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Comment: If the entire student body... (Score 2) 74

If the entire student body doesn't shut down the school, or at least picket the office and generate some arrests, they should be horribly ashamed.

At the University of Virginia, the Board of Visitors fired the president in an unwarranted way. Student protest helped get her reinstated. If student action can do that, I'm pretty sure it can get such an absurd policy overturned. You just have to have the brains to recognize it, and the balls to pursue it.

Anyway, shame on the students if this is allowed to stand.

Comment: Re:I prefer eBay myself. They have the most select (Score 1) 93

by caseih (#47734725) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

Interesting. Usually when I buy from Ebay the results are mediocre at best and the seller demands that I give him a full star review. I don't have the ebay foo or the patience that you have. I've bought cell batteries from a ebay seller that looked very much like what you recommend, and they were junk. I also bought from a random, supposedly reputable dealer on Amazon, and they were junk (brand name, two year old batteries). Went to a local store specializing in batteries and they were junk too (also two year old, brand name, batteries). The problem with a lot of vendors is that batteries have a shelf life. If the new batter is more than a year old, it's not going to perform.

I'm trying Anker now and will see what happens.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 393

by bmajik (#47734635) Attached to: Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

*raises hand*

I've posted about this before many times.

I have a pulse
I am not sure about having a conscience -- that may disqualify me.
I have an IQ over 30
I am a citizen
I am not a politician
I am not a CEO.

I've been an engineer at Microsoft since 2000. I've worked on developer tools and ERP products. I've worked in Redmond; I currently work in Fargo.

I have interviewed hundreds of people for Microsoft positions. I am not a manager, but I've played manager at times. I understand the compensation system quite well, and how it has evolved over my 15 years at the company.

I have also worked with non-citizens and non-native born my entire career, including many who are on H1-Bs currently.

You could go and dig through my old posts if you wanted to. I'll try and give the short version

1) In my opinion, Microsoft pays very well. If i lost my job in North Dakota, I think i'd be taking a huge pay cut to work anywhere else. I base this on the numbers people throw out when I've interviewed with other companies. (You get frustrated from time to time in 15 years with the same company. I've shopped around. I've stayed put)

2) There are a lot of "paper qualified" people out there. I can't hire even half of the ones I talk to.

I see both ends of the "funnel" of candidates. For university recruiting trips, there is essentially no filtering done before I get to talk to them. For industry hires, they had to get through a few people before they talk to me.

We're already paying a competitive wage and we cannot hire many of the people we talk to. The obvious move is to try and expand the # of people we're able to talk to.

3) For a variety of reasons, it is MORE expensive for Microsoft to deal with H1-B candidates. There are all kinds of legal costs and challenges, as well as employee time wasted dealing with immigration bullshit -- that normal domestic employees do not incur.

For each domestic job type at Microsoft, there is a flyer posted in the breakroom that says what the title is, what the qualifications are, and what the salary range is. The salary ranges are the ones I am familiar with. Any H1-B could simply look at the flyer, and if they were getting paid less than that, they could lawyer up and retire. Every state's attorney in the US would want in on that lawsuit. Saving a few thousand dollars a year on salary costs couldn't possibly be worth it to us.

4) I feel no particular allegience to "the american worker". So you were good at choosing where your parents were when you were born? And the benefits of this should accrue to you WHY?

I am interested in people who will improve the caliber of my company and the caliber of my society. Hard working, intelligent people often have that potential. I don't care about where they were born. i care about what they will do.

I want the US to suck every brilliant engineer out of India and China. I don't want China getting any better at matching the US military industrial complex, and I want India to change its society so that innovators can effect meaningful change there, instead of being trapped in a hopeless system of patronage and bribery.

(have you talked to Indians who are in the US? There's a reason they are here...)

I would love to have the problem of drowning in qualified American talent. But that isn't a problem I've ever had in my entire career.

Finally, before you run your mouth about Microsoft not doing anything about to help with the domestic labor supply, Microsoft pays for me to volunteer 1 hour a day teaching Computer Science at a local high school. I start my 2nd year this Monday. I'll be helping teach a section of AP Computer Science -- in JAVA. Do you think this is some kind of sweetheart deal for MS? They are losing my work time, they are giving money to the school, and I am teaching the kids using Eclipse and the Java stack -- the direct competitors to the product and ecosystem that I work on (i work on Visual Studio).

What we're doing, is widening the pipeline of people who get exposed to CS, so that hopefully, more of them do CS in college, and more of them are GOOD at it. That is going to help the entire industry.

I don't know what experiences you've had, but I feel confident in saying that they haven't been at Microsoft.

Comment: Ooops! (Score 3, Funny) 131

by jd (#47734597) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Found a bug in physics.c, those cars we mass produced last year will spontaneously explode after 367 days of exposure to an atmosphere containing oxygen, or when white lines are painted rather than vinyl, or when attempting a corner of a prime number of degrees when speeding on a cambered road.

Why wasn't this spotted sooner?

Because we hadn't expected to need chemistry or non-Euclidian geometry in a physics engine.

Comment: Replacement batteries. (Score 1) 93

by JWSmythe (#47734553) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

Here's my experience. Buy something from eBay or Amazon.

Well, we've bought a lot of batteries from various people I've been harvesting laptop batteries for the 18650 cells to put into phone recharging backs so we can play Ingress for effectively limitless hours, and for eCigarettes. That's given me a look inside them, and what condition the actual cells are. Leftovers, I sell to friends and friends-of-friends at cost.

The recharge packs I have take 4 18650's, so if I get 2500mAhcells, I have a 10000mAh pack. I went with carriers that have a physical on/off switch, rather than the soft switch like the Anker has, so they can sit a long time without discharging. I haven't needed to change batteries on them yet.

Generally, I buy from eBay. I'm looking for the higher cell counts, and aiming for about $1 to $1.50 per cell. So a 8 cell pack I want to spend $8 to $12 on.

When I crack them open (always more work than it sounds) they all have the standard overheat sensors, which was the concern before about exploding batteries. They have all been wired well. Out of say a couple dozen packs, I received one that had a dented cell in it. It didn't hurt the performance of the cell, but since it was dented, I refused to use it or give it to anyone. Some of them, I've damaged the wrapper, so I re-shrink wrap if I'm in urgent need of them, or I dispose of them.

Regardless if it says on the listing that it's an OEM or 3rd party pack, almost all of them have had no-name cells in them. I did get a few true Sony, Panasonic, or Sanyo cell, but they are rarer.

They've all tested out to be the listed capacity, and they all have worked at the expected life expectancy.

The only big exception was the battery for my old cell phone. It originally came with a 1400mAh battery. The only cheap seller listed 1600mAh for about $10/ea. I used them, and they were fine, but they only lasted as long as my original battery when it was new. When they finally started failing, I pealed the stickers off, and the original markings showed they were 1400mAh batteries. If I had been paying extra for the extra capacity, I may have been upset. Since I just needed batteries that worked, it didn't matter much.

I played Ingress a *lot* with my phone though that period. That draws a lot of power, so I kept a couple spare batteries in my pocket all the time so I could swap them as needed.

My new phone came with a much larger battery (part of my selection criteria), and I don't play as much. I let it charge in the car when I'm driving. If I'm walking, still carry the external pack, just in case I need it.

So.. Pick something cheap on eBay. Look for listing saying they're "new". Don't expect a higher capacity batter to be any better than the original battery. Since you're looking for cheap, you can generally afford to get a spare. :)

Comment: Re:Perhaps this won't be a popular view... (Score 1) 185

by jd (#47734539) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

Then make the episodes longer. Or have one set of presenters on the first show (they're usually paired) and the others on the second show. Or eliminate redundant footage so that you can have two or three times the content. Or eliminate the advertisers, sorry adverts, and get three times the running length.

Comment: Re:Not sure if gone (Score 1) 185

by jd (#47734503) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

Discovery got caught using fake footage in documentaries. No scientist should be working with a channel that is peddling fraudulent material. History lost a lot of reputation with their academically bogus Ancient Aliens stuff, but at least they didn't try to offer photographs and videos they themselves doctored as "evidence".

If the three have projects worth taking seriously, they won't be projects on Discovery. HBO has less of a credibility issue.

Comment: Re:Turn it around: (Score 2) 74

The man is a freaking icon of free speech. Only hateful, harmful, ugly, disagreeable speech needs any protection in the first place. I can't think of a living speaker who offends my more than that guy has. If you don't support his right to free speech, you're simply unclear on the concept.

That's not a two way street. Just because all the speech that needs protecting offends someone doesn't mean all offensive speech should have protection. Threats, libel, slander, fraud and perjury are all forms of speech. Playing loud music at 3AM is arguably a form of expression. The "freedom of speech" card is not absolute in any country on earth, even the US.

Comment: Re:Adding Politics to Engineering Decisions (Score 1) 131

by Kjella (#47734171) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

You really think this is solely an engineering decision? I'm guessing this is just as much if not more a business decision. We could have real world testing which is expensive where unexpected quirks and flaws could be revealed or we could have simulations which are cheap and quite confined to whatever it is the scenario is testing. Everyone in suits would go with simulations, while engineers know that models are abstractions and simplifications of reality.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they do a ton of simulation and regression testing and as a design tool it's invaluable. To use a car analogy I really doubt cars come rolling off the assembly line without some prototyping and real world tests first though. Remember that those affected by regulations tend to have really deep economic interests in skirting those regulations as much as possible.

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg

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