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How To View the Antares Launch

Slashdot Parent Re:In metric? (36 comments)

It feels like an organisation such as NASA, which is hopefully respected for its scientific contributions across the world, could set an example by moving towards the metric system in its press releases.

If it will make your life easier, I can tell you that NASA is launching 2267.96185 kilograms worth of supplies and experiments to the ISS this evening.

Cheers, mate!

3 days ago
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Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Slashdot Parent Re:Geez-Louise! (601 comments)

I'd have to ask her why she felt so strongly about it. I really don't know, and I didn't ask at the time. Now I'm curious.

Personally, I've always viewed programming in a positive light. After all, computers can solve problems much more quickly than I can--especially repetitive problems. So why shouldn't I embrace programming? It helps me to do my work much more efficiently.

The funny thing is, my wife spent several years as a financial analyst, and wouldn't you know it? She created financial models in Excel to help her solve complex problems--especially repetitive problems. Go figure!

3 days ago
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Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Slashdot Parent Re:Boys are naturally curious... (601 comments)

That said, given your wife hated programming, why did she gravitate toward pre-med (and then finance) instead of, say, Mathematics or Physics?

Given her success in high school, she felt like it just made sense to take the "hard" road, so she always seeked "hard". That's not to say that Mathematics and Physics are easy! It's just that going into medicine or finance commands a lot of respect in certain circles.

And yes, I suppose that respect factor generally gets back to money. However, the common thread here is that she always wanted to impress people. That's why she worked so hard in school, and when she told people what she studied, she liked when they were impressed. Vain? Of course! But what teenager isn't?

In the specific case of engineering, I can tell you what made her not do that: her high school guidance counselor told her that she should apply to colleges' engineering schools because the standards were much lower for women in engineering and that she'd stand a much better chance of getting in due to affirmative action. That idea sounded like the exact opposite of "hard" to her, so that ended any potential of her applying to engineering school!

She's obviously matured a lot since she was a teenager, as we all do. She certainly no longer so transparently seeks the validation of others! But anyway, that's what was driving her decisions back in the day.

3 days ago
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Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Slashdot Parent Re:Good luck with that. (553 comments)

In the US, debit cards are currently secured with a PIN only, but that will change soon once we (finally) get chip and PIN.

3 days ago
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Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Slashdot Parent Re:Good luck with that. (553 comments)

Most credit cards in the US do not charge an annual fee.

3 days ago
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Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Slashdot Parent Re:Good luck with that. (553 comments)

Credit cards are never a good idea, and only makes sense if you live in a country where they are required. Which means the US.

Perhaps this is true in Canada, but this is simply false in the US, sorry.

As has been discussed elsewhere, in the US, we have strong consumer protections for credit card transactions, but this is not the case for debit card transactions. Also, there are no interest charges on credit cards if you use them like a debit card (i.e. don't buy stuff you can't afford).

Perhaps it would be better if we structured consumer purchase transactions around debit cards instead of credit cards, but that is simply not how it works in the US right now.

3 days ago
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Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Slashdot Parent Re:Honestly, who gives a fuck? (601 comments)

When we graduated college, my then-girlfriend and I both received offers from the same company. I rejected that offer and worked someplace else specifically so that we did not both have the same employer. Dating a colleague is a stupid idea. Sometimes you can't get around it, but you shouldn't actively seek it out.

3 days ago
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Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Slashdot Parent Re:Geez-Louise! (601 comments)

I can answer your questions from my wife's perspective:

1. Did you consider a career with computers?

No, she did not.

2. Why or why not?

She hates computer programming. During her first job search out of college, she summarily rejected any potential career that might somehow involve computer programming, even a little bit.

3. What would make you change your decision?

Nothing.

3 days ago
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Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Slashdot Parent Re:Boys are naturally curious... (601 comments)

That would definitely be an interesting study. Sample size of one and all, but I can answer this for my wife:

met a certain SAT/ACT threshold, with a higher threshold in math, and who also took at least one C.S. or Calculus course in high school.

She'd exceed any standard that you set. She was her high school valedictorian, got a 5 on the AP BC Calc exam. She slayed anything you put in front of her, academically. She was the one that you did not want to have in your class if it was graded on a curve.

take the subset of the women from this set who did not earn a C.S., Math, Engineering or Physics degree, and ask them why they didn't pursue one of those fields.

Because she was busy taking chemistry courses in preparation for med school and she despised computer programming. About midway through college, she realized that she was only planning to go to med school because it was "hard" and she always liked to do things that were considered hard, but that she really had more of a passion for finance, so she changed her focus midway through undergrad from premed to finance.

Engineering and computer science never made the short list of potential careers for her. It wasn't due to sexism, "brogrammers", job opportunities, nor any of the other usual suspects. She just did what she enjoyed. No more, and no less.

3 days ago
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Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Slashdot Parent Re:Boys are naturally curious... (601 comments)

Any reason given for the low rate of women in C.S. must explain why the trend shifted around the mid 1980s.

I'm going to say it was the moon landings.

No, really. The 1960s were really a gilded age for science, and why shouldn't girls who were born in the 60s also get caught up in the excitement? Seems as likely as any reason, to me. After the excitement wore off, I guess that was the end of that.

3 days ago
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Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Slashdot Parent Re:Boys are naturally curious... (601 comments)

Were you happy to be taught by your father while you were growing up? Do you think that you would have developed an interest in computers or engineering without the influence of your father?

3 days ago
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Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

Slashdot Parent Re:'Notoriously difficult' - really? (216 comments)

It depends on if you're trying to learn the language well enough to get by or if you're trying to master the language.

Obtaining basic functional English is very easy, and English speakers are accustomed to understanding non-native speakers. If someone messes up on one of the finer points of English grammar, he'll obviously reveal himself as a non-native speaker, but the listener will still easily understand him. I feel like this is not the case in Mandarin, nor in any of the other tonal languages. It is just too easy to flub a tone and completely alter the meaning of the sentence.

Of course, attaining the English language proficiency of, say, a high school graduate, is very difficult for a non-native speaker. Maybe it's easier in Mandarin. I have no idea. But it's a huge undertaking in English, and most people don't even bother. Hell, most Americans don't even bother!

about a week ago
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Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

Slashdot Parent Re:/. is getting more and more unbelievable !! (216 comments)

I know someone will now point out that a lot of Chinese can't distinguish between r and l, so learning Chinese first is not any better. But I want to point out that's because they were taught incorrectly and they think it's the correct pronunciation. Both the r and l sounds exist in mandarin so there is really no reason to get them wrong except if they weren't taught correctly.

I work with several Chinese people, each of whom have lived in the US for over a decade. None of them can even approximate pronouncing their Rs and Ls correctly. About half of them have earned PhDs, so I don't think that there's an education gap, and even if there were an education gap, their many years spent in the US speaking with English speakers and watching Western media should have long-since done the job.

But it hasn't. Either they can't hear it, or they can't say it, but anyway, the issue persists. When they speak, the letters R and L come out as the exact same sound, and it's somewhere in the middle of an R and an L. I still remember trying to assist one of my Chinese coworkers in learning to pronounce the word "electricity". He eventually had to cry uncle because it just wasn't gonna happen.

about a week ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

Slashdot Parent Re:This is silly (712 comments)

Except when raising minimum wage is bad for the economy, then you have it all figured out?

Raising minimum wage isn't bad for the economy in general, but it's bad for a person's economic situation when he's replaced by a robot. This effect is generally most pronounced among unskilled laborers, whose efforts are most easily replaced by a machine.

It's one thing to hire a teenager for cheap to do something a robot could do just to give the kid some experience. It's quite another to hire that kid for $10.10/hr, which is what President Obama wanted to raise the minimum wage to.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

Slashdot Parent Re:Performance issues? (170 comments)

That was pretty caustic, wasn't it!

Anyway, in today's virtualized world, none of what you ranted about really matters anymore. If disk I/O is important to your application, you're using SSD. If your filesystem needs more space, you just grow it using your platform's volume manager. And yes, real work gets done on Windows servers now. It's not my personal cup of tea, but you might as well just acknowledge it.

And you don't plan 2 years ahead because who knows what your requirements will be in 2 years?

about a week ago
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Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?

Slashdot Parent Re:Why South Korea and Japan can do it and USA can (291 comments)

I don't buy it. Fiber's cheap, and our cities are plenty dense enough to support fiber to the home. Indeed, we already have fiber to the home in many cities.

We could probably connect 90% of the country's population with fiber just as easily as South Korea did. But we don't, because lobbyists.

about a week ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Slashdot Parent Re:This might have been incompetence, not malice (697 comments)

Bricking something has a pretty specific meaning, it's like being pregnant

I'm afraid that we are operating under differing definitions of both "bricked" and "pregnant".

In my experience, the word "bricked" means "rendered inoperable, beyond ordinary repair". As in, about as functional as a brick. However, bricked devices can sometimes be repaired, but only via specialized knowledge and efforts, hence the term "unbrick". The condition of being "bricked" is not always permanent.

In my experience, being "pregnant" is also not permanent condition. In fact, every pregnancy seems to end, either naturally or via medical intervention.

about a week ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Slashdot Parent Re:This might have been incompetence, not malice (697 comments)

Except the chip wasn't, as you put it, "killed." The chip is still fully functional with a driver that will support it.

The chip was pretty killed. With a PID of 0, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux wouldn't recognize it. It's theoretically possible to fix the PID, but most end users wouldn't really know how to do that.

Why should FTDI support chips it didn't make?

They shouldn't have to support chips that they didn't make, but at the same time, they shouldn't brick* chips that they didn't manufacture.

What FTDI really should have done is to set a generic PID for the chip type. That way, the chip would no longer use the FTDI driver, and they wouldn't have to support it.

*I use "brick" in the sense that using their Windows driver to set the PID to 0 makes the chip no longer function in other OSs, either. I am aware that an unbricking procedure is available.

about a week ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Slashdot Parent This might have been incompetence, not malice (697 comments)

So FTDI is pissed that counterfeiters are using FTDI PIDs in their counterfeit chips so that the counterfeit chips get the benefit of FTDI drivers. I certainly sympathize with their gripe there. So FTDI is saying, "Don't use our PID" and setting the PIDs to 0 in counterfeit chips.

My guess is that FTDI didn't really think through the implications of that, that setting a PDI of 0 would brick the chip. What they should have done is just set the PID to some generic USB CDC serial port so that the counterfeit chips would no longer use the FTDI driver and would no longer show ups as FTDI chips to the OS.

This very could have been more of an "oops, sorry about that dude" than an "I KILL YOUR CHIP NOW! MOOHAHAHHA!"

about a week ago
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Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

Slashdot Parent Re:How many really make $140k ? (197 comments)

What the heck are you feeding your dog? Or are the annual dog license and vet visit insanely high where you are? And what are two kids doing that costs $6000/kid/year?

I'll say to you the same thing that I said to the other commenter: the basic premise is that if I make 100k/yr, I shouldn't have to compromise. It shouldn't matter what I feed my dog, and it shouldn't matter what activities my kids do. I shouldn't have to think about money, in the eyes of cryptizard, but clearly, if I made 100k and lived where I live, I would have to think about money. Maybe I wouldn't have a dog. Maybe my kids wouldn't do three activities, each. Maybe we'd economize somewhere else. But none of this matters.

To answer your question, my dog is old, and she has some health problems. She eats probably $20 worth of food per month and another $40 or so in medicines. Her annual vet exam is like $700 now, and when we leave town, we board her. And she's had some big vet bills in her lifetime, which I averaged out and included in my annual figure. It adds up. Dogs aren't cheap unless you put them down if they get a big health problem.

For activities, they each do a sport, an instrument, and a foreign language class. Nothing extravagant, but again, it adds up. Stuff is expensive.

And I'm not complaining. But... well... I also make more than $100k/yr, so I don't have to worry so much about money. But I'm just sayin', if you "only" make 100k/yr, and you live in one of the few really high-cost areas in the country, you're not going to be able to live worry-free, financially. You're going to have to make some compromises.

about a week ago

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