48264907) Attached to: Power and Free Broadband To the People
The "digital divide" is a real thing. It's the difference between spoiled people like yourself growing up with a computer in your home, and inner city kids who have no computer access at home and have to wait on line at the public library to get a 15 minute time slot.

If you don't recognize that in this society those without computer access are at a disadvantage, you are as stupid as you are uncaring.

+ - Power -- And by that I mean Free Broadband -- To the People

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: Slashdot member and open source developer Ben Kallos @KallosEsq — who is now a NYC Councilman — is pushing to make it a precondition to Comcast's merging with Time Warner that it agree to provide free broadband to all public housing residents in the City (and by free I mean free as in beer). Kallos, along with NY's Public Advocate, Letitia James, are leading a group of state and local politicians calling on Comcast to help bridge the digital divide in NY.

Comment: Two-Stage Checkout (Score 1) 342

by W. Justice Black (#48191053) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

Have a token- or ticket-based approach:

1. If you don't have a token/ticket (or need to buy more), there's one line for that.
2. Folks with tokens hand 'em over in exchange for bags, preferably right at the truck so no fetching (you effectively crowdsource that bit).

Money is separate from the actual moving of product then (have to do the whole "no refunds/no cash value" thing on the tokens). For people that pre-buy tokens, the line will be lightning fast. For everyone else, it'll still be faster than before and you can flow people to the registers or to pickup as needed to deal with demand.

Comment: Re:Key Point Missing (Score 2) 34

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47234405) Attached to: Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

The summary misses a key point. Yes they scan and store the entire book, but they are _NOT_ making the entire book available to everyone. For the most part they are just making it searchable.

Agreed that it's not in the summary, but as you correctly note, it's just a "summary". Anyone who reads the underlying blog post will read this among the facts on which the court based its opinion: "The public was allowed to search by keyword. The search results showed only the page numbers for the search term and the number of times it appeared; none of the text was visible."

So those readers who RTFA will be in the know.

We have a equal opportunity Calculus class -- it's fully integrated.

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