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Comment: Re:Gentrification? (Score 1) 222

by metlin (#46764133) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Your argument is silly because it completely discounts cost of living.

I live in Boston, and rent is just one portion of your expenditure. Taxes, childcare, private schools, parking, and even your average restaurant bill are all significantly higher. This winter, I paid more to shovel after one storm in Boston than my friends did to have someone shovel all winter in Cleveland.

My salary would get me a middle class living in Boston or SFO, a lower middle class living in NYC, and an affluent upper middle class living in most of the midwest.

Blanket statements that anything about X makes you rich (or super rich) is plain ridiculous. Heck, I'm in NYC as I'm typing this and I'm pretty sure you'd get a shoebox for $1500.

Comment: Re:Pretty much true (Score 1) 573

by metlin (#46727271) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

See, the problem with your example is that understanding a particular tech (i.e. Java, C#) != logical thinking. A lot of people are great at understanding how to integrate Spring and Hibernate and muck around with configurations, but suck at logical thinking. A lot of people are great at logical thinking and problem solving, but for the life of them can't (or won't) bother themselves with APIs and the like.

Hire someone who's studying "real" CS (i.e. lots of discrete math, graph theory, data structures etc), engineering, or the hard sciences (math, physics, chemistry etc) and you'll see that unless they studied at no-name college, they can easily solve logical problems.

Comment: Re:Pretty much true (Score 1) 573

by metlin (#46726291) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

On some level, I can't help but think that the article you linked to is full of shit. Or at the very least, a hyperbole.

Computer Science grads and PhDs cannot do basic loops and recursion? Yeah right. Unless they studied at University of Phoenix or DeVry, any school worth its salt will teach you math and computational logic for comp sci degrees.

Is it true for someone who's studied, say, literature, and wants to program? I can see that happening. But the legitimacy of the whole piece is affected when they make blanket statements that the majority of the comp sci grads can't or that people with master's and PhDs in comp sci cannot solve simple problems.

There's no data there other than anecdotes, and I'll dismiss it for the hyperblow that it probably is.

Comment: Apps vs. Media (Score 1) 230

by metlin (#46725259) Attached to: How much do you spend yearly on mobile apps?

I chose $10 - $20 in apps, because it really depends on whether or not a new app captures my attention.

However, I spend much more than that on music and media. Like a song I heard on the radio? Shazam it and buy it. Does someone just remind you of a favorite album from your childhood? Buy it.

Our first baby was born just a few weeks ago, and lately, I've been buying lullabies, nursery rhymes, and similar music/apps.

Given how inexpensive apps are, I am boggled at how many people refuse to spend any money on them.

Comment: Re:Legendary... (Score 1) 232

And setting aside your snark for a minute, the OP's comment was in itself one of arrogance, and not curiosity.

All it would have taken is a single Google search, even if s/he wasn't aware of who Abrash was. Instead, it was a blatant "who the fuck" question, which I responded with a mostly polite (and personal) anecdote.

So, your snark re: signal processing etc. is silly for a few reasons, not the least of which is that Slashdot is a heavily comp sci focused site, with a dedicated section to gaming even.

And btw, my undergraduate thesis was on Spread Spectrum Multiple Access. We actually built *shudder* SSMA hardware at a national lab. Now not only am I knowledgeable in signal processing, I am apparently also more knowledgeable than you in graphics. How does that make you feel?

Comment: Re:Legendary... (Score 2) 232

While you are right about the limited applicability of Abrash's programming techniques, I think it is unfair to reduce his collective contributions to a "book of tricks".

I think the challenge was not merely optimization but also optimization within the limited realm of graphics programming, which had different challenges. You sound like someone who understands the basics needed to successfully optimize hardware and software performance, so I am sure you can appreciate how using a couple of otherwise vacant registers or figuring out the order of correct order of stacks/heaps could play a huge role in performance, at least back in the day.

Abrash's contributions were a combination of old-school tricks (especially his stuff from DDJ), an understanding of graphics programming from an algorithmic standpoint (and how to optimize them within the limitations of the hardware available), and were geared specifically towards optimizing game engines (and corresponding hardware recommendations). Sure, it's not quite the scope and scale of K&R's contributions, but that's like saying Feynman's work pales in comparison to Einstein's and Bohr's, so he was a hack.

Comment: Re:Legendary... (Score 4, Informative) 232

You must be kidding me.

When I was in high school, I discovered Abrash's Zen of Graphics Programming, filled with all kinds of gems. And then, Quake came out and there was his Graphics Programming Black Book.

Between x86 optimization, BSP trees, and assorted C/C++ tricks, Abrash's books were bibles at a time when graphics programming was just taking off.

I remember writing my own ray-tracer and 3d engine based on what I learned in his books.

Then there was his book on Zen of Code Optimization, which was amazing and filled with all kinds of computational optimization techniques for a time when not using a memory register effectively meant your render would stop halfway.

Michael Abrash and John Carmack were legends -- their techniques in optimizing rendering engines and their efforts in making graphics programming accessible to wider audiences were instrumental in enabling high end graphics. In fact, makers of graphics cards were known to design features based on optimization techniques that were used in Quake and other rendering engines.

And there was also something called "demo scene", where people built amazing programming snippets of graphics, media, and art. Between that and Abrash and Carmack's work, graphics got to where we are today.

So, yeah. Your question shows an unfortunate level of ignorance on the origins of the graphics programming industry.

Comment: Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (Score 2) 517


I wish I had mod points to mod you up.

As someone who's in fairly good shape and athletic, I have often wondered why people don't follow this simple dictum. In fact, diet is infinitely more important than exercise. And there's a very good reason it's said that six packs are made in the kitchen.

At the end of the day, someone who eats healthy and does not work out is often in better shape than someone who eats junk and "works out" for half hour a day. Most of those people just use their momentum to do some crazy exercises with piss poor forms, and eat unhealthy crap afterwards because they've worked out (think middle aged man with flabby biceps and a beer gut trying to bench press, when he probably has 30% body fat).

Ultimately, I have found that three things work for me:

1. Tracking what I eat like a hawk to ensure that I eat less than is needed
2. Eating a reasonable amount of protein (usually that entails eating adequate fat and fewer carbs)
3. Working out 3 times a week (2 days of rock climbing + 1 day of full body compound lifts - squats, bench, deads)

You can track your calories and protein on websites like LiveStrong or My Fitness Pal, or you can go old school with a scale and play by ear -- either way, ~3500 calories = 1 lb. Eat more than that, you gain weight. Eat less, you lose weight. Sometimes, you retain water weight and it may take a little while, but as long as you are consistent, you will see results.

Comment: Re:Hi... (Score 5, Insightful) 370

by metlin (#46576465) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

I have met a number of people who are rock solid programmers and have a deep understanding of technologies. People who can program device drivers in their sleep and have implemented a godawful number of systems over the years. People who have licked networking or embedded systems or whatever (take your pick).

Naturally, they assume that CS is the same as IT, and enter CS programs to get a degree.

And then, I have seen them fail miserably as they realize that programming does not equal discrete math, graph theory, or computational complexity. Usually, it's been a while since they've been out of school, so even simple things like Graphics 101 with vector math and basic physics isn't quite a cakewalk. Plus, I have found that they are quite limited by their own experience and biases (mostly because they've had a lifetime to learn bad habits) and find it quite hard to reconcile real world experience with the academia.

You can especially see this with older, more experienced folks in a class teaching, say, Operating Systems, Architecture, Data Structures, or Compiler Design. And it is not necessarily their fault -- their real world experience sometimes does contradict what's recommended in the "ivory tower" world. Networking is often quite the opposite, though -- it is one of those fields where real world experience proves valuable, and the experienced folks learn a little something about the math behind network routing and such.

Honestly, whenever I see someone with experience wanting to study CS, I just recommend that they get a degree in something like MIS simply because it is a way for you to move up, and it is a lot easier -- handing computer science at a later stage in your life is usually significantly harder unless you've been keeping yourself mentally challenged in math and related subjects. You are in a very different place mentally in your early 30s than you are in your late teens.

Comment: Re:I wish I were oppressed (Score 1) 137

by metlin (#46559349) Attached to: Silicon Valley Anti-Poaching Cartel Went Beyond a Few Tech Firms

You're probably not high enough on the totem pole -- my take from reading that article was that the collusion targeted poaching of high-value employees whose loss would hurt the company in question.

Individual contributors, by their very nature, are usually not worth the concern (except in rare cases).

Comment: Re:is it illegal? (Score 1) 137

by metlin (#46558973) Attached to: Silicon Valley Anti-Poaching Cartel Went Beyond a Few Tech Firms

I think there may be two elements to it -- one is the criminal aspect (i.e. it is illegal) and the other is the civil (i.e. it has other consequences that could result in a civil class action lawsuit).

Ultimately, I think that even if it is not illegal per se, the affected employees could still file for a civil suit citing any number of reasons. Now will that happen? Probably not.

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum