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Comments

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With Microsoft Office on Android, Has Linus Torvalds Won?

UDChris So what does this lead to? (365 comments)

So Microsoft creates an App for a tool that leads back to an MS server that runs...(bet it's not Linux).

So by the poster's remarks, who really wins? The guy who gets MS to create a web app that runs on a Linux mobile device, or the guys who get you to use your Linux mobile device to access your docs on a Windows server?

about a year ago
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TSA Groper Files Suit Against Blogger

UDChris Re:Gee no bias here. (699 comments)

"supposedly sullying the otherwise good name of a checkpoint smurf.""
Really? No wonder CmdTaco left.

Concur.

Yo, CmdrTaco, can you hold the door while I follow you out?

Seriously, if this is the best editorial quality we can expect in the "new era" I'm outta here.

And nothing of value was lost, by either party.

>unbookmarks /.

about 3 years ago
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What If Aliens Came To Save the Galaxy From Mankind?

UDChris I've seen this before (534 comments)

I believe this was done in of Titan A.E. They just weren't very thorough about it.

about 3 years ago
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Why the New Guy Can't Code

UDChris Send them to me (948 comments)

Seriously.

We have team leads at our company that hate to train or take on new people that don't meet a minimum standard, or can't work semi-autonomously right away. Fools they are, and here's why:

1. I frequently find myself overwhelmed with meetings, little tasks by the bushel, and stuff I just don't plain want to do. Send me the inexperienced guy, and I'll spend a day or a week or a month showing them the bare basics of what they need to know to get "close enough" on the job (like how to take notes/report status in a redundant, low-level meeting or do do a repetetive but necessary task or report). *poof* All the thankless little tasks go away, taken over by someone else, and I get credit for both training the new guys AND for doing work more appropriate for my experience level.

2. If the new guy's competent, he finds a way to make these tasks better -- for him/her. It's a critical thought exercise. Meet enough people, show you are competent/network. At the same time I'm showing the new guy (and sundry others) that I have faith in them. Most times that's paid off as they've moved to other projects/offices as I now have a trust relationship.

3. I train 'em my way. Makes my job easier. If they show competence in technical work, I work with them and bring them up my way, and it makes it easier to work together. If the have project management skills, I try to find them opportunities along those lines. Hate to lose a technical expert, but a technically competent manager is gold at our company. A technically competent manager I've worked well with is completely priceless to me.

4. If they don't work out, they're gone. I'm willing to train folks, but sometimes it doesn't work out, and it's to the company's benefit to identify general incompetence as quick as possible.
Not everyone thinks like I do, that's cool. I'm just willing to make the time to train the next generation 'cause I see some (possibly self-serving) benefit.

more than 3 years ago
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Programmer For Endeavor Now Crew On Final Flight

UDChris So we have this... (68 comments)

nice red shirt for you to wear...

more than 3 years ago
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Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student

UDChris Tech in the classroom (456 comments)

A couple of things up front: I have both a B.S. and a M.S. in Computer Science, and I have a kid starting kindergarten this year, so I have more than a passing interest in technology in the classroom.

While shopping around for schools (we've chosen to go the private school route for a number of reasons) we had a discussion with one school that used iPads starting in Kindergarten. I asked what the value-added was, as I have a couple of ideas for the tech. What I was looking for was:

* We are minimizing the use of textbooks/workbooks by giving each child an e-reader that can do more.
* We have killer apps that we bought/created that can do (fill in the subject here)
* We have found through research that the use of this technology improves the learning experience by n letter grades (or a comparable metric)

What I got was a blank stare. Then I had some fun by whipping out my iPhone, giving it to my kid, and telling her to go to town on one of the educational apps that we'd downloaded. After she configured her preferences and started working on the reading exercises, I asked if they'd like to see her on a laptop while we were at it. Another blank stare. Even better, she can't quite read yet, but we're using tech around the house to help with that. She thinks its a game.

I guess when I see that schools are wholesale adopting the technology, I have to ask whether this is just a marketing gimmick, not for Apple or Google as was stated somewhere in the thread, but rather for the school to say "hey, we're cool, we have iPads." I just haven't seen tech a smooth tech adoption strategy that impresses me, yet. The tools are there, but I don't see the curriculum development that justifies either the cost or the hoopla.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Does the US Cling To Imperial Measurements?

UDChris Re:Ronald Reagan (2288 comments)

Then we think about all the nuclear reactors and rockets you built using feet and inches and get night sweats.

And Mars probes. They always forget to mention the Mars probes...

more than 3 years ago
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Why Does the US Cling To Imperial Measurements?

UDChris Re:Easy answer (2288 comments)

Actually, all of my classes were in metric. They don't teach imperial in school. At least, not in Texas (anti Texas rants in 3, 2, 1.....)

I started school in 1980. In early elementary school we were taught inches/feet/yards/etc, but by about the 7th grade or so all science and math classes were exclusively metric. And that was in Indiana.

more than 3 years ago
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Is Attending a CS Conference Worth the Time?

UDChris Yes, with caveats (244 comments)

*Did they publish the abstracts in advance? Usually you can get a feel if a conference is worth it based on the topics to be presented. If there are a few papers that look interesting, I would say it's worth it.

*Are there any speakers of note? I have found getting the perspective of folks that have remained in the career field for a while to be invaluable. I may not agree with everything they say/so, but a lot of times there are some insights that help with my research, or at least give me an idea of a sub-specialty NOT to pursue.

*Expanding on the networking comments above, a lot of times the other presenters are available before/after their talks. I've make a lot of good connections that have helped me from an academic/professional perspective up to collaboration on projects. As a student, my advice is to use the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of topic areas you are interested in, if possible.

*Experience presenting: I emphasize this with all of the younger folks on my team. The ability to articulate your research will directly translate into more opportunities for research, and in some cases translate into funding. This sounds like it might be an opportunity to get some practice. Not all great computer scientists have that ability.

OTOH, if none of the above apply, see if they will be publishing the proceedings and get a copy. It's probably cheaper.

more than 3 years ago
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US Navy Breaks Laser Record

UDChris Re:Why scale down? (294 comments)

Wrong science. This is physics, not biology. Unless you are talking about ill-tempered robotic sharks with frickin' laser beams...

more than 3 years ago
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US Navy Breaks Laser Record

UDChris Meh...Wake me when (294 comments)

They manage to scale the frickin' lasers down to frickin' shark-size.

more than 3 years ago
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Texas Student Attends School As a Robot

UDChris I'm all for cool tech, but... (218 comments)

why didn't they just set up video tele-conferencing equipment instead? The bandwidth and equipment should be easily available, I gotta think that it would be a cheaper solution and get the same effect. What am I missing here?

more than 3 years ago
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World's First Full HDR Video System Unveiled

UDChris Re:Not so fast there son (107 comments)

Mod parent up. I'd rather have a revolution in home entertainment tech than another "filmed in high-def, compressed to 480i for the masses" such as the one we're currently digging out of. I still have 76 channels of standard def, even though the cable company pretty much requires you to get a box in my area, which allows for digital-to-analog conversion.

I'd rather have a revolution in tech that's so revolutionary you have to adopt, up and down the line, to be able to use it at all. Unfortunately, my pipe dream is interrupted by the economics of incremental adoption, but I can dream.

more than 3 years ago
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Should Younger Developers Be Paid More?

UDChris It depends on a bunch of factors (785 comments)

As I read through, a few questions came to mind (for any generic case similar to this):

1. What kind of training does the new hire require? We just recently hired a new guy to my team at work, and he has some skills we needed, but we work in an industry that requires about a year of specialized training to be fully up and running. A hot starter might be able to shave 6 mos off that time if they spent a lot of time studying outside of work. If the new hire needs secondary skills (absent the hot tech) I would say "no."

2. What else does the senior guy bring to the table? Has he been sitting in a hole programming, or has he developed leadership, management, or other broad-scope skills that justify a higher salary (rather than "time served"). If not, a case can be made for the new guy making more.

3. As mentioned higher in this thread, is the senior guy stuck on legacy tech? His best route may be to shop himself out to the "rare and dying skills" customer set. The whole Y2K+COBOL thing comes to mind. If he's content to let his skills atrophy, new guy likely wins on this one.

4. Probably the real deciding factor here: what's the worth of the senior guy's contract vs. the new guy's. Business bottom-line first: if the new guy is able to bring in more money, he's worth more to the company and the new guy should think about moving on.

Personally, I try to be loyal to those who've been loyal to me, but people also have to put some effort in to keeping current and staying valuable to the company. Otherwise the new folks are eventually going to be worth a lot more than a 30% delta.

more than 3 years ago
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Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

UDChris Noise Factor (804 comments)

When I was in grad school, I noticed one guy playing FPS while in the lecture, and wondered why the guy bothered showing up to the lecture in the first place. Turns out it was for the free Wi-Fi (it was down in the lounge). He was in front of me, it was distracting, and I moved.

IMHO I can see a certain utility to laptop/tablet/etc use in the classroom. For example, downloading the professor's slides to help take notes while the lecture is being presented.

Putting a slightly different spin on it: what about the noise factor? Some laptops have quieter keys, but in a large lecture hall, if everyone were typing simultaneously, would the noise generated by 1,000 students typing become more of a distraction than a help? If you can't clearly hear the professor, it's hard to get what they are trying to say...

Just my two bits.

more than 3 years ago
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Is Reading Spouse's E-Mail a Crime?

UDChris Re:What a hacker! (496 comments)

The paper notebook, with the password written in it, sitting next to the computer, is also joint property.

Totally with you on that one. To expand on my analogy, what if both spouses have a joint PO box? Both have a key, but do they have the right to open the letters addressed solely to the other spouse? So, I did a little homework.. I think this one is going to come down to whether the judge equates e-mail to postal mail.

more than 3 years ago
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Is Reading Spouse's E-Mail a Crime?

UDChris Re:What a hacker! (496 comments)

Plus, the laptop likely falls under "joint property," so it's legal for him to access the laptop in general. If she knowingly left her password where he could access it, it's highly unlikely that she has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Still, the case could go to whether it's legal to read mail of ypur spouse in Michigan. He may have access to the mailbox but nott be authorized to read the contents.

more than 3 years ago
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What's the Oldest File You Can Restore?

UDChris Paper (498 comments)

Technically, the oldest file I've transferred from one -medium to another- so far was a 35-year old picture, going from Kodak photo paper to .jpg. I'm fairly certain this occurs quite regularly in projects that archive documents that date back thousands of years (now there's hard core data transfer.

In all seriousness, I used to write translation programs to go from 1980s proprietary formats to, sadly, late 1990s proprietary formats, so probably a 15 year digital to digital format transfer, give or take. These days I aim for searchable .pdf and have had pretty good luck.

more than 3 years ago
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How To Be Popular On Facebook, Quantified

UDChris Re:I wonder what else FB is analyzing and sharing. (97 comments)

...FB most definitely performs other complex analysis and likely shares that with other entities.

You mean entites like those that provide the targeted ads in the right column? Again, not new, and really not news...

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Incandescent bulbs on their way out

UDChris UDChris writes  |  more than 3 years ago

UDChris (242204) writes "The Associated Press has a short article on incandescent bulbs being phased out in California starting this year with the 100W bulb, with the rest to follow in 2014. This is slightly ahead of the rest of the United States with federal standards being enacted next year. These days a century is a pretty good run, especially for something that requires electricity."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Back to the Future, Part II

UDChris UDChris writes  |  more than 3 years ago

I was in my home office yesterday, setting up a webcam when I realized that my setup is analogous to the living room from Back to the Future, Part II. I have video teleconferencing, multiple video feeds via ESPN3 at a minimum, 1,000+ channels to watch if I choose to subscribe to them all, and I even have a fax as part of my all-in-one scanner. All I need is the really big TV to display it all on. Kind of surreal considering the "Read my fax!" scene is supposed to take place in 2015.

The fact that my fax machine is pretty well obsolete hasn't been lost on me.

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