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Comment: Re:A better idea (Score 1) 259

by skelly33 (#48991795) Attached to: Washington May Count CS As Foreign Language For College Admission
I see what you're saying, but... the purpose of educating yourself is not simply to pick up a single skill. A good book or a trade school can accomplish that. Universities make it their mission to empower people broadly so that they can become powerfully effective members of society. Reading and interpreting poetry is not my forte, but I will do it if/when my course work requires me to do so - and it will - and I understand that the Student Learning Outcome objectives will include aspects such as improving my ability to interpret abstract information and extract meaning from natural expression... which is something we have to do sometimes as software developers to understand what our stake holders want before we get to coding (for example). No CS book would ever cover this.

I happen to be good at foreign languages and I do suggest others give it a try... but not just because I'm good at it. It has been shown that your chances are much better if you start learning your second language early (before 12-14?) and that was the case for me, but not everybody knows or thinks to make that a priority. When they start later in life, it is much more difficult and they might need different "tricks" to remember things until it starts coming more naturally with time. But the process is one which substantially improves your ability to abstract the core thought from the specific semantics used to describe it for rather complex scenarios - another key survival skill for the CS major.

I would not take foreign language requirements away from the curriculum on the grounds of irrelevancy any sooner than I would English, history, mathematics, the sciences, or other humanities classes.

Comment: Re:Not the same thing (Score 1) 259

by skelly33 (#48991377) Attached to: Washington May Count CS As Foreign Language For College Admission
... and that includes CS majors sometimes. I've known developers with bachelor's degrees in CS who had never seen a hard drive, or understood even the fundamental concepts of what goes on in hardware between CPU, RAM, the system bus, attached peripheral devices, etc. What I've noticed in the school I am at now (back-filling formal education for a well-established career in CS) is that there is only one class that teaches those fundamentals, CS1 - and it is not a requirement for the CS degree program. The "core classes" are the second-level programming and higher... not even the first level programming classes count. Conceivably, one could pass on all the introductory classes and never have any idea what a logic gate is, for example. It is bewildering as to how this can be acceptable. I grew up with schematics for my 286 that showed all the ISA bus lines and timing logic to be able to make my own ISA bus expansion cards to interface whatever I wanted in the real world. The times, they are a-changin`...

Comment: Re:Their buying clout alone should end this deal. (Score 1) 105

by skelly33 (#48982669) Attached to: Staples To Buy Office Depot For $6.3 Billion
This merger doesn't alarm me because I don't see anything special about Staples or OfficeMax. I am constantly going into my local OfficeMax with unreasonably high hopes and finding myself disappointed with their selection. I can get everything in that store at my local K-Mart, Target, BestBuy, Costco, or any of a dozen other local small businesses. Near as I can tell, they only thing they offer is the convenience of not having to hit 2-3 of those other stores because they have everything you're looking for under the one roof.

Comment: Re:lol (Score 1) 323

Giving school officials the power to enforce anything at all is what I take exception to. If it is a legal matter and law enforcement is at stake, then a law enforcement officer... and/or a lawyer... should be involved. I see facebook as the electronic version of a physical, private diary which you may selectively show to whomever you choose - if someone *forces* you to reveal the contents of your diary, well that sounds a lot like search and seizure to me and better darn well involve qualified people - which excludes school officials. I am not in favor of cyberbullies, however I am not in favor of municipalities' continued encroachments on civil rights; they are like children constantly testing the limits of what they can get away with. It is imperative to leverage teachable moments when they present themselves.

Comment: Multi-core? (Score 0) 91

by skelly33 (#48374235) Attached to: Intel Claims Chip Suppliers Will Flock To Its Mobile Tech
My biggest complaint against my last couple Android phones is that when an application starts acting up the device loses its @#$*&@ mind and becomes entirely unresponsive. If Intel were to work closely with a software partner like, say, Android, to fix some fundamental reliability issues (make it a phone first, make the baseline UI ALWAYS respond, even if an app is not), I'd be willing to pay more for the more reliable device. There should be no activity that the phone software can engage in that makes it completely comatose for minutes at a time, as it is often prone to do, such that I can't make a phone call - and if hardware limitations are at the core of that matter, then... there's the opportunity. Every time it happens, all I can think is, "well, I sure hope I don't have to dial 911 any time soon." Perhaps this problem is already solved as my current one is now approaching 2 years old as I have been holding out for the Droid 5, but it's been a frustrating several years between this one and its predecessor...

Comment: Abrupt, but like 100 years abrupt? (Score 1) 132

by skelly33 (#48276189) Attached to: New Study Shows Three Abrupt Pulses of CO2 During Last Deglaciation
Having read in the past that although plants normally absorb CO2 while living, they tend to re-release most-to-all of it in death, the first thing that comes to mind for me is... what if global conditions were such that a mass-kill-off of plants occurred from the freeze... seems like that could effectively release quite a bit of CO2, and in quite a hurry, no? Like an advancing cold front year after year until the balance shifted the opposite direction...

Comment: Re:There are none (Score 2) 175

by skelly33 (#45330243) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Satellite Internet For Remote Locations?
I'm no space-radio expert, but.... wouldn't the latency be double that estimate? If it's 25K miles in altitude, and since, last I checked, the Internet itself is not in orbit, then it would be 25K up, 25K down to the target host, then 25K up and 25K back down again for the reply for a total of 100K and more than half a second for a full round trip. Que no?

Comment: It's only a matter of time... (Score 1) 115

by skelly33 (#45255903) Attached to: Is Google Building a Floating Data Center In San Francisco Bay?
it's only a matter of time before they get shut down by environmentalists. The problem with using sea water as cooling is that the net result is the warming of the sea water. Even only a few degrees can alter the local ecology. It would be one thing if what they were doing was a net zero effect, but if they are pulling energy off the grid, then they will be putting grid energy into the water as heat, and that is not good...

Comment: Got `em. (Score 1) 372

by skelly33 (#45239091) Attached to: NYC's 250,000 Street Lights To Be Replaced With LEDs By 2017
The LED street lights have shown up in my neighborhood in CA over the last year. Frankly, now that I see them in place, I don't like them one bit, for the same reason that I don't like LED brake lights on vehicles (as if we need to conserve energy on brake lights, please!): each super-bright LED is a very intense point of light which immediately makes its mark on my retinas and I see the spots for quite a while. I can't be the only one with this problem, and I can't imagine it not having a long-term effect. Sodium, fluorescent, and other kinds of lights seem to more often be accompanied with some sort of diffusion that eliminates the high intensity pinpoints from direct view. Not the street lights: one glance at those and I get a lovely 8x20 matrix of dots in my field of view for the next several minutes (or a 1x40 string in the case of brake lights). I think some improvements need to be made before they continue rolling out en masse.

Tangentially related, I don't particularly feel like we need street lights on all night long. What if we just lit up side walks with low posts (perhaps lower even than the FOV of a typical driver - enough to light the path and cast enough ambient light for pedestrians to take advantage of, but WAY lower power than the street lights, and with no intent of lighting the entire community? If my car's headlights are sufficient in the back woods where there are no street lights to drive safely on the most treacherous of roads, then why would I need street lights to guide my way in town where the roads are all flat and predictable? I, for one, would welcome a far less lit night sky for star-gazing and total overall reduction in energy consumption.
Businesses

Apple Retailer Facing Class Action Suit Over Employee Bag Checks 353

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the unpaid-labor dept.
aitikin writes "Former Apple employees say the company requires workers to stand around without pay for up to 30 minutes a day while waiting for managers to search their bags for stolen merchandise." The filing. It looks pretty illegal: mandatory unpaid checks of personal belongings before and after work and all breaks.

Comment: Re:I tell them I feel the same way! (Score 1) 597

by skelly33 (#43916939) Attached to: Why Your Users Hate Agile
With respect to a stable, useful life for software, while I agree that it would be nice if, as an industry, software were mature enough to not have to continually struggle to keep software running and just, plain get things to work for now, much less for an extended period of time, it would be a shame to do so at the expense of industry progress. New frameworks, platforms, languages, etc. I see as a necessary element for the progression of the industry - something that the automotive industry you compare it has shown to be distinctly lacking. The 1989 Geo Metro performed about as well as today's advanced Toyota Prius at a fraction of the price and complexity; by and large, I'd say the automotive industry has been very busy indeed, but made little real progress. As for reliability, I'd venture a guess that there are more fix-it shops out there for busted cars than there are for software. I suppose I am equally dissatisfied with the lack of progress in established industries such as automotive and banking as you are with the excessive activity in software...

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.

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