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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

GlobalEcho Re:I use cobol, you insensitive clod! (385 comments)

If you have not yet read Charles Stross' Laundry novels, now is the time.

about two weeks ago

VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

GlobalEcho Re:Biden is talking coding?? (225 comments)

Al Gore, March 8, 1999, interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

Al Gore, March 8, 1999, about 0.2 seconds later in the same interview "...I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth, environmental protection, improvements in our educational system." Wired magazine yanked that quote out of context and it has never been the same since.

Absolutely right. I always thought that was a bit unfair, but I didn't mind too much, because I believe Gore has always been insufficiently lambasted for his active advocacy of the Clipper chip

about 2 months ago

Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

GlobalEcho Re:Use TrueCrypt! (176 comments)

Mods: please mod this AC's post up!

about 2 months ago

New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

GlobalEcho Listen in (205 comments)

Among the advantages of owning a minivan is that it becomes easy to carry your own children, plus a few of their friends. You get to know those friends, and listen to your kids' conversations with them. Often, the kids sort of forget you are there and converse "normally". You gain a window into their lives at school you otherwise would never have enjoyed.

Sneaky trick: if you turn on the radio with the fader balanced toward the rear seats, the kids will speak louder without even realizing it.

about 2 months ago

Mapping a Monster Volcano

GlobalEcho The next eruption (105 comments)

My prediction:

The next eruption, if it happens within the next couple of years, will be blamed on this experiment. This will happen regardless of any scientific support for such blame.

about 2 months ago

Shawn Raymond's Tandem Bike is Shorter Than Yours (Video)

GlobalEcho Basically a toy (85 comments)

As a "real" tandem person (see here), I must say this thing looks like a toy to me. Of course, it is also far less expensive than the bikes made by serious tandem bike companies, who often make bikes with derailer and brake systems that alone cost as much as this monstrosity.

We've had our tandem going 60-70mph (down mountain roads). There's no way I would trust this thing for such riding. Maybe it is OK for some gentle cruises, but that's it. And furthermore, there's a far better design for front-stoker visibility.

/snob mode off

about 3 months ago

Biodegradable Fibers As Strong As Steel Made From Wood Cellulose

GlobalEcho Table salt (82 comments)

replacement for many filament materials made today from imperishable substances such as fiberglass, plastic, and metal. And all this from a substance that requires only water, wood cellulose, and common table salt to create it

I would hate to be the poor bastard in the factory whose job it is to stand there shaking the salt cellar all day.

about 3 months ago

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

GlobalEcho Entering students too young (325 comments)

The median time to get a Ph.D. is nine years.

I think students who enter are often doing so by default. Education has been their life unto that point, they have always been outstanding students, and they enjoy it. They are too young and inexperienced to realize how long 9 years is and what they'll be missing (or perhaps they are too optimistic about their personal chances of being an outlier).

about 3 months ago

High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race To Irrelevance

GlobalEcho Re:Frequent auctions (382 comments)

defeating the HFTs basically comes down to adding a delay to multi-exchange transactions such that the transaction reaches each exchange at the same time.

Budish shows in his paper how that is not true. Basically, it works only if very little of the total volume is on a delayed exchange.

The stock exchanges are engaged in the same sort of crap with the HFTs, selling them special access and trade types that other investors do not have.

I don't see a problem with that. Back in the old days of floor trading, the floor traders had special access everyone else lacked. And they behaved very badly compared to what we now see with HFTs.

If our regulatory agencies were more competent, this would have been dealt with years ago instead of letting it fester as long as it has.

They are careful, not incompetent. The gut reaction of lots of people is that any middleman is a parasite. The reaction in the American West to the rise of hardware and lumber specialists during the late 19th century (fueled by general stores) is an excellent example with similar popular political outrage behind it. I'm glad the regulators did nothing about it.

about 3 months ago

High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race To Irrelevance

GlobalEcho Frequent auctions (382 comments)

For those of you not frothing at the mount, Eric Budish has an interesting critique and proposal to replace continuous-time markets with auctions every second or so. The idea is that being forced to wait for the next auction mitigates the advantages of low-latency trading.

I think he makes a very good argument.

about 3 months ago

Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

GlobalEcho Nanoseconds (137 comments)

My mother was one of the first female programmers at Honeywell back in the `70s. Back then, IT companies recruited their programmers from the ranks of mathematicians (like mom).

Grace Hopper was a big hero to her, and one of the things I remember best is mom coming home with a short length of wire given out by Adm. Hopper at a speech -- sized to represent the distance electricity would travel in a nanosecond.

Mom is still coding, by the way, writing custom software for my dad's business in Python/Django/PostgreSQL. Dad complains that she's obsessed with the programming and won't do anything else. Sounds like me...thanks for the genes, mom!

about 4 months ago

Lectures Aren't Just Boring, They're Ineffective, Too, Study Finds

GlobalEcho Re:Easiest for the instructor (166 comments)

Interestingnow that I reflect on it, my experiences are similar.

Perhaps it is because humans dislike change?

about 4 months ago

Lectures Aren't Just Boring, They're Ineffective, Too, Study Finds

GlobalEcho Easiest for the instructor (166 comments)

One reason lectures are so popular is that they are far, far easier for the instructor. Putting together a useful interactive activity is much harder than simply planning what to say. Even incorporating someone else's pre-designed activity is difficult to synchronize with one's own lesson plan. At the grade school level, I believe there is considerable room for improvement through teachers learning how to share and use activity plans.

At the college and graduate school level, it gets much harder on the professor as potential sources of planned activities thin out and specialization increases. Increasing interactivity demands much more time of these professors since most such improvements will have to be custom-designed for the class. Given the social structure of university compensation (research counts, teaching doesn't), I find it hard to see interactivity at the college or grad school level increasing very quickly.

That said, college and grad school courses are perhaps more interactive than they are given credit for. They often meet just a few times a week, reducing the boring lecture hours, and assign a lot of homework, increasing interactivity in a way that fails to appear in the studies cited.

For context, I am an adjunct professor (at the graduate school level). Based on this daily of studies I try to include some interactivity but it's really hard, so that mainly degenerates into a few intra-class status quizzes. My classes tend to meet for 2.5-3 hours per week, and have 5-20 hours of homework on top of that.

about 4 months ago

A Look at Smart Gun Technology

GlobalEcho Flawed reasoning (765 comments)

the last thing you want is another avenue for failure

That's not a very bright statement. What you should wish to avoid is for something bad to happen. One way that can happen is indeed for a gun to fail when it needs to work, but there are others, for example having an unseen companion assailant seize the gun and shoot you with it.

It's all about the probabilities of various scenarios, and anyone failing to incorporate that that in their evaluation is not worth listening to. (For the record, I have no opinion about what those probabilities are, but live in such a safe place that I don't consider bothering with a gun.)

about 4 months ago

Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

GlobalEcho Many polite people (490 comments)

As a cyclist who commutes year-round in Chicago, I just want to give a little shout out to the motorists, who are almost all incredibly polite. It's human nature for us to notice and remember the jerks (and I recall a few) but the incredibly vast majority of motorists are accommodating, friendly, and (when paying attention) cautious.

If I have one request of motorists, it's to get off the cell phones, something I am sure every road user -- pedestrian, cyclist and motorist agrees with.

about 4 months ago

The Ways Programming Is Hard

GlobalEcho Re:"there's not much to indicate difficulty" (278 comments)

I wouldn't simply assume that it's easy because it looks that way.

Agree!....I despair of ever managing to lay a good caulk bead.

about 5 months ago

Supreme Court Upholds Michigan's Ban On Affirmative Action In College Admissions

GlobalEcho Re:Wisest quote I saw from the pundit class (410 comments)

The dirty little secret that neither Haycock nor Sotommayor (sic) want to acknowledge is that "racially sensitive admissions policies" only get the student through the door -- they do nothing to address the significant gap in minority student retention and graduation

You misread the quote...Haycock is agreeing with you.

about 5 months ago

Supreme Court Upholds Michigan's Ban On Affirmative Action In College Admissions

GlobalEcho Wisest quote I saw from the pundit class (410 comments)

Wisest quote I saw from the pundit class:

“I just keep wishing that the people who spend so much time trying to end racial preferences in higher ed would work to end the racial differences in the education we provide K-12”

      --Kati Haycock, Education Trust

about 5 months ago

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

GlobalEcho Re:HRBlock (386 comments)

However some states were able to implement their own systems separately...which is why sites like HR block don't offer free filing in Illinois. Illinois hosts it's own solution, on it's own website, very easy and totally free and no upsell.

I have such complicated taxes that I need to buy a "Premier" edition of TurboTax. It comes with "free" state, but what they mean is that the computations are free but they demand serious money to e-File.

Illinois website is so awesome that I simply use it despite the free state addin. TurboTax does the computations with almost no extra effort, so I use it for a sanity check, but there's never been a difference.

about 5 months ago

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

GlobalEcho Re:Paper and US Postal Service (386 comments)

The K-1 definitely provides another order of magnitude of complexity beyond the forms you cite here. I would say that and tracking asset depreciation are the two big things that make spreadsheets unwieldy....particularly because values start to carry over from year to year.

about 5 months ago



Open Source Robotic Surgeon

GlobalEcho GlobalEcho writes  |  more than 2 years ago

GlobalEcho (26240) writes "Researchers have created a second version of the Raven robotic surgeon, with open-source control code

UW researchers also created software to work with the Robot Operating System, a popular open-source robotics code, so labs can easily connect the Raven to other devices and share ideas.

Unfortunately for them, according to The Economist

there is [a] legal problem. Intuitive Surgical, the company behind the da Vinci [robot], holds patents that could make launching a commercial competitor tricky—at least in the immediate future.


Link to Original Source

Apple's XCode IDE Is No Longer Free

GlobalEcho GlobalEcho writes  |  more than 3 years ago

GlobalEcho (26240) writes "Apple has historically made its development tools available free to anyone willing to register on their website and wait for a 1GB download. Starting with XCode 4, the software will cost $4.99 for anyone not already a paid member of their Registered Developer program ($99/year). The new version will now come as an App Store download."
Link to Original Source

Industry Open-Sources Model For Infamous CDS

GlobalEcho GlobalEcho writes  |  more than 5 years ago

GlobalEcho (26240) writes "Credit default swaps (CDS) are infamous for bringing down AIG and requiring a bailout of hundreds of billions of dollars.
Because the market for these was so murky, the US government has insisted that Wall Street create a clearinghouse for these contracts. In a fresh twist, part of the deal is that the models used to price CDS have been standardized, and that the pricing code was made open source, under a somewhat BSD-like license. The source code (originally written by JPMorgan) provides the basic pricing routines, plus an Excel interface.
To my knowledge this is the first significant migration of an investment bank product platform from its usual super-secret proprietary home to the rest of the world."

Link to Original Source

Surveillance cameras find atomic chemist's killer

GlobalEcho GlobalEcho writes  |  more than 6 years ago

GlobalEcho (26240) writes "When a chemist was murdered in Chicago last week, police had few leads, until they reviewed the tape on nearby surveillance cameras. Cameras have been reviled for intruding on the privacy of the public, but it would seem there is a case to be made for having at least a few of them around, perhaps just enough of them (as here) to catch the stupid criminals (which is most of them)."
Link to Original Source

GlobalEcho GlobalEcho writes  |  more than 7 years ago

GlobalEcho (26240) writes "Prudential securities analysts just published a research report projecting sales of 7 million iPhones by Apple during 2007. They anticipate two models: a slim phone in the first half of 2007 that is essentially an iPod with some phone capabilities included, and a smartphone in the second half with a richer set of features. The report also notes that Apple has been hiring video game designers."


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