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Comment: Re:Damn... (Score 1) 490

by cduffy (#49556817) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

(lest see, how liberals who like to say that "you have rights for your opinion" and then mumble "but only, if we agree" assholes are going to react :)

Since you asked -- having a right to an opinion doesn't mean having a right to be protected from social consequences from your actions taken in airing that opinion.

Which is to say -- you're allowed to be an ass in public. Other people are allowed to be an ass to you in public as well; such is the market of public ideas. Mistaking people who don't want to be friends with you / listen to you / do business with you in response to your positions with people who would censor you (that is, invoke government action in response to your speech or act to make make that speech illegal) is a mistake.

You might ponder what it means that you believe in what you're saying enough to shout it from the world only from a position of anonymity (or, in Cito's case, pseudonymity). If there are people you respect for holding their convictions, did they do likewise?

Comment: Re:None (Score 2) 474

You laugh, but old school rotary phones could still call for emergency help if the power went out, they didn't hang, they didn't get viruses, they didn't get firmware "upgrades" that stopped them from working properly or at all, they didn't run out of their own batteries in the middle of a long call...

For once, I'm 100% in agreement with Khyber. Smartphones in a world with modern laptops, tablets, headsets and feature phones just look like a mediocre compromise to me. About the only thing they seem to be better at than any of the numerous other devices available is letting someone check Facebook every 10 seconds without actually having to take anything out of a pocket. At least until someone updates something remotely for them and breaks that functionality, anyway...

Comment: Re: Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 347

It sounds like you're a little older than me but we both see this much the same way.

I have as much interest in useful or interesting new technologies today as I had when I was 21. I'm also significantly quicker at getting up to speed with them and more aware of things like pros and cons and the importance of choosing the right tool for the job than I used to be at that age.

However, if you asked me right now, I'm quite sure that I couldn't crank out a new TodoMVC example in this week's front-end JS framework as fast as a 21-year-old who just learned it can. Since not a lot of people solve real problems or make real money writing toy to-do apps, I don't find this situation too threatening. ;-)

The thing is, I've long since stopped being impressed by this week's front-end JS framework, this week's UI trends and visual design language, and this week's new programming language that looks and feels like C or JS with a thin coat of paint over it. I could get up to speed with them to the point where I too could write to-do apps in half an hour, but to me that's like deciding to learn some new GUI toolkit just to write Tetris or learning some new database API just to write a PIM or whatever we're calling them these days. As you say, these kinds of tools are so ephemeral now that they tend to be very trendy and generate a lot of hype, but they are often popular more because of some big sponsoring organisation than any particular innovation or technical merit.

To me, about the only thing more dull is evangelists for a specific browser (why?!) telling us all about these great new features it has for writing large-scale applications... when the biggest web apps out there still tend to be orders of magnitude smaller than stuff many of us "old programmers" were working on in the last millennium, at which time some of those features actually were quite innovative.

Next week, all these elite young programmers, who are leaving people like you and me and our meaningless track records of building actual working and revenue-generating projects in their wake, will probably notice that MV* is not the only possible UI architecture, that building an application that has to run for years around a framework that has a shelf life measured in months might not be such a great idea, and that JS is actually a very bad and very slow language that just becomes not quite so bad with the ES6 changes and only moderately slow with modern JIT compiling engines.

Just don't tell them that the entire web apps industry probably represents closer to 5% of the programming world than 95% and some of these state-of-the-art ideas are actually 50 years old. Such talk is the stuff of nightmares, and they aren't old enough to hear that kind of horror story yet. ;-)

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 347

Older people seem to be more resistant to going along with the flow of technology...

You might consider that there are at least two plausible explanations for this.

1. Older people can't or can't be bothered to keep up.

2. Older people can keep up just fine, but actively choose not to use certain new technologies or to avoid them for certain types of projects because in their judgement those new technologies aren't the best option for what they need to achieve on those projects.

There are plenty of both types of older developer around in the software development industry. Obviously one type tends to get more useful work done. Unfortunately but inevitably, inexperienced developers frequently mistake one for the other. Knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing.

Comment: Re:Why bother with young programmers? (Score 1) 347

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49543023) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

I'd say Google's median age of 29 sounds about right. Obviously exceptions exist, but given that wages tend to be rather logarithmic relative to experience they're not that huge of a driver for hiring younger.

That's partly because by somewhere in their 30s, a lot of the good programmers aren't working for someone else on salary any more. They're working freelance and picking their gigs, or they've founded their own business(es), or they've specialised and now do contract work with a combination of programming and industry-specific knowledge and skills.

In each case, they are probably earning at rates much higher than almost any salaried employee at almost any employer. Notice that in all of these scenarios the rates you can charge are based on real value generated, which doesn't have a glass ceiling the way wages usually do.

Good programmers who are still working for someone else as a full-time software developer at 40 probably have their own reasons for choosing that career path. Those reasons will often mean they aren't particularly looking to move either, and if they are, they're not going to do it by sending out numerous CVs to different employers the way a new grad does.

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 5, Insightful) 347

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49542817) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Most of the new grads we hire at my company turn out really well. Most of the old people we hire either can't actually write any code, or they can only write code (but only in their preferred language) and can't be bothered to learn or follow prescribed design patterns or coding standards.

Have you considered applying Occam's razor here? Maybe your hiring process sucks. Maybe the compensation and conditions you're offering simply aren't good enough to attract older developers who are any good. Are these theories more or less likely than entire generations of developers who presumably once had that enthusiasm and aptitude you seem to see in new grads mysteriously becoming incompetent and unmotivated a decade or three later?

Comment: Re:Instead... (Score 1) 356

You continue to make the same assumption but apparently still without any hard data to support it.

You asked how sites are able to choose not to use Google. I gave you several significant alternative sources of traffic, any one of which might generate more traffic for some sites than search engines.

Whether or not you choose to believe that some sites do in fact generate most of their traffic in those other ways and would continue to do so if Google disappeared tomorrow is obviously up to you. However, whatever assumptions you choose to make won't change the real situation for those sites or make them any more reliant on Google's preferences for their effectiveness.

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 536

by cduffy (#49525767) Attached to: George Lucas Building Low-Income Housing Next Door To Millionaires

So, in addition to "affordable" housing, in your ideal world, the poor will also be provided (by someone) with "affordable" Priuses?

Perhaps you've heard of this thing called "transit"?

Which, when done right, gets used by everyone, not just the poor. It was not so long ago a culture shock for me, as a Texan, when my (New-York-based) CEO would take the subway; now, as a transplant to Chicago, I'm very much happier not owning a car at all; my work is a 10-minute walk (hooray for urban high-rise living!), Costco a 20-minute bike ride (hooray for cargo bikes!), my more distant friends in town (or the corporate office, if I need to visit it for some reason) a $2.50, 40-minute train ride, during which my time is free to read, make notes, or otherwise do as I please.

Back to point -- no, setting up your urban environment in such a way that the poor need to drive expensive-to-maintain, expensive-to-fuel vehicles a long distance is not a necessity. Transit systems are subsidized at a higher rate than roads, but not by as much as you might think -- use taxes on highways are under 50% of their costs -- and adding capacity to a roadway system in an urban environment is prohibitively expensive -- particularly compared to adding capacity to preexisting urban rail. And if you look at the economic payoff from that subsidy -- by way of increasing folks' access to jobs -- it's an extremely clear win.

Smart urban planning -- to avoid the need for commutes in the first place by making housing as dense, and nearby to shopping and employment, as possible -- is, of course, even better.

(Back on the "expensive" part of long commutes -- you might find The True Cost of Commuting a worthwhile read, in terms of putting some actual numbers into play).

Comment: Re:Instead... (Score 1) 356

What sites gets most of their traffic from a different search engine?

You implicitly assume that sites get most of their traffic from any search engine. Plenty of sites don't. Sites get traffic from paid advertising (on ad-supported sites, social networks, physical media, and so on). Sites get traffic because people already know what they need (public services with widely known addresses, for example). Intranet sites obviously don't rely on public search engines. And of course there's old-fashioned word of mouth advertising, and its new high-tech counterparts like hyperlinks on related sites and social media.

Of the commercial projects I currently work on -- and there are several, because I do freelance/consultancy work -- I don't think any gets the majority of its visitors from search engines, and in some cases if Google disappeared tomorrow you'd hardly notice on the bottom line.

Comment: Re:Instead... (Score 2) 356

A search engine is about Content not Presentation.

Your search engine might be. Apparently the most successful search engine in the world thinks its users want content with good/appropriate presentation more than content that isn't as well/appropriately presented. And they're probably right.

I'd be the first to agree that Google shouldn't get to dictate how the Web works and that sometimes Google or at least some its employees appear to be extremely arrogant in assuming they are every webmaster's #1 priority. The reality is that if you're running a site that doesn't depend primarily on Google for traffic, you can and should implement whatever works best for you and your visitors, regardless of what Google wants or says.

However, if you're relying on Google's service for most/all of your visitors to find your site at all, you have to play by their rules if you want the best treatment from them. This is the basic principle of SEO, and it's as old as search engines themselves.

Comment: discussion way too premature (Score 3, Interesting) 58

by epine (#49507643) Attached to: Computer Beats Humans At Arimaa

This is the most substantive bit I was able to find, a forum post by David Jian Wu from eariler today:

Thanks for the questions!

I can't even find a discussion of the winning games by someone who knows the game and its strategic evolution.

Interesting, but at present there's nothing much to discuss here.

"Thank heaven for startups; without them we'd never have any advances." -- Seymour Cray

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