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Comment: Re: This Product Makes Sense (Score 1) 78

by asliarun (#48484675) Attached to: Intel Core M Notebooks Arrive, Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Tested

Perhaps what is "sensible" or not depends on usage patterns. It could very well be that Asians want a bigger phone because they use their device more and hence want something closer to a tablet. During train and public transit. As opposed to Americans who are mostly driving to work and are thus not using their phone as much every day.

Comment: Re: Rather late (Score 2) 313

by asliarun (#48474345) Attached to: Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC


*That* is the real reason to have music in Flac. Please put aside the endless music format and abx testing debate where no one is going anywhere anytime soon (and throw Hi Res into the picture).

Buy if you want to buy a song or store it, you would obviously want a lossless format, and flac would be the obvious choice. You can always covert flac into a lossy compressed format and based on your storage constraint (in say your portable media device or phone), figure out how much audio quality you want to lose. But you cannot do it the other way around.

Comment: Re:More power to you (Score 3, Informative) 100

by asliarun (#48412409) Attached to: Group Tries To Open Source Seeds

Is it really an optimal choice to grow a plant from scratch every year? Could a tree or a perennial shrub provide better long term nutritional returns? Isn't a mature tree far hardier and less susceptible to crop loss?

Fruit/nut trees also take a long time to come to maturity, like 5-10 years per tree. All that time, they're not producing a sellable product.

Mature tree crops fall hard to disease all the time. Oranges, for one, spring to mind.

Better to grow a variety of things.

FYI, there is a lot of research being done in trying to make perennial versions of many of the grains and vegetables we currently eat.

Comment: Re:More power to you (Score 4, Interesting) 100

by asliarun (#48404461) Attached to: Group Tries To Open Source Seeds

Where your link to moringa is interesting - Looking at the production of it, it sure doesn't seem like you get a lot of density in a given acre of production. For example, lets compare the nutrients produced from one acre of muringa vs. one acre of spinach (rice/wheat/corn). How many pounds of leaves can you get out of an acre of moringa, and how intense is the labor to get that acre harvested vs. one acre of spinach?

There is a reason that we grow the crops that we do - they can be grown very densely, with the least amount of fertilizer, insecticide, water as possible as those things all take money to provide. There is also a need for the minimum amount of labor to plant, maintain and harvest the crops.

You make a good point. But I wonder if the food we grow are always based on scientifically optimal choices or often based on other factors. Like one crop being grown more widely because it commands a higher price. Or changing food habits and inordinate preference to certain grains and veggies.

The other thing to consider is access to information and access to grains. Are we growing or not growing (a crop like muringa) because of an informed decision, or because most of the world is not even aware of these options?

Other things to consider are that plants like muringa will grow in most places where you wouldn't dream of growing spinach. This is not just a third world problem. Even in most developed countries, good access to irrigation and "the right climate" are often deal breakers.

Finally, I find the tree (perennials that live for many years) vs plant (that typically die on every harvest) debate - an interesting one. It is something I feel that we need to focus on more deeply. Is it really an optimal choice to grow a plant from scratch every year? Could a tree or a perennial shrub provide better long term nutritional returns? Isn't a mature tree far hardier and less susceptible to crop loss?

Mind you, I am not saying you are wrong. All I am saying is that we definitely need more awareness about more such options, better access to seeds and how to grow them in different climatic and soil conditions. And more informed debates. And we really need to discuss this far more than Kim Kardashian's buttocks.

Comment: More power to you (Score 4, Interesting) 100

by asliarun (#48404051) Attached to: Group Tries To Open Source Seeds

As an interested lay person, I'm thrilled to hear about this initiative. Not to sound ungrateful, but I would really really wish and hope that
- This initiative will always retain the bazaar mindset, and not get bogged down by bureaucracy
- This initiative will spread into the continents where this is needed the most - Asia and Africa.
- The options for seeds grows beyond vegetables and into grains and other basic nutrition foods. Ref: http://www.opensourceseediniti...
- They use this platform to spread awareness and accessibility to some of the really hardy native crops in various parts of the world that are dying out. Many of these are naturally drought and pest resistant, grow very easily, and in some cases, have much better nutritional value than many of the foods that are today more fashionable.

The moringa plant, for example.

To compare (an example):
100 grams of moringa leaves has 9.3 g protein, 434 mg calcium, 738 g vitamin A, and 164 mg vitamin C
100 grams of spinach leaves has 2.9 g protein, 99 mg calcium, 469 g vitamin A, and 28 mg vitamin C

And this tree grows even in a desert. But I don't want to goo offtopic. This was just an example.

My only hope is that a platform like this - can and should - make knowledge and seeds accessible to all. We can literally solve world hunger and world health by doing this.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 1) 198

by asliarun (#48187959) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

I was more interested in the wide and volatile range chosen. $100k is considered a big line to cross; to cross it twice is an immense step. It is as if we compared people making $20,000-$60,000 and found that more McDonalds workers are in that range than small business accountants--with McDonalds workers making $22k on average, and accountants making $58k.

Got it. Sorry, I misunderstood the point you were trying to make. And you are correct, of course.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 3, Insightful) 198

by asliarun (#48187261) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

I find more amusing that some software developers are making $104,000, and there are more of them than managers making $200,000, therefor there are more software developers in the $103,000-$203,000 range than there are managers in said range.

Software development, like (i guess) medicine, law, finance, etc., values expertise, skills, experience, and deep analytical ability. More so than many others where analytical ability is less valued. Besides, this leadership skills, client management skills, and project management skills are also valued, but they are equally valued in other industries as well.

That is, IMHO, we see the pattern we see. Highly skilled software developers, like highly skilled financial analysts/traders - transcend traditional salary and "perceived value" bands, and can often make far more money than even very senior counterparts in their company. However, conversely, other counterparts - i.e. software development managers with well rounded analytical and managerial skills are also very well regarded and paid accordingly.

There really is no reason why one has to feel snarky about either of these options. One can feel snobbish about individual skills (and being a non-manager), just as one can feel snooty about being high up in the corporate chain. And both positions are boorish, IMHO. Pride about individual skills is fine, and good, but do remember, there are very highly skilled craftsmen and blue collared workers and armed forces personnel by the thousands who get paid diddly squat compared to what software and financial guys get paid. We just got lucky and are enjoying the ride in the gravy train - and all because of the completely messed up way in which the market works (and assigns relative value to skills).

Comment: Re:Someone will complain about the political ones (Score 4, Insightful) 144

I get Yousafzai.
What's the deal with the Indian guy Kailash? (as compared with the thousands of other charitable workers the world over?)
As an illustration, the reaction on this thread alone is 90%+ Yousafzai so far. Seems nobody gives a shit about Kailash...except the august Nobel committee.

Also Yousafzai should have won it LAST YEAR! When the said august Nobel committee passed her over for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Seems like the said august Nobel committee belatedly tried to redress the howls of political bullshitness in its selection process from last year.

The reason why this thread (along with all other threads) will be 90% focused on Malala is because - bluntly put - Malala is a lot more news-worthy than Kailash Satyarthi. On one hand, you have a young fragile good looking girl who is standing up against evil tyranny. On the other hand, you have a decidedly unsexy oldish guy who has been chugging along on his fight against child labor (which really is a fight against bonded or slave labor) for the past 3 decades.

It is a different matter that Kailash has been able to create an organization with over 80000 members and his efforts over the last couple of decades have directly resulted in hundreds of thousands of children from getting freed from the cycle of bonded labor. It is also a different matter that he was being considered for the Nobel peace prize for a decade now. But of course, there are many many people who are just putting their head down and doing their bit to improve the world. So why him, right? He didn't even have a meaningful twitter following until this news just broke. Heck, even people in his country hardly knew about him, except in the NGO (India's term for not-for-profit organizations) circles. But that is modern media for you. And by extension, our modern attention spans.

Just to be perfectly clear, I am not begrudging Malala anything. Her courage and ambition and ability to leverage the publicity she has been getting - has been extraordinary. But to both Malala and Kailash - this award is a game changer for them - in terms of publicity and monetary support. In a very real way, the Nobel Peace prize has not just become an acknowledgment of effort but a very powerful tool to further boost their efforts.

I, for one, am really happy that the award went to these two, instead of presidents and famous politicians who really didn't need the award, except as a pat in the back.

Comment: Re:Wow. (Score 1) 99

by asliarun (#48055543) Attached to: Facebook Ready To Get Into Healthcare

Second, they noticed users with chronic conditions had a tendency to search Facebook for advice.

Because when you're looking for highly accurate, trustworthy information, you think of Facebook!

And exactly how is that any different from getting help or advice from friends, support groups, or discussion forums? I know a couple of people who are already doing this. One crucial point the article summary does not mention - people are searching for advice from facebook discussion forums focused on their medical ailment.

As such, facebook is trying to encourage discussion forums - especially since they are realizing that many people are already using their site as a discussion forum.

Comment: Re:Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Score 1) 173

by asliarun (#47982711) Attached to: Mangalyaan Successfully Put Into Mars Orbit

Why begrudge ISRO their moment in the spotlight?

Nobody is begrudging them their moment in the spotlight - only attempting to counterbalance and correct the hype and hyperbole that so many people (like you) are spinning.

For what it is worth, I do agree with you. I think most hype surrounding these kind of accomplishments are over the top. My only point was - SpaceX etc got far more hype for doing far less. And that is what I meant - let us not begrudge ISRO.

If you are going to say that SpaceX redefined the commercial aspect of rocketry, then ISRO too has set some new benchmarks. If you are going to argue that cost of manpower is cheap in India (hence launch costs are low) - that also ignores some crucial facts.

Cheap wages in India ensures that most of the bright talent in India routinely migrates to US universities and US organizations like NASA. It is ridiculously hard to keep good talent in the current day and age... especially if you can only pay them a fifth of what they can easily get elsewhere.

Secondly, cheap wages are only a small part of lauch costs. This is not some software they are building. I am not an expert, but I would imagine that most of the cost (most of the 75 million dollars) went into engineering, materials, and high tech parts. And material cost, especially for high end exotic stuff that goes into rockets - costs the same worldwide, including India.

At best, you can say launch cost by virtue of being in India could be, say, 50%-75% of what it would cost in US. But $75 million is a tenth of what it costs NASA. So something else was also a factor. Probably frugality in all design choices, probably even cutting corners. Mind you though, an inter-planetary launch is not a joke, and doing it successfully in the first try, despite cutting corners, is quite a feat.

It is worth understanding what ISRO did differently - what corners they cut without compromising reliability, what design philosophy they adopted - that enabled them to pull this off at this budget. I honestly think that attributing all of this to cheap labor wage is to simplistic an argument.

Comment: Re:Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Score 5, Insightful) 173

by asliarun (#47981015) Attached to: Mangalyaan Successfully Put Into Mars Orbit

Not to be rude (kudos ISRO regardless of all this nitpicking!), but even without hardcore information dumps from NASA, the fact remains that ISRO's attempt, coming so much later than the other three nations' first attempts, invariably benefits from the enormous pace of global scientific and technological advancement in the interim.

The first successes (after initial failures) of the US and Russian Mars programs came back in 1964 and 1971, respectively. I mean, forget the modern Internet and iPhones and all that for a moment.... personal computers as awesome as the Altair 8800 ( ) were still years away from being available. Can you imagine living in a world where that Altair 8800 was too badass to even exist yet, and launching a successful Mars mission? The NASA engineers in the 50's and 60's were working with caveman technology compared to what *anyone*, even ISRO, has access to today.

So I still contend: it's not very fair to gloat about ISRO making it on the first try *now* vs other first-failures, when the other first-failures were so long ago.

For sure. NASA and the Russian equivalent have been the pioneers in space exploration. No questions about that.

Nonetheless, after the Cold War fueled space race fizzled out.. and it has been a couple of decades now, hardly anyone is doing anything worthwhile as far as space exploration is concerned. You will probably admit that we have regressed more than we have made progress. With this in light, it is creditable that an underfunded organization like ISRO got this funded and successfully executed.

And let's also face the face that India is still a terribly poor country. The pursuit of science is indeed part of its value system that probably that fact alone caused ISRO to survive all these years. And ISRO has also been releasing satellites since 1975 (Aryabhata), although they only got launch capability fairly recently (1993). And admittedly, the state of the art wasn't that evolved in 1975 either.

For sure, this is only a "proof of concept" kind of a launch, but the thing is - it now sets some new benchmarks in terms of cost, capability, scale of ambition, and execution. You can push something to Mars in 75 mil. That is pretty frickin sweet. And if you are going to talk about hype and hyperbole, look at the media coverage and hype that SpaceX and Virgin Galactic has been getting. Why begrudge ISRO their moment in the spotlight?

Comment: Re:Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Score 5, Insightful) 173

by asliarun (#47980879) Attached to: Mangalyaan Successfully Put Into Mars Orbit

Could it be they succeeded in part because much of the previous experience?

Either way, great job doing it on their first attempt and cheapest.

Yes, but mostly no. What you say would be valid if firstly, research details (and the real nitty gritty details) would be shared freely - like open source. And to my (admittedly limited) knowledge, it is not. Yes, scientific papers and research is shared, but this is largely an engineering problem, not a scientific problem. And everyone pretty much needs to figure out the engineering challenges by themselves.

What you say would also be true (as is true in the high tech industry, for example) if sufficient people changed jobs back and forth between organizations like NASA and ISRO. To my knowledge, ISRO works on a shoestring budget and is a fairly insular work environment. Hardly any scientists or engineers quit a NASA job to join ISRO. I could be wrong though, but I would be very very surprised if there was indeed a reverse brain drain.

If anything, the brain drain consists of India's best and brightest relocating to the US after having studied in the near-free subsidized taxpayer funded colleges and universities in India. They typically go to the US to do their masters and PhD and then some of them join NASA.

ISRO is actually a fairly old and mature organization. India's scientific programs, especially in the high-tech space (and especially rocketry) suffered enormously because of high-tech blockade enforced by the US. The blockade was to the extent that even simple multi-core computers were banned from being exported to India. (That's why India tried to design its own supercomputer back in the day - the Param).

I know it may sound like I am being hyperbolic about ISRO but they actually deserve double credit for all the sh*t they had to put up with, and still managed to set ridiculous goals like this, and then achieving it, and that too on a shoestring budget and being able to retain their talent that gets paid Indian govt salaries. Trust me, that is not much. Forget about Indian pride etc. What is worth understanding is how organizations like this continue to succeed in the face of such big challenges.

Comment: Re: Read Slashdot (Score 4, Insightful) 479

by asliarun (#47977323) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

This is coming from someone who has been in IT for 20 years, very successfully, and has never taken any computer courses...

Get a freaking skill!!! The OP admits that the subject of the PhD is not applicable to really anything in the world. You might as well have spent 6 years of your life under a rock, because you are now the utmost expert at that tiny, inapplicable area.

Want cash and job security up the wahoo? Go pick up a CCNA book, and $500 of used Cisco gear on eBay. Get CCNA and a network admin job at a small, growing company who can't afford to pay you more than $50,000. Proceed to get your CCNP. Invest another $10,000 and two years and get CCIE. Go to "whatever the hell company you want" and make $120k+ and never worry about unemployment again.

+1. The key to long term success is being hardnosed about failures/setbacks/sub-optimal jobs, having long term focus, and putting yourself in a position where you can demonstrate your value and skills. But most of all, it is being pragmatic in the short term while being optimistic in the long term.

Having long term focus means picturing yourself on what you would consider a fulfilling job, and how exactly you see yourself and your job. Say, in 10 years. By focus, I mean take up a low paying job if necessary, as long as it is aligned to your long term goals. Good Example: Joining a company with a core focus on quality programming, but as a junior developer instead of a senior developer or lead or whatever else you might be expecting.
Bad Example: Joining the IT department (cost center) of say, a big manufacturing company. Might pay well in the short term, but will eventually be a dead-end for you.

Being hard-nosed means continue trying. Obviously, fine tuning or tweaking your strategy and where/how you are applying. By far, the easiest way to get into a company is through referrals. So can any of your buddies help you out? They get to make decent money through referral bonuses too. Also, is your location preference dragging you down? Again, in a long enough time-frame, say, 15 years from now, you will barely remember the extra 3 months (or 6 months or whatever) you put in during your initial struggling phase. So why bother getting demoralized by it now?

Lastly, don't get desperate to find a job. Your job and your company is as good as your boss. Use the interview process to figure out how much you like your future boss. If you boss isn't even interviewing you (rare, but happens), you probably don't want to work in that company to begin with.

And please remember - an extra 3-6 months of job hunting is way way better than making a mistake. Typically, from my experience, people take 2-3 years on average to fix a mistake (bad job, bad boss, bad company, bad growth opportunities).

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.