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Comment Re:Its not cheating (Score 2) 406

I got your point. However, please not that (state sponsored) lottery, scratch-offs etc. have waaaay worse payout than blackjack or roulette.

If you go to a casino, you go in order to be entertained (yes, partly pay someone to play cards with you, but also): watching dressed up people lose and win money and observe how they react to it and experience the thrill of occasionally winning yourself. Now, if you go with the intention to make a fortune, you will be most likely utterly disappointed.

When I am in Vegas, my method is to put $200 in my right pocket and play with the money from that pocket. All winnings go straight from the table to the left pocket. When I am out of money from the right pocket, I leave. I count how much is in the left pocket and being a mathematician muse about the probabilities. I have a good time either way! (I primarily go to see shows though.)

Comment Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (Score 1) 53

I wonder whether anyone thought to exploit this. For example, it seems that he would not have to pay for traffic tickets. Simply send in a letter that says he cannot pay the fine because he is dead.

(However, I would not think that a "living dead" would get away with destroying property or with murder.)

Comment Re: AI and robotics and jobs (Score 4, Interesting) 625

Most people around me suffer from not having enough time to spend it with their family or on vacation or persuing arts or be politically active etc. The latter is actually a serious problem. There are people who tell me they do not vote because they do not know who to vote for because they have no time to keep up with politics. And when they say that they do not mean the 1 minute sound bites from TV etc. but instead reading research papers and in-depth analysis; maybe a whole book about issues like education, poverty, competition, issues of governence or philoshophy.

Instead people spend time commuting to a job and overall more than *half* of their time awake time on a job. If you are an artist or researcher this may well be what you want to do, but I doubt this is the case for most.

Comment Re:Kind of innevitable and entirely reasonable (Score 2) 297

* Institute max working per week and other rules to increase number of employees in the private sector (shrinks government, grows private sector)

Instituting maximum working hours will result in a more expensive workforce. I am not against it necessarily, but in order to prevent the country to lose in international competition, some protection mechanisms will be needed (anti-globalization). And before you say that 2 people working 20 hours can do the same as 1 in 40, answer the following as a practice question:

"If it takes 1 woman 9 months to bring a child to term, how long does it take for 9 women?"

And of course whether the 2 people sharing the salary that the one got earlier will be able to live on it, is not a foregone conclusion either.

Having said the above, I wish that working hours would be reduced to around 32 per week *everywhere*. That would allow more informed citizens and would increase civic participation, etc.

Comment Re:IOW, we're making it harder get a response... (Score 1) 337

I do not understand what is the big problem with idiot petitions. A one liner response would do: "We had a good laugh at the office. Now we are back to work." These petitions are not binding...

Regarding the Death Star petition in particular, could it be that the public's interest should be interpreted a little bit more on an abstracted level? For example the White House could have said: "Considering the enourmous interest, there will be a Death Star stamp issued in March 2013, commemorating the 30 year anniversary of Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative." Or put the Death Star on the new trillion dollar coin to be minted. Whatever. Bureaucrats! Show some class!

Comment Re:Do Not Want! (Score 1) 272

Am I the only one who senses a potential problem? They better make sure there are no bugs and else!

Assume the shooter applies larger force (while the pull force is increased), but suddenly the software leaves this mode. This could be due to a software error, battery failure, an ionizing radiation altering the CPU state, whatever (software error is most likely). Then suddenly the rifle goes off (while the shooter applied constant pressure throughout). This could result in a failed hitting of target or an outright disaster.

For example, if the pull force is increased, then only two events should allow it to be reduced:
1. firing occurs either due to the computer resetting it (target match) or the shooter applying the necessary pressure OR
2. complete release of the trigger for a short amount of time (maybe coupled with movement of the gun)

This should be true even if the software disconnects, meaning that the second condition should be guaranteed by a mechanical process.

Comment work + school (Score 1) 433

I just finished my university studies while also working full time, but my situation is still quite different I think. I defended my CS PhD a couple weeks ago in the US where I also work full time as a software engineer. I had a math degree from my (non-US) home country, which was/is not properly recognized. (Should be M.S. equivalent, but there are arrogant and ignorant administrators in the US. Meanwhile my opinion (that I refrained to yell to them) is that the US B. S degree is equivalent to an above average high school diploma from my home country.) So for me it was important to get a US diploma.

Work and school took very long time for me and also for others I met in the same boat. I did it because I actually like doing research and plan to keep doing it. (My software engineering job is math oriented and it is full of interesting problems like compression, boolean optimization, graph partitioning, etc.)

Here is my take: getting a B.S. in CS may help you on paper, but I doubt it will matter much more than 5 years experience and you will not learn much new useful skills getting it. Getting an M.S will take a longer while, will help you much better on paper, but you should consider finances and family situation closely. Are you sure you need a CS degree? I have many coworkers with math or physics or engineering degrees. Any other direction you may consider? Like business and marketing? Augmented with knowledge of software engineering that may triple its value.

If you intend to stick to programming for life, I would also suggest (that you consider) getting involved in some open source projects (with your company's approval) that may look quite good on your resume and offset lack of formal training and may help with networking too.

Comment Re:Worst of Both Worlds (Score 1) 362

That still does not explain why the Air Force paid before the software was written? I know it is a lot of money, and companies taking on the job would press for an advance. However considering that 1B is still small compared to the balance sheets of large software companies (Apple, MS, IBM, etc.), I do not get it.

So what was keeping the Air Force from setting the terms to include payment on delivery (other than incompetence)?

Comment Re:Standby in Three... Two... One.... (Score 4, Insightful) 217

The only reason people buy Apple now is familiarity, and fashion... and the fashion statement has grown stale since you can buy them in Walmart now.

Apple Inc. products are as fashionable as a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry (the comparison stops there, these cars are fairly priced and of excellent quality). These are products for the masses. Apple marketing is outstanding in convincing their users that they are trendy and cool. The fact that only these users think so, while others just are shaking their heads in bewilderment does not deminish the accomplishment on the part of Apple's marketing machine.

Apple products are primarily for those whose understanding of technology is cursory, but who want to pretend they are on the edge. Their actual functional needs of the users are average (few exceptions apply), but they pay a hefty premium for the brand and "belonging".

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