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Comments

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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

EmperorOfCanada Re:Competent (957 comments)

I don't think that I have ever seen a female sysadmin, ever. But the job jumping is critical for paycheck success; but only for those that are good. Just about every programmer thinks that the company would fail without them but when they leave it is usually easy to fill their spot with someone equal or better. But when the really good ones go suddenly the company realizes that the company can't replace them with a single person or that they will need to massively pay more to fill the positiion. The result is that the new person benefits from this pay jump; except that the person who left has a good chance of jumping into the exact same situation; that is a company that has realized that they need to pay more for the vacant position.

I know one person (not a programming position) where the person left a after 35 years and a salary of $130,000 and after 6 months of searching they hired 3 people the top of the 3 is being paid $280,000 ($190,000 +plus massive benefits). But I guarantee that they would never been able to negotiate half of that raise short of something underhanded if they had tried to stay.

5 days ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

EmperorOfCanada Competent (957 comments)

If anything my experience female programmers on average are more competent. If they have any "failing" it is that they aren't blowhards which seems to actually work in many occupations. I don't know how many male programmers that basically claim "I came into that company and put a 2 year project to bed. Without me they would still be using punch cards." When the reality is that he worked as an intern formatting hard drives. Then when you look at his code it is the million monkeys with a million keyboards experiment done by a single programmer. Whereas the female programmers that I have met tend to take a task, finish a task, take a task, finish a task; no glory.

What I would say is that the worst male programmers tend to compensate for their terrible skills by being louder whereas the bad female programmers tend to either leave or find different jobs within tech.

But at the same time my experience within various organizations is that female programmers weren't treated any differently that I could see. It certainly wasn't ever a living episode of Mad Men.

So if I had to guess it is that any culture that sounds like what she is writing about comes from the top down. Programmers are rarely social gods; so if an asshole marketing type were running the company they might start taking their cues from him. Then I suspect it could get really bad really quickly.

about a week ago
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CCP Games Explains Why Virtual Reality First Person Shooters Still Don't Work

EmperorOfCanada Re:The medium is the message (154 comments)

I think the key problem is that most games and real life situations require that you focus one task at a time. When we walk down the sidewalk we just need to look where we are going, the same with driving and so on. Thus most games based on real life won't translate. A space battle will probably translate fairly well so maybe asteroids will be one of the first big VR successes.

Your novel idea would probably be pretty good if it is written so that more than one thing is going on at a time; and yes good luck with the controls.

One game that I also thought would have some VR traction would be "Don't get eaten" where you play small creatures in a world where just about everything sees you as a snack. (hence why small creatures have nearly 360 degree vision.)

about a week ago
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Math, Programming, and Language Learning

EmperorOfCanada Re:The more math the better (241 comments)

Financial. Although another project that I am in charge of is a game which uses much of the math I have recently updated, but nowhere near as much. In that case it is linear algebra and the corresponding matrix related math. Although much of that is taken care of by fairly comprehensive libraries; although it is nice to know what is happening when I have the libraries do their (no doubt optimized) math on things like vectors and whatnot.

about two weeks ago
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Math, Programming, and Language Learning

EmperorOfCanada The more math the better (241 comments)

I went for years keeping my math and my programming separate. Often programming involves little more math than x++. But then I really buckled down and learned a pile of math which I now pile into my programming. Interestingly enough when I try to show my algorithms to other programmers they say, "I forgot all that math 1 day after exams." But these algorithms often are cutting thousands of lines of code away and result in answers that are instant instead of a more iterative approach that could take minutes or much longer.

The math that I am referring to is all pretty basic year 1 or 2 stuff. Basic Discrete, basic calculus, etc.

about two weeks ago
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CCP Games Explains Why Virtual Reality First Person Shooters Still Don't Work

EmperorOfCanada The medium is the message (154 comments)

Changes in the medium can have massive changes in the message that is best sent through that medium. Before TV radio plays were huge, but TV simply was a better medium. It wasn't that radio plays sucked but that telling episodic stories was done so much better on TV. Also when TV first started much of it was simply radio plays put back into a stage format and videotaped. Moving the camera through the scenery with lots of outdoor locations were a while coming and again the flat play like structure is still used in sitcoms.

Within even moving our internet browsing and gaming to mobile devices has resulted in wildly different usage patterns, there are the obvious ones such as using map tools more but Facebook does not seem to have translated to mobile as well as instagram, or twitter. Also the first person shooter largely has failed on mobile whereas I don't think that Angry Birds would have gotten much traction in a desktop only universe.

So surprise surprise VR goggles aren't turning out to be a screen you wear on your eyes but a whole new medium. I am willing to bet that there will be a genre that takes off on VR and that genre might not even really exist right now. Something really different. A simple example of different was that Wii games had a wildly different flavour than anything proceeding them. I don't remember a game prior to the Wii where I stood on a platform eagerly flapping my arms to propel what looked like a guy in a chicken suit though the air. Yet the Kinect games never caught my fancy as the games were often too serious and made me feel like a fool flapping my arms. The Just Dance game was close but was probably too late.

I am going to throw this one out there for free: Maybe the VR goggles will take off in Colorado and Washington with the blockbuster title being "The Stoner Olympics"

about two weeks ago
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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

EmperorOfCanada Try that today (195 comments)

Try that today and there would be not only bureaucrats in your way but bureaucratic engineers who would complain about the metal in the tracks, the wheels, the bearings, everything.

I find that so little of human accomplishment today is real, it tends to be more accountants and PR people who have a long checklist having to explain why their product is better. Elon Musk must make these kinds of people weep; by saying what he is going to do in plain English and then doing it. He doesn't have to explain why a Tesla is different.

about two weeks ago
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FreeBSD 9.3 Released

EmperorOfCanada What is BSD good for? (77 comments)

I know that BSD lives somewhere in the guts of my Mac OS and I used it many years ago only to stop because of a single incompatibility (but a critical one).

So I am honestly asking, what is BSD good for. I presently use CentOS and I am perfectly happy with it but for some reason BSD has a magical "hard core" allure. So what I should ask is: what excuse do I need to use it?

about two weeks ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

EmperorOfCanada Anyone heard of an override? (435 comments)

Anyone doing anything that the police are worrying about it will turn off any overrides the police are demanding. This is about control, pure and simple. Driverless cars are going to thin the ranks of police and trash their budgets so now they are trying to rationalize their existence with ghosts and spectres.

Keep in mind that these are the same people who are buying tanks and have SWAT teams in some of the lowest crime areas of North America. It must be sad to be a cop when they see so many bogeymen hiding behind every tree (so let's cut down all the trees).

about two weeks ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

EmperorOfCanada Social hacking? (278 comments)

The problem is that once you allow a hacker to penetrate a low value service it could give a hacker the threads needed to start unravelling through social hacking.

If I were some kind of hacker (don't have the time) it would be through the least secure systems and social hacking that I would start. I personally would think that attacking a core server that is most likely locked down solidly and is sat on by an army of paranoid administrators. I would much prefer if someone simply gave me the keys to the system.

Basically the two main hacks that I read about are either the above, or poorly maintained/secured systems with things liked default passwords etc.

For instance I have seen security checks where the admins will send a crude Phishing message to users that even include a warning about phishing attacks and the users proceed to send the data that the admins were phishing for.

So the above Microsoft advice might look good on a spreadsheet but in reality it is plaintext stupid.

about two weeks ago
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'Hidden From Google' Remembers the Sites Google Is Forced To Forget

EmperorOfCanada The fools (163 comments)

Don't these bureaucratic fools realize that they are not able to control the internet, and that the relative lack of bureaucrats is what makes the internet strong? Yes they can control a company like Google through threats but the moment they create a distortion in the market by pushing the internet one way, there will be an opposite and equal reaction in the exact opposite way.

So the NSA pushes things like NIST one way and the result is that the hard core crypto world will now move away from NIST. If youtube is forced to censor then 100 uncensored video sites will show up.

People are told they can't get netflix so proxy companies pop up to sell what was otherwise a fairly speciality service. I mean how many people were buying international proxy services 5 years ago?

I am willing to bet that in some countries where the government censors are at war with the internet that it is a national sport to get around them.

On a side note, I can tell you that if my local government (Nova Scotia, Canada) ran the Internet that you would be paying $200/month for a 256k ISDN and that domain name "approvals" would take years. My government being typically bad it is great that the internet is fundamentally structured so as to make it difficult for governments to truly harm it. They can harm some companies within their reach, but they can't really grasp the slippery concept of the internet itself.

about two weeks ago
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Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

EmperorOfCanada Bloatware can kill it in a heartbeat (381 comments)

Basically I want a smartwatch that will free up my momentary pulling my phone out. So time, changing songs, checking messages, simple navigation, seeing who is calling/called, etc. I really don't want a whole lot more than that. So any attempt at fitness/appstores/games/etc that are best left on my phone then yuk. Any bloaty things that are best left on the phone MUST be left on the phone. Any slipshod half assed crap that don't work well will just waste menu space memory, capacity, and even the time that the company should be using to make the rest of the phone better.

The other key is that customization will be key. If I don't want messages, then I want messages clean off the phone.

But I have little hope that the first few rounds of smartwatches are even going to come close. They will load up the features which will result in abysmal battery lives. They will have complicated menus so that if you want to see a recent message you will have to scroll through 30 screens. But worst of all the MBA types will say, "Hey we have some valuable realestate on these fools' wrists that we can sell. So they will have all kinds of stupid things that sell sell sell such as music stores, app stores, and overlarge reminders that you have a Samsung product or some crap.

My prediction is that in the end there will be two winners. Eventually Apple will come out with something and unless it is total crap they will sell zillions for a huge profit. But some other Timex (maybe even timex) will come out with the simplest and dumbest smartwatch out there for a reasonable price. But it will be small, tough, cheap, and do exactly what it needs to do and not one transistor more.

In the super long term the watch will end up being so smart that it will replace the phone but not for a long while. For now it must be Robin to the Phone's Batman. "Batman the bat phone is ringing..."

about two weeks ago
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Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

EmperorOfCanada My daughter (205 comments)

I have a daughter born in 1999. I suspect that in the years 2200+ that she will encounter problems (assuming a long life) with the 256bit operating systems of the next century when an int could easily encompass every millisecond since the big bang, yet they will still use two digit numbers. With most programmers being very young I don't think that many can think of a whole century as being something a computer must deal with.

about three weeks ago
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Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job

EmperorOfCanada Re:Non-competes should not make you unemployable (272 comments)

So (and I am not completely joking) maybe to get your P Eng you have to work a month as a New York cab driver and you don't graduate unless you get into the top 25% of driver complaints for aggressive driving and abuse of pedestrians.

Basically some sort of assertiveness training. Where the moment an MBA says, yes lets split this bonus evenly 90/10 that the engineer will basically dangle his career over the balcony until the MBA signs over the entirety of the bonus.

about three weeks ago
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Employees Staying Away From Internal Corporate Social Networks

EmperorOfCanada Yes and no (131 comments)

Almost every social network offered by companies that I have seen were stupid, so oddly enough they failed. There would be "messages from the president" or tripe from HR reminding employees not to grope each other along with other passive aggressive crap about someone not following the rules that some asshole thought they could enforce about trash can etiquette. What these sites tend to have in common is either they are ego driven or they are very complicated.

But at the same time I have seen some awesome simple sites that worked really well. One company that I visited had a site with basically 3 sections. One was the useless section from HR. The second section was a discussion group as to how to make the company better (and had reddit style up down voting). And the last section was an internal craigslist buy, sell, and trade thing. Needless to say the HR drivel was 100% ignored with zero comments except from HR. The improving the company section had animated discussions that were very detailed and I was told resulted in many changes from an ink recycling program that saved millions to moving a light pole that more than halved the time to park a truck in their loading bay. But the spectacular success was the buy and sell. Quite simply people seem to prefer to deal with people they know so the deals were almost non-stop.

On a side note one other company(very large) that I recently visited basically had their own Linkedin which was just a giant circle jerk of people posting their accomplishments "Most TPS reports filed in 1 week." And that was it. I very much doubt that the company or the employees derived any value from it making it a net loss for the company after all the time and money that would be wasted on it.

The single best corporate social network that I have recently heard of is an app where you can rate your co-workers. I presume that it is going to be an eye opener for some ego-maniacal bosses who find out that they are reviled. But more importantly it will allow companies to identify their most controversial employees who need further investigation. "Doug in accounting smells really foul and leers at all the women. Bert in the warehouse lives way to well on his tiny salary, does that explain the stuff that is always missing? Susan thinks she is sexy but isn't and needs to stop hitting on the interns. Ralph is a hidden gem, I wonder if the higher ups know his boss takes credit for all his work? I wonder if Ralph knows that his boss assigns him all the blame for his own screw ups?"

about three weeks ago
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FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact

EmperorOfCanada Broke the rule before anyway (128 comments)

I always broke the rule before anyway. I listened to lectures and audiobooks starting on my ride to the airport, through the airport, an interruption at security, then in the gate, then boarding the plane, taxiing the plane, take off, flight, landing, taxiing, arrival, and the drive to my destination.

So nothing is really going to change. Maybe, just maybe I might have a video based lecture that I will watch starting before take off. So now I can do that.

I suspect that I wasn't alone, in that many people probably listened to at least music. So the number of devices active during take off and landing was probably already quite high.

about a month ago
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Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job

EmperorOfCanada Re:Do they own him? (272 comments)

Yes I suspect that it prevents a massive blindside. But seeing that proper notice is very short, it would be wildly different than the years that some companies tried to demand.

about a month ago
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Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job

EmperorOfCanada Re:Non-competes should not make you unemployable (272 comments)

I find that under modern management structures there is a near hatred of highly skilled technical employees. Over and over I see MBA types desperately eliminate the fantastic programmers by replacing them with a room full of mediocre programmers. Then when the project ends up smashed on the rocks, the same MBAs will baulk at paying a top notch programmer a multiple of what the mediocre programmers would get.

My favorite personal experience was years ago I had a ready to go solution for a finance company but I demanded some serious coin for it. The MBA in charge of the recently failed project walked into the next room and said, (when he thought I was out of earshot) "I won't pay any nerd more than someone who went to business school. So they said, no, and did the Indian outsourcing thing. Then around a year later, after it blew up, they offered me exactly, to the penny, half of what I asked. I said, no. Then they slowly worked their way up, halving all the way up to my original price. When I said no even at that price they got angry. That is when I told them that a week after they turned me down a year earlier, that I had exclusively sold the system for about triple what I had asked them for and had it up and running at one of their competitors in under a week. The funny thing was that they laughed and said, "Well your system can't be that good if it only took a week to get it running."

Two other funny things were that they sent a letter from a lawyer demanding that I tell them which competitor was using the system (keep in mind I had never signed anything with them at any point ever) and they then did a Russian outsourcing that royally blew up about a year after that. So here was a company full of MBAs who spent more than 3 years without a system that was fairly critical to their business simply because they refused to give a non MBA real money.

BTW during the original negotiations they tried every which way to rip me off. They tried to make offers where they would cut me in for a percentage of profits, they tried to "lease" the software including source code with the option to terminate with a weeks notice, they tried to have their people do a "code review" before they bought. All this after I was able to run the system right in front of them doing exactly what they wanted. The company that did buy it had economists not MBAs running it and the only complication with their contract was the faster I installed it the more money I made and they wanted the source code in escrow (after the offer they made I gave them the source, which ended up being a win as their internal programmer loved my code so much they got me to do other things).

So that is my long winded way of saying, that trained economists are able to analyse value and thus have a high chance of recognizing value. But MBAs are trained to extract/exploit value, so if they think they can work an angle they will try to work an angle even though in the long run all that sleaze will generally end up biting them in the long run. But I think the MBA mentality is similar to a casino addict. They point to their stupendous wins and say, "Look at me, I am the man." But in the case of MBAs the are at the casino playing with other people's money. Whereas economists look at the casino and say, "Unless we are the ones running the casino the math is terrible."

about a month ago
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Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job

EmperorOfCanada Re:Non-competes should not make you unemployable (272 comments)

Actually in Canada there was a recent Supreme court decision where they said that you could even contact former customers as long as it was reasonable for you to have naturally remembered their contact information. So I couldn't leave with a list of 100,000 contacts, but 40-100 would potentially be reasonable.

Basically how this broke down was that it was against the charter to tell you where you can and can't work. Also it was against the charter to tell you who you can and can't contact. Thus any contract clauses that violate the charter are void.

I was blown away with the contacting former customers being allowed. Oh and this particular decision also cleared pillaging former employees.

about a month ago
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Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job

EmperorOfCanada Do they own him? (272 comments)

I love how this makes sense to the corporate minds at Amazon. This guy worked for them and thus they can now control his life? Employees leaving is a part of life. Oddly enough a specialist in such an industry is going to go to a competitor. Any contract that somehow demands that they get to control you after you quit is absurd and should be thrown out with extreme prejudice. And before anyone says, "Well he signed it." Can you list 4 consecutive words from the terms and conditions of Slashdot? Did you know that Clause 18 section B allows slashdot to demand that you donate any or all compatible organs if they need a transplant for any of the executive?

If you look at a recent Supreme court decision in Canada involving RBC, you will find that they basically struck down most of the concept of an employment non-compete as violating a charter right to live and work where you chose. While this might seem irrelevant to the US courts, I went to a talk given by a supreme court justice who said, that due to the nature of many western countries having a British based legal system that they do look at the thinking of the highest courts in other former British colonies. Not only to see what they were thinking at the time but to see if there were unintended consequences to similar decisions.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Japanese can build their own radiation detectors

EmperorOfCanada EmperorOfCanada writes  |  more than 3 years ago

EmperorOfCanada writes "Here is a DIY radiation detector For those Japanese wondering if radiation levels have gone up that can be made with household supplies: any clear sided container with a flat metal(preferably) lid, some black paint, rubbing alcohol, a can of keyboard air duster, and a flashlight . This won't give an absolute measurement but it will tell you if you are in a hot zone. The radiation leaves trails in the mist and looks very cool. Can't beat a home made Geiger counter in 10 minutes and for less than $20 US."
Link to Original Source
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Cheap cloud diffusion chamber with air duster

EmperorOfCanada EmperorOfCanada writes  |  more than 3 years ago

EmperorOfCanada writes "A 15 year old girl has invented a very cheap and easy way to build your own cloud diffusion chamber; which is a neat way to see various radiation particles leave trails. Radiation such as cosmic rays, background radiation, and any handy radiation sources such as a disassembled smoke detector.
Video"

Link to Original Source
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Avoiding eVoting fraud

EmperorOfCanada EmperorOfCanada writes  |  more than 5 years ago

EmperorOfCanada writes "I am looking for suggestions on how to prevent the use of eVoting in an upcoming election (Mid Oct.) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The city is going to allow people to vote both online and by telephone. As a security aware software developer I am frightened of the number of ways that an electronic portion of an election can go wrong. For well over a year I have been in contact with a senior city official over this issue supplying her with dozens of examples of eVoting going wrong in the many ways it tends to do so. Obviously security theater has won the day and here we are staring down the barrel of an election with votes recorded at the whim of the company running the evoting. How can this be prevented? Does anyone have any good examples of grassroots efforts that succeeded in preventing the use of electronic voting? Is there any way to force an audit of the code / machines / security / raw data that are involved in this craziness? Minimally can people comment expertly on just how stupid an idea it is to allow voting via the internet and by telephone? Thanks, A very concerned citizen."

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