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Comment Article is definitely wrong... (Score 1) 372

First ask yourself is Cobol good for what it's used for and is switching to another language "better". A lot of languages are created for a specific purpose and when something better comes along, that's when you should probably phase it out. Switching to another language so I can get a cheap / inexperienced programmer who will likely make a huge mess of it is not a good idea.

Second, anyone who calls themselves a reasonable programmer should be able to adopt another language. It might take them sometime to become efficient or skilled at it but the point is a good programmer should be able to pick it up. I remember in my final year of university we got exposure to some downright weird or difficult to program languages like LISP and we were still able to make do.

Third, ignoring the issue is the equivalent of saying "Screw it!" and kicking the bucket down the road making it someone else's problem. This is never a good solution, have a phase out plan, train some employees or a fallback. Don't just wait till your last skilled programmer retires and you're now up the creek without a paddle.

Comment Slightly overhyped (Score 1) 177

Not that I have anything against EVs, I own one myself after all (Volt) and it's worked out really well for me but I think folks are misunderstanding marketing Tesla uses for it's SuperCharger network.

The SuperCharger network is not free, owners have essentially "paid" for it through the cost of their vehicle. Also it's been announced Telsa is thinking of charging Model 3 owners for the network because the profit margin is so narrow that there's nothing left to pay for the "free" power. Telsa also doesn't expect you to hog the network for daily charging. Almost all EV owners charge their car at home, at night when they sleep. It's how the Volt works for me. If everyone who owned a Telsa decided to supercharge all the time, there literally would be not enough chargers for everyone.

Tesla uses a proprietary charger that despite free patents is their own specific design. Every other EV uses an IEEE standard plug charger. It's so standard you can buy third party chargers for Volt, Leaf, Bolt, whatever but you won't find a third party making a specific Tesla charger.

As great as the supercharger network is, it doesn't exist everywhere. In Northern Canada where I am, there's no supercharger network. Even if there was one, you are going to purposely introduce several hour delays in your trip if you're going cross country. Not only that but if you miss the charging network somehow or end up lost, you'll need a tow truck to get you to a charge point instead of a can of gas. It's why I chose the Volt, it's gas when you need it for trips and cold weather but a pure EV for daily use.

Tesla's are super expensive compared to a Volt. This is because instead of using a compact engine to back up the battery, they try to compensate using a massive expensive battery instead. The price difference of the Telsa alone could pay for a lifetime of gas or several lifetimes of electricity.

Comment No Easy Solutions (Score 1) 521

Having been on both ends of the employment spectrum from working for call centres for years to height of my career so far as a programmer for a Telco, I can say that we don't have any simple solutions for this issue. It's not a new issue either and one that's been discussed for years. The problem is that in any society where everyone begins as equals some will rise far above the rest. Some morally / legitimately earned and some not so much. It's natural and if you compare it to nature it forms something similar to a food web pyramid. In any pyramid there's very few at the top and lot of everyone else at the bottom. As technology advances, our ability to make more of our essentials and "stuff" to fill our needs increases meaning we need fewer and fewer workers with time. The ones that remain become more and more skilled and probably more wealthy as well. The only way this is sustainable is to have the entire population "consume" ever more goods to ensure that everyone stays employed. This actually worked for a while as we definitely consume more goods and resources than generations a few centuries back. The problem is at some point you run out of resources so you can't keep doing this forever. If at some point the wealth imbalance reaches a breaking point then the entire system will attempt to re-balance with force resulting in collapse of society and a period of violence which is never good for anyone. If you have all the food and everyone else is starving, you're going to need to learn to share regardless of whether you got it legitimately or not or you'll find yourself at the short end of the stick. So that's what this is, an attempt to see if we can re-balance the wealth peacefully. It's logical, moral and an attempt to starve off impending doom for all of us.

Comment When billions are at stake (Score 1) 108

This is unfortunately how it's going to go. I don't see spraying clouds with salt essentially as being a huge problem as the oceans have a lot of salt so it will likely just fall back in. If it works, it might help to save their reef which is apparently worth billions to their economy. The trade-off is cooling an area that large could cause spin off effects that could affect other parts of the world. I wonder how many climate change deniers are against them doing this? After all if burning a river of oil day after day won't do anything then what would spraying some salt do?

When push comes to shove, a country is going to act in it's own best interests to protect itself. If their climate-patch attempts break some other country's climate like ours, I'm curious to see how we'll treat it. After all it's not like all the manufactured goods and energy we consume could be having an effect on the planet right?

Comment Not at all practical, a dream (Score 1) 148

Considering all the trouble over people flying small drones, imagine the trouble with people flying objects that could easily take out your house if it crashes! It's not that I wouldn't love having a flying vehicle to go places. The scenery alone would be pretty cool but the fact that if your engine stalls or something breaks due to poor maintenance is going to result in a very nasty crash is not encouraging. Commercial aircraft is relatively safe because of good maintenance and pretty extensive pilot training. Compare that to driving and you'll see a pretty drastic difference. Maybe a possibility is a fully-automated flight system / transport that takes you from point A to B where maintenance is out of your hands but that's hardly the flying car experience folks expect.

Comment Leads to bad programming. (Score 0) 207

In all honestly, this could also lead to some really bad programming considering if you never Interact with anyone it could result in you coding in a way that results in unmanageable code or something that won't work with a team. Besides, I actually like some office interaction now and then so I don't get completely locked into my own ideas and hobbies.

Comment University Graduates can have their strengths (Score 2) 329

I'm a university graduate myself in Comp Sci and what I often find missing in programmers that never went to post-secondary education is the theory of why certain things are done the way they are. While there often aren't any hard rules, some topics like how to deal with multi-threading, deadlocks and linear optimization will not be things that folks are good at programming unless they've had some exposure to the theory. Or programmers come up with the wrong solutions for complex problems which sort of work but usually less optimal or somewhat flawed. I should knowx I worked on a deadlock problem in high school and came up with something that worked but not reliably.

That said, experience and whether someone is actually good at programming can't be determined by a degree. I've met folks who are talented programmers who never went to school and folks who went to university who couldn't program if their life depended on it. About all the advice I could give to companies would be to take your best programmer (not your best HR or Manager) person who understands what they're doing and to have them pick the candidate to hire based on some actual programming tests. Talented programmers know each other and besides, you do want your programmers to work together I would assume.

Comment Compulsory Math Lessons?? Seriously? (Score 2) 239

I honestly think something's wrong with this strategy. Since when is teaching math which is usually a dry / boring subject going to make someone interested in STEM fields? I'm a Computer Science graduate in the field and although math is important, in real life you usually don't need anything past high school in typical daily programming. Do the science first! I remember when I was young, I was attracted to the computer first whether it was programming to make it do things for me or just flat out gaming. It was later that math became interesting because I realized it gave me to tools to do what I wanted to do. If you try to make computers interesting by first burying them in complex and or difficult to understand math, I am almost certain you'll have the opposite effect.

Comment Cannot Connect the Nerves (Score 4, Informative) 66

I think the main problem with a head transplant is how do you reconnect all the nerves you've broken. They've found that broken nerves don't tend to reconnect. Nerves aren't exactly like wires, they're more like a living tree. If you chop down a tree but change your mind, you'll need to glue the tree together and hope that it grows back together. If it doesn't want to do that like as in nerves, that is not going to work.

Having your head disconnected from the body (even if you have all the blood vessels in place) is a problem. A lot of functions like breathing, heatbeat, and processing food is controlled by your brain and the lack of one isn't going to be great for the body.

Comment Intel Marketing Incorrect (Score 5, Interesting) 109

The way Intel plans on using Optane memory, yes it will most certainly improve the speed of HDs by caching but to say it will always outperform an SSD is an outright lie. For starters if you're working with unusually large datasets it likely won't all fit in Optane memory and unless your cache is highly intelligent and can read ahead, it's likely that things will load slowly on the first attempt. Then for laptops there's also the bonus of not destroying the HD if your laptop gets bumped in the wrong way or treated with a bit of abuse when operating. If this worked so well then Seagate's hybrid SSD / HD drives should be almost everything but it isn't.

Comment Google Lawsuit (Score 2) 87

If Google's lawsuit on theft of trade secrets and intellectual property and patent violations goes though, I suspect this will kill Uber's self-driving program. Last I recall Google was actually the farthest ahead on this "self-driving" technology and from the sounds of it the safest to rely on.

Comment No no no, bad idea (Score 1) 197

I'm not an engineer but I have worked with engineers and I do have a strong CS background as that's my education. I think something that you'll need to realize is that while it's possible to maybe train or teach someone a field that they never had any background in, it doesn't mean they'll ever be able to come close to someone who's worked on IT their entire lives. There's too many things that experience teaches you that you would never hope to know. So in reality, hire a specialist to help everyone or just accept the fact that your IT infrastructure is never going to be as good as it should be.

Comment Sounds Like Uber's in deep trouble (Score 4, Interesting) 82

From what I've been able to piece together online, it looks like Uber might be in serious trouble. Google apparently really started to suspect something was wrong when one of the LiDAR component providers noticed both companies were sourcing the same parts with Uber apparently using virtually identical circuit board layouts. The timing looks bad as well with the the small startup company being immediately bought up by Uber and sudden development of Self-Driving technology. Plus you're talking about a company who knowingly tested their Self-Driving cars on the street without bothering to purchase a licence to do so. Even if Uber gets off scott free there's this entire question of Patents too which Google probably entirely holds...

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In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle