Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re: Catch the rounded ones early (Score 1) 300

I have had that happen a couple of times over my career (as a consultant though, not an employee.)

I always greatly increased my rate when returning, usually double what I was charging. If they cancelled work in a hostile manner and had to come crawling back a couple of weeks later I knew I had them over a barrel.

Comment Re:Combine comp sci and maths (Score 1) 300

Not just comp sci, science in general should be combined with math.

Too many people think they are good at math, but only learned to memorize. Many have no ability at all to recognize where you would apply it, making it mostly useless to them in the real world.

Comment Re:I disagree, all vectors of learning are good (Score 1) 300

The difference is that debate is "soft" while programming is "hard". I mean this in the sense that if you have an ok argument which is not perfect it can still be effective, but there is a lot less room for error in programming. Your code is accepted by the compiler (or interpreter) or it is not, and it works as intended or it does not.

Running into problems which are complex, have multiple solutions, and there is a definite working or not outcome is important to teach logic and attention to detail. How early this should be done is a question.

Comment Re:Not everyone becomes scientists... but (Score 1) 300

He said he thought it would be a good idea, not that they do. While we are at it, they should also teach basic cooking and nutrition. Far too many people cannot cook for themselves, and get tied to fast food and snacks (which has horrible consequences as you get into your 30s and later, especially when combined with a complete lack of exercise.)

A basic class on programming is useful not only to give a minor understanding as to what this machine can do, but also to teach logic and determine who has an aptitude for it.

Comment Re: Catch the rounded ones early (Score 1) 300

What are they going to do, fire you and make the problem worse? It makes my company extremely nervous when I am on vacation, but when I inform them I am going it is not a question.

If you are forbidden vacation time you need to take a long hard look at your realistic value, and if you think you are valuable you should grow a spine.

Comment Re:allowed a vacation? (Score 1) 300

I am with you there, "allowed" is for chumps.

I usually inform work I will be out six months in advance if I can, as I am aware of how disruptive it is (with exceptions for funerals and other events which cannot be anticipated.) I do not phrase that as a question, I am informing them of when I will not be there.

I never get bothered by my boss while on vacation unless it is of the utmost importance, although my employees feel more free than I would like to contact me anyway.

Comment Re:Power for businesses (Score 1) 103

It is no guarantee that he will have a successful career, but it is a good starting point. No college teaches you everything, once you get out and spend some time in the real world you will understand that better (or find another career, the wash out rate in industry for cs graduates is pretty high.) We are at full employment in the industry right now, so anybody who graduates with a degree or even takes a class in prison is probably getting a job of some sort. This is a boom and bust field though, and it tends to shed those who are not in the top third or so every once in a while.

Speed coding definitely has its place in industry, and the major architecture decisions are not made by people who just entered the field unless it is something stupid simple like a basic CMS. A lot of people who do not have a formal education miss things like algorithmic efficiency, but that alone is not even close to enough to optimize a program well, and I can refer them to a reference for what they would miss during a CS degree (which proceeds at such a slow pace that someone who will end up doing well can likely cover it in their free time in less than six months with a little motivation... they already know how to program after all.)

You probably only think you have worked on a big project, I would put the starting point on that at a few million lines of code. You do not have time to make a substantial contribution to a code base like that over a class or two.

Looking around the office at people with at least ten years in the field and who are not assigned disposable tasks (with commensurate pay), it is almost evenly split between those with a degree and and those who do not have one. The thing is that most with a degree do not have it in CS.

You learned maybe 20% of what you need to have a moderately successful career in school if you are really lucky, paid attention, and went to a top university. That does give you a leg up, but only against those with no real experience. I will almost always take someone with four years of paid work as a programmer over someone with a degree, and in my opinion the best degree to see on a programmer is in physics or another hard science anyway (for a pure programmer at least... I give some weight to a degree in the subject the programs I expect them to write will cover.)

In short: A new programmer needs a lot of training no matter if they have a degree or not, what I want to see is logic and the ability to learn from a written reference. I do not feel a CS degree is a good indicator of that, even if it should be.

Comment Re:Power for businesses (Score 1) 103

It does, however, mean he can code. This puts him above the majority of the college grad applicants I see.

Before someone comes in to explain that computer science is not about programming... that is fine, but I am not interested in hiring that kind of employee. I want people who can program, and when the interesting problems come up I would rather assign it to someone who has demonstrated practical ability, as they usually tend to be better with both current theory and novel solutions as well.

Nobody sane trusts a new programmer with important tasks anyway, and nobody really cares if or where you went to school when you are measuring experience in decades. Winning competitions helps to land your first job, which is also what a degree does.

In some ways the degree is more of a risk, as this is a field where being able to learn from a book is required if you are to be competent. If you needed someone to hold your hand and walk you through it you will be a poor programmer, where someone who picked up a book, studied on their own, and can now write a working program has already shown they can do this.

Comment Re:Also for people? (Score 1) 177

Your plan is to locate and fine the homeless based on DNA? Somehow I do not see that working well. Maybe long jail terms would work, but that removes the lack of a financial burden the fine is supposed to ensure.

The most effective way cities deal with that problem is to harass the homeless enough that they leave for a more favorable area, frequently by police beatings or turning a blind eye to crime against them.

Get some panhandling and vagrancy laws passed if you want to solve it, then make sure they are enforced. That ensures police contact, which will quickly provide a disincentive to be there.

Comment Re:I'd have said space x... (Score 1) 126

The capsule may survive the initial breakup, but it is not going to be aerodynamically stable just after the rocket shreds itself in an uncontrolled way.

At near orbital speed that means it shakes you around violently in a small can with a bunch of other objects which probably are not secured well enough to resist flying around during an event like that. You would not be pondering what is coming up long at all, assuming the capsule even survives an uncontrolled reentry from where the rocket breaks up.

The version up for man rating has thrusters to get it clear and maintain control of the vehicle, so it should do better.

Comment Re: Proof (Score 1) 546

They can both be verbs.

Effecting change is to bring about or create change, affecting change is to alter how change happens. Which you meant is up to you.

When you say "You affect change and change has an effect." you are saying you modify the already existing change, and it creates another change which did not exist prior.

If you had said "You effect change and change has an affect." you would be saying that you bring about a change, and that change alters the way things are.

Comment Re:I was hapy with my old machine until the mobo d (Score 1) 558

The same reason you do not want to upgrade caused me to upgrade. Computers are not really getting faster at a good rate any longer, especially at the top end.

My old computer was a 3.2ghz dual core AMD with more than normal cache memory, a middle of the line graphics card from the era, and 8GB memory from 2009 which cost me about $800. It runs nearly everything, but not at max.

My new one is nearly top of the line, which is partly due to seeing the similar one I ordered for the lady last year, and partly looking at product roadmaps and determining that it would be at least a few years before anything substantially faster would be released.

It was about twice the cost and six years later, and is about twice as fast for CPU limited tasks (the SSD is a major improvement, hard drive load times are much faster, the kind of games I play are usually vsync locked at 60 anyway.)