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A Library For Survival Knowledge

Stuntmonkey Re: 100 year old survival knowledge in PDF files?? (272 comments)

Remove the battery, and swap out any electrolytic capacitors for other types. I don't know how the liquid in an LCD panel would behave over a 100 year timescale, so just to be safe I'd use an OLED panel instead.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Stuntmonkey Resume should demonstrate you can get stuff done (479 comments)

I can't really answer your question, but I can give you my view as somebody who does a lot of technical hiring.

When you hire new people, first and foremost you want people who can get stuff done. This is a combination of skill and will. First, skill: Do you have the skills needed to get the job done? This can be technical skills, as well as things like people skills and ability to work as part of a team. Here it is really helpful to see demonstrated work output. Perhaps a little open source side project you did could demonstrate more than, say, a list of classes you took or your research output. If you can demonstrate an ability and interest to work with others, that's even better.

The second is will. Many PhDs (and I am one) start out suffering from the idea that they need to stick with their expertise. They expect to take their knowledge gained in grad school and apply it to real-world problems, and get paid doing it. It seems reasonable. But it's not how the world works. What you learned in grad school was how to solve open-ended, difficult problems, not a specific set of expertise. So you need to convey some flexibility and desire to work on broader problems. Nobody wants an elitist on their team who, say, refuses to program in anything other than some obscure Haskell variant. What people do want is a person who can solve open-ended, hard problems and without pigeonholing themselves.

The final point is that how you present yourself on your resume is crucial. You shouldn't lie (of course), but you can emphasize different things in order to communicate the above points to whomever is reading it. Good luck!

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Twist Radio Beams To Send Data At 32 Gigabits Per Second

Stuntmonkey Re:This won't amount to anything... (122 comments)

But there is the possibility that the demodulation/modulation methodology is easier to implement than other fast modulation schemes.

This is the key point. MIMO schemes require a lot of complexity in the receiver, which is workable at Wifi/LTE frequencies of a few GHz where you can get electronics to reliably function. Here he's working at millimeter wave frequencies (30GHz to 300GHz) were electronics either doesn't function, or is extremely expensive. You could think of this work as a MIMO-like spatial multiplexing scheme that doesn't require complex processing in the receiver, and is therefore implementable at very high frequencies.

As others have noted it's a separate question whether and how this could scale up to real environments. What elicits research interest in millimeter waves is the potential for much higher bandwidth than LTE is capable of, plus the fact that millimeter waves can propagate a kilometer or so through air. So although it's still futuristic, one can start to imagine what a millimeter-wave wireless communications network would look like.

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Twist Radio Beams To Send Data At 32 Gigabits Per Second

Stuntmonkey Re:Spiral filter, and a Tardis (122 comments)

This earlier work you're referring to was led by the same person, Alan Willner of USC. Here he's essentially taken the techniques he used at optical frequencies and applied them to millimeter waves.

about 2 months ago
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NASA's Manned Rocket Contract: $4.2 Billion To Boeing, $2.6 Billion To SpaceX

Stuntmonkey Re:I hate to be this guy... (188 comments)

If everyone stopped buying cars, how exactly would that help the poor people of the world? We would just have a lot of autoworkers getting laid off. In a macroeconomic sense ALL of the money we spend ends up in the hands of other people, helping someone. Like nearly everything else we spend money on, space exploration is part of the "wealthy economy" in that most of those billions will end up in the hands of first-world people (SpaceX employees, various subcontractors' employees, etc.).

about 2 months ago
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The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

Stuntmonkey Re:Peer Marketing (292 comments)

because once one of your friend buys it, if you want to continue to play with them, you all need to go out and upgrade.

Microsoft figured this out a long time ago with Office. The network effect (sharing documents, playing multiplayer games together) forces people to upgrade even when they don't want to. It's a good way to make a lot of money. Until people get pissed off.

about 2 months ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

Stuntmonkey Comparative advantage (387 comments)

I have yet to see a young person say, "I'm going to learn COBOL so I can spend my career nursing 40-year old code." You want to be building new things instead, and for that you choose the best tools for the job right this moment. Those are also usually the skills that will make you most marketable to companies that are building new things.

Conversely it's rare to see an IT person keep up with the latest technologies throughout their careers. At a certain point in life you get other things that need attention, such as raising kids, taking care of parents, mowing the lawn, or whatever. And you start to get more risk averse because people depend on you. Although you are very good at your job, truthfully your confidence starts to wane a bit when you see all the really good young people coming up, who can absorb the new skills with relative ease.

The result is what economists refer to as comparative advantage: The younger people who are more adaptable focus on the latest and greatest technologies, and the older people focus on problems that benefit from their experience and judgment.

about 2 months ago
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Why TiVo's Founders Crashed and Burned With Qplay

Stuntmonkey Re:Tivo is very long in the tooth... (50 comments)

Tivo is a story of one missed opportunity after another. Great engineering that failed to iterate. They could have easily led the industry in streaming (from the net a la Netflix, or from home servers). They could have easily worked out interactive ad formats to layer on top of recorded shows. They could have easily gone the premium pay-per-view route (like iTunes/Apple TV/Amazon). It almost makes me angry to see so much wasted potential.

about 4 months ago
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Arecibo Radio Telescope Confirms Extra-galactic Fast Radio Pulses

Stuntmonkey Re:First contact? (95 comments)

An extragalactic origin, if correct, would put the source likely millions of light years away. An artificial radio source detectable over that distance would take a truly phenomenal amount of power, on par with stellar events like supernovae or black hole mergers. Or it would need to be very narrowly beamed, in which case how does ET know to point in our direction?

Bear in mind that the entire RF output of our planet (radio waves streaming into space) would not be detectable by Arecibo even 10 light years away. Move the source to a million light years, and remembering the inverse square law, gives you a sense of how much more power you'd need to make an isotropic emitter detectable. It's hard to imagine why an ET would want to do this, assuming they could marshall the stellar energies involved.

about 4 months ago
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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

Stuntmonkey Transitioning to "real" programs (415 comments)

Python lets you dive in quickly, and it has two properties I like in a first language: It encourages good practices, and it's in the C-derived language group so what you learn transfers easily.

The only thing you lose with Python is some of Java's ability to do "real" programming directly. A kid can use Java to do Minecraft modding, and a college student can write Android apps. There aren't so many direct uses of Python. (Yes there are a lot of real-world uses for Python, but not for writing user-level apps.)

about 4 months ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

Stuntmonkey Re: Entrusting our lives to complex software (468 comments)

I have no problem with that, so long as there is a big red "disengage" button that allows a human pilot to assume control. What bothers me is entrusting our lives to software when such an override may be impractical, such as when your car is careening down the highway at 65 mph and you happen to be sleeping or reading a book.

about 4 months ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

Stuntmonkey Entrusting our lives to complex software (468 comments)

Autonomous cars, and now this. I have to say I'm not so eager to entrust my life to complex software. Working in software I've seen countless times that complex systems show behaviors the designers didn't intend. At a minimum I'd want to know what dead-simple failsafe mechanisms have been engineered in to recognize and handle unknown states.

about 4 months ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

Stuntmonkey Re:The "right to be forgotten" (210 comments)

I agree it's a technically flawed concept.

But in practical terms we have to recognize that information used to decay in a sense. In the old days of my youth, you couldn't make that newspaper clipping go away, but over time it would become buried and hard to find and access. (All of us over a certain age remember going through microfilm archives looking for articles. Even when you knew what you were looking for it was tedious.) So in a practical sense things mostly would be forgotten given enough time.

None of that exists any more in the era of digital information. Content creators have no incentive to take down stale content; it costs nothing to serve and accrues ad revenue. So everything sticks around forever. We like the fact that our hard drives have (nearly) perfect memories, but there's also an ambivalence. It's hard to say what the right answer is.

about 5 months ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

Stuntmonkey Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

Perhaps the EU should start their own Ministry to censor

China at least has the common sense to do it that way.

about 5 months ago
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White House May Name Patent Reform Opponent As New Head of Patent Office

Stuntmonkey Re:Why does Obama keep doing this? (211 comments)

He keeps doing it because there is a ton of money to be made by lawyers within the current system.

- Fees to create, file, and defend bogus patents
- Fees involved with court cases over bogus patents and patent trolls (some involving negotiated settlements of billions)
- Fees negotiating licensing deals, contracts, and other instruments felt necessary in the over-litigious environment

Remember Obama is a lawyer and all his friends are too, and he (being a Democrat) gets a lot of financial backing from lawyers. Through that lens I think it's hard for him to see the downsides -- to innovation, to the business environment -- of the current system.

about 5 months ago
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Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

Stuntmonkey Re:But people forget what MENSA concluded (561 comments)

The carrot of salary and the stick of unemployment are what's getting many people to accomplish a single goal.

Not sure if troll. Employment and wages are just the start of personal motivation. Those will only cause a person to show up. Did the soldiers who stormed the beaches at Normandy do it because of their paychecks? Do the players in the World Cup only try hard because they think it might lead to lucrative endorsement deals? I know an awful lot of people here in silicon valley who could easily retire, but they keep working because they have dreams and feel their work is meaningful.

about 5 months ago
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Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

Stuntmonkey Re:But people forget what MENSA concluded (561 comments)

You misunderstand the job of a senior leader. Their job isn't to have all the answers and be right all the time. It's to steer the organization to success. It's not so different from being a military commander, or the coach of a football team. Some things will go wrong as a result of the calls you make. If you dwell on those failures and second-guess yourself in front of your people, it only serves to harm your team's ability to succeed.

When you're a football coach and your team is down at halftime, what's your locker room speech? "I'm sorry guys I really fucked up a couple of those calls. I guess I have a lot to learn. But our stats guy says there's still an 11% chance we might win, so we might pull out a miracle!" When you act without confidence, it makes your team lack confidence in themselves and that's halfway to defeat.

My experience with senior leaders is they always feel doubt inside. They're just good at hiding it because they know it isn't productive.

about 5 months ago
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Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

Stuntmonkey Re:But people forget what MENSA concluded (561 comments)

CEO's are stupid as boxes of rocks, but they can sell themselves and talk others into doing things and convince people they know what they are doing.

The way I think of it is: There are several different kinds of intelligence. IQ tests cover things like pattern recognition because they want to be language-independent and objective. There are other kinds of intelligence like social intelligence -- understanding, inspiring, and motivating people. And intelligence coming up with big new ideas, and so on. The standard IQ tests have blind spots in these areas.

I've worked a lot with CEOs in my 25+ year career, and by and large they are impressive people. And I don't mean in the con-man way you seem to feel. They understand how to read people and motivate action. I'm reminded of the anecdote where an engineer at Apple was responsible for developing a laptop power supply, a classic "boring" task, when Steve Jobs randomly popped by his desk and asked what he was working on. In the course of a 5 minute conversation with Steve he came away feeling he had the most important job at the company. There's a type of intelligence there that IQ doesn't capture, and it isn't pure bullshit.

about 5 months ago
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Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

Stuntmonkey Re:Diversity is not a virtue (265 comments)

Why force diversity? There is nothing worthwhile in diversity in and of itself

Plenty of research shows that diversity within a team contributes to better problem-solving, and a better overall outcome.

HOWEVER, the kind of diversity that counts most isn't skin color or genital configuration. The diversity that counts is a person's skills, personality, and problem-solving approach. It's about pairing big-picture thinkers with detailed ground-up thinkers. It's about partnering organizers with people who need to be organized. And so on.

Companies know all this. They know what makes teams effective. They talk about skin and genitals because that's what's expected of them.

about 5 months ago
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Google Starts Removing Search Results After EU Ruling

Stuntmonkey Re:Good. (138 comments)

It's not like removing the information from their index without removing it from an actual website is going to make the information 'private' again.

I agree completely. The EU regulators are well-intentioned I'm sure, but they seem to be equating "Google" with "The Internet". That's a compliment to Google but very misleading. People are going to think they can take information off the internet by filing a request with Google.

about 5 months ago

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