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Comments

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Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

unimacs Re:um.... (157 comments)

The Newton is not noteworthy for being a pda, it's noteworthy for being a flop. Most notably the handwriting recognition. It was impressive technology at the time, but would often make glaring mistakes rendering it not so great in real world use.

6 hours ago
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Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

unimacs Re:Rain and snow? (157 comments)

Yes, but how badly does it degrade? Will it just stop if there is too much ice or snow on its sensors to "see" adequately. Will it just sit at a green light not knowing whether it's safe to proceed? Can it determine what the road conditions 10 to 30 yards ahead are and react accordingly?

6 hours ago
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Raspberry Pi Founder Demos Touchscreen Display For DIY Kits

unimacs Re:Getting ridiculous now... (76 comments)

It depends on whether you're doing it for a hobby or designing something you can build multiple copies of. It also depends on how important precise timing is. You may need a RTOS which Android isn't. Raspbian isn't either but there are ports of Real-Time OSes for RPi.

11 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Aging and Orphan Open Source Projects?

unimacs Re:Retired developers (139 comments)

It sounds like the OP is looking for a long term solution to help the project move forward and attract new developers. A few of old timers might be willing to hang around and fix a few bugs or deal with security issues but that's just a slower death. And yeah, if these guys are currently getting paid by the company to maintain the software, they might not have any interest in doing so once they retire. Even if they are willing to maintain it, at any point on any open source project, there is nothing stoping anyone from deciding they're done. That's why you need new developers.

I personally have never worked on a single project that I was passionate enough about to want to make it a life long endeavor. Eventually I want to move on to something different. And I'm sure I'll reach a point in my life (or death) where I simply won't be able to do it anymore even if I wanted to.

And from maybe a more philosophical standpoint, one of the things I see as attractive about retirement is no longer having the burden of having to maintain anything. ;)

yesterday
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NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

unimacs Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (723 comments)

I have no doubt that there are places where that kind of thing goes on, but certainly not everywhere. For what it's worth, my young daughter thrives on proving people wrong. She played on a boys football team. At the same time, she appears to be more interested in a medical career at this point. Nevertheless I'll be building Lego Mindstorm robots with her and my son... just in case.

yesterday
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NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

unimacs Re:Solving the problem wrong (723 comments)

My experience has been a bit different. I was the only one among my friends or family to get a computer science degree. Though they have all done alright for the most part, I had the easiest time getting a job in my field and I was making good money while many of them still struggled.

As time has gone on, I've been better able to pick who I work for rather than having to just take whatever I could. I WAS in a company for awhile where ridiculous working hours for programmers were the norm, - but I figured out I didn't need to settle for that.

2 days ago
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NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

unimacs Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (723 comments)

As a person who hires coders, having so few women in the field limits the pool of good candidates. As a parent, I don't want my daughter steered away from a career that might be a rewarding one for her.

2 days ago
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Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

unimacs Re:Bonus pay for having NO KIDS (247 comments)

I would guess that most people who put off having kids until later end up having fewer kids anyway. If couples have two kids or less, statistically that will result in long term population decline. Looking at actual trends show that population is flat or declining in many parts of the world while exploding elsewhere.

Declining populations are problematic in several ways as well since many economic systems are designed around growth.

I don't disagree that unchecked world wide population growth isn't good, but draconian methods to keep women from having kids in regions where there is little if any population growth anyway isn't the answer.

about a week ago
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Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

unimacs Re:Slippery Slope (247 comments)

From this article on the subject: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/20...

"While still uncommon, egg-freezing allows women to remove and store eggs when they are in their prime fertility window, which often overlaps with prime career-advancement years. The quality of a woman’s eggs declines as she gets older, putting many women in a bind about whether to have children in their 20s and 30s. Egg freezing allows women to stockpile healthy eggs while advancing their careers or waiting to meet a partner with whom they’d like to start a family.

But the procedure is expensive, costing approximately $10,000 per round, and many doctors recommend two rounds to ensure the best possible batch of cells. In general, health insurance plans don’t cover the elective procedure."

The last sentence is key. You can bet we are inching towards this $10,000 elective procedure being mandated by American health insurance, which means men will be the ones paying for it through taxes as demonstrated here:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/1...

The sheer fact Apple and facebook are doing this is a "slippery slope". Give feminists an inch, and they will take a mile, and then blame you for not giving two miles. And the idea of giving $10,000 to a man to start a family? Nahhhhhhhh.

If a couple decides to delay having kids and takes advantage of this benefit, doesn't the husband (a male most likely) save $10,000 as well?

And last I checked, women were taxpayers too. ;)

about a week ago
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Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

unimacs Good in that it provides another option, but... (247 comments)

The reality is that balancing a career with being a parent is typically much more difficult for women. In most relationships, it's the woman that take's on the greater responsibility when it comes to child care, - whether she is working full time or not.

Given that, choosing to be a parent can have a bigger impact on a woman's career than a man's. Even as a man I've made career choices that I wouldn't have made if I didn't have my responsibilities as a parent to consider. It's worse for women.

So while I think it's great that companies are trying to give women more flexibility as to when in their lives to have kids, I question whether delaying it beyond their normal child bearing years is a good idea anyway. It just creates more problems later on. If you wait until your 40's to have kids, now you're approaching or are at retirement age when they are just getting out of college. This creates some potential financial issues if you're not careful. Were you saving for their college education and your own retirement? Also by the time they are having kids of their own, you are now approaching an age where they might also be helping taking care of you, - all while trying to juggle a career. Sucks to be them.

about a week ago
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Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

unimacs Re:You have to have an inexpensive wedding for 200 (446 comments)

Not Really. We had around two hundred people at ours. My wife got her dress from a consignment shop and the reception was a luncheon at a large restaurant rather than an all night thing. The wedding party handed out the cake rather than paying the caterer $1.00 a slice to hand them out for us. It was a great way to mingle and the guests seemed to enjoy it.

At some of my friends's weddings, the bride paid more for her dress than we paid for the entire wedding.

about two weeks ago
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Fortune.com: Blame Tech Diversity On Culture, Not Pipeline

unimacs Re:Not where *I* work. (342 comments)

So yeah, there's a whole set of skills to learn, but the idea that everything is all on the guy... is at least not true in many contexts. And women can fail just as hard, though there isn't a subculture about how men are colluding to control them by withholding the cock they have so obvious earned. There are a lot of skills for everyone to learn. No one is born knowing this stuff. And it takes work.** And while some people are more socially inclined, it's perfectly learnable with work. And I suspect if you (I mean the generic you) aren't actively putting yourself in a social situation in which you'll be interacting with folks you're sexually attracted to, you will never learn these skills.

The entitled whining just drives me up a tree. For that matter, the idea that if some random guy asks a random woman out, and she says no - oh, no, the trauma! Yeesh. I mean, first off, that's a pretty stupid set up. And yet, most of us have been through some variant of it.

* Especially when it was from relatively strangers who were clearly not part of my subculture. Major culture shock of moving to the midwest, random guys in suits would ask me out on the train. Or in the airport. While I was practicing martial arts forms in an empty terminal. *blink* ** Do not draw the conclusion from any of this that I was born socially adept, oh, no. I mean, I generally had more male friends because a lot of my interests (computers, electronics, RPGs) skewed that way, but, no. And then I went to college when I was 13 (well, the first time, it's complicated). But, y'know, hard work and paying attention - these things can be learned.

You are absolutely right, these are skills that can be learned. And rather than whine and complain that "women don't like nice guys", they need to get a clue that being nice isn't the problem. And it is rather interesting that a culture of men who will spend days and weeks mastering gaming or some computer related skill, won't spend time on such a key element to happiness.

However, I will still maintain that a shy, geeky guy is at a major disadvantage when it comes to dating. How many geeky males (shy or not) have random women approaching them in airport and train terminals? ;-)

Thing about it, you and a friend could go trolling for geeky guys with a reasonable expectation of success. It doesn't work that way for geeky guys.

That's not to say there aren't women who struggle with dating. I think a big difference is that these women will more than likely blame themselves rather than blaming all men.

about two weeks ago
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Fortune.com: Blame Tech Diversity On Culture, Not Pipeline

unimacs Re:Not where *I* work. (342 comments)

I agree with most of what you are saying. I'm often surprised by the bitterness I see in comments from some of the men here (I'm also a guy). At the same time, while both sexes experience rejection, the whole process of dating in our culture is pretty stacked against nerdy male introverts. As you correctly point out, they often don't know how to interact with women but yet they do want to date. And frankly, an introverted nerd is not exactly the type that most women are interested in anyway. So what will happen is that they will ask out some woman who was just being friendly and she'll say no. Not because she's mean, but because she's simply not interested. And this can happen multiple times. How many women do you know that have asked out a guy and was rejected?

The differences between a nerdy guy and a more social guy is that the social guy can pick up on clues more readily. He will likely be more attractive to women due to his social skills anyway. He's is less likely to experience rejection in the same way. Either he knows he's on a fishing expedition and will take the rejection in stride or he'll have a pretty good idea if the woman is interested before he even asks.

It's funny that you mention 8th grade because my son just finished 8th grade last spring. Guys often make the mistake of thinking it's all about looks or how athletic they are. But you could see it in my son's class. The boys who were way ahead in terms having "girl friends" were not necessarily the best looking ones. It was the ones that knew how to talk.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

unimacs Re:Mac's don't get viruses. . . (174 comments)

I was making a reference to the recent Apple patch that disabled the phone on the iPhone. http://support.apple.com/kb/DL...?

This release contains improvements and bug fixes, including: Fixes an issue in iOS 8.0.1 that impacted cellular network connectivity and Touch ID on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

On their new flagship phones for iOS8. If Apple devs were really that thorough, I doubt that would have passed the first round of tests. On the other hand, I've noticed patches on RHEL take longer to release than Ubuntu which take longer than other Linux distros. But I'm not sure OSX is delayed due to rigorous testing.

Because no linux distro ever releases a patch with bugs... right? ;-)

Anyway. I said the process might have to be more rigorous. I didn't say it was flawless. And the whole 8.0.1 debacle only adds to my point. A patch can sometimes do more damage that what it's trying to fix. Better to take a couple extra days to get it right than to get it out as quickly as possible but screw it up.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

unimacs Re:Mac's don't get viruses. . . (174 comments)

It could simply be that considering that considering their user base, Apple puts any patches through a much more rigorous testing than a linux distro typically does.

Yeah, I was really pissed when RHEL released a patch for a kernel bug last week and it disabled the phone app on my iPhone. *#$^ing RedHat.

Not exactly sure what you're trying to say but let me clarify my statement. Apple's users require more hand holding than RHEL users. I'm very serious when I say that Redhat's patch testing process may not be as rigorous as Apple's and I will add that because of the differences in user base, it doesn't have to be.

I wasn't slamming RedHat or linux at all if that's what you thought.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

unimacs Re:Mac's don't get viruses. . . (174 comments)

Your first source sites a report from Trend Micro that barely mentions OS X. It shows a chart with the number of vulnerabilities by vendor but it doesn't make any effort to characterize the severity of the vulnerabilities or the likelihood of being affected by them.

Your second source is not a study or report at all but the opinion of a guy selling security software. I'm not saying his opinion isn't worth anything, only that he stands to gain by scaring OS X users into buying his software. And just as an aside, I wouldn't be surprised if more systems have been compromised in some way by anti-virus software than any single virus.

I'm sorry but I don't think comparing MS to RedHat is valid. They have a much different user base. The report you listed in your original post went as far as to say that MS was mostly patching client vulnerabilities (in browsers and such) that potentially affect huge numbers of systems many of which are operated by people who are less knowledgeable and more vulnerable to things like trojans. In those cases I agree you need to move quickly.

Something like Shellshock might potentially affect something like 2% of all Macs, (if not less) while a patch affects are large percentage of them. You'd better make sure you don't screw up something in that patch. The majority of Mac users are not like linux users who can easily recover from a bad patch.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

unimacs Re:Mac's don't get viruses. . . (174 comments)

- Your study is 6 years old.
- RedHat was the only linux distro in the survey that I saw
- The nature of the vulnerabilities that Microsoft typically patched was quite a bit different from those in the other operating systems studied.

I really doubt it's a difference in attitude. It could simply be that considering that considering their user base, Apple puts any patches through a much more rigorous testing than a linux distro typically does. They may (correctly) conclude that a rushed patch could do more harm in less time than most of the vulnerabilities that are identified.

about three weeks ago
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jQuery.com Compromised To Serve Malware

unimacs Re:They will never learn (103 comments)

What? People don't like to be called incompetent ? Who knew ? ;)

The chance of an average American being in a car accident in the next 5 years is 1 in 4. 37,000 people die each year in car accidents and over 2 million are injured. Yet most of us still drive even though a lot of us have alternatives. Having your site compromised is bad but for most of us it's a lot better than being dead. My point is that life is full of risks and trade offs.

Using a CDN like googleapis to host some of your content can improve the performance of your site, especially in terms of latency which is often a bigger concern on mobile networks than bandwidth.

One has to weigh the risks of using a CDN against the benefits. If you understand the risks and decided that it's worth it in your case, it many not be incompetent at all.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

unimacs As an employer a PhD wouldn't appeal to me unless: (479 comments)

It was related to our line of work. Don't know if this will help or not but when I'm hiring these are some things that I look for:

1. Competence and aptitude.
2. Demonstrated ability to learn and adapt quickly
3. Level of excitement about working for us and interest in what we do
4. How likely it is that you will stick around for awhile
5. What new skills can you bring to the table
6. Will you be happy with the position (related to #3 and #4)

I don't particularly like the hiring process or the time it takes to get a new employee up to speed. Therefore retaining staff is important to me and that starts with hiring people who I think will enjoy working here for a few years at least. There are other PhDs employed here so I wouldn't rule one out necessarily but it would over qualify you for any position that I'd personally be hiring for.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Forcing IT Department Staff to Take Long Vacations

unimacs unimacs writes  |  about a year ago

unimacs (597299) writes "I run the IT Department at a relatively small organization. Each year we go through an annual audit. This year the IT portion of the audit was much more extensive than in the past and we were provided with a written report that contained various recommendations. One of them was that staff be required to take a vacation each year that was at least a week in duration.

The reason behind the recommendation is that it would ensure that people are adequately cross trained and that no particular employee would become so critical that the organization couldn't function without them for a week.

I should add that the auditing company specializes on small non-profits and I could see where heavy reliance on one person could be a problem for some places though I don't think it's a issue for us at the moment. Anyway, I'm in a position to implement that policy and am not really opposed to it but I am wondering what Slashdot's take on it is. Seems to me we could accomplish the same thing (and more) by making sure each staff person leaves the office for a week long training session each year."
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Want to buy a smart phone without exploiting Chinese workers. Choices ?

unimacs unimacs writes  |  more than 2 years ago

unimacs writes "So Apple has been under fire recently for the conditions at the factories of their Chinese suppliers. I listened to "This American Life's" recent retraction of the Michael Daisey piece they did awhile back. Great Radio for those of you who haven't heard it. Rarely has dead air been used to such effect.

Anyway, while his work has been discredited, Michael Daisey wasn't inaccurate in his claims that working conditions are poor in iPhone and iPad factories. Given that, are there any smart phone manufacturers whose phones are made under better conditions?"
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Still getting bit by Y2K bug. Why haven't we learn

unimacs unimacs writes  |  more than 2 years ago

unimacs (597299) writes "I work with data loggers of various types and I use perl to parse the information. I rely heavily on the str2time function to parse the timestamps. It works pretty well except that I was getting strange errors with a new logger file format I was processing.

It turns out that the logger was outputting dates like "9/24/11 10:27:30 AM". On my OSX development machine, perl and str2time (via timelocal) interpreted that date as September 24, 2011. On our linux production server, it was interpreted as September 24th, 1911.

Have we already forgotten that 2 digit years are no-no? Anybody else running into these kinds of problems?"

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