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Comment Time to introduce lists into the drafting of laws (Score 1) 331

Given that this is a tech site, I think a lot of us would recognize the ambiguity in this sentence as a problem with design of the language. In this case, it is the way legal documents are written. As an earlier comment pointed out, Maine's own legislative manual says not to use the Oxford comma.

The solution to this ambiguity is to introduce other language constructs into the so called "legalease". This really should be analysed and corrected for future laws.

One suggestion is that they could introduce bullet points into the legal documents. Another possibility is that lists could also be explicitly declared through a list indicator... i.e. All lists must be put in parentheses and put in a delimited format. They should really consult architects and teachers of computer languages when standardizing on a format. But the point is that there should be no ambiguity when reading the document.

Comment Possibly not the cause you think it is (Score 4, Insightful) 374

I remember having a conversation with a woman tech executive at a very large company. She told me that she has done everything in her power to attract women into the field and specifically into their workplace. Yet, she was unable to break through this imbalance. And this was the top tech exec at the company and she said they just could not maintain the levels of females in the workforce in their company that she wanted. It was, in fact, far, far, below the levels she wanted.

After being in the tech industry for years, I can honestly say that I really do not encounter the implied institutional discrimination in the tech industry. Is there an imbalance in representation? Yes. However, I feel like these imbalances are indicators of other things. It could be cultural things. It could be something else. Maybe even in specific companies, there is a problem. But I feel like these statistics are more of indicators of some other cause than discrimination within the tech industry as a whole.

Submission + - Albert Einstein, as described by CIA psychics (

v3rgEz writes: In 1988, as part of the CIA's ongoing research into weaponized ESP, CIA psychics were tasked with identifying a photo of a famous individual inside of an opaque folder. That individual was Albert Einstein. The individual the psychics came up with was off, but not that far off: A moody hippie pharmacist named Alfer Aferman. Read the documents, released under FOIA, at MuckRock.

Submission + - Visit the Titanic in a Carbon Fiber Sub for $105,129 (

gthuang88 writes: A startup called OceanGate is offering dives to the site of the world’s most famous shipwreck in 2018. The price tag? $105,129 per person for a week-long expedition in a carbon-fiber submersible. (That’s the 1912 price of a first-class ticket on the Titanic, adjusted for inflation.) It would be the first manned expedition to the Titanic since 2005. But OceanGate needs to finish construction and testing on its deep-diving vehicle this year. The company, whose previous sub dove to the Andrea Doria shipwreck last year, is collaborating on the mission with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Washington.

Submission + - Researchers Convert Biomass to Hydrogen Using Sunlight (

omaha393 writes: Cambridge chemists have developed a new catalytic approach capable of converting biomass into hydrogen gas using only sunlight as an energy source. The method converts lignocellulose, one of Earth's most abundant biomaterials, into hydrogen gas and organic byproducts when in a basic water and in the presence of the cadmium sulfide/oxide nanoparticle catalysts.
        The new method, published in Nature Energy, offers a relatively cheap fuel alternative that researchers are looking to scale up to meet consumer demands at the industrial level. Per R&D Magazine: "'With this in place we can simply add organic matter to the system and then, provided it's a sunny day, produce hydrogen fuel', says joint lead author David Wakerley. 'Future development can be envisioned at any scale." In addition to lignocellulose, the team was also able to produce hydrogen gas using unprocessed material including wood, paper and leaves. Paper may be paywalled.

Comment Re:Bad engineers are bad (Score 1) 1001

You don't know how to get the length of a string in Python? That's OK, provided you don't claim to know Python.

I'd probably flub that part. Not because I haven't written that line of code many times, but because I've written it in many different languages and they're all different. Is it len(string) or string.len() or array_length(string) or something else? I don't trust myself to remember that kind of stuff.

I agree. I've used so many languages in my career, that sometimes I have to look up a really basic function when picking it back up again to "get in the zone" on a particular language. Once I begin coding in that language, I do quite well.

When interviewing someone, I am more interested in their way of organizing their thoughts, how they might pseudo-code a solution, and what their overall work ethic looks like. If you are smart, hard working, and not afraid to learn a new syntax, I want you on my team. If you can't organize your thoughts, or could care less about programming after work is done, I'd rather see you go elsewhere (possibly to our competition). I've worked with too many good-at-textbook yet terrible-at-thinking programmers who could memorize like nobody's business, but could never come up with real solutions to something not found in a textbook.

Comment Re:Same (Score 2) 1001

Hi, my name is Vince. I interviewed for Amazon, specifically for their PHP API for AWS development team. Despite an entire background of 10+ years of developing front-facing PHP APIs for other businesses, plus having a major part of my code available for public review on GitHub, I failed their interview process because they wanted me to write a specific type of searching and sorting algorithm, by hand, on white-board. This type of code would never have been used on the job, ever. Yet this is what they interview on. The job was to build a PHP API so PHP developers can call basic PHP functions, and the library would translate them over to HHTPS calls to AWS. All of the complex computing/searching/sorting is handled by the existing AWS services.

Amazon did you a favor by not hiring you. Ending up there would have stressed you out beyond belief with lower pay and a toxic environment. I've not worked there myself, but known many who have, and you are better off without them.

Comment Russian boogie man hackers (Score 1, Troll) 102

Wow, I wish I had Russian genetics. They seem to be able to do all the really big scary computer stuff that us non-russians are not capable of doing. I am not trying to denegrate Russians here, but the media is so incredibly naive. It is as if putting "Russian" in front of it, no matter the evidence, turns the so called hack into something mysterious, huge, and scary.

Most of the so called hacks, are simply social engineering and phishing scams. The Podesta thing could have been done by any old graphic designer that just made a nice looking "official" password reset email. I am really quite disappointed at what passes for a hack these days. In fact, if a Russian spat on someones shoe, the headline would probably be "Russians hack shoes".

Yes, Russia does have many brilliant developers. But they also are a historic safe haven for VPN services. Of course most attacks "originate" from such areas. Anybody with half a brain knows you don't do something nefarious online without redirecting your trail through territories that are not friendly to your home's prosecutors.

I think the media owes it to every self respecting programmer to start narrowing the definition of "hack". Did they use a man in the middle to fraudulently update a software package? That might be a hack... Did they cause the buffer to overflow in some C program, exposing information contained in parts of the memory? Ok, that is a hack too. I can think of lots of scenarios where hacks could take place.

But... if they simply sent an email asking someone to put in their existing password and tricked some tech-illiterate into doing something stupid, that is not a hack.

Comment Re:From a developer standpoint (Score 1) 489

I will often say screw it, and give the "artsy focused" people what they want because they are the ones that sign the checks.

Thus making you part of the problem.

You pick your hill to die on. For me, this is not that hill. Ticking off your customer just to make the "correct" design decision is a good way to get black listed by everyone. I can imagine that, with such a smug attitude, you must be a pleasant person to work with.

Comment From a developer standpoint (Score 2) 489

Caveat: I am not a designer, but I do program some programming for various Apps/Websites as a side job(but focus on more behind the scenes stuff in my day job).

I do not understand all the design decisions, especially the proliferation of interfaces with generic icons that could be mistook for Ikea instructions. It is frustrating when you run into an icon that could be interpreted as "light phone on fire" or "turbo mode" but you really don't know for sure which it is. Do you try it???

That being said, if I create an app or website that has nice instructions on it, the end user's first impression is to hate it. They say it does not look modern enough. However, it is intuitive to use and they can figure it out quickly. On the other hand, if I create an Apple/Material design type app, customers love it and accept it immediately. Of course, the UI is impossible for their customers, but hey, at least the company that requested the app likes it.

I think a lot of this stems from the Instagram/Pinterest world we live in. Everyone wants to be blown away by the beauty of the app when they casually glance at it. Of course, that beauty greatly limits the possibilities to make an app intuitive and easy to use.

As a developer, I find that I try to balance these things. But as someone who generally likes to get paid for my work, I will often say screw it, and give the "artsy focused" people what they want because they are the ones that sign the checks. The quicker I make them happy, the sooner I can get paid and move on to the next gig.

Comment Wrong model... Should work like Fine Location (Score 1) 122

Tying this to audio only is a bad UI design. Otherwise we are going to be seeing a lot more audio applications.

This should not be arbitrarily set by Google. Instead, it should come up as a permissions pop-up like the location permissions...

For example, it could say... This application wishes to update in the background more frequently than the recommended levels. This may affect battery life. Do you approve" [Yes] [No]

Comment Inverse relationship to Yuan (Score 4, Insightful) 296

Welcome to currency trading. The reason your grandparents did not bet the farm on currency is because of the wild swings. Somebody gains big and somebody loses big here. These sort of swings in currency are exactly how George Soros made his fortunes. I do not think the current swing indicates good or bad days ahead for BitCoin. It only indicates that it is being used for huge profits by some.

Here is a little explanation of what just happened:
One of the biggest emerging Bitcoin markets is in China. China's Yuan has been weak and even a small percentage of investors moving their Yuan investments in and out of Bitcoin can cause the market to fluctuate greatly. China's Yuan is much bigger than Bitcoin, so relatively small waves in China really rock the boats in the Bitcoin world. There was a spike in Yuan value, and some investors assumed better days ahead for China and cashed out bitcoins for Yuan. As you can see from the current charts, investors now saw cheap Bitcoin and are buying those again.

Comment Wonderful. Glad that won't we an issue anymore (Score 3, Insightful) 128

If it were only so simple... This does nothing to actually prevent ransomware.

At least the good people of California can cite a specific law instead of the broader extortion laws when they are victimized. I really think there is no point to this law. It has no means to solve the ransomware issue, it simply makes a specific case out of something that was already illegal.

Comment Open source the machines (Score 1) 1321

I said this before the election, when everyone assumed the election was going to have different results, and I will say it now. Why on earth do we allow contractors to build machines that are closed source?

No matter which way this election went, we were bound to have claims of fraud. I am not accusing one way or another here, it is just that without the ability for the public to audit the means of counting, it is unfair and unethical. The reason for a paper vote, as opposed to a voice vote, was partially as an audit trail and public record. The voting machines themselves should be audit-able before they begin counting and the public has a right to know that they have not been tampered with. It is a conflict of interest to have secretary of states be in charge of "verifying" the voting machines, while they themselves are often part of the political machine. While at some level, this is inevitable, we can introduce a measure of integrity through open sourcing of the machines themselves.

The government should require as part of the contract with voting machine producers, that the system is open and audit-able. They should test ahead of time and agree upon a finished version before the election. This version and hash code should be available to the public at each voting machine. It should be a crime to use "unverified" versions of the software, unless under direct orders from a judge.

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