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Comments

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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

bmajik Re:Apparently the trolls are out here, too (1240 comments)

In the long run, humanity would be better served if people just learned to lighten up and not get so upset about things written by people they don't know and will never meet.

Death threats in the real world? Yes, that's a thing that is actionable. That's not what I'm talking about.

You do not have a right to never be offended.

It was a hard lesson for me when I was an opinionated teenager who hopped on IRC in the 90s.. all of these older smarter people were trolling me and being mean to me! Poor me!

It was also a GOOD lesson for me. In the internet of back then, the trolls were smarter, and there were no feelings police... no forum moderators... people said what they liked and you either dealt with it or you didn't.

And I look at people who come unglued over what they read on the internet and just shake my head.

An online forum with no rules and no judges and no consequences is one of the most interesting and wonderful things in human history.

I don't want it to die because of your hurt feelings. I'd rather you went somewhere else.

5 days ago
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Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

bmajik Re:Really? (441 comments)

*raises hand*

I've posted about this before many times.

I have a pulse
I am not sure about having a conscience -- that may disqualify me.
I have an IQ over 30
I am a citizen
I am not a politician
I am not a CEO.

I've been an engineer at Microsoft since 2000. I've worked on developer tools and ERP products. I've worked in Redmond; I currently work in Fargo.

I have interviewed hundreds of people for Microsoft positions. I am not a manager, but I've played manager at times. I understand the compensation system quite well, and how it has evolved over my 15 years at the company.

I have also worked with non-citizens and non-native born my entire career, including many who are on H1-Bs currently.

You could go and dig through my old posts if you wanted to. I'll try and give the short version

1) In my opinion, Microsoft pays very well. If i lost my job in North Dakota, I think i'd be taking a huge pay cut to work anywhere else. I base this on the numbers people throw out when I've interviewed with other companies. (You get frustrated from time to time in 15 years with the same company. I've shopped around. I've stayed put)

2) There are a lot of "paper qualified" people out there. I can't hire even half of the ones I talk to.

I see both ends of the "funnel" of candidates. For university recruiting trips, there is essentially no filtering done before I get to talk to them. For industry hires, they had to get through a few people before they talk to me.

We're already paying a competitive wage and we cannot hire many of the people we talk to. The obvious move is to try and expand the # of people we're able to talk to.

3) For a variety of reasons, it is MORE expensive for Microsoft to deal with H1-B candidates. There are all kinds of legal costs and challenges, as well as employee time wasted dealing with immigration bullshit -- that normal domestic employees do not incur.

For each domestic job type at Microsoft, there is a flyer posted in the breakroom that says what the title is, what the qualifications are, and what the salary range is. The salary ranges are the ones I am familiar with. Any H1-B could simply look at the flyer, and if they were getting paid less than that, they could lawyer up and retire. Every state's attorney in the US would want in on that lawsuit. Saving a few thousand dollars a year on salary costs couldn't possibly be worth it to us.

4) I feel no particular allegience to "the american worker". So you were good at choosing where your parents were when you were born? And the benefits of this should accrue to you WHY?

I am interested in people who will improve the caliber of my company and the caliber of my society. Hard working, intelligent people often have that potential. I don't care about where they were born. i care about what they will do.

I want the US to suck every brilliant engineer out of India and China. I don't want China getting any better at matching the US military industrial complex, and I want India to change its society so that innovators can effect meaningful change there, instead of being trapped in a hopeless system of patronage and bribery.

(have you talked to Indians who are in the US? There's a reason they are here...)

I would love to have the problem of drowning in qualified American talent. But that isn't a problem I've ever had in my entire career.

Finally, before you run your mouth about Microsoft not doing anything about to help with the domestic labor supply, Microsoft pays for me to volunteer 1 hour a day teaching Computer Science at a local high school. I start my 2nd year this Monday. I'll be helping teach a section of AP Computer Science -- in JAVA. Do you think this is some kind of sweetheart deal for MS? They are losing my work time, they are giving money to the school, and I am teaching the kids using Eclipse and the Java stack -- the direct competitors to the product and ecosystem that I work on (i work on Visual Studio).

What we're doing, is widening the pipeline of people who get exposed to CS, so that hopefully, more of them do CS in college, and more of them are GOOD at it. That is going to help the entire industry.

I don't know what experiences you've had, but I feel confident in saying that they haven't been at Microsoft.

about two weeks ago
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Figuring Out Where To Live Using Math

bmajik Re:you must not have done well in math class (214 comments)

Focusing on gun crimes is the tactic that gun control advocates use.

The problem is that victims don't care if they are stabbed to death or shot to death.

The correct metric is _total_ crimes of bodily threat or assault. Good guys use legally carried weapons to deal with bad guys irrespective of what the bad guys did or didn't bring.

So, don't focus on gun deaths (which, btw, also counts suicides.. which is also totally disingenuous)

Focus on murders. How does Illinois compare to say, North Dakota, in murders?

I'll stay in rural North Dakota, thanks.

about two weeks ago
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NVIDIAs 64-bit Tegra K1: The Ghost of Transmeta Rides Again, Out of Order

bmajik Changing form factors, changing software (125 comments)

Suppose for a moment that you are building a new processor for mobile devices.

The mobile device makers - Apple, Google, and Microsoft -- all have "App Stores". Side loading is possible to varying degrees, but in no case is it supported or a targeted business scenario.

These big 3 all provide their own SDKs. They specify the compilers, the libraries, etc.

Many of the posts in this thread talk about how critical it will be for the compilers to produce code well suited for this processor...

Arguably, due to the app development toolchain and software delivery monoculture attached to each of the mobile platforms, it is probably easier than ever to improve compilers and transparently update the apps being held in app-store catalogs to improve their performance for specific mobile processors.

It's not the wild west any more; with tighter constraints around the target environment, more specific optimizations become plausible.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

bmajik Separation of Powers (427 comments)

Claim: the routing and security features on the edge devices your ISP provides as CPE are not sufficient

Claim: You want the ability to reset the shitty CPE your ISP gives you without losing LAN connectivity

Claim: Specific purpose devices are often better suited to their tasks than all-in-one devices

Solution: Treat your ISP-supplied CPE as a dumb device. Put a smarter device behind it that does routing, segmentation, translation, dhcp, etc, the way you want those things done.

Ideally, do PPPoE or something from the smarter device across the CPE, because CPE firmware is so often just terrible, but if not, double-NAT is often fine.

Critically, make your wifi APs a separate function both from your core home router and your edge device.

For a trivial amount of money, you can keep buying Ubiquiti APs and place them all over your property, as needed, and get an arbitrarily high level of speed and coverage. The configuration is completely painless, and this setup is completely independent of your edge device and edge connectivity.

about three weeks ago
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Japan To Launch a Military Space Force In 2019

bmajik Re:Space Junk Chain Reaction (150 comments)

Your James Bond film sounds very intriguing and I would like to subscribe to your... movie.

about a month ago
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Japan To Launch a Military Space Force In 2019

bmajik Re:Space Junk Chain Reaction (150 comments)

Who needs weather satellites, GPS, and communication equipment anyway?

In the modern world, we all do. Which is why we should be more alarmed that all of these things are so very vulnerable to an increasingly long list of state-actors who don't like the West, and are so difficult to replace on short notice.

We've "gotten away with it" for a long time now. But any honest person knew those days were numbered.

At some point, we're going to have to really deal with the problem of space junk, and with the problem of space warfare as a prolific source of new space junk.

about a month ago
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

bmajik Re:Minivans are practical but ignored (205 comments)

I think VW might contract the actual manufacturing to Chrysler.

Indeed. The VW Routan was a Chrysler Town and Country with some different skins on the inside and out. It was so much not a VW product that the VCDS system (the thing you can use to do vehicle diagnostics on any VW, Audi, Seat, or Skoda product since the early 90s) doesn't even talk to it.

In the German market, VW sells Vans of all different sizes. None of them are currently imported to the US; the Eurovan was the last rest-of-world van that was available in North America.

about a month and a half ago
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

bmajik Re: Hmmm (205 comments)

We have 3 kids in car seats, and an Odyssey.

When we lived in town, it was great. Back then, my only serious gripe with the Odyssey is that if you are running a second set of wheels (e.g. for permanently mounted snow tires), and don't fit a 2nd set of expensive TPMS sensors to those wheels, the VSA (stability control) cannot be defeated via the console switch.

This is a problem because the VSA implementation sucks and is frankly unsafe when accelerating on surface transitions - for instance, when you are waiting on a gravel road and are about to pull onto a paved highway, the VSA system senses differing levels of wheel grip between the wheel on pavement and the wheel still on gravel, and cuts power, precisely when you need maximum power to quickly get to highway speed.

Last fall we moved to a rural area, and now poorly maintained roads (deep snow in the winters until I clear it, deep ruts whenever there are rains) has really shown me the shortcomings of the vehicle. My wife has gotten it stuck 4 times in our first winter.

The Odyssey needs 2 things to be superlative. Air suspension with adjustable ride height (it is a very low vehicle, for ease of entry/exit for small kids), and a proper AWD system.

My wife is now desperately wanting an AWD vehicle. But to get a proper AWD system (e.g. locking transfer case or at least a torsen differential), and the useful seating capacity of a minivan, you need to be looking at full-size truck based SUVs, like the Excursion or Sequoia.

I'm aware that the Sienna comes in an AWD version, but its particular AWD system and ride height doesn't inspire me that they will be foolproof enough to want to make the switch.

Sadly, my wife also refuses to drive a Mercedes G-wagen :)

As an aside, the Odyssey towing capacity isn't really sufficient. It's 3500lbs, and it requires upfitting the vehicle considerably with things that don't come factory - PS cooler, ATF cooler, hitch wiring, etc. (In addition to the actual hitch receiver).

When we were considering camping options, essentially nothing that had enough floor space for a family of 5 could be towed behind an Odyssey.

about a month and a half ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

bmajik Re:Work Shortage where is the Wage Increases?, (529 comments)

Hi there. Been an engineer at Microsoft since 2000. Have interviewed hundreds of people at all skill levels.

Why do you assume that wages at Microsoft aren't increasing?

I understand the compensation model, and how it has changed in my 14 years. The comp packages we are offering to college grads these days are astoundingly lucrative. Every few years in my career, there has been a big compensation realignment based on market realities. Everytime something at work upsets me enough that I start talking to other companies, their comp packages (especially with cost of living factored in) aren't able to match what I'm getting now from Microsoft.

Lately, high comp packages are required to compete with Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc, who all have plenty of money, and, for younger developers, are often seen as cooler places to work than old stodgy Microsoft.

I just see no evidence that H1-Bs are a mechanism for the company to save money. Dealing with HB-1 hassles involves a lot of overhead and expense that are not applicable to domestic employees.

As I said earlier, I have interviewed many, many folks, for many positions. The hire rate is not as high as we would like it to be. It never feels good to have to turn someone down, and it is a waste of time for everyone when an interview doesn't go well. But the bottom line is, we talk to many more people than we can feel confident about making an offer to. There are lots of STEM graduates, foreign and domestic. But not all of them are someone we could feel comfortable hiring. I'm sure you've known people in your CS class who could get good grades but who couldn't code... those people count as "qualified STEM applicants" to people that are pushing the "H1B is evil" rhetoric, but we all know that just because someone has a degree doesn't mean they are employable in that field... and certainly not by the top organizations in that field.

I've also seen no evidence that Microsoft has a preference for hiring H1-Bs, or that there is any compensation disparity for H1-Bs. I have seen evidence that H1-Bs cost the company money that domestic employees do not. For example, the company has special lawyers and paperwork people that deal with H1-B and other immigrant-labor related problems. That's a cost. When H1-B engineers are dealing with this stuff (which is frustratingly often), they aren't writing code or analyzing tests. That's a hit to their productivity, which ultimately, is another cost.

about a month and a half ago
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Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

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

No, it is not bigoted or racist to assume that someone of a different skin color may have had a different upbringing than you

It is certainly racist.

You are using race as the determining factor to make a presumption about an individual human.

What other useful definition of racism could there be?

about 2 months ago
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Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

bmajik Re:And not an EQ above 50 among them (561 comments)

Counter-anecdote.

My dad was active in Mensa when I was younger and he was newly divorced. My dad is an unapologetic anti-democrat; I think Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan may be above Jesus in his world view.

As near as I can tell, his interest in Mensa was for social networking with people that had a chance of understanding him. He's brilliant, loyal, fair, judgmental, and not at all sentimental. He has great difficulty expressing himself emotionally. Only certain people "get" him, and that's fine with him as long as there's at least one.... He's a hardcore INTJ.

He has no desire to run the world or to run other people's lives.

I haven't bothered to apply officially for Mensa, but I think I'd be borderline for admission. I'm also NOT a technocrat and ALSO not a liberal democrat.

about 2 months ago
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Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

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

There is nothing worthwhile in diversity in and of itself

This is the attitude that needs to stop. Diversity may not be a value in your pantheon, but it's not social engineering to want an inclusive society. It's wisdom.

Why does it need to stop?

A huge problem -- that few people seem to speak about -- is that using gender, nationality, or, most frustratingly -- race, as a measure of "diversity" is implicitly bigoted.

The diversity that people _claim_ to want is one of perspectives, life experiences, etc.

The things that are relatively easy to bucketize - gender identity, race, socio-economic status, etc.... these things in and of themselves are not a valuable source of "diversity"

The implicit bigotry in the "diversity" argument says that, if you hire more black people, you'll get much different ideas than what you already have. Why? Because all black people are different from the white people you already have.

I've never seen a more stark illustration of _racism_ then that.

The conjecture here is that if a population distribution doesn't' look the way certain people expect it to, then there is some upstream social problem that needs tinkering with.

That conjecture is only ever true or false on a case by case basis. The real problem that needs to stop is for people to believe this conjecture in the general case; the real problem is that people don't even agree or are not willing to state what their expectations are for the "ideal" population distribution, but, are still willing to cry foul and to assert that a problem exists.

about 2 months ago
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Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

bmajik In nearly 15 years, I've never done this... (347 comments)

FIRST POST

(however, the apparent local time when you see this post may differ based on the apparently non-constant nature of c )

about 2 months ago
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First Phone Out of Microsoft-Nokia -- and It's an Android

bmajik Re:Seems like a 180 from their previous views (193 comments)

Well, not exactly a feature phone.

I use facebook, multiple account email, and Exchange calendar from my phone multiple times a day. Its just that, I'm usually at home or work, and both have WiFi.

Contract phone plans are absurdly expensive, and, I've been running a pre-paid SIM for over 7 years. I don't want to go back to a situation where I pay a high monthly fee for a limited selection of phones with phone company malware on them...

I am getting everything I need out of this smart phone WITHOUT a gmail account.

about 2 months ago
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First Phone Out of Microsoft-Nokia -- and It's an Android

bmajik Re:Seems like a 180 from their previous views (193 comments)

I'll tell you how I've landed on a Windows Phone -- one that I paid for out of pocket, and using a plan that I also pay for out of pocket.

(I mention this only because I'm an MS employee, and I want to avoid the problem of someone claiming that I am astroturfing here)

For the last year or two, I had been using a used iPhone 3G. I had to jailbreak it so I could SIM unlock it.

I never bought any apps from any appstores. Free apps, yes. Paid apps - no.

The basic problem with the iPhone series is that apple simply obsoletes its hardware too quickly. Most of the apps in the apple app store couldn't install on my phone, because my phone couldn't be updated to the newest OS. The phone was unbearably slow when browsing desktop-class pages.

I feel like apple is a premium-price for a below-average experience.

Regarding Android - every android phone I've seen has been completely different from the others. If I pick up an android phone, it always takes me a while to adjust to the quirks of that particular handset's UI. I'm attracted to the ease of "owning" an android device, but, ultimately, I want a phone that just works. I rarely want to tinker with it.

Finally, Android bothers me because I don't use gmail and I don't trust google. The people I've talked to claim that it is difficult to really make the most of an Android phone without giving your life over to your google account.

So, Microsoft finally comes out with the Lumia 521 -- a no-contract phone that is natively built for Windows Mobile 8. I really like this phone. It has a fast browser, and the 1st party apps are quite good. It is like $120 from Wal-Mart. The camera and photostitching apps are good, and it comes with a built-in Nokia mapping/navigation program that has complete offline capability. This is important for me since I don't have a data plan and I am often in places with no data service anyhow. The Nokia HERE DRIVE and HERE MAPS applications are fantastic.

The windows mobile UI is great. More consistent then Android, and better information density than iPhone.

about 2 months ago
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First Phone Out of Microsoft-Nokia -- and It's an Android

bmajik Re:Microsoft has been selling Linux for years (193 comments)

Microsoft has a long and interesting Linux/FOSS history.

I remember in the late 90s, Microsoft actually released a Front Page Server Extensions module for Apache on Linux, so people using FP could publish sites to Linux servers.

During the early 2000s, MS shipped a bunch of GPL'd stuff via the Interix/SFU product.

Currently, System Center (enterprise management tool) can also monitor and manage Linux machines along side windows (and Mac) machines.

As noted elsewhere, Microsoft has made Linux a 1st class scenario for Hyper-V on-premise and Azure hosted uses.

Microsoft has opened some its internal projects to the external community, with acceptable licenses, and Microsoft has also contributed to existing FOSS projects where it has made sense. Internally, "should we use existing FOSS" or "should we open source this?" are questions that are coming up now where in the past, they never did, and asking them would get you some funny looks.

In the future, you're going to see Microsoft doing a better job of meeting customers in mixed/heterogenous settings. We've got a new CEO that has provided this guidance to the entire company. The market changes have certainly become too large to ignore, but the bottom line is that we're adapting.

On the business side, getting some of a customer's business is better than getting none of their business.

As always, we partner with everybody and we compete against everybody. For example, I sit in a building where most of the developers here work on Microsoft's own ERP products, yet I worked on features that let Visual Studio talk to SAP.

about 2 months ago
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Google Forks OpenSSL, Announces BoringSSL

bmajik Re:How does this help? (128 comments)

Bugs weren't missed in mainline openSSL. Bugs were logged, sat around for years, and didn't get fixed.

The project management and software engineering practices for openSSL were/are simply not acceptable.

The code is salvageable. The people and processes that allowed the code to get that way are not.

"This code under new management"

about 2 months ago
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FWD.us: GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists

bmajik Re:Double-standard and misunderstanding of politic (422 comments)

The party you are referring to exists - it's called the libertarian party - and it is mostly (but not entirely) ex-Republicans who think responsible adults should be treated like responsible adults -- e.g. left alone until they hurt somebody.

There _should_ be more liberals and democrats joining the libertarian cause, because the LP is much better than the dems on key issues dems claim to care about: anti-war, pro-civil liberties, anti-racism in law enforcement (especially the drug war), anti-corporatism..

So, I cannot tell you why there aren't more democrats who break ranks and join the libertarians.

One reason for that, I suspect, is that I simply cannot relate to democrats or understand how they came to be democrats in the first place. There are plenty of intelligent people who are democrats, but I've never been able to figure out how any of them "tick".

In any case, there are principled libertarians -- and that's how they've traditionally billed themselves. Principled in the sense that they think government morally/ethically should not do certain things.

Then there are pragmatic libertarians -- folks who figure government is _ineffective_ or even malicious at doing certain things, and therefore shouldn't do them. An example would be Gary Johnson.

The bottom line is that, if America were actually incredibly hungry for a fiscally conservative, socially permissive party -- that party has existed for decades. It has been getting more popular lately, but it's still basically a rounding error in most elections.

about 3 months ago
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NYC Councilman (and Open Source Developer) Submits Bill Establishing Open Source Preference

bmajik Re:Some Reasonable Arguments (105 comments)

There are some great points in there

1) access to data without vendor approval/involvement.

2) interop

3) no "remote killswitch" on software

4) no strange privacy leaks

I think these are all fine requirements.

But it's not clear to me why closed software couldn't meet them.

For instance, how does Windows + Office not meet these requirements?

1) the Office XML formats are documented, open, and have reader/writer libraries on non-Microsoft platforms

2) As a result of the consent decree, and much subsequent engineering and doc work, its quite easy to interop with windows and office.

3) So far as I know, there are editions of Windows and Office that require no internet connection at all, and certainly have no provision for remote-kill.

4) Microsoft is actually pretty good about shutting off telemetry, either on a per user basis, or with centralized management tools -- because enterprise customers want this capability too.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Thousands of sites desroyed via HyperVM 0-day

bmajik bmajik writes  |  more than 5 years ago

bmajik writes "Sunday, A2B2, who runs VAServ and fsckvps had many of its customer Virtual Private Server (VPS) objects compromised and suffered widespread data loss. The exploit appears to have been based on the HyperVM / kloxo VPS management software that they used. On June 4, a massive list of bugs in kloxo was posted publicly, after what appears to be an attempt at responsible disclosure which met with total disinterest from the vendor, LXlabs. As the VPS management software allows commands to be run on each virtual guest, hundreds if not thousands of customer VPSs have had partial or complete data loss. Note that this was a fully-patched HyperVM installation. Anyone using HyperVM or kloxo is strongly encouraged to disable that software immediately. The crackers in question appear to be with a Chinese group called fag0.cn and have no clear motive apart from causing destruction. There is a long thread on webhostingtalk.com discussing the issue."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft's Interop Announcement

bmajik bmajik writes  |  more than 6 years ago

bmajik writes "Microsoft is making a big deal about its new interoperability initiative. The announcement of "principles" include data portability, increased support for standard data file formats, open protocols, open API access, and a list of which MS patents apply to which protocols, and the terms under which those patents may be licensed. Additionally, the announcement includes a covenenant not to sue creators and users of F/OSS software who make use of these open protocols. What do people make of this announcement? Does it change things?"

Journals

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More reflections on geek relationships

bmajik bmajik writes  |  more than 3 years ago

This post got a lot of points and apparently a lot of traffic interest. An A.C. suggested that it was the first post they'd ever seen that should have been modded "+100", and _their_ post got modded up.

So now that I've gotten lots of people to read and think about what I wrote, and many who liked it, I'm going to diagree with part of it.

I think I was perhaps being too hard on AMD lady, and perhaps I was missing the focus of what she was talking about. My post deals a lot with _maintaining_ relationships and building them. But I think TFA was referring to _meeting_ geeks.. "catching" them if you will. And my post is potentially not relevant as a response to TFA.

There are some key points that I think still stand, but one thing that I want to revise or comment on a bit is when a woman takes an interest. The 1-liners or plausible topics of conversation postulated by the AMD lady didn't hit me because I am not that interested in PC video cards any more. So in the context of an advice blog to women about how to approach some easily-fits-in-a-box hypothetical geek, I rejected not only the premise but the specific lines used.

But then I got to thinking about my own history, and I remember a specifc time where I was at wedding reception or "couples baby shower" or some similar thing, and there was another woman there who had a real interest in cars and spirited driving. And so we chatted just breifly about it...I think she had heard that I was a car guy and so she approached me to talk about it.

Later that night I had to admit to my wife that it was troubling me just how _haunted_ I was with thoughts of this gal, because she approached me about an interest of mine, essentially out of nowhere, and it is an interest that women typically don't share -- certainly my wife doesn't. And so even though I was happily married, my thoughts that day kept returning to this woman. It was a few minutes of conversation and it was at least 8 years ago. Yet i still remember the experience and how i felt about it.

So there is certainly something to the idea of "snaring" a guy by letting him know you share his interests. I think the parts of my post that suggest you need to be authentic, legitimately interested, and so on all still apply. But I wouldn't want someone to read what I had written and come away with the idea that approaching a guy about his interests would be detrimental.

(As an aside, a great friend of mine, who is also a go-fast junkie, ended up having a very serious relationship with a younger girl who was _also_ a driver. And it turned ugly. Sometimes, shared passions/interests/hobbies make better introductions than they do compatible mates. I bet there is some interesting literature on competitiveness/etc dynamics within relationships where each party has some similar jobs/hobbies/interests/whatever).

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What do you do with hardware you can't give up?

bmajik bmajik writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Growing up, I was a big fan of workstation class machines. This persisted all through highschool and college, and for a while, a bit afterwards.

For instance, I left highschool with a Sparc IPX and a Sparc 10, but no car. Goofy priorities, I guess. When I was in school I picked up an SGI I^2 High Impact. I outfitted my SS10 with dual SunVideo cards, a dual-proc upgrade, a couple different framebuffers (TGX, ZX, etc).

The Math Department of my school auctioned its entire remaining inventory of NeXT workstations -- which I bought in its entirety. In addition, I picked up a color Turbo, an NCD X-Terminal, a few VT100 clones, etc.

Now, I've moved a lot since then. I sold my SS IPX to get some other hardware. I gave my SGI machine to a friend that had never used SGIs or IRIX before. I sold my Color Turbo to a guy who might make better use of it. The X-term ended up with a friend I think.

I divested half of my NeXT lab -- including the monitors -- to people that wanted to play with them. I have 3 non-functioning 030 cubes left, and with a sheet of plain glass, they make up one of my coffee tables. I also have my SS10, which I cannot let myself get rid of because of all the money I dumped into it.

I've made my peace with using the remaining NeXT cubes as furnture. I'm not sure what to do with the SS10 - it uses a lot of power, it's very loud, and I can't think of much interesting to do with it. It's utterly worthless on ebay.

I think I still have my Apple ][+ somewhere. It's the machine I learned to program on.... :)

What do you do with old computers that are "special", but that you don't have a computing need for?

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The standard argument against an ABM know-it-all

bmajik bmajik writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I read a lot of funny comments about "MS should do this", "MS is stupid", "those people are idiots", "this is the obvious thing to do", etc.

Here's my standard response:

1) We (MS employees) don't know everything

2) Some of us are pretty smart

3) If the "obvious" answer you are parrating were both obvious _and_ satisfactory, wouldn't some of the smart people already have suggested it?

3a)We can safely conclude that your answer is either
3a-1) novel and non-obvious
3a-2) utterly unworkable for reasons that you may never know
3a-3) unattractive for a variety of reasons, which, again, you may never know

4) In the event you can fix whatever large problem you're describing about microsoft (from the tone of your post, it seems that you think you can, i.e. you make a lot of really basic suggestions (which further suggests that we're idiots for not doing the obvious things you point out), please, please come work for us. We want more smart people. We want people that can solve all of the problems we have. If you could solve just the _one_ problem you described to the satisfaction of all relevant parties, and then accomplish nothing else, we'd pay you any realistic amount of money you'd want. Seriously. I don't have the pull to authorize that sort of thing, but Bill and Steve have personally hired people straight out of college.

We suck, you know it, and in just a few sentences you've described completely how to fix it. Problem is, if your suggestions had never occured to us to begin with, what are the odds that you telling us is all the help we need ? It's downright inhumane of you to not help us get better by coming to work for us and showing all of us how wrong we've been and how we've been missing it the whole time.

The ball is squarely in your court.

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welcome to the midwest

bmajik bmajik writes  |  more than 10 years ago

moving from redmond to uh.. North dakota is a bit of a change :)

See, I bought an old BMW a few years back because I liked the first one I had in college. (i bought that one because it was cheap and fast)I bought my wife a VW because almost nobody makes station wagons with a manual gearbox besides VW. And When i moved out here i needed a winter car, so i bought an old used Audi.

So, thats 3 german cars. My wife and I contribute roughly 50% of the imported car market for ND, as near as I can tell.

Who buys all these craptacular american cars that are usually fleet vehicles or rental cars in the rest of the world ? I mean, Civics and Camry's aren't even common out here - those are cheaper AND more reliable than this junk..

Also, if you live in a place that is regularly below freezing, and gets lots of snow.. please buy snow tires for your lame pickup truck. That way you wont spin your rear tires all the way across the intersection at 2mph.

One nice thing though. The house we just bought out here cost us half of what our house in Redmond cost. Screw property prices out there. It's just ridiculous.

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friends, foes, freaks, fans

bmajik bmajik writes  |  about 11 years ago

want to see something funny ? look at the "fans" info for "John Carmack". His fans list could be like an HTML renderer perf benchmark :)

Now look at John's "Friends"

Now, look at John's "Freaks". Who are these people that insist they hate John Carmack ? Why would you hate John Carmack ?

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If you read this..

bmajik bmajik writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Reply with the following info:

What made you look at my user info page ?

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