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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Engage 5th-8th Graders In Computing?

Austerity Empowers Re:Simple: (113 comments)

By 8th grade only the kids in the advanced classes won't know how to do that...

1 hour ago
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VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

Austerity Empowers Re: 4 paid developers yes, but (213 comments)

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

I love this, I worked for a multibillion dollar gorilla that used this as a management principle. In that management thought that Anybody could do the work, but Nobody they hired could, and Everybody else wouldn't help. Eventually, to fix the dysfunction, they fired Somebody. Somebody told his friends what happened, and Anybody that heard quit. Nobody that was left could do the work, so Everybody was miserable.

The Ballad of Offshoring. It has a happy ending though, the CEO got fired (he's a Somebody that Everybody hated, which Anybody could replace) and things are slowly recovering. The funniest part is 6 months before he got fired he sent out a strange email to the company reminding them he's still the boss. We suspect that HR realized they forgot to tell him, and got around to fixing it shortly thereafter.

7 hours ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Austerity Empowers Re:Zone of lawlessness: The U.S. government (422 comments)

Wrong, completely wrong. For instance, if the majority of the collective wanted to force every single female US citizen to have at least one abortion in her life time if she should get pregnant and for all men to purchase, practice with, and keep ready at all time, military style riffles and handguns, the US government would be beyond their abilities in making these laws.

Wrong, I'm holding in my hands an amendment mandating every single female US citizen to have an abortion immediately. As soon as its passes it is the law. I also have one about reducing gravity, which I suspect will be more popular.

there was no "intent" beyond creating a stable, balanced government that could self-modify.

  don't know why you brought up intent, I certainly didn't. But the only way to self modify is to amend the constitution granting the government more powers or taking them away.

because clueless people think it is supposed to do crap it was never intended to do.

Clearly this was a comment by someotherdumbass then.

Glad you have heard about amendments though, amazing power they have, assuming it is the will of the people. We can also amend ourselves hte ability to not be able to amend our constitution further, also we can amend ourselves into a communist dictatorship.

You can walk into a sport bar and hear how some team could have won a game or what will make them winners (usually something stupid like catch the ball or something). But that doesn't make them authoritative of correct.

True, but this is a particualrly loud, if inconvenient voice. Osama won in 2001, it may have been a pyrrhic victory for him personally, but if you didn't notice the insane increase in police power, TSA power, FBI power before and after you must have been under a rock. Osama scared people.

You are taking people that people do not know or understand the purpose of the federal government.

I'm talking about the citizens of the United States, who are the only thing that actually matters. Right or wrong, we define the government. You can get hung up on the lawyering of the process, and we can debate what specific things you think the government does that it is forbidden to do, but I suspect all you'll end up doing is having the government changed to the will of those same people.

2 days ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Austerity Empowers Re:Zone of lawlessness: The U.S. government (422 comments)

Very clearly the constitution says the US government is supposed to do what the collective we want it to do, there was no "intent" beyond creating a stable, balanced government that could self-modify. Honestly intent doesn't matter for shit, the guys that wrote it are dead. I would argue in most cases that it is working as designed, and that the people bitching and moaning are simply not in the majority and delivering a clear enough message on priorities. When I leave my young urban mecca and visit more traditional venues, all I hear is how the Obama isn't doing enough to stop crime, terrorists, drugs, etc.; how he's weakened the government and pussified the United States, that we need a republican back in there to kick out the muslims and put some order in.

These people aren't bothered by spying, torture, or big government interventions. They want safety and they do vote. Their message is no doubt inconsistent, they also complain about "big government" and "regulation" and "wasting money". But listening carefully they don't consider the military, a well stocked police force or an elaborate spy network to be 'wasting" and they consider it a priority. The young urbans, by contrast, largely don't care about this at all, and instead want the government focusing its efforts on other things, mostly economy & socially oriented; listening carefully to them speak they merely have contempt for the police state, they don't vote strongly against it.

2 days ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Austerity Empowers Re:DoJ zone of lawlessness (422 comments)

There's a potential terrorist under every cell in minesweeper, hell that's why they call them cells!

2 days ago
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Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

Austerity Empowers Re:yes, programming, like poetry, is not words, un (209 comments)

I'd put it a different way. From TFS, they try to create an analogy between coding and composition, that just isn't remotely appropriate. If coding is the new literacy, software engineering is the new composition. Yet reading and writing, basic literacy, help billions of people who are neither authors, nor poets in doing their everyday job. Literacy enabled a huge revolution in the workforce, and life in general.

Coding is a tool, like a hammer. Anyone can wield a hammer, some people do so far more proficiently than others to great effect, while others merely pound the nail in that holds a house together. Similarly, anyone could describe the required actions to go from their front door, to backing their car down their driveway, and given the appropriate language could instruct a robot to do so.

If enough people understood properly how to command their computer, productivity would would increase by orders of magnitude and our lives would change again. Most of the produced code would be very utilitarian, poorly structured, utterly mundane but incredibly useful.

3 days ago
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Windows 10 IE With Spartan Engine Performance Vs. Chrome and Firefox

Austerity Empowers Re:But does it matter any more? (174 comments)

Windows is unfortunately relevant. The question is whether the built in browser is relevant. I'm going to install firefox and/or chrome and use those exclusively anyway because i've been burnt too many times with MS's attempts to "add value" with IE to ever trust their browsers again.

4 days ago
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Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Austerity Empowers Re:Simple solution (461 comments)

give all the money to the state

Donate it all to charity (that isn't the fraternal order of police, or some self-serving operation), mail it all to the north pole, but not the state. In some places the states or local governments have "arrangements' with the police to share this money. Further amongst themselves the police divide up roads for state, county and local coverage. You can tell because you can blow by a local cop on the interstate and he won't twitch, even if you're in his city limits. If it was about public safety he'd pull you over just to stop you, even if he was powerless to ticket you. The cat and mouse game around stop signs and traffic lights in some areas has reached epic proportions. There should not be a debate about whether you fully stopped, or almost stopped... only that you followed the intent of the intersection control.

Take away the money motive and I think police would start enforcing traffic laws based on actual danger, rather than what they think they can stick you with.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Austerity Empowers Re:One important use left for Pascal (488 comments)

It's funny because I learned to program in Pascal, that's what high school AP CS was taught in at the time. Then I learned C 6 months later and wondered why anyone would ever use Pascal. Then I saw this thread, and I wonder ....

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Austerity Empowers Re:Discussion is outdated (488 comments)

The issue is that most of the time people doing this work are on the hardware teams, rather than the software teams. It's a hard world to live in, to be sure, the silicon & pcb guys think you're software (i.e. you write code that executes ON a processor, not code that creates the processor). The software guys don't speak the same language: they're hung up on methodologies, APIs, code style & the business of software, or else are more heavy in to the software research side of pure algoritms. It can be tough to fit in, but the job has to be done, it isn't any less essential, just a bit more niche.

5 days ago
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Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Austerity Empowers Re: Missing (476 comments)

So did STTNG.

about a week ago
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Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

Austerity Empowers Re:Why lay fiber at all when you can gouge wireles (200 comments)

No you misread. FiOS isn't AS profitable, it's profitable. Someone without a conflict of interest, willing to compete with wireless, could set up a business and make money, give good service, employ people and return value to an investor. Verizon won't, they see it as a cannibalizing their wireless market.

This is an example of all that is wrong with telecom.

about a week ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

Austerity Empowers Re:Good news (420 comments)

Statements like that one unfortunately lives to regret. Lucas dropped the ball on the prequels, but I'm pretty sure JJ got hit in the head once with the ball and suffered long term damage.

about a week ago
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Fujitsu Psychology Tool Profiles Users At Risk of Cyberattacks

Austerity Empowers Re:LOL ... powering down ... (30 comments)

Well, if the user has to wear the helmet shown in the picture, then perhaps the punishment will be more severe!

Seriously, what is the point of that picture?

about a week ago
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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Austerity Empowers Re:Time for a UNION! (263 comments)

In my line of work, interviews are a panel of 6-8 people (the higher "experience" you are, the more people) on a grueling 8 hour interview process, followed by an obnoxious round table where we "collectively" decide who to hire. But we're not doing so based on our own motivation, we're doing so on behalf of our corporation and executives who lay out criteria and want us to put our badges on the line for those criteria.

None of us, individually, is the employer except perhaps the hiring manager. He sets the ground rules and promises up the chain (often up to a senior VP) that some candidate is going to meet our criteria. SVP will frequently, independently, interview said candidate himself. So we're kind of handcuffed in how we do our job. Many, many, many times the SVP has pushed back saying "You may not hire this person, he has no experience in ", even if he's otherwise smart and quite qualified. Ultimately I consider him the employer, we're just his screeners enhanced also with our own agenda.

Once a candidate is hired however, you cannot argue we are his employers anymore. He will usually be our peer on any org-chart, no matter how junior.

about two weeks ago
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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Austerity Empowers Re:Time for a UNION! (263 comments)

This is an INDUSTRY problem, not particularly an employer problem, though they certainly do a lot to fan the flame. A union won't solve all the problems and will make some of them much worse.

Employers:
- Do not hire a person until existing employees are nearly 100% overbooked. No training or ramp-up time in the schedule.
- Want to hire the cheapest person who can barely get the job done
- Do not want to spend money on training or other activities that might increase employee value on the market (even though, in my opinion, that shoudln't be true)
- Do not significantly value sub E-level employees as investments, but rather fungible commodities to broker
- Vastly prefer to lay off people in position who have become expensive and hire H1Bs to replace them to cut payroll costs, essentially creating a glut of people with the same skillset.

Employees, particularly in Tech:
- Want to hire a drop in replacement. Look for someone with many years of experience doing exactly the job being hired for (i.e. create a niche/no-train, no hope environemtn)
- Tend to focus on job skills over job experience. Skills can be taught to any college hire, and ARE taught in low-cost regions, but tend not to be taught in western schools. Think languages (C), tools, mechanics. Things if you have the proper background and education you can pick up in a month or two. For any non-trivial job however, this is nearly worthless.
- Misapprehend "experience". Experience is not, or should not entirely be how long you've done a particular task. Most tasks can be mastered in well under 5 years. Experience is how many problems you've worked on and solved in your life. It's one thing to learn a solution (i.e. school), it's another thing to learn a problem. The more you've seen and internalized, the better you will be. Instead we interview for how well so-and-so knows how to write python, or how long as he been a python-engineer. Useless. I want to hear what projects he worked on, what solutions he considered and rejected, etc. I don't care what language he did them in, or if he was a cardboard-box folder for 5 years and has the audacity to apply to a plastic tub sealer position without any industry experience!
- In some fields, mine in particular, I have noticed people intentionally block candidates because they are not "in", simply because they are not already "in".

So in essence we are all responsible for creating this market we're in.

about two weeks ago
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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Austerity Empowers Re:Turn about's fair play (263 comments)

new employee act like they want to join for life.

The key word here is act, because as far as I know, nobody joins a company for life anymore, unless he's in civil service. Not the lowliest contracted janitor, right up to the (contracted) CEO.

about two weeks ago
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A State-By-State Guide To Restrictive Community Broadband Laws

Austerity Empowers Re:building municipal broadband is prohibited (160 comments)

I couldn't give two shits about my state (the 10th I've lived in) of Texas, and am pretty sure even the idiots with the "Secede" bumper stickers feel more loyalty to the US than they do the old boy network that runs this place. I'm an American that happens to live in the region known as Texas. I sure wouldn't mind seeing all the anti-muni laws tossed out across the country. I would gladly fork $5k over to have true high speed broadband delivered to my house on the restriction that anyone could provide me with internet service at my own selection. The entire notion of independent states has not aged well and the populace as a whole is ignoring their states in favor of national politics, and doesn't even make sense anymore but to a few ill-intentioned libertarian interests.

With that said, I do have some doubts that the federal government has this right, that it can all be wrapped up conveniently in some verbiage in the constitution that never had conceived of this, without at least a protracted legal battle. This all smells like a politician trying to delude the masses into thinking he's helping while he's actually abdicating, or about to ignore his government doing something that is otherwise massively unpopular. For example what would we do if next month the FCC rules against net neutrality, but Obama & company get a law through congress that will (in 2 years) get overturned?

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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ARM Server Start-up Calxeda Closes Up Shop

Austerity Empowers Austerity Empowers writes  |  about a year ago

Austerity Empowers (669817) writes ""Calxeda, the pioneering maker of low-power microservers using hundreds of ARM central processor cores and System-on-a-Chip (SoC) products for hardware appliances, has laid off most of its employees and is shutting down operations beyond servicing its existing customers and investments." A sad day for many of us."
Link to Original Source
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Wheel of Time: A Memory of Light Released, but no eBook until April

Austerity Empowers Austerity Empowers writes  |  about 2 years ago

Austerity Empowers (669817) writes "The final entry in the fantasy series that has been released in 14 volumes over the past 20 years has been released . However in a typical money grubbing strategy that consumers have grown accustomed to from publishers, the eBook option will not release until April . We've seen this with movies, delaying streaming releases to try to drive up sales (and failing, with publishers mostly giving up), but now we also see it with books. Loyal fans are irate, giving 1 star reviews for a book they can't even have read ."
Link to Original Source
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Apple caves to Think Of The Children

Austerity Empowers Austerity Empowers writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Austerity Empowers (669817) writes "Apparently in an attempt to maintain a good corporate image, apple has yanked the "Baby Shaker" iPhone app from the app store. While I think there is little doubt that shaking a baby is not a socially acceptable behavior, it appears that good taste is one of many parameters required to sell a product on the iPhone. It would seem little has changed in the smart-phone world, except rather than being dominated by apps acceptable to carriers, we are to be dominated by apps acceptable to Apple."
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Civil War - Part Deux, Texas Strikes Back

Austerity Empowers Austerity Empowers writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Austerity Empowers (669817) writes "Former presidential candidate and Slashdot dark-horse favorite Ron Paul discusses the merits and patriotism associated with secession, after failing to stop bailout politics. While many of us on any side of the political spectrum might hear the message and agree in part, is this possibly the reason why he remains on the outside looking in at the political machine that is the US Government? Not all of our secessions have exactly been crowning achievements."
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Zombies Invade Austin, Natives Still Weird

Austerity Empowers Austerity Empowers writes  |  about 6 years ago

Austerity Empowers (669817) writes "Public safety was given a significant boost yesterday, as a clandestine resistance organization changed electronic roadway signs to warn Austinites of a zombie invasion . The local government ministry of information and hired thugs quickly acted to suppress the information, correcting the signs to innocuous traffic reports. I, for one, welcome our new Zombie overlords."
Link to Original Source

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