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11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

jmcbain Celebrities importing water into Los Angeles (315 comments)

Get with the news. Celebrities have been importing water this year. In this report dated August 26, 2014:

But the most famous Montecito resident of all is Oprah. Ms. Winfrey owns at least two homes here, and last year her water bill almost topped $125,000. This year, it's about half of that, thanks to the dramatic measures she's taken to curb her use of the city water supply. But that doesn't means she's cutting back on water consumption. Noooo. She and many other celebs are now having their water imported.

It doesn't say where the water is coming from, though.

2 days ago
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Apple and Samsung Already Working On A9 Processor

jmcbain ARM for desktop/laptop (114 comments)

That's probably not what he means. It's been hypothesized and rumored that Apple will eventually move all their laptops and desktops away from Intel and use ARM as the CPU. Intel has been behind schedule delivering next-generation chips, which leads to the conclusion that Apple would want to control its own destiny with its own CPUs.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is It Worth Being Grandfathered On Verizon's Unlimited Data Plan?

jmcbain I'm never leaving AT&T's grandfathered unlimit (209 comments)

I bought an iPhone 3G back in 2008 with the AT&T unlimited data plan along and a dirt cheap voice plan. I don't have to worry about going over my data limit, and voice calling time is a non-issue. I am NEVER going to give up this combination. With a corporate discount, I pay $65 with tax each month.

I don't know about Verizon, but AT&T takes care of its long-term customers. There has not been any indication that they will end the grandfathered plans.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

jmcbain I have a CS PhD and can suggest the following (479 comments)

I graduated with a CS PhD degree about 10 years ago and also had a hard time finding a first job. After several months I had to take an industry postdoc position for only $95K. The climate is totally different now in 2014, but here are some thoughts.

If you have a PhD, you can play that off in one of two ways: (1) either you are generally very smart, or (2) you have expertise in a specific and valuable field.

For (2), if your field is in high demand, e.g. machine learning, computer vision, numerical optimization, etc., then just look for a job for this specific area. Big or small companies will want your talent if their business revolves around that field. Interviewers will drill you on that topic.

For (1), this is more difficult particularly if your PhD topic is general, e.g. programming language semantics or operating systems. Interviewers will drill you on hardcore programming questions because they think the number of years doing your PhD equates to professional software programming experience. I fell into this category and was drilled mercilessly by Google, Microsoft, and the like when I graduated. I also got the feeling that the interviewers were especially hard because they wanted to prove they were smarter than a PhD. Don't let that get you down, though. You worked hard for your PhD, and there is no reason you can't work as hard preparing for software engineering positions. Later in my career I landed such a job, and I owe it to focused preparation. Study the algorithms books (e.g. Cormen, et al.), master at least one programming language inside out (C++ or Java), read interview programming books (I recommend the one by Mongan, et al. as a starter), and know how to think on your feet at a whiteboard.

about 3 months ago
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New Map Fingers Future Hot Spots For U.S. Earthquakes

jmcbain Oklahoma: new land of the earthquakes (49 comments)

Oklahoma has recently had a spate of earthquakes. From the LA Times:

The state had 109 temblors measuring 3.0 or greater in 2013 — more than 5,000% above normal. There have already been more than 200 earthquakes this year, Holland said.

There is controversy in that the quakes have occurred after the start of fracking (and the disposal of wastewater), and the oil companies refuse to acknowledge the connection. However, I find this stance akin to the cigarette companies refusing to acknowledge a direction connection between smoking and lung cancer.

about 5 months ago
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EA Ending Online Support For Dozens of Games

jmcbain Re:Adios MOHAA (329 comments)

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was such a good game! I remember playing that back in 2002-2003 when I was in grad school. I can still visualize the Omaha Beach multiplayer level in my mind, like it was an actual physical layout. Land on the beach from the landing craft, use the sniper rifle to take out the machine gunners in the high turrets, storm the base, and make your way to plant the dynamite on the big guns at the back of the map. Good times.

about 7 months ago
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Plaintiff In Tech Hiring Suit Asks Judge To Reject Settlement

jmcbain Lawyers didn't do their job (215 comments)

From the NY Times article:

Mr. Devine said he told his lawyers that he found the settlement inadequate as it was being negotiated, but they ignored him. Lawyers in the case declined to comment on Sunday. ... As a class representative, he is eligible for an incentive award for the time and effort he put into the case. His lawyers have asked the court to approve a $20,000 payment for each representative from settlements reached last year against three other defendants in the suit — Lucasfilm, Pixar and Intuit. A similar payment might be forthcoming from the settlement with Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe. Even if the case went to trial and the plaintiffs got the full $9 billion, he would not get much more.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

jmcbain Re:Never forget where you came from (390 comments)

I actually do have almost 200 hours in community service, but almost all between high school and grad school. I volunteered at hospitals, homeless shelters, and habitat for humanity. Since becoming a professional, though, I have little time for that now. What's most disturbing is that I've now become more libertarian, i.e. disgusted that I have to pay so much tax for socialist services after having spent the entirety of my 20s in CS degree programs.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

jmcbain Never forget where you came from (390 comments)

I finished my CS PhD about 10 years ago at a top-20 US university. My first year I was not paid, but after I hooked onto an advisor later, I received an RA or TA position for $23k/year, and in my last few years, I received a fellowship for about $40k/year.

That first year was horrible. I recall eating spaghetti and ketchup, and I distinctly remember having to ask one of my rich friends for a $500 loan just to pay my rent one month. That was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life, and it really shaped my financial planning. Now, 10 years later, although I'm making well over $150k/year, I keep my expenses very low like I'm still a grad student, and I always have at least 6 months' expenses in short-term accounts.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Online, Free Equivalent To a CompSci BS?

jmcbain Re:Donald Knuth (197 comments)

I'm fairly certain that if a person has attained a CS PhD from a top-20 US university, then the person should know what "computer science" is. All other things being equal, someone with a CS PhD knows much more about "computer science" than someone who does not possess a CS PhD.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Online, Free Equivalent To a CompSci BS?

jmcbain Re:Donald Knuth (197 comments)

Hello, anonymous coward. I would say I know about computer science because I have three degrees in the field, namely BS, MS, and PhD from top-20 US universities. I would also say I know about programming because I've worked at some of the biggest companies in software and online services. I also know how to distinguish between "you're" and "your". Now, regarding your comment, computer science is in general the application of the theory of computation to practical computers and practical applications. There are fields in CS which are purely theoretical, but in general CS applies theory to real computers (e.g. Von Neumann architectures; you should look that up some time when you're not too busy with your HTML and CSS). CS is thus an extremely broad field.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Online, Free Equivalent To a CompSci BS?

jmcbain Re:Donald Knuth (197 comments)

"Computer Science" is a very broad field covering both theory and programming. Here are some great books:

-- Introduction to Algorithms, 3rd ed., by Cormen, et al. ABSOLUTELY MUST-READ.
-- Computer networking: a top-down approach, by Kurose and Ross. Great book; skips the physical layer.
-- The C Programming Language, by Kernighan and Ritchie. This is the one book you need on programming language pragmatics.
-- Modern Operating Systems, by Tanenbaum.
-- An Introduction to Statistical Learning: with Applications in R, by James, et al. Have not read this machine learning book myself, but the Amazon reviews say it's great.

about 9 months ago
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Google Sells Motorola Mobility To Lenovo For $2.91 Billion

jmcbain A great American company sold to China (172 comments)

Motorola has a distinguished history as a great American company. It was founded in 1928 and outlasted all its electronics contemporaries from that era, including RCA and Dumont. It had a great hit in the Razr (the iPhone before the iPhone). Now Google has sold Motorola to China.

about a year ago
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Apple Will Refund $32.5M To Settle In-App Purchase Complaints With FTC

jmcbain Apple is not your child's parent (252 comments)

Perhaps you should have applied better parental supervision and not just check up on him after "a couple months later." Apple is not in the business of being your child's parent.

about a year ago
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The Mystery/Myth of the $3 Million Google Engineer

jmcbain Re:Working men top out around $120k (173 comments)

That's one of the most ridiculous numbers I've ever seen pulled out of any asshole.

That's a great line. I'm going to steal it.

about a year ago
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The Mystery/Myth of the $3 Million Google Engineer

jmcbain Re: Google gave 3.5M to keep an engineer from Face (173 comments)

  1. MapReduce has no recursion. It is a programming framework for applying user-defined functions and aggregating results by value.
  2. Further, it is a full working implementation that handles communication, shuffling, and data IO on a distributed, massively-parallel cluster of servers.
  3. No, you are not a super genius, and no, you're not making anywhere close to $3M a year.

about a year ago
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The Mystery/Myth of the $3 Million Google Engineer

jmcbain Google gave 3.5M to keep an engineer from Facebook (173 comments)

I believe the article is accurate. Back in 2010, a senior staff engineer received a pre-IPO offer from Facebook, but Google gave him $3.5M to keep him. I strongly suspect that person from 2010 and this person from this current article are the same, and it's probably Jeff Dean, one of the engineers who created Map-Reduce (which led to Hadoop and all that jazz) and other engineering feats.

In Silicon Valley the salary for principal engineers is well in excess of $170k, and if you're at a company with a healthy stock price, an additional $100K in vesting RSUs per year is definitely not out of the question.

about a year ago

Submissions

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LinkedIn releases top-25 skills for getting hired in 2014

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  yesterday

jmcbain (1233044) writes "In very apropos news for nerds, LinkedIn released a list of the top-25 skills that it found got people new jobs in 2014. Not surprisingly, many of the skills are technology-related. According to a LinkedIn blog, "we analyzed the skills and experience data in over 330 million LinkedIn member profiles. If your skills fit one of the categories below, there’s a good chance you either started a new job or garnered the interest of a recruiter in the past year." The skills were also broken down by country. Overall, the top-10 skills were:
  1. Statistical analysis and data mining
  2. Middleware and integration software
  3. Storage systems and management
  4. Network and information security
  5. SEO/SEM Marketing
  6. Business intelligence
  7. Mobile development
  8. Web architecture and development framework
  9. Algorithm design
  10. Perl/Python/Ruby

LinkedIn also noted rising skills trends in STEM, data, having a second language, and technical marketing."

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Apple and IBM announce partnership to bring iOS + Cloud services to enterprises

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  about 5 months ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "According to an article on Recode, Apple and IBM have announced a major partnership to bring mobile services to enterprise customers. "The deal calls for IBM and Apple to develop more than 100 industry-specific applications that will run on the iPhone and iPad. Apple will add a new class of service to its AppleCare program and support aimed at enterprise customers. IBM will also begin to sell iPhones and iPads to its corporate customers and will devote more than 100,000 people, including consultants and software developers, to the effort. Enterprise applications will in many cases run on IBM’s cloud infrastructure or on private clouds that it has built for its customers. Data for those applications will co-exist with personal data like photos and personal email that will run on Apple’s iCloud and other cloud services.""
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Apple announces new programming language called Swift

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  about 7 months ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "At WWDC 2014 today, Apple announced Swift, a new programming language. According to a report by Ars Technica: "Swift seems to get rid of Objective C's reliance on defined pointers; instead, the compiler infers the variable type, just as many scripting languages do. ... The new language will rely on the automatic reference counting that Apple introduced to replace its garbage-collected version of Objective C. It will also be able to leverage the compiler technologies developed in LLVM for current development, such as autovectorization. ... Apple showed off a couple of cases where implementing the same algorithm in Swift provided a speedup of about 1.3X compared to the same code implemented in Objective C.""
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Samsung preparing Context keylogger, spyware in upcoming Galaxy S phones

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  about 10 months ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "According to the technology blog The Verge, Samsung is preparing new smartphone software that acts as a keylogger and spyware in their future phones, like the upcoming Galaxy S 5. "Samsung has been developing a service called Context that would collect what a person types, what apps they use, and what data their phone's sensors pick up, and then allow developers to tap into that pool of data to enrich their apps." The article suggests a scenario where "by using Context a video service might be able to automatically display sports videos to someone who frequently searches for sports." Looks similar to the Google Now service, but still scary stuff in the age of the NSA."
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Ask Slashdot: Does you company use stack ranking to evaluate your performance?

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "I'm a former Microsoftie, and one thing I really despised about the company is the 'stack ranking' employee evaluation system that was succinctly captured in a recent Vanity Fair article on the company. Stack ranking is basically applying a forced curve distribution on all employees at the same level, so management must place some percentage of employees into categories of overperforming, performing on average, and underperforming. Even if it's an all-star team doing great work, some folks will be marked as underperforming. Frankly, this really sucked. I know this practice gained popularity with GE in the 1980s and is being used by some (many?) Fortune 500 companies. Does your company do this? What's the best way to survive this type of system?"
Link to Original Source
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New Yahoo! CEO lied about his Computer Science degree

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "Scott Thompson, Yahoo!'s CEO who was hired on January 4 of this year, was found to have lied about his CS degree from Stone Hill College. Investigation from an activist shareholder revealed that his degree was actually in accounting, and apparently Thompson had been going with this lie since the time he served as president of PayPal's payments unit."
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James Gosling favors Oracle, opposes Google in Android trial

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "Java creator James Gosling states that Google totally slimed Sun and favors Oracle in the trial. "While I have differences with Oracle, in this case, they are in the right," he wrote on his blog. "We were all really disturbed, even [former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz] just decided to put on a happy face and tried to turn lemons into lemonade, which annoyed a lot of folks at Sun.""
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James Gosling favors Oracle against Google in Android trial

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "Java creator James Gosling states that Google totally slimed Sun and favors Oracle in the trial. “While I have differences with Oracle, in this case, they are in the right,” he wrote on his blog. “We were all really disturbed, even [former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz] just decided to put on a happy face and tried to turn lemons into lemonade, which annoyed a lot of folks at Sun.”"
Link to Original Source
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Google quits renewable energy campaign

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  about 3 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "Google is ending its investments in renewable energy. Google's "Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal" program started in 2007 but now is coming to an end along with other projects like Knol and Gears. It appears that Google CEO Larry Page is taking Steve Jobs' advice to heart and dumping non-core research and development. Most likely many Google fanboys will cry in their mom's basement over this news."
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Android is the new Linux -- and that's not a good

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "CNN Money has an interesting opinion piece asserting that Android's short-term growth only hides its long-term failure, relegating it as a brand-less platform upon which others (like Amazon) will make money. "Google’s mobile operating system Android", as John S. Wilson writes, "is the new Linux: open, free (aside from patent issues), and just a utility. It’s completely worthless as a brand in which to build upon." Google can't be too pleased about this."
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Bitcoin: most dangerous open-source project ever

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "Startup entrepreneur Jason Calacanis writes a warning about Bitcoin, calling it "the most dangerous open-source project ever" and is "unstoppable without end-user prosecution." He further suggests that it's a virtual currency that can "topple governments, destabilize economies and create uncontrollable global bazaars for contraband." Slashdot has previously discussed Bitcoin."
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Intel discovers SATA chipset bug, $300M to fix

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "Anandtech reports that Intel has identified a bug in the 6-series chipset, specifically in its SATA controller. Intel states that "In some cases, the Serial-ATA (SATA) ports within the chipsets may degrade over time, potentially impacting the performance or functionality of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD-drives." The fix requires new hardware, which means you will have to exchange your motherboard for a new one. Intel will begin shipping the fixed version of the chipset in late February. The recall will reduce Intel's revenue by around $300 million and cost around $700 million to completely repair and replace affected systems."
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Microsoft aids persecution of Russian activists

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "The NY Times is reporting that Microsoft directly aided the arrest of Russian evenvironmental activists. The Baikal Environmental Wave was organizing protests against Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin's decision to reopen a paper factory that had polluted nearby Lake Baikal. Instead, the group fell victim to one of the authorities' newest tactics for quelling dissent: confiscating computers under the pretext of searching for pirated Microsoft software. As the ploy grows common, the authorities are receiving key assistance from an unexpected partner: Microsoft itself. Baikal Wave, in fact, said it had purchased and installed legal Microsoft software specifically to deny the authorities an excuse to raid them. The group later asked Microsoft for help in fending off the police. "Microsoft did not want to help us, which would have been the right thing to do," said Marina Rikhvanova, a Baikal Environmental Wave co-chairwoman."
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New 2010 college grads in IT saw 6.1% salary bump

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "According to a February 4, 2010, report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, salaries for new class-of-2010 college graduates dropped 2 percent from class-of-2009 graduates. However, that was not the case for engineering disciplines, which as a whole saw a 1.2% bump. Computer science and IT-related degrees did even better: "In fact, as a group, graduates with computer-related degrees (computer programming, computer science, computer systems analysis, and information sciences/systems) posted a 6.1 percent increase—the highest increase reported in the Winter 2010 Salary Survey, which pushed their average up from $56,128 to $59,570. Among those earning the specific computer science degree, the average rose 4.8 percent to $61,205." Note that the report is stated only for undergraduates (not grad students or professional school students) and does not consider geographic location."
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Amazon takes back purchased Kindle ebooks

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "In a disturbing move, Amazon has reached out and touched its customers — by unilaterally taking back purchased Kindle ebooks due to a demand from the ebooks' publisher. David Pogue of the NY Times says: 'This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for--thought they owned. But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people's Kindles and credited their accounts for the price. The author who was the victim of this Big Brotherish plot was none other than George Orwell. And the books were "1984" and "Animal Farm."'"
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MS chair-assault threat victim leaves Google

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "Google engineering director Mark Lucovsky is leaving the company. Lucovsky is known in Slashdot and corporate lore as the recipient of Steve Ballmer's chair-throwing threat: 'But Lucovsky may be best known for the role he played in a complete and utter meltdown that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once had. As the NT architect, Lucovsky was clearly pretty vital to Microsoft, so when he went in for a meeting with Ballmer in 2004 to let him know he was leaving, you can be sure the CEO was a bit on edge. "Just tell me it's not Google," Ballmer reportedly said according to court documents. When Lucovsky said it was Google, Ballmer allegedly picked up a chair and threw it across the room.'"
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Microsoft vs. Google: Mutually Assured Destruction

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "In an op-ed piece for the NY Times, Robert X. Cringely asserts that nothing good will come out of the ongoing war between Microsoft and Google: "The battle between Microsoft and Google entered a new phase last week with the announcement of Google's Chrome Operating System — a direct attack on Microsoft Windows. This is all heady stuff and good for lots of press, but in the end none of this is likely to make a real difference for either company or, indeed, for consumers. It's just noise — a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check.""
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ACM urges Obama to include CS in K-12 core

jmcbain jmcbain writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jmcbain (1233044) writes "The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) issued a set of recommendations supporting Barack Obama's stated goal of making science and mathematics education a national priority at the K-12 level. The ACM is urging the new administration to include Computer Science as an integral part of the nation's education system. "The new Administration can play an important role in strengthening middle school education, where action can really make a difference, to introduce these students to computer science," said ACM CEO John White.The full ACM recommendation is in PDF form. What other ideas do Slashdotters have to improve CS education at the K-12 level?"

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