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

khasim Pedigree and breed vs "big dog". (348 comments)

That's wouldn't be "looking for people with liberal arts degrees", that's "looking for people with demonstrable technical experience" and finding that they just happen to have a liberal arts degree.


As an analogy I'd point to pedigree and breed in a dog show. Your FORMAL education also has a breed (your major/minor) and a pedigree (which schools you attended).

But when it comes to hiring, I'd be looking for the "big dogs". And while breed and pedigree can be a factor (Chihuahua compared to Sheep Dog) I won't exclude the mutts.

If you have the drive and dedication to complete a formal major in one field while spending your free time becoming competitive in a different field then you are someone I should be interviewing.

9 hours ago

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

khasim Let's see your portfolio. (348 comments)

While I'd tend toward Computer Science (since that is what my degree is in) I'd FIRST want to see what they've done already.

Is there anything the Lit major can show that demonstrates his programming skills? Like patches submitted to a FLOSS project? Or a mobile app? Or even a personal website?

It's not that you cannot get a programming job with a Lit degree. It is that the other candidates will probably have more DEMONSTRATED skills in the programming field.

Show me that you CAN program (sufficient to the basic requirements of the project) AND that your Lit degree gives you a different perspective AND how you implement that perspective.

12 hours ago

Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles

khasim Some classes would be AWESOME! (181 comments)

Physics - awesome!
Chemistry - awesome
Biology - awesome

But I think he's wrong on some many issues. From the summary:

... he imagined laser-scanning every object in the Smithsonian for students to explore ...

Why? That's like looking at a single car from one country and claiming an "education". Think REALITY. The students could see HOW the objects were created. What tools were used. Who crafted the item. What the society was like that required it.

... and collaborating in shared virtual spaces rather than campuses.

They're called "chat rooms". Wanna "cyber"? Porn is NOT the same as education.

Looking at other students would be a distraction.

The next step past that is when you have shared space, and not only do you believe that this object is right there in front of me, but I look around and I see other people just like we see each other now, and I really, truly believe that youâ(TM)re right in front of me.

Why does it matter that you see avatars looking at the same point that you are looking at?

And he keeps going on about that. For him it is all about "seeing" other "people" (really just avatars) so it can be the same "experience" as real life.

That's stupid. They are not people. They are avatars. And knowing how people are, their avatars would be designed to be as distracting as possible.

2 days ago

Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

khasim Re:All the evidence is beginning to suggest... (206 comments)

A word doesn't automatically take its worst possible meaning.

Here is the quote from TFA. It provides the context.

Machines, meanwhile, remain slaves with uncertain masters.

No. That is not referring to an IDE drive.

Or, more completely:

Humans have rights, under which they retain some measure of dominion over their bodies. Machines, meanwhile, remain slaves with uncertain masters. Our laws may, directly and indirectly, protect peopleâ(TM)s right to use certain machines - freedom of the press, the right to keep and bear arms. But our laws do not recognize the rights of machines themselves.

So no. They are not talking about an IDE "master/slave" situation. They are talking about humans using machines (with examples provided) and equating that to "slavery".

about two weeks ago

Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

khasim Re:All the evidence is beginning to suggest... (206 comments)

That would be nice. But in the meantime ... it's about property. From TFA:

But our laws do not recognize the rights of machines themselves.

Because they are non-sentient property. Ask again once AI is achieved.

But what is the difference between that and having a phone with you - sorry, a computer with you - all the time that is tracking where you are, which you're using for storing all of your personal information, your memories, your friends, your communications, that knows where you are and does all kinds of powerful things and speaks different languages?

And the difference between a stored text communication and a written letter? Learn the 4th Amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Machines, meanwhile, remain slaves with uncertain masters.

Really? "Slaves"? Maybe you should look into actual slavery.

As to "uncertain" just look for the sales receipt or lease agreement. My car is a machine and there is no uncertainty as to who owns it.

... understanding that we are - if not yet Terminators - at least a little more integrated ...

Fuck you.

Learn what technology really is before you go off on movie tangents.

about two weeks ago

Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

khasim offensive != offended (1134 comments)

a. Being offensive is not the same as being offended.

b. Rights are not the sole consideration. There is also politeness.

The first question would be whether the person being offensive would say the same things on a public street corner. People who are offensive tend to be a lot more insistent upon their claimed "Rights" when they have anonimity.

The next question would be whether they'd say it alone on a public street corner. The people from Westboro Baptist Church seem to be focused on being offensive. Which is why they "protest" in groups.

If you cannot pass both those tests then you are being "offensive" and your goal is to offend someone else. So do not try the "no freedom of speech" argument.

The guy standing on the street corner telling the world about how the government is tracking him through his dental fillings is doing more for "freedom of speech" than the guy screaming "fucking jew whore" when his character is shot in a video game.

about two weeks ago

Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

khasim There needs to be a law. (253 comments)

From TFA:

But taking my phone on the raft wasn't the stupid part; I had it sealed in a zippable plastic bag.

There needs to be a law to make those plastic bags really, REALLY watertight so people who are NOT being stupid by putting their phone in one and then going on a raft ...

Were you really going to answer the phone while you were on the raft? No that's not stupid. (sarcasm)

But on the way back through the locks, some jerks in a rental yacht pulled up to the raft, started chatting, and then suddenly urged us to get on board and get our raft into the yacht very urgently, making me think it was an emergency and causing me to lose track of my phone.

And you did not ask "why" because ... ?

... we later determined that the "emergency" was that the jerks were trying to get the three women in bikinis on board their boat.

Is there some reason /. keeps posting bullshit like this?

He made a series of stupid decisions about his 1st-world-toy and now he wants the government to make it better for him.

about two weeks ago

Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

khasim Seconded. (253 comments)

It troubles me that you were without your phone for a few days. Really... well... NOT.

I'm old. I remember the times before cell phones. Sometimes, when you moved, you were without phone service for a whole week or more. And you had to tell everyone who mattered what your new phone number was.

And still society managed to survive.

Somehow, without constant phone reception, the country put men on the moon.

But let's make a law now so companies will be forced to stock replacement phones because OVERNIGHT is too slow.

It reminds me of a two-year-old crying over spilt milk.

Worse. It's that child whinging because he cannot have the toy he really really wants RIGHT NOW! Tomorrow is too late!

about two weeks ago

In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

khasim One problem with that. (441 comments)

It is also quite possible that he is actually suffering from mental illness -- schizophrenia often manifests itself in early adulthood, for example -- and that his books were originally written as a coping mechanism for the early stages of illness.

The problem with that is that they are keeping him in an undisclosed location.

But they're revealing that he is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

Wouldn't they just send him to the closest psychiatric hospital AND TELL THE PRESS THAT HE WENT THERE for evaluation? If there is no problem with the actions of the police then there is no need for secrecy.

about two weeks ago

In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

khasim Re:In Soviet Maryland (441 comments)

The police are under no requirements to act - they even won a Supreme Court case regarding the matter.

The problem is that there are very few people with the guts to say "I will take the responsibility for ending this investigation right now because I believe there is no risk".

Once "the children" are invoked then anything can be justified to protect "the children".

And who is going to end his/her career by saying there is no risk when someone else might find something that was missed in the perpetrator's background?

I'm old. I remember when playing games at school was fun. Even if it was pretend assassination.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

khasim Re:What a stupid question (167 comments)

Asking nerds what apps are good is like strolling into a literature forum and asking "I haven't read a book in 15 years - anything new out that you think is good?"

Well this "Twilight" series is a best seller. As is this "50 Shades of Grey".

I really with the old Twilight Zone was still running. I think that that premise would make a great episode.

about two weeks ago

Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

khasim Mod parent up. (289 comments)

I'm going to map my drive to work, by driving it a few dozen times.

And that is if you are the ONLY person with a robot car on that road. Which may be correct for the initial roll-out. But this is a great example of the "network effect". If 100 people in your state own robot cars then a LOT of your state will be continuously mapped / re-mapped / re-re-mapped / etc.

Are we really whining because a brand new technology can't do EVERYTHING for us? Because it only takes care of MOST of the drudgery?

There is space to be filled and page hits to be collected. Demanding instant perfection for every edge-case is a good way of doing both.

Google has logged over 700,000 miles in those vehicles. Without a single robot-controlled accident.

There might be problems in certain weather conditions. Or in certain other conditions. Or whatever. In which case the driver should take over.

And since it is software, eventually those problems should be solved.

about two weeks ago

Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

khasim It probably can. (289 comments)

Judging by how badly TFA was written.

If a new stop light appeared overnight, for example, the car wouldn't know to obey it.

Got it. So the cars cannot handle changes in traffic markers.

Google's cars can detect and respond to stop signs that aren't on its map, a feature that was introduced to deal with temporary signs used at construction sites.

So they cannot deal with new stop LIGHTS but they can deal with new stop SIGNS. WTF?

But in a complex situation like at an unmapped four-way stop the car might fall back to slow, extra cautious driving to avoid making a mistake.

And it would be "unmapped" for the first attempt. Right? Because the cars should be sending back data on road conditions and such to HQ. Right?

Maps have so far been prepared for only a few thousand miles of roadway, but achieving Google's vision will require maintaining a constantly updating map of the nation's millions of miles of roads and driveways.

And the car needs the map to drive, right?

Google's cars have safely driven more than 700,000 miles.

So they just drove over the same "few thousand miles of roadway" again and again and again and again? Until they got to 700,000 miles?

The car's sensors can't tell if a road obstacle is a rock or a crumpled piece of paper, so the car will try to drive around either.

As it should. Because you don't know if that piece of paper is covering a rock or a pothole or whatever.

For example, John Leonard, an MIT expert on autonomous driving, says he wonders about scenarios that may be beyond the capabilities of current sensors, such as making a left turn into a high-speed stream of oncoming traffic.

Isn't that one of the easier problems? The car waits until it detects a gap of X size where X is dependent upon the speed of oncoming vehicles and the distance it needs to cross PLUS a pre-set "safety margin".

about two weeks ago

Judge Allows L.A. Cops To Keep License Plate Reader Data Secret

khasim Mod parent up. (108 comments)

This is the primary problem with "sweep" methods of collecting data.

There MIGHT be something in the "sweep" that MAY impact a current investigation. Therefore, ALL of the "sweep" must be hidden from the public.

Bullshit. There shouldn't be any difficulty in removing the items relevant to a current investigation. The should already be tagged as such. Then release the rest.

This is a case of "collect EVERYTHING and keep it FOREVER" so that anyone can be backtracked if the cops or politicians decide to do so. Where do you go? When? Why? What do you do there?

Now imagine a cop tracking your daughter to find out where she lives and where she works and which college she goes to and when she leaves for classes.

about two weeks ago

Robo Brain Project Wants To Turn the Internet Into a Robotic Hivemind

khasim Already there. (108 comments)

Roombas (and variants) are common household robots. YouTube has a lot of videos about Roombas cleaning a room while being ridden by a cat. Sometimes the cat is wearing a shark-suit.

Therefore, as this project progresses, Roombas will start to hunt cats in the neighborhood in order to get them to sit on top of them while they clean a room.

Or TFA is massively overstating the research and the concept and even robotics.

about three weeks ago

ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

khasim Re:Do they? (329 comments)

I've never heard someone saying a sentence like this in high school (girls or boys). Anyone?

Not me, either. If anything that would happen in college, wouldn't it?

Anyway, from TFA (by the way, is it really displaying as grey text on a white background):

NCWIT senior research scientist Catherine Ashcraft cites the 2008 Harvard Business Review study "The Athena Factor," which found that "56% of technical women leave their private sector jobs by mid-career," she said. "But 75% continue to work full-time, and approximately half of these continue to work in technical occupations.

Check my math, okay?
100 tech women
56% leave the private sector (56 in this example)
75% of the 56 continue to work full time (42 in this example)
~50% of 42 continue in tech (21 in this example)

So that 21 plus the 44 that did not change is 65. So only 35% of women in tech leave tech in mid-career. 65% are in tech and stay in tech full time.

What's the percentage of men who leave tech in mid-career? How does that compare to the 35% for women?

In her position as a professor of computer science at Union College, Barr found contextualizing computer science classes led to an increase in female enrollment.

I don't mean to sound mercenary here, but isn't "money" a major motivating factor? Paying the mortgage and such?

about three weeks ago

South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

khasim Mod parent up! (421 comments)

From TFA:

Police told My Fox Chicago that Stone was difficult during questioning and they arrested him and charged him with disturbing the school.

How did "the school" know about this? At most his teacher and the school principal and the regional/district/whatever superintendent should have been aware of the issue.

If anyone was "disturbing" "the school" it would have been one of those three (or the cops) and they should be arrested.

For a student, being "difficult during questioning" should (at most) result in expulsion AND NOT ARREST.

about three weeks ago

South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

khasim Mandatory panic! (421 comments)

a. He's a he.
b. He's a teenager.
c. He goes to a school.
d. He wrote the word "gun" in a "fantasy" story.

Mandatory panic! Alert the police! Search EVERYTHING! Connect the dots!

Personally, I blame the teacher for not sufficiently explaining the limits of the assignment.

about three weeks ago

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

khasim Statistics. (441 comments)

I agree. Even if what TFA says is true (it is not) then the US companies would be competing with companies around the world for those people. And their own governments.

Not to mention the ones who start their own companies and work for themselves.

Which would mean that those awesome programmers would have all the bargaining power. They wouldn't be accepting H-1B wages.

Statistically, there cannot be enough of "the best" to feed the stated demand for "the best".

But it makes sense if you substitute "cheaper" for "the best".

And that is reflected in the quality of the code being produced.

about three weeks ago

Couchsurfing Hacked, Sends Airbnb Prank Spam

khasim Counter argument. (44 comments)

Because it wasn't 1,000 words long.

But the counter argument is that he clicks on links sent to him via email prior to verifying their origin (who sent them) or destination (where do they link to).

Next episode - If only there was some way to inform people that they should not click on links in email. Even if they think they're from someone they know. How will the bitter rivalry between MySpace and Friendster play out?

about a month ago


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