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IRS Spent $60,000 Producing Star Trek Parody

SoothingMist Only Scolded ? (280 comments)

Why only "scolded"? This is just more government nonsense that encourages such fraud. What needs to happen is that each person involved in the video should have their pay docked to pay their fair share of the costs. The resulting $60K should be put back into the federal treasury and not back into the IRS budget. If we want real change in the government, both elected and unelected officials need to be held personally accountable.

about a year and a half ago

Adobe To Australians: Fly To US For Cheaper Software

SoothingMist Glad to accommodate (255 comments)

If any group in Australia would like to commission me to bring them a case of Adobe products, I am available. :)

about a year and a half ago

The Real Reason Journal Articles Should Be Free

SoothingMist An Alternative View (193 comments)

Although I am a senior technologist in industry, I once struggled with the academia vs. industry question. What decided me was a fellowship I earned with a university research institute. The only people who were deep into research and development were the graduate students. The "professors" were spending all their time chasing after little philanthropic sub-man-year grants. Beyond that were my experiences with professors who could not care less about communicating outside their immediate peer group. There were even those who could not see why something not working was a bad thing. They could not creating anything that actually worked based on their theories but that did not bother them. In industry I have found considerable funding laying on the floor waiting to be scooped up by those who can transition theory to industrial reality so that companies get serious problems solved and new capabilities created. Yes, I do publish. Companies like that too since it is additional advertising. But, the money comes from measurable traceable accomplishments. It is interesting to note that there is NO shortage of jobs for Ph.D.s who can make their knowledge worth something to organizations with money to spend. These practitioners never forget that if funders do not understand a development then they will not use it. If funders do not use a development then they will see no value in it. If funders see no value in a development, one should expect funding to disappear.

about a year and a half ago

Time Warner Cable: No Consumer Demand For Gigabit Internet

SoothingMist Re:Translation: We Don't Have Gigabit Fiber (573 comments)

My personal opinion is that Time Warner's statement may well be far more telling than "our customers don't want it". My experience has been that it is common practice in the automation world to challenge a requirement if the purveyor can not meet the requirement. It seems to me that cable companies in general are behind the power curve. Their mantra that their cost per channel delivered keeps dropping is no longer perceived as a meaningful value statement in the face of constantly rising consumer cost for what the consumer actually wants.

about a year and a half ago

Tech Leaders Encourage Teaching Schoolkids How To Code

SoothingMist Job Training is NOT Education (265 comments)

As an experienced technologist in industry who has taught graduate and undergraduate courses, and mentored interns, what I have seen is that people who come out of a "job training" environment are not educated. As a result, they are stuck in the lowest-level jobs and can not advance. They simply do not have the educational background. Given the rampant profit mentality in our "educational pipeline" and the notion that "every child deserves a degree", there are plenty of ways for a person to spend some money, sit in a chair, and end up with a piece of paper stamped "degree" in whatever domain one desires. This is not going to solve the every-increasing technology and manufacturing gap between America and its serious competitors.

about a year and a half ago

The Two Big Problems With Online College Courses

SoothingMist A third issue (215 comments)

Experience tells me that there is a third problem, that of institutions watering down courses so that more people can "pass". This mentality results from profit motives and a mentality that says "every child deserves a degree". Maybe the "education" community thinks that more degrees will put America ahead in STEM. But, the thrust of today will only put us further behind and will ultimately make anyone who graduates from an American institution automatically thought to be unqualified. One only has to look at "diversity" goals leading to the targeted groups being taken as unqualified by the general practitioner community. Having assisted in hiring decisions, I can tell you that some companies keep a black list of institutions whose graduates will not be hired. Other companies keep a white list of institutions whose graduates will exclusively be hired. Of those that maintain a white list, some even publish that list in the job posting. That is where America is at the present time given the overall weakness of its "education" pipeline.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Making Side-Money As a Programmer?

SoothingMist Re:craigslist (257 comments)

Q: How does one do a nation-wide search on craigslist?

about a year and a half ago

PeerJ, A New Open Access Megajournal Launches

SoothingMist Re:Charging authors is not much better... (61 comments)

A subscription (friends of the library) to your local university ($35 at ours) will yield free access to a huge repository of papers, from all the recognized publishers. Many universities have public access cafes that do not even require a subscription.

about a year and a half ago

Citizenville: Newsom Argues Against Bureaucracy, Swipes At IT Departments

SoothingMist Re:Hah (173 comments)

That is exactly why the old main-frame days came to an end. People were tired of having to depend on anyone who did not report to them. Contracts meant nothing. Outsiders always have their own agenda and your mission and goals take a back seat to that. The cloud is nothing more than a return to the days of the main-frame. Bean counters really do think they will save money by centralizing services in the hands of third parties.

about a year and a half ago

Ancestor of All Placental Mammals Revealed

SoothingMist Putting Reputation at Risk (123 comments)

SlashDot puts its reputation at risk when it claims "fact revealed" when only "one study suggests".

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Open-Source Forensic Surveillance Analysis Software?

SoothingMist Re:A few suggestions (131 comments)

Don't forget OpenCV: As another post says, it may well be necessary to assemble components to satisfy a specific application. My experience has been that commercial systems are horribly inflexible for unique requirements.

about a year and a half ago

CTO Says Al-Khabaz Expulsion Shows CS Departments Stuck In "Pre-Internet Era"

SoothingMist Professors in ivory towers (248 comments)

That our colleges are overly staffed by professors who spend their entire lives in the ivory towers of academia should come as no surprise to anyone. Indeed, as others have said, that type lives in the pristine world of theory and never has to face reality. Thus, they do not provide adequate preparation for people who have to apply that theory in practical applications. I'll never forget the professor who could not understand why a computer program that actually worked was better than one that did not. He had assigned us a challenge. I was the only student in the class who succeeded. He laughed at me right in the middle of class since my solution was 300 lines and his was only 6 lines. I copied each of his lines of code exactly. After class I entered them into the computer. His "solution" crashed even on the simplest cases. I printed full diagnostics and brought them to the next class. I present those and he insisted I must have made a mistake. I said I had not erred and offered the printout to him to examine. He still insisted his program was better, even though it did not work. On the other hand, I have had some very good professors who were quite open to discussion. From them I learned a great deal. Their teaching makes all the difference in my professional life.

about a year and a half ago

MS Won't Release Study Disputing Munich's Linux-Switch Savings

SoothingMist Linux claimed to be cheaper than Windows (268 comments)

I recall an article from a few years ago that presented an interview with a corporate CIO here in the States. He claimed that Linux itself was actually more expensive for his company in terms of paid support from the company providing the enterprise version they used. However, the overall operational cost was much smaller because fewer sys admins were needed to operate and manage the various node clusters required by their distributed organization.

about a year and a half ago

Corporate Hackathons: the Fine Line Between Engaging and Exploiting

SoothingMist "Contests" becoming commonplace (64 comments)

"Contests" and "Challenges" are becoming commonplace. It is another way for government and industry to get work done for little to no cost. When R&D is funded in this way, we should not be surprised at a workforce with declining skills and a population with flagging interest in STEM.

about a year and a half ago

Why Ray Kurzweil's Google Project May Be Doomed To Fail

SoothingMist MIT Has Spoken (354 comments)

Someone from MIT has spoke, so there is nothing more to say. -) Given the hype one sees in MIT's technology digest and their constant efforts to dominate R&D, what they said on this topic sounds like they are just trying to protect their dominance. We should simply ignore them.

about a year and a half ago

Student Expelled From Montreal College For Finding "Sloppy Coding"

SoothingMist Normal by those in authority (633 comments)

The student's experience is normal in dictatorial regimes. Increasingly in our country too, those in authority do not like to be called out or held accountable. The work to squash anyone who dares speak out. Universities especially are famous for this kind of behavior.

about a year and a half ago

Bloggers Put Scientific Method To the Test

SoothingMist Unreplicable Experiments No Surprise (154 comments)

As a scientist, I have many people who deliberately do not put sufficient detail into their papers to enable replication of their experiments and results. Given the way R&D is funded these days and the constant quibbling over patents, this should be no surprise. The ancient publish or perish paradigm is still in vogue so people still publish but they also have to protect their intellectual property.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Books Have Had a Significant Impact On Your Life?

SoothingMist Read the Bible (700 comments)

The Holy Bible is a great source of advice for character, professional, and career development. Start with the Wisdom series of books within the Bible.

about 2 years ago

WTFM: Write the Freaking Manual

SoothingMist Re:and what does the kama sutra have to do with th (299 comments)

One sees WTFM a lot. It is usually said by people who do not have the time to understand and respond to user questions about the material they are reading in the manual. The WTFM attitude in "user forums" that companies deploy to replace staff help desks is one reason for me to reject the product as unsupported. When I investigate a product I do check on what assistance is available. It is amazing to me how few companies provide good support to their users. I have even read company staff posts that belittle product users when they do not understand something. Another thing I have found is that good companies with solid documentation and user support sometimes get bought out by larger companies who then treat the purchased company as a cash cow. As a result, documentation and support dry up. I have dropped products as a result of this behavior. I guess some companies actually believe their product is so unique that there are no alternatives. Such is never the case. Although worthy alternatives take time to find, they are available.

about 2 years ago

Google Captures 'Street View' of Underwater Habitats

SoothingMist Re:Not so good (66 comments)

If you really want to "see" a place and grow significantly from the experience, you have to live there and participate in the culture of its people. Living in an ex-pat community or looking at pictures just will not do it.

about 2 years ago


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