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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:Fake, not practical (Score 1) 40

by nathan s (#49315355) Attached to: Magic Leap's AR Demo Video

I'm reasonably sure that the gun isn't supposed to be "AR." I'd say it's an actual prop that their AR system is presumably "recognizing" and generating specs on, like other systems we've seen that use game-specific props for AR through cell phone cameras or whatever. That said, who knows how much of the rest is "real" - without some way that the entire room is part of the AR system, there's no way it should know to avoid rendering the lower part of the robots behind that divider...that's the obvious big question mark.

Comment: Re:Comments are predictable... (Score 1) 148

by nathan s (#49134193) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

Obviously. The learning is the "something that was previously only our domain," not the playing, which is precisely what people are reacting so defensively to, and what I find funny.

Once AIs using ANN or whatever the ultimate technologies end up being can actually learn at a human level, it'll be "meh, wake me when it can appreciate a sunrise" or "Yeah, but a computer still can't fall in love!" My point is just that we move the bar in order to preserve our collective sense of being special snowflakes.

Comment: Re:BASICally my reply is... (Score 5, Insightful) 259

by nathan s (#48990115) Attached to: Washington May Count CS As Foreign Language For College Admission

This. I love coding and languages both, but they aren't even remotely the same. I think learning actual languages does two things that coding doesn't: it gets you to speak to real people (hopefully, if you're doing it right) and it helps you learn a little bit about another culture. Practicing your ability to deal with differences and similarities and maybe even to empathize with other people is a really important life skill that you aren't going to get at all from coding.

Plus, even from a business perspective, it seems to me that in general people who can talk to people end up making more money than people who only know how to talk to machines.

Comment: Re:It depends mostly on the child(ren) (Score 1) 700

by nathan s (#48976363) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?

As someone who was homeschooled off and on (and finished the last ~5-6 years being homeschooled and working part-time), I agree that the answer is "it depends" - this can't be overstated. It works for some kids and not for others, and probably some parents and not for others. I was perfectly happy to have my nose buried in books most of the time and I liked learning new stuff so it worked pretty well for me (and the part-time job in my parents' store gave me plenty of interaction with people of all ages, ethnicities, even languages). My brother, on the other hand, hated doing schoolwork and my parents struggled with him a lot just to get him to do the basics and I think he would have been better off in a more structured environment, realistically - plus, I think he really craved much more interaction with kids his own age than I did, so it was a lot harder on him to be at home and/or primarily around adults all the time.

So agreeing with the parent, the summary question is really strongly dependent on the actual people and kids involved. It probably wouldn't hurt to try out both options. Ultimately, whatever is making the kid happiest and encouraging him/her to learn the most is what's ideal, and I'm not certain that you can make that judgement without having tried both courses.

Comment: Re:Too many factors. (Score 1) 101

by nathan s (#48966767) Attached to: Building a Good Engineering Team In a Competitive Market

As other people have noted, the value of $40k or even $100k varies wildly depending on where you live. However, as I've already stated, my point wasn't about the actual numbers. I could have chosen "free" and "ten million dollars a year" if I was trying to suggest that these were the only two options.

And I "insinuated" nothing - I stated exactly what I meant: other people will weigh various factors that may or may not include the two I was using as an example in their decision of whether or not a particular job is worth their time. I have no way of knowing what the variables or the weights are in your or anyone else's calculations, which is why I didn't say "other people will choose jobs by deciding between altruism and greed depending on their personal value systems." If the original sentence made you or anyone else feel defensive, then perhaps you/they should examine why that is.

Comment: Re:Too many factors. (Score 1) 101

by nathan s (#48963525) Attached to: Building a Good Engineering Team In a Competitive Market

From my original post: "Personally, I'd rather work at a $40k/year job where I feel like I'm contributing to making the world a better place than a $100k/year job where I'm just enriching the company owner in exchange for all of my free time, but obviously different people will have different ways of calculating what's worthwhile to them."

By definition, a false dichotomy excludes other possibilities than the two presented, which I deliberately went out of my way to acknowledge in the original post. Both yourself and goose-incarnated are simply trolling.

Comment: Re:Too many factors. (Score 1) 101

by nathan s (#48963333) Attached to: Building a Good Engineering Team In a Competitive Market

Reading comprehension on Slashdot is seriously weak. I stated a personal preference between two hypothetical jobs for simple illustration of a point other than the one you're making, and nowhere did I say that those were the only choices available to myself or anyone else for that matter. The point that you and the preceding response make is irrelevant to the topic and to my point, which is that money isn't the only thing people consider when looking for a job and just waving high salaries at top-end developers ignores the possibility of soft factors playing a part in their decision-making processes.

Comment: Re:Too many factors. (Score 1) 101

by nathan s (#48962837) Attached to: Building a Good Engineering Team In a Competitive Market

The extremes were for illustration, obviously. If you read my entire post rather than cherry-pick, the point is that what works for one person isn't likely to work for someone else, and a company doing recruiting needs to realize that there's no "spend $x on solution Y and your team will magically appear" answer to the question posed. Unnecessarily pointing out that there are options in the middle doesn't change that.

Comment: Too many factors. (Score 5, Insightful) 101

by nathan s (#48961905) Attached to: Building a Good Engineering Team In a Competitive Market

As already noted in the comments, "this is your startup" doesn't mean much if I don't have a meaningful equity stake, but that's only one part of the equation. At least in my social circle, the most competent tech people are wanting to work for companies that are actually changing the world, and if your company isn't doing that, then the only thing it has to offer is money. If it's actually doing something interesting that affects the world at large, you'll have a better chance of attracting my interest even if the pay is likely to be lower.

If all you have is money and Wednesday beer nights and a pool table in the office or whatever, that's great, but that mostly just translates to "trying to keep you at the office as much as possible" usually, so that sort of cultural stuff is less interesting.

Personally, I'd rather work at a $40k/year job where I feel like I'm contributing to making the world a better place than a $100k/year job where I'm just enriching the company owner in exchange for all of my free time, but obviously different people will have different ways of calculating what's worthwhile to them. Also, obviously, family and location play into it - the "best pay" may not be in the most family-friendly markets, and you could easily make yourself unattractive to highly-skilled engineers with families no matter what your pay is like if your company is located somewhere with crazy real estate prices.

Comment: Re:My feeds are pretty busy... (Score 1) 210

by nathan s (#48876311) Attached to: Tracking Down How Many (Or How Few) People Actively Use Google+

I'd just note that by "don't get it" I meant exactly this. By your own admission, you haven't tried any social media site whatsoever, and yet you feel qualified to handwave them all off as "bullshit" while making assertions that have little to do with social media ("1:1 comms" are rarely a part of what is basically a broadcasting service, for example - even younger people still use email or text messages for that more often than not).

You should try one sometime, if only to get a sense of how they actually work. The best ones are basically "RSS for people" - you subscribe to the people you want to hear from, and it helps you keep track of what matters to them. The worst ones are data-mining honeypots for corporations intent on selling every scrap of information they can extract from you. Most of them are somewhere in between.

Comment: My feeds are pretty busy... (Score 5, Insightful) 210

by nathan s (#48871217) Attached to: Tracking Down How Many (Or How Few) People Actively Use Google+

...but almost all of the posts that hit it are private, posted by people who deliberately use G+ precisely because there's more plausible deniability about how active they are. It's anecdotal, but I've heard a lot of my G+ friends say that they've gone there either to avoid people they'd otherwise have to interact with on Facebook, or because circles are easy to use and they can pretend to be lurkers/have dead accounts there but they're really just not posting anything visible to you.

That said, I freely admit there are a ton of people not on G+. It seems to mostly be a hit with the 25-45 crowd, if my feeds there are any indication. Older people don't get it, and younger people seem to care more about Instagram than either Facebook or G+ at this point.

Comment: I can't imagine this being actually useful. (Score 1) 62

by nathan s (#48737729) Attached to: Project Ryptide Drone Flies Life-Rings To Distressed Swimmers

Isn't part of the reason we need lifeguards because often victims are either unresponsive or panicky? Lifeguarding is dangerous, sure, and faster responses are good, but just dropping rings on people in danger doesn't seem like it's going to help all that much. Maybe one day robots can do this sort of work, but right now humans are still the best, I'd think.

A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing but together can decide that nothing can be done. -- Fred Allen

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