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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

CrankyFool Re:Well (326 comments)

I give a lot of presentations, both internal to my company and at conferences. Writing presentations is easy, and results in the issues you raised (and many others). Writing GOOD presentations is much harder, and takes a lot more effort.

For me, I find the key to making a presentation that my audience will value is exactly that -- the audience. I try to figure out what it is my audience wants to learn and hear about. I'm not there to talk about whatever the hell it is I want to talk about -- I'm there to communicate something that's going to make a difference for the people in the audience (and, given audience focus, I also make sure I practice my presentations well enough that I know how long they'll take and I MAKE SURE to leave time for questions. Presenters who run out of time are just lazy).

I think presentations are like writing code -- in the end, it's really up to the author, most of the material out there is bad, and the editor (whether vim, emacs, Sublime Text, Atom, IntelliJ, or pick your favorite IDE) has little to do with the quality of the product. At most, and at best, the presentation software makes the mechanical effort a little easier.

about two weeks ago

Dell Demos 5K Display

CrankyFool Re:In other news: Are 4K displays worth getting ye (204 comments)

I got this display -- Asus PB287Q -- for work. It's been absolutely delightful.

That said, I found that at the distance I'm sitting -- about 24" from the display -- The full 4K resolution was way too high and made me have to upscale things pretty regularly. I downgraded to the second-highest resolution (~3200 instead of ~3800 on the horizontal) and it's delightfully usable, and gives me SO MUCH more real estate than the previous monitor (27" Apple Cinema Display -- the standard for my workplace).

One word of warning: On a MacBook Pro Retina, I found that powering via HDMI got me the resolution, but only 30Hz (which for programming I don't care about in the last); my MBPR was a circa-2012 model. when I upgraded to a 2014 model I found that going directly via the DP port (via a mini-DP-to-fullsize-DP cable) let me get 60Hz. Which, still, I don't care about all that much :)

about two weeks ago

Netflix Open Sources Internal Threat Monitoring Tools

CrankyFool Re:Only problem is the name (20 comments)

It's an artifact of how Netflix does OSS: If you're the engineer who open-sources a product, you're the person who names the product. Sometimes that works better than others :)

about three weeks ago

Netflix Open Sources Internal Threat Monitoring Tools

CrankyFool Re:I wonder why they released these. (20 comments)

I work at Netflix (and manage a software development group).

The general approach to OSS can generally be summarized as "if it's not core product (algorithms, recommendations, etc), why haven't you open-sourced it yet?"

It's one of the (very many) nice parts of the job.

about three weeks ago

Netflix Now Works On Linux With HTML5 DRM Video Support In Chrome

CrankyFool Re:Why is (201 comments)

He's really not. Right now, for example, he mostly works on a Chromebook. At least that's what he's usually on when I see him working in the kitchen*.

(I work at Netflix)

* Reed doesn't have an office / cubicle / set location, so he tends to work either in a common area or in a random conference room until you kick him out because you reserved the room

about a month and a half ago

Facebook Seeks Devs To Make Linux Network Stack As Good As FreeBSD's

CrankyFool Re:This does pose the question: (195 comments)

Two comments:

1. Their internal motto was, in fact, "go fast and break stuff"; I know this first-hand because I talked with them about that at my interview back in February, where they mentioned that they've changed to "go fast and be bold" because, in fact, they were trying to lower incidents of availability hits;

2. 20+ years of tech industry experience here, and I was totally ready to be interviewed by some snot-nosed kid. What I got instead was an interview panel whose average tech industry tenure was around 17 years. I was, uniformly, impressed with the caliber of the people I met with there -- they verged from "pretty decent" in one case, to "pretty great" in all but two other cases, to "I'd take a $10K pay cut to work with this person" for the last two people. I was pretty surprised, and delighted.

about a month and a half ago

Gmail Recognizes Addresses Containing Non-Latin Characters

CrankyFool Re:Next wave of phishing? (149 comments)

How does confirming the domain's identity automatically solve this problem?

If someone from the domain sends me email (let's assume here the 'x' is some weird Cyrillic character that looks just like an 'm'), any automated confirmation of the domain's validity would not do some sort of eyeball check "Oh, that looks like, let's confirm if it is, oops it isn't..." but rather an automated "did that email come from Yup, sure did."

Even if you popped up a notice that said "hey, I don't know about that domain," the typical user -- heck, I'd argue even the typical Slashdot user -- would go "weird, looks like it lost creds for it" and click whatever the equivalent of "Oh well" button the notice had.

about a month and a half ago

Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

CrankyFool Re:I'm doing my best to keep them afloat (168 comments)

Probably because, we expect, that Slashdot readers are generally comfortable enough with elementary math to be able to either multiply $1300 by 3 ($3900) or 4 ($5200), or has easy access to a calculator.

about 2 months ago

Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

CrankyFool Re:Alternate view (354 comments)

Netflix raised prices back in May; existing customers are grandfathered in for a while (when prices went up in Ireland, customers were grandfathered for two years). More at

Given that this was done in Q2, and the earnings call was about Q2, I believe Reed was talking about that particular raise (which, again, happened two months ago), not a new raise. There's no new raise.

(I work at Netflix, but I just play with computers).

about a month ago

Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

CrankyFool Want and Have (381 comments)

I have a Pebble -- until recently, a Kickstarter-edition one, though it malfunctioned and the company quite helpfully replaced it.

I originally got it as a geek toy, a whim, but it turned out to be hugely useful for me, given my constraints and work circumstances. Largely, this came down to three factors:

I manage people, and at least at my current company that means that the vast majority of my time is spent in meetings. Having a Pebble on which to see what messages I'm receiving (just for text messages, not FB or email) means I can know when someone's texted me (a rare, but potentially important, occasion) and be able to see what I got without having to reach for my phone in my pocket; it also means that because being able to see the message doesn't necessitate using the tool with which I respond, that I'm less likely to respond immediately, which makes the process less disruptive to the people I'm in meetings with;

I used to miss meetings often because I'd get in the middle of something (or another meeting) and forget to check where I next need to go. My phone quickly vibrating in my pocket was easy to miss. But my watch vibrating? For me, it's unmissable, and it makes me much more aware of where I need to go next.

The other factor that's made a huge difference is not work-related. Being able to control music on my phone via my watch is a trivial improvement when I work out, but it's made another issue basically go away: The "What the hell did I do with my phone?" problem. If I can't find my phone these days, calling it doesn't necessarily work -- it's typically in quiet mode -- but using my Pebble to get some music playing on it, and increasing the volume, is usually immediately helpful in figuring out where the phone is.

You could, of course, argue that these three factors are not, or should not, be relevant to the average geek -- maybe you don't have as many meetings, or are more disciplined about checking your calendar. And God knows we all found our phones before we could remotely start them playing music. But it's been very helpful to me.

about 2 months ago

Radical Dual Tilting Blade Helicopter Design Targets Speeds of Over 270mph

CrankyFool Re:One hundred *billion* dollars? (103 comments)

Actually, it's like $12.74B in 2014, at least according to the inflation calculator at .

Christ, folks. It's numbers. It should be easy to validate the numbers you use before you randomly vomit them on the interwebz.

about 2 months ago

Radical Dual Tilting Blade Helicopter Design Targets Speeds of Over 270mph

CrankyFool Re:One hundred *billion* dollars? (103 comments)

The Comanche program was cancelled after only $7B was spent in development, and before they started mass production. Is $7B a lot of money? Yes. But it's not $100B.

about 2 months ago

Maglev Personal Transportation System Set For Trial In Tel Aviv

CrankyFool Re:start up nation (81 comments)

Whether or not you think Israel is struggling for peace, the neighborhood sure as HELL is not struggling for peace. Israel has nothing to do with the internal conflicts in Lebanon; it has nothing to do with the Syrian civil war; it has nothing to do with the Arab Spring and the suppression of it in Egypt; it has nothing to do with Iraq's invation of Kuwait, or the ISIS incursions at the moment.

about 3 months ago

Workplace Surveillance Becoming More Common

CrankyFool Re:its a lie (195 comments)


At work, we've found a simple solution: Let each group figure out what seating arrangements work for it. There are software development groups here that really like open plans; my own group hates it, so we have tall cubes. It's up to the engineers in the group to figure out what works.

about 3 months ago

Theater Chain Bans Google Glass

CrankyFool Re:Battery Life (376 comments)

If your wife might be going into labor right now and you're out having a beer with a friend, the Google Glass you're wearing is not the first indication you're a douchebag.

about 3 months ago

Netflix Ditches Silverlight For HTML5 On Macs

CrankyFool Re:So basically this is the beginning of the end (202 comments)

Hopefully, nothing will keep people interested in developing for Silverlight, given that Silverlight is dead. This isn't the beginning of the end -- the beginning of the end was when Microsoft announced that Silverlight 5, released three years ago, was going to be the last version of Silverlight released. I'm not saying "Silverlight is dead" as hyperbole -- it's officially a discontinued product.


It will continue to be supported by Microsoft until 2021, but nothing new's happening with it.

about 4 months ago

Tracking Tesla's Quiet Changes To the Model S

CrankyFool Re:Cold Weather Package (106 comments)

Actually, my 2011 Hyundai Elantra with the Limited package has rear-seat warmers. And that car retails for something like $22K.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Taking a New Tack On Net Neutrality?

CrankyFool Uncompelling Market Size (185 comments)

Other people have already commented on the relatively horrifying moral considerations, and some have noted that college students will figure out other ways to get their access. There's one thing that I haven't seen addressed yet: The sites you really care about, the ones that are very very popular, simply don't care about a hostage population of 35,000 students. You see news of Netflix signing deals with Comcast, and some of your management people think they could get Netflix to give them some money as well ... well, they won't. And I can't imagine Chegg (or, HA, Amazon) doing so either. It A) doesn't materially benefit them; and B) starts a horrifying precedent that they'll negotiate with ANYONE.

about 4 months ago

Netflix Pondering Peer-to-Peer Technology For Streaming Video

CrankyFool Re:sync data between data centers? (114 comments)

That's what I thought at first too -- not so much between DCs (or regions, really -- Netflix is located in the AWS cloud), but rather between the CDN cache boxes (OpenConnect Appliances) located in various ISPs. Right now, they all have to download their data from central locations, but P2P would allow OCAs to chat to each other directly.

However, if you look at the job posting, it mentions part of the job duties being "liaise with internal client and toolkit teams to integrate P2P as an additional delivery mechanism" which seems like it's pretty squarely about enabling P2P on the client level.

about 5 months ago

Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

CrankyFool Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

You misunderstand the concept of a "protected class."

Employment law indicates that discrimination or harassment based on protected classifications is illegal. A protected classification is something like "gender," but not "being a woman." So if you discriminate against someone because she's a woman, that's illegal because you're discriminating based on a protected class (gender); and if you discriminate against someone because he's a man, that's ALSO illegal because you yet again are discriminating based on a protected class (gender).

Same thing about race, national origin, and a few other classifications (military service, in a few states sexual orientation, etc).

That doesn't mean, however, that you can't have a charity that focuses on one gender or race, or an organization focused on one gender (e.g. girl scouts or boy scouts); it also doesn't mean that an entity seeking to donate money must donate money equally to all genders -- protected classifications are an area in employment law, not every facet of life.

about 5 months ago



My Wife Wants to Learn Programming

CrankyFool CrankyFool writes  |  more than 2 years ago

CrankyFool (680025) writes "Me: Been around computers for most of my adult life; most of it in IT, but spent some time doing QA and software development

My wife: Not so much. She's an attorney, for heavens' sake. But she's got an interest in technical/geek things (and most of her friends are tech/geeks).

So my wife wants to learn programming, for some amorphous reasons. In her words, "I just want to see if I can learn it and do cool things with it." How's that for vague?

She's got an Android phone and a Windows PC, in case it matters. I can, obviously, easily give her access to a UNIX system if it makes a difference.

Anyone have any suggestions? She thought she'd start with C++, which struck me as ENTIRELY INSANE. I'm thinking maybe Scala (which I don't know) or Python (which I do), but ... it's been a long time since I've thought about how to get started in programming."


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