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Comment: Because that's what 3D visors are these days (Score 1) 70

by Sycraft-fu (#49164167) Attached to: Valve and HTC Reveal "Vive" SteamVR Headset

For whatever reason, the games industry has decided that these things are amazin' and everyone has to do it. Of course nobody is doing it, I mean Occulus has a prototype out that has some pretty major issues and no release date for final hardware but that's it. Everyone else doesn't even have any hardware at all.

So of course what companies lack in deliverables they make up in hype. Talk about how damn cool their shit will be, how the world will be changed, etc, etc. Particularly since it doesn't seem any of them have a solution to any of the issues. Most of the things aren't solved by magic, but by better technology which is being developed by other companies. Things like latency/refresh are largely going to be a combination of higher speed displays and faster GPUs to drive them. Well, those will get developed I'm sure, but by Samsung or LG, not by Occulus or Valve.

Valve has also been having some problems in this area as of late. They seem to wish to become more than just "the guys who run Steam" which makes sense, because Steam is super profitable but also unstable, people could migrate to a different store en masse for various reasons. However their "no bosses" organization means that a lot of playing happens and not as much delivering. So you see hype and noise, but not necessarily final products.

The Steam box is a good example. Heard lots about that for a long time, some hype videos about their controller, and yet nothing is on the market, and there is no date when anything might happen.

Comment: Try to meet in person (Score 4, Insightful) 162

by jgotts (#49154869) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Whiteboard Substitutes For Distributed Teams?

There is no substitute for meeting in person. We've evolved over millions of years to meet with each other in person. Every distributed meeting I've ever attended has had yelling, mumbling, and misheard things caused by technological failures.

If you're sketching out your next year's worth of work, spend the money and get together for it.

If you're just talking about a couple of minor issues, then by all means use a distributed whiteboard.

Comment: Estimates (Score 1) 347

by jgotts (#49142529) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

I've been programming for about 30 years and it took me at least 20 years to learn how to make good estimates. If you can't estimate how long something is going to take, then you probably haven't been doing it long enough. I don't care what your field is, or even if it's engineering or not.

Programming is just like any engineering endeavor. Be a professional and admit that not every job is a weekend hack. If you work somewhere where you have to lie about work taking less time than it takes, then quit that job and go work somewhere else.

One difference between a so-so programmer and a great programmer is someone who finishes his or her work when he or she says he or she will. There are other differences, such as communication skills or lack thereof, but having people be able to trust you is pretty key.

Another way of looking at is this. Programming cannot be rushed. That doesn't mean tell people it will be done when it's done! What it does mean is learn to estimate the worst case scenario. You will not be punished for writing a great piece of software and finishing it a few weeks early. You will be punished for saying it will be finished by a date assuming that nothing will go wrong at all and that you are some kind of programming genius, better than every other programmer out there.

Consider this example. I think I might be able to finish something in a week. The estimate I give is two weeks. Another programmer typically says a job of roughly the same magnitude will be done "in a few days." I have given myself plenty of time to do the job right, and extra time to fix bugs and possibly deliver the project early. The other programmer screwed up and it does take him a week. After a week, his work has tons of bugs. It goes out to production and every one of those bugs is embarassing and takes man days to resolve, rather than a few man hours. I've seen this scenario happen many times. Programmers fall into this trap of their own making. Maybe it has something to do with machismo. Stop pretending to be more manly or smarter than you are and be a professional.

Comment: Cryptography (Score 1) 253

by DrYak (#49137423) Attached to: Will Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis Support Cryptocurrency In Greece?

For the record, a Cryptocurrency isn't called so because it's hidden (indeed it's not).

It's called so because is relies a lot on *Cryptography*: digital signature, public keys, message authentication, etc. All these are necessary for the distributed nature of cryptocurrencies to work reliably.

As for "state controler Fedcoin": Sorry, no. It doesn't work that way. The whole point of cryptocoins is to be distributed accross the network, so that there isn't a signle entity that has single hand control over everything else. That's *why* they rely on a transaction ledger (Blockchain) distributed accross the whole network. State control is impossible this way.

Comment: Linux hybrid driver (Score 1) 114

by DrYak (#49126597) Attached to: AMD Unveils Carrizo APU With Excavator Core Architecture

For the record, AMD is also moving toward a hybrid stack for the Linux drivers:
- the same opensource kernel driver is used every where.
- the only difference is that either you run the official catalyst OpenGL implementation from AMD on top of it. Ot the opensource Mesa Gallium3D tracker.
- same goes for video (either a VA-API implemented by catalyst, or the various Gallium video state tracker).

So except for the 3D and Video, everything else is opensource and work is shared.
From the development point of view, AMD hardware is faring very well. GP doesn't need to be afraid.

Comment: Driving wages down (Score 2) 176

by jgotts (#49122347) Attached to: H-1B Visas Proving Lucrative For Engineers, Dev Leads

I looked at my state and H1Bs have below-average salaries, somewhere around 10-25% below average, depending upon the exact position. Clearly, the purpose of H1Bs is to drive down the wages of people already here; otherwise, H1Bs would be getting paid about the same as everyone else, within let's say 5-10%.

I also looked at the numbers, and by far the H1Bs are going to California. Only 2,000 made their way to my state. Companies in California want you to live there, paying $3,000 or more per month in rent plus high taxes and everything else but aren't willing to pay you enough to be able to afford it. Since they've run out of people to con into moving to California, they've turned to H1Bs.

I have nothing against the best and brightest coming to the United States. We have tons and tons of international students studying engineering in our universities, and these people are more than welcome to stay here and become citizens, joining our labor pool.

Comment: Advantages of phone (Score 3, Interesting) 186

by DrYak (#49116447) Attached to: Google Teams Up With 3 Wireless Carriers To Combat Apple Pay

I have no idea why I'd want to use my phone instead of a card.

There is also some potential increase of security:

Unlike (nearly) every card(*), the phone is a device that has its own display and input interface.
Meaning that you don't need to trust the payment terminal(**).
- No risk of skimmer trying to read you PIN: you're typing it into your own phone, not on the terminal which could have been hacked/modded.
- You can trust the amount displayed (again, you are reading your own phone's screen, so even if the terminal is hacked to display a lower sum and actually bill a higher sum, you'll notive the discrepancies).

Also, the phone has connectivity, which allows out-of-band confirmation for the transaction (***).

Thus, the device is protected against fraud that could menace a classical card.
- hacked terminals showing bogus transaction amounts, or trying to record your PIN.
- hackers trying to relay a transaction (small amount are "tap/swap only": no signature neither PIN asked. It's possible to use a powerful antena pointed at a wireless credit card to remotely use it and relay communication to a terminal).

Saddly, the phones have their own problems:
- they eat batteries like candy (even wireless credit card transaction are remotely powered by the terminal. Whereas a dead phone is dead and can't be used for paying).
- again, they are conencted. Which means that they could be compromised themselves. (Specially since people tend to install tons of crap).

-----

(*): I've seen banks issuing cards used for e-banking that have a build-in screen and keypad. Similar devices are in theory possible on a credit card.

(**): lots of e-banking card reader do exactly that: you can check on the screen what you are asked to sign.

(***): That's a security feature that's also offered by combining classical credit cards and separate connected device. I can be asked to confirm by SMS / by voice call when the bank detects unusual traffic on my credit card.

Comment: No kidding (Score 5, Interesting) 159

by Sycraft-fu (#49102513) Attached to: Nvidia Faces Suit Over GTX970 Performance Claims

It is just a bunch of whiny asshats who care about specs on paper rather than real world performance. The 970 is damn amazing. It makes the 980 nothing more than a overpriced luxury toy, and I say that as a 980 owner. Its performance is within 10-15% of a 980s and it is like half the price, what's not to like?

Also as for the memory thing this is actually a BONUS from nVidia, not a cripple. What I mean is in the past, they'd have just stuck 3.5GB on it and called it good. Then, if something needed more than 3.5GB, you go to system memory which is very slow 16GB/sec if you are running 16x PCIe 3 and much slower if you run less (like if you are doing SLI on a consumer board with PCIe 2 it would be 4GB/sec). However with this, you get another 512MB of RAM that is faster. Not as fast as the primary RAM, but much faster than hitting the system RAM over the PCIe bus. It won't perform as well as a 980 in those high memory situations, but it would perform better than if it just didn't have it at all.

I agree they should have noted it better, but really who gives a shit in reality? The 970 is the best "step down" card they've ever made compared to the highest end. Amazing value for the money and real world benchmarks from somewhere like HardOCP show it kills at modern games.

It's also funny how they act like nVidia did this to "harm" people for some business reason. If anything, they'd want to make the 970 look worse so people would be more likely to spend the near double to get a 980. However instead they made the 970 as close to the 980 as they could and I'm sure that ate in to the 980 market.

Comment: No shit (Score 1) 213

by Sycraft-fu (#49095573) Attached to: Sony Offers a "Premium Sound" SD Card For a Premium Price

I get tired of seeing audio 'tards try to claim an expensive solution is needed to badly designed gear. I've seen this bullshtit with regards to S/PDIF cables and poorly designed DACs. It is true that you can get clock skew, reflections, etc with some cables. However any DAC worth its shit today should reclock and buffer the incoming signal, thus rendering transmission issues moot (so long as the signal is coherent enough to transfer the data). However, there are shitty "audiophile" DACs that don't and they try to use it as some kind of "proof" about cable quality.

What it comes down to is there are issues and they can be engineered around. When it comes to digital and noise ya, digital devices are noisy. Guess what? You properly ground and shield your analogue section and it is not an issue. It isn't like this is something super expensive and thus only available on the high end, just requires proper engineering. The answer isn't reducing digital noise since there is little that can be done on that front overall, it is making the analogue section immune to it.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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