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Comment Re:Are they just worse drivers to begin with? (Score 3, Insightful) 388

The sample size was really small in this - 200.

Seriously, waaaay too small to jump to conclusions.
Plus the study needs to be repeated multiple times in different areas by other independent researchers before the results are dependable.

The odds are just as high that the area in Utah they surveyed is home to the ONLY 5 supertaskers in the world.

Comment Bad coding does not discriminate (Score 1) 548

Or as Atwood put it: You can write fortran in any language

Excellent and horrible coders exist no matter what language you choose.

The logic that a single language can spoil your mind would only lead to you experiencing fewer languages in order to avoid damaging your precious brain!

I'd wager that most of the top programmers in the world have written significant amounts of code in at least 10 different languages.

Comment Re:Maybe he's right. (Score 1) 587

Actually watching that movie scared the crap out of me, and I had nightmares for years. The kid whose house I was at was a psycho and tortured animals, etc.

I wouldn't blame the movies for him being a psycho, I would blame the parents for not taking into account the maturity of their child and filtering content appropriately, and for neglecting their child in general.

Comment Re:Maybe he's right. (Score 1) 587

As a parent I'm actually thankful for the ratings.
Not so much for me, I'm a geek so I know better than to buy my 5 year old the latest GTA, but for grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

If I inform them when birthday time comes around to check the labels, then I don't have to go through the pain of returning games my kids shouldn't be playing.
Plus I can use that as a catch for the kids too if they go to a friends house, they are not allowed to play T or M games or whatever.

I don't honestly think it's a perfect system though, even if the ESRB ratings were made law kids would still get their hands on them.
I remember watching Nightmare on Elm Street when I was just a kid at my friends house who's parents didn't give a crap.

In the end I still say it's not the game that makes kids violent, it's the lack of parental responsibility and accountability.

Comment Dancing Pigs / Bunnies (Score 2, Insightful) 951

Sounds like a variant of the dancing pigs problem

They will completely ignore every error message and try to find a way to get what they want.

I try to keep the error messages as simple as possible, and then have the system email out an error message.
If your company isn't gigantic it can work well, then when you get a call just check the email to see what the full message was.

Comment Re:O(n^2) (Score 1) 396

You could teach people all they need to know about big O and common algorithms in an afternoon

I would agree with that specifically on the "all they need to know" part.

I got my BSCS, and I can say that having a little knowledge about how the big O or big theta stuff works can help you understand what makes a chunk of code more or less efficient, but learning how to exactly properly calculate things like that aren't really necessary for 90% of the programming jobs out there.
Maybe if you're writing hardware level programs or something and efficiency is a big deal.

Lots of the CS degree is more focused on the science of computing, than on how to be a good programmer.
I've been a full time programmer for over a decade now, and I've never had to determine if any of my algorithms were turing compliant, or use BCNF for database design.
That doesn't mean there isn't a use for that knowledge, just that for the masses it will not make you a better or worse programmer.

Here are the things from my CS degree experiences that I would say have actually useful been useful to me in the business world:
- Programming Languages: we reviewed different types, from functional languages to OO, etc and what makes a language
- Networking: Learned a lot about the topic, and even wrote some TCP/IP programs
- Operating systems: Learn how different operating systems work and what's under the hood a little. Not super helpful as it was more theoretical than practical, but still interesting
- Non-CS classes: Honestly the BS classes that people complain about, like social studies and arts focused classes did a world of good for me. Improved my writing and presentation skills, and gave me a much broader view of the world than I would have had if I never left the podunk town I grew up in.

Comment Proof vs. Headlines (Score 1) 807

The biggest problem I see is that when the latest news comes out about global warming or climate change, people rarely actually read the full details of any report.
They get what I would call the "Google News" version, just that main headline without clicking into the full article (who does?), and then go about their day feeling like they know what's going on with the world.

When the international panel for climate change came out with their research claims that global warming was real, how many people actually went out and read the report?
Most people just said "See! I knew it was real!" or "That's all BS, they totally faked that"

When the hackers released those emails about global warming information being falsely reported, who actually read the full article about what was falsely reported and what was not?
Most people just said "See! I knew it was all fake!" or "That's all BS, the information is still accurate just a few people screwed up!"

And now that this guy is coming out to debunk Lomborg, very few people will read Lomborg's initial research or even the debunking.
They'll just see the Google News headline and say "See! I knew it was real!" or "That's all BS, that guy is lying about Lomborg!"

Comment Re:This is news? (Score 1) 416

You should really try working for a business that needs to actually, you know, turn a profit instead of upgrading to every shiny new system as they come out.

Agreed.
I'm surprised how many articles and comments completely disregard cost as an aspect here?
Cost of upgrading browsers on machines, upgrading images of base installs, etc.
A restrictive piece of software isn't always the issue for upgrading, especially web applications.
Fix the website and the changes are deployed to the whole enterprise.

For large LARGE companies, upgrading the browser can incur a huge cost.
Take GM for example. At a single given automotive plant, they may have 1,000 PCs.
Multiply that by every plant GM owns across the world, and then add in probably a few hundred thousand more for all of the PCs at the tech center and everywhere else and you're probably looking at upgrading browsers on a million boxes.

Most of these places are not set up with remote network installs for every location so you probably can't even automate the whole thing, and that means you have to have a warm body to go around and upgrade every single box.
The cost might be worth it in the end, but the task seems pretty daunting when the alternative is to do nothing and not lose any money.

Honestly I was at an automotive plant back in '99 and they still had somebody in the remote corner of the plant running Windows 3.1 on a token ring network.

Comment Re:Half of the story. (Score 1) 684

I think the group exercise is to teach everyone how to collaborate and share responsibilities, but it's unfair to a student to be responsible for a group member who completely refuses to perform. I think you have the responsibility to learn to communicate to your fellow group members when someone isn't pulling their weight, but if someone doesn't help at all no matter what, the teacher has the responsibility to provide a method for the students to communicate that.

In a few of my classes the teacher provided a private method for group members to communicate to the teacher who the good and bad group members were.

Sometimes it's ok if you end up doing all the programming, honestly in one of my favorite classes I did all the coding and left the powerpoints and cardboard cutouts etc to the rest of the group and the teacher was fine with it. I was confident that at least the rest of the group understood what was going on, but I was a lot faster at programming than the others so we each went with our strengths.

Honestly I think group projects work the best when the group members are from separate disciplines. It's pretty hard to cooperate when you put 5 programmers on a team and tell them to write a Hello World program together.

Oh, and I think most cheating happens because cute girls have to take programming 101 classes and nerds are easy targets. :)

Comment The Executive Effect (Score 1) 387

True, once an employee is at the executive level, they have ridiculous power, and often do ridiculous things with no recourse.

The theory is supposed to be that if you are an executive, you are held responsible for the actions of the people under you.
The reality is that executives are never held responsible for anything, even if they are grossly at fault.

Honestly sometimes it's better when the execs are NOT involved because when they are they get this idea about how they want to revolutionize the company by adding a checkbox on this web page, which leads to countless meetings and generally turns into a gigantic project for no actual company benefit.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/design_hell

Basically once you get promoted to royalty, the rules don't apply anymore.
Oh and by the way, feel free to cut IT staff, because they're just a drain on your bottom line.

Comment Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (Score 1) 453

We're in a transitional period of history, IMO (did I mention I'm a historian too?) where the status of employees as resources rather than liabilities is in danger from too many people thinking that better/faster/cheaper can apply to people as well as processes.

Yep, cheaper = reduced budgets and reduced headcount, and since IT departments are normally non-revenue generating headcount they are the first ones that get cut.

Other departments that may be bloated get ignored because they can "justify" their headcount with sales numbers.
IT is just a big fat number that execs want to cut down.

A typical IT department is probably "challenged" to reduce budget and headcount every year, which means eventually you'll hit zero dollars and zero employees.

Comment Re:Figures off by a factor of 10 to 100 (Score 1) 752

Then again, the php code had to be served through apache, while the c code was served directly by a custom server sitting on a separate socket, so there's no telling how much of the overhead was from apache.

My thoughts exactly. Is the bottleneck the webserver or the actual code?
Seems more likely that the number of servers has to do with the massive number of requests that have to be handled, so they would need several webfarms, etc., and since they have users all over the world they would have more than one data center.

From a source for the article:
Given its global user population, Facebook eventually had to move to replicating its content across multiple data centers. Facebook now runs two large data centers, one on the West coast of the US and one on the East coast.

So cut your 30,000 servers in half to 15,000 servers per data center.

Comment Classic ASP (Score 2, Interesting) 558

If Microsoft really cared about devs, then the next version of IIS would allow Classic ASP and ASP.NET to share session state.
Nothing like releasing ASP.NET and obsoleting millions of lines of code.

Unlike VB6 to VB.NET there is no migration path from Classic ASP to ASP.NET other than a complete rewrite.

Comment SharePoint (Score 1) 428

We use Microsoft's SharePoint where I work.

Pretty easy to set up lists and views to be able to flip / flop your data for different groups.

May not be well suited to the heirarchical tasks issue, but it was an easy win for us here b/c we were already using it to search documents on our domain, and we had a mess of users sending around excel spreadsheets as project tracking.

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