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Comment: Re:Error: They did not use LaTeX (Score 1) 170

by fermion (#48371571) Attached to: What Happens When Nobody Proofreads an Academic Paper
Absolutely agree. I remember when I was helping put papers together how painful Word was to get to work, and how nice it was when I finally learned LaTex. I recently had to put a piece of research together, and now of course everyone uses MS Word and one has to use it. For collaboration.

That said the error might not have been prevented with LaTex. If it was a conversion error from different versions of word, in which a comment was exposed, that might have been prevented. If it was a human error, a comment accidently exposed in the editing process, that is easier to do with LaTex.

In any case this likely has little to do with the process, and much to do with the technology. A typesetter would never copy marginal notes left in the draft, or would check. Also, things like twitter makes it easy and cheap for such trivial mistakes to be amplified to 15 minutes of fame.

Comment: Re:Chech back next year... (Score 3, Informative) 112

by fermion (#48342031) Attached to: Amazon's Echo Chamber
Amazon directly or indirectly employes around 100,000 people. The have revenue to pay those people, as well as revenue to develop other products, which are somewhat successful. The Fire line of tablets, for example, provided much more compelling competition to the iPad than the MS Surface. Bezos himself has made a lot of money. There is the question of profit, however. As a public company who wants stock value to go up, profit is important. OTOH large profits are not critical to a company that consistently has cash flow and sales. In most cases profits can manipulated to make then look larges or smaller, depending on the fiduciary priorities. This is not ta say that Amazon is not making a bunch of crappy products, only to say that many people take an extremely simplistic and gullible view of statements such as these.

Comment: Re:Summary doesn't support headline (Score 1) 306

by fermion (#48255149) Attached to: We Are All Confident Idiots
It called the ability to learn. Many people do not have it. There is no issue with making a bold statement, or trying something at which one is not skilled. I find the issue develops when one is confronted with factual content, or alternative perspectives on more squishy subjects, and one still believes that one's own opinion is the only reasonable opinion. A person who can learn and grow is at least able to acknowledge that they might be wrong. For some people it is just maturity, as in the case of college students. For others it is that they apparently genuinely lack what many would call advanced cognitive skills.

Comment: Re:I don't really see the point. (Score 1) 130

The layout of webpages is more complex. Unlike the Mac, there is no easy way to block animated content. My old iPad hangs on many web pages. For this reason alone, we need a fast processor. Apple is also trying to put the iPad into the laptop space. It is the affordable Apple device, at $1000 fully loaded, often cheaper than the MS Surface.

Comment: Re:Exactly who wants critical thinking skills? (Score 1) 553

by fermion (#48225275) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills
Exactly. Employers want workers who can take direction. As an employee it is beneficial to be able to work around complex situations because this is what keeps us from being replaced by machines. It is not really a skill that the employers wants, or wants to pay for, but just a necessary skill for a worker who wants to keep their job.

This reminds me of writing. Employers have been complaining about writing for as long as I can remember, at least 30 years. Even in engineering school we were told that we had to learn to write. In high school we did have technical writing, but how much time was spent teaching accurate context free writing college? None, even though professors would tell us that employers were demanding the universities teach writing. Everyone says they want it, but not enough to pay for it. Those with critical thinking skills and writing skills will rise, and those that don't will muddle through and probably go into management.

Comment: Queue theory in an profit driven world (Score 1) 342

by fermion (#48188293) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man
As mentioned before, this problem has largely been solved. The constraints are not just waiting time, and waiting time is often the least of anyone problems. The elevator waiting time problem can, for example, be solved more efficiently with mirrors than by building more elevators. Waiting for a telephone operator is solved more efficiently with estimating time for wait and music than adding operators. So the question becomes is the line a problem to be solved, or only an issue for the stressed out suits who visit.

First, it is arguable that at a a place like burning man which is allegedly a social event, the act of waiting in line is not in fact part of the stated purpose. I mean, where else do you get an opportunity to meet random like minded people. It is why waiting in line at whole foods is not big deal. It is really party time. Only overly introverted judgmental people get all stressed over it. If one is laid back and enjoying the groove, who cares?

Likewise it is reasonable to ask whether profits would increase with more ice. The writeup postulates that there is a fixed costs to bringing in ice and that profit increases linearly for more ice sold. If this were true, then there would be more than three distribution points. So what is probably going on here is that paying people to drive and sell the ice would cost more than the profits to sell the ice if more trucks were brought in. Probably three trucks of ice is probably what is sold, and through most of the day the wait time is not an hour. Wait time would probably be reduced more by people choosing a different time to buy ice. It would probably be beneficial to track wait times during the day and see if it would be possible to even out the flow of people. If more ice is needed than is supplied, then add another truck and increase if necessary.

Finally we have the cute idea of the volunteer. In the case of price gouging the last thing one want is an untrusted person dealing with the product. You might as well ask the drug dealers to have volunteers distribute the H. The marginal cost of a bag of ice is minimal, but the bags must be sold to cover the costs. If the situation is as dire as the poster suggests, there would be a large incentive for the volunteer to steal ice. Maybe each volunteer works an hour, and then thinks they are entitled to a couple free bags of ice. At minimum wage, the firm is not making any bargains off the situation.

I know how these festivals go, and roughing it is hard, but that is why we were given granola, and way clavier is not suitable for every occasion.

Comment: Re:Too many discrite components (Score 1) 158

And each solder joint is a failure waiting to happen in the vibration rich atmosphere of a car.

I am not sure what the fascination over high component count. Does that mean all we have to do is make the next music player out of a million discrete 74xx IC and we will get a write up saying how good our product is?

This to me is beyond a small product run. It is a prototype designed over a weekend.

Comment: Re:Straw Man (Score 1) 622

by fermion (#48133067) Attached to: The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers
I am not blaming anyone for having something stolen. If you leave you laptop locked to a table in Starbucks, and come back from the bathroom 10 minutes later, it is not you fault that the laptop is stolen. You can report the theft to the cops, and it will be investigated. What you do not have the right to do is throw a temper tantrum and hold everyone in the coffee shop hostage until the laptop is returned and then sue the workers for allowing the laptop to be stolen. Yes, this exaggerates what is going on here, but really we all take risks and have to understand that those risks have consequences and we cannot protect everyone from the consequences of all risks.

I do not see that posting nude pictures of yourself on the cloud has equal expectation of security of walking alone at night or getting drunk at a party. If some people think that pointing out that the cloud is insecure is bashing the victim, then I suppose running educational campaigns where we tell people not to accept drinks from stangers at bars where the drink might by have date rape drugs in it is attacking the victim. It is not. All these cases must be prosecuted, but prevention and education is also important.

And this is where what some of what is going on here makes sense. Some people think they have a right to do whatever they want, even if it is illegal, as long as they don't get caught. We should talk about thing that are wrong to do, not because of a punishment, but because of right and wrong.

Comment: false positives (Score 0) 265

by fermion (#48132139) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?
An aggressive spam filter, like what might be in place in a corporate server, is going to prevent a lot of legitimate email. The mail at my work is so aggressive that I do no have anything sent to it. The Apple client, is also aggressive. So aggressive that I just have it mark spam because it will mark perfectly innocent mail as spam. Google has the additional problem is that it is advertiser funded. It cannot just mark all advertisement as spam, which is what most of us want, and still remain in business.

Comment: Re:The brightest people don't go into CS anymore, (Score 1) 144

I would be pretty to think that kids think that way. If that were the case, we would see more people taking classes like that. One of the purposes of the AP Exam is to get kids exposure in high school, possible credit for college, so they can go on and do what they really want to do. So someone taking an AP Literature exam is looking to get credit for the class and either take a more advanced core credit or maybe complete all the English core. Computer Science, as opposed to secretarial skills, are going to become increasingly important to any field. Anyone who wants to be a lawyer, a field that is going to be largely gone, at least at the high pay, in 30 years, would be well advised to take such a course, and really all hard science courses, if they want to pass the entrance exam. Speaking of that, there are efforts in the way to get kids at least into a two year college, but most are likeley to need remedial course, so they spend their first year paying for non-credit non-scholarship qualified classes. it is a problem. AP CS reteaches a lot of the math and application that were not learned in other classes.

And this is my problem. There is nothing in AP CS that I would need for my time in engineering programming computers to solve problems. I think that the class is somewhat irrelevant to someone who want to pursue CS because most hopefully already have the basic skills taught in the class by the time they are a senior.

One real issue is people who can teach is class. It was only 35 years ago that I was sat down on a computer and taught to write basic programming. It will take time for the pipeline to fill with qualified teachers. One hopeful sign is that we have a lot more introductory engineering classes than when I was high school, made possible because we have been cranking out engineers in this country since the end of WWII. So in another 20 years, we might have CS teachers.

Comment: The rules are the problem (Score 2) 101

by fermion (#48122023) Attached to: More Details On The 3rd-Party Apps That Led to Snapchat Leaks
Collecting personal information on users is the status quo. All backends, be it google, apple, ms, collect information on users. It is how they make money and 'improve the product'. So instead of being in a position where everyone can agree that private information is private, we live in a world where we have to really work to understand what information is private, and what isn't. We see this with law enforcement and text messages. Most would say they are private, but law enforcement says they are public information. It is a small jump from text messages to photo sent to another person. If information collection were not the norm for everyone, then perhaps we could be upset that private information is being collected. But the web site provides a service, and of course it is going to take it's cut, in the forms of saving photos, for providing that service.

This is the way the web works. Service in exchange for private information. If it were 2000 it might be surprising. But it is not. And most everyone who is using snapchat has grown up in a world where such is standard mode of operation.

Comment: Re:Inaccurate headline (Score 1) 239

by fermion (#48115597) Attached to: Where Intel Processors Fail At Math (Again)
The headline is accurate. For instance, if you have a student calculate a value and they give you 10 decimal places, and only four decimal places are correct, then that student has failed at math. The most fundamental error one can make when reporting values in math is reporting more accuracy than is justified by the computational method. The Intel manual says the all digits reported, except for the last, is accurate. Since this is not the case, Intel has failed at math. Even with the change in the manual, if the chip continues to report inaccurate digits, Intel is still failing at math. The only difference now is that Intel admits that it is failing, which is one step forward. To use you analogy, the NFL is not guaranteeing that the actual ten yards have been met. All they are saying is the displacement is sufficient to justify the nominal requirements for a first down. The do not , for instance, say that a play needs 3 yards, 1 foot, 6 inches, and 13 mils to reach a first down. But Intel does pretend it know the down to that level of accuracy.

Comment: Re:Read speed limit signs (Score 1) 283

by fermion (#48112933) Attached to: Tesla Announces Dual Motors, 'Autopilot' For the Model S
If a car is self driving, then having some knowledge of the speed limit is good. If not, having the car limit travel based on speed limit is a very bad idea. For instance, those signs that read and display speed of oncoming cars in real time have some uses, but also have significant negative effects. They tend to encourage drivers to travel at maximum speed, which creates a jumble of cars and can at times encourage unsafe speeds. There used to be a lot of more of these around, but now I notice they are gone except in a few places. On the freeway, of course, one has to travel at prevalent speeds, and it is often necessary to get out of situations where there are dangerous vehicles.I can see myself getting kill because I not allowed to breifly accelerate to high speeds to get away from a oil truck.

Comment: cheap labor (Score 2) 236

by fermion (#48102025) Attached to: Outsourced Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Being Automated
When I was growing up, my relatives had a washer and dryer, but when they broke they went back to having the in house staff wash clothes on the outdoor basin and hang out to dry. It was simply cheaper to do that. Other relatives simply had the people next door wash by hand because it was way cheaper than using a machine. Now labor is more expensive, and machines are cheaper, so most people have machines do the washing. Mostly it is because machines are cheap and a new generation thinks that using machines is cooler than paying someone.

It reminds me of this poster. If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.