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Comment: Re:Jackson is Supporting the Right to Compete (Score 1) 181

by kwiqsilver (#47569311) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

Having conducted many tech interviews over the past 17 years, in high demand markets, I can say that the number of qualified candidates in the US is abysmally low compared to the open positions. There are lots of people with degrees in CS or a similar field, but the ones who can actually do the job at the level required is very low. If we find someone who can code well enough to do the work, we don't care how much pigmentation it has, what it's genitals look like, what gods it reveres (if any), or any of that other crap.

The imports are absolutely necessary to keep American companies competitive in a global market. Otherwise the 21st century tech centers will be in south or east Asia, along with all the profits, high paying jobs, and resulting tax revenue.

And what Jesse wants is money for his group, or to be on the news. He's a person who used to have power, and is now completely irrelevant. He's desperately clinging to anything he can.

Comment: Sigh... (Score 1) 181

by kwiqsilver (#47569177) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step
So rather than asking why there aren't more blacks in tech, and addressing those issues (which mostly center on the welfare state and drug war destroying black culture), Jesse is going to pretend to still be relevant by trying to get racial hiring quotas in the tech industry. Oh joy...
Racism against minorities is about as common in the US as polio (both exist only due to small pockets of people who ignore reason and logic). Jesse needs to keep fanning the flames on anything he can. Otherwise he'd have to get a productive job...like the white, Indian, and Chinese techies he wants to get fired.
How come Jesse isn't concerned with the lack of diversity in professional basketball?

Comment: Quantum mechanics is real, like it or not. (Score 3, Insightful) 21

by Animats (#47568933) Attached to: More Quantum Strangeness: Particles Separated From Their Properties

That's a nice result. It's in accord with theory. It doesn't match human intuition based on large-scale objects, but it's the way the universe really works. The theory in this area is well understood; Feynman's "QED" has a good overview.

Ever since the double-slit experiment, it's been clear that this stuff is real. Over the last few decades, more of the weirder predictions of quantum electrodynamic theory have been confirmed experimentally. This is another predicted event confirmed. Nice work.

Comment: Re:$1000, not $300 (Score 1) 43

by Animats (#47568555) Attached to: A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video)

I guess you're supposed to stencil the paste in first and the put it in a heat oven as if you had done the pick and placing by hand.

Their FAQ contains:

  • TBD - Solder paste dispensing
  • TBD - Selective Reflow via custom ATC head

That's what would make the machine useful for prototyping. Printing a solder paste stencil can be done on a laser cutter, but you need access to one, or you must send the job out. Laying down solder paste by hand with a little syringe on each pad (probably under a microscope) takes longer than manually placing parts and is Not Fun.

Printing solder paste with an ink-jet printer type head has been done. If they can make that work, that will be a big win.

Comment: The truth hurts, not my problem. (Score 1) 102

I was SAC, and that statement is laughable.

I was USN SSBN missile systems and have talked with many SAC (Minuteman) launch crews over the years, and it's the dead simple truth. Your systems are much simpler than ours (even without figuring that we had sixteen tubes that we operated individually while you mostly just watched lights) and you didn't (couldn't) operate them or intervene in their operations to the level we did.

The examples of the complexities that you didn't have to deal with are legion (off the top of my head and in no particular order):

  • You had no pressurization system. (And even if you did you didn't have to wait for the ship to come to launch depth.)
  • Your optical alignment system was set by the loading crew rather than operating in sequence as ours did.
  • You had no navigation system interface to deal with as your tubes were fixed in position. (And equally, you didn't have to coordinate your countdown with the ship coming to launch speed or wait for the ship to commence hovering.)
  • You did not test the missiles in sequence the way we did. (And unlike us, you couldn't do anything about faults even if you did, the weapons were miles away and maintained by a different crew).

Etc... etc...
 
So yeah, the jobs of the prairie dogs waiting in their holes (which is the subject of this discussion) were (are) pretty dammed simple. You punch buttons and swap drawers. If a tube goes down, and it's not at your end, you're screwed because there's f all you can do about it except to wait for a repair crew to be dispatched. (The liquid fuel guys? Yeah, I'll agree they were the real deal. But they're long gone.)

Comment: Re:Not sure how well this will stop cheating (Score 1) 102

The problem is that promotions were based on the grades. So, people were not cheating to pass but instead to be "perfect" in order to look better for promotion.

This is the key point that everyone seems to be missing in the discussions I've seen here and elsewhere on the 'net, so it bears emphasizing and repeating.
 
It's interesting that they've shifted to using simulator performance (which is virtually impossible to cheat in) for promotion eligibility... because their jobs are basically so damn simple it's going to be very hard to realistically rate one crew as being notably better than another. On reaction time maybe? Or "procedures theater" (I.E. making a great show of doing everything by the letter of the book)? Since, AIUI, they swap at the drawer level rather than the circuit card level it'll be hard to evaluate and their troubleshooting and corrective maintenance skills.
 
Disclaimer - BTDT on both sides of the instructors console and of the evaluators clipboard. In a former life I was a Fire Control Technician (Ballistic Missile), USN Submarine Service, USS Henry L. Stimson SSBN 655B and Trident Training Facility - Bangor.
 
In the graded half of Team Trainer, we were scored fairly simply: "Pass", "Pass with comments (I.E. needs specific improvements)*, and "Fail". (And basically the only ways to actually fail were to have a gross violation of procedures, violation of safety regulations, or the simple inability to launch birds.) You could fail individual countdowns, but so long as there wasn't a pattern of failure you could pass the week "with comments". Outright failures of a countdown were very uncommon, and outright failure of the week very rare.
 
I can see how they could assign grades to specific tasks or objectives to create a spectrum from the top of "Pass" to the bottom of "Pass with comments", but the problem there is it's all too easy for the instructor/evaluator to start shading towards being subjective in their evaluation.

*You could also get "style" comments, but these didn't lead to a "Pass with comments". Operating an FBM weapons systems was a complex task and no two crews did it exactly the same. We didn't push standardization to the level that the USAF did, so "style" comments were a way for the instructors and evaluators to pass on what they'd seen work or not work with other crews or to highlight potential problem areas.

Comment: Re:Black Hats shoot themselves in the foot. (Score 4, Insightful) 66

by ron_ivi (#47566907) Attached to: Black Hat Researchers Actively Trying To Deanonymize Tor Users
Hard to tell who "them" is.

It's being used by, and trying to be hacked by, many groups.

University researchers, governments, MPAA/RIAA, computer security companies, etc.

Seems the project should encourage as many people as possible attempting to hack it -- because that increases the odds that when people finds a hack, at least some of them will report the weakness back to the project.

On the other hand, if the project discourages hacking attempts, only malicious groups will find the hacks.

Comment: Re:Lost the "tech" in tech support (Score 1) 201

by Arker (#47565815) Attached to: Comcast Confessions
"I can understand wanting to save money by putting tech script as the first line of tech support, but it gets a little tiring when want to skip to the advanced folks and still they want to stick to their script and ask me to reboot the modem as if I hadn't done that 3 times already. If it isn't low hanging fruit for the script readers it's not going to be a very successful or efficient support call."

The sad thing is that the volume of calls is so heavily weighted towards people that refuse to do anything whatsoever on their own before calling and demanding someone else fix it that clued-in customers with real problems are just lost in the noise from their perspective.

Comment: $1000, not $300 (Score 1) 43

by Animats (#47563223) Attached to: A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video)

Their presentation for investors quotes a sale price of $1000, not $300. At that price they might be able to do it. How well they'll do it remains to be seen.

Their presentation is all about their XY positioning mechanism. But that's not the problem. The hard problem is dispensing solder paste reliably and precisely, sticking the component down, and using hot air to solder it into place. As with low-end 3D printers, most of the problems are where the weld/soldering action takes place. They don't say much about how that's done.

The important thing is doing a consistently good soldering job. Nobody needs a machine that produces lots of reject boards.

Comment: Re:Misfeatures (Score 1) 172

by Arker (#47563015) Attached to: Firefox 31 Released
"The pdf javascript reader wastes kilobytes on your / or C:\ partition, that's all."

It also adds more lines of code that need to be carefully analyzed, audited, and constantly re-audited for exploitable bugs to the codebase.

Web browsers are the main point of vulnerability, they have an absolutely horrible track record for anything related to security. There are several relatively good .pdf programs that are actively maintained and whose security track records are not nearly so tarnished as Mozilla's. Some are Free Software as well. So I am seriously having a very hard time imagining a scenario where this has any reason to exist. And I am usually the one that's all in favor of having 15 slightly different choices for every role.

Comment: Re:None of them. (Score 1) 307

by Arker (#47562427) Attached to: Which Is Better, Adblock Or Adblock Plus?
"Screw your acceptable ads, there's no such thing as an acceptable ad."

You are entitled to your point of view. I personally do not agree.

I like to expose myself to advertising. By seeing what is currently being pushed I know which products to avoid, which is a big time-saver. And the notion that some small payment comes to a website as a result of giving me this information is 100% ok with me.

Yet I almost never see ads. Why? Because I refuse to allow random servers all over the net a free hand to run programs on my computer. And ad companies apparently have some sort of problem with using the web, the only thing they know how to do is javascript, java, and flash.

Comment: Re:You're probably not one of them - CA FTB. (Score 1) 472

by billstewart (#47562313) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Unless they identify themselves as the State of California Franchise Tax Board, they're not.

At least for Federal taxes, you and they can only go back 3 years, unless they're alleging significant underreporting of income (which $200 isn't), in which case they can go back 6 years, or fraud, in which case you're on the hook forever. I don't know the FTB's time limits, but I'd be surprised if they're more than that (or at most one year more.)

Also, their name is pronounced "fran-chi-zi", because they're a branch of La Cosa Nostra, and yo, they don't mess around. If they wanted to take $200 from you, they'd have taken it by now. But if this really is the Franchises, you do have a way to get help in working with them, which is to contact the office of your state assembly representative. And if it's really not them, they'll probably also appreciate having you reporting the fraud (though unfortunately, you doing them a favor doesn't mean they'll do you a favor later.)

Comment: Somewhat the opposite (Score 2) 472

by billstewart (#47562193) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Yes, it's going to cut down on the number of people who are in collection for medium-large debts because they got medical services they couldn't afford at the time and haven't been able to pay off (either yet, or ever.)

But it's going to significantly increase the number of people who are in collection for small debts because doctors or insurers paid the wrong amount. I've got one doctor's office that usually doesn't charge me a copay, but after the insurance gets around to paying them, there's an amount of money left over that's within a dollar or so of the amount the copay would have been, so their medical group gets around to sending me a bill, and it's extremely difficult to keep track of which of those bills are actually correct and final or which ones are rolling totals of insurance confusion in progress. Usually those get straightened out after a while, but sometimes they've called me and there's $20 that's going to go to collection if I don't pay right away. There's an X-ray lab that has a negotiated rate with my insurance company that's a lot lower than their rack rate; I went to them one January, and insurance didn't pay them anything because I hadn't reached my deductible for the year yet, and the lab billed me the rack rate, not the negotiated rate (I paid them the correct amount, and explained why, and the rest eventually ended up in collection because they couldn't figure out how to deal with it.)

Comment: Erlang's used for Cloud Stuff, so Trendy (Score 1) 295

by billstewart (#47562013) Attached to: Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

Erlang's becoming at least slightly trendy because it's used in several sets of Cloud Stuff, and Cloud Stuff is heavily enough management-buzzwordy that HR departments have figured out they need to hire some Erlang programmers.

It's especially useful for some of the orchestration tools out there, and it's useful if your management likes Cloud Stuff Buzzwords that don't start with "v" or "V".

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