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Comment Re:Not just Google (Score 1) 543

A EE degree averaging 17 credit hours/semester is slacking off? Who knew?

If you are looking for sympathy, you are not going to find it from me. I majored in computer science and mathematics, which meant I was doing things like taking operating systems and real analysis at the same time. I averaged 18 credit hours per semester (usually 1 or 2 of those lab) and graduated magna cum laude. All the while I had a wife and two small children at home with half an hour commute to campus.

There is a big difference between the EE who graduates with a 2.5 and an EE who graduates with a 3.5. The rule isn't necessarily hard and fast; if you're coming from Cal Tech, CMU or MIT I'll take your 3.0 far more seriously than the average university. But short of that, yeah the EE averaging 17 credit hours and doing just well enough to pass is slacking off and I don't want to hire him. I want the EE who averaged 17 credit hours and super-performed, even if he comes from India.

At a price you are willing to pay. Start coughing up $500k/year and you'll find a lot of native talent magically appears -- and the finance people will hate you. H1bs are all about the benjamins.

Yeah, we had a situation eerily similar to that 10 years ago. During the dot-com boom we were paying people $5K-10K if they referred us a candidate we hired. We were paying recent grads into 6 figures right out of college, sometimes we'd poach them before they finished their degree. The universities were pumping them out as fast as they could, all CS classes were heavily impacted; students knew this was the fast track to high pay.

And you know what happened?

A whole lot of bad hires.

We cranked up the pay, universities cranked up the classes, but the number of well qualified candidates barely inched up. All you had was a whole lot of mediocre students flooding into the CS curriculum. Now instead of the top quartile being the "good" pool, only the top 10% were. The good engineers were still good engineers; they generally weren't there just for the money. The number of degree-holding lousy engineers was ridiculous.

You might want to re-think pay as a panacea for a shortage of engineering talent. If H1b's stopped and we told companies to raise pay to stimulate more native students into STEM programs, what would the result be? I think there are two likely ones: large companies move all their development overseas to countries with less protectionist labor policies; large companies poach all the top talent forcing small businesses and startups overseas to countries with less protectionist labor policies.

H1b's pay local, state and federal taxes. An expatriate pays only a smaller amount of federal taxes.

Comment Re:Not just Google (Score 2, Interesting) 543

Our universities are pumping out plenty of CS and MIS grads as well as math and engineering graduates to keep up with demand.

As someone who works for a large employer that recruits actively among recent college graduates... NO. This opinion is ubiquitous and ignores one important fact: most recent graduates are woefully less qualified than their college education would seem to indicate. There are kids coming out of college who are bright and can do the work, but they represent maybe the upper quartile of all bachelor degree grads.

I don't hire RG's without two letters of recommendation from professors or one letter from either the department chair they graduated from or the dean of the college. I rarely hire RG's who did not graduate with honors. If you had a circumstance like working full time through college, or an illness that no longer affects your ability to work, I would consider that in lieu of honors. However, if you have no honors and no record of having worked full time - then you slacked off. Statistically, if you slacked off and did just well enough to get the degree in college, you're going to do the same to me. Yes there are diamonds in the rough. Time is valuable. I don't go looking for those rare gems because making a mistake is too expensive.

Our university's are not pumping out enough well qualified engineers.

The companies that say there are shortages are just saying that to justify going overseas or to bring in H-1bs.

No, we bring in H1bs because there isn't enough native talent. Or at least not enough that knew how to balance partying and working for the degree.

Comment Re:not cool (Score 1) 128

Something I've always been curious about... Before I got my degree in CS, I was studying Real Estate (California, specifically) and one of the things that was drilled into us is that "A contract must be accompanied with consideration to be legally binding" or something close to that.

At the end of my CS career, my school required us to do a Senior Project in industry and in order to protect industry we had to give up all ownership we had in the project. This sort of set off alarm bells in my head because I was paying for the school's facilities, the teacher's salary, etc.. How could such a contract be enforceable if they weren't going to give a payment of consideration for the contracted work?

In the end the project I did was one which I had absolutely no interest in holding onto the IP, so it wasn't a bone of contention. But I really felt that the school couldn't deprive me of my creative works, even with a contract, unless they paid me something for it. So, can't a student ignore the IP claims by the school because the school cannot lay claim to the creative works of someone else without payment, regardless of the contract?

Red Hat Software

Red Hat Bets Big On Cloud Target 99

eldavojohn writes "Red Hat's CEO prophetically saith 'The clouds will all run Linux' in a brief interview before the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo. Here's the skinny: Red Hat management tools take a back seat to grid computing goals, high switching costs are the trick to surviving slow periods, Microsoft's interoperability tools are vaporware, they're striving to catch up to VMWare, Ubuntu is not the competition, JBoss is growing twice as fast as RHEL and Amazon pays the fee while Google wears its own Red Hat for free."
The Internet

GENI To Replace Internet, Gets $12M Funding 295

Postglobalism writes "A massive project to redesign and rebuild the Internet from scratch is inching along with $12 million in government funding and donations of network capacity by two major research organizations. Many researchers want to rethink the Internet's underlying architecture, saying a 'clean-slate' approach is the only way to truly address security and other challenges that have cropped up since the Internet's birth in 1969."

Liquid Lakes On Saturn's Moon Confirmed 188

Riding with Robots writes "Scientists have been using the robotic spacecraft Cassini to explore what looked to be large lakes of hydrocarbons on the surface of Saturn's planet-sized moon Titan. But they couldn't be entirely sure that the features were actually liquid lakes, and not simply very smooth, solid material. Now, new findings seem to confirm that the observations really do show extensive seas of liquid ethane and other hydrocarbons. In fact, Titan seems to have an entire 'water' cycle of ethane evaporation, rain and rivers."

Hands-On With the Windows XP-Based Asus Eee PC 229

MojoKid writes "Though the Asus Eee PC Windows XP variant isn't due out until sometime in April, HotHardware was able to get their hands on a full retail bundle before they hit store shelves in the US. The standard assortment of accoutrements is included in the bundle, along with a couple of notable upgrades. Asus took the initiative to provide an additional 4GB SD card from Adata, a healthy storage expansion for the system. In addition, an Asus-branded optical mouse was thrown in for good measure. Microsoft's Windows Live messenger, photo gallery and email suite are pre-installed on the the machine for collaborative and social networking capability, in addition to Microsoft Works for word processing, spreadsheets, and calendar functionality."

Practical Experience As a Beginning Programmer? 328

LuckyLefty01 writes "I'm 21, going to college, and working part time doing odd jobs like math tutoring. In the past nine months or so, I've discovered and taken to programming (so far mostly C/C++/Obj-C). I am now looking seriously at something in this area as an eventual full time job. Since I don't have much scheduled this coming summer, it would be great to try to get a job of some sort at a tech-related company in order to get some practical experience in the field. Even if I don't have the background to get a job involving actual programming, I think that the knowledge of how such a company works would be valuable. Fortunately, I live in the SF Bay Area, so there should be plenty of companies around. I'm flexible about what I'm going to be doing, and very willing to learn just about anything anybody cares to teach me. If there's some (or even quite a bit of) boring grunt work involved, I can do that too. What type of job would benefit an aspiring but inexperienced programmer the most? What methods might I use to find such a job?"

Iceland Woos Data Centers As Power Costs Soar 142

call-me-kenneth writes "Business Week covers the soaring demand for power and cooling capacity in data centers. Electricity consumption for US data centers more than doubled between 2000 and 2006. Among the other stats: for every dollar spent on computing equipment in data centers, an additional half dollar is spent each year to power and cool them; and half the electricity used goes for cooling. Iceland, with its cool climate and abundant cheap power, is courting big users like Google and Microsoft as a future data center location. (Can't help thinking they're gonna need a bigger cable first, though.)"

The Death of the Silicon Computer Chip 150

Stony Stevenson sends a report from the Institute of Physics' Condensed Matter and Material Physics conference, where researchers predicted that the reign of the silicon chip is nearly over. Nanotubes and superconductors are leading candidates for a replacement; they don't mention graphene. "...the conventional silicon chip has no longer than four years left to run... [R]esearchers speculate that the silicon chip will be unable to sustain the same pace of increase in computing power and speed as it has in previous years. Just as Gordon Moore predicted in 2005, physical limitations of the miniaturized electronic devices of today will eventually lead to silicon chips that are saturated with transistors and incapable of holding any more digital information. The challenge now lies in finding alternative components that may pave the way to faster, more powerful computers of the future"
United States

Submission + - New tech toys for Department of Homeland Security. (

scionite0 writes: Gee-whiz know-how — from swarms of tiny airborne sensors to ever-sharper satellite imagery — is being developed by companies chasing potentially lucrative federal, state and local deals.

"We can read fingerprints from about five meters .... all 10 prints," said Bruce Walker, vice president of homeland security for Northrop Grumman Corp. "We can also do an iris scan at the same distance."

The Courts

Submission + - New Attorneys Fee Decision Against RIAA 1

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The RIAA has gotten slammed again, this time in Oregon, as the Magistrate Judge in Atlantic v. Andersen has ruled that Tanya Andersen's motion for attorneys fees should be granted. The Magistrate, in his 15-page decision, noted that, despite extensive pretrial discovery proceedings, "when plaintiffs dismissed their claims in June 2007, they apparently had no more material evidence to support their claims than they did when they first contacted defendant in February 2005....." and concluded that "Copyright holders generally, and these plaintiffs specifically, should be deterred from prosecuting infringement claims as plaintiffs did in this case." This is the same case in which (a) the RIAA insisted on interrogating Ms. Andersen's 10-year-old girl at a face-to-face deposition, (b) the defendant filed RICO counterclaims against the record companies, and (c) the defendant has recently converted her RICO case into a class action"

Submission + - 3.4GHz Penryn And Intel Skulltrail - IDF Showcase (

diggbs writes: "Intel let a few members of the press get some hands-on time with their new 45nm quad-core processor, code-named Penryn, at IDF this week. Dual quad-core 3.4GHz processors were configured in a Seabird chipset, dual socket system based on the Intel's Skulltrail platform, for a total of eight cores. The benchmark numbers look pretty sharp as does the system, just in time for the spooky holiday season."

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