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Comment Re:Doesn't seem unreasonable. (Score 1) 438

> most of the people I have interviewed for programming positions I would put in the "can't program" category too. Not 95%, but probably 60%.

Same here. At least half of those I've interviewed over the years, of all nationalities, fail on a simple questions like "in your favorite language, open and read a text file, and sort the words", or a similar easy task. And I'm not going for syntax perfection, but just to get a feel for if they know at least the essence of the programming language they claim to be most proficient in. These are software engineer candidates at a software company. You'd think they could at least attempt to write some software themselves before they show up?

Comment Re:Lesser praised sci-fi .... (Score 1) 1222

I agree that "The Cube" should be high on the list. However, I'm just not sure if it's on the sci-fi list. I feel it's more philosophical and political, drawing on Kafka and Borges. E.g. "The trial" and "The Library of Babel". It is more about the human condition than it is about science and technology.

My favorite themes from the movie includes: 1) The emergent construction of the torture charmers through bureaucracy without oversight - one of the characters had drawn the blueprints for the outer shell of the cube, without knowing what it really was. 2) The absolute corruption of authority, portrayed by the policeman who ends up killing and trying to kill several of the others.

Comment Re:Brilliant ad campaign! (Score 5, Insightful) 606

I just love it for the brilliant hack it is. And on several levels: First, there's the obvious spam of the Burger King attention grab. Yet, it is clever and innovative - nobody has done it before. Then there's the finger-pointing at Google, and ultimately any gadget that is constantly listening and sending your conversations off to some cloud warehouse. Did they come up with the idea after the latest CIA Wikileaks? Finally, there's the loss of innocence and naivete in the sound triggered implementation. BK's ad agency must have realized that once this cat is out of the sack, there's no turning back. Now everybody will try to hack sound triggered devices. It renders them useless, which is great, since it was such a pathetic interface in the first place. Everybody just seems totally retarded trying to speak to their phone, saluted by "OK, Google". Usually, they have to try a couple of times before it works. Good riddance!

I love it. I'll definitely have a Burger King Four Cheese, Ultimate Bacon, Whopper tonight! Love it!

Comment Re:In what Bizarro world is the author living? (Score 1) 150

"Intellectual property" is a misnomer, simply because there is no IP law, nor property. Rather, there are at least three separate and very different laws: Patent law; Copyright law; Trademark law. Each specify certain rights and limitations on creative work and how it can be used and licensed. Although, property does not come into the picture with any of them. Furthermore, regarding the right to (or not to) modify devices and break digital locks is yet another separate US act.

The summary spoke about the patent system in China and US. It has nothing to do with copyright law.

Comment Re:I was recruited for a dev position and felt bia (Score 1) 283

You just printed the recruiter job description, though. He's going to get you in the door, and maybe show you to your table. However, he's not the waiter nor the chef, and will not have much influence on the interview process, so why should he care.

Comment Human travel agent still king (Score 1) 140

Kids these days think just because they have access to the data, it makes them domain experts. Access to stock prices - instant stock broker. Access to booking sites - instant travel expert. The truth is, expertise still takes time to build up, and it will be another eon before AI can understand custom needs and wishes, rather than make clumsy Clippy suggestions.

So, find a local, preferably independent, travel agent. Go there in person, sit down for a coffee. Then let a professional sort out all the hurdles of your honeymoon or complicated multi-leg business trip. He or she will find you the best deals, best hotels according to your budget; take care of rescheduled flights; arrange transport from the airport to your hotel; send you a tourist guide book if he's nice.

Prices vary, but commission around 100 - 150 USD for flight and hotel bookings is normal. On a more complex itinerary, that pays for itself with the better flight combinations from different airlines, which you cannot stitch together yourself. The peace of mind is priceless.

Comment Re:The year of the Linux. . . (Score 2) 138

Stallman cleared up that confusion decades ago, by insisting that the complete OS be called GNU/Linux. More recently, in 2011, he also made the Android naming clear:

"Android is very different from the GNU/Linux operating system because it contains very little of GNU. Indeed, just about the only component in common between Android and GNU/Linux is Linux, the kernel. People who erroneously think "Linux" refers to the entire GNU/Linux combination get tied in knots by these facts, and make paradoxical statements such as "Android contains Linux, but it isn't Linux". If we avoid starting from the confusion, the situation is simple: Android contains Linux, but not GNU; thus, Android and GNU/Linux are mostly different."

Of course, posting on Slashdot, you ought to know all that. So either congrats on your troll, or please hand in your geek card at the door.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a conversation with a colleague (Score 1) 286

I recommend "World Order" (2014) by Henry Kissinger, if you haven't read it yet. He goes into details and the historic background to the points you describe. Importantly, he compares the notion of the Western nation-state against other forms of world order, like the tribal systems in the Middle East, and the single king and empire of China.

Central to the European nation-state is the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, where more than hundred represented empires, states and cities sat down to put an end to decades of war. The outcome was the novel idea and mutual agreement that "I'll let you do what you like in your state - if you give me the same right in mine". This was against the backdrop of the Catholic church spreading their religion by the sword, backed by the Holy Roman Empire. Of course it did not put an end to wars, but at least it established a common framework by which peace could be built around.

Over the next centuries, there have been endless attempts at exporting this idea, and lately "bring democracy", and give people "freedom". However, without the historical background, the concept of a nation-state gets lost in translation. Some see it as blasphemy to their religion, others as a contradiction to their world view. In addition, especially in the 20th century, borders have been re-drawn completely arbitrarily, causing never-ending bickering.

Mix in of poverty; low value of life (lots of people, and a die rather than live forever mentality); plus the points you already mentioned. The situation in the Middle East is starting to look rather predictable. In fact, with a tin-foil hat on, the last US wars and military action in Iraq almost looks purposefully designed to continue the chaos and schisms. We've always been at war with Eurasia?

Comment Re:Mossberg should know better. (Score 2) 74

In the end, it's about the money. Of these five companies, only Facebook is not in the top five of companies with the largest market cap; they're all top 15 though, with a combined market cap of some 2 trillion USD. Much of it is in liquid cash. That's a lot of money and power sitting around to buy up, sue away, push out smaller competitors. Not even IBM controlled that amount of money and power in their heyday.

Comment Re:Greetings from the alternate universe! (Score 2) 44

When Snowden wanted to initiate communication with Greenwald, would it really have been a good idea to use keys which were linked to their real names? And either way, using existing keys or newly minted ones, wouldn't they have to confirm the key fingerprints off-channel anyway? In that scenario, you really want to make sure you got the right one.

For other types of communication, the threat model is different: When I send a message to my family, the content of the message is probably enough to establish that it was genuine. It would still have been nice if all governments and spies along its route would have a harder time reading it, though.

The scenario I could see signed keys being helpful in, is valuable communication between two strangers. E.g. if the two us wanted to make a trade, and you'd send me your Bitcoin address, I'd trust you more if the message was signed with a signed key. However, if you were selling me illegal goods, we're back to square one. Neither of us would communicate with real names.

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