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The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat

mrhippo3 Cheated from (438 comments)

My wife ran close to a 4.0 undergraduate and graduate. She was also naive, having done grade school through HS at a small private women's school. In college at a large state school, the prof noticed a group of minority students that actively cheated off my wife, who always sat first row. For the final, the prof shoved my wife into a far back corner, rendering the cheating strategy impossible. The cheaters were given full opportunity to show how little they had learned. They spent the hour glaring at wife who was complying with the prof's request.
The only time I was cheated from was in grade school. The teacher assumed (or rather confused me with) my brother who was not quite so well behaved as I. When the classmate cheated from me, she did a poor job, but she still got a higher grade than I did.
Face it. Life is unfair.

about a month ago
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The Other Side of Diversity In Tech

mrhippo3 Discriminated White dude (441 comments)

I was working at a software firm that tried to implement diversity, by hiring the wives of "star" male employees. These women had neither the background, the skillset, nor the ability to learn. Nominally a Marketing Writing Manager, my boss was a HS English teacher. There is some irony in her on-line profile where she has downgraded her job to make it look like she was a worker bee. She could not write commercially, talk with either vendors of customer (the product was engineering analysis software), or even create an outline. Her best efforts were freely plagiarized. She lifted paragraphs -- entirely unedited for context or tense or any trace of grammatical comparability and strung these random bits into an "article." Granted the opportunity to write the press release that defined the company's future (all revenue would shift from "big iron" to workstations and smaller boxen) she, "Was too busy selecting literature for the upcoming trade-show." Yet, she was immune from criticism. Any doubts on her abilities were cast as sexism. A parallel boss (of equal "wife" status) stiffed Sun Microsystems in the 1980's when she refused to pay shipping charges -- part of her attempts cover up her incompetence. Sun (one of the top revenue producers for the firm -- this was millions in revenue) stopped paying attention the software firm, because the boss stiffed them of $1,800 that the spouse had agreed to pay. It is with great joy that neither "boss" has ever had a follow-on job with ANY staff. The writing boss did some work, but only onsey-twosey and little repeat business (too many small jobs in way too many big companies). If you are any good you become "captive" and write a lot for one department.I have recovered and left writing and now am the second in command at a small manufacturing firm. My boss in the family run firm is a competent woman. She does her job well and we get along great.

about a month and a half ago
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Tech Recruiters Defend 'Blacklists,' Lack of Feedback, Screening Techniques

mrhippo3 Re:oh boy! (253 comments)

I was out of work and, yes, my wife found me a job. This was a win for all involved.

about a month and a half ago
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Tech Recruiters Defend 'Blacklists,' Lack of Feedback, Screening Techniques

mrhippo3 Re:oh boy! (253 comments)

That is my wife you are besmirching. She is a headhunter. She does not follow the typical mold in that she actually cares about the candidates and does her best to match the corporate requirements with the available talent pool. She will be straightforward with the candidates and actually preps them with what to expect in the interview. On the one job she found for me (her engineer husband) I was there for only six weeks and then she was promoted to a city across the state (PA). One co-worker actually asked what my wife's fee was for placing me. As she knew the president of the firm and worked with him before, the fee was zero. So my response to the lout was, "Come to think of it, her fee was 'my entire salary.'"

about a month and a half ago
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Lost Sense of Smell Is a Strong Predictor of Death Within 5 Years

mrhippo3 Cancer_patient (139 comments)

Not really happy to read this. Part of my cancer treatment was radiation therapy to the head. I had a severe loss of taste, but smell was nearly intact. With an overly sensitive nose, I guess I was down to what would be a "normal" level. Considering what could have happened (a partial list): loss of sight, loss of hearing, loss of hair, damage to vision, damage to tears, difficulty in swallowing, loss of muscle control of tongue, loss of teeth, loss of smell, inability to chew, and more. Losing taste for a few months was not bad. I ate a lot of Indian food. The problem was eating enough to maintain weight to have the treatment mask fit. Allowable weight variation was zero lbs. I just used a portion control. I am athletic and continued bike miles during treatment. I would do the "french fry" trick in reverse. In a typical diet, you set aside the four fries you are "allowed" to eat, creating a DO NOT EAT pile. I created a somewhat larger pile of YOU MUST EAT THIS. As a conditioned (albeit older athlete) I knew how much to eat to balance calories out with calories in. I was used to being so tired that taste really was never an issue. Tasting takes effort. BTW, taste did come back but still not at 100%. Considering the option -- death -- loss of taste temporarily was OK.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

mrhippo3 Fear Driven Documentation (232 comments)

The logical outcome of Fear Driven Development is Fear Drive Documentation. I once had the great misfortune to work for a "vanity" software firm created by an industry legend as a nice place for his kid to work. The "standard" work week was a mandatory minimum of 50 hours, getting paid for 40, of course. I never worked less than 60 and the usual was around 70. Working in docs (solo under ten developers), my job was to fix the paper to match the latest suite of changes. If the developers worked in fear, then I worked in stark, raving terror. To match the shipping schedule, I issued 12,000 pages of docs in a year. Adding to my joy, one project manager had the temerity to complain about 3 typos in a 1,000 page document set. The conversation that given the choice between a few typos and missing documents did not go over well. And yes, the company did fade away, but not before I was replaced by a manager and three worker bees that promised less than half of what I had done and missed even that low bar.

about 3 months ago
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What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

mrhippo3 Automate the process, don't tell, enjoy surfing (228 comments)

I learned a long time ago how to work fast in documentation. Given the task of moving documents into FrameMaker from wherever, I stored the document as text, imported the stuff as Body copy and then used keystrokes to apply the right formatting. Storing the stuff as straight text gets rid of the typical line-by-line format removal. One boss type was initially given the project and gave a three month estimate to move 350 pages. I got the job as, "See what you can do," and finished in a day and half. Being that fast would have gotten me fired. I even dodged that process, quitting first. Being too good is a faster way to get canned than effing up.

about 4 months ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

mrhippo3 Mix and match in engineering, maybe not so good (205 comments)

I shudder to think that i am now an "older" engineer. I graduated from Carnegie-Mellon in the mid 70's which means that my curriculum was was developed mostly in the 50's if not earlier. Yes, I did take The Calculus (four classes including a second class in partial differential equations). I was even part of an "experiment" where freshman year Physics and Calculus was taught as a "single" class. The math and physics profs shuffled the class time by first showing the physical phenomena and then the math behind it. This class was 5 hours/week of lecture and 4 hours/week of recitation.
This rigid formatting has worked for me. I have spent a lot of time with R&D and was never showed by the math. I have a lot of simulation experience with FEA as well as chip and circuit design, embedded system compilers, and some real-time testing of mechanical stuff ranging from tires (small) to 17 ton compressor rotors.
More importantly, I learned how to deal with change. I was the first student on campus with an electronic calculator. The acceptance of the technology was instantaneous, the profs just added more problems to the tests. The simple act of "doing more stuff" has followed me during my entire career.
The greatest irony has been my lack of "formal" computer training. I had a single programming class in high school. Yet, my entire career has been computer-based. My computer usage has not been limited to "engineering." I have done a lot writing (trade press) and learned layout work along the way. Doing documentation for a CAD vendor, you learn how to write in a different style and QA just becomes part of the process -- you do want make sure what you write about actually works. Working for FEA vendors, I again learned how to make the stuff work and created simple examples to show the process. (The heavy duty math helps you understand how FEA works). And my coding skills were used in crafting documents with an early flavor of XML.
Learning though a rigid structure has allowed me cope with whatever comes my way.

about 4 months ago
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Tech Worker Groups Boycott IBM, Infosys, Manpower

mrhippo3 Rapacity is not limited to these companies (234 comments)

I was working for a "minority" company (two women) doing documentation and was billed at some absurd rate where I received 20-30% of the rate. When forced to do mandatory 50 hour weeks (a urination contest between my boss and her managers, NOTE: a 20% increase in output would NOT dent a 1.5 year backlog) I was paid straight time for the overage while the contractor collected double time. I could not protest as this would have left me unemployable in the Midwestern-type city.

When a thinking manager was asked how to cure the backlog, he replied, "Triple my trained staff." While he was being truthful, his candor got him moved to job where he could do no harm.

about 7 months ago
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Goodbye, Ctrl-S

mrhippo3 Best mistake I ever made (521 comments)

Once upon a time in a far away land I was pounding away at my Apple ][. I forgot to save and lost an hour and a half of work. That was the best mistake I ever made. Since then I have always saved, made backup copies, sent the text to myself on email, written a CD/DVD, saved to a thumb drive, and so on. An hour and a half was a very cheap loss to have, if I was forever safe thereafter.

Autosave still has not cured me. I will still CTRL-S every few lines. Even with autosave on CAD I will still do other saves. Still, my paranoia does save me.

Not so long ago, I discovered that several years of engineering files had been vanished. We had paper copies but still that loss was annoying.Turns out that I had made a backup of that file set and it was found in my home cache of "work" disks. I slept better.

about 7 months ago
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Apple, Google Agree To Settle Lawsuit Alleging Hiring Conspiracy

mrhippo3 We are all affected. (108 comments)

The "class" is a bit bigger than the direct set of 64,000 affected. For most jobs, "reasonable and customary" was taken as the California wage which was then discounted for the folks NOT working in California. Working on the east coast, you would of course receive less than the folks in Silly Valley. And because your starting salary was artificially depressed, then you would of course receive a substantially lower sum over the span of your career. The one time I was given an actual raise of more than a few percent, I was moved out of my "salary band" and received no further raises. And folks wonder why efforts to promote STEM may fizzle out.

about 8 months ago
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Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

mrhippo3 My only programming class, ever. (146 comments)

As a senior at Taylor Allderdice HS (Squirrel Hill) in Pittsburgh, I had my ONLY formal programming class, in BASIC. When I went to engineering school at Carnegie-Mellon, I was not required to take any programming classes, so I chose not to.

So of course my entire career has been spent using computers. I did use BASIC on my first job (HP 9830, dual cassette drives and a whopping 16KB of RAM), doing real-time data acquisition on large centrifugal compressors. I also wrote a resume as a series of PRINT statements in 1976. This resume was handed back to me in 1983 when I went to work at Penton publishing -- separate story. I have done a lot of CAD, structural analysis, software docs (issued 12,000 page of embedded systems compiler docs one year) and webwork. For another doc project, I hand-coded the help as .jsp. I was the doc person for a dozen or so developers. And to the chagrin of my daughter (a redditor) I sometimes hand code the corporate website.

Yes, BASIC started me on the road to ruination. 40 plus years later and I am still at it.

about 8 months ago
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Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

mrhippo3 Accidents waiting to happen (364 comments)

Cars, people, and "automation" is a great recipe for more problems. As with the red light cameras, there will be bias in reporting the effectiveness of the solution. wrt the cameras, the number of red lights NOT run and tickets issued are listed as benefits. What is missing from the glowing reports is the number of accidents CAUSED . The deletion is allowed because the accidents happen before the light. "Oh, this is a separate issue," does not cut it when I cautiously stop and then get rear-ended by someone trying to make the light.

Rational behavior in software will not necessarily result in rational behavior in driving.

about 9 months ago
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One In Ten Americans Thinks HTML Is a Type of Sexually Transmitted Infection

mrhippo3 Tired of writing fiction. (255 comments)

I left tech writing because I became disenchanted with what became increasingly fictional documents. Development rarely bothered including me in any meetings, so I never knew what had changed or even what was supposed to be new.
The kicker at one firm was a sterling developer who demanded -- nope, did not ask politely, that my references to the "host" computer be identical throughout the 150 page manual. I made the requested changes and the idiot developer reviewed the same manual -- yes, the one that had no corrections -- and I was fired because he could not read a date. He insisted that I ignored him when in fact, he was too stupid to realized he reviewed the "old" manual again.
So if developers are that slow, then I guess non-developers are less with it.

about 9 months ago
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At my current workplace, I've outlasted ...

mrhippo3 Current tenure (177 comments)

On my last job at a software company, I had eight bosses in my five years of employment. This includes some double counting when I had the boss again after a few years of gap. While in tech, the average tenure of a boss was under nine months in a long career. I do not regret leaving software.
Yesterday was my eleven year anniversary at a smallish manufacturing plant, doubling my time spent at any software firm. I still do a lot of CAD and some design, but now also do more management. I also do the website, high-level sales, customer support, and whatever else the boss does not have the time for. I check slashdot, reddit, and overlawyered.com among others for IP related issues. Those CAD sketches are also real IP.

about a year ago
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How loud is your primary computer?

mrhippo3 Re:I just replaced my fans. (371 comments)

Correction first, Garde-toi du Jaseroque, mon fils! (per Frank L. Warren)

I can't hear the fan over my 2+1 sound system with the subwoofer which is blasting music from my 8,355 songs on Google Music.

about a year ago
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Python Scripting and Analyzing Your Way To Love

mrhippo3 Re:Sheldon would say it's all "hokum" (188 comments)

Getting the first date is truly a matter of chance. Despite his massive efforts to "perfectly select" a viable companion, he had an effectiveness of approximately zero (88/[population of OKCupid] = ~ 0.00%. Even his 88 dates are vanishingly small considering the gross number of potential candidates he reviewed.
The real effort is in making/having the relationship last. While my wife and I are very different, we come from a compatible SES and religious philosophy. While she was humanities, I was engineering all the way. The kicker was that the night future spouse and I met, I was playing the rating game with another engineer, en francais. Wife to be heard that and the decision was made. As McKinlay discovered, sometimes a single parameter model does work.

about a year ago
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Electrical Engineering Lost 35,000 Jobs Last Year In the US

mrhippo3 Re:Engineering's biggest mistake was (397 comments)

Getting a PE license is dependent on working on a firm that still employees a PE. As a PE is expensive, this is becoming increasingly difficult to find. Companies will fire high salaried individuals. Yet another complication is that you have to stay employed at one firm long enough to get the time required to qualify. Frequent job switches (which always happen in engineering) make the goal of getting a PE still more elusive. At one SW firm, I had eight bosses in five years. I have not done the math, but the requirement of having a PE boss/supervisor may have declined to the point where getting a PE is not sustainable.

about a year ago
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Users Identified Through Typing, Mouse Movements

mrhippo3 Re:There goes the neighbourhood. (149 comments)

I've seen that one before. Still, identification is a lot like a gait analysis of someone walking (or the pedal stroke analysis alluded to earlier). As a person, you will fall into identifiable patterns. You just have to think about how to identify those patterns. Measuring the timing between not so random button pushes (banging on the keyboard) is by no stretch of the imagination a difficult or complex analysis. Quoting Steven Wright, "No matter where you go, there you are."
However, if you can identify a pattern then this is just the first step toward spoofing that pattern. And so the battle for honesty and authenticity continues. According to George Burns, "The most important thing is sincerity. If you can fake that you've got it made."

1 year,28 days
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Users Identified Through Typing, Mouse Movements

mrhippo3 Re:There goes the neighbourhood. (149 comments)

And this is a "surprising" result because...? Of course you develop patterns based on how "fast" you type. As a "some fingers" typist, my timing between key presses probably does not vary too much. It is easy to see how the time difference between key presses (based on the prior and following characters) and even some words can be predicted with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Thinking of these patterns like the "stripes" on a DNA scan you can easily do a pattern match to uniquely identify which set of keystrokes "belong" to you. This does not sound like rocket science as it is pure observation.
The technology is probably similar to the type of motion analysis done with most sports. As a committed cyclist, there are a number of tools to measure your pedal stroke (power, speed, position). Again, you can easily do a pattern match. Muscle memory is visible when plotted.
My only surprise is that it has taken so long for this non-astounding discovery.

1 year,28 days

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