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Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 1) 409

by nine-times (#48227015) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

That's all well and good when you're working in a big mindless factory, and your hired to churn out widgets on a quota system. The problem is, often enough I'm looking to hire someone with a little more brains. I want someone who's going to bring some ideas to the table, who's going to think outside the box. I want them to speak up, and there isn't anything like, "I'm going to steal your ideas and present them as my own, and take credit." It's not a big mindless factory that would allow it. If you can come up with a way to save the business money, you're probably going to get a bonus and/or promotion at some time soon, because you're doing good work.

Now arguably a situation like that is a rarity, but part of the problem is, even when you're in that situation, it can be hard to find good people to work that way. It can be hard enough to find people who will do a job when you set out simple instructions to follow. It's much harder to find someone who has enough judgement to know when to follow the instructions, and when not to. When you can find someone like that, it's worth something extra.

Now I understand the desire to get a good job with nice, clear-cut responsibilities-- churn out 500 widgets, and if you do that, you get paid, and it's all that simple. Not all jobs are like that. Especially working for smaller companies, sometimes it boils down to, "I'm just trying to make my company successful. If you can just get done what I need to get done, I'll keep you around. But if you can help me figure out how to improve things, then I'll be trying to figure out how to keep you happy, because that's hard to find."

Comment: Re:symbols, caps, numbers (Score 1) 549

by nine-times (#48224885) Attached to: Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

You're off-topic. You're right that password-reuse is probably a bigger security threat than having a super-secure password. Of course, to some extent that assumes that you have a reasonably strong password to begin with, that you have basic brute-force protection (e.g. timeout/lock after too many failed login attempts), and/or that you're not being specifically targeted. Because if I really want to get access into your email account specifically, and you have no protection from brute-force attacks, then suddenly password complexity becomes a very big issue.

But setting that all aside, we weren't really rating the level of importance of various security exploits. We were just talking about what constitutes a "strong password".

If you want to talk about the reality of hacks, I might put weak security questions ahead of password reuse, and social engineering above all of them. For a lot of people, you can call them up, tell them that you're calling form Microsoft because their computer has a virus, and get them to install remote-administration and keyloggers on their own computers. It won't fool everyone, but apparently it's not a small problem.

Comment: Re:Want Critical Thinking? Fix the Public Schools (Score 1) 409

by nine-times (#48224785) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

Wrong, poor people could afford education out of pocket...

Oh, good. I thought that there were still poor people who had trouble paying rent and buying groceries. I didn't realize that everyone have thousands of dollars (~$10,000 per year per child) of disposable income floating around.

Comment: What "employers"? (Score 1) 409

by nine-times (#48224735) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

...employers are getting a little bit worried that U.S. schools aren't teaching students the necessary critical-thinking skills to actually succeed...

And which employers are those?

Whenever a journalist writes something like this, I assume it means that they asked one or two people who are in some way connected with hiring people, "Are you concerned that U.S. schools might not be teaching students enough critical-thinking skills?" and those people respond, "Um... yeah, sure. I'm concerned about that, I guess."

Could we get a little bit of analysis, please? Is there any attempt to asses the critical-thinking skills and compare current recent-graduates to the recent-graduates of the past? Do you have any statistics or trends that you can cite? Do you have any method of guessing whether the problem is that the students lack critical-thinking, or whether the problem is that the hiring managers only believe that they lack the skills? Maybe a survey of the opinions of hiring managers over time, to show a trend of whether their opinion has been changing?

Or to take a step back and ask more generally, do you have anything other than off-hand anecdotal statements from a handful of random people who I've never heard of, and who I have no reason to value their opinion?

I don't necessarily disagree with the conclusions of the article, but it seems like a pretty empty piece of journalism.

Comment: Re:Want Critical Thinking? Fix the Public Schools (Score 1) 409

by nine-times (#48224599) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

Fix the public schools by shutting them the fuck down, stopping the theft of money from the people that they could otherwise channel their resources

Right, and fuck poor people who can't afford to send their children to school. Those poor kids are worthless, and we shouldn't bother trying to educate them. It's far better for our society to keep those people poor and hopeless, without any potential for a better future.

In fact, let's just go and make sure that only millionaires are allowed to learn how to read. We need a good, rubust underclass of virtual slaves that we can order around and screw over with impunity. Otherwise, if I can't fuck over everyone else, what's the point of being rich? Am I right, or am I right?

Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 4, Insightful) 409

by nine-times (#48224505) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

It's a good question, but I don't share your dismissal that it's just, "criticizing the establishment just because it's the establishment."

As someone with experience hiring/managing/firing people, I think there is something to the criticism that our schools don't prepare people for the need of critical thinking in the "real world", and it's a criticism that I've made many times. As I see it, it's very common to see workers in the position of having been given instructions on how to deal with a problem, and then encountering a situation where those instructions don't apply. How does the worker respond?

In my experience, very often the worker will just follow the instructions anyway, even if they notice that they're doing something that makes no sense and will obviously cause problems. A fair amount of the time-- again, at least in my experience-- workers will follow the instructions up until a point, figure out that they can't proceed, and then do some other things that also don't make sense, and then pretend that they've finished the job. Every once in a while, if someone is smart, they'll stop and ask for further guidance, but that's rare because nobody likes to admit that they don't know the answer. Even more rarely, someone will actually come up with a comprehensive solution that actually solves the problem.

And really, all that is just one symptom. Another symptom is the extent to which people will come to work, do exactly what they've been asked to do, and nothing more. Often, there's no curiosity about the role that they're playing within the company, about how their role could be expanded or refined, or somehow changed. Even the better employees are generally those who just follow instructions, and those people rarely seem to grasp why they were provided those specific instructions, let alone figure out a better set of instructions for themselves. And if they had come up with a better solution, they rarely suggest it to their boss.

So what is "critical thinking" in this context? I think it involves "problem solving", which might be no less vague. It involves a sort of curiosity, to want to know what's actually going on, and why those things are going on. I'm not sure what else...

But school often doesn't prepare us for that. We're trained to sit down, shut up, do exactly what we're told and no more. Don't ask questions. Don't imagine that you might be able to come up with a better solution. Just do what you're told, and don't think too much about it.

Comment: Re:Automated digesting (Score 1) 170

by nine-times (#48222473) Attached to: Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

For example, "Recovery: is online" could be enhanced to something like, say, "Recovery: is online. Further on/off messages are suspended for 8 hours unless you click ."

I think I mentioned elsewhere, a part of the problem with the sort of notifications I'm talking about is that I'm receiving them from many different vendors/services/devices who each choose their own standards, forms, and methodologies. It's the nature of things that I don't necessarily have any control over what I receive, how I receive it, when I receive it, or what form it comes in as. If I could even control what came in the subject line, then I wouldn't consider it such a problem.

For example, it's not just notifications saying, "Recovery: is online", but also any number of different notifications from different domain registrars that a domain is about to expire. I can't make GoDaddy, Namecheap, and NetworkSolutions follow the same procedures for how far in advance I get notified that a domain will expire, or what that notification will look like. I can't even stop one of those companies from deciding to change their own policies, changing the subject, content, and sender of those kinds of notifications. In fact, just to give an example, Dropbox uses Mailchimp for a bunch of their notifications, which means that each email is sent from a different sender address.

You can say, "Well these companies should have a better method of notification than email," or "These companies should be following certain standards," but good luck with making that happen. Until you can come up with a better solution, I'd really appreciate if someone could come up with some good tools for managing this kind of flood of notifications.

Comment: Re:OK, not annoyed about the Liberian guy any more (Score 3, Insightful) 333

by nine-times (#48220379) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

'felt like crap' for several days (enough so that he was taking his temp regularly)

Actually, he was supposed to be taking his temperature regularly even if he felt fine. That was part of the protocol for coming back from an Ebola outbreak.

Comment: Re:Mind Numbing Stupidity (Score 1) 333

by nine-times (#48220359) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

he was not symptomatic during his subway rides.

I don't know about that. The reports that I've read have admitted that he was feeling ill in the days beforehand, but that he didn't have a fever. At least, he says he didn't have a fever, and he says he was taking his temperature twice a day, as he was supposed to. So I guess it depends on whether you want to take his word for it-- referring to the guy who knew he might have Ebola, was feeling sick, and still decided to go bowling.

If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on, "He wasn't checking his temperature and doesn't really know when the fever started."

Comment: Re:Automated digesting (Score 1) 170

by nine-times (#48220013) Attached to: Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

When there's cooperation, the settings that deliver best mutual benefit should be worked out by direct interaction, for the sake of effectiveness. That would put email back into its role of transport mechanism, where it belongs.

I'm not sure what you mean here, but email transport is still in its role of transport mechanism, whereas email clients are still in their role of sorting and arranging emails for display by a user in a configurable way. I'm not sure what there is to be changed there. Do you feel like explaining your comment?

Comment: Re:It's all about the data prouction rate (Score 1) 168

Some of that kind of nonsense happens in Powerpoint presentations-- embedding images that might be a couple hundred megabytes each. I see that in marketing companies often enough, but it's still been a pretty steady rate of growth for the past few years.

However, I still don't see multi-gigabyte Word or Excel documents, at least not often enough that I recall it.

Comment: Re:Automated hate? (Score 2) 540

by Pfhorrest (#48215591) Attached to: The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll

Your analogy is bad (obligatory "and you should feel bad", but not really).

If speech were expressed with paint on canvas, cruel speech would be painting goatse or the like.

Harassment would be following someone around with your painting of goatse. Or any painting of anything they object to. It's the "following them around" part that makes it harassing.

The verbal analogue of throwing paint on someone would be yelling at them through a megaphone set at painfully high volume.

Every instance of speech is also an action and every action is also an instance of speech, and the distinction between a speech-act as speech and a speech-act as action is whether you're talking about the information content (the speech part) or the physical method of delivering that content (the action part).

Throwing paint or blaring painfully loudly through a megaphone are harmful actions, assault and battery in fact, regardless of the color of the paint you throw or the noises you make through the megaphone.

Following someone around and exposing them to images or sounds they don't like is harassment, regardless of the images or sounds; it's the following-them-around part that makes it harassing.

Images or sounds themselves, presented in a way that is not physically harmful to anyone (the way that loud sounds or a face full of paint would be), in a way that anyone can walk away from, are just speech, cannot harm anyone regardless of their content, and thus should not be regulated in any way regardless of their content.

Comment: Re:We have more but we USE more. (Score 1) 168

In my experiences, a 90 percent full drive has as much time left before running out as it did a decade ago.

Not in mine. Granted, we're both going off of anecdotal evidence, but in my favor, my experience is based off of managing a few hundred servers and a couple thousand desktops.

It seems like most workstations/servers that I manage, if they're taking up massive amounts of space, it's very often because they're storing lots of old stuff. Several years ago, when we only had a 30 GB drives, people would go back and clear out, delete, and archive old data. Now they just store it, because why not? Storage is cheap. Most of the time, it doesn't seem like the data set is growing faster, but they're just holding on to old stuff longer.

So yes, I think it's true, if you have a 60 GB drive that's 90% full, it's a more pressing concern than if you have a 10 TB RAID that's 90% full. The RAID may be a bigger problem, but it's a less immediate problem.

A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.