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Comment Re:Less than 1/3 the output (Score 1) 587

The US developers, though only a year or two out of college, easily outperform even the "mid-level" developers from India. The price our company pays for Indian developers is about 1/3 the cost of US developers, but so far, we have not been able to make the math work. Even 3 Indian devs cannot produce the same quantity and quality of output as a single junior US developer.

If you're paying the Indian developers 1/3 the money you pay US developers, why not simply hire European developers for the same cost...?

Probably because there is not the same level of infrastructure around offshoring to European developers. I work with an offshore team, and the entire company there is dedicated to working with US companies. They skew their working hours to match the US, they market themselves in the US, and they train their staff on US specific rules (such as HIPPA or PCI) so that they can provide people that are useful.

If I wanted to replace my Indian team with a group of Polish developers tomorrow I suspect I would have a much harder time finding a similar provider.

Comment Re:In a world... (Score 1) 310

I find I rarely use the navigation feature in my car (i.e. have it give me directions to something). But having the map with the traffic overlay is very handy. I don't need turn by turn navigation to get home from work, but being able to see the state of the freeways as I drive home is nice.

Comment Re:Well this is exciting (Score 1) 104

"I don't think the bank itself as a corporate entity made any money. This was employees trying to game the company for personal bonus money and to meet performance targets."

so the bank was giving bonus's and performance targets for things that didn't make them any money?

The bank was giving bonuses for things that they thought would make them money. Like many metrics and incentives, they were measuring something that was intended as a proxy for profit (since by the time the profit occurs they can no longer easily link it back to the individual). It was inevitable that the employees would do their best to game the system by pumping the metric, whether that led to profit or not.

Wells stated that they refunded something like $2.5M in fees that were charged to fraudulent accounts. However, I would assume that many people let themselves get talked into accounts that they didn't need, and have been paying fees on them ever since. They aren't fraudulent per se, more the equivalent of the new car dealership trying to sell you rustproofing and paint sealant that you don't need. So Wells is likely still generating income from accounts that are essentially useless, and only the result of high pressure sales tactics.

Comment Re:and this is news because? (Score 1) 194

Other questions still to be answered: Did google & microsoft do the same thing? So far, they've said 'no comment'. Which isn't good.

According to an article at Ars Technica, they have both denied it:

A spokeswoman for Microsoft, Kim Kurseman, e-mailed Ars this statement, and also declined further questions: “We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo.”

For its part, Google was the most unequivocal. Spokesman Aaron Stein e-mailed: "We've never received such a request, but if we did, our response would be simple: 'no way.'"

Comment Re:"Deep learning" (Score 1) 139

Can we stop with this "deep learning" bullshit now? It is just algorithms. Every moron has to interject "AI" or "deep learning" or "neural nets" into their program description. This is really stupid "research" anyway. Is this what passes for research in CS now?

Of course it is just algorithms - that is what all computer science is. And in some cases those algorithms were known 20 or 30 years ago, but things that were computationally infeasible at that time are now trivial.

And it is important to note that some of these algorithms work in ways that are very different than human vision, where humans are almost unable to understand how neural nets arrive at an answer.

One fascinating example I saw on TV (I think it was 60 minutes) was that humans are unable to recognize faces that are upside down. They demonstrated this most vividly by showing the reporter a picture of her own daughter, and asking her to identify the face - she was unable to. Basically human visual processing is very optimized in surprising ways, so it is not at all surprising to me that software can do things that humans can't.

Comment Re:Some sensible things (Score 3, Interesting) 168

Things like SELinux or Mac's Gatekeeper or any Unix-type OS can be set so that only specific applications have access to certain hardware.

I wouldn't trust Mac, as it's closed source. But I don't blindly trust my Linux-based systems, either, as they run on closed hardware. Comey and the Three Letter Agencies have made open hardware all the more necessary.

Open Source is perhaps modestly more trustworthy, but things like the obfuscated C contest and the fact of very long lived bugs in core elements like SSH prove that open source is no panacea. Whether done by the US or somebody else, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that there are intentional backdoors injected into lots of open source projects, and that it is done skillfully enough that they haven't been noticed.

Comment Re:People's instincts are correct (Score 1) 367

Experience, of course, comes from making bad choices.

Your 'bad choices' might very well lead to an extiction-level event for humanity.

I think the extinction level event you refer to only comes about in case of a monoculture - where a huge percentage of the gene pool has some identical characteristics, and a disease evolves or is created to attack that characteristic.

Which might be an argument for a more wild west approach to gene editing - let a thousand flowers bloom, so that genetic diversity is maintained.

Or a corporate model. Imagine an iPhone like event every year where the latest genomics products are unveiled, so that while I might have "BetterEyeSight 2.1", and my wife is a few years younger and has "Better EyeSight 3.0", and you have "iSight+ 4.0". Same output, but different mechanisms, and genetic diversity is maintained.

Comment Re:This has nothing to do with "skills gap". (Score 4, Interesting) 163

No, we will not see "programming disappear". This same stuff has been predicted continuously for decades now. People skilled in the use of tools are many times more productive than those who are unskilled. As the tools themselves get more productive, the skilled users become more valuable. What I suspect we are seeing here is the temporary drop in the usefulness of software due to phones and tablets causing the unskilled to be able to produce "state of the art". This is a temporary phenomena that will end when software and computers become more useful again.

I don't think we will see programming disappear, but I think we will see the low hanging fruit moving away from professional developers and into a generic white collar worker. Think about the progression of clerical functions - years ago you had a pool of typists, because it was both a manual skill that most office workers did not have, and difficult enough that it was worthwhile to farm it out to specialists (though in this case the specialists were cheap). Then we had word processing come in, and initially it was done by clerical staff, but the bar was raised in terms of what constituted "professional looking" output. Then the software became easy enough, and the office workers sufficiently used to typing and using computers that word processing as a dedicated job function has moved into a publishing role.

Now we have a situation where everyone is expected to be able to use a word processor, and while anyone can type up a simple letter or paper, turning those same people loose on a multi-chapter book that is expected to use consistent styles and formatting rules is asking for trouble. Talk to any tech writer or publisher, and you will hear horror stories about documents in exactly the same way we talk about spaghetti code.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 177

If the money is made good use of in the process then it's win-win. Who says you have to be self-sacrificing to help others?

The problem is that the money is being used to do evil. Gates is investing in businesses which are killing the people he's claiming to be helping. As it turns out, you do have to be self-sacrificing to help others.

You keep posting this same link like it is some horrible smoking gun, but all the article says is that the investments of the Gates Foundation don't follow the same principles of the charitable works the foundation does. That is disappointing, but hardly counts as killing people. Or at least, if that is killing people, anyone with investments in S&P index funds is equally culpable.

The Gates foundation directly spends billions on philanthropic causes that are widely agreed to be legitimate and useful. It also invests in companies that are polluters or have unsavory business practices. Gates has put a ton of money into childhood vaccinations and in developing treatments for diseases where there is no money to be made. How many other charitable goals are they required to sign on to?

Comment Re:Dumb (Score 4, Insightful) 145

From what I have read, this was not an obvious WTF moment. Delta apparently has a complete disaster recovery facility with duplicate hardware. But they had a single point of failure in their infrastructure, which caused them to lose power to the entire datacenter, and everything went down. That part might be a WTF. But once they got everything booted up again, they had to contend with trying to get a system restarted that simply wasn't designed to ever fail completely. So it took hours to get all the pieces back up and communicating again.

Then their are the real world problems - flight A feeds into flight B, but flight A was late, meaning all those connections were missed and passengers have to be rebooked. And flight B can't fly anyway, because the plane is still sitting 500 miles away because the flight that would bring it to this airport was cancelled as well. And the flight crew that was supposed to bring flight B to this airport technically went on duty the moment they reached the airport, and now they have reached the max allowed hours in the day, so a new crew is needed. But that crew is in a different city...

This incident will span some fascinating failure analyses, and no doubt people will get fired and lawsuits will be filed. And like most DR scenarios, it is way harder in real life than it seems in planning and exercises. I wouldn't be surprised if this causes a big project to deal with outages and restarts, so that this doesn't happen as easily next time.

Comment Auction of bitcoin? (Score 2) 67

I suppose bitcoin is not technically currency, but it still seems kind of pointless to auction off bitcoins . Imagine if the headline were "Feds to auction off $1.6M in forfeited cash". You would expect the auction price to be very, very close to 1.6M. The arbitrage on bitcoins may be such that it comes in slightly less than 1.6M, but not much.

Comment Re:There is one good thing (Score 2) 182

Where I live (Minnesota) ballots are physically secured. You fill out your paper ballot, then feed it into the optical scanner. The scanner reads the ballot, and you see the ballot counter change on the machine. The ballot goes directly into a locked container.

If the scanner has been hacked to report incorrect results, the paper ballots can be used as an audit trail.

I don't know all the steps taken to secure the paper ballots, but I know that both major parties have election judges and observers at pretty much every step of the way. Not saying that fraud is impossible by any means, but it is treated as an adversarial system. In the Franken/Coleman recount of 2008 (?), Democrats and Repulicans were involved at every step of the process. At one point I think they even had a webcam on the room containing the ballot boxes, to satisfy people that no tampering was going on.

Comment Re:Some basic flaws here (Score 1) 298

They are also completely ignoring why airports are called "hubs" in the first place. People travel to the airport from all different directions, it's almost always a fairly long commute by car, bus, or train. Fifty people aren't standing around in the middle of a city all waiting to take the same flight to the same destination.

Semi-OT, but in Hong Kong they have a marvelous service where you can check in for your flight right in downtown HK, check your luggage, and then get on a train for the 40 minute trip to the airport. Since you are checked in before getting on the train, the clock has already started on the "arrive at the airport two hours before your flight" time, meaning that from a travel time perspective, you get to act like the airport is right in downtown.

I would much rather see that sort of service extended to more cities (I assume it exists elsewhere, just nowhere I have been), rather than a chimerical attempt to redesign all air travel infrastructure.

Comment Re:Waste (Score 1) 104

W-2s are the easy part, and if you take the standard deduction they are probably enough for the IRS to do your taxes for you. But, there are lots of other things that come into play:
- State income taxes are deductible.
- Capital gains are taxed at different rates depending on how long the asset was held, and only on the gain in value, with losses offsetting gains
- Mortgage interest is deductible.
- Property taxes are deductible

Plus a whole host of more complicated situations. If you have only wage income and take the standard deduction, it is simple. But that is also where 1040EZ comes in to play, which is already a single page form.

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