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Comment: If High School is sufficient for CS, then why not? (Score 1) 389

by rockmuelle (#47919747) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

The question is interesting in relation to the current bias against four year degrees for software developers in some circles. If, as Peter Thiel claims, you don't need a degree, then it shouldn't matter what your degree is if you get one. So, from that perspective, a tech degree or a liberal arts degree shouldn't make a difference. If a liberal arts degree makes for a more intellectually well rounded person, then it could be argued that that's the better degree for tech.

Of course, I don't buy Peter's argument at all. A good CS degree teaches foundational methods that can be applied throughout a career. Don't get me started on the number of times basic complexity theory or knowledge of the full memory hierarchy has helped improve performance of web pages. Most hobbyists don't have those skills and write them off as just academic oddities. A good CS degree also exposes you to a range of technologies and methods for developing software (no, CS is not just math, no more than physics is just theoretical physics). It gives you an environment where you can develop your skills and gain exposure to the breadth of topics in the field. It's a Good Thing(tm).

Should all programmers have CS degrees? Of course not, but those that do are always going to have an edge over most of the other ones (there are always exceptions - I know a few great developers without degrees).

-Chris

Comment: Re:Some classes would be AWESOME! (Score 1) 182

by rockmuelle (#47908539) Attached to: Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles

VR simulations are only as good as our ability to model and simulate the things we're studying. Physics, maybe. Chemistry and Biology, no way. The latter two are messy and don't lend themselves to simulation expect in a few very specific situations. If it's simply for information retrieval and watching videos, a book or screen is sufficient.

I've spent a lot of time with various 3D emersion technologies and scientific applications (old-school VR, Caves, polarized googles, etc) and the reality is that they don't add much. Don't get me wrong, they make GREAT demos. I love playing with the technology. But, spend any amount of time doing real work with them and their limitations quickly become apparent. It's not that the technology doesn't work, it's that most content doesn't really lend itself to the medium and for content that does, getting the user experience right is a difficult and expensive task.

-Chris

Comment: Re:Wait a minute, a few years ago I recall and AA (Score 1) 813

And that is how our current implementation of the free market actually works. No business action is made for the customer's benefit. It's always about making one more dollar off a captive customer base and pretending you're doing them a favor. America needs to return to stakeholder capitalism rather than the current shareholder model (yes, there actually are different models for market-based economies).

Comment: Re:What about (Score 1) 193

by rockmuelle (#47705781) Attached to: C++14 Is Set In Stone
Yes!!! I wish I had mod points. They basically had them ready to go for C++11 and then committee infighting killed them (Bjarne stubbornly backed the wrong horse - not that I have a strong opinion on this or anything ;) ).

Syntactic support for generic programming would be the single best addition to C++ to breathe new life into the language and get a whole generation of developers who've written it off interested in it. Generic programming is as paradigm shifting as OOP. It just kills me that it's so thoroughly obfuscated by template meta-programming in C++.

Comment: Re:good (Score 2) 125

by rockmuelle (#47655481) Attached to: The Fiercest Rivalry In Tech: Uber vs. Lyft
Markets are defined by their rules, plain and simple.

The rules for an ideal free market are pretty straight forward: everyone is free to do whatever they want. There's also another term for this approach in the political sphere: anarchy.

What most people really mean when they say free market (in America, at least) is a market defined by the rules of property law (the foundation of most western legal systems). As soon as you have some basic rules, you no longer have a free market.

A real free market is a theoretical extreme, like an ideal gas. It's useful for reasoning about things, but doesn't actually exist in any practical form in real life.

-Chris

Comment: Re:Not worth it (Score 1) 138

by rockmuelle (#47451215) Attached to: Three-Year Deal Nets Hulu Exclusive Rights To South Park
I look at it this way: I can pay $100+ a month to watch cable TV with commercials or I can pay $9 for Netflix, $8 for Hulu Plus, and nothing for my TV antenna for local shows. Yes, the ads on Hulu Plus are annoying, repetitive, and can't be skipped. But, I grew up in the 70s and 80s and have developed the skills to cope with ads and the lack of time shifting for local news. Millennial's milage may vary...

-Chris

Comment: Re:Except It Isn't (Score 1) 104

by rockmuelle (#47052239) Attached to: How Virtual Reality Became Reality

I've tried Occulus and agree with the parent (I'm also 40 and have been around this block before). VR will never be a mainstream, mass market application. Now that the tech is mostly working (OR is awesome - it works like we all wanted it to the first time Jaron Lanier was in the news), it needs applications. Sure, core gaming will change as will some industrial applications, but otherwise there aren't a lot of good reasons to put an app in an head mounted display. HMDs are not exactly a great fashion accessory (even at the scale of google glass).

-Chris

Comment: Didn't Happen in 2001, won't happen now (Score 1) 190

Sacramento and the rest of the Central Valley has been trying this forever. It didn't happen during the first bubble, it likely won't happen this time around. The Delta and Valley regions may as well be flyover country as far as techs are concerned. It's almost as easy to hop on a plane and be in Austin, Boulder, Portland, SLC, or any other regional tech hub than it is to drive around in CA.

I grew up in Merced and have seen this same story too many times in the past... 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s... This conversation is a good predictor for bursting bubbles, though. ;)

-Chris

Comment: Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (Score 1) 490

I'm a bike commuter and I own two cars. I pay more taxes relative to car commuters for the use of the roads.

Of course, I could get rid of the fun car and keep just the practical one, but I'd still be paying more than most drivers relative to my impact.

For rule 1 to be a valid argument, all bikers can't own cars. In the US, that's almost universally not the case.

-Chris

Comment: Who needs watches in the first place? (Score 1) 399

by rockmuelle (#46859469) Attached to: Japanese and Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches

So, there are two types of people out there: those that wear watches and those that don't. I fall into the latter category. As someone who doesn't wear jewelry, I've never felt the need to accessorise with time (save for that brief period in 7th grade where I had a few Swatches... ;) ). The other reason for a watch would be practical. But here's the thing: I always know within a few minutes what time it is. If you don't wear a watch, you get pretty good at knowing the time. And, in most cases, you realise that it doesn't matter that much. Is it early? Have breakfast. Is it late? Have a cocktail. Am I at work? I have clocks surrounding me that are more accurate than any watch I'd wear.

Having played around with the "quantified self" gadgets, I can also say that they didn't give me much more than I could get through just general self awareness and a scale (or a more precise measuring device for whatever it is I'm quantifying). So, a smartwatch for me would just be a connected device for email, Web, and phone calls. My smartphone is great for that and I don't have to wear it on my wrist (see above: I don't wear jewelry). I can also set my phone aside and easily walk away from it when I need to be disconnected, which is key for long term sanity.

I know I'm only a portion of the market, but when it comes to smart watches, the manufacturers are already dealing with a segmented market. The luxury manufacturers are right to focus on what their bread and butter is: high end, mechanical jewelry (which, imho, is way cooler than a smart watch from an engineering perspective). The smartwatch space will need to focus on the intersection of smartphone users who wear watches for practical reasons and want to move away from their phone. They'll likely never capture the smartphone users who don't like to wear watches.

-Chris

It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river. -- Abraham Lincoln

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