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Power Problems Force Seattle To Throttle City Data Center For Days

musicalmicah Re:the cloud (85 comments)

Seattle? The home of Amazon? Why on earth don't they just move their datacenter to Amazon Web Services? They could probably do it for less than the $2.1 million they're spending on this single part!

Migrating huge amounts of data and services is very expensive, and especially difficult to do in years when the tax revenue is down. Government is also typically more conservative with new technologies and processes than the private sector., and apprehensive about outsourcing when proper stewardship of citizens' data is their #1 priority.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Place To Relocate?

musicalmicah US is great for IT (999 comments)

The US might have a decently high unemployment rate right now, but in IT it's quite low. IT jobs are expanding very rapidly here, and I don't think that outsourcing has put a dent in it. In particular, Seattle and San Francisco are great places to be, with oodles of jobs, high quality of life, lots of diversity, and a very educated populace.

about 2 years ago

For Much of the World, Demand For Water Outstrips Supply

musicalmicah Re:desalination plants (318 comments)

Most of the places with serious water problems are poor and/or inland, both of which are problematic for desalination. You need money for the energy to desalinate, and more money for the energy to pump it upward and outward. From what I have read, desalination has been most successful in the oil-rich emirates in the Middle East, where most of civilization is on the sea and there is a lot of energy to go around. California has some desalination plants as well, but they're not that effective, especially in a state where water demand and energy demand increase dramatically at the same time (summer).

about 2 years ago

Mathematician Predicts Wave of Violence In 2020

musicalmicah Re:completely idiotic (397 comments)

Also, where's the peak at 1820? I suppose there was the War of 1812 (lasted until 1815) but he's already excluded war from his chart.

about 2 years ago

Microsoft's Lost Decade

musicalmicah Re:Terrible article (407 comments)

Exactly. The X-Box, like practically every other Microsoft product, is an all-or-nothing strategy to corner a market, THEN turn a profit. Only Windows and Office have succeeded at this.

about 2 years ago

Sea Level Rise Can't Be Stopped

musicalmicah Re:pshaw! (521 comments)

Plus half of Florida is flatter than a pancake. It's a huge sandbar that happens to be above water. The overpasses are the most exciting part of the drive because you can see whole towns from them.

about 2 years ago

NASA Tool Shows Where Forest Is Being Cut Down

musicalmicah Oh, acronyms. (70 comments)

I kept reading it as GLaDOS instead of GloF-DAS.

more than 2 years ago

Why Are Fantasy World Accents British?

musicalmicah Re:Dwarves (516 comments)

Actually, one of the things I love about the Dragon Age games is that the Dwarves have an American accent. They are also fiercely independent, look down on other cultures, and have an incredibly stratified yet still somewhat democratic society. It seems fitting.

more than 2 years ago

Bring Back the 40-Hour Work Week

musicalmicah Re:Meh (969 comments)

So completely backwards. In a regimented society, as required by socialism, people are forced to work out of their comfort zone to gain rewards they do not want, all by the dictate of their betters. I cannot think of a more assembly line culture than that imposed by socialists, the very antithesis of freedom, all for our own good, of course. Some people are more equal than others.

....what? Socialism is about using the government to produce things that meet human needs. It generally supplements capitalism rather than supplanting it.

Some examples of socialist systems in the United States are: public education, the road system, public libraries, public parks, and assistance for people with disabilities. I fail to see how these are an "assembly line culture" that is the "very antithesis of freedom."

more than 2 years ago

Why Do So Many College Science Majors Drop Out?

musicalmicah Re:Really? The colleges are the problem? (841 comments)

A few years in the software business with good coworkers has taught me enough about requirements gathering to be effectively "un-outsourceable". I learned how to help people communicate exactly what they want, and that need is not going away in my lifetime.

Meanwhile, the top engineering schools in India are churning out a surplus of people that can make widgets just as good as us for half the price. Are you really sure that the skillset from that engineering degree isn't more easily outsourced?

more than 2 years ago

Why Do So Many College Science Majors Drop Out?

musicalmicah Re:Really? The colleges are the problem? (841 comments)


Plus, if you're a bright young kid, which looks better to you:

1. get some random liberal arts degree and party through college, while playing with computers a little bit on your free time, then get a good-paying job slapping together PHP, OR
2. struggle through all of college, never have time for friends, face the risk of a nervous breakdown, then hunt for some aerodynamics job that would force you to relocate, if you could even get it -- after all, your competition is some baby boomer that has 30 years of experience in the field

I'll take the parties and PHP scripting, thank you very much.

more than 2 years ago

Career Advice: Don't Call Yourself a Programmer

musicalmicah Re:Depends on why I'm referring to my profession (422 comments)

I just say, "I make software." Yes, it's vague, but so is my job -- one day I am fixing a bug, another day I'm ironing out requirements, another day I'm writing tests, but all of it is to support one goal: to make software.

more than 2 years ago


musicalmicah Re:American rights? (373 comments)

A copyright system based on the number of copies encourages popular works. A patronage system where authors seek a wealthy sponsor tends to be more elitist.

That was certainly true when both the cost of distribution and the cost of soliciting funds were high, but between the web/YouTube and Kickstarter, both are getting much cheaper. The patronage/gift economy is driving some pretty quality work from some of my friends. Moreover, the social status of creating a popular work is often more of a driver for new pop art than monetary reward (which, even in popular art forms such as rock music, ends up to be pretty low, even for successful artists).

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Tell High-Schoolers About Computer Science?

musicalmicah Re:Don't go for gaming. (315 comments)

I had a friend that was a professional game tester, and he hated it. This article pretty much sums it up.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Tell High-Schoolers About Computer Science?

musicalmicah Re:Tell them this (315 comments)

This is sort of how I learned. I was 8 years old when somebody showed me qBasic on the family's 386. It changed my world. My first three years of programming were animated ASCII stick figures, simple story games ("You see a spaceship. Do you want to use missiles or lasers?"), and very basic graphics (like string art using line functions). I had a tacit sense of many programming concepts before I was able to define them.

When I got to traditional computer science courses in college, I realized that they're typically taught the other way around: here's a definition, THEN here are some examples and related puzzles. That's a great format for an academic paper, but it's not exactly "joy of learning" material.

more than 2 years ago

High School Kills Color-Coded ID Program

musicalmicah Re:Encouragement, not punishment. (406 comments)

"If you instead instill excitement and interest in the topic itself they will not only do well on the exam but they often will go BEYOND the requirements of the exam because they are excited about the topic."

There is no question among people in education that inspiring students leads to better outcomes. But as an administrator or policy maker, what strategies would you (or rather, could you) implement to cause more inspiration?

more than 2 years ago

Ex-Board Member Says HP Is Committing 'Corporate Suicide'

musicalmicah Re:I want what HP is smoking... (394 comments)

I know that hardware's margins don't keep the Wall street boys happy; but what sort of insanity could convince HP that they are a software company?

The same insanity that allows SAP to prosper while creating terrible software: enterprise contracts.

more than 2 years ago

Deus Ex Eyeborg Documentary Shows Today's Cyborgs

musicalmicah By some definitions, we are all cyborgs (54 comments)

We all use technology to replace bodily functions. For over twelve thousand years, we have been using cooking technology to replace the work our digestive systems previously had to do. We use clothing technology to replace the work our fur once did. We used art and writing, then the printing press, then the copy machine, and now computers to replace much of the work our brains once did.

Think about how you feel when you step into your car and turn on the ignition -- the car suddenly becomes part of you. If another car collides with yours, you say, "They hit me" and not "They hit my car." And now, with phones connecting to the Internet and identity becoming so important online, I certainly feel like I've lost a part of myself when someone else is playing with my phone, as if they tore out one of my limbs to do a puppet show.

more than 2 years ago


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