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Comment 300 million books, each unique (Score 1) 121

Why does this lead in with "Stephen King has sold more than 300 million books of horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy" -- sure, he's been a popular author, but the relevant info would be how many books he has *written*, no? How many *words* would be interesting to learn.

But if he wrote one book and sold 300 million copies, I doubt he'd need a continuity adviser.

Comment Re:Bad meetings? (Score 1) 457

Here's what my current dev team has settled on -- we ran into many of those issues early on, and modified our approach.

We have brief meetings MWF (calls w/ screen sharing, technically, since we're distributed).

We make up meeting notes in advance (on the wiki), each person adding in briefly what they've done, what's next, and what they'd like to discuss (if anything).

In the meeting, we only actually discuss the points listed for discussion, unless someone brings up what someone else is working on (like, "if it's useful, last year I did something quite similar to X that may be helpful to you").

Comment Lack of flexibility; misaligned communication (Score 4, Interesting) 457

Imagine a manager who asks you about what helps you be productive, and what is slowing you down, then works to change your working environment, schedule, hours, etc. to maximize your quality of life & productivity....

Naturally, it's not common, because instead managers assume their developers won't know the first thing about their own work habits (and what improves/degrades them), and instead blindly tries to establish top-down processes that will make "the team" more productive.

Sometimes it'll work out; but to be sure, people are individuals, the best developers are *already* thinking about these things (and how to hack their own lives), and the ones that aren't will become better if they're encouraged to think about how they actually work.

One thing that applies to everyone, at a general level -- getting the level (and kind) of communication right.

Some people can't get difficult tasks done unless they can retreat into a silent bubble for days on end, free from distractions and completely focused. Most people, however, need at least some level of communication along the way, to intercept them (and help) if they're getting bogged down, getting lost and attacking the problem via brute force, or getting tangled up in their own perfectionism and spending way too much time polishing the first step when they have 19 steps of the solution still to go.

So they need regular (but short and very focused) communication where they're comfortable honestly discussing where they are and where they're going. (Hint: it's hard to avoid triggering ego traps in these kinds of discussions, but if you do, you'll quickly make the whole relationship completely dysfunctional, and useless).

Other people thing best in conversation, and will work best when more-or-less permanently paired with someone else (with similar needs, of course... don't pair them with the solo deep thinker!) -- together they can be far more clever and productive than they could possibly be separate.

Comment Re:abortion is legitimate question (Score 1) 907

It never was "pre-conception" for the Catholic doctrine

I think the point was that Catholics are officially against using contraception. Masturbation is also "wrong".

Hence, they're also opposed to "ending" a fetus' life before it has even been conceived.

It's useful to also capture that particular bit of lunacy, but I agree it's a stretch to phrase it that way.

Comment Hack: cut the power at 5 to midnight (Score 1) 344

And turn it back on at midnight.
That's the simple way to reset the clocks on my alarm clock, pellet stove, oven, clothes dryer, etc. (why do all these things have clocks? It's anything with fancy scheduling options, like "run at 4am").

The car clock is the only annoying one that way (I'm not going to cut the battery and lose my mileage stats...).

The computers are fine of course.
That just leaves the one battery-powered clock up on the wall, which I simply don't adjust. I kind of like it showing the time an hour late for a chunk of the year... when it catches my eye, I think for a second that I'm really running late today -- then it's a pleasant surprise when I realize I'm fine.

Comment Re:I am a Google engineer (Score 1) 791

WRT Google -- the moral question of whether to use the loopholes is not completely clear-cut. The loopholes are perfectly legal, and all of their competitors use them. I suspect they could be sued by stockholders if they decided to optionally pay far more taxes than they were legally required to pay.

There's also the question of what the taxes will actually be used for -- this isn't so bad with EU taxes, but the biggest chunk of any US taxes you pay go straight to the military.

Morally, the best solution might be for Google to publicly post the amount of taxes they are not paying in different locations thanks to legal loopholes (thus putting pressure on governments to actually close them), NOT lobby for keeping the loopholes open, and to use at least some portion of the "loophole money" to do some direct good in the regions affected.

Comment Re:I am a Google engineer (Score 1) 791

Right; the bottom line is that there are known loopholes that all of the major international corporations use to avoid taxes... and the governments could certainly close the loopholes, if the corporations didn't have such massive influence over the entire political process.

So every once in a while there's a big "exposé" of one loophole or other, and various politicians start bills which are all destined to die or be completely neutered -- as hoped even by the politicians flogging them, because of course if you're the one who successfully pushes through the law that closes a serious loophole, you're screwed.

Comment Re:I am an HFT programmer (Score 1) 791

He didn't say he works 100-hour weeks on average, just that he "does them" - assume "sometimes" or "occasionally", since he DID say he averages 12-hour days.

He also gets vacation, even though sometimes it is interrupted by emergencies.

Let's assume 2 weeks off even including the 10 or so federal holidays (likely he actually gets more than this!) minus 2 days of emergency work.
He averages 12-hour days, an estimate probably based on a 5-day week (the stock markets are closed on the weekend, and he'd mention it if he had a non-standard work week, right?).

So: 50 weeks * 5 day week + 2 days lost vacation = 252 days * 12-hours = 3024 hours.
500000/3024 = $165.34/hour.

If "average 12-hour days" was within a 6-day work week => $137.97/hour
7-day work week => $118.37

Comment Re:Calm down and read up (Score 1) 223 :D

[Okay, I admit this is slightly mean fun. And to be sure, responses that just say "you clearly are in way over your head -- go hire a lawyer/expert/whatever" are far less helpful than ones that say "you may need to hire an expert... they'll probably tell you to do X or Y based on your Z". But while I think the original poster was asking a valid question that's not trivially answered by google, finding the difference between a hash and encryption isn't so hard to find.]

Comment Re:Calm down and read up (Score 1) 223

doing multiple hashes of the password in a big enough magnitude for it to become slow

Hash algorithms like SHA1 and MD5 are designed to be fast. This is great if you are fingerprinting large amounts of data looking for patterns, comparing files, etc.. This is not great if you don't want your passwords to be brute-forced.

Rainbow tables are not the real danger to hashes. The real danger is simply that brute-forcing many password hashes is startlingly fast on modern hardware.

If you're hashing passwords that need to be safe from brute-forcing, use something like bcrypt, which let's you set a work factor.

More explanation here:

Comment Re:What difference .... (Score 2) 189

Do some reading on the Malaysian government, though.

They do not do things by the book. There is no book. The corruption, the nepotism, the thuggery, the ridiculous government-endorsed racism, the sheer idiocy and ignorance....

They (the party that's been in power since the 60's -- not a good sign, is it?) don't come under pressure to clean house from the wider world because there aren't genocides going on, no large-scale horrors. They keep the abuses relatively low-key (like heavy "affirmative action" for the majority race, gross misuse of government funds, only occasional murders), so even their own citizenry generally think it's not worth it to stick their necks out to fix things. Sure, the education system sucks, and if you aren't of the right "race" you have to send your kids out of the country to get any higher education, and the corruption is embarrassing, but it's fed by oil wealth more than out of citizen's pockets directly, so it just goes on & on.

Er, if it's not clear, no, I would not trust the Malaysian government-run email service. The internet is finally making it possible to fight back against government abuses in Malaysia with some level of anonymity and safety, and I have no doubt they're dying to get their hands on a good way to keep an eye out for citizens who might become troublemakers. Admittedly, you'd have to be a bit stupid to use your government-given email address to talk to your friends about a protest, but their education system nowadays doesn't exactly focus on critical thinking.

Comment I've noticed this problem with spam (Score 1) 78

Not exactly the same thing, but I've been getting a lot of spam in Greek for some reason -- and I have no idea how to filter it out (I could just capture any message with a common Greek word, but it's... gibberish to me). It's clearly spam, and probably all from the same sender, because the formatting is always similar, though of course the links vary.

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