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Comment: What does "readily available" mean? (Score 1) 398

by gwolf (#48547817) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

If I were to get a H1B visa, I might want to do the work you currently do for a much lower wage than yours (since I come from an allegedly poor country or something like that). So, is getting a PHP newbie developer who was born in the USA and charges US$100K a year, or getting a good, talented programmer who will do the same work for US$60K a year... Is on the same level only because they will fill the same job position?

(I live in Mexico, and am *not* interested in living in the USA. I have a ~US$25K yearly salary, and live quite well off it. But many colleagues have migrated to the USA, just because of that salary difference)

Comment: Re:H1-B debate? (Score 1) 398

by gwolf (#48547777) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

Right. You want to live in a free-market economy? Then people like you and me become part of the market. And, it's not like getting a H1-B visa is that simple: For a non-USian, only being quite qualified and skilled can get you a work-enabling visa. Of course, were I to get a visa to work on the US, I would probably be a cheaper hire than you — So, for (supposed) equal skills, I'd be more valuable.

So, if you push for a free market and reduced state, you'd be pushing for me to be hired over you.

Comment: And the IT angle? (Score 1) 398

by gwolf (#48547741) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

Yes, we tend all to think that things that happen to us are related to the IT industry. However, nothing in "the H1-B debate" restricts this issue you mention to the IT sector.

This issue is not even related to immigration — If a company prefers to hire me to do $foobar because I'm better and cheaper for the job than the guy who did it before me, the company will do its best not to get bad press. It might include paying him a bit extra so you leave happy, or adding judicial clauses to shut his mouth up.

Of course, specific cases can be mentioned to say "hey, this is a specific issue for us techies and it involves them non-USians!". But it's the way things have always worked.

Comment: Re: You can often Google them (Score 2) 97

by gwolf (#48505619) Attached to: Nature Makes All Articles Free To View

Yes, but that is far from enough.
What about authors who have passed away? Whom should I write to?
What about wnriching the globally available corpus of available knowledge? For the things I have written, I often grab tens to hundreds of articles, read a couple of paragraphs, and just casually filter them out. If it requires me begging to a third person, including the knowledge vested in that paper will not cross my mind – Unless, of course, somebody strongly points me at it.
What about long-term archival? What if said author lost his files in a hard drive crash last year? Freely accessible knowledge is lost for good?
Of course, it's better than having the journal as the only source for the knowledge (and them denying it), but it's not enough.

Comment: Re:Finland will save money on napkins (Score 3, Interesting) 523

by gwolf (#48487309) Attached to: Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

In Mexico City, at the end of the primary school, ~1988, we did learn how to extract square roots (and covered the basis for "higher" roots). Of course, it was not something we used since; in secondary school we went on with algebra, and didn't do much more pure arithmetics since. But square roots are useful to at least estimate without computers.

Comment: Re:yes (Score 1) 330

by gwolf (#48442635) Attached to: Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

I cannot understand why such a setup isn't more common. My workstation has two monitors: One of them in portrait (900x1440) and the second in landscape (1900x1080). I mostly use the portrait one to write texts and browse the Web. The landscape one is where I usually code or sysadmin from. And, of course, other stuff finds its place in different ways.

Comment: Re:Or just practicing for an actual job (Score 3, Insightful) 320

by gwolf (#48368865) Attached to: Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

Of course. But when doing a course on data structures, kids are expected to develop the skills needed to write pieces of code that might seem trivial to you — But in practice are the result of tens of years of work. I quite enjoy reading 1960s computer science papers precisely because of that.

I teach Operating Systems. My course depends on Algorithms and Data Structures. Believe me, even though the students just finished the course mentioned in this note (of course, in a different university, different country even), it is obvious in their assignments they have not yet interiorized many of the things they are supposed to have learnt. I could probably fill a book explaining the different implementations of lists or trees I have seen, or the myriads of antipatterns I read on a regular basis. And that's what university is for.

In "real" works, of course, they can answer open-book to all exam^Wsituations. They can copy code from teh intarwebz. They can compare code. But first, they have to understand and interiorize the concepts.

Comment: Re:Or just practicing for an actual job (Score 1) 320

by gwolf (#48368793) Attached to: Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

Legal issues make clear the splitting point of that hair.

Using that exact library means you include it from your project source and acknowledge it as a complete piece of work. If your work is developed openly, you usually list it as a dependency (and acknowledge the authors — And get the ability to link to updated versions. Free updates, yay!) or hard-include it in your tree (but still acknowledging authorship); if it is developed in a closed model, you can either do it or not, but if $boss comes to ask why every time a frobnicator is quuxed you get shizzles, you can point to an outside-acquired code.

If you just copy-pasted a funciton as yours, there are many negative side effects. Besides, of course, opening yourself to lawsuits and whatnot.

Comment: Re:There are different workloads, duh. (Score 1) 181

by gwolf (#48347939) Attached to: There's No Such Thing As a General-Purpose Processor

Even if your 3GHz 4 cores have a decent amount of cache and can perform their computations without going down the memory bus bottleneck? Remember, the bottleneck would be even worse, because you didn't mention the memory would be twice as fast as well. And, of course, the rest of the buses and peripherials would also be affected, so all waits for memory and for external I/O would, for become effectivly doubly as expensive, as seen by the processors.

Of course, you could say that it'd be nice to have all of the computer's components continue increasing in speed. Well, that'd bring another problem: Motherboard sizes. Because at 6GHz, light speed becomes a limit as well: If, speaking in round numbers, light travels ~300,000,000 meters per second, then it takes 3.33x10^-9 seconds for it to travel one meter. At 6GHz, light travels 50cm per clock cycle. I know I'm comparing apples and oranges here, as electrons don't "move" along the wire, but still — Signals will only travel fractions of that distance on an electronic circuit.

Yes, it could be easier to keep both cores happily going along without programmers having to learn to master concurrency. But we are hitting physical barriers, They do not give way easily.

Comment: Re:DebianNoob (Score 5, Informative) 450

by gwolf (#48341927) Attached to: Joey Hess Resigns From Debian

Of course, you don't know Joey Hess. Being one of the most equanimous, quiet hard-working, involved-everywhere guys I have had the privilege to work with (I am a DD since 2003, and Joey has been one of my role models in the project... Of course, even if our skillsets are quite different) He is not quitting because of "not getting his way".

Comment: Not necessarily infected (Score 3, Informative) 16

by gwolf (#48334451) Attached to: Informational Wi-Fi Traffic As a Covert Communication Channel For Malware

If you want to smuggle data out of a well-guarded network perimeter, you can use one or several covert channel techniques. You seem to send out innocent traffic, but secrets are encoded in it. So, in a sense, the risk is not having an infected computer — But a compromised employee.

Covert channels are useful for future Snowdens. And, of course, they have been proven unavoidable.

Comment: Re:Maybe it's time... (Score 5, Insightful) 331

by gwolf (#48195505) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

Banning firearms will not finish the problem, but will very likely decrease it.

I know that single-account experiences are not statistically important, but anyway, it's not the only time I have heard such an account — And all I know is what I (or my close ones) have lived.

My family in Argentina were robbed at home, at gunpoint. The robbers asked them to hand over (in this order) firearms, jewels and money.

If firearms are harder to come by, they will not be likely to be found in a regular person's home. Of course, the black market will still have them — But the black market will have higher prices for them. Fewer wrongdoers will be able to get their hands on weapons.

If you add to this programs such as one implemented in my city, where the local government asks you to (voluntarly) hand over any guns you have paying for them in more useful goods (such as a computer, or even cash), the amount of guns in the street decreases. That means, the amount of armed people decreases. And the price for individual guns (let alone "specialty" guns, which should just be banned outside of army use) goes up. Everybody wins.

Comment: Re:Maybe it's time... (Score 5, Interesting) 331

by gwolf (#48194567) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

I cannot repeal laws in a country where I am not a citizen. But sadly, the USA blindness on this topic has impacted our lives.

I am Mexican. Believe whatever you want, but during my lifetime, I have not seen a single firearm besides those in control of the security force (and a very old rifle used for hunting, ~25 years ago, in quite a rural setting).

However, our territory is very vast and varied. And you have surely heard we do have violence problem. And you most likely heard about stupid "research" USA programs, such as "Fast and Furious", where guns were *knowingly to the USA authorities* smuggled out of the USA and into Mexico, to help "trace the paths"of the druglords.

Our druglords buy uncontrolled firearms (both "regular" and high-power) in the USA, and use them here. So, yes, I do have basis for complaining on the status quo.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.