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Comment: Wrote POS System Software (Score 4, Interesting) 87

by clifwlkr (#49798513) Attached to: Feds Bust a Dark-Web Counterfeit Coupon Kingpin
I actually had a job for a couple of years designing 'advanced' POS system software based on the industry standards. The items that the retailers considered 'advanced' just amazed me. They seemed like basic items to me. That said, it is almost impossible to protect against this until they changed the coupon codes to something like QR codes that they could digitally sign. The current standard was made long time ago and is very limited in the amount of information it can carry.

/ This is a simple standard anyone can google that shows exactly how these bar codes are laid out. I used that myself when implementing that section of code. Why anyone would pay for it is beyond me. At the end of the day, the retailers know there is going to be some fraud on this. They have switched to all of these automated checkout systems to save money on cashiers, who would likely catch this sort of thing, so I don't really feel sorry for them at all. They have made that trade.

That said, there are some safeguards in there. If your coupon total is unusually high, your checkout will lock up and require approval from the person watching up front. So anything outrageous will likely be caught. Also, you better pay with cash, as the transaction is all tied together to your card. Also, don't use a loyalty program. So at the end of the day is all that hassle worth it to maybe save a couple of dollars? Conversely, though, I guess the checkers care less and less every day as they get replaced by machines and probably just hit the 'ok' button most of the time, and the retailers eat it as just cost of doing business.

Myself, I would not suggest it as it is punishable by law. It is worth going to jail to save a relative few dollars off your bill?

Comment: Re:The title game (Score 1) 122

Simple then, let them do it anywhere else then and try and compete. Don't allow the companies here to bring people in from overseas to work here at deflated wages and with strong ties to a single company at the workers disadvantage. Let them do it at some other spot then, and try to compete with others working onshore in the US. Big difference between that and the H1B program. Like it or not, countries all over the world have immigration laws to avoid flooding their countries with people. Ever try to work in Mexico as a US citizen, or own some property? It's not just the USA that does this. Again, if there is a shortage then allow an increase in Visas for the US as a temporary FREE worker competing evenly on every level. Then it is a fair game.

Comment: Missing the point, many things ARE low voltage (Score 1) 582

by clifwlkr (#49791765) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage
I think the article is also talking about the fact that so many things are running low voltage today (and low amperage) that we are constantly throwing away energy in a solar situation to convert them back and forth. I have an off grid cabin where there are zero power lines as an option. Everything was originally designed for a generator. When I first put solar in, an inverter was a must to run a lot of things. My efficiency sucked, and I would have to budget power all of the time. Since then, I have switched to all LED bulbs. I put in a 12v dc stereo, and a 12v dc tv/dvd player. Additionally, I installed a car 12v DC to multi port USB charger. All of my music and movies run off a windows tablet running XBMC off of that USB hub. The fridge is 12v DC. The water is run off a 12v RV pump. Basically, I can do everything with no conversion from DC to AC to DC. There was an amazing amount of stuff that was either doing this through wall warts or internally in the device itself. That is all wasted electricity. The net result, I can run all of the stuff, all of the time, with the same number of panels. Amazing returns. I don't think anyone should be talking about switching high amperage devices over to DC. I left an AC line (and the inverter) in for that. But instead I have parallel low voltage AND low amperage DC lines for all of the stuff we use day to day. That would be the big gain in a solar home.

Comment: The title game (Score 5, Insightful) 122

You can clearly see the way the companies are manipulating the system. Don't hire them as 'engineers', but as 'technology leads' then make up a low salary for them. No, the salary is not minimum wage as posted above, but it is half of what you would have to pay a standard software engineer, and you have their loyalty as it is a hassle to switch jobs. Yes, some companies appear to be above board, but is Google really only paying their software developers 123,000 in Silicon Valley? That seems low for that place. And yes, these salaries look big until you consider where they are. They are pulling salaries from the biggest companies in the most expensive places. Anyone looked into the data yet and see what the consulting sweat shops are paying/claiming? Again, tax the heck out of H1Bs and if there really aren't any engineers available in the US these companies will be happy to pay the penalty. Or better yet, untie H1Bs from a company, make it a 2 year visa, and let them go wherever they want. My guess is the companies will not be so hot on using H1B labor at that point.

Comment: Manufacturing Data (Score 1) 100

by clifwlkr (#49689127) Attached to: Is Big Data Leaving Hadoop Behind?
Something as simple as manufacturing data far eclipses this number every day. Think of every screw from every supplier in every product. Then tracking the reliability of this product through the entire lifecycle with self diagnostic tests. No, this is not for your toy made in china, but when it comes to real top end products that HAVE to work, then you need this kind of data to figure out what went wrong and fix it fast. That could save your company millions. No, making your latest dot bomb app does not need this, but there are many places that do. Also check out financial apps like credit fraud, insurance, etc.

Comment: Stream/Wx Sensors (Score 1) 403

These things are all over and in remote areas. They are solar powered, and designed to be left alone for long periods of time. They are built such that they can go down at night if the battery dies, and come back to life with the sun. So as long as the sun shines, these things will keep sending their data. I would bet they would just keep quietly ticking on for a very very long time.

Comment: Big Data and Data Science (Score 1) 420

by clifwlkr (#49658087) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Moving To an Offshore-Proof Career?
I have been a programmer for over 30 years now. The best way to keep your job is to jump on the hard technologies that real industry is doing, not the latest dot bomb thing. That stuff goes to India or Costa Rica. Manufacturing needs big data to reduce production costs. Marketing needs it as well. It is hard stuff you can't just hack out, and you need practical math. The clients also expect good communication skills and don't mind grey hair. I think being a data engineer is going to hold out against large scale offshoring for awhile. That is my bet, anyways, and I have managed to stay at the forefront for quite a few years. Also, get the heck out of Silicon Valley. Go to America's offshoring places. I am in Utah, and get paid much less but can buy so much more. My cost of living is fractional of CA. We are America's India and business is booming.
The Courts

9th Circuit Rules Netflix Isn't Subject To Disability Law 278

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-subject-to-your-laws dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that Netflix doesn't have to caption their videos. "A federal appeals court ruled (PDF) yesterday that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn't apply to Netflix, since the online video provider is 'not connected to any actual, physical place.' Donald Cullen sued Netflix in March 2011, attempting to kick off a class-action lawsuit on behalf of disabled people who didn't have full use of the videos because they aren't all captioned. A district court judge threw out his lawsuit in 2013, and yesterday's ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upholds that decision. The decision is 'unpublished,' meaning it isn't intended to be used as precedent in other cases. However, it certainly doesn't bode well for any plaintiff thinking about filing a similar case in the 9th Circuit, which covers most of the Western US."

Comment: Re:discussion (Score 1) 522

by clifwlkr (#49329579) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?
I actually like this. I think we should consider the logging industry a failure unless we have a tree that is cut down by a female logger, that is then processed into a 2x4 by a female saw mill worker. Then maybe take it that one step further into having it placed into a house by a female carpenter.
This game is fun! (serious sarcasm).
Mars

Mars One Delayed 2 Years, CEO Releases Video In Response To Criticism 89

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-a-little-longer dept.
CryoKeen writes It's interesting how different news sites spin #marsgate. From Yahoo News: "The private colonization project Mars One has pushed its planned launch of the first humans toward the Red Planet back by two years, to 2026. The delay was necessitated by a lack of investment funding, which has slowed work on a robotic precursor mission that Mars One had wanted to send toward the Red Planet in 2018, Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp said in a new video posted today... 'We had a very successful investment round in 2013 that has financed all the things that we have done up to now. And we have actually come to an agreement with a consortium of investors late last year for a much bigger round of investments. Unfortunately, the paperwork of that deal is taking much longer than we expected,' Lansdorp said in the video." This Astrowatch article is a lot more scathing and to the point: "Mars One, the Dutch company planning to send people on a one-way trip to Mars, that recently selected a group of 100 hopefuls, struggles with criticism. In a Medium story this week, Mars One finalist Joseph Roche presented multiple reasons as to why he believed the entire operation is a complete scam. In response, the company published a video Thursday in which Bas Lansdorp, CEO and Co-founder of Mars One, replies to recent criticism concerning the feasibility of Mars One's human trip to Mars. He also revealed that the mission will be delayed for two years. Roche said that the 'only way' to get selected for the next round of the Mars One candidacy process was to donate money. 'My nightmare about it is that people continue to support it and give it money and attention, and it then gets to the point where it inevitably falls on its face,' Roche told Elmo Keep for Medium."

Comment: Re:Some misconceptions (Score 2) 319

by clifwlkr (#49082407) Attached to: Java Vs. Node.js: Epic Battle For Dev Mindshare
And Java can be concurrent as well. It depends on the framework you are using to run it. Tomcat is thread bound, but things like akka and vert.x are not. In fact I suggest you look at the vert.x site to examine the speed increases you get on multi-core java with vert.x vs. node.js. Plus vert.x is a polyglot so you can also do Scala if it makes more sense. It is all about using asynchronous programming techniques which you HAVE to do in JavaScript, since it is single threaded, and you can do with Java. node.js is more about using cheaper web developers to put together a back end that barely functions. The node.js code I have seen is so unmaintainable with massive promise structures that will make your head hurt. If you truly need to scale to those kinds of levels you can do it even better with Java and the correct runtime environment.
Patents

Algorithmic Patenting 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the monkeys-at-typewriters dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Venturebeat reports on companies using software to "create" patents. They say a company called Cloem will use the software to "linguistically manipulate a seed set of a client's patent claims by, for example, substituting in synonyms or reordering steps in a process, thereby generating tens of thousands of potentially patentable inventions." The article says, "There is reason to believe that at least some of its computer-conceived inventions could be patentable and, indeed, patents have already been granted on inventions designed wholly or in part by software."
Toys

1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the potassium-iodide-sold-separately dept.
hypnosec writes: The Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab — dubbed the world's most dangerous toy — has gone on display at the Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland. The toy earned the title because it includes four types of uranium ore, three sources of radiation, and a Geiger counter that enables parents to measure just how contaminated their child have become. The Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab was only available between 1951 and 1952 and was the most elaborate atomic energy educational kit ever produced. The toy was one of the most costly toys of the time, retailing at $50 — equivalent to around $400 today.

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