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

by m00sh (#49132405) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Senior Director Matt Keller About the Global Learning XPRIZE

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

by m00sh (#49130417) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Senior Director Matt Keller About the Global Learning XPRIZE

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

by m00sh (#49052625) Attached to: Apple Hiring Automotive Experts

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

by m00sh (#48961521) Attached to: What Happens When the "Sharing Economy" Meets Higher Education

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

by m00sh (#48960243) Attached to: What Happens When the "Sharing Economy" Meets Higher Education

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

...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

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.

Comment: Re:Don't mess with my jetset lifestyle (Score 1) 232

by m00sh (#48720521) Attached to: Aircraft Responsible For 2.5% of Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions

The cool thing about economics, however, is that there is enormous economic demand to do so. This means if we can put an emissions tax on airlines, there is an incredible incentive to make technological advances that significantly decrease emissions. When that happens, we will still be able to meet demand for relatively low cost.

The cool thing about governments is that they can post emissions standards or face fines, non-renewal of licenses. Then, there is an incredible incentive to make technological advances that significantly decrease emissions.

Anyways, with cars, manufacturers are required to meet emissions standards. Then, in some states, owners are also required to maintain the vehicle to the emissions standards.

When the oil prices went up, it was effectively a tax on emissions. However, did we see "technological advances"? Nope. Many airlines went bankrupt and had to be bailed out.

Comment: Re:Getter by better if you have skills... (Score 1) 174

by m00sh (#48715125) Attached to: Hunting For a Tech Job In 2015

The only people we hire now have relevant experience and skills in our very specific field, and experience commensurate for the position we are posting. We have sadly given up on new graduates; they are too flakey, having never held an actual job before, and needing substantial training to get to a point where they can generate revenue... and leave. Now is a great time for people that graduated around 2010, found a job in their field at terrible pay, and are now ready for an actual career.

This is not true.

I know recruiters and they love hiring new graduates. New graduates need jobs, experienced engineers already have jobs.

Training does not take long at all. Revenue generation isn't a factor since there is not even a way to measure how someone directly generated revenue when hundreds of people work on a single product.

Comment: Environmental Factors? (Score 4, Informative) 180

by m00sh (#48714141) Attached to: 65% of Cancers Caused by Bad Luck, Not Genetics or Environment
The summary says,

The correlation between these parameters suggests that two-thirds of the difference in cancer risk among various tissue types can be blamed on random, or 'stochastic,' mutations in DNA occurring during stem-cell division, and only one-third on hereditary or environmental factors like smoking, the researchers conclude.

The article says,

By “chance” Tomasetti meant the roll of the dice that each cell division represents, leaving aside the influence of deleterious genes or environmental factors such as smoking or exposure to radiation.

The summary says 1/3 has smoking and environmental effects, while the article says the 1/3 doesn't have smoking and environmental effects.

Lately, slashdot summaries have gotten worse and worse and completely change what is being claimed.

Comment: Re:I am by no means a fan of Comcast... (Score 1) 291

by m00sh (#48561583) Attached to: Comcast Sued For Turning Home Wi-Fi Routers Into Public Hotspots

... but their Xfinity Wifi Hotspot program, if implemented correctly, shouldn't cause customers any real harm.

What I believe happens is that your modem gets virtualized into two modems/routers. Cable Internet is already based on shared broadcast signals, so in terms of bandwidth it should be identical to adding a second, mostly inactive cable modem somewhere in your neighborhood. Since the 2nd modem is virtualized, it should not affect your transfer rates or bandwidth quotas.

This second modem is connected to a second, virtual router, with its own SSID. Unless there's a vulnerability in the router (which is possible), users of the Xfinity Wifi Hotspot should not be able to access your network, use your IP address, etc.

Available bandwidth could conceivably be reduced, due to more packets in the air, but WiFi is already unregulated and subject to additional interference. Increased load on the modem/router could theoretically reduce your bandwidth as well, although probably not by any noticeable amount.

The best claim is based on increased electricity usage. However, the additional energy needed is probably negligible. Here is a link to a blog post about the increased electricity costs, where they conclude it's about $8 per year in the mid-Atlantic area -- if it's being used. Comcast could give everyone a $1/mo credit for enabling the Xfinity WiFi Hotspot, completely eliminating the issue.

The problem is that they are enabling it without consent.

Comcast should give a large discount to incentiveize people in enabling them. Since they are Comcast, they just said fuck you and turned it on to rake in the sweet sweet profit.

Comment: Re:This! (Score 1) 84

by m00sh (#48399385) Attached to: Billionaire Donors Lavish Millions On Crowdfunding Project

There is a great portion of my favorite book on Political thought regarding wages and the Artisan. Socrates points out that once a person in society receives ample money for a project they no longer have incentive to do future work. Socrates continues stating that this is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that the person with the wealth is now free to meddle in the affairs of everybody else in society. That meddling is almost never in societies interests, but that person or the person's close friends and associates, so that they gain further control of society and have more stuff than everyone else.

That book in case you are interested is Plato's "The Republic".

The whole "everyone should code" argument is foolish. Society needs plumbers, welders, architects, accountants, doctors, physicists, line workers, and every other job there is. As society has demand for jobs the wages should go up, which draws people into the needed jobs. Since coders are in demand and receive good wages for their work, it seems at least some of this push is to artificially reduce the wages by flooding the market. And lets face it, there are not a whole lot of decent paying middle class jobs left in the US any longer.

Human societies are now billions of people. Even millions of dollars are just a drop in the sea. There is absolutely no way anyone can know what that drop is good or bad for society. Is the projected funded by a billionaire for his interests more detrimental than a project sanctioned by a government official using taxpayer money?

By the same logic of not everyone should code, then everyone shouldn't need to read and write, do math, learn science? Every scientist now learns to code; engineers code, physicists code, biologists code. Why shouldn't the average person code?

Comment: Re:Yes yes yes (Score 1) 405

Everyone I worked with 15 years ago as an engineer is now in management. What are they managing? Where is this productivity I keep hearing about?

Good engineers quickly outgrow what they themselves alone are capable of to their visions of what is possible. Management is the only way you can get hundreds of engineers to realize your vision.

Comment: Re:You have to have a car payment to drive? (Score 2) 907

by m00sh (#47994665) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

Strange. I've owned a car (several of them, actually) for a couple of decades and I never made a payment other than the first one I used to buy the car. I've also never paid over $3000 for a car. Something about learning to maintain it yourself and not having much money. Also something about how true ownership beats the pants off someone else having control of my stuff.

Guess as you get paid more, you gather this strange belief that everyone does the same crazy dumb shit that you're doing.

Cars are cash items due to severe depreciation and high maintenance costs. Can't afford to buy it cash? Don't. If you have under $1000 cash (the minimum I find drivable cars selling for) the last thing you need are payments! And if you need it for a job, make sure you pay the car off within a month or two (there's plenty of $2000 jalopies you can pick up at the various fleece-me-blind no-credit car lots that should be priced at $1000 cash).

If you buy a used car, it will run into problems. If you go to a mechanic with even the smallest of problems, they will quote you $500. If you ignore the problem, it will get worse and worse until it is unsafe to drive or the car simply doesn't start at all.

Learning to maintain a car isn't that hard but you can't do it on your apartment parking lot.

Comment: Re:Way to compare apples to light bulbs (Score 0) 200

by m00sh (#47992943) Attached to: Why India's Mars Probe Was So Cheap

The article spells out the differences - the India probe took longer, weighed less, has fewer experiments, and probably won't last long. Meanwhile the NASA probe got there quickly, weighs 4 times more, has twice the number of experiments, and can serve as a communication relay for probes on the ground.

I can drive across country in a $5000 car, a $50,000 car, or a $500,000 truck. Each of them have different purposes and will get you there in different ways. To say NASA needs to only use the $5000 car isn't in our long term interest.

Or maybe, just maybe, they innovated and solved key problems to make ti cheaper.

But we can't have that, can we? American steel is stronger than Indian steel.

Let's just give credit where it's due and learn from their success. We can't put our noses up and say our space program is a 2015 Cadillac Escalade whereas yours is a 1999 Honda Accord.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.