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Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

johnlcallaway Re:Biased Institutions FTW (784 comments)

In Japan they have something called "first errand". Young school children, say 5 or 6, are given a simple task to do such as go to the local shop and buy a specific item, then bring it home. The school organizes this and gets the parents to come in and help by watching the children from a distance. Adults are not allowed to help the children unless they get into serious difficulty.

By that age, many Japanese children are already walking home on their own. Granted, Japan is much safer than a few parts of the US, but even so it demonstrates how in the west we treat children as far less capable than they actually are. It's not just respnsibilities and safety either, they consider children's emotions to be genuine and to be respected, rather than trivialized and ignored or even punished like the west does.

There .. fixed that for you. Don't believe what the media tells you, it's really not that bad over here. Children are more at risk from their family and family friends than strangers.

Other than that, I agree with the concept 100%.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

johnlcallaway Be patient, it takes time (464 comments)

I had the same problem when I first got mine. I didn't wear them for almost a year. My optometrist convinced me to try them again, and within a few months I didn't even notice them. I have dual monitors at work and home, and while I do have to turn my head a bit, it's not that bad.

I think it takes a while for the brain to 'rewire' itself. At first, I really noticed the warping as I turned my head. Now, I hardly notice it at all. Twenty years ago, I lost sight in a small portion of my peripheral vision in my left eye, due to some type of blood issue in the eye. At first, it was very annoying because there was nothing in that area of my vision. It wasn't black, there was nothing there. I couldn't see my finger if I held it in that area, similar to the blind spot one has normally in the eye. It only took about a week for it to stop bothering me. I think the brain does something to adjust to these types of things, it makes things more normal.

For future consideration, this might be useful. I thought I would be financially frugal and just get a pair of single vision goggles for riding my motorcycle. Bad idea, I could barely read the speedometer. I keep them for a spare in the car, and one day when my glasses broke, I had to use them. Same problem, it was very difficult to read the speedometer.

about a month ago
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Doppler Radar Used By Police To Determine Home Occupancy

johnlcallaway Re:Police (139 comments)

I'm so glad you are in favor in increasing taxes to provide more manpower to the police forces around the country. Please proceed to your nearest voting booth and vote in their favor the next election.

If you aren't in favor of paying more taxes to add more manpower, then shut the fuck up and let them do their jobs the best way they can with the amount of money a hypocritical population will give them. A population that is never happy with the crime rates and criticizes them at any failing, but is never willing to spend the money to enforce laws and provide better equipment and training. A population that is quick to judge based on what the media reports, but never accepts the results of investigations or court cases if it doesn't agree with their snap judgements based on anecdotes and personal experiences.

about a month ago
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The Open Office Is Destroying the Workplace

johnlcallaway What pure, unadulterated BS. (420 comments)

When I started working in the 70s, my first three jobs were in open office areas. No partitions, Desks side by side. We ate our lunches in the break room, not at our desks. In fact, my third job did not allow us to have food at our desks, only drinks like coffee and water.

We got work done because we did our jobs. We had this thing called a 'work ethic'.

My current job has low partitions, and everyone seems to work just fine. We seem to also have a 'work ethic'. When people need to talk, they go to a conference room or the break room. Or speak quietly.

If people are not working, it's probably because they aren't doing their jobs, have a poor work ethic, or are just plain rude.

Not because they don't have partitions between them.

about a month ago
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Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

johnlcallaway So .. how to find those exceptional programmers?? (552 comments)

Based on the skills of the foreign born contractors that work for my company and my experiences with my last job, it's very difficult to determine the skill level of someone with any accuracy without them actually doing work. How does Mr. Graham intend to filter out the just the exceptional????

You can't do it based on resumes, and it's difficult in an interview, I hired an white, female MIT grad who interviewed very well that was worthless when it came to coding. Her code was overly complex and she was reluctant to learn anything new. And my prior company hired an Indian chap who, based on few lines of code he wrote while I was there, didn't know how to code. Yet his resume stated he was a Sr. Java Developer, and supposedly had the job experience to prove it.

There are three Indian contractors on my current team. One is just an amazing programmer, one is just about average, and the third one we released. Yet all three had the credentials in their resumes for us to contract them, and the backing of their employer.

When Mr. Graham comes up with his method for finding the exceptional programmers and dismissing the rest, I hope he shares it with the rest of us. It will save the US economy millions of dollars in wasted wages.

about a month ago
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Why Lizard Squad Took Down PSN and Xbox Live On Christmas Day

johnlcallaway Re:They're assholes. (336 comments)

Denying many people the ability to play games simply because they think they know best means they are assholes. Assholes who think that the ends justify the means, no matter who it affects.

Worse than just plain assholes, they sound like self-righteous, inconsiderate assholes.

That may not be fair ... saying someone is an inconsiderate assholes may be redundant.

Hmmm .. what do you call someone living in their mother's basement who has delusional ideas about their value to society and is willing to impact the lives of other people to prove a misguided point??

Maybe jerkoffs is more accureate?? Or Dicks?? Possibly Dickheads??

Or maybe they are more like Snowden and Assange and just egotistical assholes but on a smaller scale.

Saying someone could have done something far worse doesn't make them any less culpable for their actions.

I hope the police find them and send them and their assholes to jail, where someone can actually show them another use for their assholes.

about a month ago
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Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts

johnlcallaway Re:Not seeing the issue here (209 comments)

When you can get the criminals to do the same, I'll agree with you. To require police officers to be 100% honest is just a naive statement from someone who appears to be totally ignorant about how the world around them is.

If someone is stupid enough to tell the details of something illegal to someone they have never meant via the Internet, they deserve to be locked up.

If someone who didn't do anything is stupid enough to admit to it because the police said they have evidence, <sarcasm>maybe they should be locked up</sarcasm>. The world is obviously too dangerous for someone with so little self-confidence and personal courage to live in.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

johnlcallaway Here is how I use my Gear 2 (232 comments)

Ignore the moronic and juvenile posts from above that were more about making the poster feel superior than answering your question. But this is ./, I wasn't surprised.

I've had my Samsung Gear 2 since July, and find the following functions the most useful, in no specific order. Most smart watches have similar functions, the camera probably being the one that is the missing from many of them.
1. Telling time (duh)
2. Timer. Something I use a lot more than I thought I would because it's easier to use and I don't have to take my phone out of my pocket.
3. Camera. Picture resolution isn't that great, but it's good enough to document things and share on Facebook (which I don't post from the watch, I post from my phone. Might be a way to do it from the watch, just not that much of a facebook fan that I care.) Don't expect to print 8x10 glossy pictures though. After having one, I wouldn't get another smart watch without one, it's so quick and easy to use and always easily available.
4. Get text messages. You can send them, but it's either by voice which can be annoying to others, or some of the keyboards. Keeping it to short 'yes/no' type 1replies are possible, carrying on a conversation about where to go for dinner and why .. probably not.
5. Send and take phone calls. As long as someone is in your contacts, the voice recognition works pretty well. The comments I've had from my wife is the quality of the audio on her end is pretty good. Because the speaker and microphone is on your wrist, it can be difficult to hear or hold it comfortably to talk. I had a conversation from about 50 feet away from my phone when I left it inside my car at Home Depot and was in the contractor bay.
7. Get other notifications. This can drive you nuts, unless you are one of those people that insists on being plugged in constantly. I turned off the email/news notifications, just got too many. Other people that I know that have one use it for those things.
8. Calculator. Tiny buttons, good for quick calculations.
10. Store customer cards. I have loaded the bar codes for most of my loyalty cards, makes it easier in some stores with remote readers, useless in others. Since it doesn't care what the bar code is, might be useful in a clean room if you have to scan bar codes.
11. 'Look behind'. This is an app that lets you see what your phone camera sees. Great for looking under sinks and behind furniture. Probably not very useful in a clean room.
12. 'Find my phone'. Easier than finding another phone to call your phone when it's lost.
13. I like the square look more than the round look, makes more sense for a computer screen.

Caveats:
1. It's not a platform to spend long amounts of time reading. The screen is small, and even with support, my arm gets tired after using it too much to read the news and other things.
2. I have to charge it up every couple of days. Because it uses a proprietary cradle, you can't just plug it in to a USB cable to charge it. But .. it's also water and dust resistant, that's the price you pay for those features. I set the display brightness low, which extends the timing.
3. Fitness programs (i.e. pedometers) chew up the battery life. If you want a fitness watch, get one. If you aren't interested in tracking those types of things, this watch is fine.
4. Don't even start to believe you are going to type emails on this. The face is just too small for anything other than very small text messages.
5. While the watch band is replaceable, finding one that fits can be problematic. I haven't spent a lot of time, but because of the way the watch is designed, I think one really needs to go to a store to find one rather than online. I've tried a couple around the house from old watches, and the ones that fit looked like crap. But .. it doesn't require any tools to remove, although the same may or not be true for the one you replace it with.
6. It's a PIA at night driving or really doing anything at night. It keeps coming one when driving, and if I'm sitting on the patio enjoying a drink with my wife at night, it comes on every time I reach for my beer. There is a way to lock it off, but it also turns off notifications. Wish that was an easier thing to do.

So basically, the great thing about it is that it interfaces to your phone so you don't have to take your phone out of your pocket for some things. I would never buy a smart watch that wasn't tethered to my phone, I will always carry both.

I read an article bemoaning what watches had become. I realized the article was wrong. This isn't a watch, it's a wearable computer. Watches have been passe for years and will continue to be worn more as a fashion statement than something very useful.

As I said above, I've had it for about 6 months now. I'm pretty rough on it, I don't take it off to mix mortar or dig trenches and stuff around the house, so I've put it through a lot. So far, no scratches on the face and the rest of it is holding up really well.

I'd buy another one.

I've had many people ask about it, and they all thought it was cool. I haven't met anyone that thought I was a glasshole, because I'm not rude when using it.

As for the Apple watch .. meh. I like the crown thing on the Apple watch and the way it charges, the Samsung cradle can be a pain. Most of the app differences are relatively minor and will probably be seen on Android once developers get their hands on it. It doesn't have a camera option, which I think is just stupid now that I've used one with a camera. I really didn't see anything that makes me think one is that much better than the other, so I guess it's just a matter if you would rather be locked into Apple or Samsung. Or go with one of the other generic Android watches and lock into Android.

And if you want one now, you really don't have a choice. Apple is still giving generic responses to release dates

about a month ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

johnlcallaway Re:Jeez (589 comments)

'Sony' != 'America'

about a month and a half ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

johnlcallaway Re:Terrorists Win (589 comments)

It seems that the terrorists also seem to know how to get the UK/Germany/France/Other EU country to pay millions in ransom to ISIS.

I'd rather live in a country where an inconsequential movie is dumped over a country stupid enough to pay a ransom.

about a month and a half ago
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Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

johnlcallaway Racist experiment (448 comments)

Why just black. Why not brown, red, or yellow.

I lived in India for several months, I know what it's like to walk into a restaurant and have 20 pairs of eyes watch every move I make. I'm sure someone from Mexico or Senegal would experience the same thing.

I know people of all skin colors that have lived among other people of different skin colors and I've heard plenty of stories to tell of ignorant people making rash judgements. I've heard people from India say racist things about people with dark skin, and I've heard people with dark skin say racist things about people with lighter skin. I know a white person that was stopped by a cop in a neighborhood where people with browner skin colors predominately live. He didn't complain about 'walking while white'.

I'm sure that no matter where someone goes in this world, people with a skin color or any other attribute that is in the minority are viewed differently from people in the majority. What makes some people think they are experiencing something no one else in the world experiences or can understand? Or that only white people don't get it? Why was it in college that groups of people with similar attributes (i.e. ethnic background, religion, political leanings) all tended to group together and often made fun of everyone not like them.

A good step in getting rid of racists attitudes is to ignore the morons who are racist and stop letting them interfere with our lives. Generalizing the attitudes and behaviors of an entire group of people just because of the traits of a small minority is prejudice.

No matter what your skin color is.

about a month and a half ago
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Snowden Leaks Prompt Internet Users Worldwide To Protect Their Data

johnlcallaway So .. if I mug 1000 people (53 comments)

And then a minority of people decide to better protect their money, it's OK??? Even though most people already know to protect their money and stay out of bad neighborhoods??

What a moronic argument. He broke the law, ran like a coward, was basically a traitor who thought he, and he alone, knew best. And was willing to coerce his fellow employees to break the law along with him.

Extradite him, try him, hopefully toss his cowardly traitorous ass in jail.

about a month and a half ago
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Apple Antitrust Case Finds New Consumer Plaintiff

johnlcallaway Like there weren't any other competitors around (39 comments)

What a bunch of BS. Apple only prevented people from loading third party music on the device they sold, not on everyone's.

That's why I didn't buy one. I don't buy any Apple product because the company limits choice beyond what is reasonable and purely for control purposes. I have no doubt they are telling the truth, that it's because of music deals and iTunes. I can believe that Apple wanted to lock their customers into iTunes and was willing to make such deals.

But I fail to see how this can be an antitrust issue when there were plenty of other choices that we cheaper. It was only an issue for the iDrones out there who couldn't see past their little white cases.

BTW ... my wife had a nano. Hated iTunes. She gave it away 6 months after I gave it to her for Christmas. What a piece of crap software, I should have known better.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

johnlcallaway Depends on what the value statement is (317 comments)

Do you gain an advantage when interviewing for a job?? Not with me and many others, so the value in that instance is very low. I'm more interested in how smart you are, the specific experience you have in a subject, and your ability to utilize those skills. Certification just says you can study something very well. I've known people that have studied a subject and gotten certified with no experience, someone like that is useless.

Are you going for a job that requires it?? Some teaching and support positions require certification for public relations and marketing reasons. So in those instance, it's probably mandatory.

Do you want to use it as a tool to work towards learning as much as you can as a subject?? It can be very helpful to an individual to independently gain skills that may or may not be available in a more formal setting, such as college or trade school, and is probably a lot cheaper. I would say that value is very high for someone that wants to use it like that.

about 1 month ago
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Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?

johnlcallaway Yes!!! Please don't pay me overtime!!!! (545 comments)

I like the flexibility I have to work the hours I choose to. I get paid to do a job, no matter what the hours. I would much rather get comp time than paid overtime, and my company is pretty flexible.

And for those calling for unionization, take a look around you. How many 'union' companies are left?? The textile industry, steel industry, and many others are all GONE after unions raised wages so high it became cheaper to build factories overseas. Many successful car companies have tossed unions aside, and were better able to handle the economic downturn that GM and Chrysler. Remember many years ago when everyone started outsourcing?? The main reason was high wages.

I've been paid overtime a couple of times in my career. And it sucked. Because I got sucked into the overtime trap, and worked more hours to get more pay. Then, when overtime was not allowed, I was stuck on the short end of a paycheck because I had gotten used to it.

I'd rather work smarter, and work fewer hours, than work longer hours and have less free time.

Just because some have a sucky job and can't find a better one because they have average skills, don't penalize those that have great jobs.

about 2 months ago
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Which Programming Language Pays the Best? Probably Python

johnlcallaway Wrong question (277 comments)

Smart programmers pick up new languages very quickly. I'd rather hire someone smart who doesn't know Python, than someone mediocre and only knows Python.

Someone may make $100K today in Python, but what about a few decades from now. I know COBOL, and still know people writing COBOL supporting legacy code. But the majority of the ones unwilling/unable to learn a new language are out of a job.

I'd rather be learning new things and have several tools in my belt than just one and be limited.

And easily replaced.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

johnlcallaway I don't think age discrimination is the problem .. (376 comments)

.. but 'skills discrimination' is. When I left my last job as a Java programmer, I discovered that although I was a pretty darn good developer, because I didn't have exposure to common tools and frameworks (Bamboo, Maven, Swing), it limited who was interested in me. I did get a job, but it was through contacts, which tends to limit possibilities. (Interestingly, I did get a call from Disney because of my experience in other areas, but I wasn't interested in what they offered.)

I think as long as one stays up-to-date and gets exposed to newer things, there isn't any issue with staying in the non-managerial lane. It limits your income, unless you are really good, but I make a very comfortable salary at 55. The companies I spoke with a couple of years ago didn't seem to want experts in the things they were looking for, just someone who didn't need to be trained on everything *except* Java. (Worked for a very small company prior, didn't need any tools to write the POJOs that we used)

I have noticed that I get paid a little bit more because of my leadership abilities. It's not just managers that need to lead, team leads and Sr. engineers need to be seen as leaders also. I just swapped roles at the company I am with, and one of the things that the VP liked about me was my leadership skills. The new role is as Enterprise Software Engineer, and I need to be able to work with small teams to get projects done.

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

johnlcallaway What BS. (454 comments)

From the crop of developers I've interviewed over the last few years, there are a bunch of under-skilled people who think very highly of themselves and want to be paid more than they are worth.

My company has hired some very bright people and paid them very well. But then there are people like this MIT grad we hired several years ago, purely based on her resume and what BS came out of her mouth, only to discover she was perhaps one of the worst developers I've ever worked with. She was fired several months later. We looked at dozens of resumes, and interviewed 5 or so. Of that batch, she was the only one that seemed remotely qualified.

My 'replacement' at my last job made 2/3rds of what I made, and within a month or two they discovered why I was worth the wages they paid me as he single-handledly almost destroyed a critical database that would have put them out of business and then didn't have the skills to fix it. They had to hire me as a contractor to help fix the mess he made.

Many of our current developers seem to think QA is where you send code to find bugs once it compiles clean. The ones that work in my new group are going to learn really fast that depending on QA to find your bugs is the quickest way to find the door.

If someone wants a batch of developers they have to babysit and spoon feed requirements to, they are a dime a dozen and deserve to be paid the same. If someone wants developers who can think for themselves, are self-motivated, and are able to fill in the blanks by finding things out ... they are few and far between and worth the price paid.

about 2 months ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

johnlcallaway Re:Bullshit Stats. (496 comments)

What a purely sexist comment. There is no more a male 'act' than a female 'act'.

People who share the same traits that specific businesses like have the opportunity to get paid the same. In sales, it could be people with aggressive and self-motivation traits that get paid more. In nursing, it could be traits like compassion and being detail-oriented. In tech, creativity, flexibility, and the quest to learn new things might garner higher pay.

Overall, people who take less time off and put in more hours always get paid more. As they should.

People get paid based on quantity and quality of work, and what they are willing to do it for. My personal pay jumped dramatically when I stopped accepting the excuse 'we can't afford to pay you more' and found new jobs. If someone else can't do that, the only person they can blame is themselves. I have plenty of people calling me looking for me to change jobs, if someone isn't happy with their salary and aren't getting those calls, maybe it's their skill set that is the problem.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Google removes guns and ammo from Google Shopping

johnlcallaway johnlcallaway writes  |  more than 2 years ago

johnlcallaway writes "Google has decided to remove guns and ammo from it's Google Shopping system. From the article:
Google sent out an email to Google Adwords customers saying that they are going to pull all Google Shopping results for guns, ammunition, gun optics and gun accessories (Shopping results, not general search results).

I tried 'rifle sling' and was able to get results. But 'beretta' and 'ruger' yielded nothing. I'm not sure what reason they have, part of the letter sent to vendors talks about safety and legal items, yet knives and cricket bats still show up, and the last time I checked, people can kill other people with those items. And I think guns and ammo are legal in all 50 states, to varying degrees.

So what is the real reason?? Something as innocent as an over-reaction to complaints from users about accidental display of gun related ads maybe?? Or someone just forcing their beliefs on everyone else?"

Link to Original Source
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Google does not hand tune search rules

johnlcallaway johnlcallaway writes  |  more than 6 years ago

johnlcallaway (165670) writes "Cnet has this short article about a google fellow blog. Amit Singhal posts an introduction to Google ranking and points out three Google philosophies:
  • Best locally relevant results served globally.
  • Keep it simple.
  • No manual intervention.

Which begs the question ... if an algorithm is hand-tuned, is that manual intervention?? Amit answers that question this way.

The second reason we have a principle against manually adjusting our results is that often a broken query is just a symptom of a potential improvement to be made to our ranking algorithm. Improving the underlying algorithm not only improves that one query, it improves an entire class of queries, and often for all languages. I should add, however, that there are clear written policies for websites recommended by Google, and we do take action on sites that are in violation of our policies or for a small number of other reasons (e.g. legal requirements, child porn, viruses/malware, etc).

"

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