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Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code

echtertyp Wrong audience, do this for *executives* (116 comments)

Bugs can be isolated with unit tests, and / or fixed in future releases. Executives who are over their heads, however, make decisions that cannot be unf#cked and destroy thousands of lives. You'll get much more bang for your buck by wiring executives and board members up to monitor their alertness and comprehension. With one headset on one executive this could have been prevented: "Metro UI everywhere? tired, so many words, I want to go golfing so bad...sure, sounds good, Metro UI everywhere, do I sign at the bottom?"

about two weeks ago

Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

echtertyp I sort of support what Jackson's saying, has merit (514 comments)

As a white guy - born in Europe even! -- I can say that while working in Mountain View, California it was indeed overwhelmingly young, male, with mostly Northern European genes sloshing around. Some Asian but not as much as you'd think.

That said our boss was quite a progressive guy and reached out to hire a black guy and several typical American women. The women were a disappointment. It has to be said that they proved to be demanding low performers. Had high expectations of everything and everyone else, but didn't really put points on the board for the team. In talks about the women I learned the US English codeword PITA, not the flat bread, but Pain In The A**. It was true.

The black guy turned out well. In the first couple months he was very reserved and looking back I think he was very keen to not make mistakes or rub anyone the wrong way. But man, after that first 90 days or so, he relaxed and realized we weren't going to bite him, and he started learning the craft with real zeal. He was one of the hardest working fellows I ever met in my time in the U.S.

I think the dynamic is that black people in the U.S. are all too accustomed to having "the prize" and opportunity dangled in front of them, and then snatched away once someone has got what they wanted from that black person. So they I think have learned to regard the larger American system with suspicion or at least much caution. However if they see by actions and not words that something is the real deal, the team is there and they are part of it, no bait and switch, they really get fired up and loving it.

about a month ago

Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

echtertyp The RussiaToday posters curiously absent ... (582 comments)

Has anyone else noticed that the avalanche of RT posters seems to have subsided? For a couple of months any mention of Crimea or the Ukraine was mobbed by dozens of scripted posts about "fascists in Kiev" and so on. Very much in the style of the 1980's information warfare efforts from the Soviets. But I'm getting the sense someone in Moscow has turned down the tap, and told the guys in the boiler rooms to hold off. Maybe Putin is giving up on this one?

about a month ago

Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

echtertyp Steady state economy needed (root cause) (377 comments)

If you follow the pros and cons around stuff like this down to the nub, it comes down to "but we have to grow the economy." Thankfully, a Plan B has been worked out over many decades and it's pretty appealing actually. I highly recommend reading up on Steady State Economics, either books or

about a month ago

Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

echtertyp MS Research was meant to mop up talent, that's all (161 comments)

Waaay back I remember someone pointing out that Microsoft was spending enormous sums to hire researchers, especially promising ones in academia. The idea, apparently, was for MS Research to be a sort of "intellectual roach motel" (love that phrase) were IQ would check in, and nothing checked out. This made a certain amount of sense. As a monopolist you don't -want- any innovation. One way to do that is hire hitmen to kill potential innovators. But the risks there are huge. A much easier way if you have the money is to hire promising minds and then keep them neutralized. That's just what Microsoft did.

about a month ago

Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up

echtertyp The key: marriage kills programmers, scientists (232 comments)

If a fellow gets married, *then* his creativity and productivity plummets. His time is no longer his own. When I regard the fellows I work with, the guys over 40 who avoided marriage, or have been divorced for a while, are the "top guns" to put in U.S. terms. They have both creativity *and* a lot of experience, which makes them almost impossible to beat over the course of many months.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

echtertyp Over 30 && U.S. citizen = no (466 comments)

I honestly don't see how a non-H1b person, especially if over 30, should be realistically planning on working as a programmer, at least in the Silicon Valley area.

about 3 months ago

All Else Being Equal: Disputing Claims of a Gender Pay Gap In Tech

echtertyp Outliers for male rockstar coders skew the average (427 comments)

What I remember in California was that one had approximately 4 categories of developers: 1. Journeyman level, typical employee, good enough 2. Short term hired guns, contractors 3. H1-b visa guest labor from India, very affordable at the time so very popular 4. Truly exceptional guys, the much talked about rockstar talent For the rockstar guys, they were so much more valuable and productive than the other 3 categories that it was well worth it to pay double the prevailing wages. The interesting thing in hindsight is that these rockstars really were all guys. No women. Given how the arithmetic behind averages works, I can't help but think that the pay packages of male rockstar techies in the U.S. skews the figures. If one removed the top and bottom 10% of the pay data for men and women in tech work, I think you'd find the average pay for men vs. women would be much closer.

about 6 months ago

Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

echtertyp Exactly so. Astroturf campaigns aside... (491 comments)

there is no shortage but a glut in the U.S. of pretty much every type of skilled labor that traditionally would have earned a good living. It is very sad.

about 6 months ago
top Give Us More H-1B Visas Or the Kids Get Hurt

echtertyp Have an auction for H1b visas .. (271 comments)

The U.S. is so messed up :( One thing that would make it a little less messed up would be to have an auction for H1b visas, rather than allocating them like IP address ranges to big companies. It would be interesting to see what happens when Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco start bidding up the price of cheap labor visas.

about 7 months ago

Anti-GMO Activists Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

echtertyp Slashdot got it backwards re: population (510 comments)

I wonder if Slashdot's minders have been overrun by Cato Institute people? There is logic problem here. If the population is ever increasing, then tweaking food production from finite resources is bound to end in tears as the realities of logarithmic growth curves (for supply) kick in, along with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Corrected version: "The pressure to move to GMO foods, along with the phenomenon of global warming, underscores the need to rein in human population growth"

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

echtertyp Buddhism is useful, even to an atheist (796 comments)

Coming from a 100% scientist, I still have to give props to Buddhism as a very useful mental framework for our quirky human minds. I especially like the Buddhist insight that ego is at the root of a lot of human ills. See yourself as part of the world, not one man battling for respect and wealth, and life gets a lot easier and nicer. And oddly one seems to get more meaningful stuff done.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

echtertyp "Beyond Growth" by economist Herman E. Daly (796 comments)

The only economics book that that doesn't wave hands and try to change the subject when the really hard questions come up.

about 8 months ago

Is Computer Science Education Racist and Sexist?

echtertyp Astroturf from to raise H1b quotas (612 comments)

Will Holdings do anything its paymasters tell it, to keep up the astroturf campaign about a shortage of programmers? So that more cheap H1b visa labor can be had by big companies? Yes.

about 8 months ago

Employee Morale Is Suffering At the NSA

echtertyp Gestapo morale suffered after Nuremberg trials (841 comments)

NSA guys will have to do some soul searching. Hopefully the U.S. will have a long, reasonable discussion about how much 1984 surveillance is really needed and healthy, and give the NSA new (more limited ) orders.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Are We Older Experts Being Retired Too Early?

echtertyp Switzerland is considering just this thing :) (629 comments)

The Basic Income guarantee is something getting more discussion in German-speaking Europe. Because it makes increasing sense in the 21st century in developed countries.

Consider that most "work" in Germany, the UK and the US is what could be labeled as "bullshit jobs" (see People want to create and build, but modern economies have evolved in a perverse way such that most corporate jobs are essentially courtiers and actors. The real value is added by machines and 3rd world labor. The typical white collar worker's main task is to *appear* useful, necessary, and above all busy and stressed, while somehow evading metrics that actually hold them accountable for specific units of something. The key of course is not whether such a corporate drone produces anything, but whether his manager thinks he's necessary, in some way. This is the province of MBAs and culture consultants and so on.

But freed of the empty, value-subtracting exercise of faking hard work to aquire money credits, people would tend to gravitate toward whatever they're best at. Widespread ownership, or VAT taxes, of machines/robots will keep the funds flowing and get most of the work done, while humans do what they're best at. People get bored, research has found, and it's actually very hard to be a true "moocher." Even if it's creating beer can hats in Texas, people from all cultures are driven to create and build.

The Swiss are first to come to widespread awareness of this, and will vote soon on a small Basic Income for every citizen. My guess is it will not pass this election, but the insight will spread, rather like the awareness of a round planet or the existence of bacteria. So we'll probably see a Citizen's Income in Northern Europe and Japan first, then the English speaking countries.

It is also part of the "steady state economics" framework which humanity will be forced to adopt by the end of this century, if math prevails.

about 8 months ago



Massive US fleet heading toward Iran

echtertyp echtertyp writes  |  about 6 years ago

echtertyp writes "This could be our October surprise: the European press is buzzing with reports that a large combined fleet of U.S, British and French warships are heading out of the Atlantic and are destined to blockade Iran soon. This report is a good overview, but there are many more:"
Link to Original Source


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