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Comment: Re:it depends on what "skilled worker" means. (Score 3, Insightful) 401

by dkf (#47397905) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

To put things in perspective - the old owners had plants in 5 different states. Each of the other plants consistently lost money. Our plant consistently MADE MONEY, despite mismanagement. Quarter after quarter, the accountants posted profits from our plant. In effect, we carried four other money losing plants for years. The owners could never bring themselves to unload the money losers, instead taking the profits we earned to shore up the other plants. They followed that policy until bankruptcy put them out of the game completely.

Were any of those plants making key inputs for yours? If they were, and it wasn't practical to consolidate that function, then closing them down would have crippled you. Which individual plants make money is one thing, but where there's internal transfer of items between units of the business, the value attached to those items is fairly nominal in practice; it's the overall business that really makes the profit or the loss.

Or maybe they're just incompetent fucks. That could be true too. Hard to say without the full facts, but the fact that bankruptcy hit is strongly indicative.

Comment: Re:So what are good languages to get into? (Score 1) 196

by dkf (#47395117) Attached to: IEEE Spectrum Ranks the Top Programming Languages

A masters in computer science program means taking about 10 three credit courses to get the degree. That means learning potentially 10 different languages. Which 10 would you choose? Which of those 10 are a must to learn, which would be merely advantageous to know?

Take at least one OO language (Java's fussy and bureaucratic, but its a pretty good example of the breed and is likely to be useful after you get your masters), at least one functional language (probably Haskell these days), at least one declarative language (Prolog or SQL), and don't just learn programming languages. You also need to learn about data, about data structures, about algorithms and their analysis, about parsing and compilation, and about concurrency; these are all independent of any programming language.

But computing is well served by not just learning about computing. If you have time, learn about math, stats and logic too, and learn how to communicate your ideas effectively; you'll never get far if you can't communicate with other people well.

Comment: Re:Transcendence (Score 1) 556

And by booboo I naturally mean something along the lines of

if(target->ThreatRating == ThreatRating::American) { target->Kill(); } // booboo

I'd guess something like:
        if(target->ThreatRating = ThreatRating::Trrist) { target->Kill(); }

Let that be a lesson to you: Trrist must evaluate to 0, for humanity's sake!

Comment: Re:The frustrations of AI. (Score 1) 556

If hardware isn't the problem, then it must be an algorithmic one. So, why can't an algorithm be discovered that is a breakthrough?

The problem is that it requires a true breakthrough, and there's no way to predict when that will happen. It also doesn't help that we don't really know what intelligence really is; all we've got is lots of things it isn't. I suspect that when someone cracks it, there'll be lots of people going "Is that all?! Anyone could have got that." and they'd be right, except that nobody did and it involves something both trivial and non-obvious. It might also require a lot of parallel processing, which we're still learning how to do well.

As we don't have any handy breakthroughs right now, we should instead study how brains really work and how to make computers do useful things (including stuff like "understanding" speech, "understanding" written natural language, drive cars safely, etc.) Those might or might not make the breakthrough easier, but they'll have other benefits along the way so they're still right to do.

Comment: Re:The question to me seems to be... (Score 1) 148

by SteveWoz (#47357639) Attached to: Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

End goal: change the constitution. We need a start. It's easy to see how hard this will be and to give up early, but some of us feel the imperative to fight for it. We can change things. The vast will of the masses (corporation political donations are not equivalent to the free speech we enjoy as individuals) needs to be strategically gathered. Critical mass could take decades, as with things like gay marriage.

Comment: Re:Everybody is wrong... (Score 1) 270

That is you choosing your service provider and access level (dialup, dsl, cable, etc.), which is not a net neutrality issue. At a push it could be interpreted as protocol-specific traffic priority which is a grey area (some people consider it a net neutrality issue, others don't).

Non-neutral behaviour can only occur when two service providers interact, like so: you want to ship a parcel to Bob, but there is no courier that does door-to-door service in both your area and Bob's area. So you ship the parcel with your courier, and pay for a particular service level (overnight door-to-door). Your courier delivers the parcel to Bob's courier (and pays Bob's courier according to some inter-courier agreement), who delivers the parcel to Bob's door. Neutral behaviour occurs when Bob's courier delivers the parcel like any other they handle, even if they can't meet the service level you asked for from your courier. Non-neutral behaviour occurs when Bob's courier delays the parcel delivery because they received it from another courier rather than directly from the sender.

Notice that both Bob and you are screwed by the behaviour of Bob's courier.

The Wired article misses this by focusing on how - if you are a large company - you can send through more than one courier, selecting the one most convenient for the intended recipient. This obviously makes delivery faster because it cuts out one leg of the parcel's journey; and it would make delivery faster with or without neutrality requirements. The article ignores the actual problem of non-neutral behaviour where the parcel is actively delayed (over and above the natural journey time) by one of the couriers in order to force the sender to deal directly with them rather than having the option of sending via another courier (and accepting the naturally longer journey time).

The big weakness of this analogy is that in the real world you can readily choose between one of several courier on a per-parcel basis, but few individuals or small companies can choose between ISPs on a per-connection basis.

Comment: Re:Where are they going to fab the chips? (Score 1) 340

by dkf (#47290043) Attached to: Russia Wants To Replace US Computer Chips With Local Processors

No, but I don't know of any Chinese companies producing steppers or any other of the multi-million dollar tools required to fab a processor.

That's what you might call a market incentive. Capitalism sees national security and arms export controls as damage and routes around it.

Comment: Re:Bad summary is bad (Score 1) 199

by dkf (#47287399) Attached to: Overeager Compilers Can Open Security Holes In Your Code

Actually it's about non-standard-conforming "security" hacks causing unexpected results. If the result of an operation is undefined, the compiler can insert code to summon Cthulhu if it wants to.

If your compiler is doing that, you should choose a different compiler. Summoning elder gods just because signed arithmetic might wrap around is not a good cost/benefit tradeoff!

"No matter where you go, there you are..." -- Buckaroo Banzai

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