Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment Re:wrong premise (Score 1) 200

To put some real numbers and facts behind my points above, here is what you're asking Google to do if it is supposed to "mirror the population".

According to its own diversity report a few months ago, Google employed 32,527 people. This breaks down along some of the various populations of interest:
  • Male: 22,508
  • Female: 8,591
  • White: 19,809
  • Black: 628
  • Asian: 9,924
  • Hispanic: 1,428
  • Hawaiian/Pacific: 61
  • American Indian: 41

If these employment stats had to mirror the population (which is 50.9% women, 12.2% black, 16.3% Hispanic, etc etc according to the recent US Census), Google would need to find:

  • 7,965 women
  • 3,340 black
  • 3,874 hispanic
  • 187 American Indian

employees. (and of course we would need to reduce the number of white male employees accordingly) I do not think the entirety of California could produce these numbers. So tell me, how is Google or Apple, or all of the tech community combined supposed to achieve these lofty political goals?

Comment wrong premise (Score 4, Insightful) 200

Last month, Alphabet's Google released data on diversity, saying it had more black, Latino and female employees but still lagged its goal of mirroring the population.

You will find on closer examination that, actually, many of these tech companies' hiring results actually do mirror the population. But the relevant population that you're talking about is those people who apply to places like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. And that population is heavily underrepresented in female/black/hispanic people compared to the population at large. That is what many people seem to be willing to be blind to. If the source population from which you draw such workers is skewed, no amount of effort is going to enable you to hire 100 female/black/hispanic workers when there are only 30 to choose from. And yet people will still criticize you for it.

These companies are not going to singlehandedly change the makeup of tech (or even just high paid) workers in the United States, no matter how much they try (or are put under political pressure to do so). And I think that it is rather disingenuous / politically correct of them to simply market that they will do it because it's fashionable to say they will. Addressing this problem is deeper and requires more of the desired target segments to go into these fields to be available to apply to the positions to start with. Which is a much more difficult challenge that most of the advocates for such policies actually don't even want to put in the effort to do themselves.

I will openly say that I do not believe (as many people seem to reflexively parrot the phrase) that a company's workforce "needs to look like the general population". I find that a dubious proposition, usually supported by poor logic. If it happens that the general population has the propensity and skill to become tech workers in equal proportions across all demographics, then that could be true, but I doubt it. But at the same time, I support any effort to make sure that primary/secondary/higher education gives everyone access to succeed in these fields, if they want to.

But I will not subscribe to the idea that we should skew the output of the process to some political goal, when the input of that process is what matters and determines it more than anything else. When you do that, all you get is symbolic, and often detrimental, results.

Comment and it goes how far? (Score 4, Insightful) 224

So -- anything that goes wrong with your iPhone, computer, etc. is required to be covered by a manufacturer issued repair guide that's available to the customer? Since when has that been required for anything you buy, even remotely? Not even your dumb refrigerator manufacturer is required to tell you how to fix it.

And in what level of detail / remedy would it have to explain how to repair the item? My laptop's GPU has a few transistors that got fried. Are they saying Apple has to tell me how to disassemble the chip, do nanosurgery on it and refabricate a few layers of silicon? Or that "get a new laptop" is sufficient to fix the issue?

Nice sentiment, but full of holes in how it would be implemented.

Comment out of the ISP's hands - so what is the ISP for? (Score 4, Insightful) 184

This is skirting the real story here -- which is that such public infrastructure could be managed by a public entity (or a private entity charged with providing the highest quality bandwidth) with no incentive for excess profit or attempts to limit the bandwidth / quality because they want to increase profits. And by the way, fiber is a public infrastructure generally, because most towns grant the franchise to dig up streets / string cable to one company only.

So, if an ISP is only a retailer of services on the dumb pipe that everyone has access to, what is the ISP's purpose, other than billing and helping users get access to the pipe? Why not take the fiber into the city's hands to begin with?

The story here isn't that a town has made it easy for customers to switch providers with the click of a button -- it's that a city has taken the role of ISPs completely out of providing the infrastructure and removed the excuses that ISPs that their quality of delivered bandwidth per $ differs for unjustifiable reasons.

They are saying that customers don't actually want to be differentiating their choice on artificial limitations on their bandwidth quality (which should be the same for everyone). If ISPs are really competing based on other value that they add (customer service?) and not their monopoly over a public infrastructure, let them do so and see what customers actually start to choose based on.

Comment try a different search (Score 1) 304

Yes, it reflects that America (and more accurately, website and search content regarding American black people) is kind of racist -- not Google.

Search for "Three African teenagers" and you get quite a more reasonable (similar to "Three White teenagers") result: https://www.google.com/search?...

It's not some kind of huge conspiracy.

Comment guesses (Score 1) 170

So, here is just a little bit of amateur desk research into some things we might be able to gather from the information:

The FAA flight advisory provides the coordinates and the nature of the GPS signal disruption, which is centered near China Lake, and has expanding rings of area, each of which rises in altitude. For the pilots out there, imagine the classic upside-down wedding cake shape. Or cone with its point at the ground.

This would seem to indicate some kind of broadcast or interference from a source that is located at the ground, propagating line of sight with larger radii with altitude. Rather than something to do with the satellite itself.

The center of the coordinates are 360822N, 1173846W, which is in a big empty desert area, just south (SSW of Darwin, California), see here: https://www.google.com/maps/pl...

It could of course be some kind of antenna, or even a flight that is producing this signal. But there's also an interesting long V-shaped two-legged testing(?) facility just to the east of these coordinates, which you can see in the Google Earth image. I might be mistaken about what that facility is, because aeronautical sectional charts also show a mine in that area, but this doesn't look like a mine site. Also there are a bunch of vehicles that look like Humvees on the pad nearby. And there are three antenna looking structures at the north end of the paved line.

Anyway, it's interesting to speculate about.

Comment silliness (Score 1) 78

What a silly gesture and mostly pointless for the average customer. Who will actually appreciate and make any purchase decision based on owning 1 share of a company's stock? At some point, it's actually more trouble to have this share of stock, and keep track of it.

I think most customers would much rather T-mobile invest this money into upgrading their networks/products or have more attractive offerings. Not saying T-Mobile is a bad company -- there are many aspects to like about them, but this move is silly.

By the way, Google Fi has completely won me over as a wireless carrier (operating largely on T-Mobile's network).

Comment suggestion (Score 2) 77

In the absence of industry self-policing, maybe a couple of lawsuits over consequential damages resulting from such incompetent security design would help Asus understand what to do next...

I mean, maybe you don't expect these kinds of manufacturers to have the security and hardware/software design teams of an Apple or IBM (or the sense of responsibility), but cmon this is ridiculous.

Comment poor marketing and confusion management (Score 4, Interesting) 72

Yes, thank you Xiaomi for helping me understand that there are reasonably priced pulse sensors and wearable sleep monitoring bands out there (and these even alert you when your phone is ringing). For that I am grateful I don't have to spend $100 on a silly Fitbit or even more for an Apple Watch.

But the thing that Xiaomi needs badly is someone to manage the brand understanding and confusing proliferation of Xiaomi band models that they're offering.

If you try to buy one of these things, I challenge you not to be bewildered by:
-- Mi Band
-- Mi Band Pulse
-- Mi Band Original
-- Mi Band 1S

This is made worse by the slew of websites that sell these things with poorly explained feature differences between all of them, have pretty different pricing of similar looking bands to the point that you're not sure which one you're getting. You have to admit, Apple does some things much better...

Comment Re:The most disgusting part.. (Score 3, Insightful) 420

Do you hold yourself to the same standard? When you have reached some certain level of salary, do you give up a raise because you have earned enough and it's not reasonable for you to accept more for your efforts? Are you a greedy bastard when you advocate for a higher salary, instead of allowing a summer intern to be hired?

I just don't buy this logic. If a corporation, operating under the rules set by the government and regulators, can increase its profit and continue providing its services, why would it not do so? I don't see in law any requirement that companies have social welfare or domestic employment goals in their incorporation requirements

If we're unhappy with the results of this behavior, then we should set new rules. But blaming them for following the incentives we've set is silly.

Comment FAA is being rather reasonable (Score 2) 216

Despite what the article, and perhaps sensationalists, is trying to imply -- the FAA is a rather reasonable organization on the scale of government agencies, and the approach they are taking is to minimize the risks of flying to uninformed or innocent people who may not be aware of all the issues. This is why as much as a pilot is free to joyride across open water or the desert wilderness, they are not free to do that over populated areas that did not consent to the risks of that activity.

When someone starts acting as a provider of transportation to people they do not know other than for the purpose of the transaction, you start to get far more into the realm of people who sign up to purchase a service where there are not fully aware of the risks. Consider what knowledge you have about entering a friend's car, or a family member's car, versus a taxi driver's.

The philosophy is that, ok, private pilots have trained for this activity, and take on the risk themselves. If they share a ride (and split the costs) under the currently allowed rules with friends/family, those people tend to know the risks as well. And that is a relatively small set of potential passengers who could potentially engage in this activity.

When people start advertising to the broader public that they're available for flights, you start to get people who are unaware of the risks. And pilots who will engage in flights (each of which carries some incremental risk) that would not taken place otherwise. And that is the problem, considering that the FAA is mindful a certain acceptable level of flight activity and risk percentage.

The FAA is not being overly heavy handed in this matter. For all the semi-justified concern about Uber insurance requirements and background checks for cars -- for aircraft and pilots I would hold the bar at least 10x higher.

Comment weigh the risk = speed (Score 1) 143

The reason is that the ways that typical security are applied = actually insecure and less effective (for the user).

Take for example, a very common password requirement at Chase bank: They require that passwords be >8 characters, have a !@#$@# special character, numbers, capital letters, etc.

And.. if you forget your password, it cannot be reset to the same as any of your last 5 old passwords. Even if the last passwords were reset voluntarily due to forgetting.

So when I, with already a relatively good memory for passwords, forget my nonsensical password that matches no other password at Chase, I cannot reset it to something I can even temporarily remember as my past password because that is not allowed.

That leads to me into this neverending password hell of constantly rotating passwords and resets that make me feel like I have less access to my account and less ability to monitor what's going on.

I much prefer the slightly less secure but easier to remember passwords with no such restrictions when I have to reset it due to forgetfulness. This is a ridiculous state of affairs.

Comment how can you blame them? (Score 1) 1023

These are pretty rational decisions. Robots don't:
  1. -- take sick days
  2. -- file frivolous lawsuits
  3. -- form unions
  4. -- expect rising wages for the same performance
  5. -- need transportation/healthcare/benefits equal to salary
  6. -- etc. etc. etc.

Even the workers getting fired would employ robots for things in their personal lives for the things they find dull, dirty, dangerous.

The real question is: are we in a world where the supply of people/population is excessive for the amount of human-required labor demanded? If that is the case, then we're in for a period of shrinkage and serious conflict among the classes...

Slashdot Top Deals

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.