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Do Good Programmers Need Agents?

Jon Peterson Re:10x Productivity (215 comments)

Good management is a myth, unless your management stack is comprised of individuals smarter than you on the specific field. It can help a lot (and I've worked with wonderful management), but that's it. Its not a silver-bullet.

Awww. I'm glad you found time during all your rockstar full stack development to work out that good management is a myth.

I recommend your next step should be to start a company where you don't bother hiring those non-existent good managers - I'm sure you'll be a millionaire in no time.

about 2 months ago

British Spies Are Free To Target Lawyers and Journalists

Jon Peterson Re:There can be no defense of this. (184 comments)

The words "deception", "job description", and "gullibile" come to mind.

Not at all. I too know people who work in the intelligence services, and I've known them since long before they took on those jobs! They are intelligent (duh...) and thoughtful. They care about private and privileged communications about as much as someone doing an aerial survey for geological research cares about peeping tom laws and people sunbathing naked in their gardens. They consider the (legal or moral) rules they break as so removed from their purpose and intent as to be quite beside the point.

Whether that attitude needs changing I wouldn't like to say, but it's not an attitude of malice.

about 3 months ago

FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Jon Peterson Counterfeiters not competitors (572 comments)

"competitors' chips" is a little unfair. It also doesn't brick anything, although a non-technical user won't know the difference. It reversibly disables counterfeit chips.

I'd say it was a grey area, simply because it's so hard to tell if a chip embedded in 3rd party hardware is genuine or not.

For those who knew they were using rip-off chips, screw 'em. It reminds me of the days when I'd get emails from people using pirated copies of my software bitching about bugs. If I could have been bothered, I'd have released a free update that deliberately screwed up those installations.

about 3 months ago

Could Tech Have Stopped ISIS From Using Our Own Heavy Weapons Against Us?

Jon Peterson Re:Silly (448 comments)

The idea is to have a timer that would automatically disable the equipment unless it received an enable signal, either from a satellite or removable medium.

Right, but now all the enemy has to do to entirely disable your tank in the field is to disable (or block) the receiver. An enemy with good signals jamming can disable all your armour. Not ideal.

about 5 months ago

Reported iCloud Hack Leaks Hundreds of Private Celebrity Photos

Jon Peterson Re:"complained about the service" (336 comments)

Then dont use it. Pretty simple. There is no law that says you have to use any cloud service, so if you dont trust/like them, dont use them. And dont bitch about it when you choose to do so.

There's no law that says you have to drive a Ford. If you don't trust them, don't drive one. But don't bitch about it when it bursts into flames and kills you, when you choose to drive it.

about 5 months ago

Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet

Jon Peterson Re: As much as I hate Apple (187 comments)

So who "won" in the PC industry?

Dell -- revenues and profits declined so badly they went private?
HP - PC division is doing so bad they almost got rid of it.
IBM -- completely left the business
Compaq - Dead
Gateway - Dead

All those companies won. They made great profits from an important product. So what if many are no longer in business. Many steam engine companies are out of business. That doesn't mean that steam engines were bad and we should have invested more in horses or blimps. Life moves on.

'Losers' would be the likes of Commodore, Olivetti, Tandy, Atari, Amstrad

The Apple iPhone may yet end up as the Commodore Amiga of it's era.

about 5 months ago

Microsoft To Launch Machine Learning Service

Jon Peterson Re:Give WEKA a try (56 comments)

You don't trust anything you haven't built???

How do you know your HDD firmware isn't corrupting data? Build it yourself??

about 7 months ago

Microsoft To Launch Machine Learning Service

Jon Peterson Re:Sky.NET (56 comments)

Google, Apple, Oracle, IBM, etc. etc.

Actually, Azure is great, and the addition of high level services like this is the right direction. Just spinning up VMs isn't nearly as useful as a service layer.

The algorithms aren't an especially hard part of machine learning, dealing with the data is. Anything that would save me the hassle of trying to fit things in RAM would be great...

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Back Up Physical Data?

Jon Peterson Safe (245 comments)

An inexpensive fire-proof and waterproof safe will survive a gas explosion just fine.

But you are overestimating the importance of identity documents. A few sworn statements will have you up and running again in no time.

about 9 months ago

UK Court Orders Block of Three Torrent Sites

Jon Peterson Re:So... (99 comments)

They are making it as difficult and possible to get at the content legally.

Indeed. So the less sociopathic and self-entitled among us take the option of 'not getting at it' rather than 'getting it illegally'.

about 2 years ago

Shorter '.uk' Domain Name Put On Ice

Jon Peterson Re:Poor sods (110 comments)

We've given up, and billion means thousand million in British English now.

Even more embarrassing, we now called muffins "English Muffins", because everyone thinks muffins are those fluffy things baked in tins that Starbucks sell.

about 2 years ago

PS3 Hacked via USB Dongle

Jon Peterson Re:What does this mean for cheats/aimbots? (337 comments)

What's the advantage of a console over a PC for people who develop or play indie games?

Mainly, it's not having your game ripped off by general free-loaders. And of course many games are better suited to controllers than keyboard/mice.

more than 4 years ago

Would You Use a Free Netbook From Google?

Jon Peterson Re:No I won't (435 comments)

I won't use a machine which is useless without network

I started out using VT320 terminals, so I'm kind of used to the idea of using lightweight hardware that's useless without a network. Worked pretty well at the time ;-)

more than 5 years ago

Oracle Buys Sun

Jon Peterson Re:What about MySQL? (906 comments)

"On paper, Rock and the T2 look like they'd be a very good match for Oracle's workloads, but since Oracle's license prevents publishing benchmarks and I don't have the hardware and software to hand to test them, I can't tell how they do in the real world."

I do have the hardware and software to hand :-). We moved to T2 architecture (T5240s) at the beginning of the year for Oracle and for a bunch of other apps. In the case of Oracle it does what you expect - scales massively well for large numbers of fast queries (i.e. typical webapp situation), but of course if you have a single huge query, it's going to run on a single execution thread, slowly. A simple performance test showed Oracle scaling linearly until our test *client* ran out of steam - by then we were far about any expected load so didn't test further.

The key thing is licensing. We run Oracle 10g standard, and it works out very well. Oracle have insane licensing with fine distinctions about when a core counts as a CPU blah blah blah. Right now, with T2 we get 64 parallel execution threads for 1 Oracle CPU license, which works for me :-)

I'll be interested to see what Rock offers, but with the virtualization capabilities in Solaris, the T2 gives us a lot of room to be flexible and split stuff up. If you've been paying attention for the last 20 years and have designed your software on the principles of atomicity, asynchronicity, and statelessness, it does let you scale very very nicely.

more than 5 years ago

Artificial Intelligence at Human Level by 2029?

Jon Peterson Re:Oblig. (678 comments)

"Language isn't far off at all, we just about have it already"

Actually, we aren't even close. Not only that but we've barely advanced in the last 20 years. Don't get me wrong, we're seeing lots more stuff in industry doing 'NLP' - but what its doing was done in labs years ago. It's a case of industry closing the gap on academia. The academics aren't making much progress.

We can use crude dictionary based algorithms to find noun phrases. We can have a fairly good stab at linking adjectives and adverbs to their nouns and verbs. We can get negation right 80% of the time. That's just parsing simple sentences. And sentences are the easy bit of language. Attempts at context sensitivity are dictionary based and poor.

For instance, what does "it" refer to in the following bits of language?

"It is raining"
"Eureka! I've got it!"

Think about how on earth you'd get a computer to determine the referent of 'it' in each case. NLP is not the route to AI. If anything, when we get further with AI in a couple of centuries, we may be able to make headway on NLP.

more than 6 years ago


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