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Comment: Disagree. (Score 1) 382

by fyngyrz (#49625229) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

Just give each person a few programming tasks that should take ten minutes or so.

Yeah, but actually no. Each skill set is different. I could write you a PCB router in under an hour, or whip up an image processing mechanism, layered image editing, signal processing, write an FFT from scratch. I can do assembly coding as fast as I can type while higher up, I favor c and Python for their various and highly disjoint abilities. I'm good at documentation, and I can manage effectively -- without getting the team to hate me. But fizzbuzz? Sort of boggles me. I solve it very slowly. Perhaps because there's no point to it and I don't really give a flying crap. :) But perhaps also because it's just not my thing. I despise puzzles-for-the-sake-of-puzzles, and avoid them like the plague.

Bottom line, any type of interview question or test will sit poorly with some high quality programmer. Some don't know a language, some have an unusual process, some aren't great communicators, some don't function well with someone staring at them or under immediate pressure... there is no perfect interview method, and surely no way to determine programmer competence outside of their actual accomplishments -- which, even when you can pull it off, is not the same thing as measuring their skills against others, placing them in an objective relationship to the skills of others, either.

Personally -- and this is strictly anecdotal, but reflects many decades of experience -- I've had a lot better luck asking many-possible-answer questions about techniques and areas of knowledge in a friendly, low-pressure atmosphere where the interviewee is made to feel they are welcome and respected the moment they walk in the door.

Comment: Re:Everyone's a programmer. Even dead people! (Score 1) 382

by fyngyrz (#49625069) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

Hell, you wouldn't ask a psychiatrist to give you an appendectomy, would you?

The only thing I'd ask a psychiatrist is "please leave."

Wow wow wow.

You probably want to get that turntable checked. One day it's only wowing, then suddenly tomorrow there's flutter, rumble, tracking error, and cookie crumbs blocking the strobe light.

I'm just needling you, of course.

Issues much?

Nah. Just perpetually amused. :)

Comment: Re:Correction (Score 1) 60

More to the point, did you know that Prendateer John Steel already tried calling a district judge a moron and laughing in his face in his own courtroom, with predictable results.

I'd be interested in more details around this. The document you cited doesn't actually speak to this. It simply says that the plaintiff wanted the judge to recuse themselves for doing their job. It doesn't actually make any mention of anything nearly so contemptuous as calling a district judge a moron in a courtroom. I'd be shocked that something like this wouldn't result in a contempt finding on the spot.

Comment: Everyone's a programmer. Even dead people! (Score 1) 382

by fyngyrz (#49622191) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

A variation of it is quite prominent on Slashdot, with many users inexplicably believing that programming requires a "special mind", dividing people in to two groups: "can program" and "can never program".

Some of us just have different metrics for drawing a line between "programming" and "stumbling around in a programming language doing dangerous, stupid, and occasionally functional things."

But, hey. If you can set your digital alarm clock, or interact with your microwave in such a way as to involve more than one button push (even if you're going to destroy the comestible), you're a programmer, right?

It's like kids with crayons. They're all artists! Special butterflies! Call the Louvre!

Now get off my nursing home's lawn

Comment: Come on. What tripe. (Score 2, Interesting) 382

by fyngyrz (#49622119) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

From TFS:

If you could measure programming ability somehow, its curve would look like the normal distribution.

Since you can't measure programming ability "somehow" or otherwise, you don't know what the curve would look like. Which reveals the entire set of claims here as utter garbage. If you don't know what the distribution is, you don't know what the distribution is. How difficult is that to understand?

Comment: Re:School me on well water (Score 1) 277

It IS a marketing ploy. There is no a priori reason for 'natural spring water' to be particularly clean or pure. It depends on WHAT rocks the water went through, whether there were heavy metals leaching through the water table, whether there are bacteria from nearby sources that are leaking though and a host of other things.

"Natural spring water" makes as much health sense as 'Naturally radioactive'.

Sorry if you're deeply offended. The world is like that sometimes.

Comment: Re:Thank Greeks and Microsoft for your iWatches! (Score 1) 50

You do realize that these systems are connected to the Internet? The same Internet that everyone else is connected to. The fact that the server is in the middle of the ocean is irrelevant. As is the fact (true enough) that a significant fraction of commercial shipping is run by Greek firms.

I suppose it being in Greek might be an example of security by obscurity, but it's just TCP/IP and the same Microsoft code that everyone else uses.

Comment: Re:Stop calling it AI. (Score 1) 74

by Dixie_Flatline (#49615291) Attached to: AI Experts In High Demand

If you show a very young child (less than a year old, I think) something 'impossible' happening, they will pay attention to it for longer and find it more interesting. So if you hold a ball in the air and let go, but it doesn't fall, or you throw a ball and it goes through a wall, a baby can recognise that those are weird events, and will stare at them for a long time.

If you then give the baby a choice of toys, amongst which is the ball that did an impossible thing, they will spend more time playing with it, rather than equally spreading their attention around. Moreover, they will conduct small experiments that are related to the impossible thing they saw. They will pick up the ball and drop it repeatedly to make sure gravity works. They will hold the ball and bang it on a surface to make sure that the ball does not arbitrarily pass through things.

The brain has a lot of stuff built into it. There are whole sections of the brain devoted to image processing, or understanding smells and taste. These are not inconsequential starting points.

Comment: Re:Economy of Scale (Score 1) 83

by Rich0 (#49614463) Attached to: Uber Testing Massive Merchant Delivery Service

Or, the question I was asking and you ducked was: In what way can you change the law and still avoid those harms?

I'm actually not convinced that it is possible to do so in a democratic society purely governed by the rule of law. Many of the most harmful issues in society are the result of people completely complying with the law, and always staying one step ahead of it.

I can look at a big company paying zero taxes and say that they're doing something wrong. I can't come up with a robust law that would result in them paying taxes. I don't think anybody else can, unless you allow the law to be changed about 47 times per year to stay ahead, and then that becomes a massive burden on everybody else who just runs a mom and pop shop.

The simplest solution is to take the CEO of some company that doesn't pay taxes but "should" (for some arbitrary definition of "should"), declare that they've perfectly followed the law, lock them up for 10 years, and announce that you'll do the same to anybody else who perfectly follows the law in an abusive manner. That then creates a huge amount of uncertainty around whether a particular course of action is compliant or not, and then companies have to err on the side of over-compliance instead of following the letter of the law with all its loopholes.

But, such a society will be only nice to live in as long as the people in charge uphold the public good. Since there is no rule of law, this is likely to vary considerably. This is why democracies tend to be awful, but not nearly as awful as most non-democracies. :)

Comment: Re: Stop calling it AI. (Score 1) 74

by Rich0 (#49614389) Attached to: AI Experts In High Demand

People are not tabla rasa. Evolution has baked in all kinds of assumptions.

Absolutely true. Kids learn to not touch the stove after burning themselves once. They were born with some kind of sense that pain is bad and to be avoided.

I think that if you could figure out the motivation bit, that would be half the battle.

And people aren't universally good at the motivation bit either. They buy lottery tickets, smoke, fail to estimate risk in a sane manner, and do all kinds of dumb stuff where the instincts they were born with basically reduce their chances of having surviving progeny.

System restarting, wait...