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Comment: Re:Free market (Score 1) 231

by linuxrocks123 (#47928727) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

I'm firmly in the camp that you can pick up a language in a weekend. I was once given an interview question to implement a hydrocarbon naming application in Ruby. This was a take-home question, btw, I emailed them my answer:

Given a diagram of a hydrocarbon, give its (algorithmically generatable) name. Trivial? Not really. I didn't know Ruby. I didn't know enough organic chemistry to really understand the question. They knew I didn't know either of these things (they asked).

In the span of a week, working about 2 hours a day and keeping them up-to-date on my progress as I went, I researched hydrocarbons, their naming scheme, and Ruby, and implemented a pretty awesome little program that named hydrocarbons. You needed graph theory (which I /did/ know) to do the solution, and the algorithm was, as usual, much more intellectually challenging than the programming language or vagaries of the problem domain. The question would have been a little easier if I'd known the implementation language or the hydrocarbon naming rules beforehand, but not by much.

The only languages worth learning if you don't foresee using them immediately are ones that expand your brain. Those include your first functional language, Prolog, APL, the first language you learn with pointers, and the first assembly language. You should ideally get those in college, although I missed out on Prolog and APL and never did pick them up (ONE of these days...). Perl 6, Ruby, Python, C#, Java, COBOL, FORTRAN, Octave/Matlab, PHP (ugh), Pascal, and other "normal" languages do very little to really expand your cognitive model of programming.

The first functional programming language with garbage collection was released in 1958. The fundamentals of CS change slowly. VERY slowly. It's important to keep up with them when they change. That's not hard, though.

My attitude toward jobs and training is this: I will know the fundamentals, meaning the basic concepts and building blocks in the field. I will remain current with them because I'm working in the field and, even if not, I enjoy doing relevant stuff in my spare time. You get that when you hire me. You also get whatever skills I happen to know because I needed them for something in the past.

You need me to start coding PHP? COBOL? Visual Basic 6? Whitespace? Fine. But you'll have to pay me to flail around for a week or so while I figure a few things out. Languages and libraries are "learned" through memorization. Memorized facts go away when you don't use them. I'm not going to waste my time learning COBOL. I'll forget it before I need it.

Something fundamental changes? I'm on it. Nothing fundamental changes? I'll pick up whatever suits my hobby.

Comment: Re:Free market (Score 1) 231

by linuxrocks123 (#47926341) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

I'm sorry, did you say "four hours a day honing your skills"? Are you nuts? What do you do, learn a new programming language every week and make flash cards to memorize library APIs?

It's hard for me to gauge exactly how much time I spend "honing my skills", because a lot of it mentally falls under "playing" and "cool hobby projects", but I'd guesstimate more like 10 hours a month. If you have a family and your "first loyalty" is to them, spend some time with them on weekends instead of shutting yourself in a room and filling your brain with useless knowledge that 90% of you'll never use and the other 10% you could pick up when you actually had a need for it.

Comment: Sunglasses (Score 1) 129

by linuxrocks123 (#47922347) Attached to: FBI Completes New Face Recognition System

Sunglasses royally fuck up most face detection software. It's even better than putting your hair in front of one eye a la Dr. Blight in Captain Planet. Someone else linked to this, which is another, even better option (once they make them more "stylish" so you won't be drawing attention to yourself by wearing them):

Comment: Re:Helps explain a few things ... (Score 1) 219

by linuxrocks123 (#47921051) Attached to: Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease

Both humans and dogs have had ample opportunity to cross-breed. Dogs' opinions of people are likely to based on the primitive, intuitive brain. I don't know how different their criteria would be. Their main purposes in judging people are probably going to be something like, "Is this person going to feed me, kick me, or kill me or my master?" Hardly conducive to a job interview situation. If you really think the dog is better at judging new hires than yourself or other humans, I suggest you let the dog perform an interview. I would make sure first, though. "You know, that DOG never liked this SOB from the start!" is likely to be subject to some pretty severe confirmation bias if you're not keeping records.

It's pretty easy to experimentally verify this. Whenever you hire someone new, gauge how the dog likes the person, and how you like the person, and write that down in a journal. Six months down the road, go back and see who was right. After a sample size of 20 or so, decide whether to let the dog participate in the interview process. You might want to do this subtly so as not to freak the candidates out, but it would be pretty easy to be, like, "Hey, we have a dog! Doggy, say hi to !" without making it obvious you're getting the dog's opinion for hiring purposes. I'm surprised you haven't done this already. It's important to get as many people's -- er, creatures' -- opinions as possible when hiring someone.

Personally, I'd be pretty pissed if someone passed me over for a job because a dog didn't like me, but unless the dog's being racist or sexist, I wouldn't have a leg to hump or to stand on in a lawsuit. Actually if I somehow found out that happened, I'd probably think some really negative things about the company and be kind of glad. But, hey, don't let broader society stop you. Do the experiments, then go with Dog.

Comment: Re:Helps explain a few things ... (Score 5, Insightful) 219

by linuxrocks123 (#47914953) Attached to: Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease

That's an interesting hypothesis. But I don't buy it, certainly without some scientific testing (versus emotional, speculative anecdotes from people with dogs). Evolution doesn't work like leveling up in a video game. Once a local maximum is reached, further generations have no impact. I would also wager that, while there may have been some selection pressure to "read" a person's immediate emotional state, selection pressure for reading general personalities, etc. was likely much weaker. And, of course, the selection pressure for humans to "read" other humans would have been much, much greater. After all, we have to mate with each other. Dogs don't have to mate with us. They do, however, have to mate with other dogs, and interaction with other dogs probably dominated the selection pressure on dogs' social intuition faculties. So, I would speculate people are likely better judges of people than dogs are.

What probably happened with the schizophrenic people was perhaps they were anxious, because of delusions or whatever, and the dog picked up on that. You probably also did. That you had a single negative interaction with one person your dog didn't like is not an important piece of information, if we're going to go about this scientifically. But, hey, I'm speculating too. Someone would have to research this. How and why, I have no idea. But my speculation can beat up your speculation :P

Comment: Re:Helps explain a few things ... (Score 2) 219

by linuxrocks123 (#47914655) Attached to: Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease

Or your dog could just not like certain people because they smell bad to him. Some schizophrenic people have poor hygiene. Or maybe the dog doesn't like the color of their skin. I met a racist dog once -- it was hilarious :)

In any case, I think it's more likely a coincidence of some sort than the dog peering into someone's soul. Remember, we're the species with orders of magnitude more neurons than everyone else, and dogs are about as smart as small children.

Comment: Re: Then I guess you could say... (Score 4, Interesting) 219

by linuxrocks123 (#47914615) Attached to: Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease

No, he's thinking of multiple personality disorder, which is extremely rare and much different than schizophrenia. It's confused with schizophrenia because of the hallucinatory voices common in schizophrenia, but those "voices" aren't different personalities of the afflicted; they're just hallucinations. Multiple personality disorder is the split personality one -- the person is basically like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, although the personalities don't have to be good/evil or working at cross purposes to each other, and there can be more than two.

Comment: Re:The Nanny State Strikes again! (Score 1) 363

by linuxrocks123 (#47871869) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

I was at a gate to my apartment. Nonresident woman was in front of me, oops, she went to the resident gate instead of the nonresident one. There's a somewhat-hard-to-see U-turn slot for exactly this reason. Instead of using it, she starts backing up. I lay on the horn. She BACKS INTO ME anyway. Fortunately she was going 5mph so no harm mostly although she did scrape off some of my paint.

Sometimes, you wonder how some people survived childhood.

Comment: Re:At home too (Score 1) 185

by linuxrocks123 (#47839033) Attached to: Why Munich Will Stick With Linux

The last time I had any trouble with Intel graphics was with kernel 2.2 on a 700MHz Celeron with an i810. It was right after I first got into Linux, and I needed to compile an external kernel module for it or something. I think I still have the printout of Intel's mini-manual on how to do that somewhere. That computer came with Windows Me; XP might have been too much for it.

Broadcom turned over a new leaf four years ago:

I've never had any problems with touchpads. Don't they just look like USB mice to the OS if you don't take advantage of Synaptics-specific features?

You're right that it's hard for me to put myself in a newbie's shoes at this point. I don't use the same distros as they do and I compile my own kernels (although it's getting harder and harder because the number of configuration options keeps growing), so "easy to set up" isn't something I see on a daily basis. But my experiences with Knoppix, king of hardware auto-configuration, have always been positive and seem to be getting better with time.

Still, thanks for responding. It's interesting to hear other people's experiences with this.

Comment: Re:At home too (Score 1) 185

by linuxrocks123 (#47837855) Attached to: Why Munich Will Stick With Linux

Okay well let's look at this objectively. When installing Linux, what could possibly go wrong? You need support for:

- The CPU, which is x86. No problem there.
- The graphics card, which is one of Intel, AMD/ATI, NVidia, or Via. No issues there. You don't even need proprietary drivers anymore except for games.
- The WiFi card. Because of Android, Linux wireless support is now a given.
- The wired Ethernet card. Hasn't been an issue for over a decade.
- Keyboards and mice. USB or PS/2 and have been since forever.
- Modems. Oh wait. It's 2014, not 1994. Your computer doesn't have a built-in modem. Scratch that one.
- Printers. These could actually still be an issue; I personally ran into a non-supported printer in the past six months. I'd wager maybe a 10-20% chance of a brand new printer not working. If it's older I'd wager 1-3%.

That looks like pretty good odds to me. And Windows isn't better with the printers. With Linux new printers sometimes don't work. With Windows, old printers almost never do.

If you're running into issues with graphics cards, maybe Unity sucks. Well, Unity does suck.

Remember: Silly is a state of Mind, Stupid is a way of Life. -- Dave Butler