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Study Links Pacific Coastal Warming To Changing Winds

ulatekh Wind farms are to blame! (207 comments)

So the winds are slowing down, are they? What has mankind done that could possibly be responsible for that? Well, we put up lots of wind-turbines to extract energy from the wind...and because of conservation of energy, the winds can't blow as strongly afterwards...and slowly, wind turbines grind our planet's winds to a halt.

Hey, I can dream...

about 4 months ago

CDC: Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million In 4 Months

ulatekh I apologize. It's all my fault. (280 comments)

How is the impending Ebola pandemic my fault, you ask? Because I have the worst luck in the whole world.

For some reason, every industry I work in suffers some sort of bizarre, unprecedented calamity. It's not something I cause directly; it just seems to happen.

My previous job involved working for the government. What could be more stable and secure than a government job? So my bad luck had to manifest and come up with something called "sequestration", never before seen in the history of the U.S. government, and boom, I was out on my ass.

Now I work in aerospace. The world is more connected than ever before, air travel is more affordable than ever before, so what could possibly go wrong? How about a global pandemic that eventually causes air travel to get shut down as a precautionary measure? It'll happen. And it'll be my rotten luck that causes it.

Back in 2000, I was working in the defense field, in a research-and-development position. The world wasn't becoming safer any time soon, so it seemed like I had a stable career. Then 9/11 happened, and military spending shifted away from R&D, and into the actual bombs, bullets, and other materiel of fighting a live war. I'm out of a job again.

I could go on, but this sort of thing has been happening to me for years.

Maybe I should go work for al-Qaeda. They won't survive a year with my bad luck bringing them down.

about 4 months ago

The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading

ulatekh There's already a textbook (120 comments)

The most obvious approach is to combine the 2 methods - much like humans do, especially in noisy environments.

Obvious, indeed. There's already a textbook for the subject, Multimodal Signal Processing...available for free online, no less.

This is exactly the sort of system you'd want on a flight deck, to supplement the accuracy of speech-recognition in the presence of noise, especially intermittent noise such as turbulence. It can also help with speaker identification.

As for the hopelessly naive idea that "society" should be able to choose whether this sort of thing should exist...the textbook came out in 2009.

about 4 months ago

Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

ulatekh Re:They used to be called UHF TV tuners (237 comments)

As a woman

Suuuure you are. <rolls eyes>

I usually reply with "right, and what ever happened to 'if I tell you you have a beautiful body would you hold it against me' ".

It's been done to death, that's what happened to it.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Service To Digitize VHS Home Movies?

ulatekh Denoise them, or don't bother (130 comments)

Years ago, I became obsessive with producing high-quality DVDs from my extensive VHS/LaserDisc collection. Eventually, that led to the creation of y4mdenoise, part of the mjpegtools package. If you're willing to spend the time to let your computer chew on your digitized video, this tool will squeeze virtually all of the noise out of your signal.

Without it, you're wasting most of your bitrate just to encode noise. A video encoder can't tell the difference between noise and high-frequency detail.

If you don't want to spend that much time, then yuvdenoise, also in the mjpegtools package, does pretty well too.

about 5 months ago

Home Depot Confirms Breach of Its Payment Systems

ulatekh Damn it, hire hackers as security professionals! (111 comments)

Yet another major computer security breach at a big retailer, compromising the payment details of uncountable customers.

It seems to me that the core problem is that companies won't hire actual experienced hackers as security consultants; for some reason, the idea terrifies them. Instead, they hire bozos that possess some worthless "security" certificate (like CompTIA).

Or even worse, they'll hire a hacker that was dumb enough to get caught and go to jail for his actions. For some reason, that gives them credibility.

Those of us who managed to spend their teenage years hacking everything in sight, and not getting caught — the ones with real expertise — get nothing.

And so these breaches continue.

Oh, and BTW, this is why I pay cash.

about 5 months ago

Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

ulatekh Re:They used to be called UHF TV tuners (237 comments)

Though in hindsight, using, "Gimme a waitress, hold the dressing," successfully at the IHOP should have set off some warning bells...

Or my personal favorite..."Can I have a side of you with nothing on it?"

about 5 months ago

Processors and the Limits of Physics

ulatekh The marching morons! (168 comments)

You are clueless. You live in a bubble of technology created by people infinitely smarter than you and you are happy with comic-book levels of understanding.

So you're saying that Cyril M. Kornbluth was right? Race you to Venus!

about 5 months ago

Processors and the Limits of Physics

ulatekh The limit is human (168 comments)

Your reasoning is false. Most AI algorithms are having a high level of parallelism which make them less susceptible to the single CPU physical limit. You can achieve incredible performance improvement on GPU and other parallel architectures.

Good luck finding enough programmers that can write code with that level of parallelism.

Most of the multithreaded code I encounter in the real world simply slaps mutexes around things, whether or not they're needed, or even applied consistently. Most of the time, the mutex could be replaced with something cheaper, like atomic operations, or even unique state-transitions on a single volatile global variable.

Your experience may differ. Maybe I just have the back luck of working with morons most of the time.

about 5 months ago

Why the Universe Didn't Become a Black Hole

ulatekh Marty, you're not thinking 4th-dimensionally! (109 comments)

Perhaps the answer doesn't lie in the 3rd dimension.

One of the possible consequences of the curvature of 4th-dimensional space-time is that our universe may be a 3-dimensional surface of a 4th-dimensional hypersphere. And if the 4-dimensional universe is expanding, the 3-dimensional universe would expand too.

This model of the universe was also used in a famous sci-fi novel.

about 5 months ago

Why Hasn't This Asteroid Disintegrated?

ulatekh That's no asteroid... (74 comments)

...that's a space station!

Mystery solved.

about 5 months ago

New Watson-Style AI Called Viv Seeks To Be the First 'Global Brain'

ulatekh Re:I will be impressed (161 comments)

I don't worry about AIs understanding word play...I fear when they become smart-asses.

The first time a computer says "I think, therefore I am...I think", humanity is in deep trouble.

about 5 months ago

New Watson-Style AI Called Viv Seeks To Be the First 'Global Brain'

ulatekh Programming general intelligence (161 comments)

No one knows how to program general intelligence.

Well, I have an idea on how to crack that problem...but I'll never have the time and energy to pursue it. I'm also a terrible salesman, so I'll never convince anyone to fund it.

The first part involves defining the goal properly. What's the point of making a computer that's intelligent like a human being? A computer is not a human being. If one wants to make an intelligent computer, it must be done in a way that makes sense given the nature of a computer. There's a difference between artificial intelligence (e.g. what you put into video games to make NPCs interesting) and machine intelligence (e.g. what you put into a jet fighter so that it creams the enemy). Most efforts I see seem to revolve around achieving the former.

It would require a programming language that essentially allows new statements to be added to the language as easily as most OOP languages allow a subclass to be written. The general format of the language would be human-readable text, e.g. English. You don't start off by trying to get it to understand silly world problems, like the word "respectively" — that's a relatively sophisticated ability that comes much later. You just get it to understand the world it can see (i.e. the parts of a computer and its peripherals), with the definitions tracing back to the one concept it can understand — "I". After a fair bit of hand work, you'll have a system that can read normal human text and write code to consolidate its understanding of what it read. Imagine a natural-language parser on the front end and something like llvm's cross-platform assembly-language on the back end.

Once it's able to learn some basic knowledge, the first priority should be to teach it how to program a computer. When it gets to the point that it understands enough about computer programming to reflect upon its own implementation, then it can take over its own development, and then it starts growing exponentially.

There's a lot more to my plan — I've had it for "some time" — but there's no point in spilling all the beans at once.

I don't know if anyone out there has ever tried to design a machine-intelligence along these lines, but I've never heard of one. I'd be interested in hearing about any existing work in this direction.

about 5 months ago

New Watson-Style AI Called Viv Seeks To Be the First 'Global Brain'

ulatekh Re:P vs. NP (161 comments)

Wouldn't you prefer a single mother to a virgin?

After all, single mothers put out...well, at least they did once.

about 5 months ago

The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

ulatekh LOL (962 comments)

Now that was funny. Thanks for sharing.

about 6 months ago

No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

ulatekh Linux already runs Office (282 comments)

by the end of next decade they are building a Linux distro. The trick is that it will only run a version of Microsoft Office and almost nothing else.

Linux already runs Office. I have MS Office installed under Wine and it's always run fine for me.

about 6 months ago

Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

ulatekh Office runs fine under Linux (300 comments)

If Office were really on Linux I think you'd see Windows practically disappear.

Either you're wrong, or people don't know that Office runs just fine under Linux. I was a bit surprised too, but I have it running under Wine & haven't had any problems with it.

about 6 months ago

Happy Software Developers Solve Problems Better

ulatekh COFFEE!! (121 comments)

I forsee a huge market in happy pepper-upper pills for programmers. Oh, wait. That's what coffee is for.

Exactly! I go to work with a 2-quart thermos full of stovetop-percolated coffee.

I pound coffee until I become happy. Well, happy maybe isn't the word...but enough coffee and I'm like "Wow, this badly-written code is just FASCINATING! I can't WAIT to fix this crap while my so-called co-workers are off creating even MORE piles of crap for me to clean up! WOOOOOOOOO!!!"

I have a Gladware container full of chocolate-covered coffee beans too, for when 2 quarts of coffee isn't enough.

about 7 months ago

NSA Considers Linux Journal Readers, Tor (And Linux?) Users "Extremists"

ulatekh Mountain Dew connection (361 comments)

The problem started when the NSA realized that many programmers drink Mountain Dew, given its caffeine/sugar jolt.
Add to that all those Mountain Dew commercials featuring "extreme" personalities.
Treating programmers as extremists was simply the next logical step.

Now pardon me, I must ride my snowboard down the side of the building while screaming "WOOOOOOOO!!!!"

about 7 months ago



North Georgia men say they've found Bigfoot

ulatekh ulatekh writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ulatekh writes "A policeman and a former corrections officer say that today they will unveil evidence of what they claim is their biggest find ever: the body of Bigfoot.

The provided picture, of a Bigfoot stuffed into a freezer, is pretty impressive. Could this finally be the end of the myth and the beginning of the reality?"

ulatekh ulatekh writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ulatekh (775985) writes "In what has to be a new low, Sony recently threw a party to promote God Of War II, featuring an actual decapitated goat. Guests at the event were even invited to reach inside the goat's still-warm carcass to eat offal from its stomach.

They should have stopped at the topless girls."



Personality over brains in tech hiring

ulatekh ulatekh writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I've been programming computers for over 20 years, programming in the industry for over 12 years, have my Bachelor of Science degree, and several (everyone tells me) impressive accomplishments on my resume.

I haven't had a steady job in over 2 years. Here's my latest rejection letter. They e-mailed me this 50 minutes after I left their door.


Thank you very much for taking the time out to come and interview with us here at company! I hope you had a decent time while you were here. The programmers all got together and we discussed the interview process and had to make a difficult decision to pass on hiring you.

Technically, you have the most knowledge of anyone we've ever interviewed - you most definitely know your stuff. But personality-wise, we couldn't see you fitting with the culture that we have on our team. I'm sorry it didn't work out, but I thought you'd like to know why we reached our decision.

manager and tech lead were very impressed with your knowledge. I know that personality-wise, all development teams are very different due to the people on those teams - we've spent a very long time building our unique team and the more people we hire, the harder it is to hire the next person because we require everyone on the team to agree with the choice to hire. You had no idea when you came here what kind of culture we have and your technical skills are so impressive that it only came down to personality-fit with the team.

Sorry for the bad news, but I like to give feedback on the interview process. Good luck on any future interviews and thanks again for coming over.

- creative director

What's really weird is that I thought I got along with everyone, and flubbed far more technical questions than I was comfortable with.

So what am I to make of this? Here are my best guesses:

  • I'm a nerd, even by the standards of other nerds, and I need to go watch MTV, or play Grand Theft Auto, for 2 weeks straight or something, so I can be barely socialized.
  • I'm too smart, I'll make the other programmers feel bad about themselves, and the tech leads worry about their jobs.
  • The popular kids from high school even control the market for computer programmers, even though they're far better with people than with computers, and will shun anyone that doesn't fit their mold.
  • I'm the biggest dumbass loser asshole freak-of-nature anyone's ever met, and I'm too dumb to figure it out.

Any other theories?

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