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Comment Re:It's easy to make it unhackable (Score 5, Funny) 253

I think people are missing this company's solution.

The machine boots to Windows, and then this company's product randomizes everything in RAM. Even Windows has no idea where anything is in memory anymore. Every single bit is in a completely random location, with no relation to the bits it was next to previously.

Granted, the machine crashes at this point, but it has successfully booted and been rendered unhackable.

For long-term security, their follow-up product will randomize all data on a hard drive. It is completely un-hackable, even with physical access. Of course the data is also irretrievable, but there are prices to security.

Comment Another thought... (Score 3, Informative) 280

A lot of people are complaining that they do not like the idea of sharing vehicles.

What about thinking about it this way - suddenly proximity of your parking spot to where you are is a lot less important. Your personal autonomous vehicle drops you off at your destination and then goes to find a parking spot. Then, when your waiter brings you the check (for example), you let your vehicle know to come pick you up in ten minutes. The vehicle checks current traffic levels and leaves for a just-in-time pickup.

Before you go to bed you let your autonomous vehicle know what time you want to get to work. Your vehicle looks at the average commute time for that time of day and lets you know when it will pick you up. It leaves its parking spot with enough time to get you.

The drawback to this that you are spending money to pay for gas or electricity while your vehicle drives (empty) to a parking spot. I would say this is the price you pay for wanting your own vehicle. The alternative is a taxi-style service.

For everyone complaining that other people will make the car unusable, you might not have taken a cab recently. More often than not it seems like you are video recorded. In addition, the cab company (which I assume would be the same ones putting autonomous cabs on the street) would have a vested interest in keeping vehicles clean.

I used ZipCar for several years and reporting damage or a messy car was easy for the company to follow up on. The previous user had to have reserved the vehicle and paid for its use. The company has credit card on file already, it is easy enough to go after the user for damages.

Comment My experience (Score 5, Interesting) 163

I live in Denver, and just moved. My previous commute was about 3.9 miles via bicycle, with about 2.5 miles of it on bike lanes. My new commute is 4.5 miles, with about 3.5 miles of it on a dedicate recreational path (Denver's Cherry Creek Trail), and the other 1 mile almost all on bike lanes.

My new commute, while having a longer distance, takes me less time. In addition, it is a lot less stressful. The recreational path makes all the difference. It is limited access - there are ramps to the trail about every .2 miles - no motorized vehicles, and goes from my neighborhood (an urban residential-heavy area) to downtown.

I have commuted via bicycle in a wide variety of cities on the East Coast and can say that this new commute is about as ideal as it could be. I dread the days I have to drive into work. Even without traffic (which doubles the time needed), it takes me longer to drive.

A lot of US cities I have lived in see separated paths for recreational use only. They never seem to see that a trail going from residential areas to business areas can be a great encouragement for bicycle commuting.

Comment Re:I am all for it (Score 1) 307

A lot of smaller towns I have seen change stoplights at night. From 11pm-6am, for example, a stop light with two small streets will turn into flashing red all around, meaning a four way stop. A larger road intersection will get a flashing yellow on the major road, and flashing red on the smaller road.

Makes sense to me, and I doubt this adds any additional crashes.

Comment Re:At least it is a place that gets some snow... (Score 2) 76

Yes, because the terrible drivers we have all seen are not causing accidents as it is.

Every time I see a discussion about autonomous cars, someone chimes in that there are terrible human-driven cars on the road, and that an autonomous vehicle cannot deal with that. What they fail to mention is that no human drivers can really deal with them either, if the terrible driver is driving so badly that an accident is bound to happen.

Bad drivers causing accidents because they are on the cell phone? Yep. Bad drivers causing accidents because their vehicles are not properly maintained? Yep. Bad drivers causing accidents because the do something unpredictable without looking? Yep.

In all of those cases, you are right - an autonomous car will probably be no better than a human driver. You have yet to convince me that it will be *worse*, though. As more autonomous vehicles are on the road, though, accidents caused by bad, distracted drivers will go down. So at worse it is no improvement, with an almost assured big improvement as time goes on. Or we can just stay with the status quo.

You are right, though - replacing the entire infrastructure is not going to happen. I am guessing the Vehicle to Infrastructure communication they are talking about are things like red lights (why have a camera in the car to determine the color of the light when the intersection can just broadcast directly to vehicles?), train crossings, and so on. An autonomous vehicle should be able to deal with these things as they currently are, but if a town's red lights are due for replacement, why not replace them with autonomous vehicle friendly versions?

Comment Buses and subways cannot be compared (Score 1) 654

I have lived in numerous major cities, and have not owned a car in about 10 years. I bike, I walk, and if available I take subways/trains. I try to avoid buses as much as possible.

Why? They are the worst form of transportation I can imagine. They are slower than driving (since they have to stop more often than a car on the same route), and only go on pre-determined routes. Subways and trains, while limited to a certain route, at least are quicker than driving. Taxis and other forms of automobile transportation are more expensive, but are faster than a bus. Making a bus free does not change its limitations.

I believe that all pubic transportation should be free (where "free" is defined as "no admission charge") to encourage public transportation. Asking why people do not take buses, though, is not a financial conversation, in my opinion.

Getting people to take public transportation is much more about making it convenient and fast. Does it pick up near where I am beginning my route? Does it drop me off near where I want to go? How much longer will it take than driving?

If you want people out of their cars, solve these questions satisfactorily. Make more and better bike lanes - and even dedicated bike paths. I would even encourage dedicated bus lanes with enforcement. I lived for a while in Boston, where "Bus lane" meant "double park lane".

Comment Re:Undergrad only? (Score 4, Informative) 264

All of the numbers in this article are very believable.

I have a BS degree from the University of Nebraska. And not the prestigious Raikes school, but the normal old pre-Raikes degree program.

After a summer internship, I got an offer from McDonnel Douglas for 48k.

My offer from Microsoft was more like the 60k figure. I took that one, because it didn't involve living in St. Louis.

The year: 2000

So, 60k to start right out of college was a going rate for top-tier companies... fifteen years ago.

Some companies paid much more, and sometimes that was a company decision, and sometimes it was a reality of where the position was located. For instance, before I had even finished my degree, I was recruited for a position with a 99k starting salary. That firm, however, was in NYC. When you adjust for NYC cost of living, it's not such an eye-popping number.

Subsequent to these numbers from 15 years ago, I have been involved in lots of hiring at Microsoft in the years I've been here.

Starting salaries have adjusted upward significantly since I was hired.

If you can score an engineering position with a top software/services company like Microsoft, you will be paid exceptionally well. For someone fresh out of college, there is just an obscene amount of money on the table.

Different companies target different spots in the industry pay curve. Microsoft by no means targets the top of the salary scale, but neither do we target the bottom. At times, Microsoft has been seen as, to put it mildly, "pretty uncool". At times, there has been lots of startup money and equity available for top quality grads to go after.

In those time periods, Microsoft has to offer more money to continue to attract new talent.

If you want to work at a company where lots of people want to work (e.g. a games company, or SpaceX), those organizations don't have to compete as much with offer packages, since their brands have a high intrinsic draw.

While I don't know what a Netflix offer package is like, Netflix states that their policy is to pay very high wages - the wage they'd be willing to pay to keep someone excellent who wanted to leave.

Finally, it's important to consider the type of organization you're looking at joining. Do they do software/IT, or is that a cost of doing business for them? If a company is in the business of selling shoes, but has an unavoidable need for software engineers, they're going to treat software engineers as a cost of doing business.

If a company is in the business of building software, they're going to think differently about compensation and retention.

Finally, companies that aren't well established players in the software space can have difficulty making big offer packages. At times in my career, I've been frustrated and have looked elsewhere, and the smaller, less profitable companies I've spoken with are offering tens of thousands lower than what I was already making.... making the friction of leaving financially tremendous.

(my personal financial plan is to expect a 50% paycut when something happens to my MSFT employment)

In summary, I have no problem believing the numbers. Top quality CS people at top quality organizations are paid outrageously well.

However, I get that lots of people are expressing disbelief. Let's talk about why that may be. The survey data could be skewed by multiple factors:
- the locale of the person responding
- the self-selection bias of the person responding (e.g. are people happy with their comp more likely to fill out a survey?)
- the kind of organization the survey respondants work for...

If you surveyed internal apps developers at regional insurance offices, in the Midwest, you would get a different picture from a survey of facebook engineers...

Comment HR/Recruiting Drones (Score 4, Interesting) 296

Having gone through the hiring process a couple of times in the last couple of years, HR and recruiters are the biggest hinderance to companies hiring talented individuals. For a tech position, HR has become a gatekeeper to the hiring manager. Unfortunately they have no knowledge of the position or the technologies.

Certificates get you past this gatekeeper. They are fairly useless otherwise, but since HR has wedged themselves between the candidate and the hiring manager, they become a bit of a necessary evil.

Comment Re:They are trying to get off... (Score 1) 104

I cannot deny that much of what you've said about the mob is true. I didn't mean to say that the mob never did anything well, never provided benefits to neighborhoods or people, etc.

Everyone understands that the mob can "Get things done". And, what's ironic is that, IIRC, you and I have very different ideas about government, but we apparently agree that in some situations, the mob is more effective and occasionally preferable to local government.

That said, I think you are papering over the intimidation, violence, and property destruction done by the mob.

(I'm not papering over the intimidation, violence, and property destruction done by governments, fwiw)

Comment Re:They are trying to get off... (Score 4, Insightful) 104

Have you ever lived anywhere where there was a significant mob presence?

I haven't, and for good reason.

Your plan is a really great plan if you assume that the mob has absolutely no penetration whatsoever into the local police department.

I don't know why you'd assume such a stupid thing, though.

So here is how your suggestion really goes.

You walk into the local PD. On your way there, some kid recognized your face. He has instructions that say that if he sees a guy who looks like you walking into the police station, he calls a number and gets a bonus.

When you come home, something is different. Either your family is already dead, or, there's a note that makes it clear that your family is vulnerable and that you've fucked up - but there is still a chance to not get your family killed. Who knows what the knob is set at for the "first contact" - but there's a clear indication that you don't want to continue talking to the police.

Now, if someone inside that building is actually connected - and usually, somebody is - maybe they're the person who interviewed you. Maybe they're the person who looks at the signin/signout sheet at the station. Maybe they are somebody who files paperwork or types things up for other people.

Zillions of little people are needed to make the machine of government operate, and the mob targets precisely those people to be their eyes and ears. It uses combinations of carrots and sticks to keep them cooperating with mob goals, without letting them get too familiar with what those goals are or who is executing them.

Point is, if the mob has any power in your city, that includes eyes and ears within, or effectively within, the police department.

Part of the mob's effectiveness is that it destroys trust in the normal functioning institutinos of society. You never know for sure who is and isn't. It effectively isolate frightened individuals from the facets of society that might help or protect them. It always makes it seem like it's 1 person against the entire mob - it paints that same picture to lots of separate people.

Comment Re:Usually has to be earned (Score 1) 318

I doubt there's a company in the land that would recruit an unknown, straight off the street, give them a salaried post and let them work 100% from home.

This is false. A very good friend of mine works exclusively out of his house as a developer. Many of the developers at his company are work-from home types and have always been work-from home employees.

Additionally, there are software jobs that are true work from home positions and are advertised as such. I've had recruiters start to approach me about such jobs.

Finally, I've had a 15 year career at Microsoft. In the last 6 months, I've been given the flexibility to WFH as much as I like to. I'm currently at home for the summer.

When I asked earlier in my career, the answer was no. I'm slightly more valuable than I was then, but, the nature of my team and my work has changed such that a WFH role is more plausible than it once was.

I know a handful of other Microsoft employees who are full time WFH and who have no Microsoft office anywhere. I still have an office and I use it about 50% during the school year.

As far as how you get this arrangement

1) if you're a high value contributor with the right kind of manager on the right kind of team, even in an organization that doesn't really do remote work, you can basically play the card that says, "I am moving. I would like to keep working here, for you, and I understand what that will do to my long term career velocity here, but, whether you keep me or not, I am moving"

Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. If you get a new team or a new manager, you can be let go. "The deal can be altered", so to speak. Of course, the deal can (and is) altered anyway, even for office people. So, it's a matter of priorities and risk tolerance.

2) There are a few organizations that are explicitly pro WFH. If you're prioritizing WFH ahead of other things, look at doing something that isn't your ideal role and not at your ideal salary, but gives you the WFH goodness that you desire. Ideally, you pick an organization that has the sorts of roles (and money) that you'd ideally want, and you grow into that role within that organization.

3) When LinkedIn emails you and says "Bob from Google wants to talk to you", email Bob back and say, "Bob, I would love to chat with you, but I am only considering WFH arrangements. Please let your hiring managers know that there is good, affordable talent available to them, but who are unwilling to relocate."

I do this with every big name brand that contacts me via Linked In. I usually tend to tailor the message to something about how the business in question heavily relies on open source (and I name the pertinent technologies) and how those were developed via distributed engineering mechanisms, proving that such approaches can build world class software.

I hope people like me can create enough data points that eventually more traditional shops hear the "I won't relocate for you" argument often enough that they start entertaining people who demand remote work.

Anyway, my employer gets way more output out of me when I am at home than when I am in the office. I have a nice laptop, and everything is in source control or cloud fileshares, so I can move back and forth between office and home office easily.

My kids understand that when I am working, they don't come into the basement. I go upstairs and take breaks and hangout with my family, or take advantage of the nice weather. If I don't have scheduled meetings, I can shift weekend/evening tasks (like yardwork) to mid afternoon, when the bugs aren't as bad and the sun is shining. Email and code will be there during peak mosquito hours or when the weather is bad.

I live on an isolated 14 acre farm that is about 25 minutes from my employer's office building. Commuting isn't bad at all, but if I don't have to, why bother?

Comment Re:I used to game... (Score 1) 79

I definitely think there are games out there fitting my needs - as I said, I place the blame partly on me for not wanting to do the research to find them.

I do agree that there are a lot of casual "Play this game on the bus on the way to work" games out there for mobile devices. Mobile device gameplay is a whole other ball of wax, though. I would prefer to sit down in front of a large screen and use physical buttons. I suppose I am just old like that. I can see the appeal of mobile gaming, and have played a few over the years.

I suppose one drawback to mobile gaming is the lack of socialization. I am not one to sit down and play a video game on my own very often. I would much rather play in a group. The few games I keep on my iPhone are mobile versions of board games that I play against other people via Game Center.

Comment I used to game... (Score 4, Interesting) 79

Growing up in the 80's, I played video games quite frequently. Now, though, I find myself avoiding them.

One reason is cost. I realize the cost really has probably not gone up that significantly from the NES days, but at that time it was my parents paying for a new console and games. Now I have to figure out how to justify a $60 game.

Another reason is that I much more enjoy a "play for 10-30 minutes, have fun, and then walk away" type of game. MarioKart is a great example of this. I can play with 0-3 other people and have fun. We can play for 10 minutes, or we can play for an hour. When we get done I can put the controller down and not feel like there is more to do. The playability even remains after I have "beat the game". Commingled in there is an easy learning curve. Sure, the game might be challenging, but I do not want to spend an hour just getting the basic controls figured out.

I am sure there are more games that fit this description, but as a casual gamer I am not willing to do the research just to figure out what games are out there. It is far easier to load up an emulator and play the original Castlevania for NES.

The games described int he article do seem to be closer to the type of game I would like to play.

What the gods would destroy they first submit to an IEEE standards committee.