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Comment Re:Is it really so outrageous? (Score 1) 853

A corporation is made up of people. The livelyhood of those people depends on producing a service that other people pay for. Even in an autonomous collective you have to weight the rights of the producers against the rights of the consumers.

I managed to squeeze a Monty Python reference into a serious post.

Comment Battle Lines (Score 1) 583

Does anyone else find it a little too convenient that Apple decided to the drop support for their JVM recently as well? Of course they may have already known this was direction things were headed and just preempted it. I’m wondering if it’s not just a war brewing in the Java world, but against open source as well. Open source projects have become competitive with commercial offerings cutting into the profits of big companies and they are taking steps to eliminate them. So far big companies have been pretty effective destroying the communities around projects which call into question the viability and therefore the adoption rate of open source software.

Comment Re:Money, Career, and Life (Score 5, Interesting) 618

My wife got a Ph.D. in molecular biology. She did a postdoc and NIH and then started to look for job. She wanted to be a professor at a University. After talking to some of the recruiters at Universities we found out they were getting hundreds of resumes for each position. In addition as the parent post points outs research is brutal. You constantly struggle for grant money and tenure is pretty much a thing of the past. Universities want you to come in with grants, they take half the money, then they boot you out if you lose your grants. It's a very stressful environment to be in. Another thing I ran into while doing research was that the number of teaching positions at Universities has gone up about 50% since 1960, however the number of Ph.D.s has gone up 10,000%. Of course there are commercial research positions as well, but at least in biotech there is a lot of turn over as companies come and go. She has friends that get laid off every couple years and spend six months to a year looking for a new job. There were also a lot of sales jobs where you go around and sell equipment to companies, which she didn't want to do. My wife eventually ended up with desk job with Genebank at NIH and no longer does research. Note that she was 31 by the time she got her first real job. That's a lot of time to put into education for not much reward. She is especially annoyed that she will never make as much money as I do in IT even though she has a doctorate degree and I have a master's in CS. We have encouraged our son not to into science.

Comment Re:Oh noes! (Score 1) 773

The founding fathers believed the average person was not qualified to make most political decisions. That's one of the reasons why we elect supposedly qualified people to represent us. I agree with that sentiment. Most political issues are complex and the ramifications are not immediately obvious. If everyone voted on each issue we’d have a mess. For instance, tariffs and protectionist measure seem like a good thing. You’re trying to protect American jobs. However, these types of polices hurt the economy. You can protect one group, but it’s to the determent of the whole.

Comment I don't think that word means what you think... (Score 1) 185

There is no tragedy of the commons for information or software. You can use the software all you want and it does not affect my ability to use it as well. Tragedy of the commons is all about degregation of public recourses when no one owns them because everyone takes what they can from it until it is no longer useful to any one.

Comment Re:Or you could get an MSCE (Score 5, Interesting) 257

I've actually seen this more from people who don't have a degree. I've had several people apply for jobs that think they are geniuses because they taught themselves to program. I should have kept an email one of them sent me a few years ago after I told him he didn't have the skills to be a senior developer. He went off about how how he starting programing when he was 15 and how awesome he was. By the way WTF and STFU are not proper acronyms for business correspondence. All the top developers in the company started programming when they were teenagers, then they went on to get degrees, and then they still need at least another 6 years of experience before I categorize them as senior level. Some people have 20 years and they still never make it to senior level. The only exception I've seen is a kid who started working for me when he was 16 and worked 30 hours a week while he finished out high school and then college. He actually had 6 years of experience by the time he graduated.

I can usually get an idea of skill level by talking to people, but occasionally people are just good talkers. So I have a coding test. I give them a simple set of requirements and set them down in front of an IDE and have them write an application. The requirements are to display a list of users with add, edit, and delete capabilities. The test takes an hour and it doesn't have to compile or be complete. I'm just looking for how people approach it. I've had people actually complete the application in an hour using XML as a data store, others may get a few classes written, some people produce nothing or cut and paste something from the internet that makes no sense. This weeds out the talkers from the doers very quickly.

Comment Re:Flawed Analogy? (Score 1) 398

I'm not following this argument. IP creates an artifical scarity of what in regards to software? It limits choices for certain software like video codecs and sites with one click shopping. It seems like getting rid of IP would incresase jobs as you have more companies creating competing products. This won't affect certain areas, for instance most companies don't have the resources to create very large software packages such as an office suite. The majority of IT work would be unaffected IP changes. Most IT job are creating custom applications for your company or providing general IT support.

Comment Re:Hopefully true - Closed vs. Open platforms (Score 2, Informative) 397

I think that's a bit over simplified. If that were the case than 90% of people would have Macs and geeks would be the only people with PCs. The real factor is that open platforms are cheaper. That is why the Mac lost the PC in the past. Apple tried to control the hardware and software with huge markeups. The PCs came in with competition and thin margins so they advanced faster and became more efficient lowering costs even more. Monopolies breed inefficincies because there is no reason to improve. Apple has a monopoly of sorts now, but competitors are catching up and AT&T isn't going to subsidize the $800 iPhone once it becomes available on other networks because it will no longer provide them with a competitive advantage. When people have to pay hundreds of dollars more for an iPhone when competing phones offer the same capabilities you'll see a drop in their marketshare. Apple apparently hasn't learned from past mistakes.

Comment Forgive the skepticism (Score 1) 271

Obama cancels the plans to return to the moon and about a month later vast quantities of water are suddenly discovered on the moon. I used to work for NASA and while I don't think they would lie, the possibility of water on the moon may have gotten blown out of proportion into there are tons of water on the moon to support someone's funding.

Comment A good foundation (Score 1) 396

I may be somewhat biased since I have a BS and MS in Computer Science. Computer Science gives you a good foundation to understanding what is going on behind the scenes. More understanding is better. There are libraries and built in functions for just about everything these days which anybody can use, but you are better able to diagnose problems when something goes wrong if you have a deeper understanding of how they work.

A recent CS grad and a self taught developer with 4 years of experience are not at the same level. The self taught person is generally going to be better at writing applications. However, in the long run a person with a CS degree will surpass the self taught person. This of course assumes equal levels of talent. About 10% of developers are just better than the rest by an order of magnitude or more.

I learned a lot in school that isn’t particularly useful for my job. For instance, no one has asked me to write an application to solve differential equations. I did have to write a quick sort in basic when I first graduated. I also ran into an issue recently where a client had some equations they wanted coded into an application for reporting. I had a self taught developer who just looked at it and had no clue. I coded the equations into a function for him so he could finish the report.

Comment Re:Falling behind a little more each day. (Score 1) 787

Religion has been on the decline in the United Statues for several decades. At the same time the perception is that the US research has declined over the same period. Religion in Asia is on a sharp upswing and is all but dead in Europe. I'm not seeing a correlation between religion and research.

Research into solar and wind is good. However, how much money has been wasted on a problem that is not well understood?

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