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Comment What's so Special about an Algorithms Class (Score 3, Insightful) 1001

These technical interview approaches aren't very good, in my opinion, because they basically assume that the beginning and end of all software development training happened in a second year algorithms class. Algorithms are very cool, I understand why people want to talk about them, but they represent a minority programming challenge in today's world.

Speaking only for myself, in a given month of coding I may only have to consider which algorithms I should use once or twice. The rest of my time is spent on GUI design, communicating with coworkers, working on documentation, and switching between projects. Putting aside the value of algorithms in an interview, how can the interviewer ascertain all of my other software development skills if we spend 2 hours mapping trees on a white board? I would argue that they can't, and by asking technical questions about algorithms or brainteasers, they really aren't properly evaluating the skills of a professional software developer.

Comment Re:Fool-proof insurance policy (Score 1) 86


It is worth considering that for a large company, perhaps with several thousand workstations, it may be more cost efficient to pay the ransom and get their systems back online within a day rather than overworking their IT staff in the hopes of getting their machines back after a week. Even if the company has full data backups, they may not have the staffing required to wipe and reinstall every computer in a reasonable amount of time.

Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 255

It really does feel like an "emperor has no clothes" situation. Companies are spending billions of dollars and articles are being published daily about a technology that hasn't remotely even shown to be feasible. Sure, they've figured out how get a car to do highway driving and that's making some long distance commuters very happy. But the stuff they're talking about, like replacing Uber drivers with a computer... there's no reason to think that's even possible with our current level of technology. Moving from highway driving to city driving at least an order of magnitude more difficult to do. Building a car that can detect lane markers does not mean you're going to be able to figure out how to detect jaywalkers or interpret road cones. An effective driver needs to be able to look several cars ahead in order to navigate complicated traffic situations and there's no indication that anyone has come close to technology required do this.

What's really disappointing is that the tech community, like those of us on Slashdot, really should know better. For a website that so often displays Luddite tendencies, it's strange that so few are willing to point out that autonomous cars just aren't going to happen.

Comment Re:I would invest (Score 1) 156

Those Singapore cars rely on not just one, but two drivers.

That's what's fascinating about the self-driving car movement. So much money, and so many promises - entire companies even are banking on a technology that doesn't exist in a meaningful way. What we get instead are pledges and advertisements that are completely disconnected from reality.

They may come eventually, but no one in the industry seriously expects to see an autonomous car that can handle city driving within the next 10 years.

Comment Re:Never go to be work "as is" (Score 1) 265

Autonomous vehicles will never take off if the prerequisite is to first create a centralized traffic control system. What I think we'll see instead is autonomous vehicles taking cues from human driven vehicles via the V2V (vehicle to vehicle) communication system that will roll out in the next few years.

Tesla's vehicle already kinda does this. They used the car's GPS units to build a map of highway lanes, based on how the humans drove them, and then feed this map into their autonomous system. One can easily imagine that auto makers will continue to use shortcuts like this; perhaps a car will realize that it needs to divert around construction once it observes so many of the surrounding vehicles doing it.

When one considers what kind of behavior may emerge from this type of vehicular flocking, its easy to imagine a lot of strange and unintended consequences. Perhaps a centralized authority will eventually come about, whose job it is to manage the data that is sent to cars and massage out strange behaviors. I predict that such a thing is far in the future however, in the meantime a true autonomous vehicle will have to be able to figure out a heck of a lot of stuff on its own.

Comment Re:There had to be a first case... (Score 5, Insightful) 379

I don't know if I agree that the accident was unavoidable. The inference of the article is that the driver wasn't paying any attention at all and had surrendered the driving completely to the car.

My opinion is that Tesla's self-driving system is not nearly as safe as they claim. One doesn't have to look very hard to find videos like this one where the driver has to react to prevent the auto-pilot from causing a crash. I question how long, realistically, a production Tesla can stay on the highway before a human needs to intercede to prevent an accident.

Given enough time, and enough lawsuits, I think that Tesla will shut off their self-driving feature. It needs to be a lot robust than it current is. I can't say with any expertise, but it seems like their competitors are taking their autonomous vehicle research far more seriously with plans to install a more sophisticated sensor package on their cars.

Submission + - Jeep/Chrysler's New Gearshift Appears to be Causing Accidents (roadandtrack.com)

bartle writes: The new gearshift design for the Jeep Grand Cherokee appears to be causing rollaway accidents: 121 crashes and 30 injuries so far. The gear shifter is designed to look and feel similar to a traditional automatic gear shift lever but it is meant to cycle through the gears rather than move directly to a certain gear. A driver who is used to placing their vehicle in park by pressing the shifter all the way forward may instead be setting it to neutral before exiting the vehicle. The NHTSA is investigating.

Comment Re:Children or not (Score 1) 200

Theoretically, it is possible to install a speed camera that measures speed very accurately. That does not mean that the speed cameras that are currently being installed are accurate.

I've received a ticket from a photo radar van that miscalculated my speed. If these systems continue to be installed everywhere, eventually you will too.

Comment Why the Ads? (Score 1) 203

The thing that seems extremely strange to me about the walmart.com website is the sheer number of ads. And I don't mean ads for products that Walmart sells, I mean they're selling ad space for companies like Avis and Equifax through AdChoices. The result of this, for me at least, is that their site runs incredibly slow.

I invite people to navigate to the walmart.com site and take a look. What are they trying to do there? Is it that the walmart.com team is expected to be financially self supported? I would not expect a company that is as large and successful as Walmart to be insisting on something that surely can't be bringing in much money while undercutting their future.

Comment Re:Simething simple you missed? (Score 3, Interesting) 212

I would also recommend looking at rsnapshot which is built on top of rsync.

I used to use a development system where the entire fire tree was mirrored at the top of every hour. Recovering old files was as simple as navigating to a different directory.

Personally, I like the rsync solution because it is filesystem agnostic. It also has been around for a long time; whatever you're trying to do, I can guarantee that someone was doing it with rsync 20 years ago.

Comment Vim Remapping (Score 4, Informative) 147

I broke my hand a year ago and I too had the fun of doing one-handed coding (in Fortran, baby!) for a couple months. In truth, it wasn't that bad, though my productivity was slowed a bit. I managed by remapping keystrokes in vim to be more friendly, like remapping '' to 'jj' and ':wq' to just 'wq'. If you are clever, you could easily remap shift-combos (like braces) to un-used areas. Say, remap '{' to '[['...unless C# has those. (I am not a C# programmer). It's a bit harder for '(' as you can't just remap that to '99'.

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