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Comment No, the reason is laws. (Score 2) 85

There is a reason that American teenagers aren't working in orchards... if growers paid enough to get teens to take the jobs, nobody would be able to afford fruit.

No. The reason is that the laws (child labor, working conditions) make it impossible for them to use teenagers any more.

Meanwhile the illegals can't complain about working conditions - and will work for less than minimum wage in (those occupations where it applies.)

US citizens needn't apply because they can't compete. (Even if they were willing to work for sub-legal prices and/or in sub-legal conditions, the employer can't risk that they might turn around and demand the missing money or compensation for the conditions.) The illegals, meanwhile, can afford to work that cheaply because social programs can pay for much of the support of them and their families - turning programs intended to help the poor into subsidies for their employers.

Meanwhile, the government's non-enforcement of the laws against the illegals working means that, in highly competitive markets (such as construction contracting), employers are left with a Hobson's choice: Use illegal labor and be competitive, or try to use legal labor and go out of business.

Comment Re:Skills needed (Score 1) 88

5 years experience in a technology that has only existed for 14 months and cannot be taught in a classroom outside of business anyways. The requirements are way past ridiculous and border on the insane.

There's a "shortage" of good liars. I know a guy who was a fantastic BS-er that way. He had a network of fake references, for example. "Sure, he was doing Java for us in 1989. We used the first beta out. And he used Silverlight when it was still Bronzelight."

I felt too slimy to copy his techniques, but in a competitive world where a position receives hundreds of resumes, it's "survival of the fibbist", I hate to say.

Comment Re:People like Musk need to do more homework (Score 1, Offtopic) 143

> Smart growth and sustainable, walkable, transit-oriented development...

Transit-oriented development is exactly what is being proposed. From the fine summary:

"[The system would contain] electric skates transporting cars in a narrow tunnel, then raising them back to street level in a space as small as two parking spaces... cars could travel as fast as 200 kilometers per hour [through the tunnel.]"

This is a subway for cars, which is _exactly_ the sort of short-to-medium-term fix that you need in a metro area that is obscenely car-heavy, has next-to-no underground rail system, and next-to-no political will for constructing one.

Musk understands the political realities on the ground in the LA metro area far, far better than you do.

Bollocks. An underground train/elevator for cars is way less efficient than building a city where people can walk from point to point.

Comment Re:Human Nature [Re:Company's Fault] (Score 1) 261

Or, white men are conditioned to an environment of abrasive competition, and not to complain about such behavior.

In a more general sense, different cultures value different things in different proportions, and that is going create conflict. "X people don't do enough Y" and/or "X people do too much Z".

Our egos make our own culture the center of the universe, and we try to shape the universe in our image. A recipe for conflict.

Comment Re:Rambo? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Any SuperHero?!!! (Score 1) 261

Most women I've known put money far above men's looks. If I had to use a point system, I'd assign it as such:

Earning power/potential: 60 pts.
Protecting and caring: 30 pts.
Looks/muscles: 10 pts.

True, the muscle part could be seen as "protecting and caring". I'm rather large in general such that perhaps that part mostly took care of itself despite me NOT resembling a super-hero. A man small or slight in stature may need muscles or karate skills to make up that portion of the report card.

Women want to be able to walk down the street at night with their guy and feel safe. There are different ways to achieve that. Some men fake it well with pure attitude.

Comment People like Musk need to do more homework (Score 5, Insightful) 143

Solutions like this are classic examples of tech-rich people thinking they have all the answers when there's a whole bank of qualified specialist people already working in that field who know what's really needed to fix the problem but have only been stymied by politics.

If traffic is driving Musk nuts then the solution is not to find innovative new ways to handle more traffic. The solution is to ask why is traffic so bad in the first place.

Recommended reading: The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jacobs

Or if that's too heavy, try Suburban Nation: The rise of sprawl and the decline of the American dream.

Only then will you come to see the culprit: Single Use Zoning, aka the BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) rules. Single-use zoning forces everybody to make several car journeys just to get through a typical day. Going to work? Car. Going out for lunch? Car. Going home form work? Car. Need to go out for a bottle of milk and postage stamp? Car. Going to a movie? Car.

No bloody wonder the place is flooded with traffic. You try to build a city around the automobile and it becomes a hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists. You try to widen roads to accommodate more cars and the laws of induced demand kick in, resulting in even more traffic and roads as choked as they were before.

Learn a few things about urban planning, Elon. Don't arrogantly assume that you're the first person to want to address this problem. Smart growth and sustainable, walkable, transit-oriented development is a far better solution than drilling holes in the ground and cracking puns about the word "boring." It requires years of tedious work and politicking to build support for smart growth. A city is not a private company with which you can do what you like. There are elected councils, public advisory committees, public hearings, tax implications, and all manner of complex bureaucratic hoops that you have to jump through to fix these things.

Comment Re:Hopper? No. She's the grandmother of COBOL (Score 1) 362

Grace Hopper did not invent COBOL

COBOL was ultimately designed by a committee, but Grace's early compilers had a lot of influence on the language design.

The military and other organizations found it difficult to build financial, logistics, and administrative software for multiple machines that each speak a different language, and thus formed a joint committee to create a common language. (Science and research institutions had FORTRAN for cross compatibility.)

Basically the COBOL committee grew sour with disagreement. As the deadline for the first specification approached, the committee fractured into a "git'er done" tribe, and a "do it right" tribe. The git-er-done tribe basically cloned Grace's language with some minor changes and additions because they knew they didn't have time to reinvent the wheel from scratch. Grace's language was road-tested.

As the deadline came up, the git-er-done group were the only tribe with something close to ready, and so that's the work the committee heads ultimately submitted. There were a lot of complaints about it, but the heads wanted to submit something rather than outright fail. (The story varies depending on who tells it.)

Later versions of COBOL borrowed ideas from other languages and report-writing tools, but the root still closely mirrored Grace's language. Therefore, it could be said that Grace Hopper's work had a large influence on COBOL.

(It's somewhat similar to the "worse is better" story between Unix/C and a Lisp-based OS: http://dreamsongs.com/WorseIsB... )

- - - - - - -

As far as what orgs should do about existing COBOL apps, it's not realistic to rewrite it all from scratch, at least not all at once. That would be a long and expensive endeavor. It's probably cheaper to pay the higher wages for COBOL experts, but also gradually convert sub-systems as time goes on.

However, whatever you pick as the replacement language could face the same problem. There's no guarantee that Java, C#, Python, etc. will be common in the future. Rewriting COBOL into Java could simply be trading one dead language for another.

I know shops that replaced COBOL "green screen" apps with Java Applets. Now Java Applets are "legacy" also. (And a pain to keep updating Java for.)

Predicting the future in IT is a dead-man's game. At least the COBOL zombie has shown staying power. If you pick a different zombie, you are gambling even more than staying with the COBOL zombie.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it's half-broke, fix it gradually.

Comment Part of why Silicon Valley is in CA (Score 1) 364

Most employment agreements are such that the company owns it even if it is outside of normal hours. So inventions you come up with on your own time are not yours.

And one of the key reasons Silicon Valley grew up in California is a law that, in effect, says:
  - As a matter of the state's compelling interest:
  - If you invent something
  - on your own time and not using company resources
  - and it's not in the company's current or expected immediate future business plan
  - you own it
  - regardless of what your employment contract says
  - and employment contracts have to include a notice of this.

Result: People who invent neat stuff their current company won't be productizing can get get together with a few friends, rent a garage across the street, and build a company to develop the new stuff. So companies bud off new companies, doing somewhat different stuff, like yeast. And the opportunity to get in on the ground floor attracts many other skilled people who might not be as inventive, but still wnt to be some of those "few friends" of the inventors.

Comment Re:Need this refined before I need a knee replacem (Score 1) 50

Sooner or later I will need a knee replacement. It would be nice to have a tissue one instead of metal and plastic.

I could use one now. I tore a meniscus in my knee a couple years ago, and it's healed as much as it will - which isn't enough. Surgery options only involve cutting it out (which leaves the bones rubbing each other) or replacing the whole joint (which is not only inferior but doesn't last as long a my current life expectancy).

Being able to drop in a replacement, grown from a printed scaffold of generic materials seeded with my own induced-pluripotent stem cells, would just fix it. (In fact it should fix it to be as good as it was decades ago, or maybe even better than it ever was.)

Comment Single target. (Score 1) 45

All [no standard] means is that websites will write their own version, some already have.

Indeed.

Also: In the race between weapons and armor, weapons always (eventually) win.

By creating a standard and getting the bulk of the "content providers" to adopt it, the WWWC creates a single big target that leads to breaking MOST of the DRM simultaneously. Meanwhile, content providers are left with the choice of getting behind the big target or being non-standard.

Which is fine: Like WEP, or a locked screen door, DRM won't protect things forever. But, like a "No Trespassing" sign, it DOES indicate INTENT forever. Intent of the content provider to limit access, and intent of the unauthorized content viewer to bypass that limit. That takes the "I didn't mean to do it." defence away, and gets any legal cases down to examining whether the poster of the No Trespassing sign had the right to limit the access and/or the crosser of the boundary had a right to obtain access.

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