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Comment H1B visa reform (Score 4, Insightful) 305 305

The H1B system was created for a specific purpose - very short temporary workers who should become permanent green card holders very quickly. The problem is that it has morphed into a decade long temporary work program that dangles the green card to make the worker work for longer hours and less pay than a green card holder, under the threat of losing it all after being fired.

What really needs to happen is that US and India should sit down and figure this out. Over 60% of the H1B visa users are from India. US should have a special visa program similar to H1B for Indians but without the exploitative nature of it.

And, the reason why H1Bs are cheaper is because the US doesn't want them to go into the general labor pool but exist in their own special labor pool, not competing with the general labor pool. But, this creates a secondary job market and when corporations see the labor price differences between the two job pools, there will be incentive to do what Disney did. So, US should loosen these artificial restrictions that so that everyone is competing on the same level field.

H1B really needs to be revised so that is does not place so much emphasis on "sponsorship". The employer can dangle the sponsorship for years denying raises, promotions and starting with low wages and long hours.

Ideally, there should be generic visa that gives blanket work authorization for a certain period of time (like 3 years) and a path to green card without an employer "sponsorship". When a foreign worker comes to the US, they should be in the same market as everyone else, commanding the same salary, benefits etc. There is too much power with employers right now and so there is exploitation.

Comment Re:High fat? (Score 1) 244 244

This and more.

I have switched to low sugar, low carb, and started working out five times a week, two days of lifting, three days of cardio with running 5K or more on the weekends and managed to lose 40 lbs in 8 weeks. That's over 15% of my body mass.

While the level of insanity that I endured for this is a bit much, I can attest to the fact that the amount of crap we add in American diets is excessive to the point of "we need to stop hurting ourselves"

The biggest guidelines that I have for myself is if it's designed to sit on a shelf for a long time, it's not designed to be consumed and carbs are great, only if you have a plan to burn them off.

Losing weight is not the hardest part.

The hard part is maintaining the weight after you've lost it.

Most people who have lost weight eventually gain it back.

Comment Re:What's the catch? (Score 1) 277 277

I find it hard to trust a company like Microsoft to give away an upgrade (that supposedly improves a thing or two) for free without some catch. Do they guarantee full service and support? Will there never be a subscription fee for any features? Will windows 10 never pester me with any advertisements or force software on me that I don't want? Will all the features remain active indefinitely in the future? Will the new rolling release upgrade schedule never send my PC into some infinite upgrade loop or blue screen of death?

If I had good faith that the answer is "yes" to all of these questions, then I'd upgrade. But I don't have this faith, so I'll rather pass this upgrade until I buy a new machine or until there is some compelling reason to upgrade.

My suspicions are the Windows Store thing.

Kind of like giving Internet Explorer for free back then but free Windows 10 to gain access to the app download market. Microsoft could become Steam + App Store. Plus, this probably would lead to phone and XBox sales as well.

Plus, Windows 10 is a minor upgrade anyways. It is just some minor UI improvements. Plus, moving people from Windows 7 and 8 to free 10 makes it easier to support since they can just tell people to upgrade to 10 if they have a problem.

Comment Re: Such a nice, sugary story.... (Score 1) 614 614

H1Bs instead need to be paid more than the prevailing wage for the position, the theory being that they will therefore not be favoured over Americans.

Here's how it *really* works:

First, realize that the largest two companies who hoover up H1-B visas are... companies HQ'd in India. Infosys and Tata, to be specific, who combined swallow the vast majority of the visas. They in turn offer their 'consultants' to companies like Disney on a contract basis. This in turn means that Disney actually pays way less per head... here's why:

* The contractor status of each H1-B means that Disney no longer has to pay the 401k/insurance/regulatory/etc costs that they would have to pay an employee, thus cutting their base cost per head by roughly half.

* To comply with your assertion (which is correct, BTW), Disney pays Tata/Infosys something like 110% of the typical posted (not actual, but "posted") salary for the job per head, thus fulfilling your requirement, but still saving Disney roughly half the cost per head or more, depending on what they were paying the guy that the H1-B replaced.

* Tata/Infosys in turn pay their 'consultants' a pittance - say 50-70% of what they get - which generates profit for them.

Now you may be thinking that the consultants are victims, but in reality they're not: In return, the H1-B 'consultant' comes here, busts his ass, and tries like Hell to find a means to stay here permanently. He doesn't mind the pittance, because he's after the opportunity to stay on after the contract is up. Failing that, he is still infinitely more marketable job-wise back in India once he returns, so it's all upside for him, in exchange for busting ass here.

Make Disney, Tata, Infosys and the average Indian H1B worker be the villains when the real villain here is the broken immigration system.

The immigration system has been static for decades. It should change to the situations of the economy and adjust accordingly.

H1Bs shouldn't be this long term thing. It should lead to a green card in 6-9 months without the employers being able to hold that up. Problems like these would disappear. H1B would not be a cheap option.

There are complicated quotas, lotterys and queues all over the places with the employers wielding lots of control. It's a total mess right now.

Comment Why bother Steve Albini? (Score 1, Insightful) 189 189

Steve Albini has been a slashdot darling because of his outspoken nature. However, it is all empty BS that is just armchair philosophy. It doesn't look like he's involved in the guts of the music industry to provide real insight but just out there to reflect our outsider slashdot user views.

Copyright is very important. Streaming revenues are based on copyright. Digital downloads are based on copyright.

Also streaming can be as high a quality as needed. I don't know why he think it is supposed to be low quality. It can be higher quality than radio and with 24 bit audio higher quality than CDs.

They are selling billions of tracks through digital downloads, people are listening to billions of songs through streaming services and there are many services that are working on music being aggressively categorized by moods, styles and what not. Cloud management of music library and instant access to the library has been a huge.

The music industry has been ridiculously dynamic and new innovations have changed where music is heading. Maybe great recommender systems that will boost music sales. Maybe super high quality music and services that provide a great music experience are on the way that people will want to build up a huge library.

Saying copyright is not working is wrong.

Comment Re:Hilarious! (Score 1) 220 220

I don't think the SAT is really that useful of a test. However colleges seem to use them for entrance criteria, as a number is easier to evaluate than judging a person on the whole. But if they are willing to cheat on the SAT test to get in, I don't think colleges really want people of such questionable moral caliber to enter the school.

My experience with Chinese students, this isn't too surprising, they are far more willing to cheat, than take the consequences of getting a low grade. That is why when they show statistics showing where China is succeeding, I really question it, because their culture seems to want to win, with the actual objectives of the grading as not important. A Sr.Year computer science major the student was the curve breaker on the tests. Went to me asking how in C++ can he use decimal numbers (the answer was using the float data type, which we learned about on day 3 in the freshman class, and had used such a data type all threw the program. Made me realize, this student was either cheating technically (threw nefarious methods), or cheating himself (Only test prep, once the test is done, it brand dumps out of the system). Because in anything practical he was useless.

You cannot use floats for decimal numbers since floats are approximate types.

In banking, you would never use float to represent money, which are decimals.

Comment Re:I don't understand the porn industry. (Score 2) 253 253

There is so much free stuff available (so I've heard ;) ), how does anyone make any money with it at all? Who pays for porn with so much free stuff available? Is porn just advertising for the actors who engage in for-hire sex with anyone with adequate funds? Are us poor slobs just enjoying the commercials while the rich guys get the real stuff?

There is so much open source and free software available on the internet. Does anyone even make any money selling software?

There is so much free music. There is so much free movies. So much free news, books, educational material, and so on and so on.

Comment Re:Two sided coin (Score 1) 529 529

I'm 100% against using race or gender as a first pass system for sorting HOWEVER, it's a private school, they can accept who ever they want to. If the government was flipping the bill for post secondary education then the story would be different but the second you are funded by the students, then you can the decision about which students you want to let in . If you really want to fix this issue, you need to conceil the identity of the student down to a numeric identifier.

Harvard takes a lot of government money one way or another.

One is NSF, NIH and other research oriented grants and funds. Those funds are in some ways also designed to develop future scientists and if you're racially biasing against one group, then Harvard would be ineligible to receive any such grants.

I know a poster long time ago said that a lot of money for Harvard comes from the alumni and the race of the people with money do not correspond to the race of the potential student body. Before the immigration reform act in the 60s, non-whites were less preferred as potential immigrants compared to whites. So, the racial distribution of the alumni with money is very different than the racial distribution of the most qualified applicants.

Comment Re:Has this ever worked before? (Score 1) 31 31

Has this ever worked before? Has anyone ever shown that it's possible for children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic? And have they published their results in peer-reviewed journals?

I thought that most of the research found that computers weren't too useful in teaching basic reading, writing and arithmetic, even when students had assistance. Inflating the Software Report Card By TRIP GABRIEL and MATT RICHTEL October 8, 2011 (United States Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse review of 10 major software products for teaching algebra and elementary and middle school math and reading found that 9 “did not have statistically significant effects on test scores.”)

Excellent question.

What is the major problem that limits children from learning from apps now? Most children in the US are glued to the iPad and I'm sure people have tried to create learning apps.

Is it lacking in apps and games, or lacking in content? Or, is it lacking in algorithms or just a charismatic personality for the students to learn from?

Also, how are app/content developers going to test their stuff against children in the developing world or children in general? Are there schools or organizations in place where the app can be tested? In a lot of ways, it would require children psychology for the apps to be engaging to learn, and without testing it in kids and in the third world environment, it would be very effective.

Did OLTP have the impact it was designed to have? I think OLTP kicked off the market for netbooks or whatever they were called back then - cheap small computers with cheap CPU and OSes.

Perhaps this will create an avalance of educational websites and apps. There are sites like Coursra, Udemy etc that do education market that have good content and platform.

Comment Re:teachers ? (Score 1) 31 31

Why can't the kids learn basic reading, writing and arithmetic from regular teachers ?

As it says in the youtube video (, the traditional model of education is not sustainable or scalable for those living in developing countries.

Comment Re:It would be great if google and apple enter ... (Score 4, Interesting) 138 138

The automotive electronics is in terrible shape. The auto engineers do not understand security, their computers have existed without network connections in isolation for a long time. Now data connections are making their way deep into the cars and recently BMW had a security update affecting some 2 million cars. It was apparently communicating to the servers nearly in clear text.

Further the bean counters think the dash space to be some sort of profit center. "They bought our car right? Let us make them pay 200$ for map DVD upgrade, 1800$ for navigational package, ha ha haa, you negotiated 800$ using and Well buddy, I will get that money back, 900$ for mp3 player! ".

Further they are used to product cycles running into decade or more and taking 9 months to admit the ignition switch has a problem and six years to hide it from NTSB. They are not used to software release cycle speeds of once in 8 months or once a year.

They used to do this with car radios and make it impossible to install after market radios. Then SAE defined standard connectors and that market got some real competition. It is high time SAE define user interface API for the common things and allow third parties to come in with custom made tablets to be integrated into the cars. With the 3D printing advances, we could get clean molded plastic brackets that fit almost as good as factory made dash with custom tablets. The market is ripe. Hope two really big companies with good customer base enter and do a serious fight for market share.

Automotive electronics developers would say the same thing about consumer communication protocols. It is a mess that can't guarantee anything for even a simple control setup.

There are plenty of people putting car computers etc in their cars. When manufacturers put in an entertainment system and someone crashes and dies because of something in it, fingers are pointed to the car manufacturers. They always have to worry about SAFETY!

This isn't like a consumer device that if it crashes or freezes, it's not a big deal. If a car software system crashes, people die.

Speaking of GM ignition switch problem, it perhaps affected one person or at most a few and they had to do multi-billion dollar recall. Windows has security holes that affects millions and they just issue a fix whenever they feel like it and just tell the users not to do stupid things. Completely different systems.

Comment Re:Beware the Do vs Teach dilemma (Score 0) 94 94

Wow. You get to miss the point of my post AND show yourself a smart-ass all in one post. Such efficiency!

When I went to college the internet was but a fetus compared to what it is now. And regardless, my classmates were not tasked and paid to teach me something; the guy up front with the diplomas on his wall and the chalk in his hand was. To give a pass to the person who has an assigned responsibility and fails, only to put that responsibility on your buds isn't as clever as you make it sound.

First of all, grow a sense of humor buddy. Don't assume I'm insulting you. I'm replying to your post to add something to what you said.

Anyways, he's not paid to teach you, he's paid to teach the class. If you don't learn anything in the class and you fail, that's not his problem. You and your classmates have a shared goal of learning the material and working together will make the goal easier to attain for both of you.

Anyways you're not in school anymore so this is all just pointless talking.

Comment Re:Beware the Do vs Teach dilemma (Score 1) 94 94

More than half of my engineering curriculum was taught by prolific researchers who couldn't teach worth a damn. I was a tutor through most of college and found myself "reteaching" a lot of the stuff they would teach to others who came looking for help. Not because I was bright, see I struggled to understand the same topics, but I was able to break the topics down in a way that made more sense. Tying "building block" concepts progressively, until the process showed the complete picture, at which point I could teach them to myself for my own understanding, and then to others. That's when I realized good teachers require the whole package of skills; proficiency in their subject and a mind to educate by facilitating the process of connecting concepts.

Sounds like a good place for a free market to open up. What teaching is worth should lean heavily on a feedback/review framework like Amazon's such that people don't end up paying for a class that sucks, by every student's experience, because the professor can't communicate concepts, or communicate at all. Like the time I spent almost weeks trying to figure out what the foreigner in my Space Systems course meant by "papamaaa". By the way, that's "performance".

Let me guess, you didn't do well in the classes and you've found it very convenient to blame the professor's accent for your failures.

Just kidding, LOL.

We're in college, there is the internet. You don't need professors of a skill of a stand up comedian to keep you entertained for 3 hours/week. Don't look at the professor for learning, the most important aspect is your classmates. Take classes with your friends or make new friends. You'll do well, you'll have fun and learn a lot. Just don't expect your professor to be your buddy buddy and guide you through everything.

The professor is the guy you ask why you can't figure something out and he'll tell you in 1 second what you're doing wrong. He's not the resource for keeping you entertained and motivated during class.

Comment Re:If 95% of the best programmers are not in the U (Score 1) 294 294

...then why are virtually all of the most successful tech companies here?

Yes, a few exist outside of the US. Not many.

It's because we have been so far successful in getting the a large chunk of the 95% to move the US.

But, new programmers are being minted everyday and if we don't get there here, they will start creating their own software companies in their own countries. It doesn't take long for a company to start with nothing and become one of the largest company in the world in a decade.

I'm only half serious though. There are enough reasons why the next Google can or can't come from outside the US. Can we confidently say that the next Google will be an American company? Can we do anything about it or just sit and wait?

Comment Re: Exactly this. (Score 3, Interesting) 294 294

If these companies were hiring a cook they would require 3 years experience working on an Ace cooktop, 5-years experience with Acme Food Supply, and be able to demonstrate the restaurant's recipe for their signature meat dish before being considered.

Companies didn't come into existence with their particular toolsets: they learned them, and quickly. Then they refuse to consider hiring anyone who doesn't already know them in depth.

I've seen certain fortune 500 companies advertise software engineering job positions that do not require any experience, do not list any requirements (except high school) and job description is as vague and all-encompassing as desire and ability to write software. That does not make getting that position easier to get.

The biggest unwritten requirement is if you'd want to spend and interact 40+ hours a week with that person. That is why most women programmers no matter how inexperienced will always get hired very easily. Programming ability matters very little when the guy is a weirdo and awkward to deal with.

Not that I'm implying you're a weird or anything, but when a guy walks in the door, people fear for the worst. Until you get to know someone, guys think other guys are creepy or bad. Thus, it is very easy to get a friend hired in your company but if a friend doesn't want to give you the recommendation in his company, that probably means your friend doesn't like you and wouldn't care to work with you.

Despite what Slashdot and their parent Dice would like you to believe, job hunting is largely done through connections. If you are reading job requirements and fuming over not enough experience and what not, you're probably exhausted your contacts. Employers also fear the worst of the applicants coming through random job searchers and will scrutinize them more than if they came through connections.

It is blatantly false that companies will not consider hiring anyone who already doesn't know the tool in depth. The biggest tool to learn is the company software repo, the business and culture of the company which is the least documented. Any commercial tool can be learned in weeks or months since there are thousands of resources on it. Learning the company source code base and all the ways the company works is the hardest part.

My psychology book said that in most cases people make up their minds unconsciously and then go find reasons to justify it. I read somewhere (and it could be completely false) that an interviewer decides to offer a job or not very quickly and spends the rest of the time confirming it. I have found that it's the weird things that get people hired. If they were in the same fraternity, attended the same university or some other commonality. I hate to say it but if a team leader is Chinese, you will find that a lot of junior Chinese developers and this is because ethnicity is a super-obvious observation. Sometimes, entire teams have hidden commonality like an fraternity, an ex-employer or a university.

Anyway, I've been turned away from many jobs that I was qualified for and had the technical skills for. But, if I want to land that job right after an interview, I have to have connections or be a super-charming person. Everyone thinks they are geniuses in their own right but others think differently. The most qualified candidate isn't the one who always gets hired. In the end, in software development, it is the team effort than the individual that matters.

A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"