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Comment: Re:why does anybody feel safe purchasing from them (Score 2) 46

by ranton (#48937387) Attached to: Alibaba Face Off With Chinese Regulator Over Fake Products

Yet, you need to learn the story of Alibaba and the 40 thieves.

Alibaba was a woodcutter and not a thief.

Before you get too high and mighty, you might want to remember that Ali Baba stole from those 40 thieves which is what eventually got his brother killed (because of his own greed) and almost got Ali Baba killed as well. So the OP calling Ali Baba a thief is 100% accurate.

Comment: Re:Why no i5 with 512GB ssd? (Score 1) 105

So what they get instead is a call asking if the SSD is user serviceable and depending on that answer I either don't buy it or I buy the 128GB and buy a replacement on newegg.

You are not a standard customer. A standard customer either lives without it or ponies up the money.

Comment: Re:Up next, automatic intelligence rating... (Score 1) 217

by ranton (#48928791) Attached to: Anonymous No More: Your Coding Style Can Give You Away

This doesn't seem so far fetched. I'm not sure the field of natural language processing is that far away from being able to create metrics which would determine the skill of developer by looking at their code. It could then be used by employers during the hiring process and during reviews.

While that may sound like a nightmare scenario (and it very well could be), a more intelligent software system may even be able to show why it thinks the code is bad, and give an interviewer or reviewer the chance to ask why something was done. Taking 10,000 lines of code and narrowing it down to 100 lines that could help make the determination between good employee or bad employee could be useful.

The big trick is how to train the system, since you would have to identify good and bad coders for supervised training. I doubt unsupervised training could do anything more than cluster like minded developers together. Although even that is useful, since you could identify a dozen good programmers manually and then have the system identify hundreds more by finding similar coding styles.

Comment: Re:iPad is a luxury? (Score 1) 286

by ranton (#48928725) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

I don't think it is. I had a dumbphone and upgraded to a smartphone because I wanted a mobile web platform in my pocket. It happened to make my dumbphone unnecessary, so I no longer carry one. I, at least, did not buy a smartphone because I needed a cell phone. I *had* a cell phone already.

You are basically just repeating my same argument. From my original post:

If they have to carry the thing around anyway, why not use it as a computing device as well? The core reason they have the smartphone is still so they can call people and receive calls; they simply have found other uses for it as well.

You already "had" to carry a dumb phone, so you decided you might as well have a mobile web platform as well. So your core reason for having the smartphone is because you need to carry a phone, but have decided to extend its functionality.

Comment: Re:iPad is a luxury? (Score 2) 286

by ranton (#48925907) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

Calling it a phone is also a misnomer. It's a small computer that also makes phone calls.

They are still called phones because that is the primary reason most people carry them around. It may not be what they use it for the most, but it is still the core reason a person owns it.

Everyone basically needs to have a cellphone in today's world unless they want to deal with many social obstacles. If they have to carry the thing around anyway, why not use it as a computing device as well? The core reason they have the smartphone is still so they can call people and receive calls; they simply have found other uses for it as well.

When someone buys a tablet, the core reason is for a computing device. That is why they are far different than a smartphone, and are more readily considered a luxury than a smartphone is.

Comment: Re:From my perspective... (Score 1) 209

by ranton (#48923609) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

This advice only applies to people who are trying to be paid more than they are worth by searching for desperate employers or simply being good at interviewing and negotiating instead of their job. If your employers are happy with your performance, they will not complain about your salary. If they do, it is time to look for a new employer because your current one doesn't know how to value key employees.

In the kind of areas I'm talking about, software is usually a small industry and word gets around. A company might also decide to phase you out, because they see the writing on the wall and bringing someone new up to speed on what you currently do will be cheaper in the long run.

You want word to get around, because you are an exceptional employee and any employer will be happy to have you. Having a reputation that you expect to be treated like a key employee will help ensure that only employers who will treat you right will try to recruit you.

I personally try to cultivate a reputation that I am interested in tackling tough problems, helping set company strategy instead of just coding, and expect to be viewed as a revenue generating employee instead of a cost center. It has worked very well for me so far. I have yet to ask a former client for a reference without them trying to recruit me first, but have been able to stay on very good terms if they realize they don't have the right role for me. I also make sure current and potential employers know I am searching for the next challenging role, not just a better salary, but the right salary better be there too.

The trick is you have to be good enough to back up your contention that you should be treated this well. Being that valuable doesn't come easy to anyone I have ever met; myself included.

Comment: Re:From my perspective... (Score 1) 209

by ranton (#48923457) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

Although I think it is pretty obvious you are being sarcastic, my take on each of your points is that Great Programmers:

1) Understand that all estimates are inherently unreliable and constantly track real progress so deadlines or promised feature sets can be realigned periodically.

2) Understand that unplanned work will be added during development. They don't complain about it, they simply realistically assess how these changes could affect deadlines and/or other promised feature sets.

3) Take responsibility for their bugs and get them fixed, and keep management in the loop on how this may affect deadlines.

4) Pay attention to project deadlines when scheduling their personal lives, and notify project management well in advance when PTO may impact project deadlines.

5) Are willing to do whatever it takes to fix problems that are seriously impacting the business, but respect themselves enough to not let work unnecessarily impact their personal lives. Complaining about random and infrequent issues that cause significant work after hours is something only low-paid grunts should do, but letting your company constantly be #1 priority in your life is something only chumps do (unless you have significant equity stake in your company).

6) Respect the importance of their role in a company, and expect to be treated as such. Almost all truly great developers are paid at the top of the industry (in their area anyway), because part of being a great developer includes the interpersonal skills which usually help in negotiating top salaries.

Comment: Re:only trying to help? (Score 1) 152

by ranton (#48914427) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Exactly my point. They are only trying to make money for themselves, and if exploiting a disaster make them more money, they will do that. Yet here we have people (like the OP) trying to claim that they are 'ensuring there are enough drivers'. Bullshit.

He said they are ensuring there are enough drivers, not ensuring there are enough drivers for a charitable reason. They are ensuring there are enough drivers to maximize revenue. Where did any of the parent posters try to make Uber out to be charitable in this situation?

Comment: Re:You nerds need to get over yourselves (Score 1) 209

by ranton (#48913657) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

Odd. In my experience, the people who insist you need a 'special mind' to code are deeply insecure people with no other skills.

Programming is absurdly simple. Back in the 80's, you couldn't throw a stone without hitting a kid who wrote games for his home micro as a hobby. Hell, the bulk of the users here taught themselves before the age of 10!

You've probably noticed this yourself, but there are a LOT of really stupid professional developers. It doesn't take genius; just interest and a little time.

Your comment is all over the place. First you are saying that programming is absurdly simple, but then admit even professional developers aren't very good at it. Or are you saying that even stupid developers are still very good at programming? I find it hard to take you seriously if that is your contention.

And you must have grown up in Silicon Valley if you thought kids writing video games as a hobby was common in the 80's. I was in high school in the 90's and it wasn't even common then. I grew up in a 12,000 population rural town so my experience may not be average as well, but there were not even half a dozen students out of 1000 in my high school that could even program their TI-82s. And that was in the 90's. I also went to regional programming competitions in high school and found the talent was not any better in neighboring towns. But again this was in rural Illinois about an hour outside of Chicago so your experience may have been much different.

I completely agree it doesn't take genius to program, but it takes something that most people don't have. I work with a large number of application "super-users" who work with technology all day but weren't trained as software developers. Even after years of writing reports and business workflow rules they still have trouble comprehending let alone creating complex conditional statements. Perhaps society just hasn't learned how to teach logical reasoning skills very well yet, but many very well educated people are just not capable of this type of work in today's workforce.

Comment: Re:Contribution? (Score 4, Interesting) 200

by ranton (#48894391) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

I also find it hard to believe an award for pioneering work in object-orientation which started in 2005 just got around to awarding Bjarne Stoustrup ten years later. Since they give out two awards each year, I wonder what the other 18 guys did. Off the top of my head only Alan Kay comes to mind as being more deserving.

Comment: You do get something from high COL (Score 4, Insightful) 136

by ranton (#48894339) Attached to: By the Numbers: The Highest-Paying States For Tech Professionals

I don't know about SV, but I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and have a significantly higher cost of living than most of northern Illinois. For instance my parents live an hour southwest of Chicago and have a 50% larger house for 75% of the cost.

But I am not just paying the extra money to be closer to higher paying jobs. I get better schools, better restaurants, better entertainment options, and of course better career options. I also live next to more affluent neighbors, which means my daughter will have more affluent friends, have better internship opportunities, etc. That makes a big difference. My high school techie friends from the same small farm town my parents still live in mostly have jobs as satellite dish repair men or something similar. My wife's high school techie friends from the northwest suburbs build robots for Microsoft Research or other similar jobs. Part of my high cost of living is paying so my daughter has the same head start in the "who you know" category that my wife did.

When you look at "self-made" millionaires and other outstanding success stories, you will almost always notice they came from highly affluent upper middle class families in areas that would give them more opportunities than your average person. The creators of the next Microsoft, Facebook, etc. are mostly likely already born in a place like New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, etc, not the rural Midwest. And in a similar fashion, the next generation of C-level executives, big shot lawyers, etc. are probably also going to be mostly from these high COL areas.

Paying for that high COL in part helps increase the chance that your next generation has a chance of sitting at that table. And even if my children are not that ambitious, at least I enjoyed better food options and a better theater scene for my money.

Comment: Re: (Score 1) 322

No - the Nazis were in favor of better pensions than that given to Illinois' public employees. Illinois is actually demonizing pensions as a way to excuse increased spending.

Illinois has the largest unfunded pension in the US, so demonizing their ridiculously high pensions is exactly what should be happening. They come in #32 out of 50 in state spending per capita, so out of control spending is not the reason the pensions are out of whack. Illinois comes it as #14/50 in total state and local tax revenue per capita as well, so the problem isn't that they aren't taxing enough either.

The pensions are being demonized because they are the problem.

Comment: Re:The Dangers of the World (Score 3, Insightful) 784

by ranton (#48830001) Attached to: Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

But if you are over thirty and don't take advantage of your parents experiences and knowledge, you are a complete moron.

While I don't agree with the post you are replying to, this is a pretty silly statement. I have friends whose parents are complete degenerates. One who beat his wife and kids and was regularly unemployed. He had absolutely nothing of value to teach my friend except for what not to do (which is not the same as taking advantage of his experience and knowledge).

My father in law was in a similar situation where he grew up in a very bad home with bad parents. He decided to let that experience shape his parenting by going the complete opposite direction and being a great father and excel in his career. If his father ever tried to give him advice on parenting or his career or basically anything, my father in law would probably just tell him to screw off (his father is dead now, but they didn't have a good relationship when he was alive).

Anyone can be a parent. Just being the parent of a 30 year old does not magically make your advice worth anything. My parents are wonderful and I eat up any advice they can give me when parenting my 5 month old or even pursuing my career, but not everyone is in the same position.

Comment: Re:2015: Still using Facebook (Score 1, Offtopic) 80

by ranton (#48799483) Attached to: Using Facebook Data, Algorithm Predicts Personality Better Than Friends

Or maybe... just maybe.... your choices in this life have an actual eternal implication. That's a heckuva lot of responsibility, and I don't blame you for preferring to disbelieve in it, because it's dramatically easier to cope with.

If you are really worrying about the afterlife because your actions could damn you for eternity, any attempts are almost certainly going to be futile. There have been so many religions in the history of mankind, most likely you will sent to a land of ice because you never slaughtered a chicken at the beginning of the summer solstice.

There is nothing cowardly about thinking your actions in this life are unlikely to help you in an afterlife. It is just common sense.

Comment: Re:Of course I scoff. And I'm worried too. (Score 1) 46

by ranton (#48796435) Attached to: Chicago E-Learning Scheme Embraces Virtual Badges For Public Schoolers

Some of my coworkers have kids who are have specialties like programming, robotics, cybersecurity, or pre-engineering.

While I see where you are coming from, classes like these are not about staring kids along a career path. They are intended to get children excited about learning.

  • I can easily see why a student would be more interested in learning physics and algebra when it is used to get a robotic arm to lift a ball for a robotics competition than it is having them solve equations.
  • The basic level of cyber-security you would teach a high school student is likely to be useful to any citizen, and is probably not intended to train them as a cyber-security specialist.
  • Basic programming that would allow students to write basic scripts, Excel macros, SQL queries, etc. are starting to become more useful to a wide range of jobs (basically anyone who would ever look at an Excel spreadsheet). My wife is a demand planning analyst with no programming training and is finding knowing SQL and VBA is very useful.
  • I'm not sure how Pre-Engineering would be any different than any other set of Calculus / Physics / etc. classes that an advanced student would take in high school, since even college Freshmen / Sophomores are usually just taking Calculus / Physics / etc. in their first two years of an engineering program.

These classes are more job-related than just taking Algebra / History / English, but are not any more career track focused than wood shop class. IMHO

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"