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Amazon Announces 'Fire Phone'

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Anyone else think Neo900 is too little, too lat (192 comments)

I don't know about Nexus phones specifically, but unless the hardware is locked down you should be able to put Android in a chroot jail instead, with a proper GNU/Linux environment on the outside. Then in the Android world you can run a VNC client app, or ssh in a terminal app (with optional X server app), to break back out.

I got it working on my N900 substitute, a $200 "Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G" (SGH-T699), which has a great 5 row slide out keyboard to make up for its otherwise unremarkable (but still better than N900) hardware. There are still a lot of rough edges to smooth out--currently to direct audio to the headphone port I use a shell script with 9 amixer commands, for example--but I get the sense that this is just a matter of putting in more time tinkering.

about 4 months ago

HR Chief: Google Sexual, Racial Diversity "Not Where We Want to Be"

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Who gives a shit? (593 comments)

I think there is a significant number of women who are interested but are dissuaded from studying computer science for some other reason(s).

My school had an overall male/female ratio of something like 70/30, and most of my computer science classes were closer to 90/10. But "pure" math courses tended to be close to 50/50 as well as more racially diverse if I remember correctly. Courses cross-listed between both departments fell somewhere in between.

Shouldn't there have been a large overlap between the groups of people interested in, for example, complexity theory (computer science department) and graph theory (math department)? Besides covering related content, both courses emphasized a similar set of skills, primarily reading/writing formal proofs, and had similar difficulty and workload levels. Neither course was required for any major or had formal prerequisites. Yet complexity theory was dominated by white men and graph theory was not. Why is that?

I don't deny that there are fewer women overall who are interested in science and technology fields, but even among the women who are, in my experience a disproportionate number of women chose math over computer science. (Or perhaps it is the men who chose computer science over math?) Either way this suggests to me that the problem extends beyond level of interest in course content.

about 5 months ago

NYPD's Twitter Campaign Backfires

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:I kind of welcome the attention (173 comments)

I think one solution to this is for us to remind them they are actually our public servants as often as possible. If you are lost, then go up and ask them for directions if they seem to be standing around doing nothing. Hell, maybe even ask them if you are not lost just so they get to talk to a law abiding citizen for a change. Then, if they are helpful, be polite and courteous and make sure you say thanks.

They will still have to deal with utter some scumbags, but maybe if they spent more time dealing with people who are not then they might find it easier to not treat everyone like they are.

I have done this several times (not for this purpose but because I needed directions or other minor assistance). Each time the officer seemed to genuinely appreciate the chance to help and be seen as the "good guy" in the eyes of the person he was interacting with.

Not that my experiences are any more than anecdotes, but they line up with your thoughts. How many police officers assume the worst of us because we assume the worst of them and treat them accordingly?

about 6 months ago

California Regulator Seeks To Shut Down 'Learn To Code' Bootcamps

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Big $$$ (374 comments)

Fraudulent speech is still speech, yet even most libertarians agree with penalizing fraud. Commercial speech being speech doesn't automatically exempt it from regulation.

about 9 months ago

Cairo 2D Graphics May Become Part of ISO C++

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Sure, why not (430 comments)

I'm not the grandparent poster, and my political and economic views are well to the left (within the US spectrum). But I, too, found that many candidates were astonishingly bad in a way that no amount of training would likely have corrected for.

At my previous job, our test/icebreaker was simple: we sat the candidate down at a computer with a C++ file to read and digest for up to half an hour, left the room and then returned with this question: "So, what does this code do?" There were no tricks--the file was about 300 lines long, was designed to be readable (with meaningful variable names and occasional comments), and used only the most basic of C++ features. It did nothing more sophisticated than applying some logical tests to an input object in order to select a return value.

You know what I did that impressed the team when I was asked "So, what does this code do" on my interview? I gave a one-sentence summary before diving into details. I was skeptical when my boss told me this shortly after starting the new job. But we interviewed a dozen or so additional candidates over the following year, and half of them were only capable of giving line-by-line explanations ("Well, at the top of this function first we check if this parameter is less than 60, if so we stop and return this value, otherwise...") even after we stopped them and specifically asked for a brief high level summary. They all interpreted the individual lines of code correctly, but only half could express what the code did as a whole.

We hired three people from this group (so about 1/4 of the people we interviewed). And we did provide plenty of training, or more accurately, we each taught each other based on our individual strengths. I had more SQL experience than the rest of the team, for example, so I took on the more difficult SQL-related tasks myself while others completed simpler tasks with my advice and guidance. Similarly, another member had more experience with pthreads than I did, so he helped me whenever I had issues related to multithreading. The end result was a team where everyone had specialties but could complete basic tasks in any relevant area.

about 10 months ago

What Developers Can Learn From

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:What can they learn? (267 comments)

Texas has the federal government to fall back on in case of, for example, natural disaster. The federal government doesn't have such a safety net; it must self-insure. On top of that, the federal government has to be prepared for contingencies such as war that do not really apply at the state level.

The period of time, one year, is arbitrary. Requiring a balanced yearly federal budget would be like requiring a balanced personal budget every two week pay period, even though my biggest expenses occur monthly.

What we really need is some way to balance the federal budget over a much longer period of time, a decade or two perhaps, spanning a full boom/bust cycle. This is, of course, much easier said than done.

1 year,20 days

Cookieless Web Tracking Using HTTP's ETag

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Firefox makes cache clearing difficult (212 comments)

Or you can press Ctrl+Shift+Del. One of the options (which should already be checked if you used it last time) is to clear the cache. A three-key combination and a button click and you're done, with no plugins needed.

about a year ago

Obamacare Exchanges Months Behind In Testing IT Data Security

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Make more than $48k, pay same as Bill Gates (398 comments)

No subsidy. Household of 1, 32 years old, income high enough that there is no subsidy (put 100k or whatever). A silver plan is estimated at $272/month.

Data points for comparison (non-smoker, no pre-existing conditions):
* 2005: Employer health plan similar to a silver plan. Monthly premium was $330/month of which the employer paid 75%. (Compare $231/month from the calculator for a 25 year old.)
* 2007: Unemployed. The cheapest individual plan I could find was $500/month, similar to a silver plan; COBRA let me keep the $330/month plan but I had to pay 100% of the premium. $150/month state-subsidized option would have been available but only after I depleted my assets. (Compare $241/month from the calculator for a 27 year old.)
* 2010: Employer health plan similar to a gold plan. Monthly premium was about $600/month of which the employer paid 75%. (Calculator doesn't give numbers for a gold plan.)
* 2012: Employer high deductible health plan similar to a silver plan, with the employer paying 100% of both premium and deductible used. Monthly premium was $350/month, and will remain unchanged through 2014. (Compare $272/month from the calculator for a 32 year old.)

Now, I live in New York rather than California, so I wouldn't have the rates given by California's calculator. Instead it looks like the cheapest silver plan where I live will be $300/month.

about a year ago

Obamacare Exchanges Months Behind In Testing IT Data Security

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Make more than $48k, pay same as Bill Gates (398 comments)

And the amount California's insurance cost calculator shows me is $80/month cheaper than what my employer currently pays for me, and over $200/month cheaper than the cheapest plan I could find as an individual when I was unemployed over 5 years ago.

about a year ago

Obamacare Exchanges Months Behind In Testing IT Data Security

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Make more than $48k, pay same as Bill Gates (398 comments)

How is the government subsidizing coverage for its employees any different from private sector employers paying some or all of their employees' premiums as a job benefit?

about a year ago

Obamacare Exchanges Months Behind In Testing IT Data Security

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Social security numbers? (398 comments)

They could simply ask--yes or no--on the tax return, then require people who are audited to bring paperwork backing it up (just like any other claim on a tax return).

about a year ago

Supreme Court Overturns Defense of Marriage Act

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Good ... (1073 comments)

How would property be divided up at the year-end "divorce" of college roommates, especially if they end up not getting along? That alone might be messy enough to discourage such sham marriages, I think.

about a year ago

Supreme Court Overturns Defense of Marriage Act

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Good ... (1073 comments)

I can't think of the last time I've heard of a Justice saying that he personally detests the ruling but 'this is what the law says'

Roberts on the constitutionality of the ACA, perhaps?

The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.

This reads to me as "I don't like it, but my hands are tied". Why mention the wisdom or fairness of the law, rather than stopping at "it is not our role to forbid it", if he thought the law was wise and fair?

about a year ago

YouTube Removes Video of Reactions To Being Videoed

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Really (229 comments)

The people I've talked to generally prefer "black". The key is to use it as an adjective rather than as a noun: "black" describes them, but doesn't define them. "Black people": good. "Blacks": not so good (though better than some of the alternatives).
I imagine I'd feel the same about being defined rather than described by any of my physical traits.

about a year ago

Why Engineering Freshmen Should Take Humanities Courses

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Better idea: (564 comments)

And this is the kind of thing an introductory philosophy of science course would cover. What are the fundamental (and typically unstated) assumptions we make about the universe in order for science to be useful, and what would the implications be if any of these assumptions were false? What are the limitations of measurement? What kind of questions can and can't be answered scientifically? What is the relationship between math and science?

Add in some formal logic and basic statistics, and students will have a better understanding of the levels of certainty in science and how to identify the assumptions to be reexamined when experimental results differ from the expectations that follow from those assumptions.

about a year ago

Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Of course. (749 comments)

Indeed. Consider the false confession of John Mark Karr in the JonBenet Ramsey case:

"Some false confessors have a pathological need for attention," Saul Kassin, PhD, a distinguished professor of psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and professor at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., says to explain confessions like Karr's.

"That is what everyone is speculating in the Karr case," he says. "The pathology is such that that need predominates. And everything else fades into the background." Even the risk of prison or death.

While it's certainly not the most likely scenario, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Snowden craved attention and so claimed responsibility for something he didn't do. I can't think of an easier way to gain instant fame/notoriety of this magnitude.

Maybe he was considering leaking information, got beaten to the punch, but decided he wanted to be the one in the history books anyway.

Maybe he's sacrificing his own freedom to protect a friend who would have more to lose if revealed as the actual source of the leak.

Or maybe the simplest explanation is the correct one, and Snowden's confession is true. But we need supporting evidence before we can make this conclusion, and that's why it may be premature to call him a criminal. (To my knowledge it's not illegal to make a false confession to the public rather than the police.)

about a year ago

Sleep Deprivation Lowers School Achievement In Children

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Lack of parenting skills leads to deprivation. (272 comments)

After a couple of years we just decided having her lie in bed staring at the ceiling every night was silly.

In fact, it's not just silly but counterproductive. Proper sleep hygiene includes getting out of bed if unable to fall asleep in a reasonable length of time. Otherwise it can make insomnia worse.

about a year and a half ago

Creationist Bets $10k In Proposed Literal Interpretation of Genesis Debate

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:Easy... (1121 comments)

Not necessarily. One account could have been written from a reference frame moving relative to Adam and Eve.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Keyboard Layout To Reduce Right Pinky/Ring Finger Usage?

Ambiguous Puzuma Re:QWERTY. (165 comments)

Something tells me it would be far better on your wrist and your pinky if you just moved your entire hand the little extra distance and used one of your other fingers instead of stretching with that pinky.

I agree with this. I've never been able to curl my pinkies without also curling my ring finger, and it hasn't hurt my career as a developer in the least. I just learned to hit a few of the keys with my ring finger instead of my pinky, with small hand movements as needed.

Keys I hit with my left ring finger instead of my left pinky: ` 1 tab
Keys I hit with my right ring finger instead of my right pinky: 0 - = backspace [ ] ; /
(Hitting semicolon with my ring finger and then enter with my pinky turned out to be quite convenient in many common programming languages, where lines tend to end with semicolons.)
I use the left shift key exclusively, and when holding it down, my left ring finger takes over the Q A Z keys.

Despite these changes, I type slightly faster than most of my peers, and unless typing continuously for an extended period of time (which is very rare when programming) I never feel any kind of fatigue in my hands.

about a year and a half ago


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