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Comment: TV is fiction, even if based on 'fact' (Score 1) 391

by servant (#47665191) Attached to: Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?
TV is fiction, even if 'based on real people or situations'. Get over it and move on. I plan on watching anyway. If they make a compelling case, I will watch more, if not or if the acting is unreasonable (either over the top or to bad) I'll drop it like any other fiction. Even the news is fiction to me (or at least under suspicion) until I get the same feed from other sources preferably outside the news media, or at least outside domestic or others known to have a 'dog in the hunt' sources.

Comment: Recycle the Oceans? (Score 1) 184

by servant (#47632807) Attached to: Man-Made "Dead Zone" In Gulf of Mexico the Size of Connecticut
I have wondered if it could be profitable to run a barge and sein the top couple of feet of ocean water in the dead zones and recapture the plastic and other floating debris for recycling. Another thought: Even if we compressed it to a high degree and encase it in cement, then it could be made use of as artificial offshore reefs. Probably not practical, but if you have something that could make this stuff useful, you have enough material to do lots of stuff with! ... So what is YOUR idea of how to make it useful and get it out of the ocean ecosystem?

Comment: Same Story - Next Verse (Score 1) 637

by servant (#47623473) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?
I grew up in the write Assembler, read dumps, memory and even bulk data storage was dear.

Core memory was just coming down from $1/bit to $0.10/bit, and it would be $0.01/bit soon. Tape was (and still is) king for bulk offline data.

Keeping down memory usage and getting LOTS of functionality for each cycle and byte was paramount.

Cobol programmers (replace with Fortran, C, C++, Java, Easyout, RPG, APL, RPG II, Snobol, etc, etc) programmers weren't concerned unless they hit a 'wall'. The wall that assembler geeks hit every day. So unless you write assembly and poop core dumps, you aren't a 'real programmer', ... back in the day.

Fast forward to today. We whine of only 32G on our phone that has more processing power than mainframes of yore. We use 90+% of computing power on 'human interface issues' rather than addressing the problem being solved. Programmers do program without ever knowing what the hardware is let alone how it works (even to the digital level, let alone electronics - the discussion that ALL ELECTRONICS IS ANALOG is an argument for another day).

IMHO, this is not all bad. It does turn out programmers that don't think of limitations, they just drive to possibilities (that is a good thing). Embedded systems geeks are the new low level programmers (programming closer to the metal) than most programmers today.

Not all CompSci 'professionals' are scientists. I have a CS degree from 30+ years ago. I am more of a programmer, and long ago gave up bemoaning the 'real' programmer wars. But not all programmers do, or should, program at all levels (hardware wise). Micro-controller and embedded device programmers are doing more with less than ever. Smaller and cheaper electronics make that possible. Uber-power CPUs and cheap memory allow programmers at higher levels to not worry about those resources.

Todays 'restrictions' seem to have more to do with the 'size of your pipe to the internet' and the amount of super-fast-bulk-storage you can get use effectively. From my old days, hainveg 16T of data in my hall closet that I waste space on just to watch yet another episode of a time wasting TV show is unthinkable. Having more CPU power in my android phone than on my desktop or laptop seems odd too.

What I find scary is how we are 'surprised' when an 'enemy' slips in a few hundred thousand more transistors onto chips we have them build internet routers with and don't even recognize it for a long time. (You can do the looking up the articles on why the NSA, DOD, CIA, and other TLA organizations are not using some routers coming from China and other places.). We ignore the details of the resources (equipment, fuels, etc) we use because we want it fast and cheap.

But I digress. We don't need as many 'real computer scientists' as we are generating degrees for. We need more systems analysts, designers, and coders. We will have, and need SOME computer scientists. They do the esoteric research, blaze trails that I can't begin to imagine. I am sure there is a modern day Lady Ada, Bool, Babbage, Touring, etc out there. We all don't need to be them, but we do need some REAL explorers in the field that do more than play video games and build internet toasters.

Comment: Re:Redefine (Score 1) 188

by servant (#47594625) Attached to: The XBMC Project Will Now Be Called Kodi
Re-defining the acronym doesn't seem to be the ways corporate life allows things to work. Just like EMC2 renamed to LinuxCNC after being the US Govt project named Enhanced Machine Controller Project, eventually it became independent of the US Govt and changed its name to EMC2. But EMC Corporation became jealous and even though EMC project proceeded EMC Corporation (from what I can tell) managed to force the name change (without compensation).

So life goes. Just try to figure it out.

Comment: Only haters hate, for the most part... (Score 1) 171

by servant (#47594393) Attached to: Critics To FTC: Why Do You Hate In-App Purchasing Freedom?
FTC et all don't hate in-app-purchases. They hate getting hassled by parents that are upset because their kids purchase without their knowledge and get stuck paying. FTC is only concerned because they are considering it 'not fair' to the parents. My suggestion is to have a 'parental override password' to do ANY purchases, or don't put in-app-purchases in apps oriented to kids or gaming that under 17 (or 21, or 35, pick your poison) might be interested in. The easy choice is to say 'no in-app-purchases allowed'. The right answer is to have kids respect their parents and do what they are requested and not do in-app-purchases without permission. Our culture has moved to the point that isn't going to happen. Come up with a reasonable solution, get the industry AND FTC to listen, you can be a multi-billion-dollar-hero!

Comment: marketing folks are always right ... not (Score 1) 544

by servant (#47558809) Attached to: Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?
Buttons and slides cost. More folks want thin rather than the keyboard. If slide keyboards were what about 300M people want (statistical estimate made up on the spot) then the market MIGHT be big enough to get someone to budge. But the Steve Job's of the world always think they know what we want before we do, so don't hold your breath to find more than a niche market phone to have physical slide out keyboards (qwerty or Dvorak or linear alpha or any other kind). Buttons cost lots of money especially if they guess wrong.

It seems like companies only want to go for home runs. Niche markets tend to be ignored. ... Best of luck to find one that satisfies you!

Comment: All water is 'recycled'... (Score 1) 242

by servant (#47443545) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water
Normally towns put water back into a river, and the next town uses it as 'fresh water' input.

These folks are just closing the loop before it goes on down stream.

Anyone that only wants 'fresh' water, better stop using anything but rain water. Rain water has also been 'recycled' but it has gone to steam separating 'impurities' from the water, just like a distilled water still does by leaving it's impurities in the bottom of the boiler.

Comment: Reality vs Perception of Reality (Score 1) 725

by servant (#47401723) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide
I am a conservative, republican at times, libertarian at times, I have been known to vote for a Democratic Party candidate on occasion.

I don't think that, given your chosen example of climate change, is separated along 'party lines', or even conservative vs liberal. it comes down to more big gov't solutions and being 'forced' into one reality while not seeing the corresponding benefit and expansion of related individuals rights. The 'rights' of the majority does not trump the rights of the minority.

I don't believe the problem is selling climate change. I think the problem is selling the solutions. You want me to not burn coal, don't tax it into oblivion, build thorium reactors (like the US Gov ran at Oak Ridge for over 10 years), or other similar solutions. Solar and wind are good, but they can't cover the entire energy deficit. Want to have more electric vehicles, give incentives for more of them (give the incentives to the customers, not to the manufacturers). Restart industrial metals production in the US (one day we will no be able to import strategic metals if we step on someones political toes. Russia has the US over a barrel with no access for man in space since we ticked them off recently, so we need to get on the stick to get US based transport to space!)

Conservatives tend to be for less central government, more for individuals and even states rights, and more conservative economically than socially.

I plan on collecting social security. But I planned so that my wife and I will be OK if Social Security is NOT there, but I find it totally unfair to tax me so that I must pay for others poor personal preparation. I am not against Social Security, I am against putting so many additional programs under it and using the SS Trust Fund to pay for them. Social Security was actuarially (mathematically) based for many years, but as it has been 'touched' for additional social programs, the mathematical / actuarial basis was removed. SS is now 'just a tax', and we are not taxing enough if we want to keep SS alive as the program we now know it. ... You can't pull more out of a tow-sack than you put into it, and that is what we are trying to do. -- I did like the proposal to keep SS for those on it and within 10 years of retirement or 50 or pick some number. Pay out or endow a commercial style trust fund for the ones not currently taking social security. For those under 50 (for example) take the 'pay out' amounts and put them in 'ROTH' style IRA's, and require current percentage levels of contributions to be put 60% of the current 'SS Contributions' be put into a traditional IRA, and 40% into a 'ROTH'. This over and above currently allowed contribution levels for IRA/401K/etc contributions.

The idea is to eventually (in 65 or so years) to get the Government out of Social Security, and for retirees to have enough money to pay for their own retirements effectively. Those who get non-contributory social security benefits needs to come from the general fund (helping the young, blind, bereavement benefits, etc)

For any social tax or social program, the government does not pay for ANYTHING. Only tax payers do. Taxing tax payers beyond their ability to to support the programs is the government being a 'poor parasite'. Even in biology parasites live WITH their host. If the host gets sick or dies, the parasite dies too. A good parasite makes it a symbiotic relationship, where the host and the parasite both gain from the relationship, making the whole greater than the corresponding parts. But it requires first for the host to survive.

Enough for now, but I think you get the idea. -- I think we all want the US to be strong and looked up to in the world. We all want a good environment, education for our kids, and to treat everyone right. The only difference is in the road we think we need to take to get there.

I am trying to vote for politicians that are reasonable, will look for was to SOLVE issues, and not be idealogs on any particular issue. Compromise was once defined as the process where no-one gets everything they want, but both get some of that they want and at least what they need.

I want statesmen in government that know how to compromise with reason, and for the right reasons, even if I don't agree with them.

Comment: Age descrimination in Tech (Score 2) 370

by servant (#47300093) Attached to: Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry
I have seen it in spades for the last 30 years in the IT industry. Once I turned 50 I couldn't find a job. For the last 10 years I was effectively retired, and have given up even looking.

To you face, I was always treated well (OK, one company was so flagrant that I should have reported to EEOC, but that is another story - and it was a large company that knows better).

Such is life. My suggestion is: stash away all the money you can so you can plan on living on 3% to 5% per year of you invested capital (not counting home, cars, etc). Once you get enough available ($50K or so) get some professional help to make it grow. Money isn't everything but life without it is the pits.


Even as a young IT recruit in my 20's, I saw how having a diverse staff (racially, gender, and age) added to the abilities and the capabilities of the staff. Rather it gave different perspectives and abilities to the team. I saw discrimination as an anglo when living in ElPaso and wasn't welcome to go to a public restaurant in downtown near the building where I worked. When living there, I didn't see discrimination except at that one place but even that was disturbing.

When growing up in the '60s I never understood how the folks that said they discriminated against felt. With that little taste, it helped me have more empathy. Now aging, I find it as reprehensible as ever, no matter what form it takes. I just pray I didn't discriminate against others, and I taught my kids not to be a perpetrator of this psychological disease.

Yes, age discrimination is illegal and, IMHO, immoral, but it is the fact of life. Just decide how you will deal with it when the time comes.

Comment: Digital is the spawn of Analog .. (Score 1) 236

by servant (#47236823) Attached to: Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?
Digital is great, but there are some areas where digital doesn't make it. Even digital circuits are built from analog components at the basic levels. And digital just doesn't work when going with very high power circuits, whether it is high power transmitters or power transmission.


A bit more education should be 'cross trained' for digital appreciation of analog, and for some analog engineer appreciation of digital. Real life in the 21st Century needs both.

Comment: Re:Inspiring (Score 1) 257

by servant (#47223923) Attached to: HP Unveils 'The Machine,' a New Computer Architecture
Agreed. I know the labs are still out there, but not as many and more focused on development rather than basic research.

IMHO, development is anything with under 5 years to market time horizon, research is longer. Basic research tends to be 10 to 50 years or more to get an idea to the stage where it can be used in development. But those are just my 'rules of thumb'. There are always exceptions, except when there are not ;-P

Comment: New, not improved... (Score 1) 257

by servant (#47223887) Attached to: HP Unveils 'The Machine,' a New Computer Architecture
But I am glad to see innovation and not just another me-too architecture or incremental improvements. It may not be all tail winds and smooth sailing even if it is technically superior in many ways. Still without trying something revolutionary on occasion, all we get is small incremental evolutionary change. Evolutionary change is great, but it doesn't make the 'big step' breakthroughs that is needed on occasion to keep society moving forward!

Too much is not enough.