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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) 197

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) 564

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) 564

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: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!

Comment: Re:Not sure what they mean... (Score 1) 250

Except browsers can actually send a header that lists your preferred languages, in order. Chrome can actually does this, although it's buried away under "Advanced Settings". Google just don't pay any attention to it on their servers (apparently).

If a lot of browsers are getting it wrong in what they send, the incentive to support it is not strong. Guess what? A quick test with Chrome, Safari and Firefox indicate that they all get it wrong by default. Safari doesn't provide an option to change it that I can find; the other two pick the wrong default for me, instead of using the system language settings (which are correct and available for software to read) even if those are imperfect for the task. (I'm on the wrong platform for testing IE and I don't have Opera.)

Why would you make your website use a feature that no browser gets close to right by default?

Comment: Re:but that's the problem with the turing test... (Score 1) 309

by dkf (#47206729) Attached to: Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

Turing also didn't say anything about crippling the test by making it a child who doesn't speak fluent English.

He also didn't specify that the software couldn't do that. The test isn't about knowledge, it's about intelligence. Computers are starting to get good at the more knowledge-y side of things, but intelligence has got to be more about establishment of shared context, dealing with weird semi-out-of-the-blue digressions, and so on. Language fluency is someone else's research project.

Comment: Re:Useful Idiot or Russian Agent (Score 2) 346

by dkf (#47197459) Attached to: Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

He is a "useful idiot" with a lot of information in his pocket. When they are finished with him, he is either going to be returned to the U.S or he is just going to "disappear" into the abyss.

Snowden's principal value to the Russians is for propaganda purposes, and this was the case all along. Making one's opponents look very bad is quite thoroughly valuable from a diplomacy perspective, since it persuades third parties (e.g., most of Latin America and Africa) to be more receptive to your message.

"Help Mr. Wizard!" -- Tennessee Tuxedo