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Comment: Re:Donald Knuth (Score 1) 197

by jmcbain (#46443203) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Online, Free Equivalent To a CompSci BS?
Hello, anonymous coward. I would say I know about computer science because I have three degrees in the field, namely BS, MS, and PhD from top-20 US universities. I would also say I know about programming because I've worked at some of the biggest companies in software and online services. I also know how to distinguish between "you're" and "your". Now, regarding your comment, computer science is in general the application of the theory of computation to practical computers and practical applications. There are fields in CS which are purely theoretical, but in general CS applies theory to real computers (e.g. Von Neumann architectures; you should look that up some time when you're not too busy with your HTML and CSS). CS is thus an extremely broad field.

Comment: Re:Donald Knuth (Score 3, Interesting) 197

by jmcbain (#46440899) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Online, Free Equivalent To a CompSci BS?
"Computer Science" is a very broad field covering both theory and programming. Here are some great books:

-- Introduction to Algorithms, 3rd ed., by Cormen, et al. ABSOLUTELY MUST-READ.
-- Computer networking: a top-down approach, by Kurose and Ross. Great book; skips the physical layer.
-- The C Programming Language, by Kernighan and Ritchie. This is the one book you need on programming language pragmatics.
-- Modern Operating Systems, by Tanenbaum.
-- An Introduction to Statistical Learning: with Applications in R, by James, et al. Have not read this machine learning book myself, but the Amazon reviews say it's great.

+ - Samsung preparing Context keylogger, spyware in upcoming Galaxy S phones 1

Submitted by jmcbain
jmcbain (1233044) writes "According to the technology blog The Verge, Samsung is preparing new smartphone software that acts as a keylogger and spyware in their future phones, like the upcoming Galaxy S 5. "Samsung has been developing a service called Context that would collect what a person types, what apps they use, and what data their phone's sensors pick up, and then allow developers to tap into that pool of data to enrich their apps." The article suggests a scenario where "by using Context a video service might be able to automatically display sports videos to someone who frequently searches for sports." Looks similar to the Google Now service, but still scary stuff in the age of the NSA."

Comment: A great American company sold to China (Score 4, Insightful) 172

by jmcbain (#46104803) Attached to: Google Sells Motorola Mobility To Lenovo For $2.91 Billion
Motorola has a distinguished history as a great American company. It was founded in 1928 and outlasted all its electronics contemporaries from that era, including RCA and Dumont. It had a great hit in the Razr (the iPhone before the iPhone). Now Google has sold Motorola to China.

Comment: Re: Google gave 3.5M to keep an engineer from Face (Score 0, Offtopic) 173

by jmcbain (#45962507) Attached to: The Mystery/Myth of the $3 Million Google Engineer
  1. MapReduce has no recursion. It is a programming framework for applying user-defined functions and aggregating results by value.
  2. Further, it is a full working implementation that handles communication, shuffling, and data IO on a distributed, massively-parallel cluster of servers.
  3. No, you are not a super genius, and no, you're not making anywhere close to $3M a year.

Comment: Google gave 3.5M to keep an engineer from Facebook (Score 5, Informative) 173

by jmcbain (#45962107) Attached to: The Mystery/Myth of the $3 Million Google Engineer

I believe the article is accurate. Back in 2010, a senior staff engineer received a pre-IPO offer from Facebook, but Google gave him $3.5M to keep him. I strongly suspect that person from 2010 and this person from this current article are the same, and it's probably Jeff Dean, one of the engineers who created Map-Reduce (which led to Hadoop and all that jazz) and other engineering feats.

In Silicon Valley the salary for principal engineers is well in excess of $170k, and if you're at a company with a healthy stock price, an additional $100K in vesting RSUs per year is definitely not out of the question.

Comment: Java, C#, and JavaScript all have graphics libs (Score 2, Informative) 430

by jmcbain (#45868247) Attached to: Cairo 2D Graphics May Become Part of ISO C++
Java, C#, and JavaScript all have graphics and canvas component libraries. All these libraries render graphics differently on different systems. In the C++ universe, programmers have had to use 3rd-party libs like Qt, so a C++ standard library for graphics is long overdue.

Comment: No student loan debt from grad school (Score 2, Informative) 233

by jmcbain (#45520775) Attached to: Is a Postdoc Worth it?
Graduate students in STEM fields typically do not accumulate student loan debt from grad school. In fact, many STEM U.S. grad students work and get paid as TAs or as RAs (research assistants). From talking to dozens of other CS PhDs, the pay is about 23K/year (which is about what I got). That amount is enough to get by when you're a PhD student.

Comment: Low-salary 95K/year postdoc was well worth it (Score 0, Interesting) 233

by jmcbain (#45520269) Attached to: Is a Postdoc Worth it?
When I graduated with my CS PhD back in the early 2000's, I couldn't find a single job due to some combination of the dot-com bust and my being not ready for industry. I was lucky enough to get a postdoc position with IBM Research. The salary was average (only $95K/year) compared to software engineers, but the experience was great. My manager hid all politics from me, and I wasn't subject to the rigors of performance reviews. Ten years later, I've had a relatively decent career, and having IBM Research on my resume sure does look good.

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.