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Comment: Re:A/B Testing (Score 1) 142 142

We're all but beta testers in the eye of $software_company

Correction: We're all but beta testers in the eye of $advertising_company. Ever notice that their advertising platforms rarely suffer from this kind of flakiness?

Google's stock price would barely quiver if Chrome, Android, GMail, etc all evaporated overnight. Might even go UP like when companies announce staff cuts. Those little freebie side-projects are largely there to convince the public and Google's own employees that they're a do-good technology company. Delivering tested, bullet-proof software apparently isn't part of the agenda in that "cool" part of their shop.

Comment: Engineers: less important to society than lawyers (Score 1) 407 407

That's what the gov't has effectively decreed with the H-1B program.

Until engineers are offered compensation like doctors or lawyers, who's to say the market has failed to produce enough skilled workers? This country's supposed to be big on market economics, but H-1B is a gross government-sponsored distortion of the market. These days, a lot of smart kids are smart enough to prefer fields like law, medicine, finance, etc where they they have a shot at some solid money and security.

Questions: why don't we have enough strong local candidates? Is market theory wrong? Are Americans stupid? Why aren't we attracting top candidates to the field? Is it due to lack of STEM education & funding, not attracting girls,... all the usual platitudes?
Answer: it's the money, stupid. H-1B significantly disrupts the local labor market, depressing wages and job security.

H-1B's been expanding since its inception in 1990, supposedly because the market continues to fail to provide enough skilled workers. Yet, all it's succeeded in doing is capping tech wages and trashing job security.

Comment: Everything's a negotiation (Score 1) 892 892

Negotiation is a basic skill. Everybody negotiates things great and small every day, all the time. Yes, even techies: negotiation is the core of those prized "collaboration skills."

Ergo, were Pao's rather bald assertion to be true, women would be unskillful collaborators and consequently less valuable. Not my experience.

What she's saying is incredibly condescending!

Comment: Don't try to be a hero (Score 5, Insightful) 279 279

You have data backups & resiliency in place as a matter of policy, right?

What's policy (probably HR's responsibility) for this scenario? That's what you do: follow policy, nothing more, nothing less. If there's no policy or procedure, then you do exactly that: nothing.

Don't improvise. This is an HR issue. You have NO idea what legal or other policy minefields you're stepping into. There are only downsides for you.

Comment: Show -- Don't Tell (Score 1) 698 698

Of course that's the first directive of movie-making, and also of raising kids. They don't listen to what you say, but they sure do watch what you do and that's how you end up rearing them. Any parent who thinks their lecturing matters just isn't paying attention.

So, if you still want to make videos, make them about you and the rest of the family. Show how you are with various people (including your daughter, her mother, your parents, etc), how you approach things & situations, what you're proud of/like/dislike about yourself, etc. The good and the bad or it'll come off fake. Maybe tell some stories that show some of the how & why you're like that. I'm afraid that's about the limit of the medium. Get too preachy and you lose 'em every time. Oh, and keep the segments short... you know where attention spans are heading.

Comment: Service Sector Robots (Score 1) 307 307

You missed the point. 20 years from now, everybody in your bracket will have a 24/7 robot to do the cleaning, cook and take care of the yard. All without wondering how much to tip them, nor the nagging doubt that the servants are giggling over your sex-toy collection! (Though you can bet the robots will report what they see back to Amazon for targeting advertising, and for figuring out how to tailor your individualized pricing to what they can get away with.)

There will, however, be a thriving market for robot repair techs. And targeting/pricing data analysts.

Comment: You shoulda seen programs before Djikstra! (Score 5, Informative) 677 677

In the 60's and much of the 70's, most people wrote in high-level languages as if they were coding assembler. Goto's all over the place. Not that they had a choice -- for example, control flow in Fortran IV, the most-used high-level language of the time, featured IF, DO (a crude version of the modern FOR -- not do), GOTO, CALL, RETURN. No else, while, do/while, no modern-style for, case, etc. AND, get this: NO BLOCKS; the IF statement controlled only a *single* statement, so that meant you often *had* to say IF (...) GOTO xxx. Just like assembler. It was awful! There were other less-popular but more-evolved languages, but unstructured practices were very often carried over to those as well. GOTOs were just how most programmers thought.

That's the backdrop for Djikstra's condemnation of GOTO. Certainly, the then-current mass use of GOTOs was a very bad thing since it completely obscured program logic. If you read the original article, he's not so much condemning GOTO as he's arguing for structured programming.

Consider GOTO Considered Harmful as a successful wake-up call. By keeping his message black/white, i.e. GOTO is bad, he gave his message punch and made it much talked-about. People started to think in a more structured manner (though at first we thought the "structured crowd" were a bunch of weenies), and started to demand better control-flow features. Pretty soon, structured control-flow was de rigeur in any new or revised language. Fortran even got IF/END IF in Fortran 77!

People nowadays have hardened the anti-GOTO bias into gospel. At the time, the response was more nuanced, more in line with the spirit of what Djikstra was saying. For example, in 1974 even Niklaus Wirth's new PASCAL (a principled, hard-line structured language if there ever was one) included the goto statement with the warning in the User Manual and Report that "the goto statement should be reserved for unusual or uncommon situations where the natural structure of an algorithm has to be broken." If anybody was going to out-and-out outlaw goto, Wirth would have been the guy.

Comment: Los Angeles or Louisiana? (Score 1) 611 611

Is this "LA" a reference to Los Angeles? In California? Since 2010, Los Angeles freeways *have* been widened to the tune of many $B and years of traffic delays. Opposition and complaints were simply ignored. Some surface streets have been widened in a major way (e.g. Santa Monica Blvd.) and most other major surface arteries are being repaved and "optimized." Ditto about opposition and complaints. Traffic control & signalling has been vastly expanded -- just look at the level of detail available on Google Traffic now vs. 2 years ago. And just try (like my very politically connected and organized neighborhood did) to cut down on local traffic -- all you'll get is city administration's sympathy, but then they add that the roads must roll and we should actually expect our local traffic to increase significantly.

Comment: Forget healthcare. Canada's full of Realists (Score 1) 221 221

Ask a Canadian and an American if tomorrow will be sunny. The American "believes" it will be. The Canadian doesn't know, because s/he's "being realistic." They'd go on to say that the American is just "being a typical American" thinking happy thoughts. What can I say? Canadians just don't believe in the power of positive thinking. Or much else for that matter.

Cynics? Oh yeah! Canadians and Americans fundamentally look at life differently, and that's been going on since way before healthcare. On New Year's eve, Americans look forward to the sure-to-be-wonderful new year while Canadians celebrate that they made it through the old one! Cynicism bordering on pessimism is in Canada's DNA, same as positive thinking is in the US' DNA. Yes, I'm painting with an overly broad brush here, but to make a point.

Science may require some belief, too, but it sure feels less like of a stretch than religion.

Oh, and most Canadians are well aware that as recently as the early 60's they were historically oppressed and kept in "the great darkness" by an unholy cabal of church and semi-totalitarian state. That's enough to make a hard-ass "realist" of anyone.

Comment: That depends what your definition of "is" is. (Score 1) 371 371

Hard to not think of Bill Clinton's infamous words while you actually read the memo.
A lawyer's opinion is just work for hire. If all you needed to legally kill somebody was a lawyer's opinion letter, we'd all have killed each other long ago for perfectly "justifiable" reasons.
By definition, it's the the job of any lawyer to be able to make a case that black is white, or anything else you like. The next day, they can make the case that black is red. Just depends on who the client is that day.

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