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Comment: It's a Mgmt Issue (Score 5, Insightful) 529

by tungstencoil (#43105437) Attached to: The Data That Drove Yahoo's Telecommuting Ban
I've worked at places that are heavily remote and heavily not. I've seen it done successfully and not.

One place, when I was on team A 100% on-site, I interacted with my manager very minimally. We had little direction, lots of bureaucracy, and a slow pace of accomplishing anything. I moved to another team B, 100% remote, interacted with my manager a lot, we had lots of planning, direction, and follow-up, and got stuff DONE.

I've seen it time and again: the overwhelming majority of people need leadership. What kind of leadership is specific to the individual; good mgmt can tailor their style to individual needs. Rare - much rarer than most people think - is someone who needs no leadership.

What happens is that remote teams can exacerbate management failings. People slack off; some people work in chunks (as I do - I will goof off for a couple of hours and then pound out a day's work), some people work slow and steady. If you're results-oriented, you can measure this. If you manage people correctly, it can be done remote, on-site, or blended.

Managing remote teams requires a different set of skills. Most places make the mistake of assuming a remote worker is just like an on-site worker, to be treated the same. They're not. It's not better or worse, just different.

Comment: Re:No "homophobia" (Score 1) 1174

You're actually making my point; I'm sorry if it isn't clear. Just because you consider me dragging "highly emotionally charged and totally unrelated example" into it doesn't mean I'm not right. I'll agree slavery is more serious, but please explain how interracial marriage or segregation are fundamentally different, based upon the arguments for and against them?

Marriage has not been defined as that for "thousands of years". It's actually varied quite a bit from culture to culture and over the decades, and even in modern times. Even Wikipedia has multiple well-referenced examples. Miscegeny was NOT legal, socially acceptable, or the norm in the overwhelming majority of cultures - even Westernized ones - until relatively recent history. I'm old enough to remember when seeing a black man holding a white girl's hand, walking down the street in the major city I grew up in, drew openly hostile remarks. I'm not that old, either.

Saying there isn't anything discriminatory in a definition - and that it's based primarily on biology - is specious. Couples who can't or don't want to have children get married. For a long time published arguments against miscegeny touted the idea of racial dilution and even health hazards to any babies.

You may understand why people don't want to change it. So do I: they're bigots. I'm actually okay with bigots, until they think they can impose or continue to impose their views on others by restricting their rights, especially when said rights don't infringe upon anyone else. Show me one decent ethically sound and morally righteous reason why society benefits by not allowing homosexuals to marry. Again, I challenge you to replace the words in any argument with "mixed race" instead of "gay", and explain that it isn't bigoted.

"Being anti-interracial-'marriage' does not automatically make someone racist or a bigot." How does that sound to you? Anyone who thinks they can be anti-gay marriage and not have a very narrow, judgmental, bigoted view is deceiving themselves by couching their bigotry in supposedly sound arguments of culture, society, and biology. That fits your Webster's definition quite soundly. I'll agree my stance does too - however; the same argument can be positioned for any stance (again - substitute interracial marriage and the people against it). I base the validity of my position on ethics and morality.

Comment: Re:No "homophobia" (Score 1) 1174

Some people against gay marriage have absolutely nothing against gay people or gay couples. And some even support legal gay coupling, with the same rights as marriage, just not called "marriage".

Replace "against gay marriage" with "against emancipation", and "gay people or gay couples" with "slaves or slave families". After all, just because you're for slavery doesn't mean you hate black people, right? You just understand their socio-economic and biological limitations, right?

Or better: replace with "against interracial marriage", and "mixed black and white couples or other interracial coupling". After all, it's just so unseemly to push their integrated views on polite society, right? Plus, think of their children - they'll never have a chance to not be mocked in public, to be integrated into either race's culture. You'd be diluting both races. It would be a travesty, really.

Or better: replace with "against desegregated schools", "blacks and whites in the same classroom." After all, each group needs to learn different things. It's really not fair to group them all together. Plus, how could they learn their cultures? Or better yet, just put them in "their own" schools (e.g. not calling it marriage). It's really better for them in the long run.

I could go on, but I think my point is clear. If one wants to be a bigot - fine. Own it for what it is. But please don't imply that - somehow - one's bigotry and biases are something other than that, or that just because one doesn't support gay marriage it is ethically or morally equivalent to supporting it. It isn't.

Comment: Re:A stupid issue (Score 1) 1174

So I agree that in (my) perfect world, the government wouldn't be involved in marriage, the sad fact is that they are. Because they are, it ought to be addressed.

Saying you're against gay marriage, because it's a subset of marriage, and then "walking away", is not addressing the real issue. And if that's all you have to say on the matter, you're really just making a thin veil over bigotry. This is similar to folks who say "I hate the sin but love the sinner, and homosexuality is against my religion." It's a way of addressing any logical discussion against their bigotry by claiming "see - I'm not a bigot! I'm against it because of this other thing you can't really argue with."

In dealing with reality, we have a situation in this country where the government is deeply involved in things like civil rights, marriage, war on drugs, copyright... all those things that often enter the realm of "should they". That's an academic discussion. The very real discussion is that, today, there are laws and practices that actively discriminate against a subset of the population based upon biology, for strictly no reason or value to society, in the same way that similar laws and practices benefit others. That is a case for the government to be involved.

Comment: Um... Yes (Score 1) 776

by tungstencoil (#42546693) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Timed Coding Tests Valuable?
Like many who've posted, we give every developer applicant a live coding test. We allow them to select one from a list of 5 problems, to be coded in the target technology we're hiring for. For each of them, every member of my team can have working in under 15 minutes. I'm the manager over several teams, haven't written any production code in probably 2 years, and can whip them out of my posterior in a variety of languages. We provide the environment, compilation scripts/commands (if appropriate), and Google. We do ask that they not Google the actual problem. We give them an hour, and they can extend by another hour if they ask.

About 60% of applicants abjectly fail. I don't mean they have a bug, or misunderstand the problem so implement incorrectly, or are inelegant. I mean they fail to produce code the compiles or runs (depending upon technology). C++ "experts" who, in a fit of frustration, copy/paste a HelloWorld! example out of Google into vim, miss the first '#', and it doesn't compile, and cannot figure out why. PL/SQL "experts" who can't select from a single table.

The person who did the wrong copy/paste-desperation move assured me at the end of the interview they were actually an expert, and not to let their failure "taint" my impression of them.

About another 10% or so write something that is incorrect, but does something functional. For those folks, we weigh it case-by-case. The remainder pass (and are usually surprised when we tell them how many fail). It's a sad fact, but a lot of "experts" Simply. Cannot. Code.

Comment: Re:No wrongful death? (Score 1) 683

by tungstencoil (#40070669) Attached to: Rutger's Student Dharun Ravi Sentenced To 30-Day Jail Time
Yeah, it is different.

It would be society's fault if you ignore the fact that Ravi had intentions to embarrass and humiliate Tyler... and if you don't think he didn't, you're naive. Of course, Tyler was a little lacking in the psych department, because people who are humiliated don't always kill themselves.

However, that's also like saying people who wear nice watches and sneakers in bad neighborhoods totally deserve to get beaten and robbed. After all, you lacked the proper judgement skills not to be flashy in a bad neighborhood and, arguably, it's society's fault that the criminal element exists... right?

Comment: Re:You don't quite understand VCs (Score 1) 332

by tungstencoil (#39935291) Attached to: Nearly 150 Companies Show Interest in the Tech Love Boat
Sorry - my comment should read "will find" not "will found", e.g. this would be an example of VCs finding a way to get of getting cheap *and entrepreneurial" talent without having to worry about work visas/sponsorship/et al.

So yes: I do understand VCs. So yes: they aren't interested in "offshore talent" in the manner of "hiring a code monkey to write classes", but they ARE interested in "offshore talent" like "these folks from [another country] who have what we think is a high-growth (your words) idea", and the idea is WAAAAY more compelling if you can bypass the whole pesky US/immigration/work bits.

Oh, and yes: VCs do practically enslave their staff. Especially the founders, and anyone else who has the possibility of a big payout dangled in front of them, that future, unstable, gamble-of-a-possibility pretty much chains someone to the startup. Yes, I'm being a big metaphorical, and not literal. You're right - someone can leave. There aren't real shackles. But anyone who has worked for a funded startup that has failed (and even some that have succeeded) can tell a tale that harkens to enslavement.

Blueseed might not be started by VC, but they (you) sure do seem to have some on their advisory board; again, sorry if my semantics are a touch off, but the flavor (doused with metaphor) remains correct.

Comment: Anecdotal Evidence is Anecdotal (Score 1, Interesting) 209

by tungstencoil (#39848545) Attached to: What Is Your Beverage of Choice In the Morning?
How ironically appropriate that the comments section of the unscientific poll lead to so many anecdotal accounts of why what someone is doing is So Incredibly Healthy and Lead To Amazing Life Changes.

Seriously: it astonishes me that people will take something like "I drink foo for breakfast, and now my workout routine is AWESOME" or "I used to drink bar but then when I quit my miscellaneous-probably-false health problem cleared up" etc. I mean, supposedly ./ is filled with geeks who love logic and science, but then I read stuff like this and realize we're no different than the other animals around us, just perhaps more computer/geek savvy.

If you're unclear, I'll give you a hint: odds are overwhelming you're experiencing a placebo. Even if you don't believe it's placebo because of [insert reason here], I'll give you another hint: it is.

Sad, really.

Comment: Re:Two-dimensional? (Score 5, Informative) 160

by tungstencoil (#38914371) Attached to: Researchers Create Glass Just 3 Atoms Thick

It's not two dimensional if it has a measurable thickness, which you stated in that same sentence. Unless you have a different definition of "two dimensional" than the rest of us.

Someone posted that same criticism in the article. Here is someone's reply (again, from the comments). I'm not a chemist or physicist, but what they say sounds reasonable:

Hi Heather - fair enough, it's not 2D as in the mathematical concept, but 2D has a physical meaning as well - the thinnest version of a material. Because the silicon and oxygen atoms don't lay flat, glass needs a minimum of three layers of atoms (two silicon and one oxygen) to form a chemically stable sheet. Inside some of these technically 3D ultrathin materials, the electrons behave like their world is two dimensional.

Comment: Austin (Sigh) (Score 1) 285

by tungstencoil (#38818501) Attached to: Psychics Say Apollo 16 Astronauts Found Alien Ship
I love my city, but I swear... sometimes the odd mix and mashup of conspiracy theorists, psychics, faeries, burners, whacked hippy environmentalists really gets to me.

They're all good for amusement until the end up in local government, and we end up with policies like "we like Austin RIGHT NOW HOW IT IS. Adding, expanding, or improving roads/infrastructure will mean... more people will move here. So let's not do it." or "let's really invest in non-local sources of solar and wind power... and by invest, I mean rely heavily upon. Yeah, so electricity rates soar. Invest in additional infrastructure to handle demand? NO WAY! Brown-outs are good for the planet!" or my personal favorite, locating the homeless shelter and associated soup kitchen (that collectively take up most of a city block) right in the business/entertainment/prime real estate district.... and then wonder why people are getting turned off by aggressive panhandling and why there are criticisms about wasting a prime piece of real estate. After all, if we located it a few blocks (or miles) away, all the homeless people would no longer be near public transit and their downtown ecosystem.

I love Austin, but sometimes all I can do is giggle.

Comment: My Nostalgia and Gateway Drug (Score 1) 263

by tungstencoil (#38596396) Attached to: Looking Back At the Commodore 64
I cut my teeth on a Commodore PET that was donated to my school as part of a grant program. Most kids (and teachers) ran away, and I couldn't keep my hands off it. I actually had my mother drop me off at school early in order to get a couple of hours on it each morning. At night, I would hand-write out more program code.

By the time the VIC-20 and C64 rolled around I was hooked. We were poor and couldn't afford them, but a teacher at school brought his C64 in. From there, I saved (and saved... and saved) and eventually got into the Atari line for the better (to me) graphics and gaming potential. I lusted after the Apple ][ but certainly couldn't afford that.

Ahhhh, memories of direct memory manipulation, no look-asides, no threads. Back in my day....

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

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