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Comment This is an easy answer (Score 1) 169

Is there business value in retaining, training, and developing individuals who will become domain experts with cross-functional expertise and proficiency with working within your business structure?

        Well, of course. That's a hypothetical question.

The real question: is that value greater than the cost to retain them vs. the cost of hiring multiple underpaid, low quality workers, perhaps from another country?

This is going to different industry to industry, and company to company. Those selling software as a service may find their short term apparent advantage results in a severe disadvantage over the long term. Those releasing products may see great gains in that same long term view, with a painful short term as their teams are brought up to date.

If any of these trends /are/ true on average, though, then the good companies will survive and the bad ones will go under in a socioeconomic version of natural selection.

In either scenario, there will still be other companies that value long term employees, and those that don't.

Comment Re:15M (Score 1) 291

They've been saying this since the origin of the Luddites in the early 1800's!

Technology is a force multiplier. It allows one person to perform the work of many. Historically, instead of increasing unemployment, it's done the opposite - creating larger numbers of jobs, especially in positions that can't exist without a large-scale economy technology provides. The ability to make a shirt via a machine, thousands of times faster than by hand necessitates buildings for the machines, a distributed sales force, logistical concerns like transport and storage, advertising, etc. Each technological advance may reduce the number of employees in that explicit role, but increases the total number of jobs, the total hours of work required by an order of magnitude or better.

However, there's a limit. We haven't reached it yet, but it's there, looming in the distant future. At some point, we will reach peak technological assistance. Everything that can reasonably be automated will be. We'll literally have no need for all the people in the world to be working, much less the ability to employ them all.

Automated tellers at fast food joints is not the limit, by the by. I'm guessing we're still hundreds of years away.

The hard part isn't getting there though. The trick is going to be how we handle the runup to this post-scarcity world. At some point in the interim, we'll still consider money to have a direct relationship to work done via services and goods, and thus be necessary for comfortable living, but a significant minority will be unemployed and poor.

That 15 hour day you're referencing, that's going to be like the end times. It means either we have a revolution and start all over, or we jump the hurdle and enter into some sort of Star Trek-like world where we just accept that not everyone should work as a condition of having a comfortable life.

Personally, I don't see it happening in a positive way. The average human just isn't wired to be altruistic, and it's about the furthest from what our governments are set up to give us.

Comment Arbitary choice of definition (Score 1) 568

Engineer doesn't necessarily have to mean "Someone with professional certification who performs a task in a pre-designated method begat wholly by one's predecessors."

The more general definition is simply "creator of systems".

More to the point, we do have professional certifications, we have professional societies, and while we may not be represented by a national-level federation with standardized capabilities, we still present a much-in-demand skillset at a variety of levels. If I had to guess, I'd say that the engineering certifications are themselves simply a relic of the times; one part hold-over from when unions were necessary plus one part CYA legal protection via standardized best practices. These are two things that are (not yet) needed in the software development world, and I can't see the former ever being relevant.

Additionally, as engineer itself is not a protected term like Dentist, or Doctor, anyone can use it. In the US, the best you could says is that you're a NCEES certified engineer, but that's not a requirement to work as an engineer, nor to claim that you are one. In fact, most states have their own requirements beyond the NCEES, and you couldn't claim to be a licensed engineer without meeting /those/ requirements. Or in other words, there's various licensing and certification bodies out there, with different goals, requirements, and levels of measure. Just like there are for programmers ...

All that being said, I actually prefer the term Software Developer or Software Programmer. Not for any of the reasons listed in the article why we're not engineers, rather, I just think Developer or Programmer are more accurate terms. Though I detest the term the author coined, "Engineerwashing*," I agree with his list of motivations why it is used. It's basically to make it seem fancier, neater, more professional. It's what I put on my resume because it's a better match for job postings than developer or god forbid, programmer now-a-days.

Then again, I liked the original definition of the term "hacker," and only recently have stopped correcting people by saying, "You mean "Cracker," right?" when they used it in the more modern form. I get it. We're not France though - language is a continually evolving thing, and you've got to keep up with the times.

The fact is, we're now all Software Engineers. That's what we do is called now.

Comment Fancy title, but misleading (Score 1) 321

This wasn't about the ethics of D&D. This was one person's opinion about how alignment should be handled in an RPG, presented as factual, objective instructions.

For the fun of it - and countering his /suggestions/ - how about these definitions:

"Alignment is how you treat everyone who is not in your party."
"Alignment is a rough pigeonholing of your moral and philosophical outlook, used to qualify for magic spells and effects, and can change on a day-to-day basis based on your actions or justifications for actions, but should restrict you in no way - it's a classification, not an attribute."
"Alignment is a silly thing, and it's implementation is overly restrictive, making it difficult to role play realistic, complex characters. So we're not using it in this campaign." ... and to counter individual suggestions about the impact of alignment:

    There's no need to make every crime result in moral reflection or in-game (negative) consequences - this is a game, for entertainment, not explicitly a forum for ethical reformation.
    It's okay to have a world with full populations of cartoonish, evil beings and villainous stereotypes who can be abused in a number of ways, with joy and abandon.
    Since the goal is fun, you can have fun 'beating the game' without even descending into roleplaying, much less worrying about how an arbitrary classification is supposed to straight-jacket your player into behaving in a single, stereotypical way.

Comment Don't over think this. (Score 1) 149

You've got a cell phone with a phone. You're handing these out to people, physically.

So take a picture of your friend holding the book. Maybe even save it to a specific location like 'books lent out'. Works with singles and stacks. No tricky software, no custom solutions, no worries about QR codes or scanners or online web interfaces.

Works for more than just books, too. Video games, clothes, power tools, etc.

Comment Consider more than just the implementation (Score 4, Insightful) 437

How many other engineers are going to be expected to know and maintain this? Ones you have on staff? Are you making sure to hire for folks who know Rust? If you have one, is your ops team up to supporting applications written in Rust, familiar with the errors and can handle it? What's the life expectancy of the app? Ever going to need to port it in the future?

Don't forget to factor in the bus factor, when you lose a whole engineer.

Lots of folks end up missing these and you end up with mysterious legacy code the business completely depends on for day to day ops that no one knows or understands. Heck, the other day, I was asked to unlock a windows NT laptop because it was the only known repository of source code for an app that was written over a decade ago - hopefully.

Comment Re:We have the capability without high tech gadget (Score 1) 712

Exactly as I said above:

Sarcasm aside, guns are not meant to 'immobilize a person'. They're meant to kill. The goal of a LEO using a gun is to eliminate a threat, by killing it. That's not only to protect the LEO, but also others. As far as that goes, guns are pretty good. Not great, but not bad.

Comment Re:We have the capability without high tech gadget (Score 1) 712

Yep, I can explain why some places have lower violent crime and such. It /is/ a sort of brainwashing, but it's very long term and unguided; it's the impact of growing in a given area and being subject to it's mores and cultural specifics. This is the route that we'll need to go to actually make it safe, shown as possible by demonstration of these other less violent cultural groups. In short, when it's considered culturally unacceptable to use violence or commit crimes, we'll push the stats down far more than with laws and punitive punishments.

Remember though, the goal here is to come up with something that replaces the gun and is better at protecting police and 'immobilizing people' without hurting them. Assume all guns are removed from the hands of law enforcement. Now, how do you achieve the above objective without forcing some freedom-stripping compliance?

Sadly, there is no good mechanism for forcing a specific culture on a group of people in a polite way. The only way it's ever worked in the past is via conquering and forcing it at the end of a metaphorical (and all too often, literal) blade. You can pick psychological or physical force, but one way or another, it comes down to the elimination of personal choice and whether it's justified for the good of the ruler or the good of society, it's all the same in the end to the man on the street.

Like I stated before, you're gonna need to force change on the culture, and the only manageable way to select for the preferred outcome is, indeed, by force.

Comment We have the capability without high tech gadgets (Score 1) 712

The problem with using it is legal and ethical.

Look at North Korea. Their police rarely have a need for guns, and in fact, most conflicts that occur seem to be at the behest of the government and not the other way around. Their policing is proactive, reducing the number of conflict events.

You just have to remove all personal freedoms and justify everything as being better for society, for a given definition of better. Our two major political parties in the US have already been making inroads on this, we just need to take it a step further.

Sarcasm aside, guns are not meant to 'immobilize a person'. They're meant to kill. The goal of a LEO using a gun is to eliminate a threat, by killing it. That's not only to protect the LEO, but also others. As far as that goes, guns are pretty good. Not great, but not bad.

As far as sci fi solutions go, even the most imaginative writers of our time cannot separate risk from policing with access to any fantasy tech or magic possible. Look at Star Trek with the ability to detect and identify individual life forms from light years away, a transporter that can move people thousands of miles, a weapon that can stun nearly any life form into unconsciousness with no risk to the target (which makes you wonder why they don't just use it on all suspects from the start), and they still can't manage prisoner transfers 10 out of 10 times, where the guy is already in chains!

Nope, you're going to have to go the brainwashing/programming route.

Comment Obligatory (Score 2) 429


In all seriousness: it's becoming difficult to communicate with all the acronyms, framework names being used as verbs, and corp-speak trickling into conversation, and this is with folks who are not necessarily expert communicators in the first place.

Comment Cell phone only configuration? (Score 1) 123

Am I alone here in thinking that's ... idiotic?

Okay, I have a heavy bias here. I don't use my phone much, and when I do, it's largely as a phone. I don't read my email on it unless I absolutely have to, I don't use it for web browsing, and it's not an entertainment platform for me, either games, music, or media. It's ... just a phone. Some of my coworkers see me as some sort of luddite for not hooking my work email into it.

Maybe in the future when we start using it as an ID and credit card replacement, I'd feel like locking in certain functionality wouldn't be a big deal, but ... networking hardware configuration? I can't even come up with a scenario where that's a good idea. Granted, this is a consumer device, but it seems like it's somewhat of a silly restriction.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright