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Comment Re:Weak argument (Score 1) 951

Moore's law is not a blip. Expand it, thinking not in terms of transistors but in terms of computation power of mankind's tools. The exponential goes back much further. Now, expand it again, thinking in terms of technology capabilities in general (not just computation). You get the law of accelerating returns: http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-...

Comment Re:Instilling values more important (Score 5, Insightful) 698

I agree 100%. Recording advice for specific situations is an Herculean task, bound to fail. I'd go for core values too.

If I had to boil down what my parents taught me through life, it'd be three things:

  1. We love you unconditionally
  2. You can do anything you put your mind into (kid version) / You'll fail at a lot of stuff, but that failure is essential for success (non-kid version)
  3. Happiness is a byproduct of the good you spread around.

Number 1 provides confidence in self, number 2 pushes for an active stance in life and number 3 is the core life mission.

Looking back, specific advice was always based on a reading of these core concepts. You can't possibly predict every specific piece of advice your child will need. You can, however, provide a framework for her to evaluate her options down the road.

Leave her a few videos, exposing *your* core approach to life, so that she can reason like you do. Every word will be treasured. Then, when you have a satisfying length of recorded messages, spend time with her and your wife. Don't fret about setting up memorable events. Just take the time to enjoy yourselves together. She'll remember it fondly.

Comment Re:Astronomy, and general poor night-time results. (Score 1) 550

I did Lasik 11 years ago. Exact same symptoms as you describe, plus eye dryness at the end of a working day. Every symptom disappeared in six to nine months. The first three months saw considerable progress, and then a slower pace. Now, the only remnant of the procedure is higher sensitivity to strong daylight. Solvable with sunglasses, of course.

Comment Re: Could be a good sign... (Score 3, Insightful) 199

The problems are such that you don't need huge datasets to choke O(n) solutions in the execution time limit. Winners at these competitions know how to produce efficient code. They may need to learn maintainability, but I'd wager that is an easier skill than producing the kind of efficient *and* correct solutions they come up with. Try your hand at some of the problems to see how hard they are: http://uva.onlinejudge.org/

Comment Re:He Is Free Now (Score 1) 589

Your argument falls to pieces when you look at the financials of the scientific publishing system: peer reviewers don't get paid; authors don't get paid; most of the added value is retained by publishers because they hold the gateway towards recognition by the scientific community.

In the past, publishers did an important work. Today, they should be replaced by digital tools. And they will. In time.

Comment Re:Hardware is a dead-end (Score 2) 120

Yet, a HW guy (EE Major) has arguably the same skills, foundation, and fundamental knowledge as SW guys (CS majors). Its really just that EE guys don't like doing CS, but they could do it easily. I went to a top-tier uni with EECS as a combined major (and this is common at the top uni's). I can tell you the top EE guys aced their CS classes easily and beat out the top CS guys or were on par.

Wrong. Much as Dilbert's PHB, you assume that stuff you don't know is easy, based on the initial learning curve. Granted, throwing in a couple thousand line coding project is easy. That's the algorithmic training, and that is the easy part. Many kids learn that on their own well before their teen years. The difficult part is the system design; the cobbling of many software pieces to work together coherently; the design of clean abstraction layers (non-leaky abstractions are perhaps one of the most difficult engineering tasks); the design of stability pillars for maintainability (test frontiers, on APIs or on abstraction layers, documentation).

To put it into familiar terms, it's as easy for you to code as it is for me to program an FPGA, stuff it into a breadboard, plug in sensors and actuators and produce a prototype. However, CS guys know that they will never ever design a decent electronic circuit for mass production, even if they can tinker with EE stuff. EE guys will, like you do, boast to be able to decently design a decent software stack for mass usage. They can't (mass generalization). Not without relevant training. Information systems can get pretty darned complex, and just because they don't burn on failure or don't crash into rubble doesn't make software design any less difficult, just less appreciated.


Submission + - SOPA is dead, long live CISPA (cnet.com)

Khazunga writes: "Ok, so the Internet acted in unison, repealing SOPA/PIPA. Danger averted! Not for long... Enter stage left, CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is going to be voted in two weeks. Domain seizure? Check. Unwarranted privacy violation? Check. Vague wording, allowing for government super-powers? Check.

The EFF is already on top of the issue. Use their form to contact your representative.

Oh, and for the mytical cherry on top of the cake, the proposal is supported by Facebook."


Submission + - Facebook Says It Has 'No Intention' To Abuse CISPA

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is supporting the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), despite opposing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). SOPA and PIPA were about intellectual property, and allowed courts to remove DNS listings for any website hosting pirated content. CISPA is meanwhile about security, and makes it possible for companies to share user information with the U.S. government (and vice versa) if the parties believe it is needed for the greater cyber security good. That being said, CISPA has loopholes that allow it to be abused, especially when it comes to Intellectual Property and privacy. Facebook says it will not do that, and will instead work on closing these loopholes.

Comment Re:Gold Reserves (Score 1) 353

Christ! Study your history, man. Portugal was pretty much flat-out broke by the end of the XIX century. The gold reserves were accumulated by a fiscally conservative dictator that ruled the country during the middle XX century (up to '74). You may argue that some of that richess came from Angola and Mozambique, but if you know Portuguese presence there, I can't see how you can call it plundering. When the Portuguese were kicked out, those two countries went 100 years back in time. Only now are they recovering, and the infrastructures are not yet even close to what they were in '74.

Comment Incorrect article (Score 1) 353

First point: this didn't pass into law, after active online campaigning; the law was shelved, will be revised, and may (probably will) be resubmited for approval in the future.

Second point: this wasn't a "pure" tax. This is a compensation scheme to pay back artists for "lost revenue" due to the private copy law. The private copy law (already in effect), allows citizens to copy artist work for private use. Putting an example into it, ripping a CD I own and copying the mp3 onto my ipod is perfectly legal, under the private copy law. Artists somehow believe I would buy the same art twice (once on CD and again on mp3), so they cry out for compensation. In fact, a compensation scheme already exists (on the old private copy law), which levies blank media (tapes, CD-Rs), but it did not include hard disks and solid state storage. This law meant to update the old compensation scheme. It's stupid, designed by someone who doesn't know Moore law, and was rightfully bashed in public.

I just hope it doesn't reappear in camouflage. Or whenever people are distracted by something else. The law is stupid beyond belief.

Comment Re:heh (Score 1) 1091

I call FUD on your comment. You have two paths at your disposal:

a) Statically link every library that may be problematic, or dynamically link against libraries shipped with software. It's the same Windows as OSX apps do; or

b) Use the distribution package managers, something that is incredibly missing from Windows and OSX. State your dependencies. Granted, you'll have to support two different package formats (.deb and .rpm) and two to three distributions (debian, redhat and maybe suse). Nothing that complicated, and a task for which there is lots of supporting software

You are complaining that option b) is a pain. I disagree, but even if I'd grant you that point, you overlook the presence of option a) for release. I can't fathom how having a new avenue for releasing software can be construed as bad.

Comment Re:Curious (Score 1) 445

Time, and the evolution of science it brings, is an amazing thing. Once, developing a nuclear bomb required gathering a super team of scientists, closed off in a campus inventing bleeding edge chemistry and physics. Today, the workings of nuclear bombs are considered trivial by scientists in the area.

Dijkstra's algorithm is, by today's standards, pretty trivial. It's a breadth first search in a graph. Simple enough to be completely described in a single sentence. I'm not negating the brilliance of the scientist, I'm merely stating software has evolved in the last decades.

If the algorithm is simple enough to be described in one sentence, a software engineer, self taught or not, better be able to get there, when asked for a solution to the problem. Again, knowing it by name is irrelevant, but when asked for a shortest-path algorithm for a graph, any half-decent developer should be able to reach a reasonable approximation.

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