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Submission + - Now you can choose hotels by the quality of their wifi (hotelwifitest.com)

spac writes: When some of us book hotel rooms, our first thoughts aren’t about whether they have in-room coffee service, or if housekeeping will let have a few extra tiny bottles of shampoo. Instead, our eyes immediately scan for "Free WiFi" somewhere on the booking website. This site ranks and tests wifi connections at hotels all over the world — definitely worth checking out if you're a road warrior or simply don't want to spend 300$ on a fancy hotel room and discover that their wifi connection is backed by a 28.8 kbaud modem!

VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding 225

theodp writes: Back in 2012, Computerworld blasted Vice President Joe Biden for his ignorance of the H-1B temporary work visa program. But Joe's got his H-1B story and he's sticking to it, characterizing the visa program earlier this month in a speech to the National Governors Association as "apprenticeships" of sorts that companies provide to foreign workers to expand the Information Technology industry only after proving there are no qualified Americans to fill the jobs. Biden said he also learned from his talks with tech's top CEOs that 200,000 of the jobs that companies provide each year to highly-skilled H-1B visa holders could in fact be done by Americans with no more than a two-year community college degree.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 31

No, it's still just an argument. Perhaps you mean to say that one of the premises of this argument has recently received some sort of empirical confirmation?

Either way, the linked post isn't a particularly good presentation of the Kalam argument. Which is why I referenced the far more complete and careful presentation above. Any discussion of the argument, and its theological implications (if any) will probably deal with points touched on there (and not in the linked post).

Comment Well... (Score 1) 31

If you're going to hang your hat on the Kalam argument, might as well cite a better treatment. The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology has a fairly good chapter on it. Might be worth more of a look than this.


Submission + - New iOS app tricks users into proxying all web traffic for ads (allthingsd.com)

spac writes: AllthingsD has an interesting story about how a startup, Wajam requires users of their service to download a script that sets up a proxy to handle all network requests for the purpose of providing "Social Recommendations" within built-in apps. The privacy implications of using this profile script to users isn't clearly presented to users. Are we really to trust our data into the hands of a company founded by a man who comes from the world of browser toolbars? And for social search?!

Comment Re:Part of this is because of US Export Restrictio (Score 3, Informative) 139

It seems that if you let the user transmit or receive encrypted data (even if it's just a login!) you need to get a license.

We use the built in iOS classes for HTTP requests that support SSL transparently. The US government still required us to register for export compliance. It's really senseless.

Comment Part of this is because of US Export Restrictions (Score 5, Informative) 139

It's a pain in the behind to distribute apps with encryption code (even if all your app does is use SSL!) on the app store.

You need to go through hoops registering with the US government for an export license for every app you publish. When we built our software, we got hit with these requirements and had to go through a bunch of paperwork that really slowed us down and gave us a headache all because we communicate with only communicate with our web service via SSL.

It's ridiculous that there's no exemption for SSL usage on US export controls. It's just a pain in the ass for everyone in the process and you can't honestly claim that it prevents awfully dangerous tech from getting into the enemy's hands.

Comment Fallacy (Score 1) 214

(By the way, I've been unable to find a precise name for the cognitive fallacy wherein if you observe that all things which achieve goal Z have attribute X, then you come to think that attribute X is a good predictor of achieving goal Z. It's not the same as the "post hoc fallacy" or the mistaken belief that "correlation equals causation," because both of those are about the illusion of causation. I'm talking about the correlation being an illusion in the first place â" where people come to believe that attribute X is a good predictor of achieving result Z, ignoring the fact that there may be enormous numbers of cases where attribute X is true, but which never go on to achieve result Z. If you know the exact name of that fallacy, shoot me an email and submit a comment below.)

Sounds kinda like the base rate fallacy to me.

Comment As an engineer turned MBA, I completely agree (Score 3, Informative) 487

Reading this piece, I can comfortably say that the author is right on the money with regards to how a focus on being "data driven" is actually slowly running companies into the ground.

I started off my career writing really low level network stack drivers. I got pretty familiar with the windows kernel, became a star in my office and got put on an MBA track because I had demonstrated some aptitude with customers and sales. Fast forward a few years and I've got an MBA under my belt and work for what was formerly a very large provider of consumer SaaS that is now trying to win in what can be loosely described as the call center space.

My days are now spent trying to determine strategic initiatives on the basis of consumer behaviour as represented in a slew of really badly coded Cognos reports. This wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that analytics and data driven decision making is anything but in most companies. Data is used to validate a hypothesis instead of being explored to reveal patterns, associations and trends. Every executive asking a question about customer behviour is secretly asking for validation of their own theory on the business and wants to gloat about it come performance review time. Obviously, in this kind of operating model, data is bastardized to lead to really bad decisions.

I'm all for scientific approaches to management, however they need to be undertaken following a method that is in line with the scientific method to be labelled as such. When I leave this job (which is ridiculously well paying but completely unfulfilling compared to my career in engineering) and run off to create my startup, I will probably hire an MBA at some point. However, I won't hire them to be a bean counter.

What many companies fail to realize is that the key to having a great leader is equal focus on product and market. The MBA that I would hire would be chosen because they've demonstrated an ability to be highly technically proficient but decided to expand their horizons and take on "soft-problems" as well.

Comment Re:Proof? (Score 1) 18

But proof of what? If I observe what appears to be water, is that proof that I'm observing actual water? (I'm thinking of mirage situations.)

Insofar as our senses are fallible, an observation that appears to be an X can only be evidence, not proof, that one has observed an actual X.

Comment Re:Sounds more like an agnostic to me (Score 1) 18

But nonetheless, it does take faith to believe that there is no god, hence atheists do have faith.

I have to wonder what you mean by "faith" here. Are you of the opinion that there is not (or perhaps, cannot be) sufficient evidence to render a belief that God does not exist rational to hold?

Comment Proof? (Score 1) 18

I think the need for "proof" before believing something to be true is wrongheaded. "Proof" is the kind of thing one gets in mathematics. I haven't got a proof that Washington was the first president, that I have a brother, or that the sun will rise tomorrow; but I believe each of those things. What I do have, however, is quite a lot of evidence that those things are true. Am I being irrational, by your lights?

But replacing "proof" with "evidence" leaves your main thesis in a questionable position. Because the theist will be quick to point out that he *does* have evidence for his position: the testimony of those who profess to have had experiences with God, the existence of some holy book which purports to be about the deity in question, and a plethora of arguments from natural theology. I'm not suggesting that these things constitute *sufficient* evidence, or even especially strong evidence. But they are evidence.

I might suggest a reformulation along Clifford's lines: "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."

Assuming one follows that maxim, and assuming that there is insufficient evidence to believe the proposition "God exists" either true or false, one would seem to be more agnostic than atheist.

Comment Re:Seriously... (Score 1) 729

Well, ok. I promise this is my last post. I understand its not very fair to you to just wave my hands and tell you how stupid this argument is, if you've never had it. Its the theological equivalent of talking to a intro to physics student about the absolute speed of light. They always propose hypothetical situations, which you already know they are going to be wrong without them asking. I just thought I'd head you off at the pas and give you some time to reflect on the flaw before getting into a heated debate. But given the way our discussion has already gone, you don't seem to be picking it up, or understanding 80 % of my posts. If you don't understand Calculus, its tough to teach ODE, no? So consider this the physics for poets digest.

I'll ignore the condescension, since you actually follow it up by talking about the argument itself.

Me: #2 fails because I believe an All knowing, All loving God can have reasonable people who do not believe in him. A principle in many denominations of Christianity is that of God granting us free will. If we have free will, we can choose or not choose to believe in God.

We can choose our beliefs? Even with a libertarian view of free will, it isn't simply a given that we are capable of choosing our beliefs. You need some kind of doxastic voluntarism to be true, for this to be an objection to the argument. Do you have any evidence that this is the case?

Additionally, he has given us testimonials form other credible sources, but prefers to let other humans do the Evangelization. It does not logically follow that an all Loving Creator God must directly communicate with his creation.

Nothing in the argument entails that a perfectly loving God must directly communicate with his creation. This is nothing more than a red herring.

You: An All loving God would want everyone to know he exists, so they could love him too!

Not quite. A perfectly loving God would want everyone to believe that he exists, because such a belief is required for a mutually explicit, meaningful love relationship to exist between God and his creations. I don't know what else "perfectly loving" could mean, other than the desire to participate in such a relationship with everyone who was willing.

[more red herrings and straw men]

Not much else to respond to here.

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