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Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

michaelmalak 2006 Safari (193 comments)

Starting in the middle of the naughts, Safari was replacing ACM/IEEE as being the choice for practitioners. By the Great Recession, when choices had to be made, the replacement was cemented.

yesterday
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Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity

michaelmalak Re:"Intelligence" is not earned. (157 comments)

That's a common misperception of what Gladwell write. His actual formulation was 10,000 hours + talent + opportunity.

5 days ago
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Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity

michaelmalak Flow (157 comments)

Should be no surprise to anyone who's every played a videogame: he's in "flow" mode.

Which raises the question: how is this news for nerds?

5 days ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

michaelmalak Yes, no coding. No, problem is not tools (368 comments)

Yes, it is true coders have little time to code. But the author misses the primary cause: the ratio of library/framework code to self-written code.

In the old days (say, 25+ years ago), you would pick up a book -- a single book -- of the OS API calls, memorize, and start coding. Today, with github, it's as if everyone in the world were working on the same single project. Today, a developer needs to learn all these libraries that are coming out daily and how to work with them. In the old days, there was a lot of reinvention and co-invention of the wheel. Today, that is not allowed, because one has an obligation to "buy" (for free) instead of build because of a) of course, development time and b) more importantly, one gets updates/upgrades "for free" without having to invest (much) additional development time, and c) one's organization can advertise in the future for developers who already have experience with that particular library/framework.

To address specifically the reasons identified by the author:

  • Deployment. This is big, perhaps even as big as the above. In the old days, deployment was copying a single executable file. Today, not only is deployment to various and numerous servers more complicated, but for the past 20 years we've had people dedicated to managing those servers, called sys admins, to handle all those non-coding tasks. Of course, coders end up doing some admin and admins end up doing some coding, so now for the past couple of years we have a new half-breed, the Dev Ops. The very existence of both sysadmin and dev ops are themselves acknowledgement that coding is a smaller percentage of the total work involved.
  • Tools. The author spends most of the piece harping on this, and it's just totally bogus. We've always had source code control, editors, compilers, and linkers, and they've always been a pain at times to work with. But in fact, it's better now because you can find or ask about work-arounds and solutions on StackOverflow instead of calling up tech support at a closed-source vendor.

But this new development paradigm of the global github hive -- where we're all essentially working on and contributing to this one massive codebase that we all have to understand -- is what the author missed. The amount of custom code to actually code is small now, and the majority of time is spent figuring out how to get the various libraries and frameworks to work.

about a week ago
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Dungeons & Dragons' Influence and Legacy

michaelmalak Software (127 comments)

And software process methodologies as hokey as that game.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

michaelmalak Inflation (282 comments)

I tell people I will change jobs for a 30% increase in compensation. That results in a job change every seven years, and here's why. There is a difference between the reported and actual rates of inflation. And annual increases at an existing job more closely track reported inflation, whereas job offers from other companies more closely track actual inflation.

For example, if reported inflation is 3% and actual inflation is 7%, then after 7 years that's a 32% difference.

about a month ago
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Qualcomm Takes Down 100+ GitHub Repositories With DMCA Notice

michaelmalak Linux licensing canary? (349 comments)

Is github just the canary for another SCO repeat? Will Qualcomm be demanding protection money from everyone who uses Linux?

about a month ago
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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

michaelmalak Re:Great News! (465 comments)

Impeachment does not require the Senate, only conviction does. I also don't think impeachment proceedings would actually start, just that the threat of them starting would cause Obama to throw the IRS officials under the bus to prevent them from starting.

about a month and a half ago
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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

michaelmalak Great News! (465 comments)

Evidence of the act of document destruction should be harder to cover up than the documents themselves. Now it's x7! Obama is going to have no choice now but to throw all seven under the bus to avoid impeachement. Usually I am a pessimist, but I'm predicting actual jail time for at least one of the seven.

about a month and a half ago
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Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?

michaelmalak Re:Missing new replacement technology: GPU (236 comments)

RTOS is not required for real-time, and in fact can hinder it by introducing interrupt latency.

about a month and a half ago
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Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?

michaelmalak Re:Missing new replacement technology: GPU (236 comments)

5-2000 KHz -- we called it "supersonic", less than "ultrasound". On the other hand, in a job long ago c. 2000 dealing with satellite signals (GHz), we used a heterodyne so that we could then do real-time digital processsing with FPGAs (no powerful GPUs back then).

about a month and a half ago
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Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?

michaelmalak Missing new replacement technology: GPU (236 comments)

There's another technology that reduces the need for analog engineers: GPU. Three years ago, I demonstrated real-time band-pass filtering on incoming digitized sensor input that previously required a custom $20k signal conditioning unit. Except in the GPU rolloffs could be steeper, and cutoffs could be adjusted through the GUI instead of calling up one of the retired original designers to compute new resistor & cap values.

about a month and a half ago
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High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race To Irrelevance

michaelmalak Problem with public companies, not HFT (382 comments)

The HBR article notes two issues:

1. HF traders don't participate in stockholder meetings and thus their trades are divorced from steering company direction.

2. CEOs are focused on next quarter profits and, aside from a few corporate founder CEOs, are not able to have their company innovate.

The first problem is not specific to HFT. Even buy-and-hold mom and pop cannot influence a stockholder meeting because they don't own enough shares to meaningfully do so. The exception proves the rule: a bunch of Palestinian human rights defenders got together, bought some Caterpillar stock, and got a human rights issue on the agenda. Even with all that effort, the measure did not pass. And it was a large effort in coordinating. Individual stockholders usually do not organize, coordinate and campaign. (The "transaction cost" is too high.)

The second problem is caused by SEC, SOX and CEO compensation structure, not by HFT. The HBR article suggests without actually accusing that HFT is the cause.

HFT serves little purpose other than providing market liquidity (and even at that arguably harms it given the flash crash), but it's not to blame for the above two pre-existing problems of today's markets of publicly traded companies.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

michaelmalak Re:War Games (153 comments)

You've made my point. It wasn't called "wardialing" until War Games.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

michaelmalak War Games (153 comments)

War Games was a documentary of stuff that was already going on, not a source of inspiration

about 2 months ago
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New PostgreSQL Guns For NoSQL Market

michaelmalak Horizontal scalability? (162 comments)

A hallmark of NoSQL is horizontal scalability. The lack of schema in NoSQL was a brief rebellion against ivory tower DBAs that has since been regretted once it was realized that merely transferred the schema and schema versioning implicitly into the source code, and spread throughout it. Sounds like PostgreSQL got the bad part of NoSQL but not the good part.

about 2 months ago
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VHS-Era Privacy Law Still Causing Headaches For Streaming Video

michaelmalak Re:I disagree with the article's author (62 comments)

clicking Like shares anything you watched and what you are watching, not just the original video, essentially making your history available without your consent

Indeed, this shows why we still need the now-amended VPPA.

The blog author is wrong on this one. The original GigaOm article the blog author was commenting on was much more factual.

about 3 months ago
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Why Movie Streaming Services Are Unsatisfying — and Will Stay That Way

michaelmalak Mr. Manjoo exaggerates (323 comments)

Anything less than 100% back catalog "so fails to satisfy"? I'm not even going to use that three-letter acronym. Childish.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer?

michaelmalak Eyes (218 comments)

Make eye contact with the interviewers, but then they might notice your crows feet, which could be the real problem.

about 4 months ago
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Some Sites That Blue Coat Blocks Under "Pornography"

michaelmalak Reinforcement (119 comments)

It reinforces that it's a slow news day at Slashdot.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Undiscovered Country of HFT: FPGA JIT Ethernet packet assembly

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  about 10 months ago

michaelmalak (91262) writes "In a technique that reminds me of the just-in-time torpedo engineering of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, a company called Argon Design has "developed a high performance trading system" that puts an FPGA — and FPGA-based trading algorithms — right in the Ethernet switch. And it isn't just to cut down on switch/computer latency — they actually start assembling and sending out the start of an Ethernet packet simultaneously with receiving and decoding incoming price quotation Ethernet packets, and decide on the fly what to put in the outgoing buy/sell Ethernet packet. They call these techniques "inline parsing" and "pre-emption.""
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No U.S. college in top 10 for ACM international programming contest 2013

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  1 year,21 days

michaelmalak (91262) writes "The annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest finished up last week for 2013, but for the first time since its inception in the 1970's, no U.S. college placed in the top 10. Through 1989, a U.S. college won first place every year, but there has been no U.S. college in first place since 1997. The U.S. college that has won most frequently throughout the contest's history, Stanford, hasn't won since 1991. The 2013 top 10 consists entirely of colleges from Eastern Europe, East Asia, and India."
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Fog computing

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  about 2 years ago

michaelmalak writes "From a piece recently posted to dailypaul.com: "About the mid-twentieth century, one of the greatest inventions in history made its appearance, and political and corporate leaders around the world were thrilled. Television [...] was wonderful; a quasi-hypnotic, ubiquitous device that allowed them to not only cultivate [read: socially engineer] the minds and values of their host populations, but also to encourage consumption, instill a largely self-sacrificing work ethic, and pacify them all at the same time. Of course, nothing lasts forever. Progress always comes along and disrupts that delicate balance, this time in the form of the personal computer, NCSA, ARPA, our fine and friendly nerds in the San Francisco Bay Area, and of course, Al Gore. A new age was born: the information age. [...] The last piece of the puzzle was the transformation of the internet from a horizontally integrated network into a vertically integrated top-down hub, where 'content providers' provide, and 'consumers' consume. [...] Even the way we went about interfacing has changed. Pods and pads are now the devices of choice, optimized for foggers. Who needs a keyboard, a mouse, or, heaven forbid, a Wacom tablet?! If u cnt say whut u ned 2 say w 11 btns ur prolly a terrist LULZ.""
Link to Original Source
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Those pixelated Army uniforms? "universally failed in every enviornment"

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  more than 2 years ago

michaelmalak writes "Those pixelated U.S. Army uniforms that we've been seeing since 2004? Turns out they don't work, and they and $5b are being scrapped. "'Essentially, the Army designed a universal uniform that universally failed in every environment,' an Army specialist who served in Iraq told The Daily. 'The only time I have ever seen it work well was in a gravel pit.'""
Link to Original Source
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One trillion records indexed in 10 minutes, queried in 3 seconds

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  more than 2 years ago

michaelmalak writes "Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed software for a Cray XE6 to mine a dataset of one trillion particles. They "implemented an enhanced version of FastQuery, an indexing and querying tool. Using this technique, they indexed the trillion-particle, 32 TB dataset in about 10 minutes, and queried the massive dataset for particles of interest in approximately three seconds. This was the first time anybody has successfully queried a trillion-particle dataset this quickly.""
Link to Original Source
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TN crime to share Rhapsody p/w with your child

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  more than 3 years ago

michaelmalak writes "As widely reported, it is now illegal in Tennessee to "share passwords". Specifically, SB 1659, signed by the governor on May 30, turns a violation of terms of service from a civil matter into a crime (and a felony for values over $500). Now the popular press keeps citing Netflix as the prime example, but when it comes to family matters Netflix has some common sense terms of use. Netflix say you "shouldn't" share your password, but that if you do share it with members of your household, you're responsible for their use of it. The terms of use for Rhapsody, the other service cited in the popular press for this story, however, are not as well thought out when it comes to family matters. It says, "Only you may access the Services using your user name and password", meaning, presumably, that you as a parent must manually click on every song you want your minor child to listen to. The only way around it would be to set up a co-signed credit card in your minor child's name, and have your child create his/her own Rhapsody account. To have your six-year-old access Rhapsody otherwise is now a crime in Tennessee."
Link to Original Source
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Groupthink vs. no cultural idioms

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  more than 3 years ago

michaelmalak writes "When I showed my 7-year-old daughter the opening to Laverne & Shirley, she got a kick out of it and said, "wow, does momma know about this?" I had to explain, "of course, everyone watched the same TV shows because there were only three channels". A CNN story notes a similar thought in There will never be another Oprah with "because her program premiered in pre-Internet and largely pre-cable times. So there wasn't a whole lot else to watch." Having personally railed the past two decades against the negative effects of television, especially groupthink, I am wondering whether we are giving something up, namely cultural idioms. What better way is there for one geek to communicate to another about the other's misguided sense of risk and payoff for a proposed course of action that with "I find your lack of faith disturbing"? Overall, the negative effects of television outweigh the positive, but where is the balance point? And, more importantly, is there some way in the post-television era to both gain the benefits of cultural idioms that in some way enhance our language while avoiding groupthink?"
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Warren Miller non-compete expired; still no films

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  more than 3 years ago

michaelmalak writes "As most ski buffs with an interest in intellectual property know, Warren Miller, who made ski films annually from 1950, sold his company, Warren Miller Entertainment, in the late 1980's, has not been involved at all in the films that bear his name for the past six years or so, and is not pleased with the most recent films. He's been getting involved in the ski film industry again, which he thought he could do since his non-compete expired in 1999. However, an arbitration panel decided based on trademark issues surrounding the name "Warren Miller" that Warren Miller is barred from the ski film industry for life."
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Not transparent aluminum, but conductive plastic

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  more than 3 years ago

michaelmalak writes ""Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory have fabricated transparent thin films capable of absorbing light and generating electric charge over a relatively large area. The material, described in the journal Chemistry of Materials, could be used to develop transparent solar panels or even windows that absorb solar energy to generate electricity. The material consists of a semiconducting polymer doped with carbon-rich fullerenes.""
Link to Original Source
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Onerous New Law to Phase Out Wi-Fi

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  more than 5 years ago

michaelmalak writes "In perhaps his most informative article this millenium, Dvorak lays down the implications of a bill just passed by Congress (with Ron Paul in the House and Ted Kennedy in the Senate being the only dissenting votes) that will, if Bush signs it as expected, auction off the 2.3-GHz to 2.9-GHz WiFi spectrum by 2012. It is expected that private entities such as Comcast will buy it up to allow WiFi to continue, but with subscriber fees of course."
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HOA: Mandatory and exclusive ISP for 20 years

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  more than 6 years ago

michaelmalak writes "5-10 years ago when buying a house, the concern was whether or not it was close enough to the telphone company's central office for DSL. Now you have to check the fine print of the Homeowners Association. Residents in Southern Walk in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, are up in arms over being required to pay $149/month for triple-play (whether they want the service or not) from an exclusive provider, OpenBand, designated by the builder, Van Metre, who by covenant will hold onto a majority of the HOA board for the next 20 years. That's right — the residents are forbidden from purchasing a traditional analog landline from Verizon."
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U.S. has lost ability to build its own roads

michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  about 7 years ago

michaelmalak writes "The land famous for its love of the automobile and construction of Interstates and other highways, with high-elevation tunnels, viaducts snaking through canyons, and water crossings of up to 20 miles is now outsourcing design and construction of its roads to Asia — not because it's cheaper, but because the U.S. has lost the expertise. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer regarding the newly opened span across the Tacoma Narrows, "the American steel industry had imploded, while steel-making — and the expertise needed to build suspension bridges — had moved to Asia" and "the detailed engineering and fieldwork and all the spinning and cable-wrapping equipment ... were provided by ... Japanese construction giants""
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michaelmalak michaelmalak writes  |  more than 7 years ago

michaelmalak writes "The Denver Post is running a story on the area's fleet of high-tech snowplows that sport GPS, downward-facing infrared sensors, and touchscreen computers linked to a central computer receiving up-to-the-minute weather forecasts and road conditon information from pucks embedded in the pavement. The idea is to deploy the right equipment and chemicals at the right time and in the right amount. This Blizzard of '06, though, overwhelmed the system. (An article earlier this week noted that Denver has one of the lowest snowplow-per-annual-inch-per-lane-mile ratios — I guess they just like to rely on the strong sun and low humidity to their work for them, which admittedly has been effective at 6 inches per day at melting the 2-3 feet of snow we got Wed-Fri). The technology seems like a cache — it makes for efficient use of resources under normal load, but offers no assistance when put under firehose conditions. Still, the technology is interesting, and not something I would have expected from lumbering snowplows. On the other hand, maybe low-tech is better — that earlier article said other cities like New York cope by being able to slap on blades to their garbage trucks."

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