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Comment: Re:The Need for H-1B Debunked (Score 1) 484

by fhage (#43426885) Attached to: Zuckerberg Lobbies For More Liberal Immigration Policies
I don't believe there's a scarcity. The job market is relatively good here in Boulder CO, but employers are still flooded with applicants. Here's an example from a job posting for a Systems Support Engineer.

Updated 3/19/2013 Due to the high volume of applications, we kindly request that applicants refrain from phoning to inquire about their application status. If we decide to move forward with your application, we will respond within one to two weeks of receiving your resume and cover letter.

My experience as a software engineer in their 50's is I rarely get a response back when I apply via an on-line mechanism. I have great qualifications and lots of experience in current technologies, but rarely get past the initial culling process. Note, I have standing offers for employment and a job that pays well, but my experiments in the last months of actively applying to various companies posting openings shows I'm pretty much SOL in finding new work through any on-line process.

The National Labs here in Boulder are laying off American engineers and giving the work to H1-B recruits. It's much cheaper to hire a PhD scientist from China to write software, than hire a qualified software engineer in the local market. When I worked for NCAR, there were often only 1-3 US citizens on project teams of 10, especially on the DOD related projects. Meanwhile, lots of local STEM grads are waiting tables here in Boulder, for lack of work in their field.

I loved working with the best and brightest from around the world, but now feel bitter and abused. I'd like to see H1-B visa's transferred to the recipient after 90 days of employment. If our National Labs and Tech Industries are really paying above market salaries for H1-B workers, then they won't have to worry about retaining their new recruits. The National Labs and Industry should have to prove they are having trouble finding talent by posting their open positions on a National Job Board for 90 days and documenting the lack of qualified applicants, before a H1-B visa is granted.

Comment: Biometric Authentication (Score 1) 322

by fhage (#42888979) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Belong In a 'Smartwatch'?
I'd like a watch that held my encryption keys and acted as the fob for two-factor authentication. It should ID me for security doors.

It needs to verify that I'm the one wearing it via a heartbeat detector, fingerprint reader and/or DNA verification.

It should have a reverse touch interface to signal alerts and to provide directions without having to look at the screen.

Comment: Re:Training and Visualization (Score 1) 104

by fhage (#39534757) Attached to: Wind Map of US Will Blow You Away
Intuitive feel is not really worth much. The ADDS plot shows wind direction, speed to the nearest 2.5kts, gust speeds, pressure, temperature, and local flight rules. Quantitative things a pilot needs to know. Watch the nice animation, but learn to read the plot symbols.

[rant]As one of the originators of the ADDS web site, and someone with 25+ years writing scientific data visualisation software, I can report that most meteorologists and forecasters are disinterested in this type of presentation. I produced a display which could produce these types of wind plots for NCAR in the early '90s and I never saw anyone but software people look at them. I thought it looked great, but I was mocked for suggesting it might be useful. My tool provides maps overlays, topography, and multi parametric, false colour and contour plots, with all the fancy animation controls. One can select arbitrary multi way-point cross sections of the volumetric data to visualise the atmosphere along a flight path or interesting weather features. Most meteorologists look at a few, low resolution, static 500mb and surface plots from several models, a sounding or two and make their forecast. No fancy tools needed, only plots produced on the supercomputer. In my experience, it was mainly people responsible for producing live watches and warnings or weather enthusiasts that made use of new, modern visualisation tools. It was a joy to produce something for people (GA pilots) who actually appreciated the effort and creativity we put into the site. We got awards (plaques and a tiny cash bonus) and lots of attention for ADDS, but I was still laid off a few years later after 18+ years of service with NCAR. [/rant]

Comment: Shows what PHB's want to pay for software. (Score 3, Insightful) 45

by fhage (#39239481) Attached to: $10,000 Prize For Connecting Businesses With Government Data

6. Intellectual Property Rights: All submissions to the DOC Business Apps Challenge remain the intellectual property of the individuals or organizations that developed them. By registering, consenting to the terms of the challenge, and entering a Submission, however, the Participant agrees that DOC reserves an irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free license to use, copy, distribute to the public, create derivative works from, and publicly display and perform a Submission for a period of one year starting on the date of the announcement of contest winners.

So, for $10k they get bunches of apps which can be distributed royalty-free for a year. If an app is popular, they can change the labels (create derivative works) and continue on. Only 3 developers get any money. Everyone else may have their their app distributed with no compensation.

If you plan on paying off loans or feeding your family by developing software, you should avoid these contests. Leave the submissions to the 9th grade web design classes.

Comment: Dog and Pony Show (Score 1) 140

by fhage (#37567662) Attached to: Boston Dynamics Unveils AlphaDog Quadruped Robot
Seriously. Puns intended.

Nice tech, but some of their claims are a bit of a stretch. It looks like a film demonstrating milestones to a sponsor. It's power comes via en umbilical cable and it rights itself on a level floor using plywood cams to do the roll and stop.

When compared to a donkey or mule, 4 legged robots have a long way to go. I live in Colorado and have done pack trips with animals. Here's what comes to mind:

  • Animals are cheaper and can self replicate.
  • Animals walk almost silently. Anything that stomps can be heard for miles.
  • Animals can run pretty darn fast, and can cut and quickly dodge.
  • Animals auto detect nearby predators and have more sensitive hearing.
  • Animals usually can auto-refuel themselves using locally available materials.
  • Animals can be a real buddy.
  • Animals blend in a bit more in a rural setting.
  • You can eat your buddy if you are starving.

Comment: Re:US health care system (Score 1) 138

by fhage (#37526912) Attached to: Rite Aid Drug Stores Offer Virtual Doc Visits
Yes. This is a great deal for about 100 million people in the US.

Here's why. Many people in the US, like myself, have no health insurance or what is made available to us has a very high annual deductible. ($6000/yr in the case of my insurance). After paying 28 years of premiums as a young healthy adult, as I turn 50, the rules all change and I'm effectively left to my own devices to find health care services. To Illustrate; let's say I've come down with a sinus infection (4th time in my life. - I recognize the symptoms) and I need to get a prescription for an antibiotic. This is a trivial medical problem, that in other countries might involve $10 and 30 minutes. In the US, we have very limited options and the terms and conditions to access specific health services often change annually. First task is to find someone who will treat you given your insurance plan. You may have to travel to the next city to find a doctor who will take your insurance. If you do not have insurance and no cash on hand for one of the for-profit private urgent care clinics, you may only get seen if your life is in immediate danger at an Emergency Clinic. In the case of my insurance plan, which very few providers accept, success is when it only takes 1-3 weeks to get a 20 minute appointment with a doctor you've never seen before in the middle of a work day. Before receiving any treatment for anything, at each new clinic one has to fill out a lengthy health questionnaire (entire life's health history from memory including dates, medications and dosages). The entire last page of the health form is a release that you must initial and sign, allowing all US insurance companies and the US government access to these records. Doctors will not treat you if you do not sign. I've tried. We all know this information can and will be used in the future to deny insurance claims as most individual health insurance plans in the US exclude coverage for "pre-existing conditions". Additionally, failing to document a treatment received 20+ years earlier, for example; acne, on any form may allow the insurance company to deny all coverage when your bills come due because you 'falsified' your application forms. You don't own any of your medical records (seems like "work for hire" to me) and you often can't get them from previous providers without another doctor requesting them. No one in the US really knows if the insurance they pay for actually covers them until the bills hit. "Medical bankruptcy" is common in the US.

Conversely, I'll be able to go down to Rite-Aid, talk for 5 minutes for free to the gate keeper nurse, she determines that you have a simple problem that a prescription can solve and that you can pay for it. The doctor gets on-line, asks you if you are allergic to any medication then she writes a prescription for a nicely profitable brand-name antibiotic and sends it right to the store, ready for pick up in 15 minutes. This visit will likely take no phone calls, one car trip, cost less than $100 out-of-pocket without a loss of a half day at work and treatment beings within the hour. This is how "the best health care system in the world" currently operates.

Comment: The Software is what's Important (Score 1) 478

by fhage (#37431258) Attached to: Maine School District Gives iPad To Every Kindergartner
The FA has no info on what software or media is to be installed. The only thing that make sense to me is they plan on using the tablets primarily as e-books, installing an e-reader and age appropriate books on them. Sending kids home with the entire library collection might actually help some to read more. I doubt the iPads will run anything other than the schools educational apps.

Comment: Re:Opting out of FICA (Score 4, Informative) 250

by fhage (#36824190) Attached to: Hillary Clinton Takes Overseas

You would rather trust it to the government?

Yes. Please ask someone old enough to remember the many, many private pension raids and bankruptcies in the 1960's & 70's. It got so bad the people demanded the government step in and enforce minimal standards and provide for insurance.

Historically, private investment funds were often set up by wealthy people to attract the life's savings of the working class. The market is then manipulated such that the "market makers" (Job Creators :) win at the expense of the common investor. Laws are passed to prevent the manipulation. Yet the problem persists.

How many times has US government social insurance gone bankrupt? I wonder when young people will realize they are being led to slaughter using the soothing drone of FUD on all government.

Comment: Re:Location proves nothing (Score 1) 225

by fhage (#36788490) Attached to: Police Increasingly Looking To Smartphones For Evidence

That's a very bad thing. It's a long standing principle in British and American jurisprudence, all the way back to the 1600s, that juries do not have to justify their verdicts and cannot be held accountable for them.

Too bad this isn't true any more in the US. You can be charged with a crime if you vote to acquit a person and other jurors or the prosecutor doesn't like your politics. This happened to juror Laura Kriho in Colorado in 1997. She was the lone holdout to acquit on a drug possession charge.

"Unable to persuade the other jurors of her view of the evidence, she also used nullification and sentencing consequences arguments. The judge signed contempt of court charges against her two months later." "She was issued the contempt citation for failure to inform the court, without being asked, that she had been arrested as a teenager thirteen years earlier for possession of an illegal substance. She was apparently supposed to have remembered each question asked to all of the preceding jury candidates and, then, at the end of the very long voir dire process, volunteer answers to possible questions she wasn't asked."

If ever called to to a trial as a juror I will inform the judge that I feel compelled to always vote to convict because I don't want to be held in contempt for not answering questions I was not asked, like Laura Kriho in 1997.

"Former juror Dan Cooper testified at Kriho's hearing that he overheard Judge Barnhill tell prosecutor Stanley to "look into this" after Kriho went to her car and returned with a pamphlet advocating jury nullification to give to another juror. The juror gave the pamphlet to Judge Barnhill. Grant says Stanley did "look into it" with the help of Gilpin County Judge Frederic Rodgers who wrote an article this summer for the Judge's Journal about what a judge can do when faced with a jury pool "tainted" with notions of jury nullification."

If you think you have power as a Juror, think again. Laura Kriho was convicted and fined $1200 for attempting jury nullification.

Comment: Re:looks to be suffering from graphic repetition (Score 4, Insightful) 86

by fhage (#36782434) Attached to: Visual Hash Turns Text Or Data Into Abstract Art

Perhaps having the algorithm also add a unique animation sequence would help make these visual representations more identifiable to users. If a flower's rotation suddenly goes from 6 RPM to 60 RPM, that would be a much quicker tipoff that something has changed.

I agree the images seem unremarkable and not very memorable. How about using the hash to walk the space of facial parameters, generating character faces instead of curves.

It's amazing how many Mii's one can recognize and remember. Use 2 different hashes and generate a male, female pair.

Comment: Use a diamond ring saw. (Score 2) 247

by fhage (#36703092) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Safely Saw Up Motherboards?
They are a pretty recent invention and not many people know about them. They are made to cut glass and can cut intricate curved shapes. They use water for cooling the blade and all the debris ends up in the tank. There is no airborne dust at all, and its relatively quiet for a saw. I have one and it's a fantastic tool. You can hold and cut tiny pieces by hand and even run your fingers into the blade without fear, yet it will easily cut cleanly through metal, glass and ceramic. I found a nice demo video of one at (I own a similar ring saw made by Taurus). They are the perfect tool for cleanly and safely cutting circuit boards into artistic forms.
Data Storage

WD, Intel, Corsair, Kingston, Plextor SSDs Collide 56

Posted by timothy
from the will-it-collide dept.
J. Dzhugashvili writes "New SSDs just keep coming out from all corners of the market, and keeping track of all of them isn't the easiest job in the world. Good thing SSD roundups pop up every once in a while. This time, Western Digital's recently launched SiliconEdge Blue solid-state drive has been compared against new entrants from Corsair, Kingston, and Plextor. The newcomers faced off against not just each other, but also Intel's famous X25-M G2, WD's new VelociRaptor VR200M mechanical hard drive, and a plain-old WD Caviar Black 2TB thrown in for good measure. Who came out on top? Priced at about the same level, the WD and Plextor drives each seem to have deal-breaking performance weaknesses. The Kingston drive is more affordable than the rest, but it yielded poor IOMeter results. In the end, the winner appeared to be Corsair's Nova V128, which had similar all-around performance as Intel's 160GB X25-M G2 but with a slightly lower capacity and a more attractive price." Thanks to that summary, you might not need to wade through all 10 of the pages into which the linked article's been split.

Comment: Re:Is it worth it? (Score 1) 260

by fhage (#31106886) Attached to: OpenOffice 3.2 Released

Anyways, I'm a "happy" Microsoft Office user, which doesn't have anything particularly bad to say about it. And yes, I have a legitimate, paid-for Office, so the "but it's free!" argument doesn't quite cut it.

You've already paid for a product, spent the time to install and customize the settings and it does what you need. Why would you even consider using another product unless you're worried that you won't have access to your own documents in the future?

OOffice is worth it for people who don't have lots of money or want to be able to work with their documents decades later when MS is gone. Additionally, OOffice is often better at recovering old or messed up MS Office format documents than current MS products.

13. ... r-q1