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Comment Re:Machines replacing bank tellers? (Score 1) 78

Here in Europe it usually means skipping cash altogether with online banking and payment cards. Usually it's because of a national debit card standard organized by the banks, like BankAxept here in Norway or EC-card in Germany. This is the price list of one our banks via Google Translate, prices converted to USD:

One time installation/terminal fees, fixed/mobile: $489/241
Monthly payment fees, fixed/mobile: $61/$83
Transaction fees, per transaction $0.026 flat

Use your card for a Big Mac? McDonald's is happy. Use it to buy a $1000 TV? The store is happy. Say you have a sale every 5 minutes, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week = ~25 days/month = 3000 sales total. That's $78 in processing fees + $61/83 = ~$150 total in operating costs for the whole month. Compare that to the expenses securing cash, transporting cash, keeping enough change and so on that they don't want and here it's yes please, use cards. And if the cash flows electronically, what do you need the local bank teller for? I just checked the stats for my purely online bank, 380k customers with 325 employees and 90% of the population do it online now.

Even the banks that do have branch offices now mostly train people to use the machines rather than process their deposits/bills and it's almost all retirees. Some banks have even started to put fees on the ATMs, because even maintaining and stocking them costs money even if there's no bank teller. With mobile pay now it's even BYOD, they don't even have to issue cards anymore. They're moving closer and closer to becoming a purely virtual organization that doesn't deal in anything but 0s and 1s. But that's okay, it's not like I really miss the days you were waiting in line at the counter.

Comment This is such a bad argument (Score 1) 97

Every time there's a story about OSS software being less than perfect, someone always trots this tired crap out. "Oh if it isn't want you want you can just fix it!" That is complete bullshit and you should know it. If you don't, you are hopelessly naive.

First off, most people are not programmers and many do not even have the request problem solving, analytical, and mathematical skills to become one. If you aren't a programmer, you can't just go and fix software. Becoming a programmer isn't magic either, you don't go and read a book and then you are good. It takes years of experience to get proficient, and decades to really master and is something you need to spend a lot of time on. If you think you are some hot-shit programmer and you "picked it up just by reading" and "just do it in your spare time" then guess what? You aren't near as good as you think you are.

Second, even if someone is a programmer they may not have the requisite skills or knowledge to deal with a piece of software. Not all software is created equal, not all problems are the same to solve. Someone might be a programmer who's actually pretty good, but knows about making database code because that's what they do. However if they are trying to implement an algorithm for processing audio they might be lost because they don't understand how that works, it is another set of knowledge.

Finally, even if someone does have the skills, knowledge and experience to do it, maybe they just don't want to spend the time. We all have only so much time to spend in a day, maybe they are not interested in dropping a bunch of time to fix something that is to them just a tool. They'd rather pay to have one that works and spend their time on other shit.

So knock it off with the "oh it is open just do it yourself" crap. That is extremely silly, and you know it.

Comment Re:MapReduce is great (Score 3, Interesting) 102

For example, on (non-cryptographic) hash-functions my answer was to not do them yourself, because they would always be pretty bad, and to instead use the ones by Bob Jenkins, or if things are slow because there is a disk-access in there to use a crypto hash. While that is what you do in reality if you have more than small tables, that was apparently very much not what they wanted to hear. They apparently wanted me to start to mess around with the usual things you find in algorithm books.

No offense, but "I'd rather just use a library" seriously brings into question what you bring to the table and whether you'll just be searching experts-exchange for smart stuff other people have done..Like everybody knows you shouldn't use homegrown cryptographic algorithms, but if a cryptologist can't tell me what an S-box is and points me to using a library instead it doesn't really tell me anything about his skill, except he didn't want to answer the question. In fact, dodging the question like that would be a pretty big red flag.

Don't get me wrong, you can get there. But start off with roughly what you'd do if you had to implement it from scratch, what's difficult to get right, then suggest implementations you know or alternative ways to solve it. Because they're not that stupid that they think this is some novel issue nobody's ever looked at before or found decent answers to. They want to test if you have the intellect, knowledge and creativity to sketch a solution yourself. Once you've done that, then you can tell them why it's probably not a good idea to reinvent the wheel.

Comment Re:As unpopular as it will be to hear... (Score 2) 97

Meh, I'd say the people who write open source software on a non-commercial basis generally have a passion for it, make more effort in making it work correct and work harder to hone their skills than coders just looking for a paycheck. What's missing is usually the time and resources, sometimes it amazes me how much gets done with a skeleton crew. Projects and packages where it turns out there was really only one maintainer and he suddenly got other priorities and things go into limbo.

Most projects are not like the Linux kernel where there's several candidates and a nomination process. Often it's more like if you want to write code or take ownership then tag, you're it. Or it's just nobody who is going to write that kind of software or functionality in their spare time. Or it just reaches a level of mediocrity that's good enough to get shit done and not enough care about polish or user friendliness or niche features. It's 2017 and MS Office and Photoshop is alive and well. I think I've heard since '97 that Office was pretty much "done", well shouldn't we be catching up then?

Comment Re:So, they've reached the end of the alphabet (Score 1) 91

It should work fine with quotes (for example search for "ubuntu 18.04", including quotes) as long as there are no typos.

If people typed that out fully when they ask yes, but on an Ubuntu forum that would be extremely redundant and "18.04" triggers on everything to do with 18th of April and other junk. The nice part about the nicknames is that if I say zesty and the page contains ubuntu somewhere, you've probably come to the right place even if they're not right next to each other. They should try to keep them short and simple tho. Like:

artsy, burly, curly, dandy, earthy, frisky, gaunt, humble, innate, jolly, keen, livid, murky, narly, overt, puffy, queezy, rocky, sweet, tasty, unique, vaunty, wobbly, x... can't really think of any. But I think that's enough for another decade.

Comment Re:So, they've reached the end of the alphabet (Score 1) 91

Vista? Snow Leopard? I can understand names that are groan-worthy like GIMP, but the rest doesn't sound worse than NFL teams. Besides they have official release numbers, if you say Ubuntu 17.04 you don't have to call it "Zesty Zepus". If he should care enough to find it and ask, then "Yeah the developers have a nickname for each release, easier for the techs. For everyone else it's Ubuntu, just like Windows or OS X". If that's the excuse your boss would use it's because he doesn't like it for some other reason.

Comment Re:Why Fox? (Score 1) 371

Because some people treat ideology like their religion. It's really that simple. They don't care what the rest of the world does. They'll grab the skeletal remains of Jefferson and Adams and make the jaws move as they declare. "government shouldn't be in health care."

Meanwhile, back in the real world the US has some of the worst health care outcomes of any developed nations, despite having one of the most expensive health care systems.

Comment Re:Not all wrecks can be avoided (Score 1) 177

Assuming you like pizza, when you say you like pizza, do you mean the lowest common denominator pizza that may have human excrement for a topping or do you mean your general perception of pizza? It's a fairly simple concept.

That analogy only works if you say that the pizza has to be better in every way, better pie, better crust, better sauce, better cheese, better ham... I expect a self-driving car to meticulously obey the rules of the road, be extremely consistent in its driving and have superior reaction time. But to analyze all aspects of the human condition and flag all signs that another driver or pedestrian may not be inclined to follow the rules better than a human sounds unlikely. But if overall it has less accidents and particularly accidents that are our fault it's still a pizza. Perhaps in total a much better pizza. To do the car analogy, if "must run on hay" is an absolute requirement then the horse and buggy wins.

Comment Re:5 years? (Score 2) 29

Somehow I'm not so concerned about this one, if you can follow the rules of the road in daytime and the sun is shining it's the same rules when it's night and raining. The rest is "just" a sensor sensitivity/noise cancellation problem that can be worked on in parallel to everything else. You can probably do a lot with combination LIDAR/optical systems to make LIDAR identify candidate surfaces then do optical do actually identify the sign. And you're looking for a predetermined number of surfaces of particular sizes, if you have identified the shape it should be possible to correlate candidates rather than try to analyze. You probably also have a lot of temporal data that could be used to enhance the search, after all traffic signs generally don't move or change. I'd be much more concerned with everything else that's out there, is it pedestrians or wild animals or a tree falling over the road that doesn't have any particularly known shape or size or color.

Comment Re:If I had my way... (Score 2) 208

Except a huge chunk of consumers simply throw the printer in the garbage and buy a new one creating a truly INSANE amount of e-waste, which is why this business model needs to be destroyed.

I used to live in a large apartment complex and every month when the time for putting out electronics came around? There would be a fricking mountain of cheap printers piled up every single month. The reason why is obvious, the printer costs $30 new and the ink costs $50 so why buy new ink carts when you can just get another printer? If your city has an ewaste center you should go there and see the gigantic mounds of printers, just mountains of practically new printers everywhere.

If you care about the environment? Its not solder you need to be bitching to your legislators about, its business models that encourage massive amounts of waste like this fucked up shit.

Comment Re:Using Javascript (Score 1) 122

obj.message = "I <3 Javascript";

My condolences. Personally I loathe code that messes with variables in far-away objects, if it's a huge program you should call obj.setMessage( "I <3 Javascript" ); I don't know how much time I've wasted trying to track down WTF just did something compared to just setting a breakpoint on or printing a debug line in "setMessage()" to see what's happening from where. Yes, setters and getters are annoying copy-pasta code but it's a wonder for sanity. Same with stored procedures and databases, if something is done from many different places route it through one procedure. Even if it's done wrong, then at least it's done consistently wrong.

Comment Re:Why not? (Score 4, Informative) 120

Hmmm - prison = food, clothing, shelter, in some cases a good gym membership and now your own tablet with internet and skype and probably easy access to porn. What's the deterrent to crime then?

The conditions in prison are rarely effective as a deterrent anyway, either people think they'll get away with it (typically theft, burglary, mugging, robbery, trafficking illegal goods, fraud, embezzlement and related crimes) or crimes of passion (rage, lust, envy mostly, often combined with being drunk or high - most violent crime, rape and murder) where they're not thinking rationally of consequences. While there are certainly repeat offenders there's also many first-time offenders that have no real concept of what doing time is like or small time criminals that confuse being off the streets for a few weeks on minimum security with being locked up for years.

And most criminals don't return or not return to prison because of how the conditions are on the inside. They return because they don't really see any alternatives to the life they have on the outside. No money, no job, no CV or work history, so it's back to stealing or peddling drugs on the street corner. Or they have impulse control or substance abuse issues that don't just disappear with time. And if prison is some horrible hellhole then you have these "nothing to lose", "never going back" people who will do anything to get away with it and fight the police until they die in a rain of bullets from a SWAT team. They need to see that there is another way, in prison and after prison. Not everyone will want to change, but you can't whip them into changing.

Getting proper apples-to-apples numbers on the effect of treating prisoners humanely is very difficult, but it generally varies from "it helps" to "it doesn't hurt", there's really very little to suggest it makes things worse. It's mostly a matter of whether it's money worth spending. Here in Norway we created what the international press called "the world's most humane maximum security prison" but mainly it's that it is built like a normal living quarters like a dorm room or hotel room. No escapes, very low tension even though it's murderers and rapists. Even gangs keep the peace inside the prison, it's like everybody is on time-out. And quite many find they like it better than the life they had.

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