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Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 4, Informative) 249

by Maxo-Texas (#49143027) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

I had no particular problem with estimates.

At a minimum, you could break out easy "construction/recognized pattern" work from risky new stuff.

As far as managing programmers... it was humorous.

Few liked giving estimates. So they would say it couldn't be estimated.

So I would ask, will this project take 2 years... and they would say, "oh no- of course not" and after a bit, we'd get down to 6 months or 6 weeks or 6 hours...

So then we'd time box it to what could be done in a month and move any risky items up to the front so we could establish if a new technology wasn't going to work before we put a lot of work into the project.

Then, I recorded over/under for every project and found (over about 24 programmer data set) that programmers consistently overshot or undershot their estimates. So after a few projects, I had a pretty good idea of their deliverables.

Finally status reports and status meetings with function points and overall percentage delivered kept things on schedule or let us know well ahead of time there was a problem with the estimate/schedule.

Programmers were not my problem- executives were.

a) pushed us to violate standards.
b) ordered overtime without ordering it. As in assign 80 hours work and then insist it be completed when everyone knew it couldn't be completed. Made worse by the fact the indian contractors said "I'll do my best" for "no- you are batshit crazy" and then things fell apart when the indians were unable to deliver. Of course, the indians were very good at delivering to the (crazy/incomplete) specifications on time. At least enough to be testable. I'm not sure if it is because they were contractor types or that they were indian- perhaps a bit of both. I learned in a contracting shop, you always say you can meet the estimate (to get assigned the work) instead of giving a realistic estimate. Then renegotiated it later when it wasn't going to make the schedule. If you didn't, then the three other people bidding on the work would get the work. Executives seemed to have zero memory for the fact that you delivered on time on estimate while the other people were usually late.
c) made everything priority 1a. they had no ability to prioritize as far as I could see. Which really just pushed prioritization down to me or the programmers.
d) cancelled projects without warning.

Comment: Re:Comments are predictable... (Score 1) 148

by Maxo-Texas (#49134783) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

Oh sure, it says it is in love but it's a computer. I know it's just a simulation of love, not the real thing.

I agree.

The thing is-- with robotics doing parallel work on human level physical reactions (like tossing things in the air and catching them- without the use of a brain), true AI may be more human like with one part being the conscious mind that says "start walking towards the door" while other parts control the actual movement, balancing, etc.

if you start reading about the brain (Brain Bugs is a good book for it), the first thing you see is that the brain is multiple independent systems. If you break them, the conscious mind does really weird things like, for example, saying "That's not my limb" (alien limb syndrome), losing the ability to form memories, crossing sensory systems (so sounds smell and odors have colors), and what's really crazy is that often- even when informed of the problem- the conscious mind of the people can't process that anything is wrong.

It looks like we have a vision system-- then an object system- and then an importance system- and then a fear system (the amygdala).

The weird thing is- for people with broken amygdala's- they know the rattle snake is important- but not that it is dangerous. In other cases, people have said "I know this is bad" logically- and then done it anyway without being able to stop themselves.
Very interesting stuff.

As of now, they have human level agility and balance with plugged in humanoid robots, vision and dexterity to pick random mixed items out of bins faster than humans. The robot population is rising at a low exponent but the exponent is increasing.

Comment: Re:Breaking news! (Score 1) 148

by Maxo-Texas (#49134723) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

That depends on the incentives the AI has.

In this case, it appears it has incentives to gain the highest possible score as quickly as possible.

In this case, tunneling and bouncing off the top wall better matches those goals.

I read about his before and the computer starts out not knowing where the score is-- it has to learn which area is score and then do random things with the game until something succeeds at causing the score area to go up... and then optimize for high score and high speed.

That sure sounds like learning to me.

Comment: Re:Fuck it - everyone for themselves. (Score 1) 344

by Maxo-Texas (#49132043) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

Currently the payoff period for an LED bulb is well over 10x the payoff period for solar panels (and that's ignoring batteries and inverters which will have to be replaced 2-3 times during the payoff period).

Insulation-- okay if you are low on it. Don't have good figures for it tho.

I went to LED and ignoring the 13x lifespan vs incandescent, my bill dropped noticeably. I pay about $50 a month for 8 months a year and then $120 for 3 months and $150 for 1 month for a 2000sq foot house.

I used to pay about $20 a month more (tho I still had a few $50 months) when I was using incandescent bulbs. So that's an LED bulb paid off about every 20 days. I figure incandescents were both consuming more electricity AND they were pumping more heat in to the house that had to be cooled back down (at more cost).

I Greatly prefer 3100K led bulbs . They are simliar in color to incandescent bulbs.

I have crazy levels of insulation. About 24" in the attic of blown in stuff by the prior owner. It's sort of unbelievable they put in so much. I really can't see how it was cost effective for them.

Comment: Re: BS aside, is the K-XL a good thing or not? (Score 2) 429

by Maxo-Texas (#49125049) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Actual FTE jobs created are about 2 years at 1,950 jobs. Many of the jobs are for 4 or 8 months and seasonal.

Permanent jobs created will be under three dozen. Check politifact.

That's one more reason why the oil companies want a pipeline. Much cheaper to operate. Lots less jobs. Truckers and railroad unions will lose jobs when the pipeline is built.

Mainly, I just don't see the government taking the 20% of the property along the line from people who don't want to sell. I'm surprised conservatives are for that.

So it's not really going to create jobs... and it's probably going to increase the price of that oil when prices go back up ( not for several years to eight years tho and it may increase the oil glut holding prices down a while more until supply goes up).

I don't really care if they build it or not. But it is very "stinky".

Comment: Re:BS aside, is the K-XL a good thing or not? (Score 1) 429

by Maxo-Texas (#49125031) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Shale wells have much shorter life spans and lower investments than traditional wells.

By hedging, they can come online rapidly whenever the price rises- pump out the presold oil and then wait until the price drops again.

It would mean less job stability for sure tho and that would effect rampup time some.

But prices are unlikely to get over $100 again for 6-8 years. It was held artificially high for too long.

Now that the alternative technologies have been invented, they can be optimized. They wouldn't have been invented yet if oil prices had been allowed to fluctuate in the past.

Comment: Re:Artists paid 16 times as much for Spotify than (Score 1) 303

by Maxo-Texas (#49117249) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

There are also more books than I can read. That's why I use the library, used books, and books loaned from friends, wait for books to go on sale, and flat out just don't buy books that stay too expensive.

If you are highly selective perhaps you can put your self in a state where you feel you must fork over tons of money I guess.

While you have a good point on the 17th century atlases (tho I did just start a book written in the 17th century last week actually. lol. "Three musketeers" in the original 17th century french.. but that doesn't invalidate your point).

I'm talking about today.

In 2008 - there were 254 SF novels and 436 fantasy novels alone (690 books). Not to mention mystery books, best sellers, spy books, etc. I read two to six books a week and I can't keep up.

I watch 6-10 hours a week of television and I can't keep up.

More songs come out (some of it good) than I can listen to.

On top of that I'm playing my own music, creating my own stuff, spending time with the grandkids, and I'm retired but doing 5 hours a week therapeutic massage for people in serious pain (and I just started a new book on massage... and I listen to a wide selection of music to use during sessions).

There is an unbelievable glut of entertainment options right now. I rarely pay over 10% of original retail for anything. All I had to do was just fall behind (easy enough) and watch the sales.

Perhaps you've convinced yourself that you must have something and you'll pay anything for it. I've learned, that most things I felt i had to have, I didn't care a whit about 5 years later.

Comment: Re:On demand vs. random (Score 1) 303

by Maxo-Texas (#49113541) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

And... I had no idea Rod Stewart was "similar" to Annie Lennox.

Seriously... I could understand when they added cindy lauper and some other female artists.

But then they started adding random alternative male bands from the 90s.

I have to actively delete songs frequently now.

I like the songs- just not when I want to listen to annie lennox type music.

Comment: Re:Artists paid 16 times as much for Spotify than (Score 1) 303

by Maxo-Texas (#49113455) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

There is a huge glut of music now. There are more songs than I could listen to in my lifetime if I listened to a new and different song every time.

Supply and demand.

Besides, we know that royalty rates were purposely set too high on internet radio in an attempt to crush it. Or at least we did when royalty rates were first being set. It was widely reported at the time.

Also prices were set when the market was tens of millions of people instead of billions of people. You need a lot less per listener to pay for sex and blow.

Comment: Re:disclosure (Score 1) 437

by Maxo-Texas (#49106505) Attached to: How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests

1880 is a starting date because that's when the formal data starts.

If you google for it, you can find a site with all the data available from measuring stations and you can see an analyze the actual data and see 1880 is the oldest formal data.

The average global temperature has fluctuated massively without matching co2 components (esp around 1945 and 1970).

I'm pretty sure that the average global temperature was the highest ever in 2014.

If real, I don't think we will take action in time to stop the bad side effects of global warming (mainly coastl flooding- and some island nations uninhabitable).

However, we can take small cost effective measures (that even save us money) like using LED bulbs (payoff in 6 months- huge energy savings), enforcing higher full standards and lower pollution standards. Politically- unless india and china are on board, the entire thing is a non-starter. China is going to pollute enormously for at least two more generations. India is likely to as well.

So a cost effective way for preparing is to say new construction needs to be 3 feet higher than it currently is near the coast. Then in a hundred years, if the flooding actually happens, we'll be ready. We should not tear everything down and rebuild- that's crazy costly.

Comment: Re:I.D. (Score 1) 95

by Maxo-Texas (#49104577) Attached to: Humans' Big Brains Linked To a Small Stretch of DNA


Some dogs can understand over 200 words. And dolphin which are predatory creatures are very intelligent and are close to the weight of tigers (200kg vs 225kg for largest).

The long term bacterial experiment also shows that many mutations occur constantly which have no immediate effect. As long as they are not detrimental, they get carried along. For example- humans average 67 mutations compared to their parents.

Combinations of these benign "noise" mutations separated by thousands of generations in the bacteria resulted in dramatic abilities (such as the ability to consume previously inedible substances).

Comment: Re:And so it begins ... (Score 1) 158

Knightscope may not outright replace many security guards soonâ"over a million of them were employed in the U.S. last year, according to an estimate from the U.S. Department of Laborâ(TM)s Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the estimated hourly wage these guards earned was more than twice the $6.25 that Knightscope says it will charge for its robots, which could tempt some companies and schools to at least try them out.

Comment: Re:And so it begins ... (Score 2) 158

Security is increasingly automated. I've seen estimates that 19/20 security jobs will be replaced with robots. Humans will only handle exceptions.

They are testing a security robot now which patrols the grounds, record everything, and call for human backup if something unusual happens. It can't do steps but that's about the only limitation.

At the level 3 data center in houston, there are no security guards anyway. A double airlock style door which requires a card and password at each door to get in the center.

I think people somethings think they "won" and push their advantage too hard. Bad things could happen to the data center. The police might happen to be on the other side of town dealing with a call. Then perhaps human security will be required.

Comment: Re:Technology can NOT eliminate work. (Score 1) 389

by Maxo-Texas (#49077237) Attached to: What To Do After Robots Take Your Job

Counting discouraged workers who gave up without finding a job is not being disingenuous.

Erasing people who can't find work after a couple hundred interviews who give up and live in a van in the neighbors driveway or spare room is pretty darn disingenuous.

We used to measure it one way and then we changed the definition because the numbers were to ugly. Sort of like we did for CPI as well to keep down social security COLA's.

I agree with you that we do not have a proper way to measure them right now. The BLS survey asks if you've looked. And with boomers retiring-- it will skew the numbers as well. There really isn't a clear "I've retired" checkbox in any of the data.

But I know a few 20-30 year olds who gave up/went back to school/gave up again and now in debt. It's very disheartening.
The ones who are working are closing on 40-- not spendthrifts-- and still lack enough for a downpayment on a house because with training AND a degree their salary is crazy low.

Dreams are free, but you get soaked on the connect time.