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Comment: I've managed a team full of H1bs.. (Score 4, Interesting) 499

by hey! (#48677749) Attached to: Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

Not my choice, we got them in a deal with a VC. And I will tell you from experience that they're not all great programmers. A *few* of them were very good programmers, most of them were OK, and a few were very *bad* programmers. Just like everyone else. The idea that the H1B program just brings in technical giants is pure fantasy. This isn't 1980; if a CS genius living in Bangalore wants to work he doesn't have to come to the US anymore, there are good opportunities for him at home..

H1B brings in a cross section of inexperienced programmers and kicks them out of the country once they've gained some experience. I have nothing against bringing more foreign talent into the US, but it should be with an eye to encouraging permanent residency. I think if you sponsor an H1B and he goes home, you should have to wait a couple years before you replace him. Then companies will be pickier about who they bring over.

I have to say, managing a team of H1Bs was very rewarding, not necessarily from a technical standpoint but from a cultural standpoint. Because I had to learn about each programmer on my team and the way things are done in his culture, I think I became closer to a lot of them than I would have to a team of Americans.

Comment: Re:The Navy sucks at negotiating (Score 3, Interesting) 117

by Shakrai (#48673891) Attached to: US Navy Sells 'Top Gun' Aircraft Carrier For One Penny

Hell, one Ohio class submarine has more destructive capacity than the entire Navy from 1945.

Which means absolutely nothing because you can't actually use any of that firepower in any conflict short of "Civilization as we know it is coming to an end." That's not to dispute the rest of your points, which are mostly valid, but let us leave the SSBN out of the calculation of modern naval firepower. They have a specific mission: deterrence. The day they are called upon to loft their birds is the day that mission has failed.

Why would you want more men when the ships have become more efficient and have so much more firepower?

There is an argument to be made that we need more ships, particularly attack submarines and surface combatants. The former will prove decisive in any conflict with the PRC and the latter are needed for missile defense, amongst other missions. Unfortunately most of the shipbuilding budget is going to the Gerald Ford CVNs while the looming Ohio replacement is going to consume billions more. Both are needed at the end of the day, so unless we're going to throw more money at the Navy I'm not sure what the solution is. I'd opt for throwing more money at them, since it takes decades to build a modern Navy, and it can't be used (as easily) for interventionist adventures in the same manner as a standing army....

User Journal

Journal: Merry Christmas! 1

Journal by mcgrew

For the first time in nine years I got to see my youngest daughter on Christmas; this is the first Christmas in nine years she didn't have to work. Great Christmas present!

And the second to last pre-publication copies came Christmas eve eve. I finished going through it this morning, and the book itself is ready. What wasn't was the cover; I fixed it and ordered another copy, so Mars, Ho! should be online in a couple of weeks.

Comment: Re:Motive (Score 4, Insightful) 280

by Shakrai (#48670163) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

What would you think if NK released a movie about killing a US president?

They've released propaganda films about nuking us. We didn't mobilize the cyber or real armies over the matter; I guess that's the difference between a modern nation-state and one held together with a pygmy's cult of personality....

Comment: Re:Why is the White House involved? (Score 2) 225

by hey! (#48669123) Attached to: Sony To Release the Interview Online Today; Apple Won't Play Ball

Presidents, governors and mayors all do this kind of thing -- call up private businesses and ask them to do stuff. The mayor may call a local business and ask it to reconsider withdrawing its sponsorship of the local youth baseball league. The governor might call up union leaders and senior management in a strike, particularly if it affects things lots of people need like transit or health care.

This is the exercise of *soft* power, of influence rather than of compulsion. Obama can't call Apple and compel them to change their stance. But he can call Tim Cook and *persuade* him, possibly with more success than Michael Lynton, particuarly given that the two may be having some kind of dispute. Ego *does* play a role in CEO decision making.

Comment: Re:The Drive used to have "Deep Tracks" (Score 1) 7

by mcgrew (#48666529) Attached to: A mild rant

FM is now an analog/digital mix. They broadcast the analog channel with two digital channels piggybacked on the signal. They don't call it digital, they call it "High Def".

And if they're too broke to pay the fees, they must have trouble selling ads. KSHE has no problem, but they're probably the most popular station in St Louis.

Comment: Re:Other art forms that contain music (Score 1) 622

by mcgrew (#48666499) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

I certainly agree that copyright lengths are way too long, and that the extreme lengths hinder creative expression. I ran across it with Random Scribblings; I had to change Dork Side of the Moon, reducing the lyrics of the two songs to "fair use" snippets, since I can find no way to contact Roger Waters for usage permission. That album is four decades old and should not be under copyright.

You are right, copyright is supposed to encourage creators so their work will belong to everyone after the copyright lapses. How is anyone supposed to get Hendrix or Cocker to perform again?

It does add challenges to creativity.

Comment: Re:What a nightmare (Score 3, Interesting) 327

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

Star Trek's II, III, IV, and VI weren't watchable? Amazing how they managed to combine both action, a compelling story, and respect for the Star Trek mythos into commercially successful films....

IV even had an oddball plot about whales and was still the highest grossing film in the whole series, including the TNG movies that later came, and which totally sucked.

Comment: Re:At a guess . . . (Score 1) 175

by hey! (#48661189) Attached to: Study: Light-Emitting Screens Before Bedtime Disrupt Sleep

I actually use yellow tinted goggles after 6PM this time of year. The sunlight is so short and weak this time of year my sleep schedule gets totally messed up. When that happens in the summer I just get up in the middle of the night and work until bedtime, but that doesn't work here in December because there's not enough light during the day to get synced up.

So I try to go outdoors every day for an hour around noon, particularly if its overcast. And I wear those stupid goggles after 6PM, which is a PITA but beats lying in bed awake all night only to fall asleep at noon.

The particular pair I use (Uvex S1933X) cost only $8 and are, surprisingly, optically pretty good. There's slight distortion at the edge-of-field but they're fine in the center of the field. They don't actually block much blue light, but by looking at color swatches I've determined the cut off violet quite dramatically. When I put them on, all those irritating "blue" LEDS (which are actually violet) simply disappear. You can be looking straight at one with these puppies on and you'd never know it was lit, much less annoyingly bright. Subjectively, my eyes feel less tired too, although the lenses need frequent cleaning.

Another thing I find useful is a word processor called FocusWriter. It can edit ODT files, but it ignores all the color styling and hides all the Windows controls. The intent is to eliminate writing distractions, but I find it useful to eliminate blue-violet light exposure. I set the display background to black and the text background to amber, and those are the only colors on screen. I'd pay good money for an epaper ereader with an amber backlight. As for tablets, Amazon's Kindle App doesn't give you any nighttime-friendly options; the best is black text on sepia, but it's far too bright. Moon+ Reader is a good alternative for ePub files; Cool Reader is a GPL'd ebook reader that can be configured for comfortable nighttime reading, although it's UI isn't quite as polished as Moon+ Reader.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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