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Hiring Developers By Algorithm

Aceticon Re:Talented Introverts are Tough To Spot (326 comments)


I've been involved in the Tech Startup world for a bit now (though in London, not SV) and it's amazing the amount of bullshit being spewed around to try and catch the innocent and naive.

Even just the reference to "Big Data" (which is just a rebranding of a past concept) sets alarm bells ringing in my head. Anybody looking for a "rockstar" anything is just branding themselves as either idiots or devious types.

FYI, I'm programmer in my forties that started his own company after 15 years working in 3 countries as a permanent employee and freelancer. I still vividly remember being in the middle of the Y2K boom and bust.

That said, looking around at other people working in Tech Startups I can understand why somebody would be trying to sell some kind of algorithmic programmer evaluation kit to them: most Tech Startups are not started by techies, they're started by non-techies who then have tons of trouble finding a CTO-type techie to help them (an all around hacker-type willing to work and manage the technical side of a startup is actually very hard to find), so they end up having to evaluate and hire the developers themselves and they simply have no clue how spot the good ones from the bad ones or even what a developer is capable of (or not) at a certain level of experience.

This is in fact a pretty generic problem: people have tons of prejudices and preconceptions about how work is done outside of their area of expertise and lack the needed real-life knowledge about it to be able to judge the practicioners of other areas of work properly.

about a year and a half ago

Why Working Remotely Needs To Make a Comeback

Aceticon If it can be done remotelly, it can be outsourced (455 comments)

That's been the problem since way back in the time when people started being able to do the work remotelly.

In the mindset of your typical short-termist middle managers: if an "expensive" Developed Nation resource can do it from home, why don't we have it done by "cheap" resources living in Developing Nations.

In the end, the main competitive advantages of local resources are:

  • You can see them in person, which increases one's confidence in that they are actually working and in the kind of person they are
  • Little or no cultural clashes. People from different cultures have markedly different assumptions and expectations. For example, a not uncommon problem with Indian developers from India is that during a group phone conference they will never admit to not having understood something - due to how in their culture they would loose face - so one has to make up for that one-on-one
  • Lower communications overhead: if you have a question, there is little or no overhead to reach them
  • You are not importing the issues of a remote country, be it legal problems, infrastructure, excessive sick-leave or others

That said, a lot of these advantages do require in-person presence (at least some of the time), so as long as one can get 4x in a far away country for the price of 1x locally, those problems will be managed.

about 2 years ago

US CEO Says French Workers Have Three-Hour Work Day

Aceticon Re:Key problem: "And import them back to france" (1313 comments)

Having worked in all of Portugal, The Netherlands and the UK, I can tell you that the Dutch secret juice is:
- Plan before you start, rather than shoot-from-the-hip decision-making
- No overwork. None, at all. Working 8h/day and not a minute more is vastly more productive in overall simply because people are not tired and so make far fewer mistakes (and in white collar professions mistakes are far more costly to fix that whatever extra "work" you gain from regular overtime).

Interestingly, when I moved to the UK I went to work as a freelancer in one of the most competivive environments with the craziest amounts of overtime (investment banking) and refused to do regular overtime. The end result: I overproduced all of my colleagues (and regularly delivered the needed solutions on time, a rare feat in that industry) and so always got my contracts renewed.

about 2 years ago

Google Looking for "Creative Individuals" For Glass Developer Program

Aceticon Were do they get their marketoids? (144 comments)

Sounds like pitching a scam:
- Only cool people can join us (the real message is: if you're accepted that marks you as cool)
- You need to follow us on Twitter
- You need to buy this $1500 "Explorer starting kit" (ah, now we see we're they're going with it)

Unfortunatelly I'm a Tech Entrepreneur in his 30s with a company that makes software for smartphones including Android and I can actually check if something makes business sense for me and my company, so I'm clearly not the kind of sucker ^H^H^H^H^H^H cool person they're targetting with this crap.

Not saying the actual tech is bad (or good, I would have to see it and experience it in person) - what I find ridiculous is the whole pitching for (young and naive) suckers who have the psychological weakness that they have need to feel "cool" and yet are so weak of character that mass-market external messages and products can fulfill that need.

about 2 years ago

Do Patent Laws Really Protect Small Inventors?

Aceticon Re:Of course it protects the small investor (267 comments)

I'm sorry, but if A depends on B and B is broken, then A is broken.

If I make a car that can be bought for $100, but requires a special fuel additive that brings fuel costs to $1000 per galon to work it is in fact NOT a cheap car.

As long as the patent system depends on an uneven and unfair legal system to work (and no measures are taken to ameliorate that), then it is an uneven and unfair system. No amount of excusing and "blame it on the other guys" will make up for the system having been setup in such a way that it relies on a flawed process (and is progressivelly being made even more so).

Or to go back to the car analogy, if I made the car such that it requires ultra expensive fuel additives, it's my fault, not the fault of the maker of the fuel additive.

about 2 years ago

EU Data Protection Proposal Taken Word For Word From US Lobbyists

Aceticon Re:Odd (108 comments)

Judging by the way things work in the UK, it's more of a case of "You look out for my interests now, I look out for your interests in the future".

Certainly you see a lot of politicians and top regulators who are friendly to the interests of Financial Institutions in the City of London who retire to exceptionally well paid positions in said Financial Institutions.

This is how it works in the UK and, in all appearences, in the US: there are no laws regulating conflict of interests, so it's extremelly common for those who supervise, regulate or make laws about an industry and who are very "industry friendly" to end up working in that industry in extremely well paid jobs. Funilly enough, those that take a hard stance never do get those kinds of jobs.

That's the anglo-saxon version of what other countries would call corruption (though in the UK and US there are no laws against it, so it is legally NOT corruption).

Of course, I would expect that somebody who is or was in the lobbying industry to never admit to any such winks-n-nods and explain things away with pseudo-psychology mumbo-jumbo.

about 2 years ago

EU Data Protection Proposal Taken Word For Word From US Lobbyists

Aceticon From the "Blame everything on the EU" crowd (108 comments)

I've checked all 4 MEPs mentioned in the article: all are Tory (conservative) British MEPs.

This is the party that hammers the most and the hardest the "Blame it on the EU" key.

I am physically sickened (though not at all surprised) that these lowlifes are completelly in the pocked of American interests.

The sooner the UK leaves the EU, the better: we need to get rid of the turncoats working for foreign powers.

about 2 years ago

Paper On Conspiratorial Thinking Invokes Conspiratorial Thinking

Aceticon Re:Random Randomization (371 comments)

and yeah, I know I sound elitistic here

No, don't worry, you sound as stupid as everyone else who can't use a fucking dictionary.

You you rather that I had written my post in my own language or any of the other 5 languages I can speak?

I wouldn't want the likes of you to be overwelmed by my spelling mistakes on a non-native tongue. Someone who is clearly as highly gifted with language and argumentation as you would have no trouble with, say, Dutch, right!???

about 2 years ago

Paper On Conspiratorial Thinking Invokes Conspiratorial Thinking

Aceticon Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (371 comments)

Ah, the old "it's the will of the people so it must be right" meme.

Well, the first failure is that Democracy is not about the will of the people, it's about the informed will of the people. Control the information that people get (and their education) and you can shape their will.

The second things is that most countries don't actually have true Democracy: they have electoral circles and other little schemes that mean that 30% of the votes can be made to produce an absolute majority of representatives (with the right shape of electoral circles). True Democracy requires proportional vote.

Lastly but not least, your "will of the people" argument is in no way applicable to my denounciation of the methods which are used to try and subvert said will of the people. I did not made the argument that the will of the people is not valid, I made the argument that it is often subverted through misinformation. Straw man much!?

about 2 years ago

Paper On Conspiratorial Thinking Invokes Conspiratorial Thinking

Aceticon Re:Random Randomization (371 comments)

I suspect that conspiracy theories are a way to find/create a simplified version of the world which is more digesteable to those of limited mental skill (and yeah, I know I sound elitistic here). In that sense, it's similar to religion (the world and life is so much easier to cope with if one can invoke the "Will of God" to explain the vagaries of life).

That being the case, LIBOR as a conspiracy would simple be about a subject mater which is so complex to understand to begin with and in such a limited and obscure domain for most people, that the keen curiosity and mental brainpower to get it in the first place is beyond most people who relly on the crutch of "The Conspiracy".

about 2 years ago

Paper On Conspiratorial Thinking Invokes Conspiratorial Thinking

Aceticon Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (371 comments)

Politics comes into picture when deciding what to do.

Unfortunately, many politicians and other organisations that have a vested interest in certain choices on what to do, have found that when hard science is involved, the easiest option to affect which choices are made is to attack the actual number producing science and scientists in the eyes of the public (i.e. a typical Straw Man strategy) using the techniques of propaganda.

This works because the vast majority of people simply don't have the mental discipline necessary to build an sytematical image of the world, which would filter out this kind of noise - they work through heuristics (i.e. gut feeling), shared memes and are prone to have a belief reinforced by hearing others repeat the same belief (i.e. groupthink). In fact, this same process is often displayed here in /.

about 2 years ago

Microsoft Wants Computer Science Taught In UK Primary Schools

Aceticon Re:Are they teaching real CS? (168 comments)

If as Microsoft says, companies are having trouble finding people to do actual IT jobs (which pay better than teaching), how exactly are they're going to find people to teach programming to kids!?

(More so in the UK where they're cutting state funding on everything except bank bailouts and there is an expectation that every adult is a pedophile so people have to undergo highly-intrusive background checks for something as simple as doing a presentation to some school children - as some children books authors found out when they were invited to go to schools to talk about their books).

Nah, this is all about creating users of MS products, not creators of software.

about 2 years ago

Microsoft Wants Computer Science Taught In UK Primary Schools

Aceticon Re:The basis of computer science is logic (168 comments)

Imagine if most people actually understood maths, used logic and thought things through propertly: they would stop buying stuff they don't need with money they don't have and that would destroy Consumer Society.

Even more dangerous, they might become skeptics and actually question what they hear on TV, what politicians tell them or more in general, what are the motivations that figures in positions of authority have to say and do what they say and do.

We can't have that!

about 2 years ago

Facebook Faces High-Level Staff Exodus

Aceticon Re:And this is surprising? (346 comments)

Your expectation that the regulators exist to actually root out and punish fraud in the market is touching but quite naive, especially in light that regulators have done absolutelly nothing at all to punish market-mispractices by large companies in the last 20 years (and when they do something, the miniscule fines they impose are usually less than the profits made by the companies breaking the law).

Given the size of Facebook and that the lead bank in their IPO was Morgan Stanley, expect the SEC to do absolutelly nothing at all.

On the other hand, given that Facebook stock still has a Price-Earnings per share above 50 (the typical PE for high growth Tech companies is about 25), expect a further fall in price. A better explanation for the exodus of several high-level managers with over-bloated but meaningless titles just as they become allowed to sell their stock is that they've been holding off from leaving a drifting ship until they could get their paws on hard cash.

more than 2 years ago

Overconfidence May Be a Result of Social Politeness

Aceticon This kinda explains the current problems in the UK (263 comments)

The UK is by far the most hypocritical place I've ever lived in with regards to honest feedback - around here the feedback you hear is always a 7 or an 8 on a scale of 10 (everything is great or wonderful, even when it's shit), to the point that if you comment that something was "nice" (i.e. a 6 out of 10), people feel insulted (you see, "nice" is what people say around here when they mean "not nice").

Coming from Holland (home to some of the most direct, straight-talking people in the face of the planet), the whole British Politness sounds majorly deceitful.

The worse thing is that they do this to the kids at school: every kid is a special person and they can't be told negative things, so they're all told how great they are and get good grades for bad work (around here, there is a huge amount of grade inflation in the national tests, to the point that getting the highest grade is common).

Unsurprisingly, the UK produces nothing, has the highest debt levels in the world, specializes in Finance and Lawyering and has huge levels of white collar crime (of which the LIBOR scandal is just the tip).

more than 2 years ago

US, Israel Behind Flame Malware

Aceticon Re:When we do it to you (382 comments)

Your argument rests on the assertion that possession of nuclear weapons would increase the hold of the Iranian regime on power within it's own country, and yet you fail to explain how could that be.

Nuclear weapons are hardly crowd control devices: you don't put down a rebelion by nuking the shit out of them. Even the most tightly controlled nuclear explosion would affect the whole country due to radioactive fallout.

In fact the only path I can see that would keep the current regime in power for longer due to them getting nuclear weapons is if the aquisition of nuclear weapons increased the pride of their people in the Technological and Military achievements of their country, hence supporting the regime. However, that being the case, the regime's hold on power would effectivelly be coming from the will of the majority of the Iranian people rather than from oppression.

more than 2 years ago

With Euro Zone Problems, Bitcoin Experiencing Boost In Legitimacy

Aceticon Re:Governments can't inflate the currency (430 comments)

Total gold already mined: 165.000 metric tons
Gold mined per-year: 2500 tons

(source: http://www.numbersleuth.org/worlds-gold/)

So no country could "produce a crap load of gold [...] controlling the value of gold [...] offering to supply gold cheap, or flooding the market with gold" since total mining in all countries in the world adds up to less than 2% of all the gold in the world.

Even the Spanish in the 16th centuy didn't manage to do so when they brought to Europe a "crap load of gold" from South America.

So your argument seems unsuported by facts.

As for bitcoins, their problem is and always has been that first movers had a huge advantage: in the beginning, anybody with a pocket calculator could produce a "crap load" of bitcoins, so many did so: now that bitcoins are near impossible to produce, those people are trying to find suckers to dump their "cheaply made" bitcoins on for hard cash.
Any monetary system that starts up with some having a major advantage and others being at a major disadvantage is inherently flawed.

more than 2 years ago

London Tube Stations Finally Get Wi-Fi

Aceticon Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (140 comments)

1) They already have at least two persons per tube station entrance, one manning the ticket counter (since they don't have machines that sell Oyster cards, so people have to do it) and one manning the actual gates since there are often people with problems going in or coming out which need to be let through (or sent to the guy in the ticket counter to pay up).

Thus the fixed costs are already being paid.

2) Paper tickers are regularly sold through ticket machines in train stations. The cost is miniscule.

3) This is England, worse, it's London - it's the nation of the "screw the customer" company policy (I should know, I live here). People are used to being screwed.
Certainly I've seen TFL do things like opening the gates in turist intensive areas (while providing ZERO guidance) so that people go in without touching-in their Oyster cards, so that when they exit in the other side they get charged the maximum fare (£7.80).

I would say the GP is spot-on with his/her accusations.

more than 2 years ago

The Link Between Genius and Insanity

Aceticon Re:I suspect it's more to do with (402 comments)

It doesn't help that when you're exceptionally good at something your understanding of it and all it's miriad complexities is such that the vast majority of people can't even grasp half of what you're talking about.

It's like a bird trying to explain flying to a fish, a being who doesn't even have the concept of air.

More in general, when you can spot more of the subtleties of things and find more of the patterns and links behind things (the why behind the why behind the why), it's far too easy to overwelm others, sometimes even about things that are supposed to be their specialities (it's also very easy to make a fool out of yourself by seeing connections that aren't there).

more than 2 years ago

SEC Calls For Review of Facebook IPO

Aceticon Re:Super tired of these two banks. (267 comments)

I find any ideological opposition to regulation curious.

Are you aware that the current crash came after a period of deregulation of the financial industry comparable only to what happened before 1923?

I recommend that you to read a book called "This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly" - you'll find not only that the current crisis is nothing new, but also that all the greatest banking crisis happened following phases of banking deregulation, just like this one. In fact the credit bubble that resulted in the current crisis started when the Glass-Steagal regulation was repealed.

Think of banking regulation like the economic equivalent of regulating an industry that deals in explosives - the side effects of a fireworks factory exploding right in the middle of a residential neighbourhood are so bad that the industry has severe restrictions about where and how they setup their business.

In your no-regulation world, how would you avoid that a fireworks factory is setup right next to your house (or maybe a nice nuclear waste treatment plant)?

more than 2 years ago


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