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Comment Re:Better Than Most (Score 1) 204

yes my brother in Florida lives in nice subdivision with house less than ten years old, but connects with juno dial-up for $14 a month. Compare that with my mother-in-law in Cambodia where in 1998 they were laying down fiber around her neighborhood, they went from dialup to megabits/sec overnight.

Residential fiber in 1998? In Cambodia? I call bullshit. Here in Norway the first delivery of Internet over cable TV was 1998, ADSL in 2000, I see our first FTTH company was started in 2001 but that was in a very small area where they were rolling out lots of fiber for the oil industry anyway and was rare as unicorns and super expensive even for a first world country. It was only in the recovery after the dot-bust in the mid 2000s it saw any real traction.

Comment Re:Spinning even now (Score 4, Interesting) 746

People who actually believe it are in the minority and are simpletons or mentally ill.

Sadly I know a guy who really full-on believes this... and that Roswell was real, 9/11 was faked and a bunch of other conspiracies. Wouldn't be surprised if he believes in chemtrails and owns a tin foil hat either. But he's pretty good with words and is neither retarded nor obviously crazy. It's like he's just decided the world is a sham, we're all puppets dancing according to some agenda and that warps his perception of everything else. It's like he's just waiting for Morpheus to show up and offer him the red pill. Even if you manage to push back and disprove one little bit of his ramblings it's like okay maybe that was wrong but the other 99.9% is still on.

It reminds me of some of those otherwise seemingly functional people who've been in ordinary jobs but end up fixed on some crazy idea that a Nigerian prince is offering them money or that they have an online girlfriend they never met who totally loves them and totally lose it. Many of these don't fit the "simpletons or mentally ill" who could never hold down a job profile. I saw someone else here mention Ben Carson, brain surgeon but thinks ancient aliens built the pyramids. No matter how smart you are, you see what you want to see. You believe what you want to believe. Then you use your brains to wrap reality around your beliefs, not the other way around.

That's how you end up with scientists with a religion full of facts science has refuted. It turns out people don't have to have one coherent set of thoughts. We actually live quite well doing a day job and believing in the first woman was made from a rib bone at the same time. It's just that for some the last kind of "facts" take over and consume them, to the point where they can't accept reality as reality anymore. Mainstream media (MSM) is fiction, my alt-news is reality. Mainstream medicine is fiction, my homeopathy is reality. And Internet is the greatest boon to alternate realitys ever, here they all meet to agree on how right they are. Most are pretty harmless though.

Comment Re:"self investigate" == alt.right (Score 1) 746

Because "fake news" has a very clear meaning that should be apparent to anyone who knows what the word "fake" means. Where do you use the word "fake"? You use it in places where something that is known to be false by the originator has the appearance of truth.

You do realize that would not include most conspiracy theories, right? Sure, some are created and perpetuated because it fits somebody's agenda but most of the unpopular ones are simply people seeing patterns that aren't there, explanations as cover-ups, ridicule as naivity or complicity resulting in some bizarre theory that doesn't make any sense or serve any recognizable purpose. Cardinal Richelieu said "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged", well so would a conspiracy theorist find the Illuminati.

Comment Re:Why should this be surprising? (Score 1) 157

When has an intern done any actual productive work? Every place I worked, the interns were always assigned the most menial, busywork tasks that we could come up with.

a) The companies you've worked for pay interns peanuts so you get monkeys
b) The companies you've worked for have already decided they're no good and not to be hired
c) The companies you've worked for are too stupid to give them a chance to prove themselves
d) The companies you've worked for are overworked and needed a steam valve
e) The companies you've worked for are testing their ability to suck it up and endure
f) All of the above

Even if they're serious students you can end up with a lot of strange things from people with little or no real world experience. But I'd give anyone a fair chance to prove themselves, then fail them to coffee fetcher and busywork.

Comment I think I know where they're going with this (Score 1) 511

Employees are fickle, they switch jobs or get ill or get hit by the bus or go on strike or whatever taking all their knowledge and experience with them and disrupting day-to-day operations. Sure you might say some companies felt their software was their assets before but they mostly still need expert operators. Automated systems accumulate far more of that value, like say Google's car project. Any one person on the team is probably easily expendable, it's the collective result that holds value. Banks used to have personal customer relationships, today 90%+ just want a webpage and some help if they have a problem. The people are not critical to the process short term as long as the system is up and running.

This obviously shifts the balance of power towards the employee instead of the employer. After all, conflicts are typically about who blinks first and if they can keep the lights on without you that makes it that much harder. I suppose it was always like that for mega-corporations but usually their customers would suffer which would bad for business and bring them back to the negotiating table but if you stare into the crystal ball... just imagine Amazon if you got automated trucks, warehouses, pickers and wrappers, purchasing system, inventory management system, warranty and support systems and so on. It could almost run itself, I suppose there'll always be people at the fringes but they would be just that.

Comment Re:what about h.265? (Score 2) 75

I hear it does great things for 4k, so it seems that it would be really great for HD, and even older 720 or 480 content too.

The main reason it does great on 4k/UHD is that the fixed 16x16 macroblocks in H.264 are too small, HEVC brings flexible coding tree units (CTUs) that vary from 64x64 to 16x16 which obviously has the most effect for the highest resolutions. If you restrict it to 16x16 CTUs you get a ~37% penalty on 2160p, ~19% on 1080p and ~9% penalty on 480p. So not as big a deal for older content as you might think.

Comment Re: So, that one time you got drunk (Score 1) 251

Despite having the word "Auto" in it, driving while getting Autofellatio is crazy. Getting fellatio from a passenger while driving is almost but not quite equally crazy. A passenger who would eagerly perform the service would be crazy to do so unless you pull over and stop driving first. Friends don't give friends fellatio while they are driving. Consult expert advice about such matters.

Comment Re:If you want to write a book, just do it (Score 1) 374

Sure, yeah, you could take a few weekend courses and bang out some stuff and possibly even find a job paying decent money. But if you want to move up in the world you need to turn your hack and slash techniques into a refined art. The kind of crap commodity programmers write is the stuff that skilled developers get paid a lot of money cleaning up or just re-implementing. (...) If you want to work in the big leagues on important things, you need to be open to learning some things and respect the craft.

With all possible respect to all the CS experts of the world, that's not what they teach. Finding a good organization of your application that makes structures easy to break down, processes easy to follow and changes easy to implement doesn't involve deep, abstract mathematical formulations with optimal answers. It's about creating functional units (objects, layers, modules, services) with clear responsibilities that abstract away internal details, create well defined and narrow interactions, break up and explain complex logic, that everything behaves like and contains what you'd expect from common language definitions and naming conventions and with sufficient high level documentation that anyone of moderate intelligence can understand what bits need to go where.

Or to put it another way, if you sent the source code through an obfuscator the CS experts would probably be just as happy with the output as the input, after all the algorithms and functionality are all unchanged. It would make it an incomprehensible mess of spaghetti code and "there be dragons" that nobody understand how or why works, but those are practical concerns. The same is error and exception handling, CS is all about correct algorithms that never get called with invalid input or run into any of those practical problems that cause poorly written software to crash, often without leaving behind any useful reason why and if there's any possibility to just fail this and move on.

I think you're onto something about the craft and the art. If you want to make swords for an army it's a craft, if you're making a nobleman's fine blade it's an art. Most of the time what we want is robust craftsmanship, process as many passable swords as possible and discard any failures. Not very glamorous and not very artistic, we're not awarding points for style or elegance but whether the code you've built is a reliable work horse that gets the job done. Or maybe the difference between an institutional chef and a fine dining chef. One is serving a hundred people a good meal, the other can spend forever making a plate of fine art. Both are very different from being a poor chef, but being good at one doesn't really make you good at the other. And CS is the Michelin guide department.

Comment Re:He would have been better off ... (Score 4, Insightful) 131

And keep a copy of your stuff on hand before you get fired.

If you were doing it at work on company systems it's probably not "your stuff" anyway, it's probably small utilities he used to make his job easier. If you want to do something for yourself do it on your own time on your own machine, don't use any company resources and try not to do anything that would make them question your loyalty to your day job. Being a consultant or contractor is fine because everyone knows that. Being an employee with a secret double agenda is not.

Comment Re:Lucky he got off so light (Score 1) 131

Somebody still owns that ISP's assets. Two things, though...

1) Good luck getting $26K from an inmate - at a buck or two a day, twenty-six grand will take a lot longer than two years, and

Assuming he had zero assets before the trial. Any down payment on a mortgage, a car in good shape and you're pretty close.

2) If the courts determined that he only did $26,000.00 worth of damage, I'm guessing this ISP was probably already circling the bowl. After all, if he was solely responsible for breaking this ISP, one would expect a far higher award for damages, regardless of (1), above.

Probably. It could also be that it was easy to prove he did at least $26k worth of damage, he has no more assets and the trustee wants the bankruptcy settled and think the practical value of a higher judgement is zero. Except for when the RIAA/MPAA/BSA want big numbers for PR reasons, they're often willing to settle for what you have.

Comment Re: Woosh. (Score 1) 104

Hydrogen, on the other hand, requires dedicated infrastructure to support 100% of fuelling requirements. Not just the stations, but the generation, storage and shipping.

And maybe not such a big deal or practical for trailers travelling the same corridor, but if you miscalculate or there's detours or you run into defective equipment or whatever you're not dead in the water with an EV as long as somebody got a working extension cord. Or even a modified generator if you just need enough juice to limp to the nearest grid connection, seems a few have done that as insurance. Emergency services have also started having charge service instead of tow service if you've run out. With hydrogen that shit had better work all the time, because there's no plan B. I think that alone will put a huge cooler on interest except for very limited niches. You also have a bigger variety of options, like say hotels providing parking with overnight chargers and other locations super fast charging, with hydrogen either you got it or you don't. Which is not to say EVs are without problems... but if we really hit that oil crunch and gas prices doubled-tripled-quadrupled they'd clearly be the ones taking over.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 468

I think this Friedman quote still has relevance though:

Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it's jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.

Does it really serve a purpose if you make it harder than it needs to be? And self-driving cars will be a benefit to everyone else. I can go down to the store and get a liter of milk for next to nothing because of milking robots and other automation, if I had to pay a living wage for someone to pull a cow's teats it would cost a *lot* more. All those stores who transport goods will get cheaper. The money people don't pay on taxis will be spent on other things. Everyone can spend their commute watching TV instead of wasting home time. It'll be more practical to live further from the office. Elderly might get around more and live more fulfilling lives. Large groups of people would have the benefits of a private driver, previously a rare luxury. In ways perhaps even better, since you get total discretion and it's always at your whim 24x7.

Assuming you can still find a job, of course. But we've been pretty inventive about creating new needs and services once we could afford to. The burger flipper might be on the way out, I doubt the chef is. A robot vacuum cleaner isn't scrubbing the bathroom or dusting the furniture. The electric lawn mower doesn't do flower beds or trimming the hedge. The washing machine doesn't pair my socks or iron my shirts. Of course you might say that one day we'll have a "I, Robot" assistant that'll do absolutely everything a human does cheaper and better but that's not in 10 or 50 years. Neither is self-repairing, self-replicating and self-evolving robots that work almost by themselves.

Real wages in the US has been flat for quite some time now, but at the same time you've had a massive influx of cheap labor on the global market depressing wages. You don't get a zillion Chinese or Indian employees working for a pittance anymore, when you look at the whole world workers are getting better paid. If it keeps going up, sooner or later it will return to growth in the US too because US wages are normal wages and not super expensive wages anymore. There is no magic that makes Americans stay far ahead of the pack forever, even though that how it's been in the past with the old world destrroying itself with world wars and an illiterate, primitive third world. There are smart people other places too, when they get the opportunity.

Comment Re:Better up the Military Budget (Score 1) 331

We're going to need a LOT more killer drones people.

Yes, really. Once resources become scarce enough, and suddenly a catastrophe eliminates a large chunk of them, there will be a lot of people fighting for survival and a share of the planet's resources.

(Idea: the government should tax us for clean air and clean water. It costs money to add pollution controls. People should have to pay for it. You don't think clean air grows on trees do you?)

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