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Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

Sir_Sri Re:Grad school is voluntary... (67 comments)

There's a fair point that grad students are probably on average a bit underpaid for the work they perform (research+ marking etc.) even if the hourly rate is good, the limited official hours etc. are not all that great.

But ya, if you can't live on what you're going to get paid as a grad student and don't have other means, don't go. Pick a degree where you can get money for grad school and can get a job on the side or go back to school when you have the financial means to support it.

43 minutes ago
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IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

Sir_Sri Re:Over 18 (630 comments)

If the debts exceed the assets, the heirs receive nothing, but they do not assume any part of the debt.

In this case this is *after* the estate was settled, but it was settled wrongly. You can't just have the executor of the estate neglect to consider outstanding debts and act as though nothing happened.

The heirs are responsible for debts that weren't properly dealt with.

3 days ago
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Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Sir_Sri Re:Militia, then vs now (1574 comments)

And perhaps a better question might be why a country with 5 million people trying to revolt against their legal government should, 240 years later, dictate how a country of ~315 million spanning a great deal more territory and with a great deal more international recognition should be behaving.

The constitution was never intended to be immutable at the best of times, and one can reasonably see how technology and the strategic situation of the US have changed over the years. What might have been reasonably self evident to people looking at the world in 1776 doesn't mean it makes sense today.

3 days ago
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IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

Sir_Sri Re:Over 18 (630 comments)

Presumably it is the estate they are going after, and as beneficiaries of the estate they are responsible for the debts of the estate.

Of course this many years later it is impossible to try and defend yourself, particularly as the law *was* that 10 year old debts disappeared, so you could destroy any paperwork from the estate from before 2003 or 2004, and now have no paperwork trail to try and defend yourself with (assuming you had one to begin with, given that inheriting an estate comes with inheriting whatever recording keeping was done, which may have been terrible).

4 days ago
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Titanfall Dev Claims Xbox One Doesn't Need DX12 To Improve Performance

Sir_Sri Re:I thought current consoles were like current PC (117 comments)

It boggles the mind at how poor these developers must be if they can't even target known hardware, console-style, and get good performance out of the thing.

It boggles the mind why Microsoft put shitty laptop CPU ram in a gaming device.

The devs are trying to find a balance point between visual quality (memory taken) and performance (memory bandwidth) but the 68GB/s memory bandwidth on the XB3 is way too low. IMO the 175 ish on the PS4 is too low too. For 30 FPS remember that only means you can have 2GB of stuff on screen at a time, for 60... well, 1 GB of stuff. (That's not counting AI and Audio).

Yes, sure, the dev's need to make a game for it, but that's really hard to do when basically it's going to be like running the game on very low on the XB2, low on the XB3 and very high on even a mid range PC with a dedicated GPU that isn't terrible.

about a week ago
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Titanfall Dev Claims Xbox One Doesn't Need DX12 To Improve Performance

Sir_Sri Makes sense (117 comments)

If you look at the Mantle benchmarks for various games it's pretty clear that it doesn't get you much on half decent systems, and on high end systems you're looking a negligible effect. I would think the same is true of DX12, which does the same basic thing.

For all the complaining about the Xb3 it's not terrible hardware, it's some odd choices compared to the PS4 and it's slow compared to a high end PC. But it's not in an absolute sense bad hardware.

about a week ago
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Commenters To Dropbox CEO: Houston, We Have a Problem

Sir_Sri Re:And the attempt to duplicate their efforts resu (447 comments)

there are other reasons to fault dropbox without bringing her into it

I would put hiring a war criminal towards the top of the list of things companies should not do.

When will these loser knock this shit off?

When she is locked in an Iraqi jail cell for the rest of her life.

All of these criminals from the Bush administration need to be blacklisted from employment with any public company and any government agency. If we can't get the government to prosecute them we should at least make clear they are unwelcome in civil society.

the mozilla CEO

The Mozilla CEO is an idiot who has demonstrated he lacks the judgment to run a public organization with a diverse staff and customer base.

Condaleezza Rice is a war criminal who should be in jail.

about a week ago
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GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

Sir_Sri Professional responsibility (236 comments)

Engineers are professionally certified with professional responsibility, if they aren't doing their job it's criminal and names need to be named. Just as a physician working for a hospital is named for accusations of negligence.

It's not obvious if that's relevant here, but if someone tried to pass themselves off as a professional engineer and aren't that's a problem, if someone who is a professional engineering violated the ethical principles that's a problem too.

about a week ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Rule On Constitutionality of Bulk Surveillance

Sir_Sri Re:Constitutional Court (141 comments)

Not really no.

By declining to take up the matter they can do so with comment (basically saying why they don't think it belongs) or they can say nothing and let lower court rulings stand.

They are the last arbiters of the constitution, not the first, if they agree completely with a lower courts interpretation then they don't need to say anything, the lower court stands.

Imagine this scenario. The government of a US state passes a law that prohibits carrying signs for protesting. Someone gets arrested, goes to court, the court tosses the law as being a clear violation of free speech. The government could try and appeal to a higher court (districts that would eventually lead to the supreme court). But if a higher court looks at it, and declines to take it, then the lower court ruling holds - passing a law against carrying signs is unconstitutional, and that is established in precedent in the law. Someone could try and appeal in future and it might get taken up by a future court, but it doesn't need to go directly to the supreme court because the supreme court is really the top of a pyramid of courts, and only need to take up a case if it's the lower court may have erred in its ruling.

about two weeks ago
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Google Tries To Defuse Glass "Myths"

Sir_Sri What a terrible article (363 comments)

The article is written as though it is by someone who thinks google glass is an actual product. It isn't. Glass is a development version of a real product, and that it costs 1500 dollars and has 45 minutes of battery life are all part of the process of developing things.

One can rightly be concerned about what google glass will become, but if you walked around Apple campus and found a room full of people with smartphones that cost 20 grand each to make and have a replaceable battery that doesn't mean that the iphone 6 or 7 will cost 20 grand or have a replaceable battery.

about a month ago
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They're Reading Your Mail: Microsoft's ToS, Windows 8 Leak, and Snooping

Sir_Sri The legal system wouldn't have let us (206 comments)

>The legal system wouldn't have let us

Using "The French legal system will not let us spy on someone in France about charges in a country that is not France' as a justification makes sense actually. Trying to shield yourself by working with someone in a third country shouldn't shield you from domestic actions, and the French are notoriously bad about doing anything about people in france charged elsewhere, including on very serious crimes. See Roman Polanski.

about a month ago
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Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

Sir_Sri Re:Um, right. (278 comments)

>What I now realize is that the people typically in this role have never worked as an Engineer and have NO CONTEXT to what they're actually teaching.

Literally everyone teaching university has experience in their discipline. You don't get to publish papers and get masters and PhD degrees without doing real work, albeit a somewhat contrived sort of work sometimes. And that's why you go on sabbaticals etc.

The thing is, Masters and PhD's are a particular kind of contrived work, rather than most work which is not the same sort of research + publications. And in the real world it's a question of how quickly you get a product working, rather than how well you can get something to work in a given blob of time. But education does not let itself to the first case, it can't really, you'd be stuck with 30 year olds in grade 3 who still don't know how to multiply.

about a month ago
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The Era of Facebook Is an Anomaly

Sir_Sri Not really a sensible analysis (260 comments)

Facebook isn't a social meeting place, it's a communications platform that also happens to let you hang a sign on the door that everyone can see.

That's why they bought whatsapp, that's why they have all of the various tools to send and archive messages and to let you carve up the 'social space' of who you talk to.

There are lots of shady things they are up to as well,

>Why do we allow this with our social networks?"

Whey do we let countries control their TLD's and phone exchanges and physical mail system? You don't have to use facebook to talk to anybody, there are other forms of communication. But if you want to use the facebook communication system then you have to use Facebook. If it becomes big enough, important enough and persistent enough then the government will step in to regulate it. But it's also possible facebook will go the way of the dodo bird in a couple of years when people get sick of all the stuff facebook ends up doing to try and make money.

about a month ago
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Mozilla Scraps Firefox For Windows 8, Citing Low Adoption of Metro

Sir_Sri Re:Good (200 comments)

Free for Windows 8 users maybe, or at a reduced price. Apparently there are only about 25 million windows 8 users, and I would think a lot of them (myself included) either have Microsoft hardware, or are on institutional subscriptions and don't really see the upgrade cost either way.

When they launched windows 8 it was a dirt cheap upgrade. They might do something similar for windows 9.

about a month ago
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Mozilla Scraps Firefox For Windows 8, Citing Low Adoption of Metro

Sir_Sri Re:Good (200 comments)

What you refer to as "Metro" fills a useful function that isn't otherwise served on Windows, which is enabling touch screen use,

Except that I've used the touch versions of XP, Vista and 7 and they all worked fine without it. Actually they worked better, because your finger worked like your mouse which meant that the same UI worked for everything in exactly the same way, once you figured out the conventions for left and right click, and naturally you need to make some elements a bit larger for fat fingers to click on (which works well for mouse users on high res screens and mouse users with poor motor control).

But that's actually beside the point.

What I was getting at was really that Windows 8 is a marketplace disaster. If, as a result of that if microsoft completely or largely scraps the underlying technology that powers modern apps (the Metro language) then we're going to be starting from the beginning. Now they don't have to do that necessarily, but they might need or want to do significant rewrites of major pieces of functionality to try and make it their version of better for windows 9.

If you want to make the case that keyboard and mouse users shouldn't have to look at the Modern UI if they don't want to... why then I will heartily agree.

See this is the problem. Modern UI apps, that run in a window - which is something we might see patched into Windows 8.1.x or 8.2 or something, and is available from aftermarket stuff (from Stardock I think), already does that, and then they work, well, basically fine in that it's just another design language from microsoft and if you use it well it works well, and if you use it badly it works badly. And you don't need or want to block of desktop users and mobile/touch users. It's basically extending the gadget concept, and in general it's the sort of thing that makes a lot of sense on a second screen, a lot of small pieces of live updated information that tells you about all the stuff that isn't your immediate focus (the main screen) but that you can, at a glance, get an overview of many things all at once.

about a month ago
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Mozilla Scraps Firefox For Windows 8, Citing Low Adoption of Metro

Sir_Sri Good (200 comments)

Good, lets not waste time and resources metroifying things that need not be, at least not until we get some clarity from microsoft on what they're going to do to fix the mess from windows 8. They could keep the metro language and so on, but they might be better to wipe some of that slate clean for windows 9 and apologize for fucking up so badly. And how they try and fix it could beak anything people would be working on now.

about a month ago
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Steve Ballmer Blew Up At the Microsoft Board Before Retiring

Sir_Sri Re:What a surprise. (248 comments)

> It would have made more sense to have the mobile GUI run as an application over a desktop system, and just give users the choice.

Given that my mobile phone is more powerful (or at least responsive) than the desktop my company provides, largely due to the SSD, we may not be too far off from seeing a world where your mobile phone is your desktop and having the right UI up will depend on whether or not you're connected to a screen and keyboard or not. The underlying technology you're suggesting would make that seamless and could be autodetected and swapped on the fly. Microsoft could dominate that market.... if they could get their shit together.

I've got a Note3, and while it doesn't quite manage it yet, by the Note5 you could see it being technically possible to move seemlessly from voice input, to pen input, to touch input to keyboard input, outputting to any of the built in screen, a desktop display or a TV or projector (say for netflix) in a way that makes sense. I'm not sure android can rise to that challenge, but the hardware is almost there as is the software.

about a month and a half ago
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'Data Science' Is Dead

Sir_Sri Re:data scientist (139 comments)

Indeed, the job of doing serious data analysis is not new, 'data science' is really only a temporarily independent field while we try and sort out some of the technical problems that arise from working with large datasets. Once solutions for large datasets become mainstream, reliable and agreed upon (and inexpensively vendor bought) we'll go back to just having scientists who are specialized in whatever area.

And that's perfectly alright.

about a month and a half ago
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WhatsApp Founder Used Unchangable Airline Ticket To Pressure Facebook

Sir_Sri Re:Something doesn't add up (144 comments)

First year is free, and if you get a new phone or new phone number your year resets. A bunch of my friends and I have been using over for well, over a year. Anyone who got a new phone or phone number and it reset, in my case I had a phone that died after 14 days, but same phone number, and that reset the counter too.

So at any given time I could see them having less than half of their active users paying (which would be 200 million dollars a year ish) but if they have a factor of 10 growth in a year, which for a free app is not unreasonable at all, that would put the numbers where they are.

That doesn't justify the buyout price, but that's a whole other ballgamae.

about 2 months ago
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John Carmack Left id Software Because He Couldn't Do VR Work There

Sir_Sri Thoughts (146 comments)

John Carmack used to post on /. semi regularly, it would be interesting to see if he chimes in here.

But really, it makes sense, making 1 game VR enabled is different than making VR a reality, and it sounds like Carmak wants to do the latter rather than the former.

If I was zenimax I would be worried about Carmack making his next game too dependent on VR tech, which would lock out a lot of the market who won't have an oculus rift right away, and if Oculus rift wants VR support for their new experimental hardware that needs to prove itself in the market place they should be the ones footing the bill, particularly for the time of someone as expensive as Carmack, who, lets face it, probably gets 10 or 20x what any other engine programmer does. Probably justifiably so, but still, none one us would be very happy if the next Wolfenstein or Doom comes out and looks like crap and then we blame Carmack for spending all his time on the VR version.

about 2 months ago

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