Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

Comment Re:I refuse to work beyond shift (Score 1) 195

I actually wouldn't want to be hourly. The reason is, my work (and that of my employees) is measured by success, by what we do and what we produce - not by how long it takes to do so. Paying by the hour is, in my view, rewarding slowness. My workplace gives me the flexibility to work when/wherever I need to - yesterday for example I took the morning to go to an event at my kids school. Had I been on some 9-5 hourly rate that would have cost me $$$, as it was, no big deal.

I literally Do. Not. Care what hours my staff work, with the exception that if I notice someone overdoing it (which is a temptation for younger engineers) I'm gonna talk to them about it. We agree on the work that's going to get done in advance, and as long as people are pulling their weight it's all good.

Comment Oh god not this again (Score 1) 568

Go watch this video, it's long but it makes the point better than anything I've seen previously.

Summary - this whole argument about what "engineering" really is ignores what most engineers actually do. Civil and Structural Engineering is not all of engineering, there are so many other fields which all do things their own way and which are not at all comparable to the oft-quoted bridge building or skyscraper construction. The process of creating software is part science, part art, part craft and part engineering. That's OK, it's alright to be lots of things. They're not exclusive.

Comment Re:Productivity of office workers? (Score 3, Insightful) 360

Well a lot of their biggest companies are in real trouble (ex Sony). They also have an extremely high suicide rate (double the US). I have no idea if any of this is related, but the comments I've read about people doing menial jobs which could be automated simply to keep employment up sounds like a recipe for depression, and I doubt it's sustainable. People know when their job is actually useful and feeling like you're not doing anything worth while is incredibly demotivating.

Comment Re:I worry about autonomous language activities (Score 1) 185

I'm well aware of industrial controllers. I'm also aware that many of them are networked in one way or another, be it ethernet or something else, and most have some mechanism for introducing code or data (floppy disk, USB, whatever). It's not like one of the biggest malware incidents in recent years was targeted towards PLCs or anything.

Comment Re:I worry about autonomous language activities (Score 3, Interesting) 185

Why aren't you writing in assembler? Actually scrub that - how's your microcode? What always amuses me about the bare metal brigade is that they're often not actually that close to the metal.

Different levels of abstraction work for different tasks, and it's always a trade off. Security vs Reliability vs Performance vs Resource Usage vs Developer Time vs Maintainability vs ... you get the picture. Anyone who tells me their tool of choice is appropriate for all tasks is telling me they have a very restricted view of the world. I write mainly in Scala these days but there are plenty of things I wouldn't try to use it for, and I sure as hell wouldn't write my services in C!

Comment Re:I worry about autonomous language activities (Score 1) 185

If Java is controlled by Oracle then Go is controlled by Google. Neither worries me particularly.

I don't personally see much of a need for Go in my world (high throughput web services), but I know some of the ops folks in my company like it for the stuff they do - and anything which gets more C out of the stack gets my vote :)

Comment Re:I worry about autonomous language activities (Score 3, Insightful) 185

If your program runs on a machine which is connected to a network then it's an attack vector, even if it doesn't directly offer network services. Look at the huge number of vulnerabilities in things like file viewers or graphics rendering libraries.

Sure, if you're writing an application which you know will only ever be run on airgapped machines with no removable storage then maybe you can not worry about security. Those applications are few and far between.

Comment Re:no wonder (Score 4, Interesting) 187

I disagree - the last season with just the two of them has been a great return to form. You know, actually doing science, actually showing the build process and failures as well as successes. As much as I liked the three other hosts (and I did like them) they were a distraction and devolved the show into the quest for larger explosions.

Comment Re:What if I don't want to own a car? (Score 5, Informative) 397

Data, please? People make this claim all the time, but given that there are over a billion trips a day in the US and only around 120 fatalities, I'd say humans drivers pretty much have this thing down. The fact that people can make it around in their cars in myriad weather conditions, successfully navigate unfamiliar terrain, and quickly respond to sudden changes in circumstances (kid darting out in front of them) speaks volumes to how good human drivers are.

So I'm going to try. Putting aside fatalities, as the Google cars have not been involved in any, there were approx 5.5m traffic accidents in the US in 2010. Taking your number of 1b trips per day, we get a figure of ~66k miles per accident. According to Google they have been involved in 11 accidents over 1.7 million miles which is ~154k miles/accident. Now this is a combination of fully automatic and driver assisted miles, so the comparison isn't exact, but it's pretty safe to assume the computer is at least as good as your average driver. And maybe twice as good.

I watched a Google self-driving car cross an intersection this weekend (in Austin). It was moving very cautiously and then slowed down to a walking pace on the other side of the intersection, leaving a trail of human-driven cars stuck in the intersection while it decided to turn down a side street.

That may be evidence of it driving badly. Or it may be evidence of it driving well, because it was responding to a potential danger that the human drivers didn't see or didn't care about. Remember - if we're saying we want the computers to drive better than humans we have to accept that they will at times drive differently.

Comment Re:Author is not impressive. (Score 1) 397

You actually think that will help? There's gonna be like 1 second at maximum when you realize something bad is about to happen. That's going to be long enough for a driver who hasn't been paying attention to react, grab whatever emergency only steering wheel replacement is hidden in the glove box and execute some perfect maneuver?

Right now if you're in a cab do you insist there's a second set of controls in case the driver fucks up? No - you trust in statistics. With the automated drivers it's the same, you either trust them or you don't. There's no "emergency backup".

Comment Re:"Women don't like trash talk, be more sensitive (Score 1) 928

It's nothing to do with women. I'm a guy and I have no interest in being part of these "communities" for precisely this reason. I also run an engineering team and if anyone came to work with this kind of attitude they'd be out so fast their head would spin, I don't give a flying crap how good they think they are.

It seems to me as if a lot of these OSS groups suffer from the same problem with self appointed Masters of the Universe as Wikipedia.

Comment Re:Where are all these employees? (Score 1) 231

I like to think we're pretty open minded when it comes to experience. For example, when I joined the company I had many years of development experience, but in a totally different domain. It was a tough learning curve but they helped me through it. We also do hire grads straight out of school, typically through our intern program which has identified a number of really awesome people.

It's the mid-level 3-7 year crowd. There is no shortage of people applying, but the SNR is terrible. So much resume stuffing, lots of people lying about their experience and knowledge. If you come along saying you're an 8 year Java veteran who's been building performance critical stuff and you can't tell me the difference between a LinkedList and an ArrayList you're either lying or just really bad at your job.

Oh well I guess I'll stop complaining and go back to reading terrible resumes :)

Comment Re:Where are all these employees? (Score 1) 231

Actually we are very famous for being a good workplace, we've won awards for it. We compete directly with Google for talent and are competitive with them on both pay and benefits - a number of our staff are ex-Google. So yeah, when I said it wasn't pay or benefits I meant it.

Comment Where are all these employees? (Score 0) 231

I've been a hiring manager at a few large companies over the years. It's never been easy to find good people with or without H1-Bs. Right now I'm sitting on 3 open seats for devs, it's not because of pay or benefits - on the face of it these are pretty desirable jobs - it's just really hard to find qualified candidates. Once I'm turning great people away I'll believe we don't have a talent pool problem.

Use the Force, Luke.