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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

Gorobei Re:As any developer worth their salt knows (260 comments)

def fastFactorPrimeNum(primenum):
      """quickly factor a prime number"""
      return 1, primenum

Happy to help. Only copyright stands in the way of breaking cryptography forever.

about two weeks ago
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Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

Gorobei Re:Hold on a minute (198 comments)

Software developers help companies make more money. It is the Add in Value-Add. They are the equivalent of the machines in a machine shop. Without them, what is the point in being in business. If you are a software company you pay what you need to pay, to recruit and retain the best developers you can.

Most software developers are not in pure software development companies. They are in large companies doing something like fortune-500 stuff or selling ads (Google) or moving goods (Amazon.)

Very few companies think "let's hire more developers, they add value!" Hiring a developer is a last resort when the tech you have doesn't do what you need. It's like needing to hire a lawyer - you don't want to do it, but it's the cheapest way to achieve your goal.

about a month ago
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

Gorobei Re:So, is there any shred of EVIDENCE? (202 comments)

For most blocks, they just strapped four quarter-circle cradles around the stone and rolled them up earthen ramps using ropes. The remains of the ramps still exist around some pyramids, and some original cradles are on display in the Cairo museum. Pretty much considered solved by the archeologists; it's just armchair physicists who want to invent problems and propose new solutions.

about 3 months ago
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Gorobei Re:Crazy (778 comments)

Minimum Wage is also an attempt to keep the employer/employee relationship decent.

You could have a business model in which you maim small children so that they can earn more money while begging for you, but we, as a society, have decided that it is a bad thing. Yes, it happened in Victorian England and present day India, but we don't do it, even if it is "optimal" under free market conditions.

So, requiring you pay a person enough to live a decent live might not be that bad of an idea. If your business model can't support it, maybe you shouldn't be in that business.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

Gorobei Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (466 comments)

I can understand that. "Take something that you do on a computer in a structured environment with constructive tools and then draw it on a whiteboard, while talking out loud, to a bunch of strangers." Impossible. Frankly, I can't write and talk at the same time, let alone try to code on the fly without a computer. I'm trying to imagine an interview for a guitarist where they say, "Why don't you walk up to a whiteboard and draw out how you'd play some song you've never heard of."

Good analogy. If you were a great guitarist, and you were looking to hire a great guitarist, that question might be reasonable. The two of you would start talking and pretty soon determine if you have a mutual fit.

Same thing with code. Maybe you think "can get the job done" is good enough. Maybe they expect symphonies, though. Right or wrong, you might not be a good fit. Heck, we expect serious CS from all our potential hires, and sometimes one stops the recruiting process because he figures we are weaker than him. Totally fair - it's not about getting the whiteboard problem right or wrong, it's about the talk between people who are going to potentially work together.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

Gorobei Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (466 comments)

I wouldn't.

There are three basic ways to solve this problem:

1. The infinite series: some people know the basic one of the top of their heads: 4 * alternating odd fractions. Some may even know some Ramanugen (spelling - Indian math genius) better series.
2. Some people may remember there is an algorithm to compute the nth digit of Pi efficiently - ask to do a web search for the state of the art.
3. Just go to a trusted website that has already listed Pi to a bazillion digits and pluck the digit out.

about 6 months ago
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Reinventing the Axe

Gorobei Try Google. (217 comments)

The axe has been with us for thousands of years, with its design changing very little during that time. After all, how much can you really alter a basic blade-and-handle?

Well, a simple Google image search for "axe catalog" shows 42 different axe heads sold by the Shapleigh company in 1929.

So, the answer would seem to be "quite a lot."

about 7 months ago
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Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

Gorobei Re:more pseudo science (869 comments)

Which track record is that?

  • Spontaneous generation
  • Lamarckian inheritance
  • Miasma
  • Bloodletting
  • Aether
  • Java Man

Be careful putting too much faith in almighty science. They've been wrong before, you know. A lot. And people died because of it.

You show a bunch of ideas that, when exposed to science, got shot down as objectively wrong pretty quickly. Sounds like the process works.

Want to list 6 current sciency ideas that are wrong but the scientific community considers reasonable? I'll give you a few to start you off:

1. Humans are not changing the climate. Current verdict: wrong. Supporters: a few loons. Evidence: about nil.
2. Evolution is wrong. Current verdict: wrong. Supporters: a few loons. Evidence: nil.
3. Vaccines cause autism. Current verdict: wrong. Supporters: a few loons. Evidence: nil.

I'm sure Slashdot2114 will be debating the bad science ideas that existed in 2014. Some will claim history shows science is death. Smarter people will note that imbeciles, public relations people, lobbyists, and trolls have always added noise and generally slowed the dissemination of knowledge.

Where do you stand, PR Man?

about 7 months ago
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Algorithm Reveals Objects Hidden Behind Other Things In Camera Phone Images

Gorobei Re:Crap (85 comments)

This is an impressive step forward in image processing - while reconstructing an image from diffuse light seemed plausible in theory, figuring out how to do it in practice is a hard problem. These guys deserve some respect.

Well, some respect, but it's hardly cutting edge or even very new. Maybe for physicists, but CS was ahead.

Kohonen described the basics of correlated reconstruction back in the 1980s.

There were videos of reading the backs of cards from diffuse lighting by the early 2000s. Admitted using some cheats like controlling the light source, but not awful compared to this paper that restricts the color.

By the late 2000s, the ideas were pretty common and computationally feasible. I even wrote a few POCs myself while working on somewhat related optical stuff.

about 8 months ago
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The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer

Gorobei Re:Dreaming of code? (533 comments)

It goes way eventually. Then you join senior senior management and you will have the airport dream and the moving to a new house dream.

Welcome to eternal nightmares.

about 10 months ago
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Office Space: TV Documentary Looks At the Dreadful Open Office

Gorobei Re:I like the open plan (314 comments)

>And for what it's worth, in the last few places I've worked, the multimillionaire bosses have always sat right in the middle of the open plan with everybody else

I bet they didn't write much code.

You'd lose that bet at my workplace. The MMBs are in the middle of the open plan and are the top 1% coders: that is why they are there.

about 10 months ago
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Office Space: TV Documentary Looks At the Dreadful Open Office

Gorobei Re: I like the open plan (314 comments)

That's a really good analysis. I'd add one idea: you can have more than one work location! I have my open plan desk (a massive 24 sq ft) of space where I try to spend most of my day: my direct reports are all within 20 feet, and 64 people are within "stand up and talk" distance. I also have an office for the confidential/chat stuff: we walk to it if needed. Almost all business gets done in the open: it's more transparent, we talk tech in the open, we talk strategy in the open, every direct and second level report can at least listen to what is going on and figure out if they can help.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Reproducible Is Arithmetic In the Cloud?

Gorobei Re:Fixed-point arithmetic (226 comments)

Exact and reproducible are very different things though., even if the former implies the latter. Also, when do you need 53 bits of precision for a standard deviation? At worst, simple scaling can keep things within the precision of a double precision floating point number.

"Exact and reproducible" are somewhat sad proxies for "accurate and precise." I once had a mathematician working for me who produced very precise standard deviations, the only problem was that the numbers were sometimes negative.

1 year,2 days
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Ask Slashdot: Easy, Open Source Desktop-Sharing Software?

Gorobei Re: Contact TeamViewer (116 comments)

Really. Used well, it can kill a room full of anodyne PR words. Can only be cast by level 5+ geeks.

1 year,21 days
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Ask Slashdot: Easy, Open Source Desktop-Sharing Software?

Gorobei Re:Contact TeamViewer (116 comments)

+1. This is the obvious answer.

The optics are great (veterans, help, non-profit.)

First, fix your website so that it is obvious what you are offering and how you deliver it ("we are off-line now" does not cut it.)

Second, send a mail to TeamViewer's CEO or PR explaining what you do, what you need, and how you can help them in the PR space (you put thanks on your site, they can point to you as a good deed, you are available for journalists.)

Better than a shot, it should be a slam-dunk if you do it right.

1 year,22 days
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Ask Slashdot: Legal Advice Or Loopholes Needed For Manned Space Program

Gorobei Re:Antarctica (201 comments)

You don't need a passport to enter.
There is no "appropriate State Party" controlling the continent.
Just be sure to take your garbage with you when you leave, not to spill anything, and not to disturb any animals.

It's not that easy. "appropriate State Party to the Treaty" refers to the non-governmental entity doing the launch, not the location of the launch. So you don't get lob stuff into space on a whim because you are outside of territorial waters on a ship, on a private island, etc.

This was hashed out at length on the various rocketry boards when the CATS prize and XPrize were announced.

about a year ago
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Arrest Made In Webcam Highjacking Extortion Case

Gorobei Re:Autistic huh? (311 comments)

Even if as a result of that illness he really and truly had no idea of what was actually happening?

What's the point of punishing someone for something they had no control over?

"I have a nude pic of you; show me more or I'll release it" That's blackmail: he understood the mental state of his victim. There is no "no idea what was happening" defense.

about a year ago
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Utility Sets IT Department On Path To Self-destruction

Gorobei Re:Professional Associations (478 comments)

This is what has always frustrated me about IT people, developers in particular. They are CLUELESS as to the need for professional associations, similar to what doctors and lawyers have.

Doctors and lawyers are unique in that they have a pass/fail exam for you to become a member of the club. Usually with required schooling to boot. And they effectively set the total count of people allowed to work.

You really propose that for IT? A legally required license to work for senior people (and a host of nurse/para-legal type vocational roles for most developers, sysadmins, and web masters?)

Its about time our industry matured a bit and formed some well-supported professional associations that can advocate for our best interests.

ACM? IEEE?

about a year ago
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Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

Gorobei Re:Source code (211 comments)

Wow. That was the most common sense thing I've read in a while. Want a job in NYC?

about a year ago
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How Gen Y Should Talk To Old People At Work

Gorobei Re:So basically... (459 comments)

They don't just say "LOL WTF ;-P" in emails. They say it out loud.

No, seriously, instead of laughing out loud (hence the abbreviation LOL) they will say "ell oh ell". As in, they speak the letters. They'll also say "smiley face" or "winky face" instead of smiling or winking. I wish I was joking but I am not.

Oh noes! To think my boomer generation said "mumbles" instead of actually mumbling.

And my born-in-1935 engineer father said stuff like "there were N people already in line."

about a year ago

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