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Comment: Re:No H1-Bs for contractors (Score 2) 636

by hibiki_r (#49582985) Attached to: Disney Replaces Longtime IT Staff With H-1B Workers

It'd help in many ways, but it also makes the H1-Bs situation far more precarious. Modern abuse and quotas means almost all H1-Bs come from those nasty companies, but even before that, many people chose contracting firms to handle their immigration because you are far safer from layoffs and such. I remember when I was an H1-B, a long time ago, going direct, and my then employer had round after round of layoffs. The moment I saw the pattern, I had to look for another job IMMEDIATELY, because getting hit by one of those layoffs meant a tiny window to find another employer or leave the country, and that new employer had to file for a visa. Through a contracting firm, a layoff might mean a job change, and maybe not getting paid for a few weeks, but it's far less onerous. This gets even harder when also applying for a green card. It's not uncommon for companies to ask immigrants that they want to sponsor to sign that they have to pay the immigration fees incurred in the green card process if they leave willingly before the green card is done plus one year. When going with direct employment, it also means you cannot run without taking a major financial penalty. And if you are laid off in process, then you better get a job extremely quickly, or your green card process might have to start all over again, and it can take many years.Getting my green card got a big weight off my shoulders.

So your proposed change to the H1-B program sounds like a wonderful idea as long as it comes together with something to minimize the precarious conditions of H1-B workers that easily qualify for green cards, and work in the US for 5, 10 years while they wait for a visa number. This should help American workers too, as the minute one of those workers gets a green card, their job mobility increases, and with it, their negotiation power. I got a 30% raise with my first job change after a green card. In 5 years after the green card, my salary more than doubled.

Having people as temporary workers for a decade? You've got to be kidding me.

Comment: Re:So how long before (Score 1) 181

by hibiki_r (#49457975) Attached to: Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving

The problem of remote control of a car is that you cannot assume it'll happen for good reasons, or by the people that you think. It's the same issue of having an encryption backdoor, theoretically held by "the good guys"

If a vehicle can be controlled remotely, it's because there is some authentication mechanism that allows that to happen. Anyone that steals the keys can remotely control the car. Imagine how much fun kidnapping becomes when you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

Same problem when people talk about blockchain-based DNS. If the only thing protecting something is a digital key, then you have two problems: Making sure the key is not lost, and making sure nobody copies it. Stealing keys becomes more profitable than ever, as there is no more recourse: whatever you were protecting is compromised.

So the question is: Would it be a good idea to let a terrorist or a gang control everyone's car? Because that's the door you are opening the second you let police do it.

Comment: DBAs first? Strange (Score 1) 139

by hibiki_r (#49376137) Attached to: IT Jobs With the Best (and Worst) ROI

Around here, if anything, the DBA job is disappearing: There are a lot less openings, and most are at huge, extremely corporate places that you'd not even want to work for. And even in that world, they are switching to development models that don't need DBAs. So maybe the averages are high because only companies that pay well would even hire DBAs?

They also talk of averages, but not high ends. Around here, a programmer's high end is very high: I make 4x what my employer pays an entry level developer. People realize how much a top developer can get you. DBAs, not so much.

Comment: Re:Crashes (Score 1) 167

by hibiki_r (#49369663) Attached to: At the Track With Formula E, the First e-Racing Series

Comparing the safety of a formula that is weeks old and one that is over 90 years old by comparing total fatalities is laughable.

No driver has died in an actual F1 race/qualifying since 1994. Cars have changed, circuits have been taken off the calendar for safety reasons. Accidents still happen, but it's nonsense to compare the safety of today with how F1 was in the time of Senna or Lauda.

Comment: Re:But, but... (Score 1) 71

by hibiki_r (#49358589) Attached to: US Air Force Overstepped In SpaceX Certification

I've seem time factor heavily in some road construction: St Louis: I-64 roadwork was going to cause havoc on many people's commutes, as it required closing go the most traveled highway on the city. The contracts took into consideration how long it was going to take, offered bonuses for finishing early and severe escalating penalties for delays. It was finished early.

Comment: Re:Check their work or check the summary? (Score 1) 486

by hibiki_r (#49337849) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

It might have helped in this problem, but nowadays, even assembly language is just an abstraction: You might thing you are doing in order operations on 8086, but they are really being translated to out of order operations inside of the processor that will get the same result, but with very different performance. Branch prediction? Nah, we can run the beginning of BOTH branches, and just discard the computation we did not want, because it's actually faster. And don't get me started on the differences between what you tell a video card to do, and what it actually does.

The distance between what we write in practical, end user facing applications and what happens in the hardware is so large nowadays that it's hard to have any real control over what is going on. The best we can do is understand the performance characteristics that we see in the layer right below ours, and hope things don't change too much.

Therefore, the problem with the original paper is that it fails to really explain what we can learn from the experiment. It's not that disk is faster than RAM: That's just ludicrous. But that we really have to have some understanding of the libraries and VMs we use to get anywhere. It'd not be impossible for the JVM to realize the immutable string is being edited in a loop, that there are no references to it that could escape, and then just optimize the whole thing into a string buffer implementation that should be as good as calling the file writer: It just happens to not do said optimization for us. It's happened in Java before: Code that was seen as terrible because it was very slow is not slow anymore, and easier to read than the old school way of optimizing it.

Comment: Re:Downvotes (Score 2) 467

by hibiki_r (#48988669) Attached to: Twitter CEO: "We Suck" At Dealing With Trolls, Vows To Kick Them Out

Downvotes without metamoderation just lead to downvoting mobs. Imagine the whole gamergate fiasco, with large groups of people downvoting each other. It's pretty terrible.

And twitter being so broad, metamoderation is just completely out of the question.

So ultimately, downvoting doesn't scale, and is only something you will like if you are the one with the popular opinions.

Comment: Re:Goodbye college football (Score 3, Interesting) 94

by hibiki_r (#48960233) Attached to: What Happens When the "Sharing Economy" Meets Higher Education

Schools will probably not go away quickly, as there is plenty of value in learning socialization, and kids will not learn that by sitting at home in front of a computer.

Schools are moving towards having some of that kind of learning though. Take, for instance, elementary school math. You have a bunch of kids coming in at K or 1st grade, which have drastically different experience and skill levels. Some kids will barely be able to count to 10, and read small numbers. Others enter K understanding multiplication and division. And yet traditionally, we put them in the same class, and teach them math together.

Now we have computer systems that can throw math exercises and lessons to kids, individualized to their skill level. So when the kindergartener that should be in 4th grade, seems to never miss at counting and number recognition, he just keeps getting more challenging material, until he's quickly doing 4th grade math.

Comment: Re:Radical Left allowed to run a country... (Score 3, Interesting) 328

by hibiki_r (#48917163) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

That article hits the nail in the head. For Europe, this is not about Greece: Their economy is small, and by itself, if they sank nothing would matter. It's what it says to Spain, a country with a general election coming pretty soon, and who has its own new, populist left wing party that runs against corruption and austerity.

The Eurozone can handle anything that happens to Greece. But if Spain decides to ignore the troika, beware.

Comment: Re:Yeah! (Score 1) 514

by hibiki_r (#48883573) Attached to: Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

Have you talked to those H1-Bs? Mist do not want to be in the US temporarily: They want to immigrate permanently, but the best way to permanent residency involves years being an H1-B temp worker.

Under the current immigration regime, removing H1-Bs is pretty much the same as closing down the border for tech people altogether. And if you find that a good idea, I am sure you'd also find it to be a good idea to do the same for doctors, right? If America needs more doctors, people just should pay a lot more for healthcare, until any doctor can expect half a million a year right after residency. I am sure that'd be the best thing for America, right?

Comment: Re:No way! (Score 1) 514

by hibiki_r (#48883483) Attached to: Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

No, what would happen is not that corporations make less money, but that you see actual offshoring grow again.

I am a former H1-B, now permanent resident, soon citizen. Do you really think I'd just not be as good a programmer here and I am back home? The difference is that here I can get paid like Americans do, and back home, I'd be making between half and a quarter of what I make here, probably for a similar corporation.

I had one of those vaunted H1-B transfers, when my first ever employer decided to move all R&D that was being done in the US to Brazil. Some jobs remained in the US, but none of those that a good programmer might want: They hired the cheapest, least experienced American programmers they could get away with for customizations and customer-specific bug fixes, on top of the now Brazilian codebases, and hired all the senior programmers in Brazil. A Brazilian working from Brazil is far cheaper than if he moves to the US and competes with Americans directly, buys in American shops, and pays American taxes.

So instead of getting foreign programmers to compete with Americans in a way that concentrates the talent here, you'd make programming a big growth industry pretty much everywhere else. It might be helpful for a few years, for the experienced American programmers, but like other forms of protectionism, the trend would be negative for programmers in the US.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin (Score 2) 290

by hibiki_r (#48823357) Attached to: Bitcoin Volatility Puts Miners Under Pressure

Speculation, to a point, produces value, as having the prices that best reflect supply and demand is very valuable. We see a lot of that in treasuries: Isn't it incredibly useful to have the best possible guess of what interest rates will look like for the next 10 years? Currency speculation can be just as valuable.

We'd not want an economy that is based on speculation: There's such thing as spending too much on finance. But a world without any currency speculation is a pretty dire one. It's just very hard to imagine it though, as speculation happens naturally.

Comment: Re:Uninterested people aren't worth it (Score 1) 480

by hibiki_r (#48795505) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

It's basic game theory: To be well informed is expensive. The actual utility that we get for voting, and voting for the 'right' guy, is minimal, because most people's votes do not matter, or come even close to mattering. So why spend a lot to get nothing?

Some people that really care about a few issues have little trouble getting informed about said issue cheaply. They just have to forget anything else.

Now, if you have 200 million dollars in net worth, and choosing A vs choosing B will make a sizable difference in said net worth, then not only is voting correctly important enough to be informed, but spending a bunch of money making sure other people vote the same way you do, whether it's best for their interest or not, seems like a very good idea.

So not being well informed at all is an extremely rational decision. It just happens that if everyone does it, equilibrium leads us to a pretty dismal state. To change this, we have to change incentives.

Comment: Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 2) 480

by hibiki_r (#48795409) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

You don't need thugs, you can just purchase votes .Show me that you voted for my candidate, and I will give you $x. You could just hand muffins in exchange for a vote. If it happens in elections for class president, it will happen for elections that actually matter.

You don't even need a big malicious organization to do the vote buying. It can be family members, coworkers, peer pressure. Being unable to prove you voted for someone after the fact is actually a feature. And it's precisely to keep that feature that electronic voting is a terrible idea, as any electronic system that keeps this secrecy is a system that can be easily tampered with.

A triangle which has an angle of 135 degrees is called an obscene triangle.