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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

mtippett Able to Code != Professional (546 comments)

Title aside, the ability to code is a workplace requirement, and if you are not looking at traveling/work internationally, you aren't going to get very far without a degree.

Some of the "college drop out" success stories are no longer just coders. They are now C-Level executives, different rules apply. If you don't have a degree then in general you won't be eligible to get Visas to work in other countries.

Independent about how good you are, without a degree you are restricted to your local geography (country, etc).

about two weeks ago

Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

mtippett Re:Binoculars (187 comments)

I would agree with this too. For that telescopish feel, you can get tripod mount attachments for most binoculars. Allows the adult to point the binoculars, swap to the kid without too much trouble.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

mtippett CVSS, CVE, CPEs and Policy (84 comments)

Define actions (instant, daily, weekly alerts) for ranges of CVSS scores

Track incoming CVEs ( , assign CVSS scores specific to your organization. Also have a organization specific remediation approach.

As you find out who is using what software, and use the CVE CPE ( information to target more specific users.

In the blast emails, you could potentially harvest who thinks they may be affected to gather CPE information.

It's going to be a thankless, painful job, so you may as well automate as much as possible.

about 5 months ago

Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones

mtippett Not going to be mainstream. (139 comments)

There will probably be a market for this in the tech enthusiast. But it will be highly unlikely to go mainstream. Mainstream (iphone 5s) is 7.6mm thick and weighs. According to it is probably about 9.3mm - effectively as chunky as a 2 year old device.

What may evolve from this is specialist hardware and specialist configurations.

Some interesting spin-off technologies might be high speed bus interconnects (thunderbolt 2), modular and novel hardware configs (3d scanning - project tango, yotaphone - e-ink backside). Ultimately, enabling technology advances is what google spends it money on these days...

about 5 months ago

Code Quality: Open Source vs. Proprietary

mtippett Polishing old code or writing good code (139 comments)

The report doesn't really go into an important measure.

What is the defect density of the new code that is being added to these projects?

Large projects and old projects in particular will demonstrate good scores in polishing - cleaning out old defects that are present. The new code that is being injected into the project is really where we should be looking... Coverity has the capability to do this, but it doesn't seem to be reported.

Next year it would be very interesting to see the "New code defect density" as a separate metric - currently it is "all code defect density" which may not reflect if Open Source is *producing* better code. The report shows that the collection of *existing* code is getting better each year.

about 5 months ago

Should Patients Have the Option To Not Know Their DNA?

mtippett Re:Genomic Medicine will probably be required (157 comments)

That is different. My read of the GINA is that your health insurance provider is not allowed to use genetic screening to make coverage RISK decisions. As in, they can't force or require you to screen for cancer and then decide that you aren't coverable because of BRCA. Apparently life insurance is not covered by GINA, so that is another issue.

Also note that GINA is an American law. Not global.

The comment I made was about tuning treatment based on genetic information - which is very different. Rather than a cocktail of drugs to suppress and support different side effects and responses - you can more targeted doses to resolve your direct issue. Warfarin is a good example, too much doesn't help, too little doesn't help. Your genes help identify what your correct dose is.

about 6 months ago

Should Patients Have the Option To Not Know Their DNA?

mtippett Genomic Medicine will probably be required (157 comments)

As Genome Wide Association Studies begin to crack more of the genomic puzzle, there will be tighter and tighter direct correlation between medicine types & doses and the effectiveness of those drugs. As this efficacy increases, it is highly likely that the best insurance coverage will be based on genomic information.

Determining precise doses of a drug and which drug should be used is going to make for much better quality of medicine. I would expect that in a couple of decades people are going to look at the drug practices of today and laugh that we are pretty much throwing darts at the drug dartboard and choosing whatever it lands on.

Opting out of specific tests will be like not wanting X-Rays to see if a bone is broken.

about 6 months ago

The 3D Economy — What Happens When Everyone Prints Their Own Shoes?

mtippett Re:Amazing (400 comments)

Well for commodity items - I get your point. However, my personal experience is owning a house that has a really unusual shelf pegs. Unusual in that they are simply not available. I ended up modelling them and using shapeways to print them. What I made is up at

The cost, was about $2 per peg - which is about the same cost as low run retail products at home depot.

3D printers will make it affordable for extremely low run prints. For spare parts and out-of-production items it removes a lot of obsolescence.

about 6 months ago

Can Science Ever Be "Settled?"

mtippett Science is as good as needed to support world view (497 comments)

A common definition of science is "knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study."

Science is never stable. There is always layer upon layer of detail that is waiting to be discovered. The "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" is the underlying concept. Our level of scientific understanding is driven by our current understanding and our needs to go deeper. The knowledge can change and grow based on deeper systematic study.

In the middle ages, when transportation was limited to horse, cart and walking. The naivety of a geocentric university was sufficient for the time. And for the most part motion of planets was fairly accurately explained by epicycles. The "Science" of the age was sufficient. As travel and migration required more detailed knowledge, the science improved to explain what was seen. New models were formed, and tides, winds and so on became more accurate and combined into a deeper understanding.

The beauty of science is that as the foundations of one area is broken down and rebuilt, what replaces it must not only encompass what was there, but also link deeper into other areas that caused the original science to fail. It doesn't make the previous science and knowledge bad, just incorrect. One can't deny that a model that explained a known phenomena for that point in history was bad science.

In 40 years time*, we'll look back at the misguided fools at the start of 21st century and our futile and plain incorrect approaches to fusion. We may not be there, but we'll probably dealing with all sorts of funky and interesting materials on the way to get there.

Those of us who will have children should know that their science *will* be different in a lot of areas than our science. That is a good thing.

* Bonus points for replies that say why I chose the "40 years time".

about 6 months ago

Open Source Brings High-End Canon Camera Dynamic Range Closer To Nikon's

mtippett No free lunch (88 comments)

Alternate line exposure is not new, it is in a lot of current generation sensors. Omnivision, Sony and Toshiba all have sensors out with this capability.

The underlying issue is that when doing alternate line exposure you are getting only half the resolution for each range. DSP and image processing techniques can help smooth out the issues, but you are fundamentally dealing with a half-height dark and a half-height light image. Depending on the alternate-line approach, you also get other funky color fringing issues due to the underlying bayer pattern. As the article notes, there are color fringing issues

A good generalized approach is to output a 1/2 resolution image in both dimensions, otherwise you will get a vertical stretch if you keep the horizontal width at full resolution. So it means for a 16 MP camera, you will get only 4 MP HDR images. In a lot of cases this will be more than good enough... But it makes it really difficult to sell and explain to users.

There is usually a good reason that advanced features aren't release/published. A lot of the time it comes down to features be sub-optimal on what is supposed to be a highly polished product.

about 7 months ago

Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

mtippett Re:*All* the benefits? (312 comments)

Both are leaders.

Managers are Organizational Leaders.
"Senior"/"Staff" Engineers/Architects are Technical Leaders.

Different focus, but similar soft leadership skills. They are peered, and should have a similar work load and a similar amount of hassle...

about 7 months ago

Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

mtippett Re:Kind of right... (312 comments)

Firstly, I bow to your low 5 digit user number. You are an old hand...

I won't bite at all the points that are worth biting.

The mentoring part is the leadership part of management. When I have an engineer in my team go "wow, I've never done it that way" or "that was inspiring" it is all worth it. For reference, the two quotes were for "techniques for estimation" and "requirements analysis".

The managers role is to get the team as efficient and effective as possible. This means taking experience (from in the ranks) and finding ways to apply it to make their life easier and more effective.

about 7 months ago

Dead Reckoning For Your Car Eliminates GPS Dead Zones

mtippett Re:My phone already does this. (151 comments)

Maybe. Let's break it down - Phones vs Cars...

Phones have Location Based Services (LBS) on a typical phone also uses wifi, GPS and Cell Tower location. A request to LBS expects should return a reasonable fix to the highest accuracy. In a dense urban environment, there is a lot of information from wifi/Cell to give a good fix - probably better than GPS. They have a magnetometer that is affected by materials around them and is not guaranteed to be aligned in a consistent way to the movement. In a dock, it is insulated somewhat and can be compensated.

Cars have wheels that are stuck to the ground and provide a good distance measuring tool - everyone has probably seen a dedicated GPS. They have a fixed magnetometer that is well protected from interference and is fixed relative to the vehicles direction of travel.

Both can align to roads on a map, so you have a correction factor in the roads. Any good nav system will lock onto the roads.

So Cars probably already have a higher probability of tracking reasonable well as is (I've never had the problem described except in hills under dense tree cover). Phones have some better LBS capability. Adding the sensors to the cars, and having a wifi/cell phone lookup capability (live or otherwise) would probably give cars a solid edge. This story seems to be more adware for eyeballs, but may have some merit.

about 7 months ago

Will Microsoft IIS Overtake Apache?

mtippett Re:large hosting company using IIS != IIS populari (303 comments)

Exactly. A bit of sensationalism in the story.

All Sites (included millions of parked) are in 38%/%32 mix. Looking 600 pixels down and you see the active (non parked sites). The percentage is 52% vs 11%. The big drop in for MS in 2009 was probably a nail in the coffin...

about 7 months ago

The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer

mtippett Development Leadership (533 comments)

Some comments and views here... Some people won't like, :). Some management theory thrown into the mix too.

First, performance is driven by a mixture of ability and motivation (google two-factor performance). The ability is (relatively easily) measured and difficult to fake. Motivation is intensely personal and very hard to measure, motivation is very easy to fake. When interviewing or selecting staff, you look for people who have an overt demonstration about the motivation. The want for passion is a call for an overt demonstration of motivation.

Second, the barriers to entry for the software world is very low, professional accreditation isn't needed and generally isn't need to be renewed. This leads to a very inconsistent and bumpy collection of development skill. How do you sift through this? You look for the developers that show a strong and overt interest. They should at least be average, if not strong. If anyone could be a building architect, you would look for people either with a name and a track record, or you would look for someone that is always building models.

Third, the software world has a lot of contributors, but few leaders (either management or technical leaders). With few anointed or emergent leaders, you don't have the basis for leading teams. The emergent leaders are hard to spot initially. So again you look for overt passion and opinions. These will be uneven leaders (tech depth, not necessarily mentoring, no best practices).

These three represent the primary gaps in the industry that I see that makes the fallback position is to look for people who show passion. The theory is that passion has to be present and you can shape other deficiencies. Of course the paradox is that these people typically have such a strong opinion that the shaping is difficult or impossible.

Soft skills are fun ! :).

about 8 months ago

RAF Fighter Flies On Printed Parts

mtippett Once mainstream, it will change industry (100 comments)

Take a look at

One of the many engineering triangles (design for cost, manufacturability, performance) is slowly getting turned on its head. The manufacturability aspect historically has held back performance and held back cost. With 3d printing, in particular with metals, the cost is volumetric - not complexity or volume driven, and the manufacturability is greatly simplified (needs to be defined in 3d space). This allows the designer of a part to minimize the compromises that they need to take.

It may reduce tolerances due to manufacturability, but as the above link shows, you end up with a part which supports the specifications that are needed.

My personal experiences are in trying to find a out-of-production part for a cupboard ( ), 3 hours with a modeling tool saved a further 3 hours going through drawers at the hardware store or 3 hours on the internet searching for them. 3d printing solved my problem, and solved problems for a lot of other people (there have been about 150 orders on shapeways for this part).

about 8 months ago

In Three Years, Nearly 45% of All the Servers Will Ship To Cloud Providers

mtippett Less and Less Latent Capacity. (152 comments)

There are two items at play here...
    1) Server consolidation - when I was at AMD a few years ago, I saw a series of roadmaps showing the predicted consolidation based on hypervisors 300 servers to 30. The immediate thought that went through my mind is "the cost of enterprise CPUs" need to go up otherwise there will be blood in chip market. Servers were the cash cow for the market.
    2) Migration to cloud - this is really consolidation mk II. Move to the cloud and rely on focused efforts to migrate, load balance, spin up and spin down services. All with the economy of scale that large datacenters provide. This has hit the OEM manufacturers (HP, Dell, etc) since the larger players in the market can go direct to China with the volumes they need and

Ultimately it is a question of reducing unused capacity. According to some stats (google "datacenter utilization"), 1st party utilization is around 5-10%, cloud utilization is around 20-30%. The two items above really deliver a 1-2 punch to the Server and Chip industry.

about 9 months ago

Google Halts Sales of HP's USB-Charging Chromebook 11 Over Overheating

mtippett Re:Ahaha, not really. (57 comments)

Not quite a normal off-the-shelf. It is a high power adapter - 40W (~8A at 5.25V). Most high-end phone chargers max out at 10W (2A at 5V).

The difference in higher power is probably taken by the higher draw that the screen would have vs a phone. Likewise the larger battery would need a higher draw to charge within reasonable times.

I also note that the comment is "plugged in while in use". This hits the higher draw for the battery charging + higher run-time draw. Most likely the current limiting is not working properly on the power supply which is causing too much heat.

about 10 months ago

Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)

mtippett Content to Fluff ratio went down... (1191 comments)

The amount of content (text) to mostly irrelevant Pictures (fluff) went bad pretty quickly. If they are stock photos or Logos, why bother making it larger and apparently more relevant than the article?

If it is an image from the relevant article, i'm not so against it.

about a year ago



Gamifying the Workplace: Badges IRL with 3D Printing

mtippett mtippett writes  |  about 5 months ago

mtippett (110279) writes "The problem with the virtual badges is that they are too cheap to make (effectively free to create a new one) and only appear when you go to a users' homepage. Having played with 3d printing, I realized that you could make these badges in real life and bring a bit of physical interest to the work place, applying the same rules. With a few minutes on an online 3d modeling tool, online 3d printing services, and finally a magnet and some super glue, you can easily end up with full color sandstone badge."
Link to Original Source


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