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Hiring Developers By Algorithm

Xugumad Re:"can be wrong, profoundly wrong" (326 comments)

I don't know, an EE PhD might...

As a (candidate for) PhD CS, though, I'm fairly certain if I turned up with a screwdriver one day, people would panic and/or probably tackle me to the ground.

about a year ago

Teachers Know If You've Been E-Reading

Xugumad Re:Just test! (348 comments)

Well, if they're doing this properly, it shouldn't be about whether the student learnt the material, but how.

It should be used to show:

Students who aren't engaging with the material, and may require early intervention
Levels of interest in the material (would different material suit the learners better?)
Problems with the material (are there particular parts many learners highlight and/or comment on? Could indicate confusion, for example)

1 year,14 days

Teachers Know If You've Been E-Reading

Xugumad Disconcerting? (348 comments)

Why is it disconcerting?

I mean... yes, it can be mis-used. The data should be used to flag up pupils who may be struggling, but will also flag those who may already know the material, but just because data could be incorrectly used doesn't make it inherently worrying.

Does it?

1 year,14 days

Geeks On a Plane Proposed To Solve Global Tech Skills Crisis

Xugumad Re:XKCD had a better idea. (303 comments)

As a recent ex-scientist (hint; I moved to software developer for the shorter hours and better pay), if we only had one problem to solve at a time, it would be much easier...

1 year,27 days

Has Kickstarter Peaked?

Xugumad Betteridge's law of headlines (156 comments)


Seriously though, probably not. It's experiencing a dip after it's initial surge of interest. It's not a roller coaster, or a rocket, it's a company. It will have ups and downs. Demand will fluctuate over time. It can experience market saturation (those of us who have now kickstarter-ed so many projects that we need to wait for some to finish before we pay for more).

Also; what's this nonsense about 50,000 projects and not getting near their total, as if that's a bad thing. It's not a magic money tree; most of those projects probably didn't interest people, so they failed at the first hurdle. That's not a tale of woe, that's someone being saved from spending months/years of their life developing a product that wasn't going to sell.

1 year,28 days

Testers Say IE 11 Can Impersonate Firefox Via User Agent String

Xugumad Re:Sigh (252 comments)

Have you ever tried telling a userbase that there's a problem with their browser and they should change? If you're lucky enough that they read the notice instead of just hitting reload a few dozen times then complaining it doesn't work, generally they'll tell you that it works elsewhere, and why not on your site.

It also presumes they can move browser; less of an issue with Safari, but we've had to put in work-arounds for IE6/7 for users who are locked into those browsers by their employer (who really, really doesn't care enough to change).

Oh, and unless you either don't have to support the users, or have a very generous allocation of support staff, telling 20-30% of your total users to change browser is going to involve the support staff being hopelessly swamped with related questions and issues.

1 year,29 days

Testers Say IE 11 Can Impersonate Firefox Via User Agent String

Xugumad Re:Sigh (252 comments)

> The day that you were able to tell what someone was running and make a decision based on that, we basically lost the point of a standard

Well, sort of. If the browser gets the standard wrong, and the options are:

1. It doesn't work for that browser.
2. Degrading the result for everyone.
3. Implementing a browser-specific work-around.

Which would you really prefer? Yes, user agent testing is heavily mis-used, but it's not the terrible idea it's made out to be.

I'll give you a specific example; we had an issue with file uploads with Safari over SSL. For some reason if the connection was kept alive, Safari would frequently start uploading the file but never complete. The work-around was to force connection close for Safari; it wasn't perfect, but it massively reduced the frequency with which the issue appeared.

1 year,30 days

The Hacker Who Found the Secrets of the Next Xbox and PlayStation

Xugumad Re:No damage? (214 comments)

My network is vulnerable. I know this, because it exists.

The question is how vulnerable.

I run Linux, not OpenBSD, so there's a greater chance that I'll get a zero-day attack sprung on my network. However we make that compromise because it's considered reasonable.

I run services we need, but each is a risk.

There is no such thing as a secure network, there is only a secure-enough network.

about a year ago

The Hacker Who Found the Secrets of the Next Xbox and PlayStation

Xugumad Re:No damage? (214 comments)

I do that for systems I maintain.

I've nuked systems just for looking suspicious, despite not being able to prove someone cracked them (half the binaries in /bin stopped working, I figure that's fairly damn suspicious).

Anyone who doesn't re-image a cracked system is unbelievably naive, and it will come back to bite them hard one day. Like hell am I going to take the word of someone who broke into my systems that they didn't leave a rootkit.

about a year ago

The Internet Archive To Pay Salaries Partly In Bitcoin, Requests Donations

Xugumad Re:tax evasion? (181 comments)

The same way you tax payments in any other non-USD currency.

about a year ago

Is "Left" Vs. "Right" Hard-coded Into Your Brain?

Xugumad Re:I don't believe it (758 comments)

> against unemployment, against medical expenses, against global warming, against guns, and lots of other things

I want protection against unemployment not because I expect to use it, but because I believe it's the most cost-effective way of reducing crime.

I have private medical insurance (bonus points; I'm in the UK, so this is 100% optional for me), but again I think universal healthcare coverage is a good thing because it's more cost-effective than the alternative. Ill people are unproductive; helping them get better when something isn't terribly serious is cheaper and better than waiting until they end up in ER (A&E here)

Global warming; is it really that odd that I don't want something bad? Have you seen what the weather's been doing to your country's east coast recently?

Guns; errr... y'know what, both sides want to cherry pick statistics and/or go with their gut on this. Show me a balanced analysis and I'll go with it. As it is showing that deaths due to guns go down in countries without guns isn't a helpful statistic without knowing whether deaths due to other weapons (esp. knives) fill the gap, or not. Pointing to individual examples (as both sides like to do) is virtually useless.

about a year ago

Oxford Tests Self-Driving Cars

Xugumad Re:You'd think it would be obivous (95 comments)


Despite what is frequently suggested, there's a much greater scarcity in skilled developers/researchers/whatever than of ideas for them to spend time doing.

about a year ago

Should Techies Trump All Others In Immigration Reform?

Xugumad Re:green cards instead of H visas (231 comments)

The counterpoint is I would want to know how many actually do stay, and how many do 6-12 months and decide it's not actually for them...

about a year ago

Xbox 720 Could Require Always-On Connection, Lock Out Used Games

Xugumad Re:And for those with a normal... (592 comments)

Much of this comes down to what we call unreliable.

My Internet access is good enough that I generally don't have to worry about a requirement of Internet access to launch a game, but not good enough that I'd be happy unnecessarily depending on it while I play a game. It has hiccups, slow downs, outages.

People frequently compare this to Steam, which is odd, because Steam will work offline (even if you not 100% reliably), and so far I haven't bought a full price game off Steam...

about a year ago

Why Do Entrepreneurs Innovate Better Than Managers?

Xugumad Re:Wait, what? (134 comments)

I think it dates back to when intellectual work was a lot rarer, and managers tended to be either the only skilled worker, or amongst the most skilled, and things have not really caught up with the fact that now managers are frequently managing workers who are at least as skilled, but in very different ways.

about a year ago

Why Do Entrepreneurs Innovate Better Than Managers?

Xugumad Wait, what? (134 comments)

I don't even understand the question.

Why would managers be innovative? You might as well ask why managers aren't great chefs; that's not what they do.

This sounds to me a little like some of the management worship that's going on these days, where those who work in management presume they're doing an inherently harder job, or simply that they're more skilled than non-management. So far I see little evidence to suggest management is inherently more difficult than any other mentally-focused skilled job.

about a year ago

Smartphones: Life's Remote Control

Xugumad Going the way of 3D (121 comments)

I don't even know where to start with how bad an idea this is. Going to try, though:

There's nothing stopping you from doing this already (for example using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X10_(industry_standard) ) - the fact that many people don't is primarily because it's expensive and the result isn't actually that useful. Heating controls are already sufficiently advanced to know that I want to have the house at a certain temperature when I'm likely to be around it, and I don't really want to micro-manage my heating. I can see use to having lighting turn on just before I get home, but that's about it; there's no way in hell I want to be digging through menus on my smartphone just to turn the light on/off.

Appliances tend to require manual intervention anyway; a toaster requires bread, a cooker requires food, the coffee maker coffee... I might as well set them up while I'm there.

TV/DVD player - okay, we're getting somewhere at least. However, you are going to be physically present when you want to use these devices, and they're easily controlled by well designed, purpose-specific devices of an appropriate device (remote controls). I can actually control my TV from my tablet; I believe I did this twice, once to discover I could, and a second time to show someone else.

about a year ago

Ouya Dev Consoles Ship, SDK Released

Xugumad Re:Very well done to them! (169 comments)

Delivering some hardware, I'll concede as not that tricky. Delivering a fairly advanced piece of kit at a very low price is another matter. Doing it on the relatively limited scale we are talking here (Kickstarter's statisics would suggest not too many over 800 kits going out: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console?ref=live - add up the numbers for the $699 and above pledges) is particularly tricky.

I can't find any off the shelf Tegra 3 boards; the nearest option is the KTT30 ( http://emea.kontron.com/products/boards+and+mezzanines/embedded+motherboards/miniitx+motherboards/ktt30mitx.html ) which is unpriced and "Coming Soon!", despite a number of articles expecting it to come out in Q4 2012. The devkit board retails for 529 Euros ( http://shop.seco.com/carma-devkit.html?___store=eu_en&___from_store=eu_en ) by itself, for comparison.

It's worth saying that the Nexus 7 hadn't been announced when I said this, and even if it had you have to wonder whether removing the touchscreen is enough to save 50% of the price, especially with Google's ability to use economies of scale to mitigate R&D costs. I would point out that the Nexus 7 is predicted to be selling around a million a month ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/9645052/Google-Nexus-7-tablet-sales-approaching-1m-a-month.html ), or over 20 times the pre-orders for the Ouya. Even then the Nexus 7 is generally presumed not to be making a profit on hardware (which the Ouya will have to do).

about a year ago

Ouya Dev Consoles Ship, SDK Released

Xugumad Very well done to them! (169 comments)

Well, I said it couldn't be done, I was wrong. Very well done to them!

about a year ago


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