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Interviews: David Saltzberg Answers Your Questions About The Big Bang Theory

ranton Re:Too Bad (87 comments)

Too bad the show doesn't portray any intelligent person as normal as those you receive "support" from.

In the scientific crowds I have been a part of, Leonard is on par with the more "normal" people I have known. He still has quite a few geeky quirks, but overall he can blend in as well as most geeky guys can. He has a hard time with some of Penny's brain dead friends, especially when watching sports, but overall he seems pretty normal to me.

Leonard has always struck me as that one normal guy which is quite common in many geeky cliches. They can't have too many of their characters be well balanced or else why would the show be fun to watch?

From another angle, take a look at Two and a Half Men. You have a womanizing morally bankrupt millionaire, an incompetent brother, and a brain dead son. If I were a millionaire playboy, divorced middle aged man with career problems, or a teenager who struggled in school, I wouldn't want any of those characters to represent me. While each of them may get laid more than the character on BBT, I wouldn't consider any of them to be "normal" either. Abnormal people simply make for great television.

yesterday
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

ranton Re:Is it COBOL or the people? (251 comments)

After reading the article, the $10k difference they are using was between those who took the COBOL class and ALL Business Computer Information Systems students. That degree is more of an IT degree than a software development related degree (at this school). It is a very bad comparison.

I would be more interested in how those students who took COBOL compared to the university's Computer Science and Engineering students.

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

ranton Re:Dual degrees (389 comments)

Anthropology and Sociology are not typically considered STEM but "social sciences."

Social Sciences are part of STEM, it even has the word Science in there to help clear any ambiguity.

Most organizations such as universities and scholorship programs use the National Science Foundation's (NSF) definition of STEM. This is apt considering the term originated from the director of the NSF. Here is a list of degrees that are considered STEM which was compiled by the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency, who revised its definition of STEM to more closely align with that of the NSF in 2012. It clearly shows many social sciences as being part of STEM.

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

ranton Re:Dual degrees (389 comments)

The thing that really makes me chuckle, though, is that they don't seem to believe that someone with strengths in the arts could ever be an autodidact, in spite of the fact that most good geeks have this capability as a defining trait.

But if anyone ever suggested that I fill my software shop with nothing but STEM grads, I would laugh them out of the room. No offence, all you engineers, but there's a whole raft of software design and development issues that you guys suck at.

The thing that really makes me chuckle is the hypocrisy in the two statements I quote above. I actually think the entirety of your post is brilliant until the last couple sentences, where you go from making very enlightened points showcasing a different point of view to just being someone with a chip on your shoulder.

While filling your whole software shop with nothing by STEM graduates on purpose is nothing to be proud of, it wouldn't be a tragedy either. STEM degrees range from Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, and even social sciences like Anthropology and Sociology. Thinking that you absolutely need an English major in there is just as silly as thinking an English major doesn't belong there.

To be honest I am personally giving you the benefit of the doubt because of how insightful you seem to be, but I think you went completely overboard with your last statements.

yesterday
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

ranton Re:Deism (887 comments)

For starters, deism isn't a religion, which makes the rest of the comment not worth bothering with.

How does our differing definition of the term "religion" have anything to do with the rest of the comment? It is amazing sometimes how people are able to find reasons to not think critically.

2 days ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

ranton Re:Whe do you "keep an open mind" at all? (887 comments)

There's no need or ability to "prove a negative"; This has always been a fallacy as proven all over the world on a daily basis: People are being proven NOT to be guilty of various things, containers are proven NOT to contain things, various theories are proven NOT not be true, etc. all over the world all the time.

The actual argument you are referring to is not that it is impossible to prove a negative. As you illustrate, it is possible to have evidence of absence. Looking inside a container provides evidence of its contents, theories that make falsifiable claims can be proven false, etc. What makes proving God(s) exist different is that no evidence is presented at all. All that leaves is an argument from ignorance, which is the fallacy in informal logic non-believers are referring to when they say you can't prove God does or does not exist. If religions made falsifiable claims, then this logical fallacy would not exist.

Your second fallacy is just you projecting opinions onto people so you can easily shoot them down. Evolution is not "proven" scientifically just because we know it is a possible solution. So far it is the only proposed solution. Religion solves no questions regarding how we got here because any questioned answered by "God did it" should be promptly followed by "then how was God created?"

4 days ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

ranton Re:Deism (887 comments)

I've been deistic for decades. It discounts the idea that god is an old man on the mountain, but maintains the idea that there is purpose and meaning to everything, not just man.

There really isn't anything different about being deist versus following an organized religion except you decided to create your own religion. The same inadequate reasoning that makes people think their could be meaning to the universe is the same lack of reasoning that causes smart people to be religious. It is hard to stop anthropomorphizing things that could have no intent, but it is important.

When you can tell me why my shirt wants to be blue (convincingly), I will concede it is possible for there to be meaning to the universe. Asking "why does the universe exist" is no different than asking "what color is 1+6?" Just because a set of words makes up a syntactically correct question does not make it a valid question.

4 days ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

ranton Re:Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (887 comments)

I maintain that our puny little brains aren't even close to capable of "reasoning out" the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

The problem isn't our brain's inability to discover the meaning of the universe. The problem is too many people think there could be meaning to the universe. It is difficult for humans to turn off their deep desire to anthropomorphize everything around them. Just because a human can have intent does not mean that a rock, an apple, or a universe can. When you can tell me why my shirt wants to be blue (convincingly), I will concede it is possible for there to be meaning to the universe.

Asking "why does the universe exist" is no different than asking "what color is 1+6?" Just because a set of words makes up a syntactically correct question does not make it a valid question.

4 days ago
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The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

ranton Re: Good intentions vs free time (182 comments)

I have signed up for dozens of Coursera classes, but have not taken the complete course even once. The fact that they are free allows me to sign up for a class without even thinking if I have the time to watch a single video. If I watch a single video, and learn a single fact, then it was probably worth it to me. And if 100,000 people sign up and only half watch a single video and only half of them getting anything useful from the video, that was probably worth the time for a professor to create the class.

I have learned to write a parser for a personal SQL engine optimization project. I have learned a great deal of machine learning from a few different classes that I have used in my profession. I have learned interesting material about Economics, Sociology, etc. I could have learned all of this from books, but while I am an avid reader I still feel those lectures helped me learn quicker and probably even gave a more complete level of understanding.

That is worth something to me, and I hope that the professors would feel that it was worth their effort to teach people like me even though I never completed their courses. I hope that as this catches on there will be a big enough market for these professors to get paid well for their effort. I would pay $100 to even $500 for some of these classes, even if I never complete them or get a certificate.

4 days ago
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If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

ranton Re:Expense (444 comments)

Where would they run to, if no one was handing out multimillion dollar salaries & bonuses, especially when it's not tied to company performance?

Well the problem is there are other companies willing to pay those multimillion dollar salaries. A C-level executive at a company making $100 billion a year in revenue has the potential to make or cost that company billions of dollars. Even if a good executive is only 1% better than a bad executive, that extra 1% performance could still be worth millions.

Obviously the problem is knowing when an executive is good or not. That is a very complicated discussion. But if an executive has the ability to turn a $100 billion per year into $101 billion, they are clearly worth millions of dollars. Unfortunately until companies find a perfect way to determine that a particular executive is responsible for their company's performance, even bad executives will make tons of money.

5 days ago
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If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

ranton Re:Expense (444 comments)

Does not solve the problem: he still wants a car that pollutes less.

He was saying that this requirement is irrational. The consumer should separate the two concerns. They want a car, and they want to pollute less. Now that these two desires are not mixed, the consumer can choose a more effective way of fulfilling them.

5 days ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

ranton Re:To be fair... (404 comments)

NFL: One of the few industries where smooth talking idiots can rake in millions spewing bullshit.

I think the guy who moderated you Insightful instead of Funny has confused other posters into thinking you were being serious instead of making a joke.

about a week ago
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UK's National Health Service Moves To NoSQL Running On an Open-Source Stack

ranton Re: Are you fucking serious? Tell me you aren't! (198 comments)

Sorry, I'm not the AC using the expanded ACID acronym names. Regardless of how they're referred to, they aren't buzzwords. They are the essential properties of any modern and safe database system. Anyone who insists on them all being present is totally justified, and totally correct.

Anyone who insists on all four aspects of ACID being present without knowing anything about a system's requirements is not justified at all. There are plenty of use cases where ACID compliance is ridiculous, such as most banking transactions.

about a week ago
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UK's National Health Service Moves To NoSQL Running On an Open-Source Stack

ranton Re:Are you fucking serious? Tell me you aren't! (198 comments)

I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but I'm bored and can't help myself.

acid isn't so important when the unit is a patient's records. there is also no need for a rigid data model.

This is unbelievable. Holy fuck, I sure hope that you don't work with databases professionally. I hope you don't work with them as a hobby! Nobody with an ounce of intelligence and even a minute of working with data would ever consider saying something as utterly stupid as what you just said.

As someone who actually has worked with patient data in hospitals, he is pretty on the money regarding the non-structured nature of some patient records. Full ACID compliance is not that important in many cases, often a proper audit trail will suffice. It is similar to banking transactions, which are almost never ACID (despite being used in so many textbook examples of ACID compliance).

One difference between an amateur and professional is knowing how to balance a system's requirements and create a design that actually fit the system's needs. Strict adherence to some guidelines is just plain stupid.

about a week ago
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UK's National Health Service Moves To NoSQL Running On an Open-Source Stack

ranton Re: Are you fucking serious? Tell me you aren't! (198 comments)

I never thought I'd ever see the ACID properties referred to as "buzzwords", especially here at Slashdot of all places.

When you keep repeating four common terms that have a standard acronym, that fits the meaning of buzzword pretty well. The only reason to spell them out instead of just typing ACID is to try and impress people by showing you actually know what the acronym stands for. Then you go on to list them out three times; in back to back sentences even. All you had to do next was spell out what CAP stands for a couple times and you would sound like a genius.

about a week ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

ranton Re:COBOL (381 comments)

To be fair, the parent poster could be working in rural Arkansas or somewhere similar where $90k/yr is considered a high salary for experienced developers.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

ranton Re:Where to draw the line (326 comments)

One of the things that I've always been confused by with Stallman is where he draws the line between what in his view must be free open-source software and what can be free non-open-source, and what can be truly paid commercial software.

From what I can tell, he draws the line quite clearly. There is no place for traditional paid commercial software. It is okay to make money writing software, but it is never okay to keep even a single line of software secret from the general public.

I don't agree with his philosophy at all, but he seems to make it pretty clear where he stands. I honestly don't know every single public statement he has ever made though, so there could be some inconsistencies I don't know about. With such a hard line stance, it would be hard to not be accidentally hypocritical from time to time.

about two weeks ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

ranton Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

There's a big difference between physical things that have limits (land, food, water, etc) and 'intellectual property' which can be copied any number of times at virtually no cost.

You are comparing the wrong things. Both physical things and intellectual property have two costs: Cost To Produce and Cost To Distribute. While the cost to distribute is near nothing for intellectual property, the cost to produce is not.

Physical things have limits like land, water, etc, and intellectual property has limits such as the number of smart educated people in the world. Nothing that requires human labor is free. Nothing.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

ranton Re:My experience (250 comments)

and yet the need for network engineers and server managers is diminishing due to virtualization and keeping all your data in the cloud.

It's not though. The "cloud" is very limited right now.

Shifts in the industry, such as virtualization and the cloud, do not have to remove 100% of IT responsibilities to have an impact. A technology that can even replace 5% of IT workers is going to have a huge impact and put a lot of people out of work.

I work at a software consulting firm of about 30 employees, and we have no need for an on staff IT guy. That work is outsourced to a firm that charges us a yearly rate that would only cover a couple months of an on-site staff member. 10 years ago we would have needed a full time guy, but the combination of the cloud and better productivity tools have really reduced the need for general IT workers.

Yes, the cloud providers have to hire staff too, but with economy of scale and better productivity tools they require far less people. Similar to what has happened to manufacturing where 100 factory workers are replaced by 20 factory workers and 5 robotics engineers.

Once again, the important thing to remember is better technology does not have to do 100% of your job to be a concern.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

ranton Re:IT Job Market (250 comments)

I should add that all my friends had college degrees. As someone who didn't get his BS until I was 29 (about 5 years ago) I understand how hard the job market can be without a degree. I got my first job after almost a year of unemployment just by putting that I was 24 credits away from my BS degree on my resume. So there is hope that things will turn around for you once you complete that degree.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Microsoft Surface 3 Announced

ranton ranton writes  |  about 4 months ago

ranton (36917) writes "Microsoft has just announced the third generation of their Surface tablet. The most notable update is a larger 12 inch screen while still weighing less than the Surface 2. The announcement also went over various software updates to help make the tablet as productive as a laptop or desktop computer. The Surface Pro 3 goes on sale tomorrow starting at $799."

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