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Comment Re:At least they are trying... (Score 1) 179

I also am a happy A&A customer.

I had a nightmare problem with my ADSL line (eventually traced to water in an underground junction box), the lengths A&A went to in supporting me to get this fixed were remarkable. For starters, their control panel allowed me to show the BT engineers who were round (often) when my line was dropping or throttling back. These engineers said I had online access to quality of service info even they didn't know about, and were amazed.

No comparison with the major ISPs - just none whatsoever.

Comment Re:Excuse me? All criticism has been well earned. (Score 3, Insightful) 324

As much as you have a point, I've been working in IT for years as well and I've only met one British worker in the US, and I think he's got at least a green card because he married an American girl. Just about everyone else I have ever seen working H1-B is Indian and boy do they fuck them over. As a white man who actually speaks a dialect of English that is considered civilized in the US, you are going to have a decent time of it. The only thing you need to worry about is idiots making too many Limey jokes and telling you that your spelling is funny.

The Indians generally have to worry about unscrupulous companies that bring them in, keep them in the dark and then make sure that they work under conditions that you could consider appalling. I can't tell you the number of H1-B colleagues that I know who have at one time or another had to worry about losing their job and then having to deal with being packed off back to India 5 days later because they are a guest worker.

The problem with H1-B is that it allows more bad than good. Clearly we want to have some guest workers like you over here to provide actual technical expertise, but most of these guest workers are doing jobs that Americans could definitely do and not even getting paid decently for it. That may be because we don't have enough IT people available to work over here, but I suspect that the supposed lack of IT workers is more of a situation where those said workers actually want to be paid US wages and treated like professionals.

Of course, the H1-B problem is one where many of us feel we are being unemployed in favor of cheap labor, but it doesn't change the fact that the program is allowing the guest workers to get screwed too, if they happen to be from somewhere sufficiently backward. That's just bad all around, and I see no reason that it should be allowed to continue as it has been.

Comment Re:He can plead the Fifth in jail too. (Score 1) 367

Perhaps she's waiting to see who offers the better deal. All the prosecutor can offer is staying out of jail. If there are enough bigshots behind this, it could mean a very comfortable retirement.

I know one guy who got caught as the patsy for some company wrongdoing. He spent a few months in jail, paid a few hundred K$ in fines. But for admitting to being the sole actor in the crime, he's now better off than he would have ever been working as a corporate officer until retirement.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 275

starting at certain bitrates, there's simply not enough processing power to apply compression.
modern general purpose CPU can gzip at just tens of megabytes per second, simpler and less effective algorithms may give you couple hundred MBytes/sec, which is still just a couple Gb/s.

now imagine you have couple dozen 10 gig ports, in and out. and that's just the beginning, some high-end gear has 100+ 10G ports, all lit.
specialized ASICs can help, but they're not free either and ultimately don't take you very far, especially after throwing in all that memory required for processing.
all in all, none of the high-end routing or switching gear does compression nowadays, it's simply not worth it, in dollars and milliseconds of added latency.

Hardware

Submission + - Photovoltaic Eye Implant Gives Sight to the Blind (inhabitat.com)

MikeChino writes: Researchers at Stanford University recently announced that they have developed a new artificial retina implant that uses photovoltaic power and could help the blind see. The problem with previous implants was that there was no way send power to the chip in order to process light and data inside the eye, so the new device uses miniature photovoltaic cells to provide power the chip as well as to transmit data through the eye to the brain. The new device has great promise to help people afflicted by the loss of photoreceptor cells by using the power of the sun.

Comment Re:Fortunately (Score 1, Interesting) 68

so what you're saying is that we can look forward to a huge wave of ignosticism to sweep the world? I think that would be wonderful, but I do see a small problem with that prediction. When times are tough, when the common person feels helpless in the face of forces and circumstances larger than they are, they tend to seek out explanations that are larger than they are. Religion *thrives* when things are toughest. "There are no athesists in a foxhole" is one common way of phrasing that. As I see it, every generation looks at it's kids, looks at the way society is evolving and finds that they don't really understand either one. They also tend to fear the worst. It is all too easy to take heed of those who prophesy a doom that we already suspect ourselves and at the same time promise that doom can be averted if we all just make a few changes in what we are doing.

To my mind; the fundamental problem with groups like NIMF isn't that they View With Alarm, that is a enshrined tradition of priests, politicians and the power-hungry since the dawn of human history. The real problem is human arrogance and an inability to keep from meddling. If can't we can't accurately imagine the future, how can we hope to shape it as we desire? The law of unintended consequences still reigns supreme

Comment Smoke residue (Score 1) 1078

I've worked on machines from smokers only to find the insides covered in fuzzy, sticky brown residue. It smells horrible as well. I can see how this sort of thing could cause warranty issues without question.
If I were Apple, I'd simply take in image of it and show the customer.

Comment I didn't RTFA (Score 4, Interesting) 278

I didn't RTFA, because I can proudly say that I was involved in the group that produced MHC mediated sexual selection studies that ScientificMatch.com uses to claim their rationale. A few comments: First, if Scientific match has any wits about them, they'll also consider other information. I don't think anyone's stupid enough to think there's a single correlate to mate selection. But the worry about people who are too different is poorly founded - MHC diversity is strongly retained throughout most human lineages. We've had negative frequency dependant since we were swimming in the ocean, and as a result, if you sequenced any given allele, you'd find that it's just as related to Gorilla sequence as it is another randomly chosen allele. My ex-boss used to have students do this as an exercise to illustrate the point. Because of this, you're just as likely to find someone very MHC (or in humans, HLA) dissimilar next door in these modern, mobile times, than you are in, say, in a distant country.

Second: They're only (to my knowledge) matching at MHC for disassortative matings, not the rest of the Genome. How is this better than picking someone based on hobbies? Because research actually shows that mating patterns in humans follows this pattern. It is a bit of a crock, since the odds of you picking two people at random with similar MHC complements is low, but let's not get into that. ;)

Finally, let me just say, I'm proud that so much scientific blood, sweat and tears into understanding the maintenance of the immune system, and what drives host-parasite co-evolution, has been distilled into an online dating site. Forget having worked with a Nobel laureate, this the highest honour a scientist can know. ;)

Comment Personal Experience (Score 1) 836

I had computers as a hobby for many years, starting out with FreeBSD 2.2.8 when I was in 8th grade and teaching myself C and dabbling in a few other things as well. I'm 25 and have a legitimate 5-digit ID, not that it means much other than I got started with being a nerd at an early age for some reason signed up for Slashdot. I thought I was going to be a Comp Sci major, but then I quit and studied English and Classical History instead.

I still kept up with Unix-y things, and futzing around with Perl and stuff like that, and after an endless string of half-ass pseudo-success after college while trying to do the "english major" thing, I bit the bullet and got back into computers. I've been employed for the last year and change as a Linux admin at a web hosting company, and just got a new job that I start next month where I'll probably have to write the occasional C code again, too.

Now, I think I'm a reasonably competent programmer -- definitely more so than one would expect from a liberal arts major, but I'm definitely not a computer scientists. I'll read algorthims books and study stuff on my own, but I think I lack the degree of comprehension that someone who had it drilled and tested in a formal environment would. I'm not a great programmer, but I can hold my own in the certain realms in which I need to write code, but computers are also not my entire life.

Most tech school people I have met are really only interested in computers and doing computer stuff. They're the ones that throw the memes around and use terms like "lulz," and as long as they do their job, I don't really care. But those I know who studied computer science are more likely to be able to talk with me about non-computer things, and I really appreciate that. I make my living in technology, but my hobbies and interests are wide-ranging, and I don't always just want to talk about computers. I also find that the university-trained computer scientists are more likely to be able to explain WHY they are doing what they're doing, why they made the design choices they did, and in general have a better understanding of the whole system rather than just doing things "they way they were taught" whether its the best or not.

Of course, I realize this is all just anecdote and not just data, and I'm probably going to piss some people off by saying, however I will stand behind the notion that university-trained computer scientists are going to be easier and more fun to deal with than someone with a more myopic view of their "trade."

Also, if you really want to get at why those with a 4-year degree from a "real" school get offered more and are picked first, its probably because those are the degrees that management understands, whether they understand the subject matter or not. Management typically has a 4-year degree from a real school, and so they'd rather hire people with a piece of paper they "get" the value of. Perhaps its an economic or educational prejudice, but such is life.

Comment Re:Rednecks? (Score 1) 614

Really, it's appalling that teachers aren't some of our most highly-paid professionals.

While I wouldn't mind seeing teachers paid more, that hasn't been the main problem, IMHO, for some time. In this market (Atlanta) good teachers take a pay cut to go work in the better private schools. The attraction is clear... they have a more supportive environment, creativity is encouraged, parents tend to be more engaged/supportive, students tend to be more motivated (not to mention in many of these schools tested in at minimum levels), etc.

I agree that age-based instruction is a major flaw we have in today's system. But I've also increasingly come to believe that the biggest flaw in the U.S. K-12 system is the political basis. I'm just not sure anymore that locally elected school boards are the best way to run a district or bring about positive change. I've interacted with some pretty frightening school board members across the country who really have little to no related skills or education to qualify them for the role. They just won a local popularity contest.

The best / most successful districts I have encountered, the School Board hires a really good Superintendent and then mostly backs off. A great SI who is well educated, professionally minded, motivational with business sense makes a huge difference. That position, IMHO, should definitely be paid more.

Comment Re:It's very sad (Score 3, Informative) 183

As someone who works in space flight hardware, I will state what I think is obvious to most slashdotters: These are not just "consumer grade electronics." True, they were based heavily or solely on an existing consumer product, but they have to meet a very stringent set of requirements to operate in space. *They need to cool themselves effectively despite having no gravity, which means heat doesn't rise and you lose all naturally convective heating *They need to be radiation hardened to mitigate against bit flips and the like due to radiation particles *They need to meet specific reliability and usability requirements driven by spaceflight And lastly, with everyone complaining about how the government wastes money, do you really expect that it would be better for NASA to contract out development, design, testing and building of a one-off product (laptop, camera, MP3 player, camcorder, PDA, etc) where it isn't necessary?

Comment Re:Cockpit cameras (Score 1) 518

You're right that it is common for maintenance, but its not as hard when equipment is being *replaced* instead of *added.*

The camera is one thing, then you need the cables, the recorder, etc. An A&P needs to amend the weight and balance sheet for every aircraft modified and add an appendix to the manual with all the data for the camera system. The AOM for every aircraft has a weight and balance sheet specific to that airframe. Alterations to the aircraft require recalculation and signoff by an A&P. This is because not every aircraft is identical; there are manufacturing defects and repairs that make them all unique. The math isn't hard, getting the mechanic to have to do all the work and paperwork is expensive though. Changing the CG and useful load (which is exactly what adding a camera system would do) is not a trivial task. Remember what a PITA it was to get armored cockpit doors...

Comment Re:They've taken a leaf out of the UK's book (Score 1) 584

anything on non fatal accidents.

They are probably down too - at least in London, the reason for the decline is that the blocking of "rat runs" means that the slightest minor accident blocks the main road completely for several hours.

I live on the edge of the Olympic Park, and no one here thinks that people will be able to get to the Olympics through traffic jams. A relatively minor incident on day one will close all of East London for at least three weeks. A journey that takes me 15 minutes walking, recently took me 2 hours by car. A burst watermain typically causes a 20 mile tailback for several days with a deep recession and no Olympics.

Comment Re:Yep (Score 1) 667

I have always disliked getting coffee in a styrofoam cup that is way too hot to drink. I always drink my coffee black, so nothing is added to cool it down. The styrofoam cups at fast food places keep the coffee way too hot, much longer than a ceramic coffee cup would have. If the coffee at an ordinary restaurant is too hot, it will quickly cool off somewhat in the ceramic cup and saucer they use.

I do not like having to sit around, for a few minutes, waiting for the coffee to cool down before I can drink it. After several minutes, I usually get impatient and start cautiously trying to sip the still way too hot coffee. The next day, I have usually discovered that my tongue was sore from having been burned by the super hot coffee. After a couple of days, the soreness of portions of my tongue and roof of my mouth, goes away.

Usually, the way too hot coffee from fast food places smells disgusting. Instead of having that wonderful rich coffee aroma, it usually has that strong disgusting overcooked, burnt smell, typical of coffee made several hours ago, but constantly kept hot for several hours. When I finally get around to cautiously taking my first sip, I usually discover that it tastes even worse than it smells, so I throw it away. People who use cream or sugar, might have possibly have been able to make it taste minimally acceptable.

If fast food place can not provide fresh good smelling and good tasting coffee, I wish they would just not even offer it on the menu.

Comment Panic over nothing. (Score 1) 541

The point isn't whether the flu vaccine is necessary or not. The point is you are mandated to get it if you work in a NYS article 28 facility (section 205 of the NYS public health law specifically) you are forced to get this shot if you want to keep your job. This includes care agencies, Hospitals, Nursing homes etc...

Is the vaccine safe, who knows? They just started clinical trials. This is the problem Health care workers are being forced into the clinical trial. I know for a fact that it is not FDA approved yet, and because it is a vaccine for a "pandemic" disease it is allowed to bend the rules of acceptable ingredients. The mercury content of the vaccine is higher than normally allowed. available here While a healthy male may have no problem with this, how about a pregnant female? Some of the ingredients are known to worsen thyroid conditions . The problem is no one really knows what will happen.

Also why mandate the swine flu shot but not the regular flu shot. 12% of people die from the flu every year (CDC reports) yet as of June of 2009 the swine flu has about a 6% mortality rate (Again CDC reports).

This disease is less deadly than most other strains of the flu yet there is panic over it. The big deal is while the normal flu may put you out of commission for 3 days the swine flu can knock you out for 6 days to 2 weeks.

The CDC is not mandating health care workers get the shot, only NYS is. Plus you have to sign multiple wavers that you won't sue anyone should you end up sick from it. Basically you are given the choice of playing Russian roulette or lose your job. You have a 1 in 6 chance of getting the bullet but if you get the bullet your chances don't matter you are stuck with the reality. A lot of the people educating people on the Vaccine when asked if they will get it, turn around and say no. How can they truthfully educate people on how safe this vaccine is if they refuse to get it?

I know in Manhattan on Oct 13 an injunction is being filed by PATRICIA FINN on behalf of all health care workers, and it may go class action suit if the injunction is approved.

Fyi I just gave a lecture on swine flu and have a ton more info if any one wants it, most of it is available off CDC websites though.

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