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Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

buddyglass way to troll slashdot (355 comments)

Seriously. Does anybody in his right mind think there's no place whatsoever for non-technical folks at tech companies?

yesterday
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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

buddyglass Re:Smart People (161 comments)

So, sorry -- if you actually get into and graduate from MIT, chances are your debt levels are going to be at the levels of many state university graduates, perhaps lower.

This is doubtful. If only because the caliber of student who is admitted to MIT is likely to receive extremely generous merit-based scholarships at most state schools, and especially at lower-tier state schools. There's at least one AAU member school (Arizona) that offer a free ride (tuition + fees + room + board) to any national merit scholar. When I was applying to colleges (which, admittedly, was 20 years ago), I was offered free rides to the University of Oklahoma and LSU based solely on my SAT Math score. It really depends on which state schools we're talking about (top-tier vs. lower-tier) and the student's household income. In the specific case of a middle-income student (household income = $70k/year) and a top-tier state school then what you've said is likely correct. Despite having a strong resume (evidenced by his being admitted to MIT) that student may not get a full ride at a top-tier state school. So he's relying on financial aid, and MIT's financial aid package for a student whose family earns $70k/year is likely better than the top-tier state school's. As income goes up and/or the quality of state school goes down, though, the equation starts to favor the state school if all we care about is out-of-pocket cost.

about two weeks ago
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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

buddyglass Re:Smart People (161 comments)

My household is around the 15th percentile (counting from the top) in terms of income. I'm a software dev. and my wife, who works half-time, earns about a quarter what I do. So that should provide some context. I recently ran the numbers and compared how much I'd have to pay for my son to attend Harvard vs. how much I'd have to pay for him to attend my alma mater, which is generally thought to be in the upper tier of state schools. Using in-state tuition for the state school, the cost was approximately the same, though Harvard would have required work-study to make up part of the tuition. If he (my son) were admitted to both, I'd probably pony up the difference to send him to Harvard. If the difference were large (say, $10k/year) then I would probably advise him to attend my alma mater.

about two weeks ago
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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

buddyglass Re:Not worth it (161 comments)

It's also worth noting that the sorts of people paying tens of thousands of dollars for Ma's services are themselves quite wealthy, so when discussing whether it's "worth it" you have to take into account the marginal "value" of those dollars to the person paying them. If I'm fabulously wealthy then sure, paying $20k is "worth it" to get my kid into Harvard. Because $20k is a meaningless sum to me. (Which, incidentally, is why it would not be so tragic if that $20k were to go to, say, the IRS instead.)

about two weeks ago
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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

buddyglass Re:Not worth it (161 comments)

I know this is a trendy view to take, but I can assure you that when it comes to applying to graduate programs and, for that matter, applying for certain McJobs, an engineering degree from MIT is going to count for more than an engineering degree from Football State U.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

buddyglass Re:You are of no value to the company, you're a to (249 comments)

You are a fscking moron for the comment you made to the other person.

What was moronic about it? The poster claimed he will only be able to command 35-40% of his previous salary when he finds a new job. Presumably his productivity will stay roughly constant, assuming he stays in the same industry. So the "market value" of all that he brings to the table is actually 35-40% of what his previous employer was paying him. Ergo his previous employer was overpaying him. If I can buy an identical car from two dealers, A and B, and they provide equivalent customer service, have identical policies, are equally convenient, etc., but A charges N and B charges N + $1000, then buying from B is "overpaying". Likewise if I can hire either A or B to perform a given task and A and B are such that they'll perform it equally well, but B costs 35-40% more than A, then hiring B is "overpaying" to have that task completed.

Many of us have been laid-off as a cost-reduction strategy by short-sighted management.

It may well be that your layoff was shortsighted. But how do you know? Is it possible the layoff was, in fact, the right move to make with respect to the business's short-term and long-term success?

My salary has been on a steady decline for the past decade as a consequence of these "thought leaders" and "best and brightest."

If your salary has steadily declined then it's because your skill set has become comparatively less valuable over time. That's likely the result of a whole host of factors, and isn't necessarily caused by the employers in your industry acting contrary to their own self-interest (i.e. being short-sighted).

With over 2 decades professional experience and currently unemployed I feel as though I made a terrible mistake pursuing a career in many roles within IT.

It is entirely possible you have, in fact, made a terrible mistake. And I don't say that to be mean. It absolutely sucks. But it is what it is. If I were in your shoes, the main question I'd be asking myself (and I'm sure you are) is: what can I do about it? Unless it's reasonable to expect that the trend will reverse, and it probably isn't, then it may be time to consider switching career tracks. Or, alternately, relocating to someplace your skill set is in higher demand. Obviously both of those are more easily said than done, but they're not impossible.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

buddyglass Re:You are of no value to the company, you're a to (249 comments)

We're defining "overpaid" differently. If an employer lets Joe go, who was earning N, and hires Bob for M, who is just as productive as Joe, then Joe was overpaid if M N. The employer was paying Joe more than necessary to acquire his labor output.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

buddyglass Re:You are of no value to the company, you're a to (249 comments)

Not redundant. "Obvious" perhaps. I'm not familiar with the situation in Australia, but I'd be surprised if you weren't exaggerating the 35-40% figure. If only because if it were true then I'd expect your employer to have laid you of earlier than they did. For instance, when the potential savings were 20% instead of 35-40%. Though it's entirely possible they're just incompetent.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

buddyglass Re:You are of no value to the company, you're a to (249 comments)

I'm estimating a 35 -> 45% pay drop from the job I've just been given the heave ho-from to my next one

If this is accurate, then it sounds like your former employer was massively overpaying you and was smart to let you go. They can hire a new you for 35-40% less.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

buddyglass Re:It would be less of an issue (249 comments)

Our country is demonstrably not better off with them

I don't cede this point. Nor would the majority of those who actually study and think about this stuff.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

buddyglass Re:bringing in more H1Bs will solve this problem (249 comments)

The age-old fallacy that what specifics you teach people has any correlation to their future careers. If you're a programmer, the language does not matter.

I'd like to push back against this. I'll agree that the specifics of what one learns in university, assuming we're talking about someone who got a Math/Physics/CS/Engineering degree, likely aren't predictive of long-term career success. That said, subject matter can be decently predictive in terms of short-term success. If I'm looking to hire a junior Java developer, say, and I have two candidates in front of me who appear to be equally hard-working, intelligent, sociable, etc. but one exhibits high Java proficiency and the other has never seen a line of Java then I'm going with the former. Your skill set does matter when it comes to getting a job. Your point is that anybody who's a decent dev. can ramp up on almost any technology. I agree. But not every employer is willing to pay for the lag-time for you to ramp up. Especially if you're competing with other candidates who are already ramped up.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

buddyglass Re:bringing in more H1Bs will solve this problem (249 comments)

You two seem to be using different definitions of "rigorous". He's using it in terms of mathematical rigor. You're using it to describe things that are tricky and difficult and where there's little margin for error.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

buddyglass like politics... (249 comments)

All job markets are local. I don't care so much about what the top-line number is for IT jobs. I care about what the market is for my specific skill set in the area where I happen to live. Obviously if the national number plummets then that trend will eventually be replicated in the majority of individual markets, but from the summary of this article it doesn't sound like we're talking about the number "plummeting".

At the moment, for my specific skill set and in the specific area where I live, the job market is about as good as its ever been. If I were to lose my job tomorrow my chances of acquiring another one reasonably quickly would be better than during any of the other times I've been jobless.

about two weeks ago
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Mushroom-Like Deep Sea Organism May Be New Branch of Life

buddyglass hmm. (64 comments)

Aliens.

about two weeks ago
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Robot Dramas: Autonomous Machines In the Limelight On Stage and In Society

buddyglass and... (31 comments)

Automata.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do About Repeated Internet Overbilling?

buddyglass yo (355 comments)

The fact that they are consistently 14% higher than your measured usage should have tipped you off that they're not just making numbers up, but measuring some sort of overhead you're not privy to. You're not ever going to get them to bill you like you want to be billed, since whatever they're doing is something they're doing for all their customers. I doubt their systems are set up to allow automatic scaling of certain users' bandwidth by some factor (e.g. 0.85). So if you can't live with the extra 14% I suggest moving to another network provider.

about three weeks ago
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ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

buddyglass Re:Bullshit. Women do not want it. (329 comments)

You seem to be focusing on the "men are different" argument. For sake of argument, I'll grant you that. It may be that women will never make up 50% of software developers and engineers. But, as you admit, we can try to modify the social / cultural landscape in such a way as to maximize women's interest in these fields. Whether or not that's a wise thing to do is a separate argument, but the prevailing wisdom is that maximizing the % of the population (both male in female) in "innovation-driving" professions increases overall prosperity.

Two things I'd point out: first, that women's interest in these fields has not always been at the current (low) level. Second, that women's interest in these fields is higher (than the U.S. level) in certain other countries. It may be that the female interest level in those countries is the highest we can possibly hope for given the (alleged) cognitive differences between men and women. But even if that's the case, there's still room to improve in the U.S. I'll recommend this academic paper out of Carnegie Melon. Table 13-1 is interesting.

about three weeks ago
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ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

buddyglass Re:WTF (329 comments)

The global reputation of U.S. tech may have been damaged by the NSA debacle, but only at the margins. Plenty of people still using Gmail, Facebook, buying Oracle crap, etc. Plus "Tech" is more than cloud services and software. Tesla, for instance. Get more people into STEM and maybe you get more Teslas. Or whatever other science/engineering success story you care to cite if you don't consider Tesla to be a good example.

about three weeks ago
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ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

buddyglass Re:Bullshit. Women do not want it. (329 comments)

You are not listening to me.

And you're not listening to me. Maybe if I used all caps instead? I acknowledge that men and women, at the aggregate level, have different interest. I'll even cede that they may be partly due to physiology. Will you cede that they may be partly due to social factors and that those social factors may in fact be mutable?

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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The Fiscal Cliff: What's your bill?

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  about 2 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "As most slashdotters in the United States are aware the impending fiscal cliff will hit in 2013 unless a compromise is reached beforehand. Want to know the impact to your household in the absence of any compromise? Turns out there's an app for that. It should be interesting to see how different readers' households are affected by the "full cliff" scenario as well as various alternate proposals."
Link to Original Source
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London Stock Exchange delays Linux switch

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  more than 3 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "Citing scalability concerns after its test platform "Turqoise" was knocked offline for two hours by unusually high volume, the London Stock Exchange announced that it is delaying its planned switch from Microsoft to Linux. The switch was initially motivated by a desire for shorter latencies. Notably, the NASDAQ uses a scalable Linux-based system that achieves trade latencies 25ms shorter than the LSE's planned deployment."
Link to Original Source
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No more Windows bugs?

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  more than 4 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "Past submitters have focused on previous "Patch Tuesdays" in which Microsoft has issued fixes for a record number of issues. Examples here and here. It seems only fair, then, to mention that the software maker intends to release only a single fix this iteration, addressing an issue that is only considered critical for Windows 2000 systems. If past releases with large numbers of fixes were evidence of the poor quality of Microsoft software, and by extension the closed source model in general, does this upcoming Tuesday represent some level of vindication?"
Link to Original Source
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Climate change consensus questioned?

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  about 7 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "In 2004 Naomi Oreskes examined 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed journal articles published from 1993-2003 and announced an overwhelming agreement in favor of the "consensus view" of climate change, which states that human activity bears at least partial responsibility. Her methods were recently repeated by one Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte, who examined 528 abstracts of peer-reviewed journal articles published from 2004-2007. Dr. Schulte's study found that 45% of articles agreed with the consensus view, either explicitly or implicitly, whereas 6% explicitly disagreed. Another 48% were explicitly neutral, refusing to support or deny the consensus view. Does this draw into question the notion that there is an unequivocal consensus among climate change researchers with regard to human activity's effect on the global climate?"
Link to Original Source
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How would you refocus linux development?

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  about 7 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "The majority of Slashdot users are no doubt appreciative of linux in the general sense, but I suspect we all have some application or aspect of the platform that we wish was more stable, performant, feature-rich, etc. So my question is a hypothetical one: if you were able to devote a "significant" number of resources (read: high-quality developers) to a particular app or area of the kernel, and were able to set the focus for those resources (stability, performance, new features, etc.), what application or kernel area would you attempt to improve, and what would you focus on improving?"

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