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The Joys and Hype of Hadoop

Alan Shutko Re:Scale (55 comments)

That's still an order of magnitude cheaper than stuff like Teradata.

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

Alan Shutko Re:Hmmmmm. Interesting decision history... (279 comments)

Powershell and CCNP are quite different than a compilers class or AI class that teaches Bayesian networks, or discrete mathematics. With the rise of functional languages and map reduce parallelism, set algebra becomes very handy. Mathematics classes cover matrix operations (used like crazy in 3d) and signal processing (used in audio & video compression). OS courses teach you things like how to implement synchronization operations using the instructions on a given processor. A network class that takes you from HTTP down to wire signaling on Ethernet gives you the background to understand in which situations DNS spoofing is successful and why TLS slows down connection establishment.

4 days ago

The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

Alan Shutko Re:Marketshare (205 comments)

So long as you have other products to sell. If your only product is the loss leader, you are screwed.

about two weeks ago

Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Alan Shutko Re:No thanks. (558 comments)

Apple Pay is more secure than a card, since magstripe cards are woefully insecure (read any of the recent POS hacks). It won't release a payment ID until after it reads your fingerprint, and it sends a token with cryptogram instead of the PAN in the clear.

It is not smaller, but it may be easier to use as people switch from swipe to chip and sign in the US.

about 2 months ago

Apple Yet To Push Patch For "Shellshock" Bug

Alan Shutko Re:~/.cshrc (208 comments)

True, but if you are symlinking /bin/bash to dash, then you will break scripts that explicitly asked for bash.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

Alan Shutko Re:Simple (635 comments)


about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

Alan Shutko Research and Recruitment (143 comments)

I work for a large Fortune 25 company. We have an existing SAS presence and we do some good work in SAS. There are two main reasons that we are bringing R into our environment: research and recruitment/retention.

R is extremely common across research right now. When a new paper comes out describing a new algorithm or modeling technique, the odds are extremely good that it comes with R source code. With R in-house, there is very little time or effort to try these things out to see if they can help our current work. With SAS, we would need to invest time recoding everything or worse, wait until it is baked into SAS itself. That is a huge barrier to adopting new approaches.

Recruitment and retention are related to R's popularity in research. Let's face it, data scientists are a hot commodity right now. Lots of companies are looking to hire them and there aren't enough good people to go around. We're seeing that a lot of the new talent have been using R in their graduate work rather than SAS, and are interested in an environment where they can continue using R. Additionally, it's harder to retain people once you've hired them if they can't use what's become a lingua franca.

SAS remains a great tool, and we're not going to get rid of it. Rather, we want to add R to the toolbox.

(I don't mention python here... We've got some folks working with Python especially for NLP, but for the work we do there's a lot more folks using R across industry and academia.)

about 6 months ago

Perl Is Undead

Alan Shutko Re:Always found it amusing (283 comments)

I consider a language to be dead when people stop thinking of it as an option for new programs.

Fortran is still alive. Scientists are still using it for new simulations. Gradually momentum is moving to other languages, but it's still here.

Cobol is dead. Nobody would consider writing something new in it. It's still being used, but only because people want to add new functionality to large systems written in Cobol, and it's crazy-expensive to rewrite those old systems.

Perl? Well, I think it's getting there. It's still a job req because there is a lot of perl out there. But I agree with other folks in that when writing something from scratch, I see Perl picked rarely.

about 6 months ago

Google To Take On Apple's CarPlay

Alan Shutko Re:Answer: Both (126 comments)

It's a protocol, not an OS. Vendors won't be running Android or iOS inside their cars. They'll just be able to talk to the device you plug in or pair.

about 6 months ago

Google To Take On Apple's CarPlay

Alan Shutko Re:Consumer = LOSE (126 comments)

I don't agree. Apple has had an iPod integration protocol since 2005 which is supported by tons of OEM and aftermarket devices. That same protocol is still usable with the latest iPhone 5s and in iOS 8, nine years later. That protocol can even be used now to control third-party apps that are running, so I can pause and fast-forward just as I could if using the music app.

If Google makes a protocol that's simple for manufacturer's to adopt, and is suitably stable, that's good enough for me.

about 6 months ago

TCP/IP Might Have Been Secure From the Start If Not For the NSA

Alan Shutko Misleading headline (149 comments)

It's true, that had the NSA chosen to share that info, we could have had better security. On the other hand, the NSA were the ones that developed it, so if not for the NSA, it would not have existed to use.

about 9 months ago

An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

Alan Shutko Re:or just get a hybrid drive (353 comments)

You probably mean 32GB of flash, not MB.

about 9 months ago

Why Are There More Old Songs On iTunes Than Old eBooks?

Alan Shutko Re:Word processing?! (77 comments)

It only needs to be encoded into TEI if you want to digitally archive the original edition. For instance, you want to be able to mark up an original and identify original and regularized spelling of a word.

If you just want to be able to reissue an Ellery Queen novel in ePub, you don't need TEI at all, and could have someone just retype the scans or hand-correct (off shored, usually).

about 9 months ago

Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

Alan Shutko BTDT (273 comments)

Doing things differently in every state is the way things have been done since the dawn of public education.

about 9 months ago

How Mobile Apps Are Reinventing the Worst of the Software Industry

Alan Shutko Not very different from the web (333 comments)

Of the complaints, most of them apply to the web as well.

  • Millions of pointless apps/websites: yep
  • Fragmentation into parallel and incompatible app worlds: No, web does have an advantage here
  • Paying for apps became a race to the bottom: Yep
  • When apps are free, you're the product: Yep
  • The app user experience is wildly inconsistent: On Web, the experience for a single site is consistent across different browsers, but there's hardly any consistency between apps. On a mobile platform, usually there is more consistency between different apps.

The reason that mobile apps have been so popular is that in many ways they offer a better experience to websites. If Jeff wants more people to use the web instead, he should be learning from the successes of mobile apps and applying them to his websites. StackExchange has great content, but problematic UI, and it's got a really bad UI on mobile web. I'd love a more capable app version.

about 10 months ago


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