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Comment: Re:USA in good company... (Score 1) 647

by chipschap (#49713619) Attached to: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Gets Death Penalty In Boston Marathon Bombing

Let's put your theory to the test by giving the kid a noose for a night. If he doesn't hang himself, then we know for sure he'd rather live than die.

I'll go along with this, but with the following modification. Do this once a year, every year. First time, maybe the kid decides to live. After five, ten, twenty years with no hope at all?

Execute him, the punishment is quickly over. Put him in jail, he's likely to live 50 more years knowing he'll never, ever get out.

Comment: Re:Numbers (Score 4, Informative) 527

by chipschap (#49709077) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

That's what this is really all about, isn't it? That Latinos and Blacks should be present in higher numbers for social equality reasons?

Everyone deserves an equal chance, but it happens that the Asian culture highly values education and family, and instills those values (Jewish culture is similar). It seems to work.

If Latinos and Blacks grow up in a culture that values these things to a lesser degree, they start off with a disadvantage. But giving them a free boost (artificially lowered admission standards via preference or however) doesn't seem right either (matter of opinion, that's my opinion), but more importantly, I don't think it's sustainable.

So what's the answer? I think as usual it's to work on the root cause. Make sure kids aren't disadvantaged by accident of birth. Now, that's a lofty aspiration, and very hard to accomplish. But in the end I think it's the only real and lasting answer.

Side note: I'm an MIT alum, graduated way back in 1970. At the time, MIT was trying to attract Black students who they thought could succeed. One of the administration's ideas was to guarantee a four-year full scholarship to such Black students.

Do you know who opposed that policy? The Black Student Union! The BSU said that help for the first year was a good thing, for the student to get started, but guaranteed help for four years sends the message that the Black student can't make it on his/her own, while other students can. My respect for the BSU was really, really high. They were straight shooters.

Comment: Re:Our own computers ... (Score 3, Interesting) 154

by chipschap (#49666759) Attached to: Windows 10 the Last Version of Windows? Not So Fast.

So when some whiny punk says "just run Linux", they demonstrate how utterly clueless they are. In the real world, that's rarely an option.

Maybe, maybe not. If you have a truly mission-critical application that requires Windows, it's clear what you're going to do.

I'm not so sure about the whole support thing, though. How good is most commercial support, really? Not so great, and that's true for a lot of "big name" things like ERP packages, databases, etc. Sure, you pay for support. Generally you pay a lot. Do you get a lot? My own experience (decades in the industry) is quite mixed, but a "big name" and a big fee don't necessarily correlate with quality support.

A lot of the free stuff that you deride is actually supported better, for free, in online forums. Now, that's not the type of guarantee that corporate types want to see. But the idea that paid support is solid support is not necessarily true. I remember some years ago being pushed by management to move from Apache to Microsoft Internet Server (or whatever it was called) so we could get "support." That would not have been such a great idea, because --- get this --- the servers were mission critical and the FOSS solution worked better and was better supported.

So I'm saying there's no one answer. Commercial software is not a guarantee of anything. You do what you have to do to run your business. Sometimes it's one way, sometimes the other. I've done everything I've needed to do for many years using mostly free open source software. It meets my needs. If I had some real specialty application, that might not hold true. To each his own.

Comment: Re:sampling bias (Score 1) 405

by chipschap (#49650679) Attached to: Is IT Work Getting More Stressful, Or Is It the Millennials?

What's changed over the generations?

I submit that people are people and fundamentally haven't changed.

Culture has changed, though, and that makes quite a difference. The older generation comes from a different culture than the younger generation, but when us 'oldsters" were "younguns" the "oldsters" of our day thought we were pretty worthless, too. And so on back through the years.

Different cultures, different life experiences. Not different people at the fundamental level.

Comment: Re:Delicious irony (Score 2) 147

by chipschap (#49648761) Attached to: Technology and Ever-Falling Attention Spans

I do a lot of fiction writing (no, I'm not talking about earnings reports) and I do three things to focus.

1. I don't work at home. There are too many distractions. (I realize this isn't relevant to office workers, generally.) I prefer a place like the University library where it's quiet and there are study carrels.

2. I use a distraction-free writing environment. (I created one for EMACS but there are things like FocusWriter etc.) This is similar to the close-all-tabs idea, I suppose.

3. I use the Pomodoro technique (you can look it up if interested) with 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off, for 3 cycles, then 20 minutes off before restarting. It may be my working style, but I've found this amazingly effective. I can make myself focus for 25 minutes knowing I'll have 5 (or 20) minutes to "scratch the itch" of email etc. Or even better, just close my eyes, or better yet, walk around a little.

It's not an optical illusion, it just looks like one. -- Phil White