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Comment: Re:They still don't get it (Score 1) 431

I want to do simple things like switch between tasks

What are you talking about? Android switches between tasks trivially. Android phones have a button similar to the alt+tab on a windows machine which brings up all the active apps and lets you just touch one to switch. It's even easier than using an iphone for switching apps.

Maybe you're using some hacked bloatware version of android? Go buy a nexus.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 4, Insightful) 389

I want Gigabit symmetrical with 1 TB of transfer for $50/mo.. This is absolutely 100% possible with current technology.

Then why don't you start a company that offers that service?

If you can do it profitably, you'll have investors falling all over themselves to give you money, since pretty much everyone will want your service....

I would love to start an ISP. I have the resources to lay fiber through certain municipal areas that aren't well covered. It would take 10 years to start seeing profit, but after that, its almost 100% profit. I would do it in a heartbeat if I could.

But guess what? In our great "free" market that the telcos are trying to protect, I can't. You see, the telecos have convinced (see: bribed) many municipalities into signing deals which prevent any competitor from moving in. Google is attempting to deploy fiber nationwide, but they are forced to first spend insane amounts of money in lobbying themselves in order to be able to do it (they are forced to do other things as well, but this is a big problem). There are big truckloads of money that would dump into infrastructure in a heartbeat. The problem is that no one legally can because of how totally f-ed up the market has become with lobby $$$.

It isn't about money.
The market isn't free. It is a duopoly, and it is corrupt.

Comment: The world is falling apart at the seams (Score 5, Insightful) 170

by melchoir55 (#48973289) Attached to: Study Predicts 9% Drop In Salaries of New CS Grads This Year

Clearly the shortage of tech workers has gotten so bad in the USA that the laws of supply and demand no longer hold true. Cats and dogs are living together, and pigs fly through the air with reckless abandon!

Congress must act to raise the H1B cap even further before it's too late.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 263

The pdf (IMO it shouldn't even do pdf, but should create an html page.) should be an automatic result of wherever they update their menu. There should be no extra steps from their point of view. If you mean the extra step of having to create the workflow process which does it, you're doing that anyway by writing crazy ad-hoc webcam software.

Comment: Re:"They" is us (Score 1) 339

by melchoir55 (#48911979) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

It isn't interesting to compare your wealth with someone in Africa, because people in Africa are not a threat to you. They are incapable of competing with you in any meaningful sense. No, H1B does not introduce pitchfork level competition (taking off rich people's heads).

If you have 77k in assets in your 20s then you're doing well, but you are by no measure wealthy in our society (USA). You're solidly middle class. If you are 40 and are at 77k in assets, you are doing very poorly. I'm talking about wealth gathering here. If that isn't your thing, then the phrase "doing poorly" might not apply. A lot of people have rejected the notion of wealth gathering because they have rightly recognized that they are incapable of achieving it in any meaningful sense. Look at the tiny house movement, for example. These people have decided that sacrificing their happiness for 30 years in exchange for a net worth of around 300k (at best) isn't worth it. In my opinion, they are correct.

Comment: Spoken like someone who forgets how humans work (Score 2) 303

by melchoir55 (#48727655) Attached to: Anthropomorphism and Object Oriented Programming

Humans are bad at abstract logic. Not just bad, but shockingly, horribly bad. It requires many years of teaching to get them to learn how to reason according to logical principles and to avoid logical fallacies. Most people never get there at all.

OOP is a step in the right direction, for some kinds of programming. You don't always need to tell a story about your concept space. Sometimes what you're doing is so simple, and so shortlived, that it doesn't matter. However if you want long term maintainability and something that other people are going to be able to learn as quickly as possible, OOP wins. Consider the following example:

John loves Sally. People like to spend time with others that they love. Does John like spending time with Sally?

If you are human and not deeply mentally impaired, you will quickly answer "yes" to the above question

Symbolic logic:
Derive Q (John likes spending time with Sally)
P (Assertion)
P -> Q (Modus Ponens)

Did you immediately think in your brain the following:
Q (Consequence of premises 1 & 2)

A lot of people who stare at that sequence of symbols will require a few moments to process it. Very few will read it as trivially as they read the English expression, although both expressions communicate the same relationships and information. Why is that? It is because the logical derivation is an abstraction above the English expression (which itself is of course an abstraction of something else). Every level of abstraction adds to how difficult it is for a human to comprehend something. It doesn't mean they can't get it, it means it will take longer (though depending on the person it might mean they can't get it).

Do you want people to be able to read your code in the future? The best chance of them succeeding is to use object oriented programming, and to create a class model that closely resembles what most people intuitively understand as the concept space you are working in.

Humans did not evolve to process information regarding Ps and Qs. They evolved to process information about Johns and Sallys. They are much better at the latter than the former.

Comment: Re:The problems of distance (Score 4, Insightful) 294

My best frontend developer is in Germany (I'm in the bay area). I spend about 2 hours a week interacting with him on a really busy week. 30 minutes to an hour normally. At the beginning of a project, I hand him a wireframe and we go over requirements. He asks me questions if anything is unclear. As the project continues, I check on how he's doing once a week. Sometimes I find he is mildly off course and I set him straight, but it is an uncommon occurrence. The stuff he delivers is mostly great, with a few bugs that usually end up getting ironed out the week after the turn in date.

How do I achieve success with a worker on the other side of the planet?
- I pay him very well. His wage ends up being about $65 usd per hour (which is high for a frontend developer).
- I maintain a professional, but friendly relationship with him. He's a person, not my underling, and not a mere resource.
- I made sure I know what he is good at and interested in. I give him tasks he is either good at or can/wants-to adapt to.
- I don't engage him in communication unless doing so would be productive, though I do respond quickly if he wishes to initiate communication for any reason.

This list should seem blindingly obvious to everyone reading this. "OF COURSE you do these things", you folks are saying. Well, I've found that although everyone agrees on the best methods to engage employees, very few people actually follow that course. Many corporations large and small appear to think there are shortcuts around building a strong employee. There are not. If you think there are, you're a bad manager.

Comment: Re: Exactly this. (Score 5, Insightful) 294

This is the point of view of PHBs who don't understand human behavior at even basic levels. Humans have things like trust, loyalty, nesting instincts, and all the other things that make staying at a company for many years a reasonable expectation. There are software development shops *in the bay area* which have low turnover rates for their staff. Of course, in order to take advantage of those characteristics, you need to the prime them.

You cannot treat people like cogs in a machine and expect them to treat your organization like anything but a machine to draw resources out of until they can find something better. There is a prevailing attitude among people who run software shops that their people are there to be abused and taken advantage of as much as possible. I left one of those organizations early in my career for something much better, and the difference in my own sustained productivity levels really astonished me. I didn't realize how hard I was dragging my feet out of spite, apathy, and god knows what other negative emotions fostered by maximizing the alienation of your workforce.

PHBs think they're killin' it when they hire someone they know is worth 90k and pay them 60k. In fact, that person is probably hanging out until they can find a better job, and because they know they are doing that, they are contributing at the bare minimum level they think is necessary. Since it is impossible to quantify the productivity of an engineer (no matter how much you try to micromanage), this is NEVER a win for the company. And, no, seeing them in their chair for 50 hours a week doesn't mean they're doing more than 20 minutes of work.

Comment: Re:He must enjoy preaching to the choir. (Score 2) 681

by melchoir55 (#48691303) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet

Except he didn't tell them that. He didn't say anything remotely like 'Jesus's birthday is unimportant in the grand scheme of things'. However, for the sake of argument, let's say his tweet does convey that message.

He didn't post his tweet on a Jesus loving forum. He didn't make a press release on fox news. He sent this message *to people who follow him on twitter*. Assuming he actually said "Jesus's birthday is unimportant to the grand scheme of things" (which he didn't) in this forum, he is saying it to a group of people who have signed up to hear whatever random crap comes out of his head. Don't want to hear what astrophysicists think about the universe et al? Don't read their twitter feed!

Your analogy to informing someone on their birthday that they aren't significant is extra ridiculous because Jesus has been dead for quite a while.

Saying Jesus is insignificant would be idiotic. Jesus is significant, and NDT knows that full well. His tweet was pointing that other people are *also* significant. In this case he is referring to Sir Isaac Newton, a man of towering intellect and accomplishment.

+ - US will no longer prosecute medical marijuana users in legal states-> 1

Submitted by melchoir55
melchoir55 (218842) writes "The LA times is reporting that Congress has ended the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana, in states where that behavior is legal. Though the Obama administration already asserted it would not prosecute such offenses, there was the possibility that the next administration would have a different opinion. This position is now codified in law."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 1) 688

by melchoir55 (#48623169) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

" What makes you think this will happen again in the future?

Because it has happened to every human society that has ever existed. Wealth pools, corruption spreads, the wealthy don't read history books and forget that the unwashed masses have way more power than they do, then the wealthy are killed en masse and everything resets.

Revolution is less likely today in the USA because most people in the USA have a pretty comfortable life (even the unemployed people) compared to people in, say, the most recent feudal systems. Despite being less likely, the unwashed masses are unimaginably more dangerous today than they were 200 years ago. Today it doesn't matter how many body guards you have, how sophisticated your body armor is, or how hard you have tried to suppress the people you exploit. It takes one guy and about $500 to present you with a mortal threat that is very likely to beat you.

Comment: IT is a vaccine (Score 1) 241

by melchoir55 (#48585313) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

The situation IT faces has some interesting parallels with that of vaccines, but multiplied to be exponentially worse. An ignorant subset of our society is convinced that vaccines are a Bad Idea. There are a lot of reasons for this we don't need to get into, but similarly to IT, one of the reasons is that vaccines became so ubiquitous and effective that what they save us from has become invisible. These days we are seeing spikes in horrible and preventable diseases because some people have an overriding "out of sight out of mind" component to their cognitive life. The same is true of IT.

IT is critical to any organization. It doesn't matter what organization you're talking about. Efficiency of IT can improve the productivity of every industry. It has permeated them all. I had lunch last week with a nice lady who works in a very large insurance company. This company has a fair number of employees devoted to answering certain kinds of email (negative ones) and a lot of time gets spent forwarding emails to the right person. She was lamenting that there is no way to do that automatically. "There is.." I pointed out, "It is called sentiment analysis and is a branch of NLP. It can probably do what you want with at least 80% accuracy. You would have to hire a computational linguist and pay them 95k a year to make it happen."

And that's the rub. It costs money. People who run large organizations rarely understand technology. That means they need to completely trust the CTO/CIO on every recommendation, because the CEO is entirely unequipped to themselves evaluate any such proposal. It's also the case that large corporations are under the laughably inaccurate opinion that people work harder to make up for being unproductive. That is to say, many think "well it has to get done, they are paid to do it, and it does get done, so why do we need to spend more money on tech"?

The application of technology is nuanced. It is not possible to directly quantify the gains in all circumstances, though the gains could mean an order of magnitude difference in productivity. It doesn't fit easily into a spreadsheet, a sharepoint page, or a powerpoint presentation. Thus, the pointy haired boss will remain impossible to convince.

Comment: Armchair cognitive scientist (Score 4, Insightful) 455

I did philosophy myself as an undergraduate, so I don't want to bash our armchair friend here for doing his best. He is making the classic mistake of making claims about fields he isn't part of. In this case biology, computer science, and cognitive science in general (beyond philosophy).

Regarding the statement "We used 'it' the way we use clocks":
He is mistaking agency for being something that is an end unto itself. This isn't true. Agents commonly use other agents as tools. The mere property of "being used" doesn't dictate whether something is sentient, intelligent, an agent, or whatever. Yeah, we used Watson to play Jeapordy!, but that doesn't mean it isn't smart. Watson is actually way "smarter" than any human in certain ways.

This boils down to what you define as intelligence. In humans, intelligence is a very rough term applied to an enormous pile of features. Processing speed, memory, learning algorithms, response time, and many more features all contribute to what we think of as intelligence. A singularity doesn't need to precisely mirror the way in which a human thinks in order to be a singularity. It just needs to be able to adapt and evolve. I'll be the first to admit we are a long way off from modeling a human consciousness in virtual space. However, existing machine learning and rule based techniques are powerful enough to do some really impressive things (like Watson and Siri). They aren't singularity level, no, but that doesn't make this man's arguments relevant.

Regarding "we can't produce "...machines that exhibit the agency and awareness of an amoeba":
The idea that an ameoba displays intelligence in excess of our current ability to simulate is frankly a little ridiculous. Artificial agents are capable of very complex behavior. They can react to abstract constructs which are inferred about their environment. They can anticipate opponents based on statistical probability and thereby win, on average, more often than even *a human being*. An amoeba is closer in behavioral complexity to a simple chemical reaction than it is a contemporary artificial intelligence.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen