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Comment: Re:Awesome quote (Score 2) 232

by stewbee (#48158207) Attached to: Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area
Just wanted to comment on this portion of your comment:

Why on earth would there be a filter? Everything's digital now.

When they refer to 'digital' modulation, it really means then when the decoding decision is made, it comes out as a digital word. A commonly used digital modulation scheme is QAM - X (quadrature amplitude modulation, where X is some power of 2). An analog signal is encoded at some phase and amplitude. The quadrature portion of it means that you are sending two orthogonaly encoded sine waves simultaneously so that you have unambiguous phase at the receiver (basically allows for 360 degrees of phase instead of 180 degrees). The receiver then splits the signal into its amplitude and and phase components and makes a digital decision based on these values. There may be a small integration time on the receiver to improve detection performance. At the end of this time period, a decision is made.

Contrast the above to something like AM which is considered continuous (ie not digital) time modulation. The AM signal is always demodulating the signal and not at distinct time intervals like a QAM scheme.

Back to the comment about the filter. None of the schemes above are dependent on what the transmit frequency is; all you are doing is encoding the signal into some bandwidth. After the encoding is done, be it analog or digital encoding, it is still effectively an analog signal. This means we can use mixers and whatnot to shift the bandwidth of the encoded signal to whatever the transmit frequency is. In the case of the cable company, When he is referring to the filter, I am guessing that he is removing the bandstop filter that is blocking this signal to getting to your receiver. This filter is going to be an analog filter.

Here is some of the math for QAM in its gory details, and here is AM.

Comment: Silicon Valley (Score 1) 213

by stewbee (#48149667) Attached to: Microsoft, Facebook Declare European Kids Clueless About Coding, Too
Why is it that when I hear of children coding, all I can think of is 'The Carver' from the show Silicon Valley? They'll work for adderall and mountain dew! (which I am sure most corporations would love).

As to the premise of the article, I call BS that you need to start coding by age 7 or you'll be behind. Trying to teach most 7 year olds something as abstract as coding won't get you very far. You are better off trying to teach them logic games instead. And honestly, I didn't actually like coding until my 20's.

Comment: Re:AWESOME!!! (Score 1) 86

by stewbee (#48082977) Attached to: Michigan Builds Driverless Town For Testing Autonomous Cars
It's called reading comprehension. MDOT most likely did not pay the entire $6.5M. I'll even copy the fine summary, seesh!

Now Will Knight reports that Michigan's Department of Transportation and 13 companies involved with developing automated driving technology are constructing a 30-acre, $6.5 million driverless town near Ann Arbor to test self-driving cars in an urban environment.

Besides, if there is a 'public' asset like this, then I am sure that MDOT and the other 13 companies can probably rent it out for other companies that might be interested. I drive on Michigan roads and can see where you are coming from about frivolous spending, but I don't see this as a bad thing since I really hope for a day where I don't have to worry about how unpredictable the guy in the car next to me is since he is texting and we are both 'driving' in autonomous cars.

Comment: Re:Uncertainties (Score 1) 93

by stewbee (#48082083) Attached to: Fixing Steam's User Rating Charts
I have thought about another similar way to approach from a book I read to approach the above problem for continuous random variables, but I am sure that it could be adopted for what amounts to a categorical* problem here. The approach was a Bayesian estimator that supposed a previous expected value. So in this case, Steam might assign an initial rating of 50% as the baseline mean. As more real samples came in, the estimator was shifted toward the real mean and away from the Baysian prior estimator. In basic terms, it is a weighted average of the prior mean and the actual mean. I found this method in this book. In a nutshell, I think this is in general how Nate Silver does most of his analysis too (ie, with Bayesian estimation). Admittedly I did not RTFA yet, but it looks bit dense and I am pre-coffee, so it could be dangerous to read right now :-)

*For those not familiar with the terms, user ratings have only a finite number of values they can achieve. Amazon for example have 5 star rating, so the outputs are limited to one of those 5 values. Bernoulli is for only two possible outcome, whereas categorical are for multiple discrete outputs. Continuous on the other hand can achieve any number within the range like 4.234....

Comment: Re:protip (Score 1) 367

by stewbee (#46831605) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance
I'm going to have to partially disagree with you there, speaking as someone who as a BSEE and MSEE. I truly do value my education, but reflecting back on it, I think it really just taught me all of the math and theory that help me to do my job. The real learning happened when I started to see what engineering really was and had experienced engineers show me the real way to do things. Additionally, as a newly minted engineer, you should seek out these people with experience. They have found all the wrong way to do things before, so before you try to make the same rookie error, talk to them first. From my perspective, I would rather do it right the first time than waste everyone else's time. In an nutshell, this mentoring from senior people is an apprenticeship. However, this is the part that no one in corporate America really wants or fosters anymore, which is pretty sad.

Comment: Re:How about no tution at all? (Score 1) 597

by stewbee (#46244939) Attached to: Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates
While I generally agree with you, it is not quite a fair comparison of the German school system to the US school system. If I recall, there are essentially 3 different tracts in German schools for what would be nearly equivalent to high school in the US. Only one of the tracts in the German system is set up for going to a University, which I seem to recall already has a pretty high bar to get into. [1] But that's ok if you don't make it to this path, since one of the other two paths is for apprenticeships. Germany still seems to be doing a decent job of protecting blue collar jobs, which would seem to make the apprenticeship path a viable career path. However, in the US, we are doing everything we can to remove blue collar jobs and diminish the value of some white collar jobs (H1B visas, for example) by exporting many of these jobs.

Based on this, in the US, the best way to succeed is to get the college degree and hope that it isn't made useless by our for hire congress. Otherwise, I'm all for free college since I believe in having a better educated population as a whole is better. I am just completely cynical that it can be done properly with our current bozos in charge.

[1] Note, I'm speaking as an american who learned about this in his high school German class, so I am by no means an expert. :-)

Comment: Re:Is evolution a theory? (Score 1) 665

by stewbee (#46221835) Attached to: South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards
And that would give random mutation which is fine. Most scientists don't have the patience to enact that kind of mutation that they want. My wife is a microbiologist. They will target specific portions of the genome and replace those parts with specific sequences and then grow the bacteria. Pretty much the same thing as random mutation, but lacking the random part of it. It would pretty easy to imply by transitivity that if all genes are equally likely to be mutable over time, then there is no reason that the targeted mutation is no less different than the random mutation.

Comment: Re: Teach the controversy, but define it first (Score 1) 665

by stewbee (#46221697) Attached to: South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards
I am a bit confused by your first statement. Are saying that Catholics believe in young earth theory? The church's official position is "theistic evolutionism" stating that evolution occurred but for humans to achieve their status in the animal kingdom that the hand of God was required.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...

That said, I am sure that there are Catholics which believe in the young earth theory, since they after all are people and just as gullible as others.

Comment: Re:They're *educated* foreigners (Score 1) 398

by stewbee (#46082473) Attached to: Detroit Wants Its Own High-Tech Visa

I know that you have zero control over this, but I thought I'd give my unsolicited opinion on it anyway. As someone who has worked in several different industries, I think that requiring specific industry experience is stupid.

Completely agree with this sentiment, but there is not much I can do about what HR people think is important. The best I can do is let my experience speak for itself, which is plenty and diverse. It is reminiscent of requiring 5 years experience in tech that is 2 years old, or even worse, filling your resume with BS mundane details to get past HR filters that would be implied in the nature of the work.

Especially if you're trying to convince people that Detroit is an acceptable city to live in, as compared with NoCal, NYC, DC, etc.

Mutually exclusive arguments. I can like living in a city and not agree with the hiring practices of the companies. And I certainly can not like a city and like the hiring requirements. I still argue that Detroit is a good place to live, and I am sure that DC, NYC have companies which require certain experiences too. DC probably wants people eligible for security clearances, for example.

Speaking as someone who has never lived in Michigan, I do not think of Farmington Hills when someone says "Detroit". When someone says "Detroit", I think of Detroit, the city. If they say Detroit metro area, that means something completely different to me.

When speaking to people who are not from Michigan, why waste my time by saying "I live in Farmington Hillls" to then further qualify with "It's a city near Detroit" ? I would not expect people from outside Detroit to know where Towns like Beverly Hills, Berkeley, Livonia, etc are which are all suburbs of Detroit. I think this is the approach most people take when talking geographically where they are from, as someone that has also lived in CA, IL, CT, VA, FL. Let's be honest, the reason that most of the suburbs around larger cities exist is to support the larger city. It makes sense to identify with the major city since that is what most people will understand.

As for the specifics of actual jobs in Detroit or in the suburbs of Detroit. I will admit that I did not read the article (until just now, but this is slashdot, so it should be the expected norm). The fact that Snyder is calling for this specifically in Detroit is just dumb. None of the companies that I have been looking at have offices in the city proper. I guess that is why they had to qualify this with "work and live". Are they going to force companies to open in Detroit then? Stupid.

Comment: Re:They're *educated* foreigners (Score 4, Insightful) 398

by stewbee (#46081265) Attached to: Detroit Wants Its Own High-Tech Visa
I grew up in what most people would call Detroit. More specifically, in the Detroit metropolitan area. I left Michigan in 2004 when I finished college, and I have an advanced degree (MSEE). I actually have started to apply to jobs back in Michigan. There are a few reasons for this.

1. There are a lot of jobs there right now. Seriously, go to monster and search for engineering jobs in Detroit and Ann Arbor.
2. The cost of living is ridiculously low. We are talking great 3-4 bedroom houses in nice areas for around 250k. In most tech job locations around the country (Boston, Silicon Valley, etc), this doesn't buy you squat. other things are much cheaper too, like food and gas compared to where I am living now.
3. I still have family there, so it would be nice to be able to make a quick drive to see my relatives.

Now that said, there is certainly a certain type of person they are looking for in these jobs that makes getting past the HR filters difficult. Many of open positions are looking for people that have had automotive experience before, which I don't have. So in spite of having many of the other qualifications, I think that I will have a difficult time for this reason alone.

And I hate to have to say this over and over again to people, but Detroit is just one city in the area. While I agree that Detroit has been mismanaged, the rest of the area is quite nice and look forward to moving back someday.

Comment: Re:Is this a repeat? (Score 1) 89

by stewbee (#44891957) Attached to: BlackBerry Reportedly Prepping To Slash Workforce By 40 Percent
So I was working for a small start up that was eventually bought by RIM. I left a few months afterwards because I passionately hated my boss (same boss as before the merger so nothing related directly to RIM). As a casual observer, I can see why your friend would want to stay. They had great benefits! Not sure if you are in Canada or US, but I am in the US. They were offering me 20 days of vacation a year. This is almost unheard of here now. Additionally, they were giving bonuses every year. The company itself I did not get much exposure to since I left so shortly afterward, but those things alone were pretty good.

Comment: Re:More proof there is a STEM shortage! (Score 1) 401

by stewbee (#44262455) Attached to: Electrical Engineering Labor Pool Shrinking
Hi, EE here. Before I took my current job, I was looking for 5 months for a new job before I essentially gave up. My background if you look at my resume would probably look like an RF engineer, but at the same time I had done a lot of high level DSP and programming. I was/have been trying to get out of RF and I thought that my skill set was sufficient enough to make the change to DSP and/or embedded SW. I should mention I was living in Chicago during all of this Motorola was not somewhere I wanted to go and was the primary employer for RF engineers, but there were seemingly plenty of SW positions.

I love this particular anecdote. I applied for one job at a big machinery company that wanted an embedded SW programmer. I had probably 90% of the things they wanted. They(HR) did not want to forward my resume to a hiring manager since one of the requirements was 'experience with hydraulics'. WTF? For an embedded SW position? This was obviously a case where they didn't want to train from within, since hydraulics is probably one of the easiest concepts to understand. Force over area. Done! (sorry to all my ME friends out there if I am understating it a bit).

Another anecdote. A small company was looking to fill a senior HW position (more like a principle engineer type), so there was quite a bit of responsibility for this position. They actually wanted me to take a pay cut from what i was making. It was not like I was making great money to begin with. Probably at or below average anyway for my experience. Since I hated my current job that much, I was actually considering it. I even told the head hunter that don't look at my salary. Tell me what the job is, and then we can discuss. Didn't hear back from them. Probably thought I would be too expensive, but I was willing to deal.

I could go on and on, but where I am going with all this is that there might be demand but they are looking for a very specific type. From these two anecdotes, they don't want to train, and they don't want to pay for quality.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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