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Comment: Re:Patching.... (Score 2) 294

by ixl (#46777581) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board
In addition to the above two comments, if the policy changes the CAB is instituting impair sysadmin efficiency (and it sounds like they do), then the CAB should be held accountable for the effects of those changes. This means that they should have to find additional funding for additional sysadmins for these servers.

Comment: Re:Why would they do anything else? (Score 1) 673

by ixl (#46715279) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

Or... you know... hire the best person for the job, not set a goal of having a 50/50 distribution?

Makes sense for the employee, but not for the employer; for the same reason that having a football team made up entirely of quarterbacks is a bad idea. A diversity of hiring (not just gender, but age, experience, background, and yes, skin colour) makes for a more diverse team that understands a much larger potential target market. It also has a much broader base of experiences to draw from during planning and decision making. All of this ultimately results in better software and better products.

Comment: Re:Why would they do anything else? (Score 1) 673

by ixl (#46715193) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

There is no intrinsic value in someone's bodily traits that they cannot control, so "male and pale" are irrelevant factors for indoor jobs that aren't physically demanding. Adding vaginas and darker skin (or subtracting the same) has no effect to the ability to write code, create procedure analysis reports, put toothpase tubes in boxes, or use a microscope. Gender parity is flat-out irrelevant from the standpoint of hiring someone in a business to perform specific tasks.

Not even remotely true. The diversity of viewpoints exposed by hiring as broad a variety of people as possible make for better decision making, better analysis, and ultimate better software.

Here's another interesting way to examine it: in "gender-dominated job" arguments, replace "male/female" with "tall/short" and see how the emotions change. Gender naturally being a binary trait only makes it lower-hanging fruit for an "us vs. them" discrimination war, but perhaps there aren't enough short people in tech either! Why aren't we seeing a "more short people in tech initiative?" People are just as likely to be discriminated against for their height as their gender.

Ok, I'll bite. Having a decent variety of people of all heights (from very very tall to quite short) on a team would certainly allow you to design a better shelving system — the diversity of viewpoints allows for a much broader basis for design and accessibility. In this case "viewpoint" is even used literally: when you're 6'3", the top of the fridge is a shelf, and when you're 5'2", the top of the fridge is invisible.

More industry diversity is good, period.

Comment: Re:Why would they do anything else? (Score 1, Troll) 673

by ixl (#46714599) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

Well, I personally think that the people controlling the jar have good business sense, and that gender parity in the IT industry is a good thing. That's probably true on a number of axes: the IT industry is too male, too pale, and too immature.

But whether you agree with that statement or not, I'm pretty sure that we can agree that they didn't set out to encourage more guys to take computer science courses and bungle it really badly.

Comment: Re:Why would they do anything else? (Score 1, Troll) 673

by ixl (#46713599) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

your scenario presupposes that a 50/50 distribution of green and yellow marbles is a valid, just and reasonable goal.

No it doesn't — it presupposes that a 50/50 distribution is the desired goal of whoever is manipulating the jar of marbles. I think it's pretty clear that gender parity is in fact what the people making the incentive want.

If you don't think that is valid, just, or reasonable, you're free not to. You should argue that point with the people funding the incentive. Money is speech, so they're well within their first amendment rights, but maybe you could convince them.

Of course, you haven't provided any arguments at all why a 50/50 distribution of men and woman in the industry isn't a desired goal...

And also, there's the tiny problem that saying "having as many women as men in the IT industry isn't valid, just, or reasonable" does makes you sound like a bit of a dick.

Comment: Why would they do anything else? (Score 0, Flamebait) 673

by ixl (#46712957) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

No, seriously, why would anyone do anything else if the goal is gender parity in the industry?

Let's take gender out of the equation. Say you have a jar full of ten million marbles. 95% are green, 5% are yellow. 10000 marbles are added to the jar every year. Your goal is to make the jar 50% green, 50% yellow, and you can't take any marbles out of the jar. Changing the distribution of marbles added each year to 50/50 will never make the entire jar 50/50. The only way to solve the problem without removing existing marbles from the jar is to raise the distribution of marbles added to more than 50% yellow. Clearly the most effective solution problem is to only add yellow marbles to the jar at all.

Back in the real world: you either need to fire men who don't deserve it, hire equal numbers of men and women and wait a generation or two for enough people to retire, or try to hire more women than men. Because math.

Comment: This is a good thing! (Score 1) 165

by ixl (#33062434) Attached to: Data Storage Capacity Mostly Wasted In Data Center
One of the subtle benefits of the computer revolution is that it gives society the ability to be wasteful. Desktop computers that often aren't at 100% cpu utilization, and (local) networks that rarely see peak usage are also good signs, for the same reason. Hard drive capacities obviously aren't quite there yet, but they're getting closer. This might be yet another sign of the singularity.
Displays

Electrowetting Promises Power-Sipping, Daylight Readable Color Displays 63

Posted by timothy
from the micturation-punishment dept.
Dutch researchers are working on a new application of an old technology that could mean bright color displays that draw much less power than conventional LCDs, according to the BBC. In this application, an instance of a technique known as electrowetting, droplets of colored oil in suspension are the basis for the display's colors; each pixel's color is determined by moving the colored oils with electrical current. A prototype reader from Dutch firm Liquivista is shown in the accompanying video; color magazines with 50-60hz refresh time using this display technology are at least a few years out, though. Significantly, these screens are daylight readable, which makes me wonder how they compare to Pixel-Qi style screens in power draw, brightness, and maximum density.
Open Source

OpenBSD 4.7 Preorders Are Up 191

Posted by timothy
from the so-you're-in-favor-then? dept.
badger.foo writes "The OpenBSD 4.7 pre-orders are up. That means the release is done, sent off to CD production, and snapshots will turn -current again. Order now and you more likely than not will have your CD set, T-shirt or other cool stuff before the official release date. You get the chance to support the most important free software project on the planet, and get your hands on some cool playables and wearables early. The release page is still being filled in, but the changelog has detailed information about the goodies in this release."

Comment: Test Driven Development (Score 1) 477

by ixl (#30343946) Attached to: Defining Useful Coding Practices?
TDD, TDD, and more TDD. If it's too clever to maintain, than it's not testable. When done properly, test driven development functions very well as a guard against that sort of thing. The converse is also true, by the way. If something is very clever, but written in a testable way, than it's likely to be maintainable and easy to read. Even if it's not easy to read, the tests allow it to be refactored into an easy to read form without breaking anything.

Comment: Re:economics and variability (Score 5, Insightful) 210

by ixl (#27570943) Attached to: Computer-Controlled Cargo Sailing Vessels Go Slow, Frugal

Dependable schedules are one reason, the other big reason is that sails interfere with loading and unloading the boat.

Modern shipping extensively uses cargo containers that are rapidly loaded and unloaded using cranes. This advance has drastically lowered the per-unit costs of shipping freight in the last half-century (check out the book "The Box" for more details).

If adding sails makes it difficult to use a crane to unload containers from the deck of a boat (likely, imo), then it would make the per-unit cost of shipping skyrocket.

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