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Submission + - Did last night's US presidential debate Wi-Fi rip-off break the law? (theregister.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: The host of the first presidential debate on Monday night, Hofstra University in New York, may have broken the law and could be in line for a huge fine.

Reporters at the event were appalled to find that among the heavily marked-up items they were offered – $150 to rent a lamp, anyone? – was a $200 charge for a "secure wireless internet connection."

Worse than the clear effort to price-gouge people trying to file stories, however, was the fact that the university decided that only its wireless access points were allowed to be used, and even sent someone around with a Wi-Fi signal detector apparently threatening to throw out anyone who was using an "unauthorized" access point.

That action – effectively shutting down people's ability to use their own internet connection in order to force them to use a paid-for service – was ruled illegal in 2014 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a landmark ruling against Marriott Hotels.

Submission + - What is employers obsession with programming languages? 1

An anonymous reader writes: Just got off the phone with a recruiter for a company and the lady asked if I had 3-4 years C++ and 3-4 years Java experience. Okay, so first off, C++ and Java are two different programming languages used for two completely different purposes.

C++ being used mainly for low-level platform specific programming and Java being platform independent. My response was I programmed in C++ throughout college, but haven't worked any jobs specifically writing C++ and I've had Java experience in past jobs, but mostly used C# which was similar.

She said, "Oh well we are only looking for those two languages so thanks anyways". Is it just me or is this absolutely insane? It's like wanting to hire a mechanic who has 3-4 years experience working with just 1978 ford trucks. I mean really? How did we get to this point as engineers?

As any developer worth their weight in salt can attest, the languages are so similar it's kind of difficult to distinguish between them looking at syntax alone and if you've got a computer science background or equiv what's it really matter if the underlying OOP concepts are the same.

Is this just a result of incompetent managers and ignorant recruiters or as engineers have we set ourselves up by succumbing to a label such as Java Engineer or C# Programmer.

Should I just say yes, and move forward with the interview? I mean, I could probably answer most C++/Java programming questions unless they are truly looking for people who spend all their time memorizing specific libraries or API's which in my opinion is insane. I equate that to trying to memorize a phone book. You can but why would you want to?

Not only is it frustrating as a job candidate, but it seems to really be limiting your hiring pool to a small few who by chance happen to work in a couple different programming languages over the course of their career. How do most of you handle this sort of thing?

Comment Re:WTF??! (Score 1) 125

Emacs users have more time for commenting on slashdot.

Because Emacs is more capable and much faster to use they finish their work quicker and get to relax and peruse idiot ramblings on slashdot while the vim users are still typing away.

Right, so if all the vim users are still finishing their work, who is writing the idiot ramblings on Slashdot?

Comment Re:MS PAINT SAVES THE DAY! (Score 1) 139

True, the lack of layers in Paint makes it a good choice for this kind of thing - perhaps the only thing it's really good at...

It's stunning how many people do this kind of thing in Photoshop or Acrobat, but leave the layers intact, so you can remove the obscuration with a little advanced editing...

Comment Re:Research is a bit blurry (Score 1) 139

Ten years ago, I was CTO for a company making smart touchscreen devices for restaurant and bar tabletops. We didn't have a camera in any of the ones we fielded (people were still to weirded out by that idea, then), but I did some serious technical investigation on whether we could use an intentionally low-res image to determine basic demographics of the diners w/o voilating their privacy.

In my research, I found an really interesting paper (from France, IIRC, it's been a while) showing that even a 16-pixel (!) image could still be used to determine the age and sex of a person to around 80-90% accuracy, and recognize the same person again over half the time. IIRC, it used both neural networks and some standard image processing, but nothing really exotic or so big that we couldn't run it locally in the display device, if we'd decided to. Even the author was amazed that this was possible, because neither he nor anyone else had thought there was enough information there to perform such a feat of recognition.

But computers really don't look at things like we do, and why even "just metadata" (and it's a lot more than that, now) is so dangerous - with some not-too-complicated processing, the machine can tease out patterns in the data that we cannot.... (Note that this means that the spooks probably really can do some of the "ridiculous" image processing and recognition we tend to laugh at in movies and TV shows. No Way Out, indeed....

Comment Re:Pebble (Score 1) 117

Of course, you can do what I do and wear one of the excellent Seiko 5 watches (https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=seiko+5 ), generally regarded as the best watch value on the planet, and frequently making lists of best watches under $500, even though they're an order of magnitude cheaper than that! On top of that, it will still be a good, fully functional device many years from now, which is definitely not true of ANY smartwatch. (Let's see you try to get replacement batteries in 10 or 20 years, even on the off chance your iPhone 12 still supports it...)

These things really are a marvel of modern engineering and manufacturing techniques: A $53 watch with simple, clean lines that has an excellent automatic (no batteries, no winding) day-date movement with sweep second hand, a crystal back that lets you see the works working, and a really nice NATO-style nylon strap with stitched leather trim. The one I had last year kept ridiculously good time (like a quartz watch - my current one is only very good), but it got torn off while sailing in Lake Travis. Yes, when Seiko says it's "water resistant" to 10m, they mean it - swimming, sailing, caught in a downpour - no matter. Seiko doesn't sell the 5 series here in the US, but you can buy them here through Amazon, and they'll even extend the warranty to the US for you. (No real risk because the things just don't break...)

Sure, if I was made of money I might buy a Bremont and a JLC Reverso, but I'm hard on watches, so it's nice to know that even a total loss will only set me back the cost of a few drinks...

Comment Don't try to help me! (Score 2) 181

Half of the frustration with computers in the past few years is that they no longer do what we tell them - instead, they try to figure out what we really wanted and guess at what they should provide.

In the immortal words of Beka Valentine*, "Override Safety Protocols! Authorization code, 'Shut up and do what I tell you!' "

*And if you don't watch Andromeda, shame on you - it's quality is very uneven in places, but in many ways, it's the the best synthesis of Roddenberry's recurring themes in one show: The nature of humanity of AIs (Data, Questor, etc.) and aliens (Spock, et al), the genetic superman and his culture and realtionship with humanity (Khan, etc.), the heroic underdog, the character of the Captain, and more..

My manifesto for computing in the 21st century: "STOP TRYING TO HELP ME, DAMMIT, JUST DO WHAT I SAY!"

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