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Comment Re:Closed Ecosystem (Score 1) 92

they totally messed up on the whole android build/deploy/update system.

From what I understand, a significant chunk of the problem with mobile device "longevity" is that closed source drivers for the SoC's used in phones are typically provided by chipset vendors, and if the driver model used by the O/S ever changes then the SoC vendor needs to provide a newer set of drivers. Which they aren't going to do when they are no longer selling the chipsets.

Comment Re:Swift (Score 1) 352

Still, I have no problems with the efforts to make programming easier. Anything that helps will not only make it easier for novices, but will also aid professional programmers.

Sometimes that's true. Sometimes, the things that make it easier for novices get in the way of the pros and often necessitate workarounds.

Granted, sometimes the pros are just being stuck-in-the-mud reactive twits. You gotta take it case by case.

Comment Re:But don't equate coding with comp-sci (Score 1) 132

I'd use Watson as a great example of how deep learning systems won't make coding go away too soon. From the Wikipedia entry:

Watson uses IBM's DeepQA software and the Apache UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture) framework. The system was written in various languages, including Java, C++, and Prolog, and runs on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 operating system using Apache Hadoop framework to provide distributed computing.

Any guesses as to how many lines of code and development hours are behind that stack? How about a guess as to how long it'll be before Watson is able to make useful contributions to a significant part of that software stack? Is it worth thinking about the hardware stack, or the effort put into curating the database?

Watson is, basically, a sophisticated search engine built upon a massive mountain of human effort.

Experience says that the more complex systems become and the more ubiquitously they're deployed, the more you need people who can build them, expand them, bend them and glue them into place. It doesn't seem to follow a curve like agriculture where productivity can continuously increase while labour contracts. It probably will turn that way, eventually, but I don't expect to be around for it.

Comment Re:But don't equate coding with comp-sci (Score 1) 132

Coding is likely to be obsolete in a few years - replaced by deep learning systems as those systems increase in capability, and so the last thing we should do is steer kids away from math and toward coding.

One of my computer science profs said that, pretty much word for word, when I suggested I wasn't interested in grad school. Except at the time "CASE" was the big buzzword.

From the rate of progress I've seen with these "make coding obsolete" initiatives, I expect I'll be well retired before that happens. And, even if they get something working, there's still going to be a job market for coders in gluing all these deep learning systems together.

Comment Re:Does indeed happen. (Score 1) 634

But the US population isn't their hiring pool, people qualified to do the job are their hiring pool.

We're specifically talking about people interviewing at Google, not the general US population. These are people who are, by definition, in their hiring pool.

I can entirely understand that the demographics of Google employees won't match that of the more general population. But if the demographics going into the interview process consistently and noticeably fail to match the demographics actually being hired, then it looks like there might be a problem. Which exact problem, I don't know. Poor pre-interview screening? There's many other potential reasons than rampant age discrimination, but I think there's also enough merit to the complaint for someone to start digging.

Comment Re:Does indeed happen. (Score 1) 634

We don't really know what the facts of the case are, but I wonder what it is about people that lead them to believe they're being discriminated against based on a particular factor, like age, race, etc?

Haven't read the article, but repeated "good" interviews from the same company could be taken as meaning that either HR records suck, or the company is going out of their way to not accurately tracking the reason they didn't hire her in those records.

Now, happening to a relatively small number of people wouldn't be a huge deal. But one might get a bit suspicious if this consistently happens to people in an under-represent demographic within the company.

I don't know the facts, either, but it strikes me as something worth digging into a bit more.

Comment Re:Modems, serial, dumb terminals (Score 2) 619

We have phone systems and network switches that have serial, still configured for 9600-8-N-1.

We still have operational gear running at 110 baud.

Granted, it's being emulated over 2400 baud satellite networks, but the physical hardware can't go any faster than 110.

Comment Re:Probably an overreaction, but... (Score 1) 431

when I was a kid in Toronto in the mid-1960s we could (and did) go down to the local drug store and buy potassium nitrate in 1-pound containers

In the 80's you *could* still buy it, but they asked enough questions that it wasn't smart to become repeat customers.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.