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Comment Good news! The grays do not want to eat us! (Score 3, Funny) 300

Have always been surprised at Trump's support of NASA, whether as magnanimously as he would like us think or not. At least it is not a 30% or more cut like some other agencies. He rejects science, except when it comes to expanding real estate...

I guess the good news here is that we can conclude that the Grays - whom I assume are in total control of every President - do NOT want to eat us! They do not seem to care about our health.

Of course, that doesn't mean that they don't want to turn us into some powdered industrial product. But at least they do not want to eat us!

Comment Uber (Score 1) 149

Anyone else notice the correlation between this and Uber walking-back Greyball?

I suspect Apple threatened the nuclear option. Greyball would definitely qualify for removal from the App Store on the broader issue here of undisclosed/changing app behavior as well as just plain out-and-out fraud.

I would have rather seen Uber removed from the App Store, though, than whatever back-room deal was made. There was no second chance, for example, for Kepeli/Dash. (Dash is an offline API documentation reader app. The author got bounced permanently when he let his sister use his developer account and she allegedly posted fraudulent reviews for her own app.)

Comment Re:Interesting story (Score 1) 553

Tell me a bit about your current work.

Well, I am working on software the walks call-center workers through call scripts, and records answers gotten from callers in a database. It's very interesting, we use AI to analyze the results - Watson, you know Watson? From Jeopardy? So, my company can use the results to improve the effectiveness of the calls. Why, we even analyze voice stress. We found that "Green Dot Moneygram" causes the person's stress to rise, so we have switched to a less familiar money transfer vehicle that is not as familiar, and this seems to increase trust level, and so it is much easier to sc.... secure a sale, that is."

Comment Re:Interesting story (Score 1) 553

They didn't ask him to write an entire balancing algorithm

That's not what his tweet said. His tweet said he was asked to balance a tree.

The story states that he was asked to write a function to balance a binary tree.

It looks to me that the reporter misinterpreted Omin's tweet. The writer was probably winging it a bit, as tech reporters are seldom practitioners in the filed that they report on. Maybe there should be an entry test for tech reporters. A technical reading-comprehension test. If they get it right, they are not a professional tech reporter.

It's interesting that so many who have posted here missed this. Or they just automatically believed the "fake news", and ignored the source material (tweet) - which was present verbatim in the article - altogether.

Now, back to reading "The Society of the Spectacle." Seems relevant. More so every single day.

Comment Re:Interesting story (Score 1) 553

The questions asked weren't relevant. At. All.

Appropriate questions would quiz him about his work and education. With followup if the border agent had the competency to further quiz, which they almost certainly would not. But they could at least try to sense whether he was BSing or not. And presumably, that's a skill that border agents possess, or should (detection of BS.)

  • Tell me a bit about your current work?
  • What is your role in your company and in your current project?
  • Do you write code? If so, what computer languages do you currently use?
  • What college degree (if any) did you receive, and if so, what was your major?
  • How does your team communicate? That is, do you have in-person meetings, teleconferences, use email, instant messaging, etc.? Tell me a bit about it.
  • Explain to me just what a software engineer does?

The goal should be to determine if he actually does what he says he does for a living. Not to spring a pop-quiz on subjects that may or may not be of any importance in his job.

Honestly, the first question should be enough. Either the guy will prattle on with detail after detail without hesitation, or will be very vague.

Comment Almost nobody needs know how to balance a B-Tree (Score 5, Insightful) 553

Almost nobody today has a need to know how to balance a B-Tree. Unless they happen to work on the innards of a database system, library, etc.

Sure, I learned this 35 years ago, and sure we had to do it for some class. I suppose Computer Science students still have to do it today. I've even done it in practice, but it was a LONG time ago. I would have to look it up, as would most software engineers.

In fact, any software engineer that would write something like this off the top of their head is engaging in bad practice. That would be my answer!

As a practical matter today, if you really needed to do it, you would search for best algorithms. And then question whoever asked you to do this, as B-Trees are pretty old and lame at this point There are better data structures to accomplish the goal.

What next? Ask somebody to write a compiler? "Sure, get me the Dragon Book..." (But, as well, that is surely obsolete today, as well.)

The border agent either Googled for some questions to ask a software engineer, or failed a Google interview exam. Which - I've read, Google doesn't do any more, and for good reasons.

Comment or machine code (Score 3, Insightful) 312

Why's Poignant Guide to Ruby

... even though it was written for a now-obsolete version of Ruby.

Why? Because it is entertaining enough to get you through many important basic concepts without falling asleep.

Otherwise, I recommend the approach that was common at one time and fallen out of favor. Start with machine language. Not even assembly code. Machine language. Best thing ever: punching IBM 1620 (decimal, thank goodness!) instructions one at a time on punch cards! That was high school. In college, we started with MIX. I prefer a real machine code to a made-up assembly code, though.

Still, some in high school thought "the compiler" was some bit of hardware in the computer, once we moved-on to Fortran. At least the instructor tried!

If you don't begin at the beginning, many will be forever-befuddled at what really goes on.

Comment Re:Let's hope they learn something... (Score 1) 659

I hope what they come away with is an understanding of what an Orwellian society would actually look like and realize how ridiculous they sound to the rest of us when they compare that to now.

You are right.

When I first read 1984, it was well before 1984. The only thing that bothered me about the book is that it was set in England. And I saw that, instead, it was our own country (US) that seemed to be going in that direction.

But Orwell was spot-on. It is England that is well-along to being an Orwellian society. He picked the right setting after all!

Looks, though, like Trump is planning on doing as much as he can to "import" this philosophy. Better hurry, though, before he slams the gates closed on importation!

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