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The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

Pulzar Why not patent compression algorithm? (263 comments)

If somebody comes up with a novel patent compression algorithm, why shouldn't they be able to patent it? I read the argument about math not being patentable, but I don't really understand why. A new data compression algorithm that is truly novel seems like it should deserve some protection so that the inventor can get rewarded for her work. No?

about a month ago

NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

Pulzar Re:Buying a car (455 comments)

Why pay book value for new models when the 3 year old model will last you as long ...

No, I'm pretty sure that, on average, it will last you about 3 years less.

about a month ago

Hundreds of Cities Wired With Fiber, But Telecom Lobbying Keeps It Unusable

Pulzar Re:Annoying. (347 comments)

If you are correct that taxes collect themselves, then why couldn't billing use the same technology?

I think the point is that there is a tax collection system in place already. Adding a line item on the form to cover water is not going to increase the cost and complexity of the system.

about 2 months ago

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

Pulzar Re:So when will the taxi drivers start protesting? (583 comments)

Or a road has a new road layout. The lanes have moved around. Perhaps a two way street has become a one way street. This is clearly signposted. Can your car read these signs? Will it just dumbly drive up the street the wrong way until someone thinks to update the map?

Why do you have the impression that computers these days can still only do the same things they did in the 90s?

Yes, the car can read the signs, easily. It's trivial for it to see the sign that says "one way, do not enter" and to recalculate its route. It's also easy for the first car that spots the sign that doesn't match its map to update other cars and let them know what's going on.

And, why wouldn't it have a special bus queue length algorithm, if that was important to know? How hard of an algorithm would it be? It could even query the average wait time for a particular bus stop and adjust to be even more precise. I bet it could predict the waiting time better than you would.

about 2 months ago

Tesla Model S Has Hidden Ethernet Port, User Runs Firefox On the 17" Screen

Pulzar Re:Connector type (208 comments)

Yeah, it is. "Disguised", my ass.

about 4 months ago

Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

Pulzar Re:Another type that is interesting... (717 comments)

For the next month, I arrived at my desk at 0800, took a 15 minute break at ten and 2, left at 12 for exactly 1 hour, and left at exactly 5 p.m. Even though they got the message very clearly after the first week.

Wow, you worked regular work hours and coworkers could find you during the day... you really showed them.

If you're going to be working odd hours and come and go whenever you want, then that should be a "work from home" job. But, since somebody complained that they couldn't find you at 10am, it sounds like it wasn't that kind of a job.

Believe me, 9 out of 10 companies would prefer you to work 40 hours a week and during regular hours than this "I stay very late" BS.

about 5 months ago

Price of Amazon Prime May Jump To $119 a Year

Pulzar Re:Price has NOT remained the same (298 comments)

I guess it's all about managing your toothpaste shopping habits. I can always easily find $25+ worth of things that I need for the house that are cheaper or same price as my local grocery store, so I just buy a bunch of things I need altogether.

Toothpaste, paper towels, garbage bags, coffee, cat litter... those are things you always need in regular intervals. Just get them together in appropriate quantities.

about 6 months ago

Price of Amazon Prime May Jump To $119 a Year

Pulzar Re:Why Prime? (298 comments)

I figured that, like most people on /., I'm not in the target demographic.

I don't think you figured "like most people on /." part right. At least in my experience, just about every computer geek I know has Prime.

Screw the delayed gratification. When I go to store to buy something, I get it right then and there. Online was always a pain because of the delay... Prime makes the delay very manageable.

about 6 months ago

US Geneticist Discusses North Korea Trip With Dennis Rodman

Pulzar Re:Visiting Hitler (101 comments)

Thanks for the link. The score in the finals was 19-8, as the played in the rain on a muddy court and neither team could dribble the ball!

Awesome :).

about 6 months ago

Research Suggests One To Three Men Fathered Most Western Europeans

Pulzar Re:if "alot" doesnt matter why correct it? (253 comments)

and actually you as well have taken the time to type out a response to something you think is "irrelevant"

You missed my point. You made "alot" the subject at hand, and the actual point you were trying to make on the topic became irrelevant. We're all talking about your spelling instead of whatever you were trying to say in the discussion.

If your desire is only to get noticed and get replies correcting your spelling, then saying "alot" a lot :) is a successful way of doing it. But if your desire is to get a good discussion on relevant topic going, as you say it is, then this isn't very good.

about 8 months ago

Research Suggests One To Three Men Fathered Most Western Europeans

Pulzar Re:thanks for the feedback (253 comments)

I make my words a bit grating precisely for that reason. I *want* people to pay attention...I am not making the same point everyone else has made. I **DO** believe we can all agree and move forward and I have had some very interesting conversations this way.

That doesn't make any sense. The conversation ended up being about spelling instead of your point, which is completely opposite from what you wanted it to be.

You don't make your words "grating" by misspelling them, you make them irrelevant... unfortunately.

Following that up with an argument that you did it on purpose certainly doesn't help your cause. It only leads it us even further astray from the topic.

about 8 months ago

User Alleges LG TVs Phone Home With Your Viewing Habits

Pulzar Re:What we need.... (286 comments)

What we need is for the protocol to be reverse-engineered

The "protocol" seems to be a simple POST with fields like "channel=32&antenna=no", etc.

That better not take too long to reverse-engineer.

about 8 months ago

Skydiving Accident Leaves Security Guru Cedric 'Sid' Blancher Dead At 37

Pulzar Re: That's a shame (332 comments)

You are ignoring the reality that people drive far more often than they skydive.

I was not ignoring it, I was addressing it head on. I believe that if it takes 100+ times of doing one thing vs. once of another thing to bring them into comparable death probabilities, then the thing you can do 100+ times is clearly safer.

about 8 months ago

Skydiving Accident Leaves Security Guru Cedric 'Sid' Blancher Dead At 37

Pulzar Re: That's a shame (332 comments)

People don't understand that most fatalities from skydiving involve stunts of some sort: hook turns, base jumping, wingsuits.

Not necessarily.

about 8 months ago

Skydiving Accident Leaves Security Guru Cedric 'Sid' Blancher Dead At 37

Pulzar Re: That's a shame (332 comments)

That calculation is completely flawed. You can't compare the lifetime chance of death for something that is done occasionally vs something that is done multiple times a day, and say that they are equally safe.

In 100,000,000 miles traveled, at least a few million trips were made, vs. 150,000 jumps. Clearly, getting into a car and driving to a destination is an order of magnitude safer than jumping out of a plane.

about 8 months ago

Microsoft Kills Stack Ranking

Pulzar It won't change things much (204 comments)

I've gone through this transition once before... now every manager has a budget that pays exactly enough for a bell-curve distribution of his small team.

Now you have a choice of reducing the bottom 10%'s raise by even more to give some of the previously "middle-ranked" employees a bigger raise, or you can take away from your best performers to bring the bottom 10% into the middle-ranked category. Because your team is small, both swings are rather large, and quite unfair.

You still can't win, because "borrowing" the budget from another manager goes back to the old stack-ranking horse-trading show of trying to determine whose team has better performers.

The only way around it is to have only VP-level budgets, and allow managers to assign any ratings they feel are correct, with some adjustment of expectations by their directory. Then, the VP spreads the larger budget accordingly.

It yields variable, but more fair, rewards.

about 9 months ago

Don't Call It Stack Rank: Yahoo's QPR System For Culling Non-Performers

Pulzar Re:no matter how high (177 comments)

Do you think for a moment that a manager would ever end up in the bottom 10% bucket? ... No, stack ranking systems like this exist to reinforce management's masters of the universe self-image.

I've worked in a place where the company was doing poorly and they were laying off the bottom 10% from performance reviews... Senior managers and directors were included in the 10%, even one of the VPs was slashed.

The stack ranking system is not a product of some management hive mind that helps managers -- in fact, most hate it. It's a product of the CEO, HR, and usually some business consulting company. Almost everybody else is worse off for it, including all levels of management below the top couple of tiers.

about 9 months ago

Surface Pro 2 Gets Significant Battery Boost

Pulzar Re:a relevant question: (157 comments)

Clearly, if you believe an iPad or equivalent device is enough for you, you are clearly not the target audience. This isn't a stupid fashion statement/gimmick like an iPad - it has real uses and those who have a use for it knew it the moment they saw it. No single product is ideal for anyone - it's a matter of choosing what you need.

Ok, why do you have to throw that bit in? It's about choosing what you need, but if you choose an iPad then you're choosing a stupid gimmick. Way to believe in the rest of your words.

iPad has plenty of uses, they may not be "real" for you, but it's been selling too well and for too long to consider it a useless fad. People don't keep upgrading things they don't have a use for.

about 9 months ago

Infosys Fined $35M For Illegally Bringing Programmers Into US On Visitor Visas

Pulzar Re:H1B Scam (201 comments)

But your company broke the law by hiring you when an American could have done the job. They did so to save money, and it came at the cost of driving down the standard of living for everyone.

You assume a lot. First, the criteria isn't that some American could've done the job, that would've taken just about every possible job off the list. It that's you've made a *reasonable* effort to find one and you didn't. Even if there are plenty of Americans in other cities who don't want to move, or the same city but with jobs they don't want to leave, it's still ok to hire somebody on H1-B.

And, second, how do you know they got him cheap? Every computer engineering company I've worked at has been paying foreign visa employees the same salaries as local employees, and they had to deal with significant lawyer and visa expenses to get the work permits, and later applications for permanent residency. The H1-B has always been the least preferred option in hiring discussion because of all that extra work.

Not every company is Infosys, and not every job is for an app developer. There are plenty of high-skilled engineering jobs out there that stay open for over a year because of the shortage of qualified candidates, and real and honest companies need to fill them to continue to do business and grow.

about 9 months ago

The Memo That Spawned Microsoft Research

Pulzar Re:Microsoft then and now (148 comments)

Every tech company I've worked at had some kind of a version of "stack ranking", and some were dysfunctional and some functioned very well. I don't think stack ranking has anything to do with it... It's a simple math problem --- you have some amount of money to divvy up, and you have to identify the most important and most worthy people to spend the most on. I think most people understand that.

The alternative of giving everybody the same reward only works at the smallest companies where the general performance bell curve hasn't started to form.

Where things run into problems is when you allow politics, favours, and poor evaluation skills by managers determine your "stack locations", at which point you start creating resentment which fuels the next round of evaluations.

about 10 months ago


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