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Comment: CS not even viable? (Score 4, Insightful) 306

People SAY that CS is this big thing - but is it the real computer SCIENCE part - or do they mean code monkeys? CS was always meant to be much more theoretical than practical. About solving really hard problems in operating systems, efficient new kinds of hardware resource management, compilers, programming languages - not just writing the next web app.

I think computing is undergoing just as big a change now as it did when the .com era came for the first time in the last 90's. Programming is actually getting EASIER and more accessible to everyone. Heck, we've got game makers almost exclusively using engines off the shelf to make massively successful games - and most of them are barely programmers at all. They're script monkeys in Unity. Web companies are making online applications solely from java/ruby and other high-level script and database languages. None of these things require nor touch the difficult problem computer science traditionally focuses on. They're technology jobs - not science.

If I had to predict, the more traditional need of CS degrees are going to shrink and shrink as advances no longer require the bit-twiddling madness of the early years of computing. Hardware will easily have advanced so-as even the most inefficient algorithms for daily tasks will be just fine. No special knowledge needed. The small blobs of very high-perf code that will be needed will be done by small, very skilled CS majors (drivers, OS's, database cores, distributed memory systems, etc), but the majority of code/apps will be simply scripted/assembled together on top of these high-perf, highly-accessible API's. We already see it with abstractions like PhoneGap, Unity, etc.

Comment: Re:Lie-fest from the NSA (Score 1) 504

by mpfife (#45709133) Attached to: CBS 60 Minutes: NSA Speaks Out On Snowden, Spying

No matter how slick or how polished their lies be, NSA's lies are still LIES

Amen. Let's remember how many times they've been busted for COMPLETELY LYING in front of congressional panels, in quotes, and most of their other public statements. Even if everything they've said is 100% true, it could (and likely is) completely neglecting to bring up any un-mentioned ways in which they are spying on the average US citizen.

I have stopped believing the NSA, FBI, and Homeland security is at all telling the truth about what they are doing. We probably aren't even seeing 1/10th of what they're actually doing; and both Obama, Bush, and Hillary are all on board with expanding these programs and the agenda as a whole.

Comment: Re:GPU Programming Requires a Different Mindset (Score 1) 198

by mpfife (#44334831) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Most Painless Intro To GPU Programming?
| This runs counter to the level of abstraction that most CS majors are used to dealing with

That's very unfortunate to hear. I know when I studied CS in the 90's, the foundation was always based on understanding the underlying hardware. My OS class focused on hardware interrupts, protected mode operation, cache and memory hierarchies. The whole basis for strategies and methods of making fast algorithms depends on knowing how the underlying hardware works.

How can you call yourself a computer scientist if you don't understand the different fundamental architectures you run on?

Comment: Easy and GPU programming (Score 1) 198

by mpfife (#44334823) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Most Painless Intro To GPU Programming?
Simply don't go in the same sentence. You inherently need to know a lot about the underlying hardware and programming models to take advantage of that hardware - and none of that is easy. Best advice? Maybe use C# and start with a good sample tutorial. After that, you're going to learn a lot more about image algorithms/etc. That's why I can still make amazing amounts of money knowing how to program for GPU's.

Comment: Re:Not actually a bad idea. (Score 1) 368

by mpfife (#43766645) Attached to: Bloomberg To HS Grads: Be a Plumber
Retirement is happiness... plan for it.

Wrong, wrong, wrong my friend. Life is what happens while you're making plans. Your tomorrow is never guaranteed, nor your investments, nor your health. It's the great American lie that you should bust your b*lls doing stuff you hate for 30-40 years just so you can maximize earning for the HOPE that you can enjoy 20+ of in in retirement. Doesn't that sound stupid to you? It does to me. I'm sorry - but one of my life goals was to climb a mountain or two. I can't do that at 70. I can do it now at 30. So I do it - and have experienced something great by climbing a few of them already. It's opened doors to my life that I never would have known about.

You are taking a HUGE risk that your health, investments, happiness and stamina will last until you're 65 and then 'magically' start living life. Have you not listened to all the people in serious accidents or those that get cancer/etc? They all wish they had lived more each day and not wasted so many days. Live your life NOW; don't wait and make the ultimate gamble you'll actually be able to live life later when you're old.

Comment: Luddite? (Score 1) 439

While I love our post office system - this smacks of protectionism and not re-orienting with the times.

We don't have the Pony Express around because the telegraph came along. The telegraph was universally better in terms of speed, efficiency, etc. Should we have taxed telegrams more just to keep around an obsolete system for ???? not sure what. Physical delivery of mail is wasteful from a fuel, resources, and time. Granted, there will ALWAYS need to be package delivery of goods (even more so in an internet economy) and a system that works when crises' happen; but it sounds to me like it's time to do what every business and natural/biological system does when the fundamental environment changes occurs in some way - you must change too. Find the things our society still needs from a postal service.

Yes, this is painful, and all efforts should be made to help transition workers and the systems. However, it's just prolonging the problem and compounding the pain later when this will have to be addressed. It sucks - but life is change. Change is challenging and difficult and we should help ease the transition for people as best as we can. But when gently moving with the shifts in our economy and way people work is MUCH better than trying to iron-fistedly stick to the past.

Comment: Yo dog.... (Score 1) 252

by mpfife (#42920533) Attached to: Evil, Almost Full Vim Implementation In Emacs, Reaches 1.0
I heard you liked an editor in your editor, so we put and editor in your editor so you can edit while you edit!

While funny for slashdot - it's basically like watching people arrange deckchairs on the Titanic. These are tools - tools to get your job done. Use the best tool and stop circle-j-ing about this over that/etc. I use both whenever it suits me; but don't do any serious development in either anymore. There's so, so, so much better tools out there than these tired old things.

Comment: The general rule to BIOS upgrades is... (Score 2) 467

by mpfife (#42853839) Attached to: What To Do When an Advised BIOS Upgrade Is Bad?
...unless you're experiencing a problem expressly fixed by a BIOS patch - do NOT update your BIOS.

As much as I like to upgrade like the next guy - I've experienced far more problems than fixes with most bios updates. The only time I update now is when they specifically fix a problem I'm having.

In the case of your 'really expensive' stuff or essential hardware - if it's just a security patch - get a nice $50 router with firewall and plug your device into that. No use risking or destroying a piece of essential hardware on a BIOS update that is ALWAYS a risky operation.

And shame them. Shame them publicly on reviews and on their forums. Be courteous by not using foul language or being irate - but state the facts and how they treated you. If they don't realize this is super-bad PR, then these guys likely don't deserve your business.

Comment: The problem of no transparency (Score 3, Insightful) 266

by mpfife (#42834475) Attached to: The Paradox of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks
I'm glad someone wrote up an article about this. I'm actually for the kind of transparency he's promoting; and I think his work has shown that governments cannot and should not be allowed to hide from the truth. He's a brave new pioneer into the kind of work the 'free press' should be doing - but do not because of their limitations (should all reporters know basic hacking techniques in the future - question for another time). WRT the article, referring to his org as a cult is a bit much (but I'm sure there's elements in there as there always are), but here's the real problem with his organization:

His organization has and gets very secret information. This information is often so powerful/secret/damning that could potentially bring down banks, companies, individuals, or maybe even countries or at least their regimes. There are a number of problems with a sole person with this much power.
How do we know if he's not 'cherry-picking' information and just releasing what he wants to cause the reaction he wants? Does he fact-check anything he releases at all? We know news organizations Fox/NPR/et al can do exactly this to sway public opinion. Just because he's releasing information doesn't mean he's releasing ALL the information that would paint a full picture. It doesn't tell us if he's at all modified or tampered with that information. Unless the person who's accused comes out with counter-proof (if there is even a way if the leaked info was purely made up anyway), there is no way to know without a LOT of fact checking of likely terribly secret stuff. But the damage would be done by then. At best it turns into a credibility war; and with no transparency on either side - who are we to believe?
With information so central and key to financial and government systems, what is to keep Assange and co from going rouge and extorting or holding companies, countries or people for blackmail? "Just leave me alone Obama or I'll dump all that stuff about those drone strike kills you ordered". "Ok Goldman, give me 5 million dollars/year and a Lear jet or I leak how you knew about the housing collapse and fed into it" He very well could have information right now that could upset major governments and/or financial institutions, bankrupt huge corporations, and plunge the world into chaos/worse recession. With as somewhat unstable as he seems at times - do you really trust one man bouncing from country to country - living in hotel rooms - to make decisions to 'do the right thing' at all times?
These are all the exact same problems that news organizations have. They must fact check, and release information in a way that promotes truth in our organizations without destroying the very things we need to survive in a modern world. He has none of these burdens.

Comment: Re:DOA.. (Score 1) 377

by mpfife (#41782243) Attached to: Apple CEO Likens Surface To Car That Flies, Floats
I have. I hate using touch on my desktop. I hate going back and forth between keyboard and mouse and then touching. It's just not a good desktop metaphor. Don't believe me? Apple, Android and MS confirm it. None of their IU's for mobile/touch devices have desktop metaphores. Single app open at a time, fixed spacing icons for starting apps, no documents/folder/tree hierarchies, etc. I'm not a lover of Apple at times, but I think they're completely right on this point.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

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