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Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

Alan Shutko Re:Government Intervention (363 comments)

No telecoms have a government-mandated monopoly. The FCC preempted exclusive franchise agreements in 2007.

The only barriers now are that it is a huge initial capital expense and large incumbents who will try every dirty trick to block new entrants.

11 hours ago

A State-By-State Guide To Restrictive Community Broadband Laws

Alan Shutko Re:Hmm (160 comments)

These laws have been passed because certain municipalities have been able to successfully cover the cost and maintenance of their own networks.

about two weeks ago

A State-By-State Guide To Restrictive Community Broadband Laws

Alan Shutko Re:What does it mean? (160 comments)

Exclusive franchises for cable companies have been prohibited by the FCC..

The Communications Act authorizes local franchising authorities to grant one or more franchises within their jurisdiction. However, a local franchising authority may not grant an exclusive franchise, and may not unreasonably withhold its consent for new service.

about two weeks ago

Firefox 35 Arrives With MP4 Playback On Mac, Android Download Manager Support

Alan Shutko Re:Breaks my Adobe Reader plugin (177 comments)

Shame that Firefox does not have a good embedded PDF reader.

about two weeks ago

The Importance of Deleting Old Stuff

Alan Shutko Re:Document Retention Rules. (177 comments)

My email contains important technical information that I may need for years after I composed that email. When you delete it for me. You waste valuable company time as I recreate the exact same information I already "knew" which may have never made it into a formal document.

The counterargument is that it's cheaper for you or someone else to reinvent that wheel than it would be for lawyers to pour over terabytes or petabytes of data that have been stored forever in the event of a lawsuit discovery.

about two weeks ago

Facebook Apologizes For 'Year In Review' Photos

Alan Shutko Re:People Are Such Babies (218 comments)

This is how adults resolve things. There were no lawsuits. There were no mass protests. There was a guy who said "Yeah, that picture the algorithm picked? It hurt." And Facebook said "Wow, we can see that would hurt, and we're sorry it did. We will try to do better."

WTF is wrong with this exchange?

about a month ago

The Joys and Hype of Hadoop

Alan Shutko Re:Scale (55 comments)

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

about a month and a half ago

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

Alan Shutko Re:Hmmmmm. Interesting decision history... (280 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.

about a month and a half 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 2 months 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 3 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 4 months ago

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

Alan Shutko Re:Simple (635 comments)


about 5 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 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 months ago


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