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Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

shadowrat Re:If you want to earn big bucks... (306 comments)

Not that I'm knocking "earning big bucks", but it always kinda pisses me off that people talk about compuer programming or a certain type of programming as being especially lucrative, as if that should be some sort of aspiration in life. It certainly pays better than a lot of other jobs that I've had, but how much money you can earn is a pretty shallow metric for success, if you ask me.

Sure, self actualization is probably what really makes people happy, but as far as metrics go it's crappy. Money is quantifiable, thus it's one of the best metrics.


Better Living Through Data

shadowrat need more data i think (36 comments)

I am curious whether such data can help inform how much computer use is healthy/productive

You could keep stockpiling this data for your whole life, die, and draw the conclusion that all that computer usage must have killed you.


Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

shadowrat That time is over (535 comments)

Sorry, those phones are gone. Your best bet now is to become the guy at the Renn-Faire who texts stuff in on a physical keyboard. You get a spot between the blacksmith and the punch and judy show.

2 days ago

Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered

shadowrat Re:Whelp. (139 comments)

You think a T-Rex "chicken" wouldn't be scary? Imagine a 15 foot tall, 40 foot long bird of prey with a 4 foot jaw and 9 inch long teeth. Your average adult human would be finger food - a bite or two and then gone. This gets even more terrifying if you imagine them as giant cockatoos (and if you know how nasty cockatoos can be).

I worked a good many years in an exotic pet store. My area of expertise was reptiles and, in my time, i was bitten by all manner of things that most people don't want to get bitten by. Of all the animals i would deal with, the birds were the things that really terrified me.

Reptiles, yeah, you gotta repect them, esspecially the highly venemous ones. But, they are predictable and easily outsmarted. Birds can be fierce opponents. They are intelligence combined with effective weapons. They can deduce it's better to ignore the leather glove and aim for the exposed forearm. There was one macaw that i swear would pretend to be nice just to lull me into a vulnerable position.

Not a day goes by that i'm not thankful that i live in a world where i only have to worry about sharks, big cats, bears, wolves, and reptiles. I would be terrified having to worry about a bird that might get me.

5 days ago

eSports Starting To Go Mainstream

shadowrat Re:I'll believe it when it actually happens. (116 comments)

The real issue with Video Game sports is the fact for the time for the people to get the 10,000 hours of practice to be a real master at it will take at least a couple of years. At the point where people are ready for it to be a sport, the game is already kinda old, and the new kids who are coming in are training on new games.

Historically, this is accurate. However, the effective life of a given game seems to be increasing. It used to be that as technology advanced, it enabled entirely new systems of interaction. Lately, the advancements of technology seem to result in better looking games, and enabling games on more platforms, but the mechanics of the games themselves are largely remaining the same.

The moba scene is a good example of this. LoL and Dota2 are really more sets of rules than they are technology. It's about how long an ability takes to use after activation; how long it stays active; what it's area of effect is; etc. We reached a point a while ago where implementing the system was possible. We can deduce that future technology will be able to create the exact same rules and have processing power to spare. But is there a need to change the values? Those values have been determined to be fun and while technology may enable more and more precise values, it may not matter to the humans.

Human perception and reaction is limited. We've seen this in audio tech. It's largely good enough because nobody can percieve the differences in 128 bit audio to 1024 bit audio. Something similar seems to be happening in games. We reached a point where we can implement a rule set that is sufficiently interesting and challenging to humans. we might not need to build anything more complicated in the future. Even if we develop a holodeck, it's entirely possible that people will use it to recreate sitting at a desktop and playing dota. I guarantee that should we invent a holodeck, people will absolutely use it to run a program where you sit on the living room floor in front of a tube tv playing super mario bros. on a NES.

5 days ago

For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

shadowrat Re:~50% have no degree... (174 comments)

Around half of STEM workers have no four year degree, to me that is more interesting.

I'm one of them. I guess some poor SOB slaved away on a STEM degree while I took 3 years of fine art. Then I took his job.

about a week ago

"Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

shadowrat lost the human touch? (102 comments)

The human is the weak link in the check in chain. The self check in terminals are fine, but fat lot of good it does when i still have to stand in a huge line just to have the human behind the desk put a sticker on my checked baggage. WTF is that about? weighing? certainly a scale could be present at the terminal, and until computer vision is reliable enough, a human could simply watch to make sure people arent just pretending to weigh their 80lbs luggage. Bombs? i thought that's what the TSA is for. Clearly the staff checking your ID is not the biggest stopgap in preventing bombs on board. Why can't the terminal simply spit out my baggage sticker for myself to put on?

about two weeks ago

The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

shadowrat Re:I didn't read TFA (63 comments)

water dragons (Physignathus cocincinus) are a lizard found in southeat asia. They are omnivorous and fill roughly the same role there that iguanas fill in south america. They share a lot of physical traits, and to the untrained eye are often confused for each other (though with a little experience, it's easy to tell them apart)

about two weeks ago

The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

shadowrat I didn't read TFA (63 comments)

TFS makes me think that it's an article about covergent evolution. That's not exactly news. The kiwi looks like a mouse. water dragons look like iguanas. animals look like the role they fill in the ecosystem.

about two weeks ago

Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

shadowrat Re: What's the point? (129 comments)

I can understand the benefit of higher resolution capture capability to microscopic applications, but displays? Do you look at your display through a microscope?

no, but do you look at your kitchen table or your hand through a microscope? The resolution of the world is very very small and it contributes to the appearance of items on a macro (human) scale. The engineer in me gets the argument that 1080p is already fulfilling and surpassing the use case of reading text, but i'd be interested to see what kind of magic can be pulled off when we have enough pixels to really mimic the way light is scattered off of microcopic surfaces.

about two weeks ago

Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

shadowrat Re:No. (502 comments)

The results of my study with a sample of 1 is: I can't tell the difference. I stopped buying discrete cards a long time ago.

about three weeks ago

Tractor Beam Created Using Water Waves

shadowrat Re:Won't work (71 comments)

Gravity bends space, although always in the same basic way. (I think)

So lets imagine there may be some other way of bending space...

What?!?! Next you are going to tell me that gravity can somehow draw one object towards another. Preposterous!

about three weeks ago

Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars

shadowrat Re:Google should talk with Tesla (236 comments)

No, I think the car companies are right, the tech for fully autonomous has no been proven and is far from ready.

It's all well and good having multiple HD feeds, lasers etc but if the recognition system can't tell the difference between a car and a big fish then it is not ready.

3D recognition might be good enough to play games on Xbox but it's not good enough to maneuver cars, trucks etc.

I've been wondering why we are jumping right to autonomous cars and not implementing autonomous trains on a large scale instead. It seems like an far simpler problem set. Your navigation options are pretty limited. the area that could contain obstacles is pretty limited. There have been some serious accidents caused by negligent locomotive operators. Why are we going right for the hardest level of autonomous navigation in the most chaotic environment?

After trains, why are we not working to automate tractor trailer trucks? again, they don't operate on the entire road system so it's probably a simpler problem to solve. I suppose the answer is simply that truck drivers would lose their jobs. (but clearly, they are today's blacksmiths. 20 years from now, truck drivers are only going to be seen at ren-faires)

about 1 month ago

How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level

shadowrat Re:i'd be happy if... (196 comments)

How about: use headphones, not earbuds.

sign me up. No earbuds will stay in my ears. If i remain perfectly still, they will simply fall out in a matter of minutes. My ears even seem to have some mechanism to actively eject the plug style buds that get shoved in the ear canal.

about a month ago

Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car

shadowrat I think it sounds cool. abusable, but cool. (131 comments)

I think it sounds kind of cool. I really don't have any issues at all with facial recognition as long as it's done in a responsible manner. The data should be volatile and discarded when it's no longer needed. If the car is simply comparing the person behind the wheel to a small set of people it knows and then discarding the data, that seems like excellent tech to me.

even the idea that it might send my picture to the owner of the car doesn't bother me too much. i am after all in someone else's car. Again, it only doesn't bother me if I know that the picture isn't stored, and once it leaves the closed system of the car... Well, i don't have any real assurance that it isn't going to get stored somehow. So it's a little stickier there. Still, if it's just going to the owner and not staying on a server after delivery it sounds ok.

Now, if the car keeps a record of every person who's ever been in it and shares that with the automakers, that's creepy. it's double plus creepy if it also sends it along to the government.

about a month ago

Robert McMillen: What Everyone Gets Wrong In the Debate Over Net Neutrality

shadowrat Re:Everybody is wrong... (270 comments)

Except it is not the network providers fault, is their shared customers fault. Wihout the ISPs consumers the ISP would not be seeing that data over their network. It is like blaming walmart for everyone trying to cram on a 2 lane high way to reach their store.

i'm pretty sure that people do, in fact, blame walmart for this.

about a month ago

Yahoo's Diversity Record Is Almost As Bad As Google's

shadowrat Re:Most qualified and motivated candidates? (435 comments)

I didn't mean to come across as hating HR. I can't rightly do so because, as you point out, I have no idea what an HR person does all day. Damnit! that kind of sounds like i hate HR again!

about a month and a half ago

Yahoo's Diversity Record Is Almost As Bad As Google's

shadowrat Re:Most qualified and motivated candidates? (435 comments)

unscientific anecdotal evidence here: in my 15 years as an engineer with the ability to interview candidates that HR presents me, I have interviewed 3 women and 1 black man. I ended up recommending hire for 100% of the women and 100% of the black candidates. But they are like .01% of all the interviews i've done.

I have no idea why i never see women or black people, but as an engineer, i'm not really picking who's a candidate for an interview. In all cases, HR presents me with candidates and leads me to believe that these are all the people who responded. I'm starting to think that it's not the field of software engineering that is prejudiced, but the field of business administration or wherever HR people come from.

These campaigns to shame and get tech sector workers to accept people might be misplaced. Perhaps we need to focus more on convincing HR that you don't have to be a nerdy white asian or indian guy to be good at computers.

about a month and a half ago

Google Engineer: We Need More Web Programming Languages

shadowrat Re:Why? (309 comments)

Genuine question, here, since I've never done any web dev. Why not write libraries in an existing language that spit out HTML/Javascript/PHP/whatever? Why do we need a new language to do this?

It sounds more like Google needs not a new language for this intended use, but some sort of new browser plugin that handles offline storage of web apps. I really don't get the emphasis on new language here.

Because the more of your technology you can get people using, the more control you can exert over them.

about a month and a half ago

Kids With Operators Manual Alert Bank Officials: "We Hacked Your ATM"

shadowrat Re:Stop Assuming Appliances Can DropIn Without Con (378 comments)

The owner of the machine was probably a genius. The markup on soda is so astronomical that he could probably sell 7 or 8 each time and still come out ahead. He was just shrewdly undercutting his competition on campus.

about 2 months ago


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