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Comment: Bill (Score 1) 215

by michaelmalak (#48407897) Attached to: Do Good Programmers Need Agents?

If Bill Murray doesn't need an agent, why do I?

On a serious note, this makes little sense for full-time employment, which usually comes with golden handcuffs. It's not like FTEs are hopping from gig to gig, and with the number of transitions low (as in substantially fewer than one per year), I think rockstar programmers can handle their own agency.

For contractors, it seems like an agent could feed qualified leads to some of them, especially if they're just starting out. But is that really agency? There are already localized medium-sized consulting firms that contractors can associate themselves with.

Comment: Re:Sci Fi Really Ages Quickly (Score 1) 186

by michaelmalak (#48402013) Attached to: Battlestar Galactica Creator Glen A. Larson Dead At 77

I think you're really looking at the show unfairly. When it came on the air (over 36 years ago) there was nothing else like it on television.

Also, I just now Googled "Battlestar Galactica cheesy 2009", "Battlestar Galactica cheesy 2008" etc. on backward, and it seems to have become a meme only when BSG came on in 2004. So it appears to be some revisionist history based upon post-BSG experiences rather than cheesy-at-the-time experiences.

Comment: Conservative design (Score 1) 127

by michaelmalak (#48395219) Attached to: US DOE Sets Sights On 300 Petaflop Supercomputer

For 20+ years, HPC systems have relied on the same conservative design of compute separated from storage, connected by Infiniband. Hadoop kind of shook up the HPC world with its introduction of data locality, especially as scientific use cases have involved larger data sets that distributed data storage is well-suited for. The HPC world has been wondering aloud how best and when to start incorporating local data storage for each node. Summit introduces some modest 800GB non-volatile storage per node for caching (which they call a "Burst Buffer"), but no bulk data storage.

I blogged about how the Summit design seems very conservative, especially for a system to be delivered in 2018, and especially for a supercomputer that is billed to be the most powerful in the U.S. if not the world.

Comment: Since 1909 (Score 4, Insightful) 669

by michaelmalak (#48259639) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right
Nothing new since the 1950 Humani Generis by Pope Pius XII that defined the relationship between evolution, immortal souls and faith. And that was just final infallible confirmation of what the Vatican Biblical Commission determined in 1909 in its On The Historical Character of the First Three Chapters of Genesis.

Comment: Re:The Model F is even better (Score 1) 304

by michaelmalak (#48100239) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

The layout of the 88-key Model F is more functional, although less attractive. The function keys on the side are much more useful, and even the Microsoft Windows function key assignments reflect that to this day (and most Linux desktop GUIs that I've tried, too, actually). Ctrl-F4 closes a window while Ctrl-F6 cycles through the multiple documents in an application (originally MDI documents, later extended to multi-SDI controlled by a single application). F4 and F6 are adjacent to each other when the function keys are on the side (one column for odd-numbered function keys and the other column for the even-numbered, with the even-numbered being more convenient being closer to the Ctrl and Shift keys).

The whole switch to the 101 "Enhanced" keyboard like the Model M is because IBM wanted to standardize keyboards across its entire product line: PC, workstation and mainframe. Workstation and mainframe had function keys across the top, and it looked cooler, so we've been stuck with only "Enhanced" keyboards for nearly 30 years now.

Yes, the Model F and Model M are clicky, but I've gotten over the nostalgia of it. They're clicky because they click on both the downstroke and the upstroke, so they make it sound like you're typing twice as fast as you really are. I now consider it as fake as wearing elevator shoes or a toupee.

Comment: Space Trilogy (Score 4, Interesting) 534

by michaelmalak (#48032543) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

C.S. Lewis, Anglican and actually closer to Catholicism in theology, wrote, from 1938-1945, a science fiction trilogy known as the Space Trilogy that explores alien races in the context of Christianity.

I first read the trilogy when I was an atheist, and it helped remove that particular hurdle in my later study of the world religions that lead to my conversion to Catholicism.

Comment: Re:Pixels (Score 1) 277

by michaelmalak (#47997305) Attached to: Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

You have finally gotten something from iCupertino.

Not me. I tend to shy away from Apple products. In fact, as an early adopter of smart phone technology in 2005 with the Audiovox 6700 PocketPC, after it died in 2009 I just camped out in a dumb phone for four years to avoid the keyboardless iPhone mania, and jumped back in in 2012 with the S3, which was ahead of its time then (and compensated for lack of keyboard with swipe-typing, which iPhone didn't get until very recently).

If my S3 were to die today, though, it'd be a toss-up for me between getting a used S3 off eBay for $200 or $750 for an iPhone 6 Plus.

I've never had trouble seeing small things (though these days glass are required), and I prefer the smaller screen of the S3 over the Note for privacy.

Comment: Pragmatic: continual, active refresh (Score 1) 113

by michaelmalak (#47953255) Attached to: Data Archiving Standards Need To Be Future-Proofed

One can whine and wax poetic all one wants, but since we don't have a good archival format, the practical solution today is continual refresh of data: periodically copying data to fresh, and technologically up-to-date media. It's not sexy, but it does address three of the four points at the end of the linked piece (end-to-end data integrity, format migration and secondary media formats). The unaddressed point, access audit trails, makes no sense given the premise stated at the beginning of the piece that "No matter what anyone tells you, there is data that does not need to be on primary storage".

Yes, this is expensive. Yes, it would be nicer (cheaper) if a one-time single format could address the archive problem.

P.S. There is also this gem from the piece:

creation of a collision-proof hash

Of course the whole point of a hash is a mapping from a high-cardinality space to a low-cardinality space, and thus collisions are always a possibility. Collisions are minimized when a good hashing function uniformly distributes the resulting hashes, but given a large enough collection of source documents (no more are needed than the cardinality of the hash space), collisions will occur.

Comment: Re:Fallacy (Score 2) 937

by michaelmalak (#47899369) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

It's a strawman argument, lacking an understanding of what actual science and the scientific process is.

And yet it is a common misunderstanding about the scientific method, namely:

"If it can't be proven by the scientific method, it must not be true."

This misunderstanding is false because there are things that are true that we know from outside the scientific method, namely by reason (e.g. Calculus and other philosophy of math) and by faith (religion).

The grandparent comment asks "show me the Spockists". To which I answer, show me where in public school curriculum the scientific method is explained and its relationship to philosophy, religion and truth (or even just philosophy and math, to keep things secular).

Comment: Seven letters (Score 1) 819

I travel a huge amount for work, and I am required to select the cheapest available option (within a window)

Three letters: ADA

Four more letters: OSHA

The $20 for Economy Plus is a "reasonable accommodation." However, if you're able to use frequent flier miles earned on the job to obtain Economy Plus, your case is much weaker.

IANAL, nor have I tried this yet (because I've never had an employer decline my initial polite request).

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234