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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

tobe Re:They're finishing off Nokia (272 comments)

> Between that an automation it just looks like we're running out of work to do..

You are dead right there.

Drive for a living? Not for much longer.
Fly for a living? Not for much longer.
A broker or agent of some kind? Won't be needing you so much.

Globally huge numbers of traditional blue collar jobs are being made obsolete and they're not being replaced in sufficient numbers with new opportunities. We're going to have to adjust to the reality that within, say, 100 years... unless climate change or war or whatever hasn't significantly affected global demographics.. most of the developed world's population is not going to be economically active within the existing model of trading labour for goods. We're going to have to find cheap ways of keeping them fed and pacified whilst still being able to look at ourselves in the mirror.

about 2 months ago
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

tobe Re:Job prospects (300 comments)

> Would you hire someone who was used to making software knowing their customers hated what they did to it?

Yep.. it's the one's who were blithely unaware their customers hated what they did I'd steer clear from. And that's quite a few in the MS bubble.

about 2 months ago
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The World's Best Living Programmers

tobe No exhaustive.. (285 comments)

.. since I'm not in it.

about 3 months ago
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C++ and the STL 12 Years Later: What Do You Think Now?

tobe Re:Simple (435 comments)

Unless you are bit twiddling on an AVR, or other micro, why not?

In which case you'd be sticking to plain old C.

about 5 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

tobe Re:HFT = a cost to society (342 comments)

It really is since they're potentially inflating the prices paid for equities.. not only by the individuals but their pensions funds. HFT shops open and close with 0 positions.. they do not hold stock past the close of business. They are simply skimming cents from transactions and that's costing people real money over the lifetimes of their investments. The stock exchange has lost all sight of it's original function to raise capital for growth investment.

about 6 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

tobe Re:bin trades and add randomness (342 comments)

Yep.. this is basically what i'd propose but with a shorter clock, 100ms, and without the artificial jitter. Shouldn't be required with low enough clock frequency. I'd also probably allow cancels but only after multi period persistence.

about 6 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

tobe Put the exchanges on discrete clocks. (342 comments)

1 Hz should be about right, maybe 10. Bids and Offers arrive and are visible but aren't acted on until the next clock edge at which point the settlements take place and a new trade queue is started.

Should do it.. as long as the frequency is reasonably low this scheme seems to enable real-time price information to be able for all players in the market.

And ban dark pools.

about 6 months ago
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Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

tobe Re:Like Travelling back in time (731 comments)

Yeah.. the debit card thing I find totally bizarre and can't understand for the life of me. Debit cards seem to be the ideal expression of card payments.. direct from your bank account. You either have the funds or you don't.. no middle man creaming interest from you consumer and charging the retailer a processing fee. And yet they're alien in the US.

If someone could explain why debit cards aren't usual in the US I'd appreciate it. Having said that.. my EU debit card seems to work just fine all over the US.

about 8 months ago
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Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

tobe Re:Umm.. just as Europe moves beyond chip and pin. (731 comments)

> This is why you are disarmed,
Nope.. talk to the Swiss.

> have to register your address with the police
Nope.. unless you're a sex offender maybe.

> carry an internal passport
Nope.. especially not in the UK.

> go through extensive background checks to be allowed to open bank accounts
Not particularly.

> register your TV sets,
Nope... although you require a TV licence in the UK. From which we fund the BBC. You're welcome..

> submit to home searches by tax collectors, etc. etc.
Nope. Search warrants and the usual process of law excepted.

about 8 months ago
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Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

tobe Umm.. just as Europe moves beyond chip and pin... (731 comments)

In all the time I've spent in America I don't believe I've ever seen anyone really check the signature against the card.. always amazed me how lax and open to fraud that system was. In the UK we switched to chip and pin about 10 years ago.. and we were generally lagging the rest of the EU on that matter.

But why would the US move to chip and pin when it could leapfrog ahead to biometrics.. you're already seeing fingerprint scanners and suchlike appear in mainland Europe (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21085738) and surely enough of the initial results are in to guide the decision making there.

about 8 months ago
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Gore Site Operator Arrested For Posting Video of Murder

tobe Re:And the torment of her family and loved ones? (289 comments)

I think you're exactly right here.. others may talk about a slippery road to restriction of free speech but I think societies are right to be more concerned about a slide into the kind of depravity that is typically portrayed as dystopian. I'm very comfortable with throwing the book at this guy and destroying the footage, just as comfortable as I would be if it were child pornography or any other non-consensual act.

I think we all instinctively know what the essence of free speech is and it isn't this. I'm absolutely sure that if the Framers could have envisaged such a situation they would have specifically put it outside the bounds of protected forms of expression.

And.. on a sidenote: You mentioned brutal executions in England. The very term 'cruel and unusual punshment' originates in the English Bill of Rights (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Bill_of_Rights) passed in 1689. We've only hung people since then (although there was an unfortunate incident involving some Catholics in 1746).

about a year ago
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More Warnings About High-Frequency Trading

tobe Re:it's too fast (500 comments)

"as you can trade against participants who entered order early in the period and couldn't incorporate informations from the remaining time into they pricing decision"

But with a heartbeat you wouldn't see the early order until the quantum elapsed. All orders would appear to have been placed on the period

"First: no ones pensions are changing in value because HFT."

Odd this then:
http://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/news/2169298/frequency-trading-hitting-scheme-funds-railways-pension-chief

about 2 years ago
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More Warnings About High-Frequency Trading

tobe Re:it's too fast (500 comments)

"the solution is easy: queue all trades on a heart beat"

That's exactly the conclusion I came to after a recent tour of a bunch of HFT shops here in London.

Right now the fastest responder wins. This leads to co-location (putting your hardware physically in the exchange) and something called Flash Trading where, for a fee, you get access to bids fractions of a seconds before they enter the market.

This clearly isn't a fair, transparent market.

Put a heartbeat, 1ms or even as high as 5s, on the market. Market state only updates, in it's entirety, on that edge. And get rid of Flash Trading. That stuff is clearly not fair or even ethical.

The smooths out the unequal access to the best prices that currently exist for those that can afford it and even gives the algo shops time to more sophisticated analytics.

It's pretty shocking that, contrary to what you might think, the models that are driving the algorithms are pretty-simple minded and stuffed full of magic numbers. A senior guy at UBS admitted to me that there's absolutely no science involved in their construction. Verification is done on a monte-carlo type simulation with historical data and the model must continually be updated as trading conditions change. The quants are generally just looking for a new set of magic numbers that make the simulations profitable. Literally no-one understands how the models work and they bear absolutely no relation to the kind of 'Frost in Florida, Orange Juice futures up' kind of market conditions the man in the street might expect.

It's kind of frightening really that our pensions are changing in value based on the execution of these algorithms

about 2 years ago
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Why Are Indian Kids So Good At Spelling?

tobe Re:A refreshing article (534 comments)

And they say Americans don't appreciate irony.

more than 4 years ago
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Health Care Reform

tobe Re:This bill is so wrong. (2044 comments)

"We supposedly pay 17% now, and we live longer lives, have better medical care, and are generally heather than our contemporaries in other countries" Except you're not and you're just making shit up: The US is 38th in life expectancy. Even Cuba does better than the States. Almost every other 'European' nation (plus Japan) does better : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy Your infant mortality is higher also and you're *much* more likely to die before you're 60. http://www.who.int/countries/usa/en/ vs http://www.who.int/countries/gbr/en/ And to get that inferior level of healthcare you spend about 3x per capita as a comparable European nation. Good job.

more than 4 years ago
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INTERPOL Granted Diplomatic Immunity In the US

tobe Re: (450 comments)

"Hopefully the worst we'll see from this is INTERPOL agents ignoring their speeding tickets" Good.. I hope they don't.. at least until the American Embassy in London gets round to clearing the > £200,000 they owe the city for their unpaid congestion charge.

more than 4 years ago
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The Case For Mandatory Touch-Typing In High School

tobe Keyboards are moribund, surely.. (705 comments)

Ummmm.. does /. think we'll even still be using keyboards in 10-20 years time ?

about 5 years ago
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Microsoft Poland Photoshops Black Guy To White One

tobe Stupid marketroid smiles.. (964 comments)

I'm just totally amazed that marketing hasn't realised that no-one swallows this 'we're all at work and we're totally loving it' utter bullshit that every file photo they have exudes. Just look at them in that photo.. all sitting there with their brilliant teeth, perfectly pressed business suits not a hair out of place and those BIG CHEESEY SHIT-EATING GRINS. Is she showing them pictures of kittens ?? Kittens are nice. They make me smile. But no.. the inference is that it's a fucking Powerpoint presentation.

FUCK OFF WITH THAT ALREADY. Have you ever seen a scene like that in your office. Don't you normally have at most a neutral expression whilst you're concentrating. This ridiculous crap they try to feed us that using their product will make us taller, more attractive, whiten our teeth and let us get more sleep is just insulting. It's software. Sell it like bridges.

And HR can all fuck off too...

more than 5 years ago
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Proposal Suggests UK Students Study Wikipedia and Twitter

tobe But they already know about them... (252 comments)

This is pretty ridiculous. As if these kids don't already know all about these services and have used them more than their tutors.

'And this is Twitter.. it's an instant messaging protocol that allows us to share our thoughts and dreams with the world. Isn't that marvellous, children."

"Nah miss.. it's just a way for me to chat shit to my mates, innit. Look.. it's on my phone."

more than 5 years ago

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