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Submission + - Google interview process big turn off for experienced engineers (

mysterious_mark writes: There's an article in the Business Insider discussing how the interview process at Google is really just geared for recent CS grads, and makes no sense for experienced engineers. Apparently the only criteria to work at Google is one's ability to do white board code problems, actual engineering experience counts for nothing. This may explain why the average engineer at Google is under 30, the problem is partly due to age discrimination, and also because older and more experienced engineers simply don't want to deal with the interview process.

Comment Apple is no more intransigent than YOU. (Score 1) 284

"Apple is seeking for itself the exclusive use of Australia's existing NFC terminal infrastructure for the making of integrated mobile payments using iOS devices. Yet, this infrastructure was built and paid for by Australian banks and merchants for the benefit of all Australians."

Let's just parse this a bit more closely, and see what it boils down to: "Apple is seeking ... exclusive use of ... integrated mobile payments using iOS devices."

Whoops. What was that? Apple wants to profit from the hardware and software that they themselves developed? Huh.

Now, the banks' real point: "... this infrastructure [that is, the existing NFC terminals] was built and paid for by Australian banks and merchants for the benefit of all Australians." Oh. So the truth of the matter is, you want to retain control over your ecosystem, and Apple wants to retain control over their ecosystem. Isn't that something?

Funny thing is, the banks (worldwide) do indeed have full control over their respective ecosystems; all they have to do is ignore Apple, and implement something on Android. Unless, of course, that's too much work for them, or possibly not as profitable as Apple's iOS ecosystem, for some reason...

Bottom line: the banks are just trying to find a way to maximize their share of the profits, pure and simple. Nothing much to see, here... just your standard money grab.

Comment Digital tethering is more effective anyway (Score 4, Insightful) 76

This shouldn't be surprising, actually. The market for stolen iPhones has taken a serious hit, because of Apple's iTunes account locking policies. You steal my iPhone, I immediately lock you out of it. If I'm feeling particularly adventurous, I might even go to the trouble of tracking you down, maybe even with a police officer in tow. "Your" stolen device is not only now a brick... it's also a liability. Would-be thieves know this; they'll get at most a few hours of use out of any iPhone that they steal, and likely only a few minutes, if they set off alarms as they're stealing it from a store -- and worst case scenario, (for the thief, that is) they're also much more likely to get jail time for their crime.

Now, contrast that with a physical tether, which can be snipped quickly and easily with the right tool. No contest.

On the other hand, now actual potential buyers will get the sense that Apple actually wants them in the stores, wants them to feel comfortable... and of course, wants them to spend money. So for Apple, this probably all makes perfect sense.

Submission + - DRM? DRM!? We don't need no stinkin' DRM! (

zarmanto writes: Ars Technica reports that one particular game studio might finally get it, when it comes to DRMed game content. They're publishing their latest game, Shadow Warrior 2 with no DRM protection at all. From the article:

"We don't support piracy, but currently there isn't a good way to stop it without hurting our customers," Flying Wild Hog developer Krzysztof “KriS” Narkowicz wrote...

... "We hope that our fans, who were always very supportive, will support us this time as well," Zielinski told Kotaku. "...In our imperfect world, the best anti-pirate protection is when the games are good, highly polished, easily accessible and inexpensive," Maksara added.

Submission + - Android Trojan Asks Victims to Submit a Selfie Holding Their ID Card (

An anonymous reader writes: Untrained and gullible Android users are now the target of an Android banking trojan that asks them to send a selfie holding their ID card. The trojan, considered the most sophisticated Android trojan known today, is named Acecard, and this most recent version has been detected only in Hong Kong and Singapore for now.

The purpose of requiring a selfie of the victim holding its ID card is for the crook to prove himself when making fraudulent bank transactions, calling tech support posing as the victim, or for taking over social media accounts for Facebook or Twitter, who often required ID scans in the case of account takeover disputes.

Comment Cable Companies LIE to keep you... (Score 5, Informative) 250

Cord cutter, here. If you're thinking of joining me by switching down to an internet-only service, you need to know this: Your cable company is going to lie to you. They're going to tell you all kinds of stories about how they don't actually offer internet-only options, or about how it's actually less expensive to have a bundle than it is to go internet-only. Don't believe them. There is exactly one way to get the full truth out of them: Tell them you're cancelling. As soon as they transfer you to the retention department, someone who actually knows what they're talking about will happily give you that internet-only connection you're looking for, and most likely at a reasonable price, too... at least, for the first year, anyway.

Sidenote: Obviously, this only works if you have at least one other viable broadband provider in your area. If you live in one of the many broadband monopoly areas... well, in that case, you have my sympathies, because you are well and truly screwed.

Comment Rock and a hard place (Score 1) 222

There's really no mystery to this: Verizon is sticking to that unconvincing party line, because they're between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The restrictions they agreed to when they purchased their Block C spectrum license state that they're not permitted to restrict the ways in which you use your data connection on their wireless network; if you want to tether your BitTorrent PC to your Verizon Wireless cell phone and let it saturate that connection 24/7, they can't stop you -- they quite literally can't even slow you down. Thus, in order to make that kind of abuse of their network exorbitantly expensive, the only option that seems to be left to them is metering. We could probably argue ceaselessly about whether or not their current metered plans and overage fees are actually reasonable based on typical user activity -- but that's another discussion entirely. The point is, Verizon is never going to back down from those meters. Because they can't.

Mind you, I'm not making apologies for them... they made their bed, (by buying that spectrum in the first place) and now they have to sleep in it. But I don't have to sleep in it with them.

Comment Forthcoming Update! (Score 2) 152

And in next month's hypothetical news...

UPDATE: Facebook Cancels Autoplay For Videos

A report out today states that Facebook's usage statistics dropped precipitously over the past month, as users apparently simply stopped casually opening Facebook on their mobile phones almost entirely. One incensed user reports that his Facebook feed just suddenly started blaring an advertisement for Trojan condoms, right in the middle of his Sunday morning church service. Says the user, who prefers to remain anonymous, "I was totally shocked and embarrassed! I mean, I have never -- never, I tell ya -- shopped for condoms online! I mean, don't tell my girlfriend, but sure... I've surfed a little porn now and then -- but how the heck could Facebook know about that??"

Facebook executives cast the entire blame for this dip in usage on a software technician who had developed and deployed the new "Autoplay" feature for videos showing up in end-users news feeds, which was silently rolled out to all users and which naturally defaults to "on." The feature has now been rolled back in a panicked effort to minimize any further damage, but analysts are skeptical that the once overwhelmingly popular service will be able to reclaim its former glory. One executive was quoted as saying, "Hey, don't look at me! It's all that developer's fault -- and trust me, we've sacked him but good!" This reporter has asked Facebook for more details on what happened to the executive who authorized the new feature, but Facebook has not yet responded to queries as of press time.

Comment Common sense... isn't common (Score 2) 209

This isn't any kind of a magic bullet against crime: it's just another example of people failing to follow a rational chain of events to its conclusion. If you tell an even moderately intelligent person that he will be forced to give up the password to his cell phone if he's ever arrested, then he will simply add one more layer of obfuscation between his phone and his secrets... and you still won't be able to prosecute the worst offenders. The only people who will get caught up in this new dragnet are those in the first round of arrests who don't pay attention to the latest changes in their local laws, and therefore fail to take precautions. Most others (intelligent and otherwise) will quickly learn about those prosecutions from the media frenzy that follows, and will lock down their crap soon thereafter.

Seriously... just follow the pieces around the board, and you should be able to tell who's going to ultimately win in this kind of game. (Doesn't anyone play chess, anymore?)

Comment Peculiar logic (Score 1) 367

This article -- while an interesting opinion piece -- is clearly missing some key pieces in the argument it tries to make, which is largely why so many people are attempting to offer their own contrasting figures both here on /. and on the original article thread. So here's one more example, to add to the collection: The Bible is the best selling book in the world, at somewhere over 5 billion copies... but that's a sales figure which spans back over two centuries. So where's the time factor, in this analysis of Apple's iPhone sales? Clearly, the author needed to run this piece past a few friends at the very minimum, before running with it. (Actually, I think professional editorial staffers are what's missing from most articles, these days -- but perhaps that's a soapbox for another time.)

Full disclosure: I own multiple iPhones, multiple Macs... and multiple Bibles.

Comment To sit... or to stand... (Score 1) 326

My home computers are pretty uncomplicated; an iMac at a conventional desk in the office and a Mac Mini at a standing workstation in the home theater, attached to the projector -- but my office setup is arguably where I've put the most effort and thought. I have five computers at my desk, serving various purposes. (Some are on a stand-alone development network, one is a version control server, one is my internet box... etc.) So needless to say, a KVM was one of the first necessities, there.

I also have three monitors across my desk. The KVM connects to the center 20" display, while the flanking 24" widescreen displays act as secondary displays on one or more computers. None of my computers actually support all three monitors, mind you... but most of them support at least two. Just for fun, I've also copied the same collection of panorama desktop backgrounds to each workstation, so that I can view a contiguous background image across all three displays, regardless of which machines are currently active.

Over time, I started thinking about the idea of having a standing workstation in the office, because I kind'a like the one I have at home, and because everyone has always lauded the health benefits of standing more and sitting less... but getting the Powers That Be to sign off on an expensive new adjustable height desk would be nigh impossible. So I designed my own "poor man's" standing desk. It's still the same desk I've always had, but now there are three stacks of old software engineering books (which nobody cares about) under the monitors, elevating them to standing height. I also used a bookshelf supported by some steel paper organizers (again, which nobody cares about... because who organizes hard copy papers anymore?) to elevate a keyboard and mouse appropriately. As an added element, I connected up a secondary keyboard and mouse on the desk under that bookshelf, so that I can sit down when my legs grow tired.

And they do. I don't think I'll go to all this effort again, when I finally leave this job behind me. Maybe I'll just hit the gym more often, instead...

Comment Dangerous precedent... (Score 3, Insightful) 158

So let's follow the rabbit a little bit further down this hole: If the police manage to set a precedent that cell phone location data can be used to establish the location of a given suspect to a particular crime, then what happens when the criminals start leaving their cell phones at home? Does that now qualify as an alibi?

Is our legal system really ready to go that far down the hole?

Submission + - NVIDIA's Neural Network Drives A Car (

mikejuk writes: NVIDIA has moved into AI in a big way, both with hardware and software. Now it has implemented an end-to-end neural network approach to driving a car. This is a much bigger breakthrough than winning at Go and raises fundamental questions of what sort of systems we are willing to accept driving cars for us.
NVIDIA is reporting the results of its end-to-end self driving car project, called Dave-2, the raw input is simply video of the view of the road and the output is steering wheel angle. The neural network in between learns to steer by being shown videos of a human driving and what the human driver did to the steering wheel as a result. You could say that the network learned to drive by sitting next to a human driver.
This is much different than the engineered approach used by Google say where Lidar and highly accurate maps are used to implement if..then rules that formulate how to drive an a precise way.
After testing on a simulation, Dave-2 was taken out on the road — the real road. Performance wasn't perfect, but the system did drive the car for 98% of the time leaving the human just 2% of the driving to do.
The real issue is not that a neural network is better at driving than the engineers solutions offered by Google but that we really don't know how it does it. A neural network can generalize to situations it has never seen before, something the current crop of self driving if..then.. rules cannot. However we can't reduce the network to a set of clear if..then rules that explain the way it behaves. It might not have a specific "bus detector" but this doesn't mean it will crash into a bus as Google's self driving car did.
Do we need to understand a system to have confidence that it will work? If we learn the lessons of traditional buggy software the answer seems to be no.

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