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Yahoo To Add PGP Encryption For Email

Magnus Pym Re:Oh, god (175 comments)

I disagree. Since Melissa took over, I've lost months worth of mail multiple times on two yahoo accounts that I have. (Not saying that this is Melissa's fault). Tech support responded with a shrug. I've been slowly moving my mail off Yahoo.

about a month and a half ago
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WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

Magnus Pym Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (222 comments)

You say that as if this is a good thing. Care to elaborate why it is a great idea why trade treaties (as opposed to defense & military) should be negotiated in secret? Seems to me (and many others who are experts on this subject matter) is that secrecy is a wonderful thing for the lobbyists and other corrupt bureaucrats and sucks for the people whom it would ultimately affect (i.e., all of us).

As for it being debated on the senate floor... what a joke. By the time it gets to the senate, the issue has already been framed, and the range of acceptable options narrowly defined. The fact is that many of the ideas should never be allowed to even get that level of legitimacy.

about 3 months ago
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A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Magnus Pym Completely violates Jack Welch's 20-70-10 ideas (255 comments)

Most organizations run by disciples of Jack Welch practice the 20-70-10 philosophy, where the `bottom' 10% are sacked each year.

Microsoft, Google, Amazon and most other high-tech companies adhere closely to this principle. Of course they have large amounts of eager applicants, so they can afford to do this.

There are two sides to this issue. On the one hand, it is callous and heartless. On the other hand, it is hard to argue that replacing poor performers with better ones does not improve the team's productivity.

Here is something I've found: most team members do not like under-performers. They have to work harder to compensate. Also, if the poor performer is not penalized somehow, it destroys the motivation of excellent performers. "He gets away with doing nothing, why should I kill myself?"

about 4 months ago
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Americans Hate TV and Internet Providers More Than Other Industries

Magnus Pym Re:RIAA/MPAA should top the list (255 comments)

The phrase Media Distribution Mafia is somewhat redundant.

If you look closely at the executives of the movie/music industries, you will find a surprisingly large percentage of Italian/Sicilian descent, or folks who are very closely affiliated with such. If you look a bit more closely, you'll find that those are the sons, grandsons or great grandsons of folks who ran around exterminating their competition with Tommy guns, or guys who hid out in the mountains of Sicily, attacked travelers and raped their daughters.

It is no surprise that such individuals bring their psychopathic sensibilities to their `legitimate' businesses.

about 4 months ago
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VHS-Era Privacy Law Still Causing Headaches For Streaming Video

Magnus Pym Re:Um. (62 comments)

No. Originally the Netflix' intent of a "like" button was that they could assess the sort of movies you like and provide better recommendations.

Like == sharing is a new concept in world of video rentals. I absolutely positively do not want the likes and positive reviews I've written on my account at Neflix or Imdb to be associated with the real me, used to catalog me and sold to possibly hostile third parties.

The original article sounds like an industry shill trying to spin a good, useful law as something that `harms innovation'.

about 5 months ago
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Women Increasingly Freezing Their Eggs To Pursue Their Careers

Magnus Pym Re:Making a Safer World... (342 comments)

I wish circumstances allowed my parents to live with me. I cannot imagine a happier circumstance than the opportunity to care for them in their winter years.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer?

Magnus Pym Re:Drink more. (218 comments)

Sorry, I did not make a clear distinction in my post. I was not suggesting that Google did behavioral interviewing, merely that the candidate should familiarize himself/herself with the particular interviewing philosophies of the organizations that they are targeting.

Also, behavioral interviewing does not have to be touchy-feely/non-technical at all. It can in fact be the opposite. The style can be very different though.

Typical programming question: how do you traverse a binary tree?

Behavioral question: Describe a situation when you had to deal with and organize a large volume of data. What was the strategy you adopted? Why?

Note that the whys don't stop. The interviewer keeps asking why? why? why? until the candidate's technical limits are reached.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer?

Magnus Pym Re:Drink more. (218 comments)

Likeable is good, but complaining about past employers is a TERRIBLE idea. It is very very hard to do this without coming across as a whiner. Most interviewers immediately pick up on the implied negativity. `You are complaining about them today, you will surely complain about us tomorrow'.

Project positivity. You are not running away from anything. You are running towards something... the new job. Employers don't necessarily want to pick up and be saddled with orphans, refugees or the weak. They want healthy, well-adjusted individuals who can stand on their own feet and be productive.

Also, note that interviewing has changed over the past few years. Behavioral interviewing is all the rage, led by a few large, successful companies. In this situation, candidates are asked to describe specific things that happened to them in past jobs (or specific problems they have worked on), and the interviewer tries to get a feel for how the candidate behaved in that situation (overcoming adversity, dealing with ambiguity, working on seemingly intractable problems), and to extrapolate to how the candidate would behave in similar situations in future. If you really are experienced, you probably have a number of examples like this from your past. Research a few large companies (Google, MSFT, Amazon), they are very open about their interviewing strategies and the qualities they expect from an employee. Keep a few examples of behavior polished and ready.

And good luck!

about 6 months ago
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Best Valentine's Day gift (as recipient):

Magnus Pym Re:Really? Where's Sex on the list? (197 comments)

My friend, I hate to have to be the one to tell you, but this is a classic case of a woman using sex as a tool to control & manipulate.

She may love you, she may not. But one thing is absolutely sure... no woman who really likes sex will use `withholding' as a way to punish or otherwise change the behaviour of her partner. Your wife thinks of sex as a tool. Trust me on this one. I am not a professional shrink, but am in a relationship with one. This comes up all the time.

This may be learned behavior... or something that she inherited from a long line of her female ancestors who used sex as a way to gain power & respect in society. Either way, she is not going to change, and in fact will get worse. I strongly suggest you find a way to extricate yourself while you are still relatively young and have some bargaining power in the sexual market.

about 7 months ago
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Tech's Gender and Race Gap Starts In High School

Magnus Pym Re:This is the AP Comp Sci exam (489 comments)

More than in Sports?

Women obsess over sports and sports stars, but American sports in particular is steeped in outright, overt, blatant sexism and hostility to women at at a level that is unimaginable in tech circles.

Do you know what the average college jock/NFL athelete thinks about and how they treat women?

Do you know what the term `fuck truck' means?

What about the entire concept of cheerleading, where women in skimpy outfits parade and cheer the achievements of male atheletes?

Do you really think tech is more sexist than all this?

Yet women as a whole seem to have no problem with organized sports; so I have to conclude that whatever is keeping them away from tech, it is not sexism.

And BTW, this is purely an American phenomenon. Asian/Indian and European women don't seem to be fazed by tech.

about 8 months ago
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FAA To Allow Use of Most Electronic Devices Throughout Flights

Magnus Pym Re:Keep the phone ban (221 comments)

Actually, the speed is very much an issue. Most traditional CDMA/3G phones cannot service objects moving at high speeds (more than 128 Kmph) because their receivers cannot keep track; read up on finger tracking on rake receivers. A call may last for a few seconds (if that) before getting dropped. I understand a few cell towers designed in the past few years can support high speeds, but they are mostly deployed in Japan and are not in common use. 2G systems will almost surely not be able to support high speeds.

The other issue is handoff, a particular tower serves a relatively small area (maybe a few km in urban areas). Assuming a 10 kilometer cell diameter, a plane traveling at 500 Mph would be switching between cells at a rate of one switch every 45 seconds. [10/ (500*1.6) ) * 3600. ] Now it is theoretically possible for CDMA & 3G systems to support this rate, but it is somewhat hard to imagine such handoffs happening reliably while the plane is moving so fast.

I've worked in the cellular industry and I'm still not sure of how the calls from the 9/11 planes worked. In fact, many of the 9/11 truthers point to this inconsistency as support of their claims that the calls never happened :)

about a year ago
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FAA To Allow Use of Most Electronic Devices Throughout Flights

Magnus Pym Re:Best of both worlds (221 comments)

CDMA is not analog.

And I'm confused about some of your other comments... AFAIK there are many products (expensive, mind you) that can listen in on cellular frequencies, whether analog or digital. These are used in cell phone/base station design all the time.

about a year ago
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Cisco Slashes 4,000 Jobs

Magnus Pym Re:Cisco is a very unique company... (139 comments)

Cisco is no longer a `high tech’ company by any stretch of imagination. The bulk of the technical work that is being done there is incremental and low-value-add, and can easily be done by the sort of easily-led newbies that such companies are eager to hire in the third world. They need very few experts. In the meantime, companies running datacenters are beginning to realize that they do not need the full-fledged switches, routers and other gear that comply to ten thousand IEEE standards. Google et-al are sourcing the hardware cheaply from china and having their own folks write just the bare minimum of networking code required to get stuff working in their datacenters. They are un-willing to pay Cisco premiums. Cisco has managed to bribe enough politicians and spread enough FUD to keep Huawei out of the US. But such tactics do not work too well outside the US, those markets figure that if someone is spying on them anyway, it might as well be the cheaper vendor.

Consequently, over the past 5 years, all semblance of commercial value has been driven out of the networking industry in the west. There are hardly any networking/telecommunication companies left. The infrastructure divisions of Lucent, Nortel, Motorola, Nokia & Siemens have either disappeared completely or exist only in vestigial forms. Folks who populated the networking industry in the late nineties and early 2000s have flocked to the surviving companies, wiz, Cisco & Juniper. Most (but definitely not all) of the smart folks sensed the oncoming demise of the networking industry and got out of Dodge while the getting was good. This means that old-school companies like Cisco and Juniper are stuffed full of people who are unemployable anywhere else. Their skills are too specialized and not transferable to any of the emerging software fields, or simply not of value in such companies. (What good does an intimate knowledge of zero-copy technologies to a company that considers hardware a commodity and writes all their stuff in Java, resulting in hundreds of copies under the hood?) They have not really kept in touch with the basics of computer science and are mostly unable to make it through the interview processes of growing web-based companies.

Thus, as other posters have indicated, there is a large volume of deadwood at Cisco. The first concern of most of such folks is to avoid being caught in the next layoff. Everyone realizes that Cisco is slowly and systematically shedding heads in the US, Europe & other high head-count countries and growing in India, a-la IBM. The politics at Cisco will make that in the US congress seem like that of a preschool. It is commonly heard within Cisco that the entire caste system of India has been replicated there. Cisco has not developed anything innovative in-house for more than a decade. Pretty much all their new product introductions have been acquisitions. No wonder John Chambers sees no value in in-house talent.

I do not intend to suggest that everyone in Cisco is sub-par. I personally know some excellent A+ engineers who are still hanging on there for various (valid and questionable) reasons, and I wish them all the best, and hope they manage to find other employment before the axe reaches their own necks.

about a year ago
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Hollywood's Love of Analytics Couldn't Prevent Six Massive Blockbuster Flops

Magnus Pym Re:The day human beings become rational ... (1029 comments)

Remember this the next time some artistic type is trying to argue that their work is somehow `creative', as opposed to the mindless, artisan endeavors of engineers, computer scientists, burger flippers etc...

about a year ago
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Kernel Dev Tells Linus Torvalds To Stop Using Abusive Language

Magnus Pym I wonder how many people actually like Linus? (1501 comments)

They respect him, of course. They may even admire him or even worship him. But how many people who have to interact with him personally actually like him?

Does he behave this way to his family? The arguments he makes offer no distinctions between technical stupidity and any other kind. Does he abuse his wife/children because they don't come up to his standards of smartness? I am guessing not. If so, then he is being a hypocrite by abusing his professional acquaintances, who doubtless feel compelled to put up with his rude behavior because of the aforementioned admiration/respect.

about a year ago
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Silicon Valley In 2013 Resembles Logan's Run In 2274

Magnus Pym Valley demographics are challenging for caucasians (432 comments)

There is a `white' elephant in the room as far as Silicon Valley is concerned. Whites are a minority in most areas. Most of the decent schools are overwhelmingly Asian and the school cultures have transformed to reflect this fact. The over-whelming focus is on academics to the detriment of extra-curricular activities like sports or art. This does not affect a twenty-something who has moved over from some other part of the country; he is too busy enjoying the fantastic weather and rubbing shoulders with the tech elite. It does matter to a 40-something whose two kids are the only whites in their class. Even if he does not care, his partner may not see it the same way.

There are already areas of the bay area that whites people avoid if they can help it... Sunnyvale, Fremont, Milpitas, most of San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino.

I'm neither defending nor criticizing these attitudes or considerations. Just pointing out that they exist.

about a year ago
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What's Going On In KDE Plasma Workspaces 2?

Magnus Pym KDE 4.9+ is rock stable and better than 3.x (122 comments)

Hi,

I'm a great fan of KDE 3.x also. For what it is worth, I find that KDE4.9+ to be as stable as 3.x ever was, and as feature-full... as a DESKTOP.

I also switched away from KDE 4 to gnome in the early days of KDE4, and was rather reluctantly forced away from Gnome by the recent modifications. I tried KDE4.9 that was packaged as part of Fedora 18, and was very pleasantly surprised. KDE has recovered. It is VERY configurable, supports the usual windows paradigms that we're used to and is very very stable.

HOWEVER, the KDE apps are a different story. They are still half-complete, buggy and lose data. Even basic apps that I use regularly are fairly primitive. For example, KDE has a number of image viewers (Gwenview, Kuickshow...) but none of them can hold a candle to the power, elegance and simplicity of an 8-year old GQview or its modern cousin Geeqie. I tried the mail app on an experimental basis and was rewarded by prompt crashes and data corruptions. There is nothing even close to Gimp, Pan or other staples of Gnome.

So I find myself in the weird position of running the KDE desktop, but using mostly gnome apps.

about a year and a half ago
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iOS 6.1 Leads To Battery Life Drain, Overheating For iPhone Users

Magnus Pym Re:No problem here (266 comments)

I heard that there is a bug in the 3g subsystem that prevents the phone from connecting to the towers, so it keeps retrying and wasting the battery. So it only affects 3G operators like AT&T, won't affect folks on Verizon.

about a year and a half ago
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A Brain-Based Explanation For Why Old People Get Scammed

Magnus Pym Re:If they think only the elderly are easy . . . (209 comments)

You are absolutely right. Old people are in general desperately lonely, and they often suppress `warning messages' for the company when being conned by a smart personable young person (or a cheerful voice at the end of the phone line).

The problem is really social isolation.

The father of one of my closest friends (in his 80s) was conned into investing close to $250,000.00 into a real estate venture in Latin America. He is not someone who comes across as a doddering old man. He is still alert, reasonably physically fit (for his age) and shows no signs of dementia. He had a successful career in business and survived all the vicious corporate politics of the huge corporation that he worked for, and retired with a healthy retirement account.

But pretty much everyone he knows is either dead or lives too far away for regular contact. His children live across the country and his spouse is no more. He has almost no living friends. Pretty much everyone whom he knew before he was 30 have passed on. The elderly do not make new friends very easily with their own age group. He goes for weeks without talking to a single soul (think of the guy from the movie `Up', that scenario is quite accurate). He is isolated, lonely, disenfranchised and desperate to feel relevant to society.

He was ripe for the picking by the smart young woman who knocked on his door in a business suit, heels and with a briefcase full of glossy brochures.

about 2 years ago

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