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Oracle Deflects Blame For Troubled Oregon Health Care Site

ranton Re:It's Not Really Oracle (156 comments)

Bet your bottom dollar Oracle covered their asses with a formal spec and timeline process, and every extension of the critical path was documented and signed off on. I don't think this will look good for the state of Oregon.

What you are really saying is that Oracle knew Oregon's exchange would be a POS before they even signed the consulting contract because of the lack of Oregon bureaucrat skills, but they took the contract anyway because they knew they could as they say MILK IT!

Every competent consultant is going to cover themselves, especially if they are not doing all of the work. How could you ever guarantee anything if a large portion of the work is outside of your control? If you didn't hire their employees, you aren't allowed to make final design decisions, you don't make the project plan, you don't set the scope of the project, then you don't have control over the project's success. You can certainly advise and increase the chances for success, but that is it.

As a consultant, many times we have to put in bids without knowing that much about the employees we will be working with. We only know what they are asking us to do. We try our best to get to know their people during exploratory sessions, but usually you don't identify the incompetent people until the project starts.

Perhaps most of these problems were Oracle's fault, perhaps they weren't. But just because a project failed does not automatically mean the consultants were milking the client with no intention of creating a valid product.

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

ranton Re:Holy shit (457 comments)

He meant starting at 1500, not 1900. There are people who believe that the past 200 years have been an aberration caused by free energy, and that when it ends the world will return to when growth was closer to 2% per year.

3 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

ranton Re:Holy shit (457 comments)

The IRS max annual contribution to a 401(k) is $17,500. So unless you are getting a really tremendous return on your investments it may take a little longer than you think. Of course you can save in other retirement vehicles...

With a 10% annual growth, you hit a million in 20 years. That grows to $5 million in about 35 years. That becomes $2.5 million after 35 years when you count inflation, but that still shows it is pretty easy to hit a million in any professional level job.

3 days ago
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Raspberry Pi's Eben Upton: How We're Turning Everyone Into DIY Hackers

ranton Re:You have become too productive (90 comments)

I'm glad you found your specialization comfort zone early so you'll never feel hungry to learn something new ever again.

Wow, no hostility there. Also, I am not sure why you think people who are highly specialized never learn anything new.

I can relate to the sentiment of being "too good to tinker" but I only maintain that attitude towards shit I've done before and would learn nothing educational from doing again.

I would hope that everyone would have that attitude towards tinkering. Tinkering by definition is performing a task without much of a plan and usually with no useful effect. So if you are tinkering in the exact same way that you have done in the past, and aren't learning anything new, you are really wasting your time.

I guess there are things that are simply not interesting to me like cooking or sewing but if it's STEM & new: "Bring it On".

That is a perfectly reasonable way to live your life. There shouldn't be any hostility between highly specialized individuals and jack of all trades types. I was pointing out one possible reason why the GP may not enjoy tinkering with hardware anymore. I wasn't insinuating that everyone who becomes good at something automatically stops pursuing other hobbies.

about two weeks ago
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Raspberry Pi's Eben Upton: How We're Turning Everyone Into DIY Hackers

ranton You have become too productive (90 comments)

but I've completely lost my ambition to tinker with hardware. Am I just old, or what?

As a kid I did far more tinkering with things than I do now. Part of this is because I have a family now, but another big reason is that I am simply far more productive at my core skills. I can do professional level work in my spare time with software related tasks, so tinkering in other domains holds less of a draw. I could either write some piece of software that may get used in the open source community or perhaps even sold as a product, or I could tinker with some robotics that isn't of much better quality than what some high school students could do.

It is an easy choice for me, even if part of me would like to branch out a little bit more.

about two weeks ago
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How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

ranton Re:Knowledge (1037 comments)

A purely skeptical species would go extinct questioning the need to plant crops, etc.,

A purely skeptical species would use Bayes' theorem and figure out the best time to plant crops based on the information at hand. They would make informed decisions on when it is prudent to investigate further and when it is best to move forward with the information at hand. Never making a decision because you don't have perfect knowledge is the opposite of rational if indecision is the worst possible solution. (and not planting crops at all is certainly the worst possible solution)

Skeptics seem to have this assumption that humans are inherently rational, and it's only those who are intellectually weak that let bad/illogical ideas into the mind.

Even though I think absolutes are bad, I am almost comfortable in saying that no skeptics think humans are inherently rational. Skeptics might say that people should strive to be as rational as possible, but that is not the same thing.

The way I see it, rationality (and the engineered pursuit of it, science) is a skill that must be developed and subsequently imposed on various facets of our worldview.

This is how almost all skeptics think about how people become able to think rationally. Humans are so bad at rational thought that it takes quite a bit of thought and practice to do it. Or should I say get close to doing it. In my opinion this is by far the most dangerous thing about religion, because it gets people used to not thinking rationally about important aspects of their life. It is like learning to shoot a basketball with one hand, certainly not impossible but not very ideal either.

Instead of offering mockery (a tempting practice), skeptics would do better to (1) humbly remember that we all have blindspots, (2) that every population has smart and dumb individuals, (3) that believers make many valuable contributions to rationality/science, (4) and that social and emotional arguments against a faith can compliment their existing intellectual arguments.

Mockery is always a bad practice if you are trying to persuade people. It is never the correct way to act. But there are a couple of problems I have with your second two statements.

3) Believers do not make valuable contributes to rationality/science because of their belief. Your statement is insinuating that we would have less rational thought or scientific advancement if we rid ourselves of irrational beliefs, which I find hard to believe.

4) While social and emotional arguments do have a chance of working, it kind of defeats the point of converting people at all. The goal isn't atheism, the goal is spreading the use of rational thought and skepticism (which just happens to lead to atheism). Converted atheists who did it just because of some silly emotional reasons like the mistreatment of women by the church are likely going to move on to believing in astrology, sugar pills that cure cancer, or any number of more secular nonsense. If people are going to remain irrational, but just not believe in God, I don't see what the world has really gained there.

about two weeks ago
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Hackathon Gold: How To Win a Job Offer In a Coding Competition

ranton Re:if you're 1 of the 83% who already have a job. (25 comments)

Maybe if you're among the 80% of working age Americans who has a job, a new one isn't a big deal. Well, unless you're one of the 13% under-employed, a programmer checking groceries at Walmart. If you are among the 17% who are either struggling to find work or have given up hope and stopped even trying, a programming job that will pay your family's bills could be a very big deal indeed.

While I think any job offer good enough to take is something to celebrate, it is unlikely that anyone receiving a job offer in this kind of competition is unemployed (unless by choice). The purpose of this hackathon was to find top talent, and top talent never has a hard time finding work. The two people offered a job in the article both had jobs, and it apparently took very good offers to get them to choose to work for TopOpps. This wasn't a situation where some college kids down on their luck finally found work.

The original poster's sarcasm is still misguided though. While obviously exact salaries were not given it does look like both of the offers were amazing. I have had two offers that I couldn't refuse in my career (like Cummings in the article said about his offer), and both of them were more than good enough to celebrate. Lets just hope they didn't just take good stock options. I don't know anything about the founder other than what is in the articles I read about this story, but it looks like a bad sign that when they talk about Eberlin's credentials they only mention how much venture capital funding he has been able to raise instead of talking about his past company's actual success.

about two weeks ago
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A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them

ranton Re:Gimmicks gonna gimmick. (180 comments)

Same as my experience with Wii owners, or other fads, like slap bracelets.

It is probably also the same as those who bought cars in the 1800s, mobile phones in the 80s, tablets in the 90s, and many other technologies in their infancy. Perhaps wearable technology is a fad, but the fact that a third of consumers who buy them end up not liking them is hardly an indicator of anything. At best it shows that the current products in the market are insufficient for most people.

about two weeks ago
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

ranton Re:Calculation was flawed (127 comments)

It is surprising that the figures were so low for certain colleges in more expensive areas. They are basically saying that a Stanford grad will make an average of $117.5k per year throughout their career. And they don't say that the ROI is adjusted for inflation, so that actually means that their inflation adjusted average salary is $96.5k (assuming 3% inflation and $30k average salary for a high school graduate). That just seems insanely low.

Stanford releases salary statistics for outgoing seniors, and according to their numbers the average starting salaries of graduating seniors in 2012 was almost $94k. This data only comes from approximately 30% of students, so it could just be that only the successful ones respond, but I doubt that the number could be as low as this Payscale study shows. The Payscale study could only be true if the average Stanford student never gets a raise beyond just cost of living increases. The Stanford students could be lying in the college statistics, but so could the people inputting their salaries into Payscale.

It seems that either this entire study is bogus, or perhaps they are adjusting for things like cost of living. I am leaning towards the study being bogus.

about three weeks ago
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

ranton Re:Indeed (127 comments)

I have a job. A good one. I've tripled my salary over the last 8 years or so. .

I guess I don't understand where your animosity comes from then. Unless you were just in some basic tech support job 8 years ago, you are probably well into the six figures in just salary compensation. Your employer clearly thinks you are worth quite a bit, and are paying you accordingly.

I can tell you that even highly-sought, highly-skilled workers like myself have to go through the HR bullshit you-should-be-grateful-we're-interviewing-you nonsense

Who cares what those idiots think? If a company misses out on you because they have some incompetent HR staff then that is their loss. The job market for competent people is always great. I haven't had a bad experience with an HR department during my professional career. I have always been treated as a potentially valuable employee and treated with a great deal of respect. Maybe it is just because I give them the same level of respect until they give me a good reason not to.

about three weeks ago
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

ranton Re:Calculation was flawed (127 comments)

So the only correct calculation is that going to Stanford will net you an extra $300k versus going to the University of Virginia (obviously this is not a very precise calculation though).

You know what the real flaw in the calculation was? They probably didn't account for the fact that Stanford grads don't get paid a lot necessarily because they went to Stanford, but because they were already in Silicon Valley and are therefore more likely to work there after they graduate.

In contrast, Georgia Tech produces programmers of similar skill and talent, but since they're more likely to end up working in Atlanta they also end up getting paid less.

They don't need to account for the fact that Stanford grads have a greater chance of working in Silicon Valley. That is part of the draw of the school. And Stanford isn't just "lucky" that it is close to Silicon Valley. There is a bit of a chicken and the egg problem, but a good argument can be made that Silicon Valley owes much of its success to its proximity to Stanford (and now they clearly feed off of each other).

The quality of a school has little to do with the skills and talent it gives you. If you want skills just open a book. If you want amazing contacts, a prestigious degree, and the ability to work on great research projects, then you should be going to a great school. (that said, Georgia Tech is a great program and not your average state school)

about three weeks ago
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

ranton Re:You can keep your doctor (127 comments)

Congrats, you've proved that the two aren't really significantly different.

Oh yeah, one statement got us into a war that cost trillions of dollars and one statement made some people lose their crappy insurance plans. Even if you think both are bad, you cannot possibly think they are not significantly different.

about three weeks ago
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

ranton Re:Calculation was flawed (127 comments)

On the flip side, attending UVA in-state costs around $12k/year and you arent gambling your future on the hope that you DO recoup the costs.

Opportunity cost is thrown around as if attending Georgetown guarantees a high-paying job. Turns out all it guarantees is a massive debt and a shot on the roulette wheel.

That is very true. There are few cases in life where you can get greater returns without greater risks. The investment is not just attending Georgetown; it is also working hard there. The risks of being underemployed if you apply yourself at an Ivy League school in a useful major is very low. That may not be true for a Harvard English major though.

about three weeks ago
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

ranton Re:Bullshit. (127 comments)

Prestige isn't worth that much. Sure, I occasionally see job ads for people with pretty degrees - especially in status driven fields like finance. But they don't pay that much of a premium for those people.

The prestige is a very small part of an Ivy degree's worth. The true worth comes in the connections made. Do you want all of your friends from college to be average state school graduates or Stanford graduates? I only went to a state school because I slacked off so much in my younger years, but even then my best early job opportunities came from past classmates tracking me down when they were starting companies (one startup and one consulting company). I can only imagine how much better those job opportunities would have been if my past classmates had been from Stanford, MIT, or Harvard.

One interesting theory about the value of weaker schools is that you will shine more in that environment. I got my last two jobs because former classmates remembered me as the one guy they wanted to work with. If I had went to Stanford I might not have had as good of opportunities because I could have just blended in. I may have been one of the brightest students at my state school, but probably would have been about average at Stanford or MIT.

about three weeks ago
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

ranton Re:Indeed (127 comments)

What makes you think employers base the salaries they offer on what you need or want? You'll take what they give you and you will like it, or go fuck yourself.

It is sad that you not only posted this but that someone else marked it as insightful. Companies will pay you what it takes to keep you and what it takes to keep you motivated. Complaining that companies don't pay you more than you are worth is no different than companies complaining that they have to pay you at all.

Would you rather have a job was just some form of charity because your boss feels bad for you? If you answer yes to that then I am not surprised that you have had such bad luck in the job market.

about three weeks ago
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

ranton Calculation was flawed (127 comments)

You don't have to be a finance major to understand that the calculations were flawed. They only count the amount spent on tuition. They don't count the cost of your human capital and the opportunity costs involved. Investing in yourself is not like investing in the stock market because you only have one life to invest in. So you cannot just compare the difference in tuition between a state school and Stanford because you are also giving up a portion of your young life to your educational pursuits.

Their highest 20 year net ROI/yr school was University of Virginia, but they only returned $1.3 million in total. Stanford returned $1.7 million. So even though the annual ROI was greater at the University of Virginia, you are still leaving $400k on the table by not choosing Stanford. And considering you can borrow money at 6.8% interest, it only costs you $90k more after interest to go to Stanford instead of the University of Virginia (if the loans are paid over a 20 year period).

So the only correct calculation is that going to Stanford will net you an extra $300k versus going to the University of Virginia (obviously this is not a very precise calculation though).

about three weeks ago
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New Australian Privacy Laws Could Have Ramifications On Google Glass

ranton Re:Cognitive Science will fix this problem (128 comments)

Society will have to get used to a post-privacy world eventually.

Society will have to get used to murder and tyranny eventually. A post-privacy world is a world where the government can do as it pleases, regardless of whether people like it or not.

Then we need to start figuring out if there are ways to preserve liberty without privacy, because pretending that most public interactions will not be recorded in the near future is silly. The technology will be there, and it will be too powerful for governments to just outlaw (and as you insinuate they have little incentive to even try). I would rather us not just stick our head in the sand and actually start to evolve as a society. Our civilization changed from small close knit communities where there was very little true privacy to a globalized community where anonymity is easy to attain. I don't find it hard to believe that we can weather the storm of returning to a limited-privacy world again without reverting to tyranny.

about three weeks ago
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New Australian Privacy Laws Could Have Ramifications On Google Glass

ranton Cognitive Science will fix this problem (128 comments)

Eventually we will get to the point where we just record our experiences without the need of cameras. I doubt this is even 50 years away. Society will have to get used to a post-privacy world eventually. Simple devices such as the Google Glass seem to be as good a start as any.

about three weeks ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

ranton Re:Customers may benefit... maybe (455 comments)

If you're east of the Rockies, you should check out ALDI, even cheaper than Wal-Mart and a lot of high quality items (even if the brands are different at times; often made by the same company).

I shopped extensively at ALDI in my 20s (last decade) and the quality of product is much lower there. The prices are definitely better, which is why I shopped there before my career took off, but it is not comparable on quality. The difference between ALDI and Walmart is greater than the difference between Walmart and Whole Foods. I basically used ALDI to buy cheap bread, milk, and a few canned food items (their selection was low).

I should note that I have been to some Walmarts in poor areas whose produce department was just as bad as ALDI. So the difference between ALDI and Walmart probably does vary by location.

about three weeks ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

ranton Re:Customers may benefit... maybe (455 comments)

...lower costs tends to get at least partially passed on to customers...

Including my taxes to cover their worker's government assistance.

...might actually end up benefiting customers.

I'd rather pay more up front and have my taxes be put to better use elsewhere. Pay them a living wage already, FFS.

Your taxes will go towards providing assistance to the less fortunate if they were unemployed too. In fact even more tax-funded assistance would be needed. You could just as easily be thanking Walmart for subsidizing our taxes by providing wages to low skilled citizens. (note that I think both of these arguments are silly)

about three weeks ago

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