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Comment: Job postings are cheap (Score 2) 38

by swm (#48594823) Attached to: Job Postings Offer Clues to Future of Google Fiber

Long ago, I worked for a little company in one state, that bought a big company in another state (don't ask), and the big company had a union shop. At some point they were trying to negotiate something with the union, and they weren't getting what they wanted, so the next week they advertise 300 job openings in the local city paper, like they were going to move the entire shop in-state and just cut the union loose.

Nothing ever came of it.

Comment: How long does a job last? (Score 1) 282

by swm (#47388831) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

I've made my career building out new applications that are enabled by advancing computer technology. These jobs only last for a few years. A basic product development cycle is maybe 2 to 5 years, at which point you've either
- succeeded, and don't need people like me any more
- failed, and definitely don't need people like me any more

When the job goes away, I find a new one. Sometimes I find a new job at the same company, but that is inessential.

The short tenure of these jobs doesn't have much to do with me. It is driven by the staggering speed at which the underlying computer technology is advancing and changing.

Comment: You can't audit spreadsheets (Score 3, Insightful) 422

by swm (#47103877) Attached to: Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work

I figured this out twenty-mumble years ago.
I was doing data analysis in spreadsheets, and realized that I had no way to audit them.
The data and the analysis were all the spreadsheet.

As soon as I got a grip on my data, I changed over to C programs that I could test, and document, and validate, and run at any time to demonstrate that input X generated output Y.

Comment: Re:Linux developer arrogance (Score 1) 589

by swm (#46927429) Attached to: Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says

I heard an interview with Torvalds where they asked him why there was no kernel ABI.
He explained that the reason people want ABIs is so they can link object code into the kernel w/o releasing the sources,
and then that code breaks, and he ends up having to debug kernels with incomplete sources.
And he doesn't want to do that.
So no kernel ABI.

I don't know that I'd call that arrogant. Selfish, maybe...

The good news is that because the Linux kernel has no ABIs,
the sources are all necessarily available,
which means that you can get the sources, and fork them, and add ABIs, and create a binary driver compatibility layer,
so that people can link in drivers w/o sources,
and then you'll be running a kernel with incomplete sources,
and then....ummm....wait....what was the good news again?

Comment: Information density is the controlling factor (Score 1) 224

by swm (#46694569) Attached to: Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

My reading speed moves up and down to maintain a constant information density.
In a low-density text, like, ummm, Slashdot comments, I skim.
In a medium-density text, like a novel, I read every word.
In a high-density text, like a math book, I *study* every word.

And it's not something that I have to think about either: it happens automatically.
My subjective experience is that I'm managing a tradeoff between boredom (too slow) and incomprehension (too fast).

One has to look out for engineers -- they begin with sewing machines and end up with the atomic bomb. -- Marcel Pagnol