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Comment: Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (Score 1) 759

by bmajik (#48205419) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Actually, what I want people to come away with is that they should stop assuming equality of outcomes.

When there is evidence of negative behaviors causing undesirable outcomes in specific instances, acting to rememdy that is of course a reasonable thing to do.

My point is just that we should be specific and honest about the goal posts. If your goal post is "women should be represented at 50% within profession blah", that is a claim that requires a lot of unpacking and justification. We should automatically reject claims like this until sufficient argument and evidence is presented.

We shouldn't automatically expect a 50/50 split -- if for no other reason than because men and women are biologically different.

So if the claim is that some women who wish to be programmers aren't doing so because of undesirable social factor X, how do you know when you've "succeeded" ?

Is it when no more women complain? Is it when the gender ratio in the industry is 50/50? 55/45? 45/55?

And, to open an entirely different can of worms -- why is helping women get the job they want supposed to be anyone else's problem?

Or, suppose that there was a _social cost_ or an economic cost to achieving an (X/100-X) gender ratio in a specific industry? How would you decide if that cost was worth paying? Why is it your decision?

Comment: Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (Score 4, Insightful) 759

by bmajik (#48199245) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Well, I'd say "fewer men should die" if I were going to make that statement.

It turns out, actually, that certain jobs are dangerous and unpleasant, and men seem to self-select for these jobs more often than do females.

There are a number of interesting possible explanations for this, but none of them are terribly surprising unless you've thought for most of your conscious life that the two genders are truly and completely identical, and any differences are only the result of social conditioning.

Of course, this is absurd.

Biologically, men are expendable and women are not. Biologically, the humans of today come from a narrower range of paternal ancestors, because human breeding was selective. Men who had power, prowess, ambition, and ruthlessness passed on their genes AND shaped the socities that men and women lived in.

In considering distributions of male size, strength, intelligence, and so on, the distributions are wider than when considering females. The smartest men appear to be much smarter than the smartest women; the dumbest men appear to be much dumber than the dumbest women.

Males simply have higher expressed variability.

Men need less sleep than women; men are not as attuned to empathy as are women; men engage in much riskier behavior than do women, and their neural reward and risk center works differently than it does in women.

You can continue to pretend that gender is a social construct, or that male and female distributions and outcomes should be identical, but here on the real world, they aren't and they won't be.

In the event that any public entity (e.g. a government) has a policy that would prevent an individual woman from doing some job merely on account of her being a woman, we should repeal that policy.

In the event that any private entity (e.g. a business) has a policy that would prevent an individual woman from doing some job merely on account of her being a woman, we should think that business owner is a jerk.

Individuals in a free society should be free to do as they like.

But what we should stop assuming is that men and women are interchangeable and will have broadly identical social preferences and outcomes.

They won't, and that's not because anything is standing in their way. They're just different.

By Nature.

Comment: Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (Score 4, Insightful) 759

by bmajik (#48198409) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

In your view, is it a problem that men are nearly 10x as likely as women to die on the job?

What systemic factors should we address so that the number of women dying in mine cave-ins rises to equal the number of men?

Oh, this isn't a priority for you? Why not?

Comment: Re:Don't (Score 1) 105

by bmajik (#48189341) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: LTE Hotspot As Sole Cellular Connection?

Dial-up is functionally unusable in 2014. Hitting facebook.com pulls down several MB of data just to draw the page, load the JS, etc.

That said, my home phone line is so noisy even the phone company asks me if it always sounds so bad. They're not sure why the line is noisy. It just is. I don't think I'd be able to sustain a 56k connection.

Satellite also has monthly xfer limits -- that are much lower than Verizon. Most people that have had Satellite switch to LTE and don't switch back.

There is a WISP in the area but he is very busy, isn't very reliable, (e.g. blows off appointments, doesn't answer emails) and his tower is pretty far away and several forests block LOS between my place and his tower. To have any chance of using his tower I'd need to do some significant work -- more than I am doing to actually do my own custom backhaul.

Customers of his have told me that they have a few days of downtime a year while he has to go climb a tower and re-aim something. It sounds very shoe-stringy to me.

Comment: Re:Don't (Score 1) 105

by bmajik (#48186627) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: LTE Hotspot As Sole Cellular Connection?

Thanks. I've looked into the cradlepoint stuff a bit and if I thought I was permanently stuck with VZN, I would make additional hardware investments along those lines.

That said, even if it was perfectly reliable, my "plan" gives me 20GB of data a month for a family of 5, and I blow through that limit many months, and that involves no online gaming and no video streaming -- both things I used to enjoy doing.

So, I need to get an unmetered connection again, even if I could make the LTE connection perfectly reliable.

Comment: Don't (Score 5, Informative) 105

by bmajik (#48185235) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: LTE Hotspot As Sole Cellular Connection?

I've had a Verizon 4G LTE hotspot as my sole home internet for the last year. It is the only type of service available where I currently live.

It is expensive and unreliable.

I live in a rural area. I am using an external LTE antenna on the device. I can see that the LTE signal is moderate to good where I am; the problems I am having do not seem to be LTE signal related.

The device itself is about as reliable as other consumer level networking gear -- meaning you need to power cycle it now and then to make it start working again. It has a remote web admin interface, with no way to remotely reboot it. You have to physically touch the thing to power cycle it.

I don't know what's available where you are, but here, Verizon charges me for every byte that goes through that LTE connection, in both directions. I think they're overcharging me, but I have no realistic power to do anything about that, because they are Verizon and I am not. Overages are excessively expensive. My bill for last month was $250. We watch no streaming videos at my house -- not even youtube.

The device stops responding to pings from certain nodes on my internal network, causing all kinds of networking fun. DNS queries randomly fail during logical browsing sessions. I've investigated all of this thoroughly with tcpdump and other tools. This happens on clients of multiple types - OSX, WinRT, Windows, OpenBSD.

So near as I can tell, the box itself is just shit. There have been 2 or 3 firmware updates for it in the year that I've depended on it for my internet. None of them have improved the symptoms I describe.

It's a Pantech MHS291LVW

The entire time I've had it, I've been researching how to replace it with something that isn't Verizon. I'm nearly done with that plan; I'll be backhauling a nearby DSL service back to my site using a 3.5 mile p2p wireless link. I'm paying to upgrade the site infrastructure and wiring at both ends of the link. I am spending thousands of dollars to do this.

My neighbors also have Verizon LTE service. They have the VZN Home Broadband service, where Verizon will mount an antenna at your site and do the install themselves, and the CPE has 4 switched Ethernet ports in addition to WiFi. They haven't complained about the reliability as much, but the price is still too high.

You can only get that hardware from Verizon in my area if you agree to a 3 year contract. I didn't and won't ever agree to any contract with any US mobile operator, so, I couldn't get the VZN home broadband hardware, which may be more reliable than the Hotspot hardware.

They are not power users; they are a young family with ipads for their kids. They recently shared with me that they just had an $800 monthly bill.

If you have any wired broadband choice available to you, take it.

Comment: Re:Trolls are the lowest form of life. . . (Score 1) 485

by bmajik (#48183845) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

I figure that trolling is one of the reasons for the US's 1st amendment.

Speech that upsets somebody for some reason is the only kind that somebody is going to try and restrict.

If you're not upsetting somebody, you're doing life wrong.

The UK is a lost country. It's a shame.

Comment: Re:May I suggest RTFA? (Score 1) 326

by bmajik (#48183427) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

Disclaimer: I have no Enfield experience.

It turns out that patent encumberance isn't the only thing that makes something difficult to make.

Many older weapon designs were optimized for low volume manufacturing by skilled machinists, and required hand fitting by gunsmiths and armorers. That made sense when human labor was cheap and skilled.

The Garand and M14 receivers, for instance, are very complicated to build. The 1911 is also a much loved design, but most 1911s are either built to loose tolerances or require custom, per-example fitting.

Comparatively, the AKM receiver is bent sheet metal. Any workshop that can do basic metal work can build an AKM; the barrel is the only specialized part.

The M4/AR15/M16/AR10 family of receivers were designed post-aerospace industry, and are made to be mass produced by machining down aluminum forgings. I know multiple people who have completed their own AR15 receivers on CNC equipment.

The SIG handguns manufactured in the USA are taken from billet to serial number in a single machining center; no operator intervention required.

It turns out that it can be very difficult to re-create old things. Often, the original tooling is missing. The techniques used may no longer be taught nor widely practiced.

Comparatively, building a modern mass produced firearm is a matter of having the right CAD files.

Comment: Re: It's the OS, Stupid (Score 1) 250

by bmajik (#48178627) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

The NeXT heritage is still very strong in OSX

Calling it "Mach" is correct in the sense that the kernel is still the Mach microkernel, which came from NeXTSTEP. It does not have a BSD kernel.

It's BSD in the sense that _much_ of its userland is BSD, but certainly not all.

It also has many things that BSD does not have, which were proprietary from {NeXT/Open}STEP. For instance, the "netinfo" subsystem, the "defaults" subsystem, the plist architecture, Objective-C, XCode (which, afaik, is a modernization of NeXTs InterfaceBuilder).

OSX is much more like NeXTSTEP than it is *BSD.

Apple has of course added some more of its own stuff that isn't BSDish at all. Look at how the system startup stuff works, for instance.

If you tolerate people that want Linux called "GNU/Linux", because they are separating the userland and the kernel, the right thing to call OSX might be "BSD/Mach", but that nomenclature really ignores all of the things that NeXT did and that Apple has done since..

I spent lots of time on NS 3.3, OS 4.2, Rhapsody DRx, and every released version of OSX.

(in my view, OSX is a regression in usability from NeXTSTEP . Get off my lawn!)

Comment: Re:For those who said "No need to panic" (Score 3, Interesting) 421

by bmajik (#48127433) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

The CDC is now saying that the transmission in TX was caused by a "breach of protocol", which is not surprising given that the barrior protocols are exacting and onerous.

I don't want to misattribute something to the CDC, but what I read was glaringly clear on this point.

What the unnamed party said, was, "there HAD to be a breach of protocol, because this person is infected. However, we haven't identified what the breach was yet"

Circular reference?

Comment: Re:Robots? (Score 1) 421

by bmajik (#48127413) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

Any protocol that results in you dying if you make a single mistake in a very long list of mundane tasks is a poor protocol.

Organizations with operational excellence have basic things like written checklists and safety tags and other stuff. The USAF for instance has methods of managing risk and mitigating risk that can be carried out by people who aren't anywhere near as well educated as most American medical professionals.

Comment: Re:Sergey Brin needs a reminder (Score 2) 344

by bmajik (#48127255) Attached to: ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

I have no idea what tree you are barking up, but I'm not in it.

Your mechanic doesn't advertise that he is providing a free service. It is entirely clear to both parties what is changing hands.

In the case of FB, google, and most other online services that are free-to-use, you are absolutely the product, because the revenue model depends on selling data about you to 3rd parties. These services also don't make it abundantly clear that this is their business model. In fact, facebook in 2011 advertised that it would "always be free"

I actually raise bees, chickens, and sheep. I'm quite familiar with the sacrifices involved in keeping livestock. I also know why I'm putting my money and effort into keeping them alive.

They don't.

Comment: Re:Sergey Brin needs a reminder (Score 4, Interesting) 344

by bmajik (#48123587) Attached to: ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

Yes.

Another adage seems appropriate.

If a for profit company is taking care of you for free, you aren't the customer.. you're the product.

You should feel like a pig on a farm....well fed and happy right until the end.

Google's business model has always been about analyzing your data and selling "you" to others.
They need your data.

Each person needs to decide for themselves if what they're getting (free web email?) is worth what they're "selling" to google and others..

btw, I started using facebook's ads manager earlier this week for a project. If you haven't looked at it before, you should. The amount of data facebook thinks it knows about people and that it is willing to let advertisers target is pretty interesting.

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

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