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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Ami Ganguli Leave the PhD off your CV for a couple of years. (471 comments)

It's not fair, but it's probably better to just list your master's for now.

Right now they figure you won't be happy with a junior position, but you don't have the experience from them to trust you with something more senior. Once you've got a bit of experience put the PhD back on. It will help you land more senior jobs later.

about a week ago
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Nokia Takeover In Jeopardy Due To Alleged $3.4B Tax Bill In India

Ami Ganguli Re:You are not a racist, you are ignorant... (226 comments)

Off topic, but in case you're following this thread... there was an interesting study on racism in Europe some years ago. They found that racism is about the same everywhere, but the effects of racism are quite different.

In a country like Finland, everything is "by the book". There are rules, and they are followed strictly. That means that if I, as a foreigner, am applying for a loan, the loan officer might be a horrible racist, but if I qualify I'll get the loan anyway. In a country like Italy the loan officer has more discretion and is more likely to find some reason to deny the loan if they happen to dislike me personally.

about 10 months ago
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Nokia Takeover In Jeopardy Due To Alleged $3.4B Tax Bill In India

Ami Ganguli Re:You are not a racist, you are ignorant... (226 comments)

I didn't actually say that every Indian is corrupt, but most are complicit. They might not like the bribes, but they pay them (because they also need to get things done) or they say nothing when others take them (because they don't want to lose their jobs). And there's the problem - the only thing that can change the system is a massive change in attitudes. And it can't be just a few people - it pretty much has to be everybody at once.

I'm guilty too - I've paid my share of bribes. I don't feel good about it, but I can't afford to be the hero - I need to get stuff done.

I do know lot of honest, hard-working people in India - I wouldn't bother to try to do business there otherwise. But my dealings with government always leave a bad taste in my mouth.

about 10 months ago
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Nokia Takeover In Jeopardy Due To Alleged $3.4B Tax Bill In India

Ami Ganguli Re:corruption (226 comments)

It's not racist. The Indian government is pathetically corrupt. It's truly awful, and goes from the very bottom (police, petty local officials) right to the top. Finland, on the other hand, is one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

I know nothing about this case, but I'm going to trust the Finns on this one until proven otherwise.

(Disclosure: I'm a half-Indian who's lived in Finland and done a lot of work with Nokia. I also have business interests in India.)

about 10 months ago
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Dell's New Sputnik 3 Mates Touchscreen With Ubuntu

Ami Ganguli Re:This is neat and all (166 comments)

Then it's not really similar hardware is it :-).

My requirements were: light, long battary life, at least 8Gb RAM, at least Full HD screen. The Vaio was the only ultrabook I could find that fit my criteria and was available in Canada when I needed it.

about 10 months ago
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Dell's New Sputnik 3 Mates Touchscreen With Ubuntu

Ami Ganguli Re:This is neat and all (166 comments)

I just bought similar hardware from Sony in order to run Linux. I would have considered this one if it had been available three weeks ago.

Some of us really don't want a Mac. Obviously we're a niche market, but presumably Dell thinks there might be enough of us to justify one or two models.

about 10 months ago
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New York City Considers Articulated Subway Cars

Ami Ganguli Re:Why one Toronto subway driver doesn't like them (237 comments)

I also love the new trains. They feel a lot roomier. Part of that is because they really are roomier, but part of it is the more open design that feels less claustrophobic.

about a year ago
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Book Review: Secret History: the Story of Cryptology

Ami Ganguli Re:Running key is dead... Long Live the One Time P (71 comments)

I always thought it would be interesting to try to create "perfect" compression of English (or any language, really). You create an encoding such that every possible message is a semantically and grammatically correct message. Then each and every decrypted message is equally valid.

Of course, this goal is impossible, but I bet we could get reasonably close. Close enough that a human would be required to check each decrypted message, making brute force attacks unrealistic.

A one time pad is simpler, of course, but where's the fun in that?

about a year ago
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Google's Second Generation Nexus 7 Benchmarks

Ami Ganguli Re:Yawn ... (205 comments)

Yeah, I'm with on this, sadly.

The gadget geek in me really wants this tablet. But the truth is that my year-old tablet, though not nearly as performant as this new toy, is perfectly fine for the only thing I actually use it for: reading e-books. The processor and memory don't make any difference. The screen is kind of tempting, but would mean more to me if I did real work on my tablet (I care a lot about my laptop screen resolution).

Tablet makers are going to have to come up with something pretty innovative to get me to bother upgrading.

about a year ago
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What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?

Ami Ganguli Why would I use Windows? (1215 comments)

I started my professional career developing for Sun workstations, then various Unixes, and for the past 14 years, Linux. Initially, it was just easier to use Linux as my desktop development environment, as my toolchain is here and I'm more familiar with the Unixy way of doing things. Besides, Windows was unstable and not very pleasant to use.

Nowadays Windows seems a lot more stable, and there are better tools for working cross-platform and/or over a network from a Windows desktop. But Linux GUIs have improved too, and I pretty much hate it when I occasionally need to use OSX or Windows machines. They're ugly, difficult to use, and generally less functioanal than my Linux environemnt. I could probably tweak them to make them friendlier, but why bother?

A lot of developers seem to use Macs, but the single-menu interface drives me crazy. It really doesn't work if you have multiple monitors.

about a year ago
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Canonical Announces Mir: A New Display Server Not On X11 Or Wayland

Ami Ganguli Re:No, not again (354 comments)

I think Shuttleworth has just decided (probably correctly) that he can't make any money on the desktop, but mobile is still a possibility. The Unity interface and now this are an attempt to compete with Android.

I abandoned Ubuntu for my desktop when Unity came, but I think I might actually like it on a tablet or phone. Anyway, I'll try to keep an open mind when the devices actually come out. I hope one of non-Android Linux phone efforts finds a niche, whether it's Ubuntu, Jolla, Tizen, or Firefox OS. If Shuttleworth can pull it off, then more power to him.

about a year and a half ago
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Intel Leaving Desktop Motherboard Business

Ami Ganguli Re:I will still use my desktop computer (219 comments)

There's still a need for the "gamer" PC, and that niche will continue to exist.

But for most of us, there are better alternatives. I just bought one of the Intel Next Unit of Computing systems a couple of days ago. I'm thrilled with it so far. It's totally quiet, mounts discretely on the side of my desk, supports two monitors, and is plenty fast enough for my software development needs.

I don't develop games, but I imagine that most users will be playing games on tablet-like devices in the near future, so a system like mine probably has more gaming horsepower than the average tablet as well.

about a year and a half ago
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Microsoft Steeply Raising Enterprise Licensing Fees

Ami Ganguli Re:How to treat a loyal customer (571 comments)

Thanks, that was a very informative answer.

It also suggests that GMail is pretty close to being a complete replacement - the only thing missing is the DRM-style features. And obviously if you're an AD-centric shop then AD integration has some value.

Cheers,
Ami.

about 2 years ago
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Microsoft Steeply Raising Enterprise Licensing Fees

Ami Ganguli Re:How to treat a loyal customer (571 comments)

I'm actually really interested in this. I've worked at a lot of places that insist on using Exchange, but I've never figured out the attraction. It's not even a lock-in issue, really, since replacing your email server is dead-simple.

What is this secret sauce that keeps people using Exchange?

(And yes, I see it as an email and calendaring solution in the same league as GMail - if it does more than that, can you point me to summary or something?)

about 2 years ago
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What's the Shelf Life of a Programmer?

Ami Ganguli Quite the opposite... (388 comments)

I find younger programmers don't know how computers actually work. They've never used assembler or C for anything. They can't use SQL properly. They don't have the range of experience that lets you attack a problem from all angles and find the best solution.

That's not to say that I use assembler or C for anything nowadays, but the understanding I gained way-back-when gives me a feel for what's actually happening behind the scenes when write in Javascript, Python, etc. And the addiction to application frameworks among young programmers seems to have inhibited their ability to come up with creative solutions to unique problems. They just apply their favourite framework to everything, regardless of how well it actually fits the problem.

Sorry for the rant, but the lack of technical breadth in younger developers is a real pet peeve of mine. I guess part of the reason I get annoyed by it is that experience isn't given that much weight in hiring decisions, so you have inexperienced people in roles of responsibility that they're not ready for. Us old farts who do know better end up having to deal with with the mess afterwards.

about 2 years ago
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Can Nokia Save Itself?

Ami Ganguli Not with the current board (317 comments)

They need to make a clean break from Microsoft. That means get rid of Elop and the board that hired him. Beg some of the respected execs who fled, like Anssi Vanjokio, to come back. If they're not willing to come back to manage day-to-day operations, at least put them on the board to give a sane strategic direction.

Then buy up Jolla as a long-term investment, while producing Android phones to pay the bills.

about 2 years ago
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How Will Amazon, Barnes & Noble Survive the iPad Mini?

Ami Ganguli Why should they care? (354 comments)

The Kindle hardware is just a channel to sell e-books. If Kindle hardware sales dry up due to competition from other tables, it's not a problem as long as the other devices that people buy support the Kindle App.

more than 2 years ago
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CowboyNeal Weighs In On the Windows 8 "Metro" GUI

Ami Ganguli Re:Missing the strategy... (671 comments)

Well, there's always Chrome-OS if Google ever really gets serious about it.

But I don't really expect casual home users to flee Metro. They spend 80% of their time in IE/Firefox/Chrome, 15% playing games, and 4% in Word, and 1% in misc other stuff (Excel, Turbo-tax, whatever). (Yeah, I just made those statistics up, but I bet they're not far off the mark.) Having six or so big tiles that they click on to get to those apps isn't really that different from having six icons on the desktop that you have to double-click on.

more than 2 years ago
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CowboyNeal Weighs In On the Windows 8 "Metro" GUI

Ami Ganguli Re:Missing the strategy... (671 comments)

Really? I know Apple has done amazingly well in recent years, but 50% of the home market? Do you have a link for that?

Agreed that nobody every really liked Windows. But most of the regular (non-techie) people I know don't hate it either - they just use it because it's there and don't put much thought into alternatives.

more than 2 years ago
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CowboyNeal Weighs In On the Windows 8 "Metro" GUI

Ami Ganguli Missing the strategy... (671 comments)

The MS strategy (which will probably have some success), is pretty clear...

They figure they've got a few years of desktop monopoly left, and they want leverage this to protect their core business from iOS and Android. The plan is to get home users used to the Metro UI so that they'll be more likely to buy Windows-powered phones and tablets. Home users are far less conservative than enterprise users, and most of them will just go with whatever is loaded on their machines.

Within a three years the vast majority will be comfortable with Metro. That's about the time enterprise customers will be looking to upgrade from Windows 7, and in the meantime, everybody will be familiar enough with Metro to be immediately comfortable when they pick up a Windows Phone/Tablet.

It's really not a bad strategy. I don't think it will crush iOS and Android by a long shot, but it might just prevent MS from becoming totally irrelevant.

more than 2 years ago

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