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Magnitude 6.0 Quake Hits Northern California, Causing Injuries and Outages

afgam28 Re:Not strong in Oakland (135 comments)

Maybe he wasn't talking about Mercalli, but I'm pretty sure he was talking about intensity and not magnitude.

about three weeks ago

If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

afgam28 Re:A stupid consideration (511 comments)

As mentioned in the summary this has been discussed a few times on Slashdot, and the original discussion was kicked off by Paul Graham's assertion that the cool hacker kids were into Python and the only people using Java were boring corporate types who had no passion for their jobs and were often mediocre programmers. In this sense, "coolness" does matter a little bit - if you're starting a new project, you don't want to choose a language where the labor pool that you're recruiting from is full of crappy programmers.

And yes, I know good programmers can pick up new languages quickly. But it can take months or sometimes years to master all the libraries and frameworks around the language. Someone with relevant experience can hit the ground running and have a shorter ramp-up period than someone without. I'm not saying that this is more important than general coding ability - it's not - but this is valuable to a lot of smaller companies and startups who don't have lots of time to train up new hires.

What makes Java uncool isn't so much the language itself, but rather the community around it. I actually like Java as a language better than Python, but there's a real culture of overengineering in the Java community, and people there really value convoluted architectures that are (ostensibly) maintainable and extensible. In the Python community, people value simplicity and hackability, and you can see it when you do things like file I/O or compare popular frameworks from both languages.

Not directly related to Java, but a while ago the tech lead for OAuth 2.0 resigned citing cultural differences between the "web" and "enterprise" communities. The "cool" languages are definitely the ones that are favoured by the web community, and the uncool ones favoured by the enterprise community.

So as much as people might think that it's just language syntax, it's not - it's also about communities, culture and different ways of thinking.

about three weeks ago

Magnitude 6.0 Quake Hits Northern California, Causing Injuries and Outages

afgam28 Re:Not strong in Oakland (135 comments)

The magnitude of a quake is the total energy released at the epicenter, and it's true that you can't estimate the magnitude from feel since you have no idea of the distance. But the intensity is the amount of shaking at a particular location, and is probably what bazmonkey was talking about.

about three weeks ago

Students From States With Faster Internet Tend To Have Higher Test Scores

afgam28 Re: Correlation is not causation (175 comments)

That's true but the article (and even the summary) says that the correlation with internet speed is stronger than with income. So there may be more to it than just rich people can afford premium services.

Maybe families that value education more strongly are more likely to get broadband, or maybe there's is actually some causation.

about a month ago

Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

afgam28 Re:They made their bed (426 comments)

Yeah, I remember around the early to mid 2000s there was an article on Slashdot along the lines of "who will be the next Microsoft?" and the general consensus was nobody - because Microsoft wouldn't be stupid enough to be the next IBM. IBM's mistake in the 80s was to hand over control of DOS, and Microsoft understood this and wouldn't repeat it.

Now in 2014 it's easy to see that IE6's stagnation and Ballmer's laughing dismissal of the iPhone has put the company in a very similar place to where IBM was in the mid 90s.

about 1 month ago

California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

afgam28 Re:Screwed... (327 comments)

Even if they were all gone, there's still plenty of tricholoroethylele in the ground water undernearth Silicon Valley left over from the silicon companies back in the day.

about a month ago

Student Bookstores Beware, Amazon Comes To Purdue Campus

afgam28 Re:Newsflash! Amazon to Provide Discount Buggy Whi (95 comments)

In my experience ebooks are great for things like novels, where it's mostly paragraph after paragraph of text. But for textbooks that have a lot of images, tables, diagrams, mathematical formulae, source code snippets, etc. the formatting doesn't always come out looking nice.

I think the epub format is basically zip'd html, and the kindle format is not that different. Text gets resized and reflowed according to the reader's screen size, and this means that things move around and don't look the way the author or publisher intended them to. I imagine this would be a problem for a lot of university textbooks, especially in fields like science.

about a month ago

Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

afgam28 Re:Compare with sports (442 comments)

I don't think the market values their skills that highly. Only the most successful actors make this kind of money, and if you wanted to compare this to (for example) engineers then the right comparison would be with startup founders who got lucky and sold out for millions (or didn't, and went on to make billions).

The difference with engineering is that a lot of regular engineers make a decent living. For every rich and successful actor or athlete, there are plenty of others who can't make ends meet. If you add all of this up, you'll see that the world values engineering much more highly than acting or sports.

Some rough numbers for perspective: the US film industry takes in $10 billion per year in box office revenues, whereas Google alone pulled in $15 billion last quarter. So at least in this example, I don't think the market valuation is that out of whack.

about a month and a half ago

Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

afgam28 Re:This is how business should be done (168 comments)

Ever noticed how Amazon consistently breaks even every quarter? Sure there's like a hundred million loss, or sometimes profit in other quarters, but that's nothing when quarterly revenue is $20 billion. The company knows how much money is coming in, and they're using all of their profit to invest in their infrastructure, and grow out their businesses. They could decide at any moment to stop doing this, and the company would become hugely profitable overnight.

But their revenue last quarter is about 25% higher than it was this time last year, and it has consistently been seeing this kind of growth for years. The right thing for Amazon to do, from a shareholder's perspective, is to keep investing and ride out this wave of growth for as long as it lasts. To do otherwise would be to give up their long-term position just to maximize their short-term quarterly profits.

So to answer your question, "long term" happens when sales growth disappears, and the investments that Amazon makes into its infrastructure no longer provide any returns. With the sales growth that Amazon is seeing right now, this is clearly not the right time to stop building out the company.

about 2 months ago

Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

afgam28 Re:Good (225 comments)

That is also true of Windows and Mac laptops, at the kids' schools and their parents' offices.

about 2 months ago

Firefox 31 Released

afgam28 Re: We are wise to this (172 comments)

Once you've figured out what you're pissed off about, don't forget to go to Mozilla and demand your money back.

about 2 months ago

Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

afgam28 Re: I think it's fine (219 comments)

That's what I thought when I read it too. I wonder if Slashdot did an a/b test with its moderation system and did some sentiment analysis on the resulting comments, would there be the same outrage?

about 3 months ago

Study Finds Porn Exposure Associated With Smaller Brain Region

afgam28 Re:Does Size Matter? (211 comments)

Does size matter? Not when you're fapping to porn I guess.

about 4 months ago

Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

afgam28 Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (190 comments)

All government services are based on "theft" of resources from people who don't use that government service. This includes the roads that private cars drive on, which are funded in part by gasoline taxes but mostly through non-user-pays revenue streams such as income taxes.

about 4 months ago

HR Chief: Google Sexual, Racial Diversity "Not Where We Want to Be"

afgam28 Re:Who gives a shit? (593 comments)

I think there are two problems. The first is that if you assume that women are a) not inherently less qualified to do tech jobs and b) given an equal opportunity, then it would be reasonable to expect that 50% of Googlers would be women. But obviously the data shows that the ratio is much lower, so one of those assumptions is incorrect.

If you believe that the first assumption is incorrect - that women are inherently less qualified - then sure I can see why you think this is not a problem. Maybe you think they have different brains or something. But society as a whole, and Google's hiring department in particular, don't believe that, and so the logical conclusion is that women are not given equal opportunity.

I hope that you can see why that is clearly a problem. It might not be the fault of Google's hiring process - it could be a bias in the education system, or the exclusionary "bro culture" in the tech industry, or something else in some other part of society. Whatever it is, there's some subconscious bias somewhere that is holding women back, and figuring out where that is coming from could unlock a lot of potential talent, as well as making the world a fairer place.

So that's the first problem. The second problem is: who the fuck, male or female, wants to live in a place that is a complete sausage-fest? It's gotten so bad that it doesn't just affect individual companies or university departments anymore - in the Bay Area the gender ratio of the entire city of "Man Jose" is all fucked up.

about 4 months ago

Thousands of Europeans Petition For Their 'Right To Be Forgotten'

afgam28 Re: Insanity (224 comments)

That's what I find so strange about this ruling. Search engines like Google have to remove links to certain articles, but newspapers and journalists are explicitly protected when publishing said articles.

This is kind of like legalizing piracy while at the same time forcing The Pirate Bay to remove links.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Tech Customers Forced Into Supporting Each Other?

afgam28 Re:Start a company selling support. (253 comments)

Although most of us only have experience with open source and consumer products, and the support forums that come with them, the OP is most annoyed with niche proprietary software tool vendors:

it's completely unacceptable when dealing with proprietary design tool vendors that are charging several thousand dollars for software licenses for tools that are the only option if a customer doesn't want to drop an order of magnitude more money to go with 3rd party tools (e.g., Synopsys)

For these tools, your employer usually pays tens of thousands of dollars for support contracts, which are meant to include direct support from engineers. It's unlikely that any third party will have the ability to provide support for such products, because:

1. You need access to source code and the ability to make changes and release patches.
2. The tools are so niche that you won't be able to find people who know enough about the software to provide support.
3. Even if you could, you need licenses to reproduce the issues that your customers are reporting to you. The cost of licenses for things like Verilog synthesizers from Synopsys (which are not cheap!) would need to be passed on to your customers.

about 4 months ago

Percentage of Elderly In Japan Continues to Grow as Number of Children Drops

afgam28 Re:This may be crass but... (283 comments)

Having lived in both Japan and the US, I've noticed that people in Japan tend to think "living in a small town would be inconvenient because I wouldn't be able to get to a train" whereas people in the US tend to think "living in a big city would be inconvenient because I wouldn't be able to drive my car".

So the Japanese tend to be drawn towards large cities (about 60% live in one of the 3 biggest metro areas - Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya) and Americans tend to self-organize into a fairly uniformly sparse suburban environment.

It's interesting how people can't seem to see beyond their society's local maxima, but anyway this leads to vastly different ideas of what it means to be "overpopulated".

When I lived in Japan I didn't find it to be overpopulated at all, even in the middle of Tokyo. The high population density isn't a problem that needs solving - it's a defining characteristic that makes the city great, and has attracted 35 million people to live there. There are plenty of rural backwaters north of Tokyo in Tohoku but not many people want to live there.

So what for? If a society prefers large cities, why not let them self-organize into a two or three big cities? Which is what Japan has pretty much already done.

about 4 months ago


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