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Comment: Two prongs of an Astroturf campaign (Score 1) 59

by echtertyp (#47809829) Attached to: Code.org Discloses Top Donors
This makes perfects sense, if you are a corp like Facebook, you want to say "we've tried everything, it's no use, please raise the H1b quota" It's a lot like Microsoft cynically concluding that paying large anti-trust fines was a rational business decision, the revenues outweighed the penalties.

Comment: True. This is a lot like 1938. Stop Putin NOW (Score 2, Insightful) 848

by echtertyp (#47777811) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine
I'm painfully aware of my own country's misdeeds in the past re: land grabs. But the pattern is clear and we must not forget the lesson: A bully like Hitler in 1938, or Putin in 2014, only has his appetite increased by eating. The West can stop Putin now at a small cost, or deal with him in a few years at a staggering cost. The Russian people deserve better than what will happen to them eventually under Putin's direction. Berlin 1945 == Moscow 2020. For the sake of ordinary Russians, if no one else, Putin's gang must be checked *hard* in their attempts to eat Ukraine piece by piece.

Comment: Wrong audience, do this for *executives* (Score 1) 116

by echtertyp (#47643315) Attached to: Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code
Bugs can be isolated with unit tests, and / or fixed in future releases. Executives who are over their heads, however, make decisions that cannot be unf#cked and destroy thousands of lives. You'll get much more bang for your buck by wiring executives and board members up to monitor their alertness and comprehension. With one headset on one executive this could have been prevented: "Metro UI everywhere? Uh...ummm....so tired, so many words, I want to go golfing so bad...sure, sounds good, Metro UI everywhere, do I sign at the bottom?"

Comment: I sort of support what Jackson's saying, has merit (Score 4, Interesting) 514

by echtertyp (#47569387) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step
As a white guy - born in Europe even! -- I can say that while working in Mountain View, California it was indeed overwhelmingly young, male, with mostly Northern European genes sloshing around. Some Asian but not as much as you'd think.

That said our boss was quite a progressive guy and reached out to hire a black guy and several typical American women. The women were a disappointment. It has to be said that they proved to be demanding low performers. Had high expectations of everything and everyone else, but didn't really put points on the board for the team. In talks about the women I learned the US English codeword PITA, not the flat bread, but Pain In The A**. It was true.

The black guy turned out well. In the first couple months he was very reserved and looking back I think he was very keen to not make mistakes or rub anyone the wrong way. But man, after that first 90 days or so, he relaxed and realized we weren't going to bite him, and he started learning the craft with real zeal. He was one of the hardest working fellows I ever met in my time in the U.S.

I think the dynamic is that black people in the U.S. are all too accustomed to having "the prize" and opportunity dangled in front of them, and then snatched away once someone has got what they wanted from that black person. So they I think have learned to regard the larger American system with suspicion or at least much caution. However if they see by actions and not words that something is the real deal, the team is there and they are part of it, no bait and switch, they really get fired up and loving it.

Comment: The RussiaToday posters curiously absent ... (Score 1) 582

by echtertyp (#47550573) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine
Has anyone else noticed that the avalanche of RT posters seems to have subsided? For a couple of months any mention of Crimea or the Ukraine was mobbed by dozens of scripted posts about "fascists in Kiev" and so on. Very much in the style of the 1980's information warfare efforts from the Soviets. But I'm getting the sense someone in Moscow has turned down the tap, and told the guys in the RT.com boiler rooms to hold off. Maybe Putin is giving up on this one?

Comment: Steady state economy needed (root cause) (Score 1) 377

by echtertyp (#47527859) Attached to: Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate
If you follow the pros and cons around stuff like this down to the nub, it comes down to "but we have to grow the economy." Thankfully, a Plan B has been worked out over many decades and it's pretty appealing actually. I highly recommend reading up on Steady State Economics, either books or http://steadystate.org/

Comment: MS Research was meant to mop up talent, that's all (Score 5, Interesting) 161

by echtertyp (#47479171) Attached to: Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997
Waaay back I remember someone pointing out that Microsoft was spending enormous sums to hire researchers, especially promising ones in academia. The idea, apparently, was for MS Research to be a sort of "intellectual roach motel" (love that phrase) were IQ would check in, and nothing checked out. This made a certain amount of sense. As a monopolist you don't -want- any innovation. One way to do that is hire hitmen to kill potential innovators. But the risks there are huge. A much easier way if you have the money is to hire promising minds and then keep them neutralized. That's just what Microsoft did.

Comment: The key: marriage kills programmers, scientists (Score 2) 232

by echtertyp (#47025111) Attached to: Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up
If a fellow gets married, *then* his creativity and productivity plummets. His time is no longer his own. When I regard the fellows I work with, the guys over 40 who avoided marriage, or have been divorced for a while, are the "top guns" to put in U.S. terms. They have both creativity *and* a lot of experience, which makes them almost impossible to beat over the course of many months.

Comment: Outliers for male rockstar coders skew the average (Score 1) 427

by echtertyp (#46397395) Attached to: All Else Being Equal: Disputing Claims of a Gender Pay Gap In Tech
What I remember in California was that one had approximately 4 categories of developers: 1. Journeyman level, typical employee, good enough 2. Short term hired guns, contractors 3. H1-b visa guest labor from India, very affordable at the time so very popular 4. Truly exceptional guys, the much talked about rockstar talent For the rockstar guys, they were so much more valuable and productive than the other 3 categories that it was well worth it to pay double the prevailing wages. The interesting thing in hindsight is that these rockstars really were all guys. No women. Given how the arithmetic behind averages works, I can't help but think that the pay packages of male rockstar techies in the U.S. skews the figures. If one removed the top and bottom 10% of the pay data for men and women in tech work, I think you'd find the average pay for men vs. women would be much closer.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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