Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:We should lobby to break the cable companies (Score 3, Insightful) 535

But they're already there. The maps site says there are a lot of internet services. All but two are "too expensive", but the map site doesn't rate service by cost, just availability.

By that measure, there is 100% gigabit coverage in the united states by virtue of the fact that all you have to do is run your own fiber (or pay someone to do it) to the nearest backbone location, and the owner of that blockhouse will be happy to jack you in (for a gigantic monthly fee). Where there is money, it can and will be done. The only question is how much money.

The point of the FCC regulations is that there should be broadband access for *all* Americans, not just the ones that can afford to lay out $1M in upfront costs and $10k / month... Sites like the broadband finder sites are there for one of two reasons: A political entity trying to demonstrate that they are in fact getting the broadband that they were elected / appointed to create, or by industry leaders wishing to demonstrate why there is no need for further regulation / and or that industry regulation is being met.

I've used that same site, and according to it, there are 7 providers in my area. Of those, two are 4G wireless at $5 / gigabyte, my bill last month would have been $935. 2 are DSL which meet the old definition of broadband at 1.8 Mbit. 1 is Time Warner that offers up to 75 Mbit, but has only ever been able to get 50 working where I am. 1 is Verizon Fios, which cant seem to figure out where my house is (those people are idiots). They would be great for my needs, but cant figure out how to get the signal from their fiber (that runs less than 30 feet from my house), to my house. and 1 is a provider that services a county 20 miles away, The county I live in has over 4,000 residents per sq mile, and I am in one of the more densely populated parts of the county.

The FCC needs to change their measure of availability to include cost / GB, uptime, and cost per Gb. They should only be allowed to say that an area has coverage if it has 99% uptime, 10 Mb, and costs less than $100 / month. reasonable usage (which in this age has to include about 2 hours of netflix / day). I would say that 150GB is not unreasonable usage per month.

Comment: Re:Reminds of of something at a past job (Score 1) 764

by geoskd (#49315897) Attached to: A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy

I wouldn't consider someone who wrote code like that a "superstar". He sounds more like a cowboy coder who couldn't give a shit about code maintenance after he moved on to something else. I would have complained about his shitty naming and if management was too scared to fix such a massive fuckup then you're better off working elsewhere.

Welcome to the world of startups...

People often put up with some god awful shit in exchange for equity...

Comment: Re:People who are offended (Score 1) 764

by geoskd (#49315879) Attached to: A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy

People who are offended by their supervisors sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace can always just quit and go find a different employer... they are free to boycott the company... they are *not* free to to use legal recourse to force such clearly immature persons into behaving as they believe they ought to./

There is a world of difference between an employer / subordinate relationship and a company / consumer relationship. People almost universally have to work to survive. That makes a job a necessary fact of life, not a luxury. Purchasing a fungible good from a specific company is an option. If a company is behaving in a way that makes consumers not want to do business with them, then the market will sort it out. When employers behave that way, it can ruin peoples lives. That is why equal opportunity is the law in spite of the fact that it often directly contradicts the second amendment. You have the right to say or do anything you want. You don’t have the right to force people (through any means) to experience it.

This guy is just spouting off, but nobody is being forced to pay any attention to him. Should he be challenged in court, the court will find on his side because he is not coercing anyone into reading what he is writing. It is the same principle that gives him the right to go to a public place and make obscene statements. So long as he is not targeting an individual, he is free to say what he wishes (might get beat up depending what he says, but he is within his rights to say it). That same behaviour in front of a bunch of employee would get him fired (or arrested).

Comment: Re:Can you please give us a fucking break?? (Score 1) 416

by geoskd (#49273947) Attached to: Politics Is Poisoning NASA's Ability To Do Science

You have just described nearly every politician of consequence. The problem is not that the politicians will lie about anything and everything to get elected, The problem is that the electorate practically demands that their leaders have a bunch of qualities that are contrary to good leadership and good science (Such as always knowing what to do, overwhelming confidence, ability to make snap decisions). These are absolutely opposite of what a good leader should have, and yet, these are the criteria that the average person uses to select their leaders. The simple reality of the matter is that the general population has no business selecting a leader. By allowing them to do so, we endanger our own future. Its the same reason we don't let just anybody fly an airplane. Almost no-one could do it safely without lots of training, but that wouldn't stop every Joe Sixpack from trying it if they could.

Comment: Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Score 1) 107

by geoskd (#49262537) Attached to: Senator: 'Plenty' of Domestic Surveillance We Still Don't Know About

But if you are unable to watch them then democracy itself becomes no more than a marketing exercise.

democracy has never been anything other than a marketing exercise. The moment government comes into being, it is used by those with the power to control those without. The cynic in me suspects that government has no other purpose.

Comment: Re:But if you look at unemployment... EEs beat CS (Score 1) 154

This is only true if your talking about relatively simple tasks. When you have a large, complex software project, often using several different components and languages, yes it's as much art as science. It isn't all just quicksort vs insertion sort and data structures and the like. You learn tricks, and you use them. And sometimes they're language-specific.

I have to agree with the GP on this. There is a process to be followed when designing software. Those "tricks" are the worst kinds of crap you see in modern software. The more clever a piece of code is, the worse it is. That is because all code eventually has to be read and understood by someone, usually doing maintenance, and often under severe time pressure. The more clever your code is, the harder it is for that other person to glean what they need to know from it. In general, it is extremely rare that performance needs outweigh maintenance needs, and your clever tricks are costing the company more than they are saving. That effectively amounts to you failing to provide the best value for your salary that you can.

Before I ever use any programming structure that is abnormal or uncommon, the first question is: Is there a common way to do this, and if so, why am I not using it? Early in my career, the answer to those questions were: yes and because I didn’t know the common way existed. Later in my career, Most times I ask that question, I switch to the common way of doing things.

Comment: Re:The profession is in decline (Score 1) 154

True, you may not need an EE degree. But if you can't draw a K-map and cover glitch cases, just as one example, then you are not qualified to develop programmable logic. While the FPGAs and micros come with a lot built-in, you still have to understand circuit principles when designing the surrounding support components and proper interfacing of signals, ratings, timing specs, etc. We need to understand power consumption in components to best manage it from software. So typically, the requisite skills are taught in EE, computer engineering, or something closely related. Kudos if a CS program teaches that, but I'm not sure if that is consistent.

Exactly. Just because you know enough VHDL to program an FPGA to do what you want does not make you qualified to do so. Mostly any bright programmer could build FPGA or ASIC designs, but where you need the actual Engineering background is in avoiding the gotchas that get many amateurs. Simple things like trying to implement a divider as combinational logic, or skipping a ground plane to reduce the cost of your system. Sometimes you can get away with it, sometimes not. Knowing what the symptoms of inadequate grounding looks like can save you mountains of debugging time. Another amateur mistake is not having bypass caps on all of your supply pins. This can cause intermittent failures that are a royal pain to debug. Probably the biggest killer is not understanding the limitations of I/O on common uControllers. Trying to pull half an amp from a 20mA pin, or trying to use a simple voltage divider circuit on an input pin that has an internal pull resistor. Electrical Engineering is all about the details, and a non EE will take longer to "discover" the details than an EE will.

Comment: Re: Morale of the Story (Score 3, Informative) 217

Maybe that means that their is room for a new kickstart. You invest and get x amount of the company per dollar. So you put in say $100 into a "Kickstarter" and you get .01% of the company. The venture fails and you get write it off on your taxes. It becomes Facebook and you get to retire.

Except that scheme runs afoul of a whole host of rules, and will get you in hot water with the SEC (possibly including jail time)

That very concept has a name: "Initial Public Offering", and the rules surrounding it are complex enough that most companies hire a brokerage house to handle the details.

Comment: Re:Sick (Score 5, Interesting) 301

If I had mod points, I'd have modded you up.

I grew up as the only conservative in a family of upper middle class liberals. It always infuriated me that poor people were constantly getting free stuff, and I bought in to the whole poor people are lazy mentality. Once I graduated, I found myself working in a company that employs a great deal of the bottom of society. (I started there myself thanks to the collapse in '01). I was lucky enough to have a good family watching out for me, and I didn't stay on the bottom long, but I've been there. As a result of my experiences, I have moved much farther left on the spectrum, but I will note a few things here that need to be said.

First, I find far more lazy people in the middle classes than on the bottom or the top. Those on the top work hard because they are driven (this is what gets them to the top). Those on the bottom work hard because they have to in order to survive. They often have no hope, and no future because we have built the system in this country to virtually guarantee their continued failure. Those in the middle have the breathing room to be lazy, and some of them are. Unions historically protect all of their employees equally, which is mostly taken advantage of by the lazy members (definitely not the majority of union members, but a noticeable minority). It is this enabling power of unions that pisses people off about them. Unions need to stop protecting lazy workers. This is critical to their continued support from the rest of society. Unions have to take steps to ensure that their lazy members are compensated equitably to the effort they put in. A stupid lazy union member should not get paid the same as a motivated intelligent union member when all other factors are equal. That trait of unions is pretty much the only real reason anyone is opposed to unions in the first place. All other reasons are essentially window dressing around the real issue.

We need to stop giving money to the poor. They don't need money. What they need is a systematic, comprehensive, plan for how to get them off the bottom. The single biggest factor keeping poor people poor, is the responsibility for children. As noted, often times, a parent finds themselves as the sole caregiver for children, and they are consequently trapped, as the responsibilities of childrearing often conflict with the responsibilities that employers would place upon employees (such as reliable attendance, and schedule flexibility). The simplest solution to the problem would be to do away with welfare and unemployment benefits entirely and replace them with guaranteed services for their dependents such as 50 hours of weekly daycare, Free medical services for dependents, Three daily meals for dependents. All of those services combined would be cheaper than welfare and would provide far more benefit to society. Individuals, when freed from many of the responsibilities of dependent care, would be far more able to work the kinds of schedules that employers want/need. Being only financially responsible for themselves would allow them to choose better paths for their own career advancement (including continuing education), that would otherwise be impossible to manage while being primary caregiver.

Mind you I am not proposing making these options available only to the poor, I am proposing that society provide that level of service for all its citizens as a way to level the playing field for all parties. In the end, it will only help the next generation, when they don't have to grow up seeing their parent(s) trapped in poverty with no hope of escape, and no obvious way that the children can avoid the same fate.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.